Authors: Fanie Viljoen
For the broken and the beaten – when the music is all you’ve got left, crank the volume right up.
This book won’t make you feel better about yourself, it won’t explain the meaning of life, and it certainly won’t help you ‘find’ yourself. If Mommy and Daddy don’t like it when you read books with explicit language do one of the following right now:
If you still have the book in your hands, you probably want to continue reading it. Tzhen, my bru, you’re in for a hell of a ride, but be warned: this book is going to mess with your mind and it may just leave you even more fucked-up than you already are.
to begin …
It was Friday night. I sent an SMS to Kerbs:
2night, 12 bells. bring ur tools. i'l open the hate.
âOpen the hate, what hate?' grunted Kerbs while slipping through the gate. The rain poured down and shined on his jacket.
âThe SMS, dude'
âThe gate, Kerbs!'
âYou really should learn how to fucking spell, Burns.'
âYeah, the day you find a job.'
It had been a year now since Kerbs finished school, and he was still unemployed. I always reckoned that anyone who even considered giving him a job would be totally off their rocker.
âYeah, right,' said Kerbs.
Back to business: Everything was organised. I nicked three of my mom's sleeping pills earlier that night. One for the mutt. (He'd chowed down hard on that vienna and by now he was in doggy dreamland.) One for the old man. (He knocked back the whiskey and should be hanging around alcoholic heaven roundabout now.) Last but not least, one for my mom â in her coffee. I think she had already popped one by herself as well, but I wasn't going to take any chances. (She was probably so wired that
we would only see her later the following afternoon.) Kelly missed the drug party. (She was with her boyfriend again.)
âCome on, I'm getting soaked,' I said to Kerbs.
He walked up to my mom's brand new BMW in the driveway. âIs the alarm off?'
I pressed the button on the remote. The car's lights flashed and the doors jumped open, but we couldn't take the easy road. It would look too suspicious.
It was the perfect night to put our plan into action: Mom forgot to park the car in the garage. She'd intended going to the gym but it had probably slipped her mind. The rain also helped; the neighbours would be sound asleep. And nobody would show their faces to investigate strange noises.
Kerbs stood ready with a brick in his hand. His gaze met mine. I nodded. With great force he hurled the brick through the car's passenger window. The glass
shattered, shooting away like stars and falling on the wet paving. Only then did he open the door.
âDo you know what you're doing?' I asked.
He got into the car and wedged a screwdriver between the Kenwood front loader CD player and the dashboard. It wasn't easy, but he didn't take any shit. I could hear the dashboard cracking. With the tip of the screwdriver lodged behind the CD player, he pressed it forward. Hard! The mounting snapped. One forceful jerk and the player popped from the dashboard like a new born baby from his mom's tummy. Hurriedly Kerbs cut the wires.
âDon't just stand there watching me, you should check to make sure nobody's coming,' he said.
But I couldn't help it; one ought to learn how to do this kind of thing. You never know
when you might need the knowledge and skills. (Outcomes based education turning around to bite the community in the ass.)
Kerbs started on the speakers. After a while he said, âNo, shit, I'm not going to hassle with this, it'll take a lifetime.'
âOkay.' I shrugged. âO yeah, check out the cubby-hole. The sunglasses â¦'
Kerbs removed my mom's Police sunglasses and stuffed them in his pocket.
âI also planted her cell phone in there. My mom sometimes forgets it in the car. She'll never know it was me.'
It was a Nokia. Small technological wonder: GPS system, WAP enabled (unlike its user) and it could take photos, record sound, you name it. She uses it to phone people.
âOkay, do you have everything?'
âYes.' Kerbs stuffed the loot into a black
âAlright then, you have to go now.'
âSee you later, bru.' Kerbs gave me a pat on the back. âOpen the gate.'
Again, he slipped through the gate. The rain came down even harder now. I watched the raindrops run down the BMW's leather seats.
So much for the new car smell.
Kerbs' car pulled away in the street. It backfired once, sounding like a gunshot.
I entered the house. Everything was dark, but I knew the way to my room. Hey, I must have done it a million times, after long, drunk nights on the street.
The sudden voice from the living room startled me.
âDad?' I asked when I saw his silhouette moving against the curtains with the patio light on in the background.
My heart started racing.
âWhy didn't you tell us you were going out?'
Two things he said totally confused me.
Numba one: who were the âus' he was referring to? Was it him and my mother? They haven't been much of an âus' for a long time now.
Numba two: did he really think I went out? Did or didn't he know?
What could he have heard? What could he have seen?
Silently I rewound the night's events in my mind.
Noises: the click of the opening gate; our voices in the driveway; the brick sending
the car's window to hell; the cracking of the dashboard; the click of the gate opening up a second time; Kerbs' car backfiring.
See: fuck all from the house â there were way too many plants. Except if he came out of the house. Kerbs was right, I shouldn't have checked him out, I should have kept an eye out for nosy onlookers.
Fast forward to where we were last.
I realised that it was one of those soapie moments where the silence lasts a lifetime and one of the actors simply tilts his head to the side until it becomes time for an ad break.
Where was my ad break?
Okay, time to decide.
He didn't know â ride the wave.
âI was only out for a while. I didn't think you would mind.'
âYou and Kerbs?'
Damn, does he know?
Again, I pulled a soapie response. âKerbs?' Testing the water.
âI heard his car backfire.'
Never, bru, where do grown-ups learn these things? He was playing cat and mouse with me. Did he want me to come up with the whole bag of stolen goods?
âSwitch on the light so that I can see you.'
Pros & cons, I thought instantly. Con: he might see that I'm lying. Pro: I could see if he doesn't really know.
The light was blindingly bright â like
We both twitched our eyes until we were used to the light.
I saw the glass of whiskey I had poured for him earlier. He hadn't drunk it. He must have known something was up when I brought him a drink without him asking for it.
He sat there with a full glass in his hands. (That time of night?) Obviously, he was smashed. His shirt was unbuttoned and wrinkled.
He wasn't wearing pants.
I darted off to my room.
Lock the door! Lock the fucking door!
One of these days I am going to smash his skull in, I decided.
I knew he was standing on the other side of the door.
And the voices in my mind came rushing fast and furious.