“Tonight has to be epic, boy!” says Mbuso, the shorter of the two guys standing outside a KFC at Hammarsdale Mall.

“For sure, man,” says Sizwe, the taller guy. “I’m turning thirty and I hit that jackpot yesterday, we’ve got to celebrate.”

Kanti how much did that lady pay you?” Mbuso asks.

“That lady was desperate, bra,” Sizwe quickly looks around to check if there’s anyone close enough to eavesdrop on their conversation. “She paid me 20k as soon as I got off the phone with her. All I had to do was put on my HR voice and tell her that the management job she had just applied for online had many other candidates who were as, or even more, qualified than her. I told her that if she wanted to use other methods to secure the job, she was welcome. And to my surprise, she asked me what amount of money would be enough.”

“Yesses!” Mbuso nods his head and punches Sizwe playfully on the shoulder. “You and your muthi.”

“You can call it muthi or you can call it luck, Mbuso,” Sizwe shrugs. “But also remember that I have more than ten years’ experience doing this thing. Remember how much money I made promising students they’d pass Maths back in high school?”

Mbuso laughs. “And Mr Mthembu had no idea that you were making money from washing his car for free and being very close with him.”

“Bro, at that age I already played my game so well that I even knew how to make students blame themselves if they didn’t get the marks I promised. That’s why I never get in serious trouble for doing this thing. As crazy as this may sound, Mbuso, I believe talking people into giving me what I want is my God-given talent.”

Amahle walks past Sizwe and Mbuso. She’s wearing blue jeans and a furry white hoodie. The guys don’t see her face but they turn their heads looking at the shape of her body. Sizwe remembers a line from a country song that has been playing a lot on Gagasi FM, “she has curves like mountain-side roads and her hips sway like trees on a windy day.” He smiles.

“See that Nicki Minaj situation?” says Mbuso.

Sizwe nods. “That is A-grade stuff right there.”

Mbuso takes a step in Amahle’s direction.

“Wait,” Sizwe grabs Mbuso’s shoulder. “Where are you going?”

“I’m attending to the situation.”

“No, she’s mine.”

“Oh come on, Sizwe, you have like a thousand situations already.”

Sizwe shrugs. “It’s my birthday, bra,” he starts towards Amahle. “I need to taste a fresh situation tonight.”

Jack, a friend of the two guys, walks out carrying a KFC bucket under his arm. “Where’s Sizwe going?”

“To break another girl’s heart,” Mbuso sighs.

“So when are we …” Jack asks, looking at Sizwe’s retreating figure.

“Let’s first eat his money tonight, and then tomorrow we end him.”

“You say it like we’re about to kill him,” Jack chuckles. “To be honest bra, though I see how abusive Sizwe is, I still feel bad about getting him arrested.”

“He gets in here like that,” Mbuso taps two fingers on the side of his head. “For over ten years he has convinced me to let him sleep with every girl I’ve ever dated. He used me to get to my little sister and he left her sick. He’s very good at what he does, but you can only fool a man so many times. I’m tired of being Sizwe’s slave. It was your idea that we do something about this, don’t change on me now.”

Tell us: Have you ever been with friends who talk like these guys? How would you handle the situation?