Criminal manifesto (0.05g)

My swollen tongue mangled the explanation. His flashlight was brighter than the sun.

“Don’t you think I should drive?”, she pleaded. He blocked innocent logic from entering his mind. The party ran rampant through his system, poisoning the blood all over again. “No Sherry, I’m fine…”

I was on my way to a late night braai. Due to religious and personal reasons, I never drink, except on Saturdays. By the time I was ready to leave, that spark had already clicked in my body. It was urging me on. It’s like I was floating on millions of beer bubbles.

“I don’t think we should come to these parties anymore, Adrian.” She was stone-cold sober. The five months without a drink had flown by. “We need to get away from that crowd.” His jumbled understanding rearranged her meaning into a meaning of his own. “So, my friends aren’t good enough anymore?”

The long drive to Ian’s house gets me every time. I’m usually alone, with only the radio DJ’s for company. Just 33km to go. Lucky for my mate that he’s so masterful at braaing a tjop.

“I’m not in the mood for another argument.” Her head rested wistfully against the window. Street lights were flitting overhead in fast-forward. “I’m young. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself before…” She became fierce in an instant. “Before what, Adrian?”

“Good evening, Sir. I have stopped you because you were driving in an erratic and potentially dangerous manner. Can I see your license?” He seemed bored. “You smell like you’ve been having a good time, nè?” A fleeting memory flashed through the dronkenskap, reminding me that the licence was still on my kitchen counter. “Eish officer… I forgot my licence at home. I’m so sorry.” He looked at me, perplexed. “Come again. I didn’t understand you. What’s wrong?” Ja, how could I forget? I accidently bit my tongue a few kilometres back. Pothole or something… Somehow, the thing was now swollen enough to hamper speech. I took my Blackberry and typed a note of apology instead. Also, I added an offer for financial aid at the bottom of the message. “Is R200 ok?” The officer scanned the phone, his flashlight still searing my brain. He nodded. Maybe I was offering too much, but I’m new to this kind of thing. There’s no information pamphlet on how to conduct bribery. Everyone else does it, so I figured I’d give it a try. I fumbled in my purse and took out the loot. I didn’t wait around for a receipt.

The silence engulfed them. His blood was boiling. He turned up the audio to try and defeat the silence. Sherry didn’t retreat from his taunting. She turned the volume down again, as their hands started tussling childishly for control. All eyes averted, while his brain floated in a pungent, ethanol soup. She looked up. Her pupils constricted.

My eyes were trying to readjust, to focus on the blurry street light. I felt beer draining from my mouth, nose and ears. What a waste… My tarmac bed was uncomfortable. I tried to move, but couldn’t. I can sleep here, but I’d rather crash on Ian’s couch. My mouth was watering for that lamb tjop.

The medics lifted him gently onto the stretcher. His neck secured, his body was now possessed of a brand-new immobility. His bloodshot eyes remained open. As they loaded him onto the ambulance, fire fighters were still battling to put out the inferno.

The flames danced with reckless abandon, embracing the charred remains of three people and two unrecognisable vehicles. The ambulance started up and drove away from the catastrophe, taking him further away from his old life. The hypnotic sirens signalled a new beginning. “You got thrown clear of the accident, Mr Lazarus. You are very lucky.”

I saw his lips moving. Then I fell asleep.

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