In the taxi that took us home I tried the number three times and got voicemail each time. When we arrived Aunt Busi was waiting by the gate. She hugged Ma and put her arm over my shoulders. In the lounge they quickly wallowed into maternal sadness.
I went out and did some neighbourhood digging about the driver of the car that Dumisani and Simphiwe had left in. I was told he drove a green Golf I, the same make, model and colour as the car I had seen burning in my nightmares. I got information from here and there that led me to think that the driver was a certain Sandile.
Sandile was older than both Dumisani and Simphiwe by a few years. He studied Land Surveying at Durban University of Technology and worked part time on weekends and holidays, a true busy bee. His parents had moved to the suburbs leaving the house in his hands. I had known him to be a cool guy, one of those people sure to succeed in life. He was wiping down his green Golf I after washing it.
He was happy to talk. “I know Dumisani from way back, and Simphiwe from karate, but I did not know he was into these things. They told me they had car rims for sale,” Sandile said.
He took two camp chairs from the boot of his car for us to sit on. I asked for cold water and downed it while he told me how the whole thing went down.
“It was a smooth, cheap exchange, nice rims too, BBS mesh. I paid them a grand and dropped them off at the wunga merchant. It was there that Dumisani remembered he had money to pick up in Claremont and asked me for a ride. They bought me a six pack of beers and filled the tank in my car. Off to Claremont we went. It was all smooth at first. Then it just went crazy.”
“They started with the wunga while we waited for the man with the cash, a taxi owner. They were blitzed by the time he arrived. He let us into his house. Do you know what Dumisani does? He asks for the bathroom and steals a Blackberry from one of the bedrooms!”
I downed the cold water, chewed ice, shifted in the camp chair, unsettled by how the story was developing.
“Dumisani collected the money then we went to a wunga smoking den, still in Claremont, where the stolen cellphone was quickly up for sale. They smoked more wunga, I drank my beers. Then they hatched a crazy scheme that involved me being part of their seedy plans.
“We went our separate ways when they decided to burgle a mansion in the vicinity that had its lights off. They thought I had not heard them hatch the plan, but I was right behind them. I knew everything – knew that I was to be the unknowing getaway. ‘We’ll send him out for more beer and tell him to park at the gate of the mansion when he returns.’ That is what I heard your brother say. I started my car and left them at that smoking den. I’ll just tell you Khulekani, your brother changes. He’s quiet, but once he smokes that wunga Simphiwe begins to speak the language of thieves. That’s the last I saw of them, going to rob that mansion.”
I walked home in the dusk. At least the green Golf I was in perfect condition, not charred like the one in my nightmares. I kept telling myself this, comforting myself all through that sleepless, starless night.
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