“Help us!” called Sbu to the departing office workers. “Please!”
Bhose chuckled. “They’re not going to help a couple of thieves,” he said.
“Thieves?” said K8, furious. “You’re the thieves!”
Some of the office workers were milling around the front entrance, but none of them seemed like they wanted to get involved.
“Thanks for your help,” Bhose said to the security guard. “We’ll take them upstairs and wait for the police.”
“But they’re criminals! Believe us!” said Sbu.
“Shut up!” said the guard. He turned back to Bhose. “Can I turn off the alarm?” he asked.
“Oh, yes. These two just set it off when they tried to break in to our office,” said Bhose. “Thank you again.”
Sbu realised what a perfect liar Bhose was. He looked completely innocent, as if he really was the manager of an honest company, who was just happy that he’d caught a thief. It was such a perfect performance that even Sbu was feeling guilty, as if he really was a criminal, and Bhose was the innocent one.
“You’ve got to believe us! They’re kidnapping us!” said K8.
One of the big guys started dragging her towards the elevator. The other one took Sbu.
“I told you to be quiet, man!” said the guard.
The doors opened.
“Please!” Sbu called out desperately. “Call the police!”
“That won’t be necessary,” said a stern voice from the main entrance.
A man in a suit was pushing his way through the office workers. Behind him were three policemen.
“You got here quick!” said the security guard.
“Everyone stay exactly where you are,” said the man in the suit. He pointed at Bhose. “That’s the one.”
Two of the cops approached Bhose, who tried to cover his panic by babbling wildly. “Thank goodness you’re here, officers,” he said. “I’d like to report a robbery! Thieves and liars!”
They handcuffed his hands behind his back.
“What’s going on?” Bhose demanded. “This is police brutality!”
His two thugs let go of Sbu and K8 and made a break for the door, but more policemen were coming in, with weapons drawn.
“Down on the ground!” one of them shouted. The office workers backed away, but the scammers surrendered, and lay down on the floor. The police moved forward to handcuff them.
As Bhose was led away, he was still spinning stories.
“This is a conspiracy! You won’t get away with this! I have friends in high places! Do you know who I am?”
As the police went upstairs to arrest the rest of the scammers, the man in the suit approached K8 and Sbu and offered them his hand. Sbu and K8 shook it.
“It looks like we made it just in time,” he said. “I’m Inspector Mpehle. Are you Mfundo’s friends?”
“How do you know Mfundo?” said Sbu.
“He called the police a few hours ago with his story, and they put him through to me. I deal with fraud investigations. We’ve been trying to catch these guys for months. When your friend told us the address, we came right over.”
“So Airtime did the right thing?” said K8.
“That’s right,” said Inspector Mpehle. “Lucky for you, too. He said you might be here, getting yourselves into trouble. Leave the police-work to the police from now on, okay?”
K8 and Sbu looked at each other.
“We’ll try,” Sbu said, honestly.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have you ever been in a situation where no one believed you were telling the truth? What did you do to convince them?