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Zarin Thomson April 2012
Zarin Thomson April 2012

Zarin Thomson currently lives in the beautiful wine area known as Stellenbosch, close to Cape Town, South Africa. He has been creating works of fiction since 1982 as a hobby. Writing has been one of the few constants in Zarin’s life. During this time he has worked in the restaurant industry and has written eight cocktail books. He has also produced several screen-plays as well as three albums and a book of poetry.

The Honest Man

Jo'berg is a funny place these days, then again, it's always been a funny place. The only real difference between now and then is that then you paid for condoms and got plastic bags for free…

I gave up on the force October '95 – now a 'freeman' so to speak. I would find myself travelling between Jo'berg and Pretoria every day for the silliest of reasons – being in the coffee game sent me from restaurant to bar to restaurant all day. It was hitting four-thirty and I was pretty keen on getting the last delivery done – I had a dinner date with one of my girlfriends at seven.

I pressed the accelerator down firmly, buzzing past cars, hitting one-hundred and eighty – not something I do often – well – Need for speed hardly counted if at all.

“If you love me, then you'll know what I want.” my ex had told me when I had asked her what she wanted for her birthday, I had been paging through a paper at the time – x box 360 had caught my eye at the time.

“X Box 360 it will be.” I had thought. Coincidences, got to love them. In this case it had lead, indirectly to us breaking up, which in hindsight, was a good thing. I had come to realize with time that the only thing she had been interested in was comfort and not our real purpose; our real nature.

The sound of a blaring siren tore my thoughts away from the past, a police car was following me. My speedometer read two hundred and forty.

“Shit… maybe…”

I turned into the middle lane and slowed down to one hundred and eighty but that didn't seem to be working well, clearly the officer wasn't trying to pass me in haste of… I was the prey this time round.

I slowed down more, finally coming to a standstill. By then the siren had been turned off. Searching my wallet I found one note – a two-hundred rand, or drinking vouchers as I called them from time to time.

“Oh for fuck's sake…”

The officer came round; by then I had wrapped the note around my driver's license. Yes. I was taking a large chance; one never could tell these days. But I felt safe – he looked the type.

“Can I see your driver's license?”

The name tag read 'Zuma' was good to see… I handed the note/license over. The cash disappeared.

“You were driving too fast.”

“I am sorry, officer, it will never happen again.” He shakes his head and hands my drivers license back to me. As he walked back to his vehicle I could only be thankful

“Oh well,” I decided, slowly pulling away. The last thing I needed was a fine.

I had hardly driven two hundred meters. Siren.

“What the fuck…” I thought. Same cop.

“Shit, this is not good,” I decided. “What on gods most merciful earth does he want this time?” I wondered. “Another bribe?”

Pulling over I expected the worst. I really could not deal with another fine.

I slowly wind the window down as he approached.

“Yes officer?” I asked.

A one-hundred rand note is passed to me.

“Sorry?” I thought in complete bewilderment. My bribe was… unethical? Not enough?

“I am an honest man. I do not overcharge.”With that he turned around and walked back to his car.

I still held the note as he drove past, contemplating on what a funny place Jo’berg is these days.