Songezwa lead them back to Mr. Erasmus’s house after school. They stopped past the park to pick up K8, who was finishing a colourful graffiti Throw Up of her name.
The side gate to Mr Erasmus’s house was locked, but Songezwa knew where a spare key was hidden under a piece of broken concrete.
“Mr Erasmus?” she called, leading them into the courtyard behind his house.
He came out of the out-room and closed the door behind him.
“Songezwa!” he said, rubbing his hands. “It’s good to see you’re okay. What can I do for you?”
“We need to use the Reader,” she said.
Mr Erasmus glanced at K8, Sbu and Airtime.
“It’s okay,” said Songezwa. “You can trust them.”
He hesitated, as if he was about to argue, then opened the door to the out-room and let them in.
Sbu, Airtime, and K8 looked around.
The room was larger than they’d thought, with large work benches and racks of metal shelves against the walls. Almost every surface was covered in some piece of half-repaired computer parts. In one corner was a stack of DVD players. On the table was a computer, hooked up to all kinds of equipment that looked hand-assembled. There were video game consoles open on the table, and what looked like a box of phone chargers.
“What do you do in here?” asked Sbu.
“I told you,” said Mr Erasmus nervously. “Repairs.”
“Not just repairs,” said Songezwa.
She took Adelle’s cellphone, opened it up, and took out the sim card. She slid it into a black box that was hooked up to the computer, and opened up a program on the screen.
“We do things here that you can’t do at a normal repair shop.”
“Like what?” said Sbu.
“Like fixing video game machines so you don’t need to buy the proper disks, or fixing cellphones so they use different kinds of programs.”
“Is that legal?” said K8.
Mr Erasmus glanced towards the open door. “Most of it is,” he said.
Songezwa switched the cellphone on again, and plugged a wire into it.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Would you do a job like this that wasn’t hurting anyone nearby, even if you knew it was illegal?