In this episode…
Aby concocts an enjoyable yet dangerous soda at Bull’s Park leading to events that kick Bull’s ass out of business. All the customers run over to Rhino’s Recipes but little does they know of the evil schemes right underneath the new popular Fast Food in Sandton!
Because this episode is a bit long it will be posted in two parts.
ABY’S MILK SODA EXPLODES IN OUR BODIES (part 1)
Aby rushes blindly through the crowd of students in the corridor, her hands stretched out as she feels her way through.
“Leo! Lisa! Let’s go, we’re gonna be late,” she calls and hurries off.
“Are you even sure about this?” asks Lisa but Aby’s already out of earshot.
I’m at the corridor too, speaking to my new close friend, Aisha. She’s a really sweet person, as long as she’s not pissed. She threw a bucket to the principal in her former school, got expelled and ended up here at St. Godwin.
“You must’ve been off the edge,” I say.
“I know. But I didn’t break any school rules, the school broke my rules. And hey, what you did to Mr. Peter…”
“I know it’s not cool,” I say.
“Not cool? I loved that punch. I watched it on my laptop over and over.”
Wow, a fan! Whatever, I tell her it was a rough day. She nods empathetically before Aby hurries towards us. She notices my voice and stops by.
“Let’s go, Alex,” she tugs onto my shirt, pulling me away.
“Sorry, Aisha. Got to go now,” I say.
“Don’t worry. Some other time,” she waves and goes her way.
I walk out he school with Aby who hates to be led. She hates walking sticks too. She knows she’s blind but she goes to the same normal school we go to.
“Well I’m normal too!” she would say, and she did have a point. She’s tried to so hard not to let her blindness get in her way and she’s done quite a good job for herself. I’m just wondering what she’s up to now!
Lisa and Leo tag behind us. Aby’s a little too fast today and I don’t know why she’s acting like this.
“Why d’you want to go home so early today?” I ask.
She turns to me, “We’re not going home, we’re going to Bull’s Park.”
“I’m working there,” she says and I’m totally knocked out!
“I’m making Milk-soda. I’ve got a stock of fifty bottles in the fridge and I’m going to make some more.”
Lisa finally gets to us, “I’ve tried to talk her out of it,” she explains, “But she needs a chance to prove herself to the world too.”
“It’s great! You should try some,” says Leo.
“You had some?” I ask.
“Last night she made it for me,” Leo explains.
“Sorry I haven’t been so open about it. I just hate discouragement,” says Aby.
I sigh. “Okay.”
“Cheer up, son. She’s making some money at it,” says Leo. I shut up and let the happenings happen.
We get to Bull’s Park that’s filling in with kids from school and Aby rushes straight for the counter. She feels her way to the door and gets inside. I guess she’s making it with Mr. Bull in the kitchen. Me and the rest sit at a table. I’m still worried about those milk-sodas.
“Are they approved?” I ask Lisa.
“Half the things at Bull’s might not be approved or even legal,” says Leo. I turn to Lisa, waiting for an answer.
“You mean by the South African Bureau of Standards?” she says.
“Yes,” I say in a duh tone. She knows it could be wrong.
“Come on. This is household product, Alex,” she opens her bag and pulls out a bottle of Aby’s carbonated milk and shows me something written on the brand, “You see, it says, ‘Aby and Bull’s carbonated Milk-soda, drink at your own risk’.”
“Lisa! Is this thing safe?”
“I don’t know! I haven’t tried yet.”
“I didn’t get sick,” says Leo.
I stop talking because I don’t want to seem stingy or difficult. Maybe milk-soda isn’t so bad. I guess I’m making it a big deal because I haven’t tried it before.
Aby comes to the counter and so does Mr. Bull with a crate of milk-soda. He puts them in the fridge but notices there’s no need to. People are gathered all around the counter, money in their hands and drooling for Aby’s new drink. There’s lots of commotion and I’m like, wow! This milk-soda really pays!
Kids return to their tables, popping open their bottles and quenching milk-soda down their throats. It’s a noisy but happy place. And Bull is smiling… Business as usual for him. And it’s good today. He’s standing aside, counting paper in his hands and thinking of how rich he’ll end up if this milk rush goes on for a week or so.
“Look around you. It’s a happy place,” says Leo and he orders a bottle too. Lisa’s already drinking hers and she goes…
“Mm hm… I am so loving this!”
Leo passes me a bottle, “Have some. From the heart of a sister, given to the world.”
Poor poetry, I think, but accept to try a sip. Once the milk-soda touches my lips I’m craving for more already.
“This stuff is good!” I say. Lisa agrees absentmindedly, gulping some more of it. I take down the whole bottle in seconds. Awesome! I take back every stupid word I’ve said.
Aby’s got a smile of success on her face. She’s earned it! For a moment, I honestly feel very proud of my sister but then… it all goes wrong.
A boy gets up and hurries for the restroom. That’s okay, it happens. But not ten people at at time! And then it’s not just ten but soon, more and more guys stand up and seem to head the same direction!
“What the hell!” exclaims Leo. Bull seems worried too and he slips back into the kitchen. He knows there’s going to be trouble!
Suddenly, the Park is in chaos. People are bustling and pushing around to get to the toilets. A policeman pushes down a child.
“Out of my way!” he orders and waves his weapon around, “I’ve got a gun folks!”
No one’s afraid. They all got one word in their minds: Toilet! Aby notices the place has turned into a mad house. People crowd at the counter again, demanding refunds. It’s more like this:
“WE WANT REFUND! WE WANT REFUND! WE WANT REFUND…”
Poor Aby! The best time of her life turns into the worst! Lisa and Leo go up to help her. Leo drags Bull out and makes sure he refunds everyone. It’s not long before I get the feeling I’ve just swallowed a dozen cobra’s and they’re spitting venom inside and I don’t feel good at all. The washrooms are full and chaotic and crowded and I quickly calculate the distance back home. I make a run for it! The cramps in my stomach get worse and worse, Aby’s milk-soda’s just like a time bomb, exploding inside me. What on earth did she put in that bottle!
Hallelujah! I finally get home and I let the nasty dogs out in the washroom. Phew! I thought I wouldn’t make it.
When I’m done I grab my phone and call Asher. Maybe he knew something about this.
“Trust me, I knew nothing,” he assures me.
“At all. And what was she thinking? Milk’s got gas. Gas is gas. Put them together and you get Hiroshima!”
She was thinking that her blindness would never stop her at anything. Even exploding our stomachs!
At the park Aby sits on a bench, her head sunk in her arms. Tears are flowing down both her hands. Lisa and Leo try to cheer her up but it’s useless.
“All I wanted was to fit in,” cries Aby.
“You do fit in,” says Leo.
“Not after this. I’m just a freaky blind girl! No wonder I couldn’t see what I was doing!”
“You sure couldn’t!” shouts Mr. Bull who’s just come to the table. The Park is now deserted. No one remained after milk-soda exploded around.
“Shut up!” shouts Lisa.
“What did you say?”
“Shut up! My sister’s in no mood right now,” says Lisa.
“Oh, so this is about your sister,” he moves closer, “And may I ask who’s Park is this?”
“It’s not even a park, Bull,” blurts Aby. Mr. Bull goes red! He’s on the edge of the cliff, about to jump! Lisa knows it’s the cue to leave. She doesn’t want to have to deal with him either.
“Your milk-soda is a disaster! Look what it’s done to my Park!” He gestures around to the empty tables and a horrible stench floating from the washrooms.
“Let’s go now,” Leo whispers and they slowly stand up and turn for the door. Aby’s still sobbing.
“I never want to see that girl in my Park again!” he roars.
“What!” Lisa turns around.
“Yes, you heard me!”
“But we’re your daily customers, we come just about every day. That’s not fair!”
“What her milk-soda did to my business wasn’t fair. I’m ruined! No one’s going to forget what happened here!”
Leo nudges Lisa, “Let’s go, there’s no use arguing when he’s this mad.”
Lisa agrees he’s right and they leave. Bull still shouts behind though. He really doesn’t want Aby to come back ever again. Ever!
I hang up and go downstairs where Aby’s just arrived with Lisa and Leo and man, she doesn’t look good at all. She sits down and I sit close beside her.
“It couldn’t have been that bad-”
“IT WAS!” she cries out, her sunglasses almost flew off her face.
“Bull was hard on her and stuff,” Leo tells me.
“He’s hard on everyone,” I say, remembering how he got me into an arm-wrestle with my own teacher. But Aby obviously doesn’t cry all day. Besides, there’s no use crying over spilt milk.
At school the next day it’s all normal. Aby walks down the corridor quietly with us and she’s ten times more self-conscious than usual. But no one’s staring or shoving faces. It’s not because her brother’s an awesome basketball player but it’s just no big deal. She does get a couple of funny comments and some jokes but there’s nothing nasty.
“See, Aby, everything’s going to be just fine,” I tell her.
“Yeah right! I can’t even go to Bull’s Park anymore,” she opens her locker and fumbles through her stuff. I wait for her. Lisa just went to the washroom but I’ve got Leo beside me.
“Need help?” asks Leo, out of pure good heart.
“NO!” she roars, “I can do this myself. I’m normal!”
She slams her locker shut and manages to lock it after three trials. Lisa’s back just in time for us to head out again. I had one boring day here!
“So I guess we won’t be stopping by at the Park,” says Leo. We do almost everyday but after milk-soda and now Aby’s banned, it wouldn’t be fair for us to hang out there without her.
“No,” says Lisa.
“You don’t have to do that because of me,” says Aby.
“I don’t care. I don’t want to see that bull’s face now anyway,” she replies.
“Hi, Alex!” Aisha calls out of nowhere. I turn around to see where she is. I spot her on the stairs, waving at me.
“Where to now?”
“Cool, mind if I join you guys?”
“Not at all. It’s just my family,” I assure her and she tags along too. She sees Aby and all of a sudden her face turns a bit sad.
“Gee, I’m sorry for what happened to you yesterday,” she tell Aby.
“Whatever,” Aby replies coldly.
“It’s not fair that you’re not allowed in anymore.”
“Whatever!” now she sounds annoyed.
“Cheer up. There’s a new joint that’s just opened recently and it’s much closer to school too.”
“Really?” Lisa and Aby say at once.
“Where is it?” I ask.
She points ahead to a group of students, “Where half of everyone else is heading,” she answers. “Let me show you.”
Aby’s face lights up. Maybe things won’t have to be so bad after all. Aisha leads us there. We stop under a joint with a billboard that reads: RHINO’S RECIPES. Me and Lisa exchange looks.
“Looks like Bull’s got some competition now,” she comments and smiles.
“It’s all business,” I say and we get in. The place is filling fast but thankfully, we get a nice table by the window. The place is great and it looks all extravagant and modern. The chairs and tables are a bit short but hell! We got a place where we could lounge a while without having Aby waiting outside behind the glass.
“Thanks, Aisha,” I say and she does this cute crooked smile but acts quite cool.
“For what? Showing you to Rhino’s? It’s nothing.”
A waiter comes to take our orders. It’s just drinks and fries on our table. Lisa’s absentminded again and she looks like she’s scanning the place.
“Aisha,” she calls, “D’you know the owner well? Is he making good money?”
Aisha cocks her head for a thought and then says, “Yup. He’s making lots. I overhead him telling his waiters that yesterday. It’s the first week for this place to to run too.”
“Then he must be really good,” says Lisa. Aby’s not interested in knowing the rhino guy, she’s busy with her coke and so is Leo. They have a nice laugh though and I’m sure it’s something behind my back.
Lisa asks a few more questions about the rhino dude and I don’t know for what reason.
“I need a while,” says Lisa.
“For what?” I ask.
“To see,” she says.
I pout. I guess it’s her uncommon sense doing some magic again but I don’t see a problem here so I ignore it and let myself be taken away by coconut juice.
Over the week a couple of things have changed quickly in the neighborhood. It’s great to have a new spot to hang out with family and friends and close friends (Aisha) but Lisa can’t help but bother us with a few details. It’s Friday night after dinner. I’m doing the dishes with Leo and Lisa invades the kitchen, holding a paper in her hands.
“Guys, you’ve got to see this!” she says. She moves over and unfolds the paper in front of us. All I see is a table. But it’s a weird one. The rows are days of the week and the two columns are Bull and Rhino. Lisa’s written stuff in the boxes but I can’t make them out so she reads for us instead.
“Wednesday, Bull has no customers all afternoon. Rhino’s is crowded! Thurday, Bull sells his car, Rhino buys a Volvo. Friday, Bull sits on empty table, crying. Rhino’s laughing behind counter with waiter and he’s begun construction to expand Rhino’s Recipes.”
“So,” says Leo.
“So?” Lisa can’t believe that reply, “Can’t you see Rhino’s making more money than he should in just a week. He’s making too much!”
“Have you seen the number of customers he gets in a day?” I ask, “I think it adds up.”
“In a week? Puh-lease!”
“So what are you thinking?” I ask.
“You wanna know what I’m really thinking? I think I miss Bull’s Park. It was way better and I don’t want his business to slump forever. He’s right, the milk-soda was unfair towards him too. He’s lost his customers and I bet he’s going to have to close for good if it goes on like this.”
“So you want us to help Bull?” I say.
“Exactly. I think we can make a deal. Aby won’t have to be banned anymore,” says Lisa.
“What’s on your mind,” I ask.
“A lot. But I’ll need your help to get Bull’s Park running again.”
Leo smirks, “I kinda miss that place too. And the awkward rules.”
“And what about Aby?” I ask.
“I’ll talk to her,” says Lisa.
“You know what you’re doing, right?” I feel the need for precaution.
“I do. I just hope I’m right.”
I have no idea of what Lisa is thinking. Me and Leo exchange looks and then return to the dishwashing.
“You think Bull’s okay?” I ask.
“Dude, Rhino’s wiping him out. Bull is wasted. If he doesn’t come up with anything smart, he’s a goner!” says Leo.
“You know her. She’s got the wildest of ideas floating in her mind all the time. Let’s just hope she’s right.”