I knew thugs like Enoch and Radithedi: they never kept to time with their appointments. I found the old lady waiting near the church, nervously looking back and forth for the prophets and clutching her handbag to her side – and so advertising to anyone who might be passing that it had something valuable inside.
I went up to her. “Hello madam, my name is Lola Molefi.” I showed her my private detective ID. “I’m a private detective working on a case involving the man that you are waiting for.”
She gasped. “Oh no! I thought from the beginning that it was some kind of scam, but then that other man who was just passing by seemed to know the prophet, and he said such positive things. He said that Prophet Enoch healed him.”
“That other man is his partner.” I looked around. I was afraid that Enoch might turn up any time now. “Can you come with me? I’d like to escort you back to the bank to deposit your money before anything happens.”
The bank was not far and we finished quickly. The old lady thanked me and went on her way.
I decided that maybe I should pass by the spot where the meeting was meant to happen, just in case the two had turned up. I hid to the side behind a building and there they were, both of them, looking worried that their mark hadn’t showed up. I was about to leave when I saw – Bonang! She was heading straight to Enoch and Radithedi.
I watched as my friend took out a stack of cash, the stack she’d shown me in my office the night before, and handed it to Enoch. Enoch quickly hid it under his green robe. Then they took hands in a circle and closed their eyes to pray. The circle broke up, Enoch and Radithedi headed one way and Bonang another. I ran after her.
“Hey!” I shouted. She turned, and when she saw me she stopped but she was very angry.
“So now you even follow me?”
“I was actually there to save an old lady from handing over money to those thieves. I didn’t even know you were coming. But I saw what you did. Why Bonang?”
“I told you that they’re the real deal. They have some very rare, powerful medicine to treat infertility. I’m meeting them tomorrow to get it.”
I couldn’t believe what she was saying. How could she be so taken in by these two?
“Come with me. I want to show you something.”
She refused until I promised that if she didn’t believe what I was telling her after I had shown her, I would not mention her prophets again.
“This is where your prophets live,” I said, as we arrived near their home. Beer tins still littered the dirty patch of bare ground around the house.
“So, that proves nothing. If anything it proves that they are not stealing from people, that they’re humble men.” Though she was talking big, I could hear the doubt creeping into her voice.
We had got to the one-room home just as Enoch and Radithedi had assembled everything on their table outside. We were a distance away but I had my binoculars. On the table was a mysterious looking brown, unlabelled bottle, the old fashioned kind not often found any more. Also on the table were a bottle of oil, vinegar, and a box of mixed herbs. I was sure these were the ingredients for Bonang’s ‘rare infertility medicine’.
“Look!” I handed the binoculars to Bonang. Enoch was using a funnel to pour in and mix the ingredients in the brown bottle. He sprinkled in some of the mixed herbs and shook it up.
When Bonang took the binoculars down, she was still defiant, but wavering. “That proves nothing! To me it looks like they’re making salad dressing. Maybe they’re making their supper.”
“At least let me go with you tomorrow when you get the medicine,” I said.
“OK … yes, you come. You’ll see! This means nothing. None of this has anything to do with my medicine. You’ll see tomorrow.”
Gideon and I got to the office just as everyone was leaving. On the ride from the train station to The Global Mail, Gideon explained how the day had gone.
“I made sure Mr Samuel saw me put the R2000 in my wallet and saw me put the wallet in my desk drawer.”
“OK good. I have the camera. We just need to take up our positions and wait.”
I rubbed Gideon’s leg. “Don’t be so worried. I’ll do all the talking; you can say I forced you into it.”
He smiled. “Well that wouldn’t be very manly of me.”
“Who cares about that? I care about helping Mareledi being able to go back to work, helping Mr Samuel find a way out of his trap, but most of all I want to help my boyfriend.”
“I think that’s the first time you have called me your boyfriend.” Gideon reached over and kissed me on the cheek. “Thanks.”
He was right. I wasn’t sure why, but I was afraid of that word ‘boyfriend’. It seemed so big and serious. If it went wrong I wasn’t sure I was ready to lose one – a boyfriend that is. I had never really had one before and I expected now that I’d be pretty sad if he went away. So saying it was a big thing, a really big thing for me.
I just smiled and said nothing.
At the office, when we were sure everyone was gone, we turned the lights off and hid under a desk in a cubicle directly opposite from Gideon’s. We had a perfect line of sight to his desk drawer.
It was cramped under the desk but by Gideon getting in first and me fitting in between his legs and arms we managed to fit. An hour passed and no-one came. I was getting drowsy and feared I’d fall asleep, but then we heard a noise – someone was coming.
The lights were switched on and we sat very still, neither of us breathing.
We watched as a pair of very fashionable brown loafers passed us and headed to Gideon’s cubicle. I pointed the camera as the drawer opened and his hand went in. When he turned back, I snapped two more photos of Mr Samuel with the money.
And then he saw us.
Tell us what you think: What will Mr Samuel do to them?