Well, an effective answer escapes me. Suffice to say that any story needs a starting place and this seems as good as any… Many things were happening at the same time and it was, in fact a “turning point” of sorts in my life.
Hillbrow, Johannesburg, 1995 – or thereabouts.
I’m having a beer at the Summit club. It was probably early morning because there weren’t many people around. The pool bar on the first floor of the Summit Club was actually almost deserted, save for a few patrons shooting pool.
For those familiar with the Summit in those days, I don’t need to set the scene. For the benefit of others, I shall tell you a bit more. The 14 storey’d Summit Club was probably the biggest “brothel” in all of South Africa (maybe the world). But, it was so much more than that! It was filled with real characters, some of whom you’ll get to know in this blog and eventual book. Being situated in the infamous Hillbrow suburb of Johannesburg, it attracted the best, the worst and sometimes the undefined that any culture could offer.
Back to that day… A lot of thoughts were going through my mind, so I wasn’t paying any particular attention to what was happening around me. A while ago, I had started “handling the keys” of a group of young Thai Hostesses and my nights were long and troubled. No, I wasn’t their pimp, they had managers… I was only entrusted with their room keys, enabling them to book clients and have someone there that could keep an eye on the clock, so to speak. Besides that, I was having some financial issues that needed solutions.
My girlfriend, a black girl named Mavis, was probably pregnant and I was looking for a way to get us out of the Summit and into some better accommodations. Not that the Summit accommodations were all that bad, just that the prevalence of drugs, loud music and all kinds of illicit activities seemed inappropriate to a baby’s birth. Being key-holder for the Thai’s wasn’t paying as much as I had expected, maybe I was doing it all wrong? Besides that, Mavis had introduced me to a friend of hers that had some “banking deal” I could get in on… More about that later.
The game at the pool tables had not entered my thoughts, until I saw a movement in front of me and Fat Milton (I don’t know his real name) said something to the tune of “Look somewhere else, you’re giving me bad luck!”
Paying more attention now, I looked at him and replied that I wasn’t looking at him or the game, so if he had bad luck it was all his own doing. Now, those of you that know/knew Fat Milton, will know he was not a nice guy. He did have kind eyes though, come to think of it…
He waddled over to where I was perched on the bar stool, stood in front of me and before I could even blink, he had slapped me. “Slap” is a very hard word to use here. Milton did not make a fist when he hit me, so a slap is probably the only word that can describe what happened. But a slap from Milton was something that I would wish on nobody!
The next thing I knew I was waking up, slumped a few feet away from where I had been sitting. Milton was back at the pool table so I guess I must have been out a few seconds, minutes..who knows how long. He didn’t even pay any attention to me as I stumbled out of the bar and towards the lift (elevator). My head was pounding, my limbs were as lead and I can distinctly remember a very weird taste in my mouth, not blood, I knew the taste of blood. It was more like bile, perhaps the imagined taste of revulsion!
That was the first and only time I had ever been knocked out. Yes, I have had my fair share of brawls, scuffles and drunken bravado clashes. This was something else!
Back in the room I shared with Mavis, I washed my face and lay on the bed. Mavis was sleeping and didn’t notice that I had come in. My thoughts were in a total mess! What the fuck just happened?
While piecing together the whole incident, some deep and dark feeling started rising inside of me and it was upon me before I even realized it. He’s going to pay for that…
Revenge was a concept that I had no real idea of because I had usually seen things as “OK, that’s done, now move on…” Winning, losing, taken for a ride, taking someone for a ride… all things to do with my life until then had not prepared me for that momentous word.
I don’t know if I actually planned or already knew what would follow. (Well, I know the answer now and so will you shortly)
… to be continued…