THE WAY OUT: chapter two

X, perched on a stool at Jabu’s Bar and Restaurant, drains a glass of whiskey, and orders a shot of Remy Martin. The restaurant is on T Mgqolozana Street in south Mayibuye township. It’s neighbours with Tembisa in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan.

The clock on the wall behind the counter reads: 08: 15 pm. There’s nothing more to do. He’s ready to go to bed.

A trio of ladies in their mid-twenties, seated at a nearby table behind him, chat among themselves. He eavesdrops on their convo when he hears that they are discussing men. Right now one of them is gesturing either at him or the fat guy beside him.

“I’d like that one,” says Girl Number One, facing the direction of the bar. “He looks like a stallion that one. I’d  ride him throughout the night.”

“Brown jacket, you mean?” Girl Number Two says. She turns around to face her friends after taking a peek at X behind her. Then sucks at her Virgin Mary cocktail with a straw, and says: “He stabbed a man to death, I hear; two nights ago.”

Girl Number Three: “Huh? You’re a cop, arrest him!”

“Shh… he might hear us.”

“You can arrest the murderer right now, Xoli,” says Girl Number One, scowling at him. “You have that right.”

“No, I’m off duty. And I’ve got no evidence to arrest him,” says Girl Number Two. “Besides, I heard about his stabbing spree from a colleague, a confidential friend. The two of them have been tight since childhood.”

His stabbing spree? He’s a bad man mos,” Girl Number One says.

“I don’t know for sure.”

It’s the perfect time for X to strike. Wait too long he might lose his shot. He saunters toward the ladies, wearing a smile for days. And Girl Number Three whispers at the cop. “Here he comes, do it now!”

“Hello, ladies,” he greets them.

Only the cop responds, stretching her hand toward him. “Hi, how are you?”

He takes her hand in his, kisses it softly. “Lucky you, my sister. You’ve won yourself a stallion for the night.” He peeps at a silver watch dangling on his wrist. “It’s getting late already. Shall we?”

She pushes the umbrella straw aside, and gulps down the remains in her glass. She stands up and packs her smartphone on her handbag. Then slings the bag across her arm, and gazes at her friends – a trace of a smile dancing on her big, dark lips. They stare up at her, their eyes pleading: NO. X’s fingers entwine with her pinky finger, its long extension nail painted purple. “Catch up tomorrow, ladies.”

“Seriously?” Girl Number Three says, dumbfounded. “Xoli, no!”

“Is it that bad down there, girl?”

X guffaws, gazing at her big, brown eyes. “What is she talking about?”

“Ah, forget about that one. She’s silly,” Xoli says, blushing.

They stroll toward the exit, hand in hand. Xoli turns to wave at her girls. Girl Number Three shouts above the drunken din of Jabu’s Bar and Restaurant: “Arrest him. You fucken arrest him right now, Xoli!”

Drunkards turn and laugh at her.

“Un-fucking-believable!” Girl Number One cries, draining her glass of red wine. She peers at them as they clamber into X’s car. “Un-fucking-believable!”

*

Water splashes on the basin in the bathroom, opposite X’s “master” bedroom, as he calls it. He lays under the duvet cover, wearing shorts and nothing else. His eyes glued on Xoli’s shadow in the bathroom – its door half-closed. She’s brushing her teeth.

“Xoli, can you hear me?” he shouts.

She spits inside the basin. “Yep. What’s up?”

“One thing I’m not is a…” Water stops gurgling down the drain in the still night outside. She emerges, stands in the door with arms on either side of the frame, her legs split apart likewise. She wears a black lacy lingerie. And his eyes are glued on her fat perfect body, admiring the curve of her thighs and hips. She’s damn sexy. A wholesome BBW of the adult films that he sometimes indulges on on the Internet. “One thing you’re not… is a what?” she says, laughing and loving how he’s riveted by her.

He gazes at her with solemn eyes. “I’m not a rapist.”

“I know,” she says.

“At the bar you told your friends that I killed a man. When I asked you to come with me, were you not afraid I’d kill you if you refused?”

“No.”

Surprised. “You weren’t?”

“No. Should I be afraid now?”

“No. I just -”

She moves closer to him, entering the ‘master’ bedroom. “You might’ve killed a man. And I’m a cop, and – yes – I love my job. But the baby down there gotta be fed, cop or not. And so I came with you into your house.”

“So it won’t be rape,” he mutters. “I’m glad.”

“You’re nothing like your father, X. I mean, I didn’t know him personally,  but I’ve heard stories. Troubling stories, I must say. But the cop babe came for a dick, simple as that. And she’s about to swallow it whole. Give me the damn thing!”

She beams and dashes to the bed. She lies on her stomach and her hand slithers under the covers, rummaging. “Gotcha. Oh yeah!”

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