Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Gokwe Kid – Mission Impassability

Well, I needed a bit of a break from writing and editing ad nauseum. I was starting to get stale and not very imaginative. As I await my chapters coming back from my reluctant editor, I did other things. BUT, thankfully my desire to write returned.

Today is Nigel Triggs’s birthday. Nigel has a huge part in my book, but also he has bent backwards to help me with input and information. I thank him for that. So, I dashed off this little anecdote which I dedicate to him. This is not in the book.

Mission Impassability

Gokwe POs singles’ quarters, winter 1977. The lads are having a game of poker. Things get excitable and finally the game is called over and out around 1 in the morning. The others wander to bed but not the infamous Gokwe Kid because he is a man on a mission of impossible stupidity. Feeling well pleased with himself after freeing at least 75cents from the wallets of Messrs PO Triggs, Golden and Brockbank, the great Dick of the Bushveld has more coin to score by order of the great police bwana of Gokwe, Chief Inspector Harvey.
With the government desperate for funds it seemed a good idea to lash out a few tickets on unsuspecting drivers and as such duty PO (me), was to place a road block ten clicks out of Gokwe on the main dirt drag to Que Que and knobble a few bucks. This, for some obscure reason, had been designated between the hours of 2 to 4am.
Shortly before ticketing time, I meandered sleepily into the charge office and asked for a volunteer. Immediately a small riot broke out as by now my reputation preceded my authority and most of the black staff turned white at the prospect of going any where with The Gokwe Kid. Strong men have known to break down in the Boss’s office and volunteer to go on a six months PATU tour rather than half a day with the greatest bush detective of all time.  
Still, I managed to bribe one with a promise of a bottle of Coke and as the town hall clock didn’t bong twice, I had a Police Ahead sign and a pole on some rickety legs spanning the middle of the road. Mindful that the place had more gooks swarming around than ticks on a ridgeback’s back, I turned the Landy lights and engine off and proceeded to chill out a bit. I was chilled all right- I was bloody freezing! Even with the heavy long grey coat, the temperature must have been barely above zero up there on the plateau.
After about 90 minutes of teeth chattering and spitting out loosened fillings – a car approaches! So exciting. I dash out and nearly get run over. The frightened driver had no chance and I really put the boot in. Did him for just about everything my fine little fine book could offer up. Horn and indicators not working, bald tyres, dodgy brakes, no soapy water in his windscreen wiper spray thingys, rear view mirror chipped – in fact I filled out the entire part allocated for the bad things. It came to a massive 153 dollars and 25 cents. I sent the poor man off with his copy. By that time it was 4am so I packed up, went home, threw the book into the Boss’s in tray and popped off for some sleepy eye.

I was allowed an extra couple of hours sleep in and wandered into the charge office at 10am, just in time for a nice cup of tea, when my name was roared out from the direction of Mike Harvey’s office. He sounded in pain.
“PO Greenberg, I see you have ticketed someone for various offences related to an unworthy road vehicle.”
“Yes Sah!” I beamed intelligently. “I got him for just about everything.”
“I see. Do you remember the driver’s name or where he lives?” asks the Boss.
Mmm, strange question indeed. I am not good with names and black peoples’ names were rather incomprehensible to my dyslexic brain. Besides, I was giving the man a ticket, not asking him to be my new best china and can I pop around to his pad for a party. I shook my head in the negative.
“I presume you know what he looks like?”
“Yes Sah, he was…er… black!”
“Very good Greenberg. Do you recall the vehicle’s registration number?”
Eish! That was tricky one. Maybe he hadn’t any. I should have whacked that onto the fine list as well. Again I shook my head in the negative. Tossing the open fine book in my direction, the Boss says
“Can you find any glaring mistakes you may have perhaps made whilst filling in this fine?”
I looked carefully and whistled softly under my breath. Oh-oh, the amount had been added up wrong, I had short changed the Rhodesian government out of 15 dollars. I apologised profusely and hoped to hell I wasn’t going to be forced to cough up the difference.
The Boss sighed in that same way my teachers did when they handed back my essays.
“PO Greenberg, if the driver does not turn up to pay the fine in seven days, are you going to fetch him in?”
I nodded enthusiastically in the positive.
“Pray, tell me, how will that be possible when you have neglected to fill out the entire part relating to his name, address, vehicle type and registration?”
Now that was a very good question and I suddenly thought that perhaps I had also forgotten to put my belt on because my shorts seemed to be now flapping around my ankles. Taking a pen, the Boss drew a line through the page and wrote ‘Cancelled’.

“You are dismissed.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Nigel