I keep hearing about peeps being conned by reputable people in the car scene, and I have always been of the opinion that we make soft targets because of our love for cars, and our impatience. We get excited to get things done to our cars and we hardly think logically. Take me for example. I just bought a 4th set of wheels for my race car which hasn’t been driving for at least 5 years. Anyway, being Throwback Thursday, I thought it appropriate to tell you about someone from back in the day, a true character, a legend, albeit for the wrong reasons, the Jolly Roger.
Roger was always jolly, and he had reason to be. He was a talented, self-taught spraypainter.
I used to be in the illegal racing scene way back when and there was a time my little Mazda was rather quick. For a period of about 2 months, when I had just added a Sneaky Pete nitrous system, I used to run every car in sight. Racing is life, or becomes life, when you‘re winning, and I was on the road looking for races almost seven days a week. This is before the advent of social media, but MXIT and forums were around, and word spread. People knew of the little Mazda’s reputation, but unfortunately, so did the cops. A traffic cop buddy told me to lay low, as “you are being monitored”. At Sacks one night, I was about to annihilate a VR6, when blue lights popped up everywhere. Luckily I managed to escape, but in the ensuing days, all the talk was of the white Mazda being “wanted”. Enter Roger.
I decided to change the colour of the car, as the white Mazda was too well-known. The German spec M3 was the car to beat those days, and everyone yearned for one, so I decided to go with the Dakar Yellow paint of the German beast. Roger was known as a great spraypainter, and had a very cool Mk2 Golf, with flushed everything, a Jetta front, and an impeccable green paintjob. He was a tall, slender guy, with a bald head but had a ponytail. He was always joking, and always laughing, but unknown to me at the time, a true conman. I should’ve suspected something was up when we went to buy the paint and the guy behind the counter said he couldn’t help us, as Roger owed them money. This was his response: “Me? Owe you? Since when? Oh! Wait! You mean Roger! My twin brother! I’m Reagan, my brother Roger sadly passed away 2 months ago”. He proceeded to tell them a sad and soppy story about the passing of Roger which, to my amazement, they believed. We got our Dakar Yellow paint. Three days later, the Mazda was prepped and ready for paint , but two weeks after that, no work was done. Roger couldn’t be found for days, but I eventually got hold of him. Apparantly my paint had been stolen from his garage, but “Dont worry mybru, I’ll sort you out mos, this car will look befok, it’s my name that’s gonna be associated with it”. Okay then. He needed more money for doing extra work on the bodykit though. Okay then.
Roger usually started working at 4pm only, apparently he was also a paramedic and worked shifts, but judging from the cases of empty beer bottles in his car, there were other reasons for his late start. I watched how, at 2am, he applied the Dakar yellow paint. “Yoh this colour Shuds, this is a befokte colour you chose. Yoh Shuds, can you see the reflection of my bald head? That’s how I know my application is perfect, when I see my perfect bald head’s reflection in the paint”. He really was talented. He could talk the greatest of kak, and could sell sand to someone living in the desert, but he had talent with a spraygun.
My car looked amazing after it received the colour change and bodykit, and the cops would definitely not know it as the same car that they were looking for. Little things needed to be assembled still, like door beadings and window rubbers, and it needed to be polished. But Roger was missing again. One of his workers said they were worried, because gangsters came looking for him too. A week later, and still no Roger. I had paid him in full, and he still owed me money for paint I paid for, for someone else’s car. I took my car from his premises on Eid morning, as he was still missing, and started assembling myself, as it was Eid and I needed my car! By 4pm on the day of Eid, I was driving a Dakar Yellow Mazda, the only one in Cape Town, even though it had no shine, as it was never buffed.
I spent the next two weeks looking for Roger and eventually gave up, until two months later a friend asked me to accompany him to get his car parts from his spraypainter. Guess who?
Roger’s garage was open, but nobody was there. The doors to his house were open too, and we entered. We found him on his bed, stark naked, blood flowing from his head. He was dead.
We were about to call the police when Roger opened his eyes. “Mybru, what’s going on? Where am I?” He was dazed, and pretty much…in Cape Town slang..dikgesuip.
We decided to leave him be, but he owed us around R5000 collectively, so we ransacked his garage while he was passed out. My friend got all his missing car parts, and we took his spraygun and tools, cos you know, it was due to us.
I’ve never seen or heard from Roger again after that. He just disappeared off the face of the Earth. Maybe he really died. Or maybe, more likely, he is in Australia, calling himself Raymond.