A few days passed before Kotatso saw the post on Facebook: a picture of him with the Italian beauty on his lap, their tongues twisted together. Kotatso hung his head in shame – and fear. How could he explain this to the boss if it came out? How could he explain it to that schoolgirl he was dating? It was all too much for him.

The first call he received was from Tankiso. She was crying on the other end of the phone: “That white girl; she’s your new pet, isn’t she?”

“No, Tankiso, no. You don’t understand! She was forcing herself onto me. I asked her to leave, I promise. I told her to leave.”

But Tankiso wasn’t convinced. She hung the phone up on him.

When the call came from Sergio Kotatso stared indecisively at the phone. His impulse was to turn it off, but that would only make things worse.

“Kotatso, I got some great new goods for you. Are you coming through this Wednesday?”

“Ah, boss, I…er…can’t make it,” he stuttered.

“What’s that? What you mean you can’t make it? New stuff, good stuff, new range for winter, sexy clothing, the real thing at a bargain price, twice as nice – you know the story.”

“Ah, um…” Kotatso hesitated. “Boss, I’m not sure. The sales were down this month.”

“That’s why you need new stuff.”

Kotatso felt very scared, but it seemed impossible to say no to the boss, so he agreed he’d be there. If not, would Sergio come after him? He couldn’t remember if he had told his boss where he himself lived. Perhaps he had told him too much over a beer at that mansion in Waterkloof?

Wednesday came and Kotatso drove through to the Waterkloof mansion.

Sergio greeted him as always and offered him an espresso. Cynzia wasn’t there, but he decided not to comment on this, or ask at all.

When it came to the moment to look at the clothes, Sergio laughed out loud, picked Kotatso up by the collar of his shirt, and said: “Why would you want to deal in my merchandise if you’ve been telling your girlfriends the clothing is fake? What kind of business is that? You ruin my reputation, then you try to take my woman! I trusted you. I sent Cynzia to that party to find out what you were up to. And I find this.” He held up the photo of Cynzia on Kotatso’s lap.

Kotatso was in a corner, and Sergio had pushed him hard up against the walls and held him there, his feet dangling in the air. When he planted Kotatso back on the ground he said, “You and me, we’re finished. Find yourself another connection. And stay away from Cynzia. If I ever catch her at one of your parties, you’re a dead man. Understood?” There was no smile on Sergio’s face now. He was deadly serious.

Kotatso was shaking as he got into his van.

As he drove away he took one last look back. Cynzia had come out and was standing in the driveway. She blew him a kiss and made the ‘I’ll call you’ sign, putting her fingers to her ear.

How could he keep her away from his parties? He knew that she would make trouble; that she liked to play cat and mouse. Play him off against Sergio. But Kotatso knew who would win. You didn’t mess with Muscle Man.

When he arrived home and staggered into his auntie’s lounge he was pale.

“What’s it this time? Where are the clothes?” she asked.

“It’s over. Everything is over.”

Aunt Naledi followed him into his bedroom and listened to the whole story.

“Your mother sent you here to me because she felt you needed a second chance. Take my advice: forget about girls. Forget about the parties. Take this second chance in the house of second chances. But if you mess up again,” she warned, “I will personally feed you to that Muscle Man.”

As he closed his eyes that night Kotatso swore to himself that he was done with fake goods. He was about to fall asleep when his cellphone lit up with an SMS:

Hi baby, with or without a Ferrari – Cynzia

can’t get enuff of u!…& what Cynzia wants…

Cynzia gets…jus letting u know!


Tell us what you think: Will Kotatso see Cynzia again? What will happen if he does?