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An Unforgettable Incident

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Autor:   •  June 9, 2011  •  1,019 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,165 Views

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OK, I ask you, is it my fault? Is it my fault the guy leaves his briefcase in the back seat of my cab? It's not my fault.

I get a cheap hot dog at a stand down the block -- my usual lunch, and I'm still tasting it when the next guy, a business type, taps on the glass and tells me there's a briefcase on the floor and says he's not riding in the back with an unidentified briefcase. Durban is the city of paranoia these days -- like terrorists spent months plotting to blow up my cab, who would care? But maybe he thinks he's important enough to make a good target because he sure is making a lot of noise about it. So I get out and grab the case and pull it up front. He settles back in his seat. I open the case, snap it shut again as fast as I can, and hit on the accelerator.

"The case is all right?" asks Mr. Paranoid.

"Yeah, it's fine," I answer. "Just a bunch of business stuff."

I let him out about ten blocks down, and don't even check to see if he dropped me a tip. My heart is pounding so hard in my chest I'm thinking the whole time he must be able to hear it, but I guess he didn't. I drive the cab to my apartment building. It's all the way across town and normally I'd never do something like that since I have to pay for every click on the meter, but I want to get that briefcase inside where no one else can see it.

With the door shut and bolted on my little studio, I sit down on the saggy bed and pop open that case. It's full of money. Money, money, and more money. The previous guy was so busy entertaining his girlfriend and his calls he left behind a suitcase full of it. I didn't spend a whole lot of time wondering what it would be like to be so rich you could let a case full of money slip your mind, but I did try to picture it for a second. Unimaginable. So instead I concentrated on deciding what to do now that it was all in my hands. The guy might forget about it momentarily, but he'd come looking for it soon enough.

Was I going to give it back, or was I going to keep it?

Sure, right about now you're thinking I'd have been stupid to keep it. The guy probably had it marked, they'd find me in a heartbeat, the money didn't belong to me and it was just wrong. You're thinking all that now, but if you were sitting in a shit apartment in a shit neighborhood in Chatsworth with enough currency in your hands to wallpaper the whole building, you wouldn't be so quick to think like that.

I'm not the kind of boy who's ever done much worth talking about: haven't taken many risks, been driving a cab since I got out of high school, and never been any farther out of Durban than Transkei. I'm not the kind of guy people remember. I'm plain, in the way I look, the way I talk, the way I live. You couldn't write a book about my life because there would be no plot, no story. If I disappeared this minute, no one would miss me. Mr. Dlamini would miss his cab until he got the cops to track it down. The fare would miss his money until he figured he wasn't getting it back. But no one would miss


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