The following night Thando waits for Nandi to fall asleep before he sneaks out of the house. He heads to Zip’s shack.

Brice is also heading to Paradise Road. He has decided to return Zikhona’s diary to Thando. Brice is walking towards Thando’s house from one end of Paradise Road, when he sees him open the gate and walk towards the other end. He runs after him, but grows wary and curious when Thando takes a right at the corner of Paradise and Heaven Road. He stops running, follows from a distance. Soon he finds himself outside Zip’s shack.

Brice jumps over the fence. As soon as he lands inside the yard, Razor – Zip’s pit bull – growls. Brice smiles because his family has been breeding pit bulls since he was in nappies. He fondles Razor’s neck, calming him, and creeps closer to the shack. He presses his ear to the timber. He can hear two distinct voices.

“Detective Mtolo has asked for your sister’s cell number. She wants to track her movements on the last day she was seen,” says Zip.

Thando recites Zikhona’s cell number. He’s in even more awe of Zip because now he notices more details on her chart of crime. He points to the photo of Spokes.

Just then Zip’s crow, Spirit, dives from the top of the shack, cawing. Brice can hear from the increasing volume of Zip’s call that she is coming towards the window. Zip opens the window. She throws bread crumbs out to Spirit.

“It’s hot. I better leave the windows open,” she says, little knowing that Brice is hiding right below the window.

Zip gets back to the chart. “Where were we?” she asks Thando.

“Spokes,” says Thando. “How can we find out where he lives?”

“I was thinking we need a way to get to Brice. He sells drugs for Spokes. Surely he knows where he lives?”

Thando nods. “We need to follow Brice,” he says.

A message arrives on Zip’s phone. It is from Detective Mtolo at Mowbray police station. Zip smiles and says, “Thando, read this.”

Thando can’t believe his eyes.

We just arrested Spokes for credit card fraud in Rondebosch.

“They found him!” Thando punches the air in elation.

“Yes,” says Zip. “But they arrested him for fraud. So while they have him in custody we need to find evidence to make your sister’s murder stick.”

Brice hear this conversation and has never been so scared. He peeks around the edge of the window. A breeze makes a gap in the curtain.

That is definitely Bookworm that he sees inside – talking to a girl. And this girl knows everything about crime in the township. Brice sees the chart. He can’t believe he is near the top of this pyramid. He is just a low-level dealer yet on this chart he is above killers and robbers!

Brice is deeply shamed and disappointed in himself. He feels for the diary in his jacket and scrambles in through the open window.


Tell us: How do you like the character Zip in this story? Is she right about a tavern being a great place to find out about local crime?