Mongi puts Nandipha in the spotlight. She changes the topic from Babalo to booze just like that. I can see the irritation and disappointment in Nandi’s eyes and my only prayer is for her not to suspect that we know something. I pray she backs off and tries somewhere else. After a few minutes, Nandipha leaves saying that she has somewhere to go. After she is gone I suggest that we go to Babalo and ask him what we should do. He must know better. This is his life so he most definitely has ideas.
“Do you think that is a good idea? They are probably watching everyone who visits Balo. I don’t want to be called for questioning and I definitely don’t want to see myself behind bars.”
“What do you suggest we do Mongi? Do you want us to sit on our bums and do nothing while we have a gun pointing at us?”
“Listen, I am not saying that we should not visit Balo. I am just saying that I, Mongikazi am not going anywhere near jail cells. I have already done a lot for Babalo and it’s enough. I am not putting my life in danger for Babalo anymore. He knew exactly what he was getting himself into.
“It’s okay, Mongi. I would be unreasonable if I say I don’t understand. It’s ok, I’ll go alone. Babalo is in this because of me; because of what happened four years ago. He had a future that was crashed into pieces because of helping my poor soul. For that, I will forever be in debt by him.”
“That’s stupid, Aviwe. I am sure Babalo doesn’t want anything in return. He did what was right, he was not investing. Look, when Babalo was kicked out of your house and dropped off in the Western Cape he had a choice. Smuggling drugs was not the only choice he had; it was just an easy way out, so you can’t beat yourself up for the wrong choices he made! He could have had a decent job, but he chose to smuggle drugs. He was not the only street kid but he tried to be clever and took an easy way out. So you absolutely can’t beat yourself up for his stupidity.”
“Only if you were in my shoes would you understand.”
“Well, we see things only the way we want to see them.”
“You are totally right. Wait, I remember something: one of Nandi’s friends said the briefcase contains everything involving their business. It has the members, the place to deliver and the targets. If the list was to go out then that would be the end of it. That would be the end of their dirty little company, so I was thinking after everything calmed down we can take the briefcase to my MiLady. She is well-connected; she will definitely know what to do.”
“Do you think it’s a good idea to involve your family in this mess? What if they go after her or, even worse, go after little Vuyo to get back to the both of you guys?”
“We can’t keep the briefcase forever; at the end we have to do something about it.”
“We can always throw away the gun and drugs, split the money in half and move on with our lives like nothing ever happened!”
We both laugh.
After taking a shower l put my maroon Uzzi sweat pant, black sneakers and my black hoody. Then I take my wallet and phone and just as I am about to leave, Mongi asks where am I heading. I tell her I am going to a shop. She asks me to bring her something nice.
When I pass Nandi’s room, she also asks where I am going. I tell her I am just taking a walk and she asks to join me. I tell her I prefer to be alone to clear my head. She does her fake pity face and asks if it’s because of what happened to my friend Babalo.
“I don’t know, maybe,” I reply and tell her I will see her later. I leave her standing at her door. Her interest in this whole Babalo saga is funny; it’s so obvious that it’s not just an interest but it has a dirty agenda behind. I put on my earphones and listen to Angel Haze. I reach the shop within a blink of an eye. I decide to buy Babalo something nice. I buy him a burger, chips and ribs and a juice. I then take a taxi to the prison. I tell the security guards that I came to see my friend; that he was arrested yesterday. They tell me to go to reception. I go there and the lady in charge tells me there is no one goes by that name.
“Ma’am, let me make this simpler: I am here to see the tall, dark guy that was arrested yesterday morning; the drug smuggler; the one whose arrest made headlines. I am sure he is only one person like that here,” I say with passion mixed with sarcasm.
The lady shows me to the visiting room and tells me that I will be with Mr Suits in 10 minutes. Mr Suits? I roll my eyes and enter the visiting room. There are two security guards who scan me and the food. They tell me to leave my phone and wrist watch with them and then they say I cannot get in with metal, so I must take off my earrings! The fuck! But when you think about it, it does make sense. Then they let me in. The room is filled with security guards; there is no privacy but there are many visitors. One security guard approaches me and asks who I came to visit. I tell her I came to see Mr Suits. They all look at each other and from what I see they all love Mr Suit’s smart behind. I am showed a table for two to wait for Babalo.
I patiently wait for him, feeling a bit scared because I don’t even know what I am going to say to him. I invaded his privacy and look at where that put me, him and Mongikazi. If only I can turn back time. I see him coming towards my table, escorted by a guard. I can’t read his facial expression - all I can tell is that he is not pleased at all.
“What are you doing here? How did you even know I was here?” he says with a blank stare.
“Hello to you too. I’m well and you? I brought you something to eat.”
“I need you to leave.”
“Don’t be a douchebag Babalo, I came here to see how you’re holding up, and, yes, I know why you are here because your face is all over the media; it’s kinda hard to ignore it. A thank you would be much appreciated.”
“If you know what’s good for you, leave now and never come back. I need you to forget there was a person like me in your life. Trust me; this is for your own good Aviwe. You have no idea of what’s going on. All I need is for you to be safe. I would be damned if someone touches you and I would be screwed if they found out that I have a weakness. So, Princess, I need you to walk out that door and never look back. Now! I don’t ever want to see you again. It’s all for the best.” He emphasizes each word.
“What’s going on Babalo? Tell me; just tell me what’s going on. I am not going anywhere, I want to help but I can’t do that if you don’t let me in. Just tell me what’s going on; we’re going to go through this together.”
No offence, Princess, but you are just a teenager who thinks she can save the world. We all have been there but it’s impossible. You have no idea that there are eyes and ears everywhere. Leave! Now! Don’t ever come here again; this is no place for you Princess”.
He has never raised his voice for me; he is hurting now so maybe I should just stay away from him; maybe it’s all for the best.
He calls a guard to take him back to his cell. He makes it clear that I must leave. I know he is sending me a message. I should just back off. I know he is protecting me, but how do you turn your back on someone who would never do that to you? I feel like I have just got dumped by my first boyfriend. I go outside and take a taxi to Greenacres. I want to do window shopping; it always does the trick. It keeps my mind busy for a while and makes me forget about reality! I have read every book and magazine I have, if I go back to res I will be more miserable and in this condition I don’t want to see Nandipha. But, at the end of the day I have to go back to res.
Before sunset, I decide to go for a new haircut and I take a taxi back to my place. When I get to my room, I find Nandipha. She looks hotter than ever. She does what she does best: acting. I am not in the mood for entertaining her. She drools over my new cut and says: “You are so much of a guy, it surprised me that you are straight; I feel sorry for your roommate. Anyways, we going out tonight to Gondwana because DJ Sbu is going to be there. We cannot miss it!”
“Count me out, I still suffer from yesterday’s shots.” I decline.
“Come now, don’t be a party pooper,” she says, shaking my shoulder.
“I honestly need to sleep, excuse me,” I ask her to move from my bed and sit on the chair. I take off my clothes, put on my PJ’s and get under my blankets.
“Idiots,” she says and slams the door on her way out. Once she is out I see Mongi waking up, going to the door and locking it.
“This bitch is getting on my nerves. I am so not good at pretending. All I want is to punch her between her eyes. I have a plan, though.”
“I hope it’s not a dirty one?”
“I don’t know if it is dirty or clean - all I know is that it will get her off our backs.”
“I am listening!”
“I know she has a sleeping disorder. She takes a sleeping pill every night. So this is what I was thinking: we hustle for some cash and then we buy cocaine - the kind that comes in tablet form. Then we switch her sleeping pills with cocaine! She will stay high and not have time to be a pain in our backs. Once she gets worse, we pretend to be her best friends and give her support. We take her to rehab. There, problem solved!”
“Are you crazy?”
“It’s far better than the plan you had. We won’t involve any other people; we won’t put anyone in danger. Except Nandipha, of course.”
“How long is that going to last? She is going to go to rehab for about 6 months and then she will get out and come after us. What is going to happen if she finds out that her pills have been switched? She is not a fool. Things will turn ugly and where do you think we are going to get money to buy drugs?
“You are over-analysing this. Money won’t be a problem. We have a briefcase filled with cash! Hello?”
“That’s what you should be doing. You should analyse this dangerous plan and we both agreed not to go near the briefcase, remember?”
“Aviwe, I am trying to keep us alive; work with me, please!”
“In case you haven’t noticed, I am doing the same here!”
She pouts and goes back to her bed, “Can’t we pretend like everything is ok and watch a movie?” she says with a long face.”
“Tomorrow, dear. I am tired and I need to sleep.”