DOUG’S TALES
TOWING JAMES’ CAR

*warning - Adult content*

Now me, I believe in the whole,’ your shit is yours, mine’s mine, just be cool, and everything will be cool’ philosophy.

And it works. 

And me, I help people. You need a hand, whatever, just tune me, and there’s no worries.

So yesterday, well, actually the day before, James asked if I could tow his car to his spot a couple of km’s away. He reckons there’s some guy there who’ll be able to fix it, whatever, so I’m like ok, no worries.

I was supposed to help him then, but something happened, so we decided to do it yesterday, round three, half past three ish.

It’s a good thing that we’re moving his car, because Sarah’s been pissed about it, it’s been outside the house for ages now, and the various guys trying to fix it make noise, drop bottles and cigarette butts, so all in all, it’s a good thing if this car just goes away. So, me, I’m eager to help.

So, James and I are chatting outside. He’s not a bad guy. He’s staying with Joey’s mom, and it can’t be easy, and it’s obvious that the kids dig him, so, me, I’ve got time for the guy. He’s also not one of the dealer guys, or drinking fuckups that come round, he’s not a bad guy. He’s also Muslim, and it’s really nice to see how the kids deal with it, and the whole thing, so, me, I don’t mind him. 

So, we’re hanging around outside. There’s no big rush. It’s not that far, everything’s cool, so we’re just chatting. 

And we’re talking about the various types of rehabilitation facilities there are, what kind of policies actually work, we’re chatting about how the kids are dealing with the whole setup with the mom, the fuckups with the cops, how more of the locals are switching to smack, and going to the other spot, the spot where Denzel and I took that trunk the one day, and we’re just chatting.

Anyway, We do the thing, I go down to the bottom of the road, to come back facing the other way, when I see that the house right at the bottom on the left, has a For Sale sign on it. 

This is news to me. So I get out, and go inside.

The guy whose spot it is, is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. 

He’s this old guy, sixty something, maybe older. He’s got silver grey bits in his hair and in his beard. He wears these very old glasses that it’s obvious he’s repaired a couple of times, and they hang from a shoelace around his neck. 

Every day, for as long as we’ve lived here, this guy leaves his spot around nine ish and slowly walks up the hill, down onto the main road, and all the way over to the swimming pool and back again, roughly five k’s. A couple of years back, he’d jog it, but now, it’s a gentle walk, and it’s cool. I’ve done it with him a couple of times, and literally every guy, shop owner, whoever, says hello, or asks about this or that, and it’s obvious that everyone’s cool with him, and he’s cool with them. He does this walk in a blue and yellow municipal work overcoat, while wearing these heavy old style work boots. He says he’s comfortable in them, so, me, I don’t tune him.

And he’s a nice guy. He smiles, asks how Sarah is, the dogs wag their tails when they see him every morning, he jokes about my waist, you know, just a nice, friendly guy, that’s been around for ages.

But now he’s leaving. He’s sold the spot, and moving back to his family in Zululand. We shake hands, and almost hug, and we joke about how the neighbourhood will change now. He sold his spot to some young guy, he’ll be moving in pretty soon, so that’s pretty much it.

Anyway, I go up the hill and we hook up James’ car, and we tow it to his spot, I leave him there, and come back, Sarah’s just got back from work, so I make us a cup of coffee, and start cooking this whole Moroccan chicken thing and that’s pretty much that. Yesterday.

Now. 

The fuckup is that last night’s the first night of the whole fireworks festival thing, and all over the neighbourhood there’s these massive bangs, flashes, and whatever. It sucks, because Maus gets very scared and’s trembling, and the cat’s hiding under the cushions, but the thing’s over by ten, and they all seem to settle down. Nandi’s sleeping on the bed, Maus on the couch in the bedroom, and Ginger Cat on the ironing board in the laundry room. I don’t know why, but she likes that spot. She’s weird.

But this morning, I get up, I make breakfast, whatever, the usual vibe.

I’m closing the gate and I see Doug and this dark haired lady, who I know has been in jail for at least four months, so she’s obviously just got out. We start chatting, how loud the fireworks were, about sorting James out yesterday, whatever.

Then Doug starts telling me about what happened at the other spot, the smack joint at the top of the stairs.

Apparently, while all the fireworks were banging, and crashing, and exploding, these guys went in, and just starting shooting and smashing everything. One guy died, a couple of other people got to the clinic, the whole place is shot to pieces, the whole thing. 

And apparently no one actually noticed from around there because they all thought it was the fireworks.

Now me, I’m kinda not really surprised by this whole thing. 

A while ago, there’d been this whole fuckup where these arsehole guys running this other spot from further along the main road, had pulled in, and started causing shit because one of the lady’s working for them was coming round Doug’s spot, trying to get away from them. And there’d been this whole scene, with the one guy smacking Denzel with a cricket bat, and the one girl getting a chunk taken out of her head, and all this stuff.

Now, James told me yesterday that these other guys were trying to start making moves into the whole smack scene, and so, to me, this looked like what they had obviously done. 

So I tell Doug this, and he’s saying that’s what he’s been figuring as well, but no one’s quite sure yet. 

Then he tells me about how the one girl’s arm got infected, supposedly from a spider bite, but we both figure it’s actually from a needle, and how she’s now in King Edward, and she’ll most likely lose the arm. I’ve seen her around a couple of times. 

Then he tells me about how the crazy lady with no teeth has been missing for the last couple of days, apparently she’d gone with some guys to score in town, and just hasn’t come back yet. I asked him if they’d scanned the clinics, etc., and he said that Denzel’s actually doing that now, so they should know something.

And then the girl calls him inside, and I go back inside our spot. 

I normally finish the coffee while reading the rest of the paper, and then I’ll take my meds. Zandile was here yesterday, so it’s just the dishes to do. I should weed some of the driveway as well, but I don’t think I will.

I’ve got to call James ‘round lunch time to check what his story is, if he needs me to pick him up or what, I’ve also been meaning to call a couple of people I haven’t spoken to in a while, just to say howzit, check that they’re cool.

Just basic stuff.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

The author

Nick Miles is a Durban based writer, with a zany and distinctive writing style.

He lives with his partner Sarah and their dog, Nandi and Ginger cat.