Note to the reader: Chapter 2 of Submerged is a bit short and that’s why I also publish Chapter 3 this week. Enjoy!
The Mazda slowly reversed away from the shopping complex and was parked about five hundred metres up the road when they saw and heard the blast. Errol and Roscoe stared at each other, shock and disbelief on their faces.
‘Fuck, we’ve got kak,’ Errol said.
Roscoe stared at the aftermath of the explosion like he was hypnotised. ‘Holy shit, I haven’t seen a show like that since the New Year’s fireworks at the Cape Town Waterfront.’
Errol turned towards Roscoe and slapped him over his cheek with the back of his hand.
‘Focus, moron, Franklin is going to kill us for this.’
Roscoe promptly retaliated, also smacking Errol on his cheek. Errol wasn’t expecting this response, but it took him no more than two seconds to remove his cellphone from his pants’ pocket and slap Roscoe again through the face with it. Roscoe responded by using his bare right-hand fist to punch Errol in the face.
This to-and-fro exchange of punches in the tight seats of the Mazda took place for another three minutes or so with the car windows misted up and the car, whose shocks had seen better days, rocking as though a couple of athletic students were experimenting with some new tantric sex moves.
Eventually the two combatants tired and Roscoe opened his door, got out, cleared his throat, and spat out snot and blood.
He was joined by an out-of-breath Errol who sported a swollen nose. On first observation, it looked as though he suffered a break. But it was difficult to tell since his nose was already crooked from earlier breaks that had not reset properly.
After a minute of silence, Errol said, ‘Now that our heads are clear, we need to sort out this kak.’
‘Mine is clear, not yours … never has been,’ Roscoe said and blew his nose with a blood-soaked handkerchief. ‘We need to convince Franklin that Buti wasn’t with us tonight and that we had nothing to do with the explosion.’
‘How are we going to do that?’ Errol said, in a demeaning tone of voice.
‘I don’t know,’ Roscoe said. ‘I haven’t thought about that. You are mos the guy with the brains.’
Errol ignored Roscoe and walked back to the car, opened the passenger’s door and removed a Ziploc bag containing a few rolled dagga joints from the glove box. Realising he had given his matches to Buti, he swore and crushed the joint between his fingers and fist, and threw the remains on the floor.
‘Try the car lighter,’ Roscoe said.
‘You’re not always as stupid as you look,’ Errol said.
Errol walked around the car and got behind the driver’s seat. He turned the starter key one click to the right and pressed the car lighter. After an eternity, just when he was ready to punch a hole in the dashboard, the unit ejected and he was able to light up. He got out of the car and passed the joint to Roscoe.
Roscoe inhaled, paused and exhaled loudly. ‘How can we ensure that there will be no evidence linking us to this and to Buti?’
‘Yes, stupid, that’s the big question,’ Errol said. ‘If we don’t sort out this situation immediately, even your big monster mother will not be able to pull you out of this pile of shit.’
‘Ag, jou ma se poes ook,’ Roscoe retorted.
‘Hey, I told you I’ll kill you if you make any more comments about my mother’s private parts,’ Errol said sternly.
The sudden chill caused Errol to get back into the car. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
I need to get my head straight.
Mentally he recapped the events of the evening. There was no doubt that Buti, who carried much more dynamite on his person than necessary, was incinerated. He opened his eyes and regarded Roscoe, who had since eased himself back into the passenger seat.
‘This is how this will pan out,’ Errol said. ‘Nobody saw us. Franklin was too stoned to even know where we were. I don’t think at the moment he knows which part of his sewerage system to use to piss and shit, confusing his voël with his poephol.’
‘And there’s fuckall of Buti left,’ Roscoe agreed. ‘Nothing to identify him, or us.’
Errol took a last draw from his joint and threw the stub out the window.
‘Hang on,’ Roscoe said. ‘What about dental records? If you can’t get DNA or fingerprints, they use dental records to recognise victims.’
‘Impressive, Roscoe, your mother must be proud,’ Errol said. ‘I’m sure you never missed an episode of CSI.’
Roscoe, ignoring him, was now in deep thought, his chin resting on his closed fist.
‘No worry,’ Roscoe said, eventually. ‘Of course. Buti had a few problems with his dental hygiene and got all his teeth pulled last month and got dentures.’
He smiled, feeling rather chuffed with himself.
‘Therefore there are no dental records.’
Roscoe was now on a roll. ‘Maybe we tell Franklin that Buti took off and we don’t know where he went. That’s not far from the truth, as he sort of took off in all wind directions.’
They heard the sound of police sirens getting louder.
‘Let’s get out of here,’ Errol said.
Except the Mazda didn’t start and Roscoe had to push it down the hill in the direction of the fires. Fortunately, Errol managed to get the stuttering car to start a few metres before they reached the ‘had-been’ shopping centre.