Ted moved faster than the old lady and never saw her annoyed look she threw as he beat her into the queue for the bank machine. As it was, he was sixth in the lunchtime queue and he cursed under his breath.
Heâ€™d easily told the same lie to J.D. and consequently he was this monthâ€™s commission richer. A measly one hundred and forty rand. Heâ€™d asked for a loan on top of that, in lieu of his forthcoming pay that he would never be around for, but J.D. had just shaken his head. Stupid arse.
On the blue screen, a cartoon man on roller skates told him the time: 12:05. He had taken longer than intended. A statement soon revealed that there was over nine hundred in the account. He drew it all and chucked the card in the nearest bin. â€œSo long, sucker,â€ he muttered and ignored the looks that he attracted from the people in the queue until he came to the end of it and saw who stood there.
â€œWhat the hell!â€ For the second time that day, he was hooked to the spot like a fish to an anchor. The blue eye stabbed at him whilst the black one seemed to go out the back of his head. With his attention arrested, he could almost count the deep pores on the manâ€™s nose and the wrinkles bagged strongly beneath his stare. I know this man, a distant voice informed him. But as hard as he tried, he could not jigsaw the face into a name or place. Ted was so disturbed that he had to squeeze the words out, â€œWhoâ€™re you? Why you following me?â€ There was no reaction, let alone a reply. Instead, the stare continued, making Ted feel like a chicken in a cage waiting to become the contents of a plastic, KFC prison.
Without thinking, wanting to escape, he lashed out with a fist that gave him a triumphant feeling as it connected. Success switched to horror as his whole hand sank into where the manâ€™s nose was supposed to be. Suddenly, his fingers were flailing at a hot, empty space within the manâ€™s head. Revolted, Ted lurched backwards, spun and crashed headfirst into a stone pillar.
â€œHey, Mister. You okay?â€
Through a mud of pain, Ted saw a security guardâ€™s face peering close at him. â€œYouâ€™ve got a helluva cut. You want me to call a doc?â€ As if to prove the guard correct, blood trickled from Tedâ€™s forehead and suicided onto his cheek.
â€œNo,â€ Ted groaned. â€œIâ€™ll be fine. Whereâ€™s the other guy that was here with me now?â€
â€œWhat guy, Mister?â€
â€œThe one in black, you idiot!â€
Surprised at the venom in Tedâ€™s voice, the guard pulled back. â€œThere wasnâ€™t anybody here but you. I seen it all. One moment you talkinâ€™ to yourself anâ€™ then you go wild and hit your head. I thought you was havinâ€™ one of those heart attacks.â€
â€œWhat! You dumb fuck. I know what I saw.â€
â€œYou better wait here. Iâ€™m goinâ€™ to go get you the doc now. Probably the knock on your nog turninâ€™ things all upside down.â€
â€œDidnâ€™t you hear me, you DUMB SHIT. I donâ€™t need a doctor. I know what I saw!â€
But the guard had rushed off, Tedâ€™s anger causing a ripple in the crowd that had gathered. More unsteady than heâ€™d expected, he had to accept a hand to pull him to his feet. Tightening his grip, he pulled the person closer and yelled. â€œI know what I saw! YOU HEAR ME!â€ He freed the hand and staggered to his carâ€¦
Part 4 on Thursday.