Escape that never was …
Published On April 30, 2016 » 2839 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Columns, Entertainment
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In the bronx logoOVER time, he had become another lay about hanging around bottle stores including the watering hole looking out for what the day offered.
He was a product of a redundant generation that bemoaned lack ofjobs and a fair deal in life.
His mentor had escaped this scenario when he was sent to buy the most sought-after bag of mealie-meal in these parts.
As a dependent, he bore the obligation to undertake such chores on behalf of the household.
But this day, he chose to betray his kith and kin as he decided to go to the Inter-City bus terminus, boarded a bus and headed for the fringes of the Tswana border where his parents lived.
As for Lazzo, most compatriots also did not know that he was in socialdire straits although he was a familiar sight in the hood.
His uncle was the eldest in his mother’s family and by virtue of this was a beneficiary of the extended family system care. But this seemed to be rapidly diminishing in his midst as he saw some of his contemporaries disowned by family members on flimsy grounds like coming home late at night sometimes as early as 20:00 hours!
One of his acquaintances was reputed to have spent a night outside his usual dwelling place for this discrepancy.
It was not long before Lazzo began to realise that he had also come from a broken home like a myriad of other youths in the hood with whom he mingled.
This status entailed that he belonged to more than two families comprising half-brothers and half-sisters.
The crux of the matter was that his parents divorced when he was a toddler.
But his mission now was a realisation that with his humble education, his option was the street where a legion of the younger generation peddled manufactured merchandise for a living.
However, there was a trick to this because one needed  capital to make it anywhere on the street as a vendor’.
Earlier in the day, he had sifted through some papers in his uncle’s bedroom and found an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card.
Alongside a cluster of papers near it was the pin number written in black ink.
He quickly stashed the two into his breast pocket and quickly walked out of the room.
As usual, he went back to hang about the watering hole and seemingly waiting for ‘unknown acquaintances’ who might offer him a drink. Often, he had heard of the saying, ‘it is a dry day’ when it seemed not even a sip from a well-wisher out of the blue was possible!
Then he hit on a bright idea. Since he had the plastic bank card, he would use it to withdraw some money and that would be a starting point to freedom …
Something clicked and he was on his feet to accomplish his envisaged task. He set off on foot towards the central business district in the city and was determined to change his circumstances of depravity.
After a lengthy walk through the older part of the hood foot paths, he was in the sprawling commercial urban harbouring several banks.
He took one last look at the plastic insert and read the name of the bank and instantly visualised its location. With his heart pounding with excitement, he joined a queue ofcustomers withdrawing money from the  ATM booth.
At one moment, he became starry-eyed as he did not want to see afamiliar face lest they leak the mission!
It was not a very long queue and soon, he was in front of the booth.
He nervously fumbled for the piece of paper on which was written the pin number and the ATM card. The son of the hood then held both documents between the thumb and hisleft forefinger leaving his right hand free to press the keyboard.
Lazzo entered the account number and then a message flashed on the screen asking for his pin number!
His first attempt was rejected as he had fumbled awkwardly and as aresult wrongly punched in onedigit.
The second attempt yielded results as banknotes oozed out instantly ina wad of K100 notes. He pressed the K500 key several times until he ejected K11,000!
He quickly stuffed the cash in his cardigan he was wearing together with his card and piece of paper on which was scribbled the pinnumber.
Meanwhile, his uncle who lived on his pension was frantically searching for the ATM card to no avail.
Then an idea came to him that his nephew might have taken the card.
Upon this realisation, he set off towards the city centre anxious tosee the Bank Manager.
He narrated his experience to the custodian of his cash who exclaimed that he should not mix the pin number with his ATM card! Apparently, his instantaneous investigations showed that someone had withdrawn K11,000 from his account …
Lazzo’s uncle felt some electrifying sensation run down his spine ashe stared at the Bank Manager for an answer to this bombshell.
But without saying a word he began to give instructions to some people on the phone and it seemed the messages were meant for branches elsewhere. “Please ensure that no transactions are effected from this account with immediate effect,” he ordered to what seemed to be some centralauthority.
Meanwhile, somewhere on the Copperbelt, Lazzo had got off the bus and was intent on making another transaction.
As a well-travelled citizen, he soon located the bank in Kitwe.
It was not very crowded as in the capital city and this time he had acquired some confidence to execute his mission fully.
In front of the booth, he fumbled again for his ATM card and the pinnumber piece of paper.
As soon as he had entered his pin number for the second time again, a security guard emerged from inside the bank and asked him whose card he was using.
It now seemed to Lazzo that his pressings on the keyboard were being monitored from inside the bank.
In the Manager’s office, he was told that the card he was using was reported stolen by the owner and that they were aware of his other transaction in the city.
At this point, he was ordered to surrender the all the money on him and it was discovered that he had only spent K80!
Arrangements were then made to detain Lazzo in Kitwe and this marked the end of his journey to Kasumbalesa the border town in a bid for freedom from the hood squalor …

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