Authors: Ian Patrick
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #International Mystery & Crime, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Thrillers
to Durban Correctional Services: A place of new beginnings.
Ryder slurped an insipid Wimpy
coffee while he waited to board his flight for the short hop to Durban. He had
further about his UK sojourn, and wondered what
he could write in his report to satisfy the donor who had funded his visit.
He had met some sharp detectives in
the Thames Valley Police, but none of them had seemed significantly different
to his colleagues in Durban. As sharp observers and sleuths, Koekemoer and
Dippenaar and Pillay would hold their own against any of those guys, he
thought. Navi Pillay would probably outclass any of them in hand-to-hand
combat. Furthermore, judging from his assessment of the average weight of the
cops he had met, Navi would definitely outpace any of them over a hundred
metres. He hadn’t met anyone in forensics who could rival Nadine Salm, either.
As for day-to-day management and leadership, Sibongiseni Nyawula was definitely
up there with the very best of them.
The real difference, he mused, was
higher up in the organisation. There were some sharp cookies at the top of UK
police management, and the country seemed to have sorted out the political
interface between police management and government bodies. The politicians kept
their noses out of police work, and if they didn’t the media would be on to
them instantly. That was the essential difference, when he compared it with the
South African system. That, and the fact that the top police management figures
in the UK were articulate in front of the media. Almost at spin-doctor level,
thought Ryder, but much more direct and trustworthy than their political
How was Ryder going to get that
argument through in his report? And what was he doing, even thinking that
particular thought? Why shouldn’t he just tell it as he saw it? Was he becoming
part of the very problem he had identified? Why, he mused, are people so
worried about speaking their minds? Why do those people in that university
committee meeting-room scribble child-like naughty comments on the agenda paper
instead of openly confronting their idiotic obsessive chairman? Why do the good
cops worry that they’ll get nailed if they simply tell the Commissioners to
butt out of police investigations and take their political agendas elsewhere?
Ryder realised that the source of
thoughts was the newspaper on the
seat next to him. Someone had discarded it, and Ryder had glanced casually at
it, with its front-page story about the Minister of Police and a top
Johannesburg cop and the Commissioner, all at loggerheads amidst allegations of
political interference. And the criminals were doubtless chortling with joy.
Ryder picked up the newspaper and
turned to the sports page.
Thabethe was ecstatic. The briefcase
contained yet another wallet where the owner had scribbled down the pin-codes
for his cards.
Blessed are the idiots
he screamed with delight to his companions. This time the owner had written the
pin numbers in ballpoint on the interior flap of the wallet. Thabethe saw that
the second wallet contained a credit card and a debit card, along with a small
amount of cash. He added to the second wallet the
and the scrap of paper and cash from the wallet he had retrieved off the body
of the first guard. Then he flung the first wallet out of the window.
The three men dumped the vehicle outside
a house in KwaMashu Section K and made their way on foot along a brief section
of Sikwehle Road before turning into one of the side streets, eventually
arriving at Wakashe’s shack some blocks away, at the back of a property in Dada
Road. Wakashe’s mother beat a hasty retreat. She knew one thing for sure about
her son. He brought trouble wherever he went, and she had long ago abandoned
any effort to speak to him about his activities. She knew he was supposed to be
in jail. He had been sent there only last week. This could mean only one thing:
would be along soon,
asking questions on the whereabouts of her son.
These new men he had brought home
with him, especially the man with the big eyes, seemed to her to represent even
more trouble. The best way to deal with this, she reasoned, was to seek out her
sister two blocks away in Sikwehle Road and ask if she could move in with her
for a couple of days. This would not be the first time she had done that, in an
effort to get away from her renegade son. She felt more secure at her sister’s
place. Sikwehle road was known to be comparatively safe these days because it
had a vigilant and very
Left alone with his two new friends,
Wakashe brought out the beer, declaring that the oppressive heat and humidity
of KwaMashu would soon evaporate even his blood unless he could find some way
to cool down. The heat in this place could get so oppressive that it took the
fish out of the water -
i, he proclaimed - adding that this demanded some ice-cold luxury as
a refreshing change from the foul water of the prison in Westville. In a
textured and idiomatic form of
used normally by only rural Zulu-speakers, Wakashe engaged his friends in
conversation laden with plaudits for Thabethe, and laced with gratitude and
admiration for both of them.
Mgwazeni’s Zulu was equally fluent
and idiomatic, while Thabethe’s more urban use of the language was more direct
than colourful, but sufficiently in touch, and the three men had no need to
resort to English.
Thabethe, keeping key facts to
, let Wakashe know that both he and Mgwazeni had been
arrested three months previously by a Durban cop who had on more than one
occasion destroyed his business operations. That cop had put him in jail, along
with Mgwazeni, and that cop would pay for what he had done.
‘Who is this cop? Tell me, brothers.
Tell me and maybe we three can get him. Maybe you can give him the spoke like
you did to that guy who broke my fingers. Who is this cop?’
‘That one is Detective Jeremy Ryder,’
said Thabethe. ‘You spell it funny. Not R-I-D-E-R. It is R-Y-D-E-R.’
‘That man, my friend, I will kill
him for you. I will show him the spear of my fathers.’
No. That man is for me. That man is mine. I am
going to get that detective. Maybe you can have his wife. His wife, that woman,
for her you can use your other spear. But me, I am going to have that cop. Or
maybe you can have that cop’s two sons. I’ve seen that man’s two sons. You can
teach this guy a lesson by taking his wife and his family.
No. I want him. I want him for the spoke.’
Mgwazeni added to the growing
levity. That cop also had a partner, he told Wakashe.
who had arrested him while Ryder had arrested Skhura. That Indian woman was for
him. He was going to cut her up into pieces.
‘Mgwazeni has a good name,
’ Thabethe added. ‘Mgwazeni:
the one who stabs
They laughed, and drank, and joked,
and cursed until they had finished all the beer. As they did so, Thabethe
dreamed of how he would take down the detective that had frustrated him at
He also drank so much that he threw
caution to the wind. Normally, Thabethe would not have shared so soon with this
new friend the information that he had once had constant access to a secret
stash of cash, buried in a tin near Nomivi’s Tavern. The proceeds of a
flourishing trade in
. He had
shared this information with Mgwazeni only after more than two months together
in a cell.
Only, in fact, when they had been moved to the
double cell ten days ago.
By then he thought he could trust Mgwazeni. By
then, too, there were no other ears about.
Now he extended the information immediately
to this new friend. He had made one hundred thousand rands very rapidly, he
told Wakashe, and he had kept his profits lying in a tin six inches below
ground. Money that Thabethe had earned through his efforts in developing a
slick trade in dealing
Money from the sale of the drug, using street-wise kids who would
never be caught.
Money that could have grown, in time,
to a million rands if it had not been for the interfering Detective Jeremy
Thabethe seethed with anger as he
thought of what might have been, and he pondered how he might claw back the business
that he had lost since Ryder took him down three months ago.
You got buried
in a tin?’ asked Wakashe.
Thabethe and Mgwazeni could both see
the impact of this thought on Wakashe. This was a new friend indeed.
A man who would probably be completely compliant because of the
smell of money.
Until he saw actual cash.
knows what might happen then?
‘Yes, but not now.
Not any more,’ replied Thabethe. ‘I was having
the money there but I was using it all. What I’m saying is that I can fill up
that tin very quickly with my business. I know how.’
He proceeded to tell the tale of his
once-flourishing drugs business, and how Detective Jeremy Ryder had taken it
apart, and how his entire business had then flourished again, and how it had declined
he had been taken down by the big detective
Wakashe was a little crest-fallen.
He had assumed there was a tin stuffed with cash. Here was Thabethe telling him
that that tin was often stuffed with cash but at present it was empty. It was
waiting to be filled up again. Thabethe claimed to know how to do this.
promise of cash.
Thabethe read the disappointment on the man’s face. But
for now he and Mgwazeni both felt that Wakashe was so indebted to them that he
would probably do anything to maintain the friendship. So he could probably be
The Ryders were at the seaside. The
beaches at uShaka and Vetches were
the surf was perfect today, so there had been no discussion necessary. The Ryder
boys were out on their surfboards while Fiona was knee-deep at the edge trying
to stop Sugar-Bear swimming out to them to drag them back off their boards to
safety. The dog was barking hysterically with every crashing wave.
Ryder luxuriated on the sand,
stretched out and enjoying the change from the cold wet week he had spent in
England. He watched his wife trying to persuade Sugar-Bear that the boys were
in no danger. He looked at Jonathan and Jason, both extraordinarily
, fit and good looking. In their mid-teens they
were already attracting admiring glances from both men and women some years
older than themselves. He watched as they caught the waves and surfed like
‘I give up on that dog,’ she said as
she flopped down next to him on the sand. ‘He’s determined to bring the boys in
before they get attacked by a shark.’
‘I pity the poor shark if Sugar-Bear
gets hold of him.’
‘Don’t the boys look good?’
‘Are you talking as a woman or as a
‘Both. Gorgeous guys. All three of
‘Hmmmm. Sugar-Bear looked after me,
though. And look. He’s watching us now. That dog doesn’t take his eyes off us.’
‘He’s not watching us. He’s watching
the guy behind us,’ said Ryder.
‘Don’t look. I’m watching him. I
think he fancies a quick run in to grab a purse or a wallet. But he’s nervous.
He knows Sugar-Bear’s got him in his sights. If he makes a move either
Sugar-Bear will get him or I will.’
‘Poor guy if you get to him first.’
She faked a yawn and an ostentatious
stretch in order to sneak a quick glance at the man, thirty to forty paces
‘Yes. He’s a bit of a weed, isn’t
he? If he tries it on and you catch him please don’t break any more bones.
Addington Hospital is starting to complain about Detective Jeremy Ryder. The
orthopaedic section has been over-worked this year, I hear, and they’ve just
recently recovered because you’ve been abroad. But now that you’re back from
England they’re expecting a new influx of patients.’
The Border Collie seemed to have
sensed their train of thought, had abandoned his vigilance over the Ryder boys,
and was now walking back slowly toward their parents on the beach. But his
focus was beyond them on the man who was now thirty metres higher up the beach.
It was uncanny. The dog seemed to sense danger. He kept low, as if he was
advancing on some sheep, and was emitting the strangest sound, something
between a growl and a whine. The approach of the dog was enough for the man,
who abandoned whatever thought he had entertained, and walked casually away,
off the beach and onto the promenade area. Sugar-Bear made sure by advancing
right up to the edge and watching as the man walked away.