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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronically, electrostatic magnetic tape or mechanically; including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the author. Although this is a fictional work, some of the locations, organisations and events are factual. The characters and times in the story line are fictional - therefore, all resemblances to actual people present or past are purely coincidental.

The Duster - by Wolf Scherman



Synopsis



Ever wonder about those unassuming vehicles as they drive between the peaceful sleepy suburbs and the airports? Ever wonder why they seem so much more purposeful at midnight or a while after? I'm sure there are a great many that would hate to miss a flight to a happy and well-deserved holiday destination. But I listen attentively to an old Professor over bitter black coffee sometimes who says he doesn't wonder about things that doesn't concern him. He doesn't sleep much he says, because he'd seen those unassuming vehicles pass, and above all he'd seen some of them park at his office during the sleepy moments he didn't want to talk about too often. But let me tell you, he still makes the best lonely cup of coffee at night because of them...

Prologue



When the voters sleep a deep sleep, a wonderful forever sleep, Gregg is still awake, looking, staring at his phone. He knows that the phone will ring. If not tonight maybe tomorrow, but it will ring. It always does.

9pm Tuesday on a rainy chilly Johannesburg evening.



Deserving of a good old Indian curry - and Gregg was home, slicing away patiently on two large fresh onions that he sautéed with ginger and garlic before he added a generous measure of cumin and star aniseed.



"Shop Marsala, or my own cocktail from my mother's recipe mixed with it?" He looked up from the fragrant pot that was fast filling his home with a mouthwatering aroma. He aimed the look from the stove towards the lounge area, awaiting an answer...



'The previous morning'.



"Are you up?" It was the second call for the morning and Gregg was already contemplating the hours ahead over a steamy cup of imported coffee while he was debating the strangeness of the first call. The voice was equally resolutely thankless as the one before, and he couldn't wait to just once detect a measure of appreciation in it. The call was unwelcome and the request untimely and really framed how cold the world was.



"Does it matter, it's 3am..."



"Good, our instructions are at the usual place. Oh, and dress warm. Cold front on its way." The voice warned and abruptly hung up.



'That was a nice surprise, and nice talking to you too. Please send my regards to the guys at the office.' Gregg Padiachee carried on his sarcasm into the mute mobile phone.



'Better get dressed then don't I?' He carried on the conversation with himself. After an icy shower, to push him properly out from slumber land's door and onto the creepy streets of his world, he carelessly wrapped a fresh towel around him and walked barefooted down the dark passage to his lounge. Having lit an incense stick after taking the lotus position he tried to cut himself off from his surroundings and exhaled as he closed his eyes. As much as he needed to he couldn't. No amount of his vital meditation or yoga was going to eradicate his thoughts. He looked back at the photo of Mark fooling around at a recent birthday party, having thought it apt to inhale from helium filled balloons and staged an unforgettably funny impression of Donald Trump. Gregg managed just the hint of a smile, rose to his feet while eyeing the memorable photo, and turned his head away as he walked over to the kitchen to boil the kettle.



'Going to miss him...' Gregg said to himself and put his hands up to cover his eyes, almost signifying praying for forgiveness in advance.



Thirty minutes later he was spraying rainwater back onto the embankment and testing the limits of his Audi R8 as he swerved sharp right for a goods truck that in turn served out for a broken down vehicle in the far left lane. After bypassing the truck he aimed back into the much preferred middle lane to head east, away from the N3 highway past Eastgate towards Johannesburg International Airport. Gregg thought the accident he narrowly averted as symbolic of the mechanics of his career, having to constantly improvise for unanticipated obstacles.



"Nice to see you join us in person now and then Sir, not only sending business our way. Monday 05:25am, flight to Cape Town International, return flight Tuesday 01:10pm. Is that in order? Oh and here is a second ticket for a second passenger. You have a copy of the passenger details please?" The tall South African Airways ticket sales consultant remarked with a practised smile and Gregg concluded the brief meeting by handing her a folded page and winked.



"Yes, a different employee returning." Smiling as he thanked her and made his way to the sleepy domestic boarding hall, having had a peek at his wristwatch.



'10:10am in a stormy grey Cape Town.'



Gregg stared from the window which overlooked the rough fuming waves, mercilessly breaking onto the jagged rocks below.



'Even the seagulls are hiding today.' He thought but noticed a small persistent white bird, repeatedly dodging foam as it walked in between the billowing foam on the frozen beach, pecking at whatever had washed up.


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