Recollections from a rehab – part nine

Continued from recollections from a rehab – part eight…

Jerad and Graham were just a couple of chancers who were out every day looking to find victims they could exploit in order to feed their habits. I could sense this the moment I met them and so didn’t take my eyes off them for one second, especially whenever they came back to my hotel room to use. Anything of value I kept locked in my room safe at all times and after a few days hanging out with me the frequency of their visits started to dwindle, as I guess they realised they weren’t going to be hitting me up for anything worthwhile anytime soon, which was just fine with me, as I’d by now developed my own rapport with the dealers over on the other side of the shopping complex, meaning they would now serve me whenever I went there unaccompanied, saving me what I had to lay on to Jerad for services rendered.

I stuck with one guy in particular, the improbably named Trevor, who was a black African who barely spoke any English. He was a stocky guy, with skin that was jet black in the way that only a native African’s skin can be. He had huge oval eyes, which were blood-shot and which always seemed to be watching me but he was relatively punctual and would drive to the hotel to meet me whenever I phoned him, day or night.

So began a month of being holed up in my hotel room, surrounded by staff who stole stuff from my laundry several times when I sent clothes to be cleaned, who ripped me off when I tried buying crack through the bell boy and who I generally couldn’t trust as far as I could throw them.

One evening I was standing looking out of my tenth floor window when I saw a guy being chased onto the beach, in the direction of the water, by the hotel security who stood in front of the hotel day and night in an attempt to make the guests feel a little more secure. There were security inside the hotel that were employees of the hotel chain, then there were those outside who were separately contracted to patrol the perimeter; the police were in actual fact the third port of call should an incident occur which couldn’t be resolved in-house.

The guy was being pursued by several big blokes and I could hear by the tone of his voice that he was pleading with them, although he was speaking in Afrikaans which I couldn’t understand. He ran behind a small building on the beach, which could have been a public toilet or similar, where he was obviously cornered by the security guys who all disappeared into the shadows after him.

I immediately began to hear his screams which pierced the night, sent shivers down my spine and lasted for a good long while as I stood there at the window. I began to get freaked out by what I was witnessing and phoned down to the front desk to let them know what was going on, although the response I got from the night attendant didn’t seem overly frantic with worry but she did say she would look into it and send security to check it out.

A few minutes passed and no one from the hotel walked over to the beach to see what was going on and so I phoned downstairs again, only to be told in no uncertain terms that, this was the way that thieves were dealt with in South Africa and that I might wish to close my window and watch TV instead.

Eventually after about fifteen minutes, the screaming died down and the security guys walked out from round the back of the building on the beach, although the guy they had been chasing didn’t walk back round with them, nor did he emerge at any point before, shaken, I eventually went to bed.

The next night I was standing out in front of the hotel having a smoke, when I got talking to one of the security guys. I asked him what had happened the previous night but he said that he hadn’t been working and so would need to find out himself, after which he went and spoke to a colleague for a few minutes. When he returned to where I was standing, he explained that the guy who had been chased had in fact robbed a woman on the street, who, unluckily for him, happened to be the wife of a senior police officer, sealing his fate.

I became friendly with a few of the security guys over the next week or so, with one in particular making a beeline for me whenever he saw me standing outside the front doors having a smoke, enjoying the cooling breeze coming in off the sea. He was a white guy named Darnie and we spent quite a few hours shooting the shit as I tried to learn a little of what made the South Africans tick.

Building these relationships served me quite well when one night I had been out to meet Trevor in his car. We had taken a short drive round the block whilst I was getting what I was getting, after which we were pulling up at the side of the hotel to drop me off. As I got out of the car and slammed the door shut, I noticed two black guys walking down the street towards me, with one of them making gestures with his hands, pointing at the car and appearing quite agitated. As they came close to me, one of them said something like “You buy drugs in car…Police!…against the wall!”

Of course I shit myself because I had wraps of heroin and crack in the waistband of my underwear and just thought “Fuck! I’m bang in trouble here!!” as they started to manhandle me against the wall, getting me to assume the position, whilst they started to rifle through the pockets of the jacket I was wearing.

As they started to take my possessions out of my pocket, I immediately sensed that something was wrong. Having unfortunately experienced this kind of thing before, it felt as though they were going about searching me a little too gingerly and they weren’t asking the kinds of questions that the police ask when searching suspected narcotics offenders, such as

“have you got anything in your pockets I might stick myself with?…any needles or knives in there?”

…that type of thing, in fact they were completely silent as they gently took stuff out of my pockets. As they were doing this, I glanced down and to my right slightly and saw one of them remove my mobile phone, which was a really nice Android, and hold it in his hand, which really started alarm bells ringing, so I turned round quickly and looked the one with my phone in the eye and said

“Ok guys, I really don’t like the way you’re going about this stop and search, could I please see some ID?”.

This immediately produced a look of unease on their faces, which confirmed my suspicions that I was in fact being robbed, causing me to do something which sounds quite courageous on paper but which I only did because I knew there were plenty of security about, had I have been down some back alley, I would have definitely played it a lot safer.

The one closest to me with my phone was just starting to say something when I just let go and cracked him as hard as I could on the bridge of his nose, causing a really satisfying crunching sound to be heard and his nose to explode in a shower of blood. My main intention was to get him to drop the phone which was still in his hand but he managed to hold onto it, as well as managing to remain standing, although I could see that I had seriously shocked him causing him to wobble on the spot.

I then began to scream at the top of my lungs…

as I was fully aware that there would be loads of security, including Darnie, not far away around the corner at the front of the hotel, it was just a matter of getting them to hear me.

The two fuckers who were robbing me froze for a split second and I started to worry that I might have done the wrong thing and might be about to get stabbed or similar but I’d judged it right and they both took off running down the street towards the shopping complex at the back of the hotel, where I had met Jerad that first day a week or so ago.

I am definitely no longer a fit twenty one year-old and was under no illusion that I would stand a chance of catching them up if I chased them, although I did start to run in that direction just as several of the security guys flew past me in pursuit, causing me to slow up and leave it to them. There were people standing on balconies of the adjacent buildings who had heard the commotion and were trying to help the security by yelling..

“They’re over there mate…down that alley…no, now they’re back out on the street!!”

trying to guide them towards the little bastards but sadly to no avail because they were never caught and I ended up a phone down…the one thing not covered by my travel insurance…fucking great!

I did however manage to keep hold of the drugs I had just scored, so full of adrenaline and after a long chat with the security whom I was able to thank for their efforts, I took the elevator back up to my room and settled in for the night.

To be continued…


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