Catching Her Man 3/5

By Drum Digital
09 April 2014

Could this man at the police station have anything to do with the case Mpho is investigating?

Back at the station, as she was talking to the traffic department over the phone, a young man in pantsula style walked into the charge office. He strolled over and leaned casually against the counter.

Mpho put the phone down and picked up her things to go upstairs, listening to Constable Constance with half an ear.

“Can I help you?” Constance asked the man politely.

“Yes,” he said giving her an arrogant stare. “My car was stolen last night.”

A sixth sense made Mpho put everything down again. Pretending to be busy, she listened in on the conversation.

“Okay,” Constance said. “I’ll take your statement.”

Mpho thought the answers he gave in response to Constance’s questions sounded false.

“What is the car’s registration number?” Constance asked.

“AA99AAGP,” the young man answered.

Mpho gave a start. That was the number on the plate they had found beneath the body – a plate which the traffic department had just identified. It belonged to a 2012 red Toyota registered to a Mr B Ndlovu.

Meaning to ask him some questions, she started walking towards the counter, but before she got there, the young man’s cell phone rang.

Without an apology to Constance, he answered. “Hello. Yes, this is Benny.”

As she watched him listening to the voice on the other end, Mpho saw his body tighten, and hard lines form under his veiled eyes. “Where are you?” he asked in a guarded tone, turning away from the counter.

“No, no!” he shouted, making Constance jump. “Are you crazy? You’ve taken the wrong road, you stupid fool!” His voice trailed off and they could hear indistinct shouting from the speaker.

Mpho stared at Benny’s back, the hang of the expensive jacket, the right hand in his trouser pocket, the huge watch on his left wrist.

“Look, wena!” Benny shouted into the phone. “I can’t talk now! I’m busy. Just wait where you are! I’ll call you as soon as I can.”

He snapped the phone shut and turned back to the counter. “Some people are so stupid,” he said to no one in particular. “I pay the man to do a simple job and he messes it up!” Resentment at the caller smouldered in his eyes as he leaned against the counter once again.

But Mpho noticed that he was no longer as relaxed and looked anxious, with a thin veil of perspiration beading his face.  She wondered why.

-by Cassandra van der Westhuizen

To be continued...

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