Monday, July 15, 2024

The day I won a bet and lost a fight

I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s when street fighting was the in-thing. In those days we were greatly inspired by Hollywood blockbuster movies. After watching heroic movies such as Bruce Lee’s Fist of the Dragon, we’d pour sand into empty 12.5 kg bags of maize meal which we then used as punching bags. We practiced kung fu on other kids in the neighborhood. We liked fighting and we were all aspiring karatekas. Our heroes were action heroes like Jean Claude Van Damme, Rambo and Chuck Norris.

I remember this one time at Bull and Bush by the pool table area, I stumbled upon a group of colored guys playing snooker. I thought to myself, “This would be a good opportunity to make some cash for more drinks.” Snooker is a game of chance, its either you’re good or you suck. For some reason, until today I’m still good with a pool stick in my hand. At first I just observed, keeping an eagles eye on how much they had.

“Do you want to play?” one coloured guy asked me. “How much are they betting for?” I asked. He replied “A clip (P100)……” A hundred bucks was a lot of money back then. I knew these guys were probably loaded. It didn’t matter to me; I knew that if I spared my P100 I would probably make a lot more from those guys. So we all placed our bets and the game started. I quickly found myself on the lucky side. My lucky charm worked as I continued to sink in the balls, turn after turn. Very soon I sank the black ball and won some money. The colored guy didn’t look very happy as he dipped his hands into his pocket.

It was pay day for me. Probably hoping to recoup their losses, the guys insisted that we play on.

“Your luck is about to run out baba,” said one of the guys as we played again.

“You wish,” I retorted as I continued to sink the balls.

I won the game again and the other coloured guy sucked his teeth in as he looked increasingly irritated.
“This is some bull,” he said.

When I tried to leave the guys blocked my way. They said I couldn’t leave with my winnings; that I had to stay and play until they also won something. I was in for a long night. Before long a fight broke out. For me that was the only way out. I had to stamp my authority or these guys were going to eat me alive.

So I jumped one of them. I started throwing as many fists as I could to his face. There was no need for any further negotiations. I knew he was ticked off that I had beaten him, so it made sense that I should just go ahead and get a head start because he was sure coming for me. When they realized that I was getting the better of their buddy, the other two guys also joined. They held my hands as their friend pummeled my face with fists. I was losing steam. Another guy landed a boot on my belly and it turned to jelly. Suddenly everything turned black. I woke up next to the bouncers. One of my eyes was sealed shut full of blood. All my money had gone. Now broke, I went home to lick my wounds.


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