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.
He’d easily told the same lie to J.D. and consequently he was this month’s commission richer. A measly one hundred and forty rand. He’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. “So long, sucker,” 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.
“What the hell!” 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 man’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, “Who’re you? Why you following me?” 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 man’s nose was supposed to be. Suddenly, his fingers were flailing at a hot, empty space within the man’s head. Revolted, Ted lurched backwards, spun and crashed headfirst into a stone pillar.
“Hey, Mister. You okay?”
Through a mud of pain, Ted saw a security guard’s face peering close at him. “You’ve got a helluva cut. You want me to call a doc?” As if to prove the guard correct, blood trickled from Ted’s forehead and suicided onto his cheek.
“No,” Ted groaned. “I’ll be fine. Where’s the other guy that was here with me now?”
“What guy, Mister?”
“The one in black, you idiot!”
Surprised at the venom in Ted’s voice, the guard pulled back. “There wasn’t anybody here but you. I seen it all. One moment you talkin’ to yourself an’ then you go wild and hit your head. I thought you was havin’ one of those heart attacks.”
“What! You dumb fuck. I know what I saw.”
“You better wait here. I’m goin’ to go get you the doc now. Probably the knock on your nog turnin’ things all upside down.”
“Didn’t you hear me, you DUMB SHIT. I don’t need a doctor. I know what I saw!”
But the guard had rushed off, Ted’s anger causing a ripple in the crowd that had gathered. More unsteady than he’d expected, he had to accept a hand to pull him to his feet. Tightening his grip, he pulled the person closer and yelled. “I know what I saw! YOU HEAR ME!” He freed the hand and staggered to his car…
Part 4 on Thursday.