To be a lion you have to have the heart of one. If you surround yourself with weak spirited friends you can be rest assured that even you will be weak and scared of your own shadow. I won’t even act like I was the bravest girl out there because I was not but for my worth I took energy from others. Yes of course other take courage from alcohol I took my mine from the friends that surrounded me. I still felt bad after what Nthabiseng had said about me not treating her as an equal friend but she actually played a part in my life as well.
“We just walk with our straight faces and laugh things off as we always do!”
Zethu said when we were in our taxi to the airport. I am sure she could sense my heart was beating so loud the music in the car could not mask it! Other girls would have run away and refused to help but look at my girls stepping up when I needed them. This was real friendship and they had not even made me feel guilty about what they had to do for me.
“What are you talking about?”
Nthabiseng asked her. She too did not seem to be worried about the situation at all.
“I am just saying at the airport we must not act suspicious that’s all!”
She said which made me even more nervous as even the taxi driver looked at us through his rear view mirror. Some things are not meant to be said in public so loudly. I am sure all he saw was a bunch of criminals.
“Oh yeah you are right. We will be fine even I believe that!”
Nthabiseng said. I seemed to be the only one shaking like a leaf at this stage. What was the big deal about carrying money anyway? I did not know the laws but how can money be illegal it’s not like it’s drugs.
“I take it you guys are friends with Nigerians!”
The taxi driver said unnecessarily.
“With all due respect sir, it’s not of your fucken business whom our friends are!”
Nthabiseng answered the nosey taxi driver. When we got to the airport it was not like the first time when we arrived. This time I was nervous. I remember distinctly the lady at check-in asking,
“Any sharp objects?”
And my mouth drying up. I answered no and we had decided that we will check in separately. Honestly this life of crime is hard. It was Zethu’s idea as she thought it would not draw attention.
“If we enter separately our bags will not be together so when they scan them at the back they will not see similar things. Relax we got this but you are so going to owe us them!”
She said and we laughed. Why we laughed I don’t know because there is nothing funny about going to jail.
When we went through the final check in I only had my handbag which went through the scanner but when I went through the walk through scanning thing it beeped an alarm. I wanted to die. Had I been busted?
“Lift up your hands please ma’am!”
A chubby coloured security last asked me. It was so unnerving. Had the machine sensed that I had money somewhere? She ran that laser hand held machine thing over my body and again the alarm went off.
“Empty your pockets please!”
She asked me impatiently as though I was trying to run away. I started emptying them. I had not inspected my jacket when I wore it. It had been on the chair since the day we came and the night when I ended up wearing the catsuit the intention had been to wear it but it never happened. It was therefore supposed to be empty. When I put my hand inside immediately I felt something. It was like a rough shaped rock so I took it out.
“What is this?”
She asked me as it was what was beeping. I honestly thought these things only beep to metal.
“It’s not allowed on the plane!”
She told me and small as it was I thought I could use it as a weapon. I had to think fast and I put on my girliest voice and said,
“Shit, on the way to the airport my mother asked me to get her a stone from the ocean! That’s how it ended up in my pocket and not in the bag! It was a last minute thing. I guess I will have to throw it away!”
I told her dropping my shoulders to show that I had been defeated and I was remorseful for my mistake.
“Nah its fine, you people from the north are funny! Some of you even carry bottles of water imagine!”
She said and I laughed with her.
“We have to. If you are from Jhb and realize how dry it is I promise you ocean water is a luxury!”
I told her and we laughed together. Just like that I was forgiven for my trespass and I kept the rock as I went to join my friends. Already my mind was racing.
They asked me. I told them that I had forgotten one of the rocks I picked at the ocean and they laughed at me. I just looked stupid in that moment but I took it. This was obviously a lie. The rock was familiar. The day Ada went to meet that Mthobisi character he had come with some rock samples. I had gotten just a glimpse but I know for a fact he had. That was one of the rocks so how had it gotten into my pocket. The way my heart was beating so fast. I was angry because I know I had been used.
“Now it’s smooth sailing from here. I told you that everything will be fine and see it is!”
Nthabiseng said feeling proud of herself clearly. Even Zethu seemed fine it was just me. So much had happened already on this trip. I stood up and tried to call Ada. The phone did not ring. Instead that white last responded and said,
“The number you have tried to call does not exist on the MTN network!”
It must be a mistake. I called again and it said,
“The number you have tried to call does not exist on the MTN network!”
I was dumbfounded. I decided to call Abedi and unlike Ada his phone was just off as it went to voicemail.
Zethu asked me.
“I am trying to call Ada but it’s saying the number does not exist imagine!”
I told her.
“Probably just the network, sometimes I get that error message as well!”
She said which slightly put me at ease until I responded,
“But you would think that because of what we are carrying he would be calling every ten minutes to check on us?”
I asked her and she just laughed as she responded,
“Dude you are just being paranoid because of the other thing. Relax. Nothing is wrong. He is going to call.”
She told me. I was not sure what I was thinking or maybe she was right. We flew well and I got the window seat meaning I could take many pictures. When we got to Joburg we had absolutely no problems at the airport and I got to my room safe and sound. It was Sunday so it meant we were going to go eat out with the girls. No one wanted to cook and who can blame them.
“Aren’t you guys curious to count how much money there is?”
I asked them. No one had mentioned the money and we had not even taken it out of our luggage. We had taken one cab from the Gautrain in Park Station so we were all at my place.
“Do you think we should?”
I responded. I did not even have to say what it is that we must do as they somehow knew. We took all the money from our bags, or at least I think it was all of it.
“Each of us count what we carried. We just need to count one bundle and multiply.”
Zethu said. Well she was the one who probably knew the best maths amongst so it made sense we listened to her. After what looked like at five minutes of counting we each concluded that an average stack had about R7500. That was the average anyway as some were larger than others. All in all we had 13 stacks.
“Who are the people?”
I asked the girls.
“This is scary guys I don’t think we should be hanging out with them otherwise we will find ourselves in serious trouble!”
The most unlikely person said, Zethu.
“Mfethu you are the one who said I should take the apartment. If I cancel them what do I do tomorrow?”
I asked and I was met with silence. We were all thinking it though how much of a bad idea this was.
“Guys Ada thinks one of us stole the money in the hotel. I thought he was going to kill me when he questioned me!”
I reminded them of the incident that we still had to address.
“But how could we have stolen it, we did not even know there was money in the room!”
Even with Nthabiseng saying it felt like a lie with all the money sitting on the bed.
“Besides they are being selfish if they are going to be angry about such little money considering that we took all the risk and transported all this!”
Zethu added. She was right but also very brazen. Could she have stolen the money? It didn’t sit right though because she was the rich kid amongst us so I was not sure what to think.
“Today I was so scared guys and I really don’t think I can live like this.”
I confessed to them.
“So you think they are criminals?”
Nthabiseng asked and for a moment I paused before I responded.
“Do the maths guys, why do they not bank money? What kind of business makes you carry so much money around?”
I told them what I was thinking.
“That means we have all benefited from criminal money. Does that make us accessories?”
Nthabiseng asked and I responded,
“What are accessories?”
I think I had heard that word before but I was not quite sure what it meant. Cue Zethu,
“It probably does because we knowingly transported the money…”
She said but was cut off by Nthabiseng,
“But we did not know it was stolen! In fact we still do not know that it was stolen so how are we accessories?”
She asked surprised.
“Does this mean we can go to jail if say, they are caught and they mention who transported the money?”
I asked the girls and for the first time no one had answers as it sunk in what exactly this could mean.