Saturday, November 5, 2016

1,000 Ways To Die

Back in the 80s when Milton Obote still ruled the coup, Mum had a maroon 1977 model Fiat 127 like the one below and it was the car I learnt to drive in. Except, I wasn’t allowed to drive in Kampala, but in kyalo – Ibulanku to be precise. But I didn’t want to drive down Ibulanku’s dusty roads. I mean what was the point? A 16-year-old teen can’t show off driving down kyalo roads. Would School Friends see me? No. At school there was no way I could brag that I could drive because as a teen, everything required proof. They actually had to see you roll up to a party at Friends house driving. If you had a girlfriend, holding hands or sitting next to her was not proof enough. They had to see you with your tongue rammed down her throat, if not, your crotch pressing hard against her.


Everybody my age had driving proof – except me. Richard and Bernard Kajura had proof. So did Ian and Jonathan Musoke. And they were not driving down the streets of their kyalo’s, but in Kampala. I had to be like them. But there was a problem.

Mr. and Mrs. Bukumunhe – my parents that is, didn’t see it that way. That they give me TB – a ka teen their car, fill it with fuel that was scarce in those days so I could go gallivant around Kampala impressing School Friend? The thought of asking them for a car gave me shudders. It was enough to make me slap myself. It was illegal. It was criminal. It was an obscene thought.

On a summer holiday from boarding school and with Parent at work, I explored the house and swinging open the garage doors, what do I find but, a Range Rover like the one below except, that it was white. And more importantly, the keys were in the ignition. That find to a 16-year-old, is akin to Bank of Uganda asking Civil Servant to store $10m of donor money under his bed than in the bank vault.

Of course I was going to steal the Range Rover. No, let me rephrase. Of course I stole the Range Rover! However, there was a ‘but’. It’s one thing driving a Fiat 127 and another thing driving a Range Rover. I didn’t drive the Range Rover – rather, it drove me. It was so powerful that the snarling revs of its engine literally snapped Teen Girl’s bra straps as she walked past the ride in Kansanga. I know because I heard the ‘ping’ as the straps snapped.


I made it from Muyenga to Ian and Jonathan’s house in Makyinde where jaws dropped as I drove through the gate. Visiting Teen Girls suddenly wanted to know me. I was IT. Back school - The Grange School in Kenya, I would take centre stage. I would be the talk – “TB can drive and his parents allow him to drive a Range Rover!”

Satisfied with the plaudits, I had to get the Range home before Parent got back from work and that’s when everything went south. I fired up Range then gave her some revs to snap Visiting Teen Girl’s bra strap but when I engaged gear, Range didn’t sedately drive away. Range had become nasty. It wanted to show off what its engine could do like a Formula One car lurching off the grid at the start of a race. In the space of five seconds, it had lurched, smashed into the boundary wall and reduced it to rubble. Then it careered off a flowerbed and straight through another wall where it came to a standstill along with a cracked windscreen.

One thing about being Teen, is that when disaster strikes especially when you have stolen Parents ride, is tantamount to having no friends. You are on your own – a loner at that. Visiting Teen Girl’s who moments ago were so into me, ran for the gates and scurried themselves home. Jonathan and Ian wanted to bolt but couldn’t, because the accident occurred at their house.

I don’t know how Parent found me, but when they got out of the car along with Mr. Musoke and come over to me, the atmosphere was frightfully chilling - like waiting to watch how I was going to die in season one of the television series - 1,000 Ways To Die. Mum was dressed in mourning black from head-to-toe for she knew I was dead, while Dad, it was for being on bunkenke and trying to guess from which direction the first of many hot slaps and kicks would come from.


Was it worth stealing the Range? Jeez, YES! The slaps, kibooko and abuse aside, when I got back to school, rather than having a tattered reputation, I was a star, I was a hero for word had spread.

And suffice to say, I am in trouble for when Parent buys the paper and reads this, I doubt both of them will be amused for my making money through glorifying my childhood wayward ways.


Pictures: Fiat, Land Rover, Internet


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