Are you the time square bandit at Jacaranda FM?
Jip, I was one of those hopefuls who went to that morning’s location. And whilst driving there, I rehearsed those very importing lines. Because if you don’t say it right, you simply cannot win. And you could actually be standing right in front of that bandit not evening knowing it! One word wrong or in the wrong order, and he/she would simply just deny it was him/her…..
When I got to Delta Park I first rushed to the bird sanctuary car park. And stood and watched. There were a few people scattered around, some with earphones in their ears listening out for the clues. But something didn’t feel right. Twitter then convinced that me that I was indeed in the wrong spot, as the next photo was taken at the entrance of the Environmental Centre. Which is on the opposite side of the park. Where I then rushed. What was the chance that he would actually still be there, was my first thought. With a bounty of R45,000 on his head, he would certainly not make it easy for anyone to find him? As I got out of my car, walking to the entrance I realised my next dilemma – I simply had no flipping clue what the bandit looks like! Is he young or old, Chinese, White or Indian? Is he alone or hanging around with a dog or a friend? Will he be wearing a tracksuit, to blend in with the rest of the walkers and runners or will he stand out like a sore thumb wearing a Charlie Chaplin suit? Was he hiding in between the tall shrubs at the bottom of the entrance or was he simply out in the open fidgeting on his cellphone?
And then came the third dilemma – I had to now go up to strangers, tap them on the shoulder (I think?) and recite the rhyme.
“Are you the time square bandit with Jacaranda FM?”
Oh my soul, this was truly testing the limits of my shyness. I eventually did do it a few times; after all, you’ve got to be in it to win it. At one stage a little car drove past me and stopped a few meters away. In passing, I saw a big computer bag in the back seat of the car. One is not allowed to approach someone in a vehicle, so I couldn’t go and ask. He was waiting for someone. Within seconds a girl got in and off they went. And I am still wondering if there is any chance of one of them being the bandit. It frustrates me that I would just never know!
I still lingered for about fifteen minutes, walking and watching. R45,000 is certainly not to be sneezed at; it was 50% of a Mauritius holiday paid for! It was quite entertaining too to watch fellow hopefuls walking up and down, some even running towards certain areas, clearly convinced they cracked the clue. There was a woman in stilettos jogging up and down the road in front of the Environmental Centre, cellphone in her hand, frantically looking left and right. Another guy with a beard and longish brown hair, with a camera bag over his one shoulder, kept being harassed by strangers. Eventually he asked me what was going on cause people kept asking him something about a bandit! I overheard two girls discussing the next clue, which was the sighting of a birds’ nest and I figured the bandit had probably relocated to another side of the park. In the car park two elderly walkers were sharing what they thought were clues of what the bandit looked like, with anyone willing to listen.
Once the trimming of the grass started giving me the sneezes and reminded me of the sinus headache I had had on and off since Saturday, I decided to give up. No family bush weekend at Kwa Maritane, no new Adidas trainers, no Holiday on Ice tickets, no laminate floors for the spare room. Just me and the physiotherapist and her bill afterwards. Sigh…..
The bandit was found that morning, by the way. At Emmerentia Park.