The next day, Candice, Deon and I are having a barbecue on the stoep. We fixed up the stoep when we moved in a year ago, adding plants in paint cans. A vine grows up the pillar of the stoep all the way to the roof. We sit around a white table under a gazebo.
Deon and his girlfriend broke up two weeks ago. Don’t know what happened, but he obviously need some company. Candice and I bought the meat and sausages. Deon has supplied wine and Coke.
Deon puts down his glass of wine every now and then to turn the meat on the barbecue. The sweltering heat has all three of us in light clothing. Deon and I are in short sleeves and shorts. Candice wears black sunglasses and a short green dress that shows off her pretty legs. She’s the prettiest girl I’ve ever had. With her looks and her personality, she’s a keeper. Life isn’t so bad.
None of us have kids, or even a dog or a cat. What I crave is a fat bank account. YouTube is going to help me to leave Belhar behind. The people here might love each other, but the gangsters and crooks give the place a bad rep. YouTube will give me a second chance. A second wind. A fresh start. I have to be the hero of my own story.
Deon is a funny guy. He gets paid much more than Candice and me, but he’s always borrowing money from us. He always has some excuse why he needs the money. Someone stole his wallet at work, with his bank cards and all. His mom had to go for expensive eye surgery. But the truth always comes out. It can be useful to have him around, though. If you have any trouble with the law, like a parking ticket or problem with people in Belhar, you just call Deon and he sorts it out chop-chop. A real wolf in sheep’s clothes.
“What happened yesterday in Cape Town?” Deon asks as he sits down again. He turns his glass of wine around in his hand.
“We did a prank,” I say. “A guy wanted to hit me.”
“Did you hit him back?” Deon asks.
“Nope,” I say. “There was no fighting.”
“I got so mad at that bloody man,” Candice says. “Some people just can’t take a joke.” She looks at Deon. “Did you see the video?”
“Let me have a look,” Deon says.
Candice fetches her phone and gives it to Deon. He presses his thumb on the video and I can clearly hear yesterday’s conversation.
Deon laughs loudly, throwing his head back. “If that guy grabbed me like that, I’d have hammered him right there.” Deon gives the phone back to Candice. “What’s your next plan?”
“I’m thinking about a new prank,” I say.
“You’re probably thinking about a gold digger prank,” Candice says.
“Yes,” Deon says. “Everyone’s doing that on YouTube these days.”
I pull a face, thinking. “Everyone’s doing gold diggers, yes. I want to do something totally new. We need everyone to talk about the two of us on YouTube.”
“If we’re not doing the gold digger, what are we going to do?” Candice asks.
“We need to do something that will go viral,” I say.
“Like what?” Deon gets up to turn the meat once more. He squints to keep the smoke from his eyes. It’s starting to smell good.
“Many youtubers do fake stuff,” I say. “Candice and I are the real deal. Did you hear about that girl who shot her boyfriend? It was a prank, he wore a bulletproof jacket, but she hit him in the throat.”
Candice lifts her eyebrows. “Oe jirre, nee! That guy’s dead. She was pregnant with his child and she killed him by accident. I’m not going to shoot at you with a real gun.”
“Don’t even think about asking me for my gun,” Deon tells me. “Your head is full of nonsense.”
“Why the hell would I let Candice shoot me?” I laugh. “I have something daring in mind, that’s all I wanted to say. It has to be a video that has everyone talking and sharing and liking.”
“I get it,” Deon says, looking at the barbecue. “The meat is done. I’m starving.”
After fifteen minutes I have a plate full of potato salad, meat and potjiekos. The heat of the spices waft up my nose.
“I forgot to tell you,” Deon says, chewing and swallowing a piece of meat. “I made the newspaper yesterday. The front page. Me and some of my colleagues.”
“I’d like to see that newspaper,” Candice says as she carefully puts her fork down on her plate. “What did you to do to become so famous?”
“He’s lying,” I say.
“I’m not lying, my bra,” Deon says. “I got the paper from someone who bought it yesterday. See for yourself.”
“What did you do?” Candice ask curiously.
“Listen to this,” Deon puts down his knife and fork. “The day before yesterday, we were driving around in Delft. My new partner is a woman, don’t know her very well, but I’m trying to figure out where her loyalty lies. Her name’s Natalie. She’s from Valhalla Park and she doesn’t take drama. With my previous partner I had to do most of the talking. Natalie’s different, when we pick up skollies, she does all the talking. She swears like a bloody sailor. She pushes the perps around. Make them lie down on the ground while she stands with her foot on their shoulder, shouting. She searches anyone who looks suspicious and don’t tell her about your rights, you’ll get smacked on the head. I laugh my head off at her. But she doesn’t know my true colours yet. There’s only one thing I care for, money talks.”
“She sounds just like Candice,” I joke.
“No,” Candice protests. “I’m not that rough!”
“Anyway, the day before yesterday, we were driving round The Hague,” Deon continues. “Two guys were standing next to a wall covered in spray paint. When they saw us, their shoulders stiffened. Before I could say anything to Natalie, she brought the bakkie to a stop, tires screeching. She jumped from the bakkie, leaving the door wide open. I don’t think that woman has a boyfriend, she’d boss him around.
“The two youths by the wall’s had baggy pants, beanies and hoodies, but the sun was blazing. Faces just skin and bone. Tik heads? They smelled like grass and dust, as if they’d slept in the bush the previous night. ‘Against the wall,’ Natalie says, ‘legs apart and hands on the wall where I can see them.’ She doesn’t wait for me. We find three grams of tik on them. Throw them in the back of van. I immediately realise these two are selling for someone.”
Deon takes a bite of potato salad and chews and swallows. “When I threaten those two, they sing like canaries. Tell us where the drug house is and everything. Natalie and I get backup and almost kick the door down. Inside the house, there’s a bunch of gangsters. When they see it’s law enforcement, they put their hands up. We tell them to lie down with their faces to the floor. We’re not taking chances.”
“Were they gangsters?” Candice asks.
“Yup,” Deon says. “The whole lot of them. Parasites! I moved to the bedroom and pulled out drawers. Threw the socks, underwear and towels on the floor. Do you know where I found the drugs and money? Inside the mattress on the bed. Who the hell still hides stuff in a mattress?” He laughs slyly. “There was a roll of money with a rubber band around it. I took that for myself. Quickly hid it in my right sock before the others saw it. Just showed the drugs to my colleagues.”
“Didn’t the gangsters piemp you?” I ask, careful to hide my disgust. Deon’s a police officer but he steals from gangsters.
“Nope,” Deon says. “I wasn’t born yesterday.” He gets up. “I’ll be back in a minute.”
Candice and I watch him go.
Candice shakes her head. “At least he’ll pay rent this month.”
“I have a plan for our next YouTube video,” I say to Candice.
“What’s your plan?” she asks.
“I’m going to dress myself in one of Deon’s uniforms. Then we search a real drug dealer’s house. We’ll make sure the main guys aren’t at home when we go in. What do you think?”
Tell us: What do you think about Lee-Roy’s plan? What would you tell him if you were his friend?