by Mircea “Mitch” Negres, South Africa
It was still light and the cops were patrolling, so he decided to wait until midnight. The women went to sleep while he sat quietly in the lounge, a cup of coffee on the small table in front of him, the Glock 19 next to his right leg. Midnight came and went. Eventually 1AM came around and there hadn’t been a cop van in ten minutes or so. Must be shift change or they stopped to eat somewhere. Hopefully the roads will be clear. Time to go… He holstered his Glock and went to wake up his wife. After that, he roused his daughters and told them all not to turn on the light, but get dressed as quickly as possible. Within minutes, they were out of the house, his pistol under his right thigh, car lights off and moving towards Walmer Boulevard. He thought about taking Cape Road hours before, but going to Cape Town was a bad idea and besides, Mike was in the Free State. So, he drove past the airport, turned left when he hit the freeway a couple of minutes later and kept going towards Cradock. He drove as fast as he could; luckily there weren’t many cars on the road and so far no roadblocks either. At speeds of 140-150 km/h, he passed Cradock just two hours later and was making good time to his old buddy’s farm outside Bloemfontein. The road was sometimes winding, at other times narrow and unlit in many parts, but he pushed on. The burdened 4×4 was reasonably economical under normal circumstances. However he was burning through his tank because of the high speed and less than aerodynamic load bed. There wasn’t much traffic, just some food and fuel delivery trucks making their way to Port Elizabeth. Amazingly, there were no roadblocks. Maybe that was going to start in a few hours. Maybe not. After all, TIA- This Is Africa… He checked the radio stations.
There wasn’t much on the English-speaking ones, but what he could understand of the black language stations pointed to a lot of heavy political discussion that was very negative about whites. It seemed to him there was a push towards hostility, but it was hard to make out.
His fuel tank was down to 40% by the time he reached Colesberg. Tired after riding for over three hours at pretty high speed on poorly lit roads and with everybody in need to pee and stretch their legs, he pulled into the gas station. Looking around, he saw two pump jockeys sitting around a radio outside, and a woman behind the counter inside. He got out of the car and tiredly told the approaching pump jockey to fill ‘er up with diesel. The women were lying back, almost out of sight, and the pump jockey hadn’t seen them, but they woke up as soon as they heard Jan slam shut the driver’s door. The guy looked at them funny when they too climbed out and made a comment to his colleague in Xhosa. His bad luck- Jan spoke the language fluently, having spent his youth on a citrus farm outside Port Elizabeth, so he understood immediately both of these guys were going to jump him and grab the women. When he looked at the cashier inside, she was on the phone. His hackles went up. Before the women took three steps, he pulled out his Glock and fired two shots in the pump jockey’s chest. The second guy was trying to approach from the right, out of his line of sight, with a tire iron in his hand. Not his lucky day… Jan put two rounds in his chest too, then turned towards the cashier and fired again, hitting her in the back from 15 meters away. He then moved quickly to the door which slid open automatically, went around the counter, hung up the phone and put a round in the cashier’s head. It was over in about 10 seconds, but now he had big problems. There was no telling who might have heard the shots and if a truck pulled in right now…
He shouted to his wife to fill up the tank and told his daughters to bring the bodies of the two pump jockeys inside. The women were stunned. They’d never seen this kind of thing before and stood there like deer caught in floodlights. He looked under the counter for the surveillance system and yanked out its wires then smashed the recorder unit. It was probably of no use if camera footage was stored off-site, but every little bit helps. The women were still looking at each other dumbly, so he went out. It took a bit of pushing and prodding to get them to move, but they carried the bodies and dumped them behind the counter. Luckily this was real life instead of Hollywood, and winter to boot. The pump jockeys’ thick jackets had absorbed most of the blood. The little that had dripped on the ground was washed off with the water can next to the pump that was used to top off radiators and everything looked normal at first glance, except for the small bullet hole in the window and mess behind the counter. After that, while his wife handled the pump, he policed up his spent brass, went into the shop to take some snacks, protein bars, sandwiches, cans of fish, packets of biltong and Red Bull along with a few cartons of cigarettes (he didn’t smoke, but they might come in handy) and other odds and ends, then left. He pulled out of the station quietly, and headed once more towards Bloemfontein at normal speed so as not to attract attention. Right now, his best bet was to reach Mike’s farm faster than the cops could figure out who had shot the gas station employees, although any way he looked at it, a halfway competent investigator would know within hours just by searching for his car’s licence plate on the police database if they got hold of the footage. Under normal circumstances, he would’ve called the cops and stayed at the scene. He’d still have been arrested, though with the way things were beginning to look, especially since the two guys tried to attack his family in full view of the cameras, it seemed unlikely he’d have lived to see the trial. No, it was just as well he’d left. The country was heading for war, he was convinced of that. In such a case, three dead gas station employees wouldn’t matter, not when the government would have bigger problems to deal with. Besides, it’s not as if this was the LAPD or NYPD. Here the cops mostly didn’t know their assholes from their elbows and the police stations were still not linked nationally. By the time it occurred to anybody to freeze his bank accounts and alert border posts, he’d be long gone.
To be continued…