Then she told me about an incident that had occurred when she was in the car with Emil. They were in Austin, driving on Ben White. Emil was at the wheel. It was a Sunday, and they had just had lunch at Polvos on South First, where they sat on the terrace drinking margaritas. The restaurant was crowded with all sorts of people, beautiful young girls in high heels and skimpy dresses, families who’d just been to church, a group celebrating a birthday, couples staring at their cell phones, white-haired grandmothers, cool guys in dark glasses and muscle shirts. Later, Alicia would remember a middle aged man in a business suit who seemed to be watching them. At the time she didn’t pay much attention, but it seemed to her he paid his bill and left the restaurant more or less when they did.
They were in wonderful moods. Emil had just completed the first draft of his book, and Alicia had sold a major painting. They were thinking of going to the movies, something they rarely did anymore since they had their own screening room at home. They got in Emil’s car, a sleek gray Mercedes, and headed toward the movie theatre on Westgate. Alicia turned the radio to a rock station, and they both began singing at the top of their lungs. It was about 2:30, a lazy summer afternoon. Suddenly Emil said, “I think we’re being followed.”
That brought back memories of their trip to Arkansas and following Ricky the Rapist out of the Walmart parking lot. The car chase that had ensued. They’d given information about the case to a lawyer, but so far nothing.
“Really???” Alicia said.
“Just a hunch. Hold on tight, honey. I’m going to try something.” He stepped hard on the gas and swung the Mercedes into a side street. Alicia felt her senses come alive. She glanced in the mirror and saw a nondescript beige car behind them, right on their tail. “He’s still there,” she said.
“It’s okay, baby. I’m gonna get rid of him.”
He drove wildly through a series of back streets, quiet neighborhoods where people jogged and walked their dogs. Their pursuer stayed behind them. There was nothing secretive about it; he was openly following them, and the chase went on for about twenty hair raising minutes until Emil had to stop at a light and the beige car intentionally swooped in close, denting their rear fender. Then it pulled ahead with a loud honk and drove away as fast as a squad car on emergency police business.
To be continued…
Cover photo ~ https://www.tumblr.com/search/cars%20in%20south%20africa