There I was, crammed deep inside my thoughts. ‘What happens next?’ was the question that rang through my mind, as I paced across the street. Reality hit me so hard that I felt like collapsing beside our furniture. It had been thrown outside the house by the landlord. My father had missed payment again.
Those who knew my father well called him ‘Chinese’, as he used to claim that he had “serious karate moves up his sleeves”. In his opinion, no one could ever stand against “The Great Chinese”.
“Baba, Baba! Mma Letsatsi wants the rent money today!” My voice trailed off with his footsteps, as he threw his hand in the air in irritation. The irritation drove him out of the house.
I knew that he was off to the infamous ‘Men’s Conference’. That tavern had robbed me every minute of spending time with my father. I decided to follow my father without his knowledge, walking quietly to the tavern.
“So tell me, Chinese, who’s our ATM today?” asked Scorpion, as they sat at the tavern.
“You will not believe what I’m about to unpack for you my friend,” said Chinese with a pen carefully slid behind his ear.
They sat there for the entire afternoon plotting the events that would come to light later in the evening.
“You see, Scorpion, this is my only escape, this has to be done…” Chinese declared as he stood up to grab another bottle over the counter.
“You owe me a whole three months of unpaid beer bottles, Chinese! I am not having it this time! It’s clear that you want to run my business to the ground,” protested the tavern owner, Letsatsi.
With an exchange of gazes, the gentleman stepped out gracefully.
“Now I am more than certain that we have to carry out this plan, Chinese! With no fear, no favour!” was the verdict from Scorpion.
The pair waited at the bus station in agitation, one twiddling his fingers in deep thought and the other drawing stars on the ground.
Chinese stood up to search through his bag. “Wear this! We have to be on the alert, Scorpion!”
After a few hours passed, the pair noticed a slow-paced woman who was wearing a long skirt, approaching from a distance, just up the road.
“Right, Scorpion, we have one chance and one chance only, take your position now!” commanded Chinese.
With some clearing of his throat and a smile pasted on his face, Chinese uttered, “Sawubona Ma.”
The woman returned the greeting with a cheerful smile that could melt any man’s heart.
“Where are you heading, Ma? Because I have been waiting for hours for the bus to arrive…” said Chinese.
“Unfortunately, I was told that I could be in for a long wait,” she responded as she handed an orange to Chinese.
Chinese accepted the offer with a smile but wondered if the woman avoided the question intentionally or if she had a hearing-impairment.
With a single tilt of Chinese’s head to the side as signal, Scorpion strangled the woman from behind. The pair watched as the woman fought for her dear life, with her hands to her neck, trying to loosen the tight rope. As she twitched her legs, to bid farewell to the night sky Scorpion removed his balaclava.
What followed was a blatant show of scavenging. The pair took everything that was of monetary value from the woman’s bag. The only thing that survived was the briefcase that was left beside the corpse.
“Scorpion, you see once we pawn some of this jewelry and split the money, I will be able to pay Mma Letsatsi and settle my debt at the tavern with ease,” rejoiced Chinese.
Scorpion stopped abruptly.
“l hear you, but there’s one problem my friend. You see, while we were searching through the woman’s particulars…”
“Yes? Will you hurry up Scorpion?” Chinese interjected.
“Her identity document revealed that she shares the same surname as Mma Letsatsi…” said Scorpion, grinding his teeth.
Chinese ignored him and instead focused on the jewelry that was in the palm of his hands.
“In life, you win some, you lose some. That is the motto… Scorpion, never forget that!”
Tell us: What do you think of Scorpion and Chinese’s actions?