It is a minute to happy hour at Phumza’s Tavern. Patrons in this establishment are already going wild with orders. Azipho, the only waitress here, already rues what is about to happen.

“Azipho, sweetheart, over here! Four beers and a nip,” shouts a guy from his table.

“Azipho, you sexy thing,” someone else shouts. “Six Hunter’s Gold, six Heinekens. Hurry up!”

Almost always, orders for drinks are coupled with unwanted sexual advances.

I have already trained my mind for this craziest of hours, Azipho thinks. If these drunks know what’s good for them they’ll stop coming on to me. The last man who whispered lewd, unwanted advances in my ear met a grisly end. If these guys know what is good for them, they’d realise that when it’s me against the world I win by any means necessary.

Just look at this sorry excuse of a man staggering in front of me, blowing alcohol breath in my face. All men are the same; the only thing they want from women is sex.

“Just a little kiss, baby,” this bastard says.

“I’m not your baby. Just leave me alone!” Zip tells him.

His lips are pursed as he says, “Give me just a little kiss. You’ll like it.”

“I’m here to work,” Zip protests. “Please just leave me alone.”

And now he is angry. His eyes squint. Rage covers his face. He has the same look Zip’s stepfather had, when her mother was away and he ran his hands up her thighs.

Don’t you dare put me in my angry zone, you drunk, stupid man, she thinks. The last man who looked at me with those eyes, and breathed alcohol-scented sexual advances into my face, is now six feet under. And I put him there.

It was dark, and her stepfather was drunk. All those years ago, when she was a kid, seem like the other day. The taxi driver who ran over him said it happened too fast. There might have been a hand that pushed her stepfather from the pavement into the road. But it was dark and the only person there was tiny little Zip. The taxi driver himself smelled of dagga and alcohol, so the police did not believe his version of events.

“Azipho! Where is your mind at? I said, ‘Clean the table in the corner. They spilled beer’.” Phumza snaps Zip out of the angry zone her memories have put her in.

“Please, Phumza, give us a moment. I’m still talking to Azipho,” the sorry excuse for a man says, breathing alcohol into her face.

Phumza bolts from the bar counter across the room. “I told you, stop harassing my staff. I’ll kick you out. What’s wrong with you guys?” She pushes the man away, then looks at Zip with concern. “Azipho, are you alright?”

“Yes, I am fine,” she says.

“Go ahead and clean the table,” says Phumza.

***

Tell us: What do you think of young Azipho pushing her stepfather in front of the taxi? Was it an evil or brave act, for example?