The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 26
Itís better to burn out than to fade away

Putting the game development out of the way for a little while, I decided to have some fun with my secret identity, John Connor, and designed a fake look, accent and personality.

I put loads of time and effort into my alter ego. I had as much time as I wanted, and I wanted to do it right. I wanted to become a character who was confident, good looking, and acted as if he was the owner of the most exciting company on the planet. I bought a larger house, not far away, in an upper class suburb called ‘Constantia’, entirely for John to live in. A fake beard and moustache would not do. I would become John for a few days at a time and then switch back to myself for a few days at a time, depending on what was on my calender. After doing some research as to what would and wouldn’t work, this is what I came up with:

I learned to speak a bit of French and Italian, and practised a made up accent which was somewhere in between the two languages. I would pretend that I moved around Europe a lot, and so I had picked up lots of accents. I grew my hair down to my shoulders. As John I would use temporary hair dye to make my hair black, gel it back and tie it in a pony tail. As myself I would just leave my normal brown hair hanging. I bought blue contact lenses which looked a little fake, but they did look cool. I bought a fake tanning booth, so that I could bronze up for the John days. I would also not shave, so that I’d grow a little bit of stubble, and then shave to become myself again. As John I would often wear a cap, sunglasses and very classy clothing. As myself, I would typically wear jeans and a t-shirt.

It was December 2003 and I was 25 years old. It was time to practise being John. I looked up the phone number for a limo company and called them.

‘Bukhali Limos, this is Jan speaking. How may I help you?’ the voice on the phone asked.

In my French / Italian accent I replied, ‘Hi Jan. My name is John Connor.’ As I said my name I realised that it may have sounded a bit like a prank, so I tried to sound like I was serious, ‘I need a ride to Viglietti, the Ferrari shop, in town, and I would like to travel in style so that they can see I’m serious. Any chance that you can bring a fancy car around to Constantia today?’

‘Certainly sir’, Jan replied and took my details.

I had never ridden in a limo before. Sitting in the large open space, cut off from the driver, I felt a bit lonely. John Connor had no friends yet, but it was exciting and felt like I was starting a new life. I tapped on the window to get the driver’s attention. He looked around and I asked, ‘Can I sit up front with you? It’s a bit lonely back here.’

I got into the front, next to the driver, and started a small talk conversation while practising my fake accent. When we arrived at Viglietti I asked him to help me choose a car. We looked around, but it was not difficult to choose. The gorgeous, bright red, convertible Ferrari 360 Spider was calling to me. I climbed in the driver’s seat and the limo driver hopped in next to me. ‘Need a ride home?’ I asked jokingly. I felt at home in the car, as if it had been designed especially for me. ‘I’ll take this one!’ I said and handed over my credit card.

I paid the limo driver a good tip and started the engine of my new car. The engine had been acoustically engineered to deliver a growling roar like an elephant on steroids at low revs and the kind of high pitched mosquito zoom that formula 1 cars make when rocketing past at high revs. Where I would be able to get the self control to stick to the speed limit was beyond me. I slid on my Oakleys and reversed the machine gently out into the street. Unluckily for me there happened to be a small riot in Cape Town that day. Well, they’re usually called marches, but typically people get hurt and things get broken, so I call them riots. This particular day the demonstrators were more dangerous than usual. The craziest thing was that they were security guards who were striking, and now the citizens of Cape Town needed security guards to protect themselves from the angry security guards. Thousands of people were trying to get out of Cape Town, so despite having a car capable of outrunning any other car on the road, it crawled along at about 5km/h. I had the roof down and felt even more like an idiot when a vagrant came up to me and started yelling ‘Wow! Look at your car! Wow! Give me a hundred rand!’

After a painful half an hour I had made my way to Future Exotics, another exotic car shop at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront which also sold private jets and helicopters. I had my convertible and now I wanted a hard top with tinted windows. The black, 2003 Lamborghini Murcielago would do the trick, but that would have to be delivered.

It was good weather for a convertible. Despite my home being only 15km away I took a scenic 100km route. When I arrived home I contacted an interior decorator, a home cinema expert and the guys from virtualreality.co.za to get them to enhance my home a little. After a few days I had crazy things like a virtual waterfall in my lounge, a home cinema room and a virtual reality computer gaming room. Outside I had a large, heated rock pool with a cave that led to a secret pool room under the house. I also had my own tennis court and skateboarding half pipe.

On Friday night it was time for John to make some friends, so I hopped into my Lamborghini and headed off to Claremont, a nearby suburb with lots of clubs for young people to hang out. I was shy, but John’s look and the Lamborghini gave me a little bit of a confidence boost and I wondered whether I would be able to meet anyone that night. As I arrived at the club I drove up onto the pavement to attract some attention and see what would happen. No-one could see me because of the tinted windows, and it made people curious, so many people were staring at the car. I pressed the open door button on the passenger side and the hydraulic door rose to reveal two blonde girls looking in.

‘Cool,’ the girl on the right expressed while watching the door.

‘Hi,’ I said.

‘Hi,’ they said back in unison.

‘Want to go for a ride?’ I asked in my mixed European accent. The girls giggled and whispered to each other. One of them replied, ‘Definitely, but we have to be home by midnight.’

‘Hop in, Cinderella!’ I instructed. They both squeezed into the passenger seat. ‘I really need to get a bigger car, don’t I?’ I asked sarcastically.

‘Yes, this cheap car’s just ridiculous,’ answered the girl squashed between the door and her friend.

‘So, where would you like to go?’ I asked, smiling and driving off the pavement into the road. The girls giggled and whispered to each other.

‘I’m John,’ I introduced myself.

‘Alice’, ‘Stacy’, the girls answered back.

‘So, where’s it going to be? You hungry, thirsty, want to go watch a movie, or perhaps to the airport and travel around Europe for a bit?’

‘Ummm...’ was all that Stacy was willing to share.

‘So that you know, I’ve never done this before. I bought the car a couple of days ago and felt like seeing if I could pick up some ... friends,’ I explained.

‘I’m a bit hungry,’ Alice pointed out.

‘And what would you like to eat?’ I asked.

‘Pizza?’ Stacy suggested.

‘Pizza sounds good. Would you like Debonair’s, Panarotti’s, St. Elmo’s or Butler’s?’

After deciding which the best place was to go to for pizza I drove there and bought some pizzas. We had a fun chat while enjoying our meals. ‘So, what work do you do?’ Alice asked me.

‘I run a computer games company,’ I replied.

‘You’re going to be out of work soon,’ Alice informed me.

‘Oh, really?’ I asked. ‘Why’s that?’

‘You must have heard of the games company called “Impossible Technology” that’s pretty much taken over the whole computer games industry,’ she replied.

‘Yes, I have,’ I replied, pretending that it upset me and not wanting to give away too much about who I was to complete strangers.

‘So, where are you from?’ Stacy asked me.

‘Lots of different places,’ I replied. It wasn’t a lie; I had been to many different places in Cape Town.

‘You sound French,’ Stacy suggested.

‘I’ve been to France,’ I replied. ‘I prefer South Africa.’

They kept probing me with little questions until we had finished eating. We squeezed back into the car and I took them back to the club. Alice gave me her phone number and I asked if they were busy the next day. They weren’t, so I told them that I’d give them a call.

 

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