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The Varsity Car And More Rattles

My friends called it limousine. I called it ‘The baby’. The manufacturer had called it Alfa Romeo. Dad had out-negotiated some bewildered guy in the inner city who was in some financial dire straits.

When my dad said with a smirk ‘I can’t be fairer than that’ I knew he had won the battle.

P15k and it was his. The owner had very little leverage with a deputy sheriff breathing down his neck. He was just happy to salvage something from the sale. I felt like a thief in the night.

Dad drove it for some time until the rattles started and the side mirrors cracked and the paint dulled. Then it was mine. My Friday turned into a routine of rushing home after lessons to pick the Italian masterpiece, use it for all sorts of mischief and return it on Sunday.

I fell hopelessly in love with this car. When I stepped on the gas it sounded almost musical like a song done by both Vee and Maxy at a concert where they have been paid upfront.

I was mobile. The mirrors were cracked. I was mobile. The engine sometimes stuttered and stalled. But I was mobile.

The backseat looked like an animal with some horrible skin disease. But I was mobile. The smoke sometimes distracted people from admiring my car. But I was mobile.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. More guys started gravitating towards me. Friends came out of the woodwork. New relatives sprouted from all over the campus. Girls who never gave me a perfunctory look came over to say ‘hi’ and ask about my health.

Some wondered why I haven’t been checking them. I was on top of the world. Or so I thought. Until one day I tried to milk this new-found attention for what it was worth.

I sauntered over to block 474 to check this other belissima. She didn’t open the door and wanted to know who I was. She didn’t recognise my name.

I pulled out my last ace and said ‘the Alfa Romeo guy’. I smiled through my response because I knew the door was going to open. She dropped a bomb. Hiroshima is small beer compared to this. Her response ‘ya mosi?’ Of all the things she had

to remember that my limo sometimes spewed smoke.  That took the wind out of my sails. I slinked away. I swore never to chase after the varsity girls. Back to the hostel and we decided to paint the town red.

We had a meeting. Our trip was always preceded by a meeting to aggregate the contributions for petrol. P30 and we were cruising out of campus.

I popped in a Technotronic cassette and maxed the volume as Pump up the Jam started bellowing out of the speakers. The sound quality was bad but we pretended we were enjoying it though our frowns must have given us away.

Before we reached Gaborone Sun, we were flagged down by a charge-happy cop for overspeeding.

It really is difficult to know your speed if the speedometer is not working. I skillfully negotiated with the cop and just as he started softening up, out stepped the most inebriated guy from the car and starts waffling some insults and how he’s going sue the entire police force.

Now you cannot sue the entire police force.

Some of us have sisters, cousins and uncles in the police force so suing the entire police force might just mean our relatives are collateral. At least that is what we thought given our rudimentary understanding of how lawsuits work.

For some reason varsity students always pretend they are smarter than everyone else and are quick to flaunt what they are studying to everyone who cared to listen. Those struggling through law degrees are the biggest culprits.

Law enforcement officers absolutely abhor it and are usually quick to put them in their place. The charge stuck. Another meeting. Another contribution. This time for the police charge. We had just spent the money for our drinks, club cover charge and possible dates.

I slowly turned the car around. Nobody complained. Not even the usual navigator. The night was dead. The mood was sombre. We went back to study for our degrees. So much for painting the town red!

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