“Why on earth didn’t you tell me about these men straight away?” my mother demands.

We’re sitting in the Milnerton police station. I’ve already made a statement and given a description of Nails and Shorty to a Constable Davids. The policeman is busy checking it against the records of known criminals.

“I thought dad trusted them. It said in the note that he wanted me to treat them like family, and so that’s what I tried to do.”

My mom smoothes her hand over my short dreadlocks.

“It’s the Professor he trusted,” she says.

“Did Dad ever say anything about treasure? He wrote in his note that he left me treasure.”

Mom laughs. “Treasure? If there was any treasure he certainly didn’t tell me anything about it!”

She thinks for a moment. 

“There is a box of things that he kept at the house,” she says, “but definitely no treasure.”

Constable Davids returns with a sheet of paper. “Jimmy ‘Nails’ Tlala and Frederick ‘Shorty’ Potgieter,” he says, handing the paper to me. 

It has pictures of the two men and a list of the crimes they’ve committed.

“Assault, robbery, fraud,” I read out loud.

“Very bad men,” Constable Davids says, “but don’t worry. We’ve alerted all patrols in the area and they’re looking for them as we speak.”

“Good!” says my mother. “The sooner you catch them, the sooner I can stop worrying.”

“For the meantime I think it’s best if you don’t stay at home,” the policeman says. “Is there somewhere else you can stay?”

“Yes, we can make a plan. Nathi, I’ll stay at Auntie Thandi’s house until they catch them.”

“OK, I’ll stay with you.”

She shakes her head. 

“No. I’ve already spoken to Mr. Naidoo and he’s agreed to have extra security at the Streetskillz facility. We’ll both be safer if you’re there. Besides, it’s not fair for you to have to miss soccer because of these two tsotsis.”

We take the taxi back to Du Noon and pack our clothes as well as food for Ronaldo, who is looking forlorn.

“Your cousins will look after him, Nathi, don’t worry,” mom says with a smile as she takes the little dog into her arms.

I suddenly have an idea. What if there is a clue in my dad’s things that might lead us to the treasure? If we could find it, maybe we could put it in the bank to keep it safe from Nails and Shorty.

“Hey, where is that box of dad’s things?”

Mom puts Ronaldo down onto the floor and rummages through her old wooden cupboard, finally pulling out an old cardboard box and handing it to me.

“I think its junk, mostly,” she sighs.

I look through the box, marveling at the old soccer trophies, an old Kaizer Chiefs scarf and the stub of a ticket to see Chiefs vs. Pirates. At the bottom of the box I spot something shining. I reach in and pull out a notebook. On its cover in silver ink are written the words “Silver’s Treasure”.

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Have you ever trusted somebody and later realised that you’d made a big mistake? What happened?