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

Chapter 36
Fun in the dark

South Africa was having lots of trouble trying to supply all its people with electricity. Trying to find out exactly what the problem was, was about as difficult as trying to ask a dog what its favourite flavour of dog biscuits were. What we did know was that there were power failures about every second day. Raymond was, however, enjoying the power failures. His telescope was one of the largest privately owned telescopes in South Africa, and when the lights went out he could see a fantastic view. I had another friend, David, who was very interested in the stars, and lived nearby. He and his wife would also come around to view the stars during power failures. One can never have a telescope powerful enough to see everything one would like to see, but David knew enough about stars to aim the telescope at the most interesting things in the sky.

There were many pleas on television to switch off unnecessary appliances. Sometimes I was probably using more power than fifty houses, so I soon converted my electricity supply to solar power and large, rechargeable batteries. I bought enough to run my entire operation without using any electricity from the power stations. In order to help the country out a bit more I also paid for a thousand houses nearby to be fitted with solar water heating. Considering that there were nearly fifty million people in the country it didn’t make a noticeable difference, but I felt good that I could do something to help in a tiny way.

In March of 2008 my car was ready. I was used to driving the Lamborghini and Ferrari, but had not driven them since John Connor, the robot, had taken over from me. My new car, which I referred to as ‘The Batmobile’, was incredibly fast and stunningly beautiful. The car was various shades of sapphire blue and sandblasted silver. When switched on, the blue parts glowed gently and shifted like a slow flame, appearing as if particles of light were snaking their way from the front of the bonnet to the large exhaust pipe in the middle at the back. The interior components were a mixture of semi-transparent blue, and opaque white, with luxurious cream coloured seating for five people. The Batmobile helped me to understand why girls like diamonds so much. I loved my car, simply because it was so incredibly elegant and because, well, it could talk.

In April, as a birthday present, Kirsty and the robots gave me a watch that I could use to talk to the car, just like in the old Knight Rider television series. I felt very nerdy, talking to my watch, but occasionally I would have a bit of fun by calling my car in the company of one or two strangers and watching them react when the driverless vehicle would appear.

The car was also good fun for long road trips. Since it could drive itself, I could look at, and chat with my friends in the back seat, or even fall asleep and the car would carry on driving for as long as I wanted it to. Being asleep at the wheel tended to freak out a few people who were driving past, causing a lot of hooting and flashing lights, by people thinking that there was nobody driving the car. Sometimes when people hooted I would do impressive stunts like donuts without touching the steering wheel and then watch their reactions, smile and wave. My favourite thing to do was putting my dog in the drivers’ seat with its’ paws on the steering wheel while I sat in the passenger seat with my feet up on the dashboard.

The car made me feel invincible. It was a very relaxing feeling when living in such a dangerous country. I was not afraid to do things that I would have been too scared to do before. There were places that I always avoided, especially at night, but I no longer cared about my safety as long as I was in my car.

On the 14th of June, my band, Highly Strung, was doing a show in a night club in the middle of Cape Town. It was our fourth performance, and we were becoming more popular each time we performed. I was quite nervous at the beginning, which is a feeling that shouldn’t be so bad after three shows, but because there were more people each time, the butterflies continued to fly around in my stomach. ‘Perfection Through Illusion’ was the name of the band that we were supporting that night. Our performance was mediocre, and theirs was awesome. It did make me wonder if any of the crowd was actually there to see us. Despite our mediocre performance I felt very inspired by the main act, and Raymond and I headed home with a great feeling of elation. We had Perfection Through Illusion’s album playing in the car on the way home and cranked up the volume. Raymond was playing air drums and I was playing air guitar. I didn’t need to use my hands to drive anyway.

About five minutes into our journey home we arrived at a quiet intersection and stopped for the red traffic light. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a black metal object tapping on my window. Suddenly, realizing that it was a gun, I jumped and hit my head on the roof. I had goosebumps on my arms and felt the hair raise on the back of my neck. I looked at Raymond. Raymond was pulling faces at the hijacker. I breathed deeply, trying to calm myself down, and after a few seconds I managed to compose myself enough to switch the music off and the car over to manual drive.

‘Open the door!’ the man shouted. I looked at Raymond and smiled, even though I was still very nervous. ‘This could be fun’, I thought. I looked back at the angry man and pretended I couldn’t hear, by cupping my hand over my ear and mouthing the words ‘What did you say?’

‘BANG!’ I jumped again and shouted a swear word or two. It was loud, very loud! Instinctively I put my foot flat down on the accelerator and rocketed into the empty intersection. The car spun around until it was facing back in the direction of the hijacker. I put my foot flat down and headed directly for him. He fired another shot which bounced off the windscreen, making a small mark. The man jumped to get out of the way of the car, but the car’s safety feature had already taken over and steered around him, missing him by a foot. I turned the car around again and chased him. He fired another four shots and ran out of bullets. Soon he had run down an alley and we could not follow in the car. We got out, but didn’t chase him. ‘You better run!’ I yelled at him. It was super exciting, and I was bouncing up and down.

When I arrived home I took the car straight to the factory to get the bullet marks cleaned. I didn’t want Kirsty to know that I had done something which may be considered careless. Eventually I did tell her that we had been shot at, but I didn’t tell her that I had provoked the hijacker, and chased him. Surprisingly, she replied, ‘You should have chased him. That’s what I would have done!’


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