With Tracey out of the house and Danny annoyed that things had not gone the way he expected them to be, he was angry. He’d refused Tracey’s offers of changing her plans to take him to rehab, no plan change was going to make up for the fact she hadn’t told him about her appointment with the fucking psyche, even if she did tell him but he wasn’t listening.

When Tracey had left the house she was under the impression that Danny was going to be ringing Rick, or someone from work to pick him up and take to the rehab session then take him to work after rehab. It was exactly what he had told her would happen. It was also what Danny himself thought he would do, but all that changed when he bashed his sore knee into the leg of the table when he got up from his chair.

The pain, which had eased in the time he lay on the couch, the rage which had grown in the same time period, and the stupidity of a clouded mind changed everything. As he walked out to the kitchen thoughts of ringing Rick were not even in his mind, but had they been they wouldn’t have stood a chance anyway, because the second he saw his keys sitting next to his wallet there was no room for another thought.

Picking up his keys and phone in one hand and his wallet in the other Danny stepped away from the kitchen bench and hobbled through the kitchen towards the back door. As he limped he stuffed his wallet in the pocket of his tracksuit pants. His knee was giving him constant reminders that it wasn’t in a fit state to be doing what he was planning to do but he was doing his best to ignore it.

The keys and his phone went into his right hand jacket pocket as he turned through the doorway that joined the kitchen and hallway. As he turned he stumbled slightly and leant against the door frame, another curse rang out through the empty house, but again it didn’t stop him as it should have. Thumping the wall as he continued walking towards the door Danny favoured his left leg dramatically but he still didn’t let common sense cloud judgement.

Outside, he hadn’t even checked to see if the back door was locked, he hobbled along the concrete path towards the garage, through the side door and up to his dual cab ute. Climbing into the cabin of his ute was as painful as anything Danny had done since being released from hospital, yet still his mind did not stop him from doing what he was about to do.

Wriggling in the front seat trying to find a comfortable position Danny used the door remote to open the roller door. Putting his foot on the clutch to start the engine the pain in his knee was too much to bear, so instead of starting the engine in gear, or ceasing what he was doing altogether, Danny dropped the gear shifter into neutral and pulled his foot painfully from the clutch. Trying his best to ignore the pain he started the engine and let it warm up.

Only once in the minute or so Danny let the cold engine warm up to operating temperature did his mind tell him that he should switch the engine off and figure out another way of getting to rehab. But that single thought was quickly replaced with the angry part of Danny’s mind telling him that he didn’t have time for other methods.

Pushing his left foot down on the clutch it slipped before he got it all the way down and his foot flopped straight to the floor. The returning clutch pedal skidded up his lower shin but he barely felt it as the shockwave of pain shot up and down his leg from his knee. Trying hard to ignore the pain Danny used both hands to lift his leg and place his foot back on the clutch.

Backing out of the driveway was easier than he expected. Selecting first gear and the subsequent gears once he was moving had also been easier than he expected, so much so that by the time he was round the corner onto the main road he was actually feeling like he was doing the right thing.

Having driven a race car with a broken clutch on more occasions than he cared to remember Danny knew that planing ahead was the key to doing what he had to do. Match the revs going up the gear box and the truck would go into gear relatively easy without the clutch. Then when it came to stopping pulling the truck out of gear without the clutch then using only the brake alone to stop the vehicle was all that was needed. Restarting presented the same problems whether he was at traffic lights or in the driveway but if restarting was his only concern Danny thought he was riding high.

Luck was with him as he travelled along Barker’s Road, it was a dual carriage way stretch of road with two lanes heading both north and south. The peak hour traffic had died down a bit after 9am thanks to most people being at work and kids being at school, and all of the six traffic lights he went through gave him green lights all the way. It felt like so much luck was on his side that Danny was feeling good about himself.

The first stop he had to make was at the traffic lights intersecting Barker’s Road and the freeway entry ramp. It was a stop he was prepared for and executed perfectly, even the take off as the light turned green was executed well. He did grind the gears a little but as he raised the revs and pushed the gear stick forward into gear but it was minimal and considering he was not using a clutch at all he thought it was a good effort.

The big problem didn’t arise until Danny was on the freeway, only six kilometres from his turn off to the hospital where he was headed for rehab. He was sitting just below the one hundred kilometre speed limit in the left hand lane when unbeknown to him he ran over a nail which pierced the front right hand tyre and immediately deflated it taking control from Danny’s hands.

Previous Racing story here.