Lola was at her desk the next day when a young girl appeared. “Hello, I’m looking for help,” she said.

“Come in, come in.”

The girl, who looked about eighteen or so, said, “Someone stole my Zebby.”

“Your Zebby?”

“My dog, Zebby.”


“Yesterday afternoon.”

“Where do you stay?”

“Next door to the Joubert’s. They’re the ones who told me to come here.”

Lola sat back in her chair. Yesterday late morning was when she saw the research truck near the Joubert’s house. Had they been out looking for dogs even then?

“What’s your name?”


“Pinky, I think I have a lead. I’ll get back to you before the week is out.”


Before Lola handed the sad news over to Blossom she wanted to meet both Mr Mmope and his nurse, so she headed to the hospital. Suddenly, she had a ‘severe headache’.

At the hospital a nurse – not the nurse she was looking for – took her blood pressure and temperature. Just as he was filling in the details about what her problem was Lola saw her nurse passing by.

“Excuse me,” she said to the man writing and she ran down the corridor after Mr Mmope’s nurse.

When she caught up to her she tapped her on the shoulder. “Hello. Did you want something?” the woman asked.

“Yes, actually… ” Lola strained to look at the name tag she wore.

The woman, who was slightly older and much more beautiful up close, raised her name tag for Lola to see.

“Mary Oaitse,” she said.

“Yes, that’s right,” Lola said.

“Yes it is. I’m usually pretty good with getting my own name right.”

Lola laughed nervously. “I mean, a friend said you helped her so well last time that I should try to find you to help me. She said, ‘Make sure you look for Mary Oaitse’. I have a bad headache. I thought you might help.”

“I’m sorry. I’m a surgical nurse. If you go back through the clinic I’m sure you’ll find someone to help you.” She smiled and Lola thought how she didn’t look at all like someone who would steal another woman’s husband.

“Yes, of course. Thanks so much Ms Oaitse.”


Oh no! There was a Mr Oaitse out there, someone waiting to have his heart broken just like poor Blossom.

Lola went back to the nurse who was helping her, and sat back down. “Sorry, I thought I saw someone I knew.”

“You mean Mary? Are you a dancer?”

“Dancer? No. Why would you ask?”

“A lot of people know Mary. She’s a famous dancer. Competes all over. That’s why she’s so fit at her age.”

“Is it?”

“Yep. OK, I think you just have a headache. Take this to the pharmacy to get some pills. They ought to sort you out.”

Lola followed the signs to the pharmacy. “Hello,” said a friendly voice inside. Soon a head popped up and there was Mr Mmope. “What can I get you?”

Lola handed over the prescription. “Oh no, having some pain then?” Mr Mmope said.

“Yes, I think it’s from too much … dancing,” Lola said.

“Really? A headache? I’ve recently taken up dancing and I get a lot of pains, but not in my head. I think it’s in all my muscles that have never been used before.”

“Do you enjoy dancing then?”

“Not really. But sometimes you need to do things you don’t like so much in relationships. It’s all about compromise, keeping the other person happy.”

Lola took her pain pills. One thing she was learning quickly was that people aren’t always as they appear. Here was this friendly, helpful man basically telling her that he was taking up dancing because his new lover was a champion dancer. Oh poor, poor Blossom! Lola completely understood how Blossom had been attracted to her husband and how sad it would be when she learned the truth.

Back at the office she wrote up the last of her report and printed out the photos for Blossom Mmope. It was clear now that her husband was cheating on her with a nurse, the famous dancer, Mary Oaitse.

“Oh Lola! I’m so glad you’re here!” Bonang burst in and collapsed in a chair. The suitcase parked next to her.

“Well you certainly look tired.”

“I am. I’ve failed. Failed completely. There is no tailor, in the whole of Nokeng, who will attempt anything on this dress. They say it is too massive and complicated; they’ll never be able to get it back to its original state. They won’t take the chance. I’m doomed to wear this ugly thing. I will be the ugliest bride in the history of Nokeng.”

Lola was feeling tired and demoralised from the Mmope case. She didn’t need problems she had thought solved now becoming unsolved.

“Leave the suitcase here. I will find someone.”


“Yep. But right now I need to go out.”

Lola left the office and headed to the Joubert’s neighbourhood. She wanted to check just in case the Research and Testing truck was around again. She doubted they would be back already to snatch a dog, but who knew? Maybe the demand was just too high.

She walked down the length of the street, which was empty of people. Everyone was still at work or school. Then she turned to head back towards her office and she couldn’t believe her eyes. There was the Research and Testing truck. It was parked across the street from Butchy’s place.

Lola ducked behind a shed and watched the truck. After about fifteen minutes, two men came walking towards it. They both wore uniforms with logos matching the truck. They worked for Research and Testing and likely were the very ones collecting the dogs. As they neared, Lola noticed one looked familiar. He turned his head and she could see him perfectly.

It was Butchy Lesedi.


Tell us what you think: Why would Butchy Lesedi report his own dog missing if he’s the one stealing the dogs for Research and Testing?