Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Gokwe Kid and the Lawnmower.

A Rhodesian bedtime story.
Salisbury, Rhodesia - 1971

Once upon a time, far away in darkest deepest Africa, the 13 year old (future) Gokwe Kid, bored as usual, decides it would impress just about everyone (not), if he should drag the lawn mower out of the tool shed and cut the grass. Obviously the garden boy wasn’t around; otherwise he would have correctly chased the insane Kid around the garden with a big stick, rather than let him have a go on the fiendishly complicated machine.

Mindful of Rhodesian Health and Safety regulations, the Kid was correctly attired in a pair of boxer shorts and nothing else. Standing bare foot he thought about kick starting it, but that would hurt his toes. The Kid already knew the basics of the petrol powered contraption from observing father teaching faithful garden boy how to use it  - along with the usual death threats should it stop working because it had become ‘brokhin’. The whole procedure looked very simple. Just turn a little tap on (that lets the petrol dribble into the engine), and pull a bit of rope like crazy; until the thing starts roaring.

Due to the lack of strength, the Kid needs both hands to pull on the stick attached to the rope and promptly has the machine lying on its side. Adults are capable of holding onto the handle bar with one hand to balance it - whilst jerking the wire something stupid. Anyway. The Kid solves this problem by standing on the engine block and after much tugging, in a huge cloud of blue smoke; it erupts in a mighty roar.

The Kid now played with the funny lever stick thing on the handle. He had watched the garden boy use it whenever he got to the grass that grew so thickly over the poo pit. He thought this throttle up and down malarkey was daft. Better to have the lever all the way down all the time, making the machine scream and shake in violent excitement - for surely this would make the grass cutting go twice as fast?

Feeling pleased with himself, the Kid pushes it around in crazy patterns and is alarmed by the terrible noises made whilst trimming the rock garden. Lucky for him, at the back of the violently shaking contraption is a very strong, metallic blue metal box. This is to catch things in. Like large rocks that make so much noise as they pound into its sides leaving lots of pretty dimples with the paint now cracked at the nipple. The Kid wanders around some more and after a while he notices that the cut grass is following him like a green corridor carpet.

The Gokwe Kid ponders this for a while and decides maybe the newly dimpled bucket box is full! He recalls seeing the garden boy sort of jiggle it till it came off. Grabbing the handle perched on the top of the metal box, he wags it around and lo and behold it falls off. The bucket is very full. Not just with grass but with lots of strange objects like lumps of soil and large stones and a very thrashed prickly pear cactus. The Kid scratches his head and then his bum hole to help him think. He thinks it is better he tip it all out over the fence and into the next-door neighbour’s fish pond.

With box well enlightened, unlike the Kid, who now ponders if he should perhaps clear the rear passage on the still roaring and vibrating machine. Not being a total fool, the Kid thinks that putting his hand inside could make his hand go very pear shaped and his fingers meet a prickly end. He remembers that very morning he had, out of boredom, thrown a large stick for his dog to fetch. The dog found this game boring so the Kid retrieved it now and poked into the lawnmower’s rear orifice. There was a terrible bang and the stick was thrown again for the dog with such tremendous force that the dog next door went to fetch it! Such a stupid dog.

Now with that all clear, the Kid is faced with the logistics of putting the box back on. As the machine was at full throttle, it shook terribly, and the Kid was forced to really ram the tin box around hoping it would grasp a counterpart of some sort when - he accidently hit some wire thingy that was in the way and it flicked up an end onto the tin box.

Suddenly, the Kid had a brief look at his guardian angel that would save his ass so often in the future (the poor thing aged prematurely from the stress), because – he became instantly a bright spark. Simultaneous thoughts shot through his mind  -

He remembered in vivid detail, sexy Miss Flowers, when she explained the difference between AC and DC in General Science class last week. The Kid had paid particular attention because the entire class had gathered around her desk, giving the Kid the opportunity to have quick peep up her dress for a hopeful sign of seeing some spider’s legs. But he now recalled the bit about DC current and its sticky problems. This the Kid realised he was now experiencing this particular experiment a million fold and regretted looking up Miss Flower’s dress.


The most beautiful sound filled the air. A perfectly pitched, falsetto redemption of ‘My Way’. A dead ringer to easily win The Rhodesia X-Factor.

Editor’s Notes. This is incorrect. He is singing the famed African ‘Maiwaa’ or however it is spelt…this is an exclamation of grief surprise. Not ‘surprised grief’, there is a difference.) Pronounced like ‘My Way’ but put together as ‘Myway!’. The nearest English equivalent would be ‘Goodness gracious me!’, which, if you think about, it is a rather dumb expression. ‘Myway!’ is much better. You can change the decibel range, speed, frequency and repetition - Ad infinitum

It is unique. For example –

You wake up and go down stairs (if you have any) and in the kitchen (if you have one) the goldfish has died. You say ‘Myway’ once. (Slow, soft, sad tone.)

You find out your mother in law was run over by a hijacked Taxi. You say ‘Myway’ twice. (Shriek it out loudly but not quite laughter type tone.)

You receive a letter from the bank saying all your credit cards have been cancelled.
You then say ‘Myway’ as if you have just been electrocuted by a short circuiting sparkplug on a lawnmower. This you scream often, at a high note with constant repetition.


The Kid realised he had created a new kind of beat box break dancing of electrifying proportions, guaranteed to win the coveted Rhodesia Has No Talent contest. Spasmodic, non choreographed jerking movements, timed perfectly with short bursts of urine soaking the front of the boxer shorts along with pulses of ‘parp-parp’ exiting out the rear end. All this whilst permanently partnered with a clattering, chattering lawnmower.

And finally…

In a stroke of pure genius, the now multi talented Gokwe Kid, realised he would also be known as the next Thomas Edison. He would appear on Dragon’s Den (Rhodie style), and get the required $50 backing for only 95% share of the firm for his petrol powered, fully automated external defibrillator. This was sanction busting entrepreneurship of all time. Still, the Kid would need to make a plan how to get rid of the chopping blades. It wouldn’t be much of a sale if you managed to restart some retard’s stopped heart, only to chop his head off in slices of skin, skull and brain scattered every where. Still, these problems could be eliminated and properly thought about if the Kid lived, because…

He was dying. At least condemned murderers get to sit in a fancy chair. They don’t have to do some macabre dance of death on tip toes. Whilst small sparks erupted from his bulging eyeballs, the Kid was buggered how he was going to be finally either sent to his maker or get rid of the crazed machine before his lungs finally fried. Luckily, his own stupidity saved his worthless skin. With the throttle on full whack it had chewed up some serious sanction rationed petrol, and after a few loud coughs, the machine shook dramatically a couple of times - and died of thirst.

And so The Gokwe Kid lived another day to spread more anarchy, but he had learnt a very valuable lesson. If he ever gets to have garden one day, it will be covered with AstroTurf.

Dedicated to Beri Hayter because I need her help on my next course.