I got a phone call from and old friend, who also used to be my neighbour at Extension 27. “There is something I want to tell you,” he said at the end of our conversation.
When he graduated from our area, he moved to a better location just across the main road in the east. He has acquired himself a nice car, a corolla 1995 model and has rented a much bigger house - a two and half room. In addition, he has found himself a better half, who is loyal and loving.
After making arrangements to meet on a Saturday afternoon, we drove around town, as he wanted me to ‘feel’ his newly acquired toy. He also plays better music – he has new CDs of Franco, Ratshega, and other local artists. He also reads newspapers and has declared his love for Daily News and some other tabloid. This new lifestyle was evident from our conversation, as he quoted many stories from the papers.
I was anxious to meet my former neighbour. My Nissan March has been on the bricks for seven months now, after I drove it for only two months. The biggest mistake I made was driving it home to show it to my family.
Upon return, the car started displaying funny lights on the dashboard until it stopped moving. What is even worse, my mechanic took the cylinder head away for repairs but he never returned.
The last I heard about him was that he had been deported back home. I’m stuck with a car that has no engine. My life has become miserable because scavengers pay unannounced visits at night, as they want to steal some parts for sale to their clients. Others have approached me face to face, offering around P4,000 to get the whole car. Life can be a mess!
Adding to my woes is my landlord, who constantly asks me about my intentions for the car. Whenever she visits, I make sure that I lock myself in the house until she is gone. She claims that the “scrap” is a magnet for thieves and makes her yard look messy. She is full of herself; with a string of one-rooms linked to each other, how can she claim that?
As we drove around town, my ‘chauffeur’ or rather, friend, told me stories about how life has been good to him since we parted ways three years ago.
He told me how he almost took his life after the mother of his child burned all his belongings in a fit of anger; and how he struggled to make ends meet after being fired from his job. But he has found solace in traditional music, he says.
Disturbing our conversation, one of the motorist honked at us, and he rolled down his window and shouted; ‘O kgweetsa ma..; showed us the middle finger, and sped off. I could see my chauffeur’s face turn red in anger. He stepped hard on the accelerator to follow the young man. Then he pulled a knobkerrie from underneath his seat. I did not know what to say. “These boys do funny things on the road, I’m going to teach him a lesson,” he vowed.
“What have I put myself into?” I said quietly.
The next traffic light turned red, but the boy drove through just as we approached. Fortunately for me, there was oncoming traffic and he stopped. I took a deep breath - relieved.
“Why are you keeping this knobkerrie?” I asked my driver. He looked at me with exasperation. “Hah, you don’t know?”
“I….” he interrupted me.
“Monna, go na le ditsenwa mo tseleng, baba tshwanang le yo re mo tlogetseng yole. Ha ke ne ke ka mo kapa!”
Then an SMS dropped in his phone and he immediately read it. He read through and put it back. He drove straight to one of the retail stores and we walked into the shop. As usual, I didn’t have any money on me, so I just followed him. I was still waiting for the big story from my friend.
Fate has its way of doing things. Just as we entered the store, I came face-to-face with our Motshelo treasurer. The lady was dressed in smart attire. Her eyes instantly widened.The drink she was carrying fell to the ground and splashed around. Everyone looked at us.
“He…waitse….” she shouted upon seeing me. There was no chance for her to escape. I could see her lips shaking. The plastic bags she was carrying were also shaking. Even her phone almost fell to the ground. She struggled to swallow.
Her mouth was also open. My blood was boiling with anger, but I kept calm.
“Tlhe rraa…..ga ke a go lebala..” she said before I opened my mouth. I dialed her number in her presence but the phone was off air.
“My phone got stolen and I…”
My chauffeur was still in surprise at what was happening. He left and went into the shop, as the two of us walked out.
“Nnyaa tlhe raa, tota ga se gore ke a doja, go ne go le thata. I put my head on the block and I’m going to pay all your money by end of this month. Ka mme..”
She gave me her number and we parted ways, no single word from me.
“What was going on between you and the lady?” asked my friend later.
I explained the whole story as we boarded the car. “Why didn’t you tell me? I know how to deal with people like her,” he said with confidence.
“But you said you wanted to tell me something,” I said. He responded: “Nothing big, I read in the Daily News that the President likes pink pyjamas”. I was bored to the bone. “So what?”