He vaguely remembered his charge-office tirade. "My attorney."
"I'm not your attorney, Van Heerden." The ache in the swollen eye
killed his laughter. "Why did you fetch me?"
Aggressively Kemp changed gears. "Fuck alone knows." Van Heerden
turned his head and looked at the man behind the steering wheel. "You
"You owe me."
"I owe you nothing."
Kemp drove, looking for the pub. "Which car is yours?" He pointed to
"I'll follow you. I have to get you clean and respectable."
He got out, walked across the road, and got into the Toyota. He found
it difficult to unlock the door, his hand shaking. The engine stuttered,
wheezed, and eventually fired. He drove to Koeberg Road, left past
Killarney, onto the N7, wind suddenly sweeping rain across the road.
Left to Morning Star and left again to the entrance to the smallholding,
Kemp's imported American Ford behind him. He looked at the big house
among the trees but turned off to the small whitewashed building and
Kemp stopped next to him, opening his window just a crack against the
rain. "I'll wait for you."
First of all he showered, without pleasure, letting the hot water
sluice over his body, his hands automatically soaping the narrow space
between shoulder and chest and belly - just the soap, no washcloth,
careful over the injured part of the ribs. Then, methodically, he washed
the rest of himself, leaning his head against the wall for balance as he
did first one foot, then the other, eventually turning off the taps and
pulling the thin, overlaundered white towel from the rail. Sooner or
later he would have to buy a new towel. He let the hot tap of the
washbasin run, cupped his hands under the slow stream, and threw the
water over the mirror to wash away the steam. He squeezed a dollop of
shaving cream into his left hand, dipped the shaving brush into it, made
it foam. He lathered his face.
The eye looked bad, red and puffy. Later it would be purplish blue.
Most of the scab on his lip had been washed off. Only a thin line of
dried blood remained.
He pulled the razor from the left ear downward, all the way across
the skin, over the jawline into the neck, then started at the top again,
without looking at himself. Pulled the skin of his jaw to tighten it
around the mouth, then did the right side, rinsed the razor, cleaned the
basin with hot water, dried off again. Brushed his hair. Had to clean
the brush: it was clogged with black hair.
Had to buy new underpants. Had to buy new shirts. Had to buy new
socks. Trousers and jacket still reasonable. Fuck the tie. The room was
dark and cold. Rain against the windows at ten past eleven in the
He walked out. Kemp opened the door of the 4x4.
There was a long silence that lasted as far as Milnerton.
"You want something."
"One of our assistants has started her own practice. She needs help."
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...