“Ace my boy! How many goals did you score today? Mmm? Two, three? Mr Golden Legs!” Bra Themba welcomed him with a smile. He was sitting in the lounge with his right-hand muscle man.
Ace said nothing. He stood in front of Bra Themba, cowering like a new born puppy.
“Ao! Ace monna, what’s wrong? Who died?” Bra Themba asked, the smile now wiped away and replaced by a wrinkled forehead.
“There is a problem, Bra Themba. I … I …” Tears warmed his eyes.
“Come on, sonny. Xamtha. What’s going on?”
“I … I lost the stuff. They stole it.” His voice was quivering.
“Wat!” Bra Themba shot up, his eyes popping.
“They stole everything. Before I could even sell one packet.”
“Now you’re talking shit, sonny! That’s rubbish!” he fumed.
“I’m sorry, Bra Themba. I’m …”
“You’re sorry? Mmm? You’re sorry?” he paused, shaking his head while stepping forward towards Ace. “Do you know how much that stuff is worth?” he yelled, his fist clenched. “You said your customers wanted more coke and I gave you all my stock. Now you tell me this rubbish? No. No. This is not happening. No!”
The muscled man stood up, his biceps twitching. “Do you want me to do what I always do to people like him, boss?” Zorro said. His eyes seemed to glow like fire.
Bra Themba kept quiet for a moment, snorting. Then, “Leave this one for me, Zorro,” he said and glared at Ace. Zorro pointed at Ace and shook his big head, then he then sat down.
“You know Ace, people who steal from me … don’t live. I break their necks. Just like this!” He pounced forward, and grabbed Ace’s throat.
Ace coughed, struggling to breathe, to speak. “Please! Bra Themba I’m sorry. I didn’t steal.”
Bra Themba sent him reeling backwards. Ace coughed, trying to get his breath back, and rubbed his neck.
“You know Ace, vandag you’ve disappointed me a lot. I’m really angry. But just because it’s you, I’ll let you live. You see … I love you like my own son.” He paused, searching in his pocket for a cigarette. He lit one and puffed out a cloud of smoke.
“Thank you, Bra Themba! Thank you.” Ace knelt down, his hands clutched together.
Tell us: Do you think Bra Themba is genuine when he says he loves Ace?