About twenty kilometres from Luderitz, amidst a small community of farm and mine workers and scrap metal collectors, George began to carve out an existence for himself.
As he hard zinc metal pressed against his back in the nights, he often thought of the soft bed he left behind in Katutura. He would never see such a bed again. Not likely. He had never lived for so long in such discomfort. For someone who grew up with luxuries like double beds, swimming pools and weekend braais, the prospect of living the rest of his life, stealing and scavenging for food was looking less and less appealing.
Of course, this was what his plans ultimately were leading to. Sam and Jakubus get the money. Money wasn’t what George was after. He already got what he wanted. But he was starting to have second thoughts four weeks into his plan. How was he going to last years? The rest of his life?
For the fourth night in a row, he needed to be reminded why he was doing this. He turned to his side and pulled the newspaper which was just by the mirror on the side of his makeshift bed. Makeshift bed was being kind. It was merely dirty blankets laid out across zinc plates and a rolled up jacket for a pillow.
He caught his reflection as he did the paper. His face was barely recognizable from four weeks ago. His hair, unkempt and paired with an uncut beard gave him the look of a homeless man. He read the story on the front page of the paper.
“Brave Shikongo, the prime suspect in the shooting in Soweto three weeks ago has today been charged with murder, after the weapon used in the shooting was found with his finger prints. A reward of N$350 000 was handed to Sam Sheekupe and Jukubus Frankie whose information to the police was instrumental in identifying Shikongo as a suspect. Shikongo became a suspect after he missed work at the Statehouse where he has been employed for the past five years. After his house was raided last week, explosives were found on his property, which he denied having any knowledge of. Shikongo could now be facing more than murder charges of George Phineas.” That helped.
It took a lot to plan everything as it was going. But it was all going so well. Sam and Jukubus got to share the reward money, but it was George who set everything up. He didn’t care about the money. Seeing the face of Brave on the newspaper cover as he unsuccessfully tried to hide his face from the camera bought him joy.
The truth was, Brave did not pull any trigger on George. After all George was alive and unharmed. Brave was also certainly no explosives expert. However, George was. Brave was likely looking at lifetime imprisonment with insufferable interrogations on his intentions with the explosives. His finger prints were on everything, he had no alibis and all the witnesses were paid. He would live out his miserable life in prison and George would live his miserable life out here in the middle of nowhere.
“It’s worth it,” he spoke to the paper, perhaps the first time he spoke aloud that day.
He was trying to convince himself as much as he wanted to scoff at Brave. Brave was not guilty for this crime, but it did not mean he was not a killer. George laughed softly. If the laws of the land will not show justice then he was going to take it into his own hands. He wiped away a tear and continued to read the article.
“Intriguingly, nine years ago Shikongo was cleared of any charges after the car he was driving hit another vehicle, killing three and injuring one. The only survivor of that accident was Phineas, who Shikongo was accused of murdering. Although Phineas’ body is yet to be recovered, after the taxi he was shot in disappeared, it was believed that he blamed Shikongo for the death of his family, who perished on the road that day. Phineas has previously declared that Shikongo was driving while under the influence and believed that this was covered up by a cousin working for Traffic Control.”
He had previously ignored this part of the article because of the bitterness of its facts. He already knew what Brave did nine years ago. But the paragraph had new information. His body was never recovered. But he gave Sam everything he needed to make sure the police was convinced the body was recovered. He had given Sam a pint of his own blood and the body from a morgue to throw into the fire he burned the taxi he was shot in. This was a loose end.
There would likely still be a search for a body. He blinked. The plan was already going awry.