“What is your job?” Eric asked.
“I’m an accountant. But it’s my first real job since leaving university. I can’t afford to lose it. My family depends on me.”
“Are you going to lay a complaint against Moses?” he asked. “It doesn’t seem right that he should get away with sexual harassment.”
“I’ll think about it,” she said softly. “But what about you, Eric? You’ve got a reputation for being a ladies’ man. You’re two of a kind.”
“I don’t force myself on women,” he said indignantly. “Actually, it’s the other way around.”
Slowly she shook her head. “Oh, you men are all the same. When Moses first came on to me and I turned him down he accused me of being lesbian. Then I was ‘frigid’ and a sulky spoilsport. I presume you get the drift.”
“That’s only his ego talking.” Eric felt uncomfortable. Was he in the same league as Moses where women were concerned? He felt subdued.
It was the first time he had met a woman who seemed to have a mind of her own. And she didn’t seem keen to jump into bed with him. He wasn’t sure if he liked this idea or not.
“Come on,” he said gently. “Let me drive you to your car so you can go home.” They left without saying another word to each other, apart from a polite goodbye.
Eric had just showed three couples over a flat for rent the following morning, before going into the office. All of them seemed eager to get the property. Eric went over their backgrounds on his computer.
He thought Julius and Mary Moreo seemed the best candidates. He picked up his cellphone and dialled Julius’s number.
“Are you really interested in the flat?” Eric asked.
“Yes. My wife and I both work in Central. The flat would suit us perfectly.”
“I’ve done your credit check but I’m not too happy with it,” Eric said.
“Yes, we got into some financial difficulties a few years back. But we’re okay now. Is there any way you can fix it that we can get that flat?”
“I’ll change a few things around, so my boss won’t suspect a thing. But …” Eric hesitated a moment. “Would you be willing to pay me R2 000 up front for doing this for you?”
Julius didn’t even hesitate. “Yes. I’ll be more than willing to pay you.”
Eric put the phone down and rubbed his hands in glee. “Not a bad morning’s work,” he congratulated himself.
Suddenly he thought of Avika. He knew she would think even worse of him if she knew the scams he pulled to make himself more money in the property business. He convinced himself he was doing it only because it was a cutthroat business. Eric found it just as easy to lie to himself as he did to other people.
It irked him that he kept thinking about Avika. It also irked him that she had left thinking he was not a guy to be trusted. She only believed that he had accompanied her to the hospital so he could have his way with her.
For the first time in his life he hadn’t been thinking of sleeping with a new woman. Avika was the type of woman his sister Molly referred to. Besides, he knew Avika would have rebuked him if he so much as laid a finger on her.
Tell us: In this case of bribery, do you think Eric and Julius are equally at fault? Why or why not?