English / An Unforgettable Incident

An Unforgettable Incident

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Autor:  anton  09 June 2011
Tags:  Unforgettable,  Incident
Words: 1019   |   Pages: 5
Views: 842

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 me.

So I do it. I don't even pack my clothes, just grab a few things out of my important papers drawer, put the money in a less obvious duffle bag, and walk out of my apartment. Just like that, it's the end of my life as I'd lived it up until that moment. I take a bus downtown and have one of those makeovers done; I figure I should look different if I'm going to get away with this and if I'm going to be slapping down a lot of money, I should look like I have a right to it. So then I go into Stuttafords and have the sales girls fit me up with the right clothes. I buy some matching luggage to put the clothes in, catch a cab for the airport, and I'm on my way.

Turns out the world looks different when you're wearing money. I catch the first plane out, which happens to be headed for Cape Town. It seems the perfect place to go. Of course I probably won't have long before I'm tracked. I have to buy the plane tickets in my own name since I wasn't prepared with a set of fake documents just in case someone dropped a million bucks cash in my lap (I hadn't actually counted it yet, but I was pretty sure it had to be at least that much).

So in less than 24 hours I’d gone from a hot dog on the corner of Chatsworth market to lobster at the top of the Arabella Sheraton. Throw in a little plot and now it's like the story of my life is just waiting to be written. "Yeah, I like that fine."

So it wasn't my fault the guy left his briefcase in the back of my cab, but it would've been my fault if I hadn't taken the chance when it came. Nobody who can't afford to lose it carries a million in cash, nobody who kept their hands clean making it. So I figure it was a fair game. I took the risk and it changed my life.

Now its 5 years later and I’m still going strong. It doesn't seem safe to go home again, not after all that's happened, but I can't think why I would want to. There's a lot of sunshine out here in the South. That and fifty thousand bucks makes the world seem like a whole different place, and that one day in my life was my unforgettable experience.

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