Wandile quickly requests a Bolt ride to Cubana Nightclub. A few minutes later a Toyota Etios stops next to her on the pavement. Wandile quickly gets in. She is surprised that the driver is not as talkative as other Bolt drivers she is used to. The driver doesn’t answer when Wandile greets him.

The car quickly takes the freeway to the Durban city center. The driver raises the volume on the radio. A pastor is preaching on the radio. Wandile gets irritated. The preacher is preaching about young people and how easily they lose their way.

“Can you play something else?” says Wandile.

“My sister have I wronged you by playing this sermon?”

“No but I prefer something else. It’s Saturday for crying out loud!”

“Sometimes it’s good to let the word-”

“Right now!” Wandile juts in. “I paid for this ride! You better do what I have asked or you’ll get the worst review of your life!”

The driver looks at her in the rear view mirror and realizes Wandile is not in a mood to be reasoned with. He changes the radio station. House music blasts out of the speakers.

“Thank God!” says Wandile bobbing her head to the beat.

The car is on Florida Road in no time. She gets out of the car and hurries into Cubana Nightclub. She searches the club with her eyes but can’t see Max and Mzi. She is dreading telling them she hasn’t brought the girl she promised. She is also dreading not getting a fix.

Then she makes out their shapes, sitting at a corner table, their bellies hanging over their pants. There are two women at the table with them. Wandile walks over.

“Why did you come alone?” Max inquires loudly over the loud music system.

“She couldn’t make it today but I promise I’ll bring her next time,” Wandile pulls a chair up.

“We gave you a simple task and yet you have failed,” says Mzi after taking a long drag from his cigarette.

“I’ll bring her next time, Mzi, I promise!”

“Have you forgotten how much I despise failure?” inquires Max.

Wandile has wiped the smile off her face.

“Answer me!” Says Max.

“Yes,” says Wandile.

“Get away from our table! You’ll only be allowed to sit here once you bring me a fresh girl! We are tired of your excuses Wandile!” Says Mzi.

Wandile leaves the club, desperate. It’s cold outside. She looks around, searching for a familiar face but doesn’t find one. The R20 in her purse can only buy one drink. She goes back in the club, orders a Savannah and heads to an empty table. If she can’t get drugs at least she can try to get numb with drink. She sips the Savannah slowly. She suddenly feels a hand tapping her shoulder. She turns to see a smartly dressed tall guy.

“Why is such a beautiful lady sitting by herself in the club?” says this guy.

“I’m waiting for my friends,” Wandile lies.

“I’d like to buy you another drink and sit with you while you wait,” says this guy with a smile.

“Thank you. You are too kind,” Wandile smiles back.

“Great. My name is Sboniso,” he says and pulls a chair to sit across Wandile at the table.

“My name is …” Wandile quickly thinks of a name to tell Sboniso. “My name is Nolwazi,” she shakes Sboniso’s hand.

“Nolwazi, mmmh I love your name.”

“Thank you.”

Sboniso buys drink after drink for Wandile. Whatever she wants he gets without batting an eyelid. When Wandile complains of hunger Sboniso just takes out his gold card and swipes the card machine for a platter of hot wings. Wandile can’t believe her luck. She makes sure to laugh at Sboniso’s every joke. Everything is a blur as she gets drunk.

Wandile and Sboniso are hand in hand and laughing as they leave the club. She hangs onto his arm to steady herself.

“Where are we going?” Wandile asks Sboniso through sleepy eyes.

“Don’t worry about that,” says Sboniso while making several attempts at aiming the car key into the ignition.

“You better not be stealing me,” Wandile slurs.

“Do I look like the kind of person who’d steal you?” Sboniso starts the car.

He steps on the accelerator and arrows his car to the suburb of La Lucia.

***

Tell us: How do you think drugs and alcohol have affected Wandile?