It was Valentines day, late Friday afternoon heading towards evening. I was sitting working at home, behind on the week, when I got a call from Anique. Did she have a Valentine’s surprise in store?
Did she ever. She’d run out of petrol on the N2, the notorious stretch inbound just past the airport. I raced to my car with a decision to make. Either I could go get petrol first and then go fetch her, and we’d be done more quickly. Or, first go fetch her. With the reputation of that notorious stretch of the N2, and with Anique alone in the car with her laptop and other items, it wasn’t much of a choice.
I raced along the N2, at least as much as was possible in post-wind-down rush-hour traffic. Took the turnoff, and came back on the inbound lane. No sign of her. All the way back to Mowbray, and nothing. I called her, and she was still waiting – I’d got the wrong turnoff directions.
Back along the N2. All the way to the airport to make sure I didn’t miss her again, and then back inbound. There she was, still in one piece.
We packed my car and rushed off to get petrol. Handy 10 litre Ethical Co-op water bottle and a cut off old milk bottle as a funnel. Raced back to her car. As we took the outbound turnoff, ready to swing around inbound, she couldn’t see her car. Panic. It’s been taken already. Ah, there it is, relief. Across the bridge, down the onramp, there’s her car.
Busy being stripped, bonnet open, door ajar. Someone hacking away at the battery with a knife. Berserker Ian took over again and I ran screaming towards him, sadly giving him way too much warning, and he fled, down the N2, and when he saw I was still chasing, even after falling down the embankment, he raced away across the busy N2 to the other side. Luckily I had enough sense not to follow him across the N2 in my frenzy.
Back to the car.
Another good Samaritan saw the chase and stopped to help, and together we tried to get things going. The locks were broken, the petrol cap wouldn’t open, and the battery was cut. We managed to get petrol in the car, but getting the car jump-started with the shredded cables was beyond us, so we had to call for a tow-truck.
By this time it was getting dark, and I was considering leaving the car, not being keen to sit waiting on the N2 without being able to see. Fortunately, a police vehicle pulled up, and they waited with us until the tow-truck arrived. I was a little surprised that we weren’t inundated with tow-trucks ready to offer their services, but perhaps this stretch of the N2 is a bit too notorious even for them.
Anique spotted a private security vehicle parked strangely nearby, which suspiciously reversed back up the onramp and away when I pulled up, probably in on the job too.
Although I did get a knife and a peak cap as a memento of the chase, next time I’d prefer aftershave, or something a little less exciting for my Valentine’s surprise.
It’s sad that for so many others, even aftershave was out of the question, and the best they could expect on Valentines Day is a few stripped parts from a broken-down car.