ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A French Quarter man remarked to his friends this afternoon down at the River Road Hotel that he looks back on a time when kids only used to pinch his hose and not his well-maintained Hyundai like they do now.

Terry Basil explained that even with adequate security measures, local teenagers still managed to break into his house and steal his car keys. Instead of doing the right thing when you’ve stolen and driven someone’s car until it’s a hot mess that’s leaking fluid like a tickled puppy — which is to set it on fire so the owner can at least get themselves a new set of wheels — the bored teens often leave Terry’s absolutely clapped-out and messed-up Hyundai i30 in the table drain somewhere along the Betoota Bypass Road.

“It’s a far cry,” the 75-year-old retired general practitioner said, “from the good old days when the kids used to steal the end off my garden hose.”

“By the end of it, I was leaving a cheap bit of hose next to the good one, hoping they’d at least have the respect not to cut up my good Gardena! Most of them did, by the way,” he laughed.

“The kids in those days used to be able to entertain themselves. Like how they had those dance parties in disused warehouses, aircraft hangars, and the abandoned hospital in the Old City before they turned it into more apartments. They had parties in the desert. You know, certainly not what I would deem as fun but, you know, I was once 18 and it was in 1966! We freed the herb, don’t you worry,”

“But these days, the bastards break into my house when I’m sleeping! They find some way in. I’ve been robbed at knifepoint in my own kitchen! They steal my car and drive it harder than Colin McRae trying to chase down a Finn! Those absolute crooks I bought an insurance policy from refuse to write it off! They insist it’s fine! Fine?! It’s blowing more blue smoke than a third-hand whipper snipper from Alibaba. The pistons would look like a Jackson Pollock painting! My mechanic said it looked like an upturned bag of metal Twisties in the bottom of the transmission sub last time he checked,”

“When the police took me to the car last time, I just laughed. I thought, surely it’s not going to start now, but testament to Hyundai, it fired right up but sounded so pained. A great moan came from under the bonnet, and a junior constable laughed and said it was probably the power steering pump, you know, from all the reverse donuts they’ve done! The CV joints look like Kennedy Obuya’s elbow after Brett Lee hit it with a cricket ball! They’re messed up! The car’s messed up.”

Terry’s mates nodded and let him breathe out.

“Place is messed up, that’s what it is.”

More to come.


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