Zothani is fidgety today. In the space of two minutes he sits up straight, leans back, puts his knee up against the back of the driver’s seat and sits up straight again. He lets out a deep sigh and leans back. His three friends inside the red Polo Vivo don’t notice his restlessness.

Zothani is not usually one to be nervous before a heist. If anything, he gets too excited. But today this restlessness has been gnawing at him since he woke up. He sits up again and stretches his neck over the driver’s seat to check the dashboard.

“I didn’t forget, boy. The tank is full!” says Mlu, the driver.

When Zothani sees that Mlu is looking at him in the rear-view mirror, he fakes a smile and leans back. The last thing he wants to do is make everyone else as nervous as he feels.

“And-aaaaaah-iyeeeeh-will-always-love-you,” Mlu sings along to the song on the radio.

Rasta, seated in the backseat next to Zothani, chuckles and yawns. He is watching Kevin Hart’s stand-up comedy on his cell phone with the earphones on. In the passenger seat next to Mlu is Jack, who is drawing an apple on a sketchpad.

Zothani is the only one who can’t keep his mind off the heist; the pen in his right hand has nothing to give to the open notebook in his left hand. Usually he was the one scribbling stories away in notebook, to keep him mind calm. But not today.

In fact it was from him that Mlu, Jack and Rasta had gradually also picked up habits to keep their minds calm before a heist. If their lives were an action movie the three would refer to Zothani as their boss. But in reality there is no need for titles; Zothani knows he is their leader and they know this fact. And that is enough.

Zothani stares at the empty notebook page and shakes his head. He hasn’t written a word. He closes the notebook and tries to think of anything he might not have covered in the three months of planning the jewellery store heist. The security cameras are handled, the escape route is a sure deal and the panic button is under the cashier’s counter. The key to the jewellery display boxes in the store is in the manager’s office. Then what could it be? He wonders silently.

Zothani shakes off this feeling by concentrating at the job at hand. “Let’s go, boys! It’s time!” he says.

A few minutes later Mlu stops the red Polo Vivo in the parking lot of a shopping centre in Hillcrest and leaves the engine running. Zothani, Rasta and Jack get out. They are dressed in ‘smart casual’ clothes. You wouldn’t guess there were guns covered by their blazers as they walk into the shopping centre.


Tell us: are you surprised that these gangsters use art and writing to calm them down?