The tip

It’s about two, which is always the watershed time of the evening. Zouk was never going to get super packed tonight, but it’s a nice comfortable kind of full. There’s room to dance, but enough interesting people to make the face-browsing fun.
There’s French okes. There’s always French okes. These guys are here on an IT contract. They like the place because of its Francophone Africa vibe. I like the place because of the sexy girls’ bums and how they gyrate like a water snake, when the DJ puts on that Lady Gaga.
So by two the Red Bull’s wearing off and it’s time to bail. Last pee on the way out, wait for my babe and then we hit the road.
The men’s room has an attendant. Hands you a paper towel after you wash you hands, and a tip box conveniently placed there by the basin. Luckily I’ve got some coins, so I drop ‘em in the box and go wait by the ciggie machine.
Still no Baby. Oh! I’m going to need to tip the car guard! I’ve just given all my coins to the washroom attendant. And besides that, all I’ve got is notes.
So, lemme see. Perhaps I can duck back into the washroom and steal, say, four rand from the guy’s tip box. Six was actually quite a generous tip, come to think of it.
So I wander back into the toilet. There’s a couple of other guys in there, so I go lurk in the stall and pretend to pee. I peer over my shoulder, where the tip box looks like it’s probably out of the guy’s line of sight…
I make a pass for it, but as I get there, the other dudes turn to leave. I quickly change plan and start washing my hands. The attendant passes me a towel. “Shot, dude.” I have to duck out of there without tipping him.
By now Baby’s back, and we head for the car. I check my money clip. It’s a couple of hundreds and a twenty-rand note. I guess I’ll have to give the guard R20. Twenty’s a serious tip, but at least the car guard’ll be stoked. I’ll probably make his night!
We’re parked just across Fredman Drive. Right opposite the club. The car’s still in one piece, so I get out my cash and hand the guard his tip. “Thank you boss, thank you,” he comes. Super grateful.
Just then I notice that, Oh no! I’ve given him a hundred and twenty bucks! No no no no no! I give an involuntary gasp and lunge for the blue note! I just can’t afford a R120 tip!
I just manage to tear the hundred out of the guard’s grasp before he pockets it, leaving him with a now rather forlorn-looking twenty.
I find myself apologizing to the oke, as I retreat into my vehicle. The guy gives me a click of disdain and trudges off without even directing me out of my bay.
I’ve been a generous man tonight, but my PR has been kak.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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