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Cape Town Stories 23

In South Africa the month of December is generally regarded as a month of celebration and getting drunk. Also, in South Africa December starts in November. So some days ago a friend slept over at my place after we had appropriately spent a November evening preparing for December in a bar around the corner from my place. At some point, when our stories were becoming less congruent but all the more philosophical, rather than drunk-drive home, he decided to leave the little old Datsun cradled comfortably between two other cars in front of my house to rest here for the night. The next morning, fresh and ready to start the day (perhaps just a wee-bit hungover) he went outside to grab his cologne and towel that he had left inside the rusty car. The cologne and towel however were no longer there. In fact, neither was the car. To be clear: the entire content of the car including the car itself were no longer where we had left them the night before. (edit: my friend has since updated me that he had also left some KFC in the car; these thieves are just becoming more unscrupulous by the day!). Now, having your car stolen is shit. Having a car stolen that is not yours but belongs to your mechanic who gave it to you just one day earlier to stand in for your own car while he is repairing it, is even more shit. But this stand-in car was such an old skoroskoro that when we had parked it the night before, we had to be strategic about parking it downhill, just incase we might need to jumpstart it later. And so we hoped that the thieves (much like myself with anything I have ever started in life) may have become annoyed and given up half-way through their thievish endeavor. We paced up and down the streets of Woodstock for some time, only to find out that we truly were out of luck and had no choice but to go to the police station to report the car stolen. So we packed our bags and headed for the coffee shop – you never go to the police station on an empty stomach! It was great foresight, because when it was our turn to step up to the desk and make our complaint, the officer was less interested in what had brought us to his work place and more interested in why my friend looked so familiar. My friend is known as an actor from a South African soapie (as somewhat of a criminal character I believe) and so an interrogation that had little to do with the missing car began: „Hello sir, I want to report my car stolen“ „Woow, are you not the guy from…? Yes, it’s you! But what are you doing here?“ „My car was stolen last night“ „Nooo, I cannot believe you are here, at the police station, when YOU are the criminal (laughs)“ Awkward silence „…Uhm…So my car was stolen from outside her house yesterday“ „You mustn’t be so naughty, we are getting tired of your tricks and lies“…. We finally managed to start filling out the forms with the relevant details, most of which we did not know because as previously mentioned, the car was not his. This called for some improvisation: Officer: „Value of vehicle?“. Shoulder Shrug. Officer: „Priceless“. We laughed. A lot in fact. Some other female officers had come in and were overjoyed at the sight of my friend: one called her sister (on speaker phone, more precisely, the office’s speaker phone) while another dragged in some more officer friends to take pictures ( don’t judge, there must be time for joy, we can’t always be fighting crime and catching murderers, sometimes we need to take a moment for self care or selfies with celebrities, you know! ). Amidst all this joyous excitement, I carefully tried to bring the focus back to our missing car by mentioning what I foolishly thought was extremely relevant information: my neighbour had informed us that he had heard a car revving during the night and when he had looked out of the window he had seen police checking a vehicle and drivers. If I had thought this might be valuable information to anyone, I was mistaken: no one was particularly interested in my statement or my presence, except that one officer (female!) who, taking a swift look at me, said: „Your body is a beast!“. Unprompted, unasked for. Bless her soul, perhaps she thought I was feeling left out with all the attention given to my friend. With all of this it might come as a surprise that the vehicle has since been recovered. Where, we do not know, how we do not know, in what state we do not know, but we have been told that once all information has been gathered we will be notified via sms. And so this dramatic story highlighting the beginning of December madness has come to a happy end and my trust in the police, finally, has been restored. lol.

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