Mrs. Monroe, or Patty, as she wanted me to call her, drove me to her second house in her white BMW X5. The car had no number plates, it was probably still new. And the smell of the car inside, and how spotless the interior was, made me to believe that indeed the German car was new; she couldn’t have driven it for more than a week and I was probably the first one to be on the passenger seat. 

Along the way she kept asking me one of those bland questions: how old am I? What am I doing with my life? Which college? What course? My dream job? My views on life? (Honestly this one caught me off-guard I had to think for two minutes before I gave a response.) Who are my friends? My hang out spots? My favourite sports? How old is my sister? Where is she? Where’s my father working? Do I have a stepmother yet? (Okay, that question pretty much sounded like: is your dad fucking someone?” I just said no. Even if he was it definitely wouldn’t be Sasha, his bitch boss.)

“You got a girlfriend do you?” She asked, as she turned for the left road behind a Ford truck. 

“No, I don’t,” I said. And every response I gave her she’d act like I’ve just told her the MOST interesting thing she’s ever heard her whole life, and give me that smile one would make when they realise that the numbers they picked on their lotto ticket match the ones showing on those balls which roll out of that lottery machine on TV. That’s when I realised that Mrs Monroe’s ass wasn’t the only abnormal thing about her. She then stopped with the hundred questions, switched from being a human questionnaire to being a silent creature who’s only function was to drive a car. Fine by me. Although I had a hundred questions of my own I just didn’t have enough strength to ask her because I was too exhausted by answering hers. 

We arrived at her second house at the near end part of the town, on the terminal section. The house should’ve been at the surbubs, honestly, not here in the townships. It also had its own Heaven Gate but this one was lower and black, perhaps it was also made by the same people who made the gate of the first house. Since this one is black, we might as well call it Hell Gate. The house was also a double storey but much smaller compared to the first one; although with a more spacious yard with less tiles. Unlike Heaven Gate, Hell Gate opened itself inward, Mrs. Monroe drove inside.

She parked in the three-space car garage and we both got out. She walked me to the storeroom on which its door was the on the left side of the front part where the garage ends. To be honest I enjoyed walking behind her. She handed me a spade and a shovel, then she explained to me how she wanted her garden to look like. Off I went to work. 

Honestly, working there, two minutes was like two hours. It felt like the sun was zoomed on me; my face became a fountain of sweat. It appeared as if I may not need actual water to water these flowers. 

I stopped working, then I fanned my soppy face with a tired hand. I resumed with my work but I realised that the shirt I was wearing felt like I was wearing ten jerseys. So I pulled it off and worked again. Mrs. Monroe must’ve noticed my struggle in the heat because she came out of the house holding a silver tray of a glass jug of lemonade and a yellow cup. 

“Oh, thank you, thank you,” I said, and grabbed the glass to pour myself a quick cup of the juice. I finally discovered an oasis in the desert the way I drank the lemonade, some of it spilling on my lips and neck as I tilted backwards my head for a gulp. I burped and said sorry as I put the glass and cup back on the tray she still held. For a moment I saw her eyes shot at my chest and abdomen, then she looked up me, smiled and put down the tray on the verandah next to the open door. She had to bend when she laid down the tray and…oh my God.

“If you still want another drink then,” she pointed down at the glass jug, i raised a thumb at her then she said: “tell me when you are hungry.” I nodded, she went on to get back inside the house. 

There was something strange about her smile. I had drank that lemonade but it felt as if I swallowed it and it went anywhere except my belly; it didn’t even touch my thirst. Not that one cup was supposed to quench the entirety of it but it still felt like I didn’t drink that cup. Was that even lemonade? There was something weird about the taste. I wiped the sweat on my forehead and carried on with her garden, remembered that so far we hadn’t discussed anything about the amount she’ll pay me. She was a rich woman so I never stressed about unfairness.