Ferreira’s Ferrari

2015-05-29 13:42
Ferreira’s Ferrari

Ferreira’s Ferrari (Harold Strachan)

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WELL I must say it’s great progress in the country when you can tease a Zulu man about homosexuality without fear of outraged malehood and GBH, grievous bodily harm.

This one who’s weighing peoples spuds and things in the veggie department is wearing a name-badge saying SHEILA, I suppose because he’s presently in love with her or something, or perhaps because you have to wear such a badge to get to your appointed workplace and he’s lost his own. Anyway, when it’s my turn with my onions I say to him You must be gay with a name like Sheila and he flaps his eyelids and wiggles his hips, and I say to him My name is Rosie. He makes a loose flop of the wrist and I say to him Oo you fascinating devil! and behind me a pudgy perfumed old hen clucks and gasps Oh I do SAY! I wish you two would conduct your romance somewhere else, we DO have a QUEUE here, you know!

She’s had her hair set for her shopping here in the Morningside Centre and travelled a full block in a stately minibus with a chauffeur in uniform with cap and “Hampton Court Retirement Lodge” done proper posh on the side of the vehicle by a proper signwriter, and she has a maid in a pink overall and pink head doek to push her trolley, and I wonder why if it’s so important to look genteel why she shouldn’t be glad to spend time in the queue so folks can have a good look at her. I smile at the maid who would be blushing pink too if she were Caucasian, and resolve in future to buy my grub on the other side of the Berea Canyon where the Umbilo Spar braais boerewors on the pavement on Saturday mornings and everybody gets home kippered like a North Sea herring, where I’d like to live if I didn’t have such a neat little pop-up view of central Durbs from my wee tiny Musgrave flat.

Right down the gatkant of the Berea there people make their own garden ornaments and you can have a proper conversation about the techniques of concrete gnome-casting and stuff, and there’s a crinkled old auntie who has fowls running all about and you can learn things from her, like how to trim guinea-fowls’ wings so they can’t bugger off into the mangroves other side of the silt canal. And there I found a super home-made Ferrari at the Umbilo Spar parking lot when I was looking after an old comrade’s house in the school holidays, down where the proles live. Back in the Morningside super-upmarket folks in the queue talk to one about the danger to one’s possessions these days, and in the Woolies upstairs there won’t talk to you at all if you don’t have proper class alimentations in your trolley. In fact I later met the Ferrari man himself at the Umbilo Spar Cooked Foods — oops, delicatessen — where by chance we were both buying a roasted half chicken with six rolls, R60, and what an inventive mind, I tell you. Frik Ferreira; he’d used gnome-casting technology for the fibreglass body, and though it came out looking a bit like it was made of cardboard, he’d got the exact red in the resin itself, requiring no later paintwork. Back from the open cockpit was a gaping pipe and great fin with aerodynamic goeters sticking out, and incorporated into these were two modified Harley-Davidson tailpipes for the inimitable bellow that these things make.

He deposits his chicken and rolls on the driver’s seat and turns the key and there’s a terrible BLAM ! from the pipes and all the fowls scream and flap in the air and the guineas almost make it over the gate and bugger off to the mangroves and diners on the Wimpy sidewalk freeze with food on their forks. Security men reach for their weaponry. Excuse me, says he, like he has just passed wind in a public place. She’s very finely tuned, you see, and he wipes some of the pale grey ash inside the tailpipes on his finger for me to examine. Ahm always pusheen the envelope, says he. Ahh, good always good to see enthusiasm! I exclaim. He lifts up the entire rear part of the bodywork to display a very shiny Veedubs Beetle engine with some parts chromed and a sort of hairdryer-type radial compressor running off his generator belt and a shiny pipe going from there to his carburettor intake. See, she’s supercharged, says he. Ahaah! say I. He re-ignites the system. The pipes go BLUGUGUG!!, every pigeon in Umbilo leaps in the air and makes for the hills, a million insects spring from the Bougainvillea hedge and over at the bowling green the hadedas lurch aloft like old umbrellas, crying Water! Water! in Goddes name Water!

Next Saturday a.m. The Girl with the Golden Lips is singing at Umbilo Spar. Boeries rolls R15 each. See you there. Watch out for the Ferrari

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