In a flat spin . . .

2011-07-02 12:30

A few streets from the venue I heard house music and followed it, my ears leading me to the exact spot. Our ­expectations were met by a convoy of cars.

Musa jumped out of the 325is well before I turned off the ignition. The host was a friend of Musa’s who went up and down the street and broke the night by spending a few minutes in each car.

Whisky glass in hand, in each car he uttered the same words: “It’s not even a party. I don’t know who started this rumour.

Could Durban be so boring that people have time for chit-chat? We are all family, though.

I mean, I was bored anyway and now I have booze to drink and chicks to look at. You are chilling on my street. I am giving you freedom of the tarmac.

Drift, spin, do whatever. Bang your system to the maximum if you like.”

He passed out in Musa’s car, quickly and suddenly, before the drifting started.

“It had to happen, Sipho. He drank from every whisky bottle and smoked all the blunts busted near him,” said Musa.

Loud whistles and laughter greeted Musa and me when we ­carried the host inside the house. Musa took off his shoes and rolled him to the centre of the double bed. The blackout and the emptiness of the house were signs of his bachelor status. He was barely there when his eyes opened.

“Thanks, Musa, I’ll call you ­tomorrow about that thing. Lock from the outside and throw the key here.”

He pointed to the bedroom window. A loud snore sounded when we tossed the key inside.

The exercise provided much-needed fresh air, which was suddenly diluted by weed smoke as we moved towards our car at the end of the convoy.

I knew some of the high-rollers, most of whom were from my township. Musa knew everybody, though. He stopped at almost every car, and was saluted by their crews.

I kept cool as the introductions nonchalantly rolled off. But I quickly headed for the car, bored with standing next to Musa while his friends eyed me up and down. And I needed to chase away the slight wave of sobriety that was creeping over me.

Our two companions danced by the 325is. The smell of petrol, ­coupled with the sound of high-revving engines, was heavy in the cool wind.

It always starts with one car revving until the engine clocks. The shrieking of whistles meant it was time to use the freedom of the tarmac.

In the township, they say the streets talk; a few handbrake turns will turn the streets to pages, with tyres as black-inked pens.
The whistling climaxed as the first car started.

A red matchbox BMW 320i was the first to show off.

It turned ­gently yet descended with fury, first gear pushed to the maximum and double taps on the accelerator when it shifted to second gear. Full throttle again to pass us as a red blur driven by smiling gold teeth. He pulled the handbrake, the wheels locked, and the 320i turned slightly over a half circle.

It hardly stood still as whistles and screams filled the air. It ascended full blast but did not turn at the top.

“He is scared. It could have been better,” I said, not meaning to voice my thoughts.

Sindi was next to me, our reflection in the windows of the 325is proclaiming us a seasoned couple.

“Maybe you don’t even know how to do this, but you criticise,” she said.

“It is nothing, I am telling you. I can turn it two, three, maybe four times where he did it once.”

“Such a liar. You know, I have never been inside a spinning car.”

“If you are not scared, you can ride with me. I will be the last to spin. We’ll open the sunroof. You can wave to everybody.”

A few more tried, but none were perfect turns. Our reflection was joined by another couple – Musa and his girl.

“Before you start, please take the cooler out, otherwise everything will spill all over my seats,” Musa said.

“It’s alright, Musa, there won’t be a single drop.”

“There is no way I am risking that.”

“Key?”

“Are you really that drunk? The key is with you, Sipho.”

Sindi’s eyes were hesitant. I started the engine and gauged the handbrake and clutch, then tested it at full throttle while still. The 325is responded with a twitchy bounce. Through the sunroof I put out my hand and beckoned Sindi over.

“Come with a dumpy,” I shouted over the engine.

She opened the door and sat in one motion. I released the handbrake and stepped full power on the accelerator.

The 325is stalled, and took a few digs on the tarmac. When I released the clutch it was like we were inside a bullet. Sindi was pushed deep into her seat and let out a joyful scream. I went full on the gears, double-tapped the ­accelerator from first to second.

Simply to show off, I tapped it three times from second gear to third. At the top of the convoy I changed it down to second, handbrake up. The 325is turned and stayed.

Full throttle in neutral once again, all windows down. I heard whistles over the engine sound. I pushed it to metal to drown them out. When it clocked, I put it into first and second with double taps all the way down to the end of the convoy. The smell of of burnt tyres and weed smoke gushed in through the windows.

“When am I showing through the sunroof?” shouted Sindi.

“I’ll tell you when we get down there,” I said. Third, fourth, back to second and handbrake. The car turned a perfect 180 ­degrees.
“Now!” I said.

Sindi balanced her legs on both seats. She had ample space on both because, as I started to spin, the force of it all meant I was pressed against the leather of the door and only used half of my seat. I turned the 325is three full circles while she swayed through the sunroof.

I peeked up: her face had the expression of a scream but I heard nothing over the engine. At the end of the last circle, I saw that the crowd had gathered around the 325is. I went full throttle in neutral. Every time the engine clocked Sindi banged her hands on the sides of the sunroof.
“Sindi, get down, I’m parking,” I said.

“One more, please,” she pleaded, with childish glee.

“Maybe later.”

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