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Jo'Burg Days: A Maroon BMW And A Heap Of Chips

The businessman is in a hurry, but what is he hurrying towards?

Barbara Durlacher tells a story, based on a real event, of an incident at a service station.

‘Yup; fill ‘er up, and check the oil, and water and clean the wind-screen’ he growled as he slammed the door of the luxurious maroon BMW.

Irritated, and rushing to keep that late appointment, he knew that if he did not look sharp, he would miss Jaap once again, and he really needed to speak to him about the contract for the bridge footings.

‘Jus’ get a move on hey,’ he called over his shoulder as he walked rapidly across the forecourt, hand already reaching for his wallet, cell-phone clamped to his ear as he answered another of the hundreds of calls he took every day.

Stomach rumbling, ‘Good Lord, I haven’t eaten since last night,' he shouted across to the fast-food counter. ‘One jumbo hamburger and a large helping of fries,’ as he picked up that day’s newspaper, a large bar of Nestles Hazelnut Chocolate and a litre of milk.

‘What’s the damage?’ he queried at the till, digging into the inner pocket of his jacket.

‘Afternoon, Sir’ the pert little coloured girl smiled at him, quickly ringing up the items. ‘I’ll just have to wait until the attendant finishes filling your car, before I can give you a total. ‘I’ll give you a bag for these in the meantime,’ she suggested, ‘You’ll have your hands full with the hamburger and fries. Better put ‘em in a bag.’

‘Just hurry up,’ he growled at her as he scooped up his change, ‘I’m in a hellava hurry, got to be in Pinetown by four and it’s nearly three-thirty already. Turning to the fast-food counter, ‘Haven’t you got that damn hamburger ready yet?’ he yelled as he grabbed the bag from the girl and opened the door.

Then his glance settled on the maroon BMW as it moved away from Pump 4. Food forgotten, he sprinted into the forecourt, waving his arms.

‘Whaddaya think ya doing, you fools? That’s my bloody car!’

Three shots rang out, two hitting him in the chest. Tyres squealing, it accelerated out of its turn, knocking him down and driving over him.

Scattered around him on the forecourt was his phone, ringing emptily into the sudden silence. A squashed plastic bottle leaked milk onto the tarmac. A startled attendant dropped the hamburger and packet of greasy chips as he took in what had happened.

‘Tell Jaap I couldn’t make it,’ were his last mumbled words, as his eyes clouded over. ‘He’ll have to manage the contract alone.’

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