Repo Man Is Watching You

Like most people in privileged positions, Ted and I have been meeting regularly to discuss ways of capitalising on the global financial meltdown.

Unlike some, such as my good friend Nicky Oppenheimer who lost R7-billion in the credit crunch, neither Ted nor I have lost a cent. I’m not saying I am better with money than Nicky is, but the facts speak for themselves.

What we do is get out the bottle of Dom Perignon from last Christmas, fill it with brandy and coke, toss a few second-hand perlemoen on the braai and see how best we can benefit from the misfortune of others.

Ted said it was a good time to buy low and sell high. I was thinking scrap metal but he had his sights set on something a little more ambitious.

“Britain,” he said, “bought Vodacom for next to nothing.” When I asked him for his definition of next to nothing, he pretended to choke on a piece of perlemoen and rolled around on the floor, eyes bulging comically while brandy leaked from his nose and the dog humped his leg.

This went on for so long that I had to give him the Heimlich Manoeuvre, which involved confiscating his drink and shouting at him in German.

After refilling the Dom Perignon and totalling up our combined worth, it was clear that we would be a tad short when it came to buying a controlling stake in MTN. Or even in the Nigerian cellphone repair shop next to Adult World.

“It is not possible,” said Ted, “that we cannot come up with a single way to make money from all this suffering and misery around us.” I had to agree.

Here God was, destroying the world economy to make it easier for people like us to get rich, and our pathetic pea brains were unable to come up with anything that didn’t immediately require money and a fair amount of effort.

Ted went to his car to fetch the emergency kit to help us think more clearly but returned empty-handed. “The car has gone,” he said. I was horrified. “And the emergency kit?”

Two minutes later he received an SMS from his bank informing him that the car had been repossessed. This was terrible news. “Can we get the emergency kit back?” I asked.

Ted stood up and slapped me with a half-eaten perlemoen. “That’s it!” he shouted. “That’s our get-rich-quick scheme.”

Repo men. Of course. We should have seen it before. The banks are taking everything – cars, houses, furniture, the lot. Some of the more sensible consumers are sacrificing their children rather than give up the flat screen television.

It was dead simple. We get in with the banks – the biggest robbers of all – and make tons of money by stripping families of everything they own.

God came through for us in the end, after all. We tried to say a prayer but couldn’t think of anything so we drank to His health instead.

The beauty of this job is that you don’t need much in the way of equipment. A baseball cap, a black bomber jacket, steel-capped boots and a car with a tow-hitch, all of which I already owned.

We began scanning the news for reports of people in our area who had lost their jobs or had default judgements granted against them. “The worse it gets for them, the better it gets for us,” said Ted. We raised our glasses to God once more.

By the end of the week we had repossessed half a dozen cars and the contents of two houses, an old age home and a crèche. It was exciting work. A lot of fun, too.

Then we called the major banks and asked if any of these people were behind in their payments. In typical intransigent fashion, the banks refused to give out personal information.

“But we have their cars, fridges, defibrillators, children’s toys, bottles of expensive whiskey. Give us our cut and you can collect the stuff,” I shouted. They threatened to report me if I called again.

“Fine,” said Ted. “But until the banks come to their senses, I’m using Malema’s Range Rover.”

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