Bul­let in the head

Romeo’s blood runs cold as he records Neo the ex­e­cu­tioner in mur­der­ous ac­tion.

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Tues­day 18 April starts like any other day at The New­tow­n­ian ho­tel for mis­chief-maker Romeo (Hun­gani Ndlovu). “It’s a typ­i­cal day of him be­ing bored, look­ing for some­thing to do,” says Hun­gani. “And he finds it when he sees Yvonne (Kgomotso Christopher) busy at the re­cep­tion with Ti­mothy (Char­lie Bouguenon). Af­ter Ti­mothy is ba­si­cally like, ‘Talk to the hand,’ Romeo thinks that he might as well fol­low Yvonne to see what she’s up to. He tails Yvonne all the way to the ware­house and he sneaks around to the back to try see what she’s go­ing to do.” But Romeo should re­ally think a bit more about that say­ing “cu­rios­ity killed the cat”…

BUL­LET POINT

Al­ways up for a lit­tle black­mail, Romeo whips out his phone and starts record­ing the juicy scene laid out in front of him – a tense con­fronta­tion be­tween Neo (Jerry Mo­fo­keng Wa Makhetha), Yvonne and a man tied to a chair with

a bag over his head. While Romeo has heard plenty about Neo be­ing a gang­ster, he’s seen him wav­ing a gun be­fore at Yvonne’s failed wedding to Damon on Thurs­day 9 Fe­bru­ary. So the sight of Neo rant­ing with a firearm in his hand doesn’t faze Romeo. That com­fort­able il­lu­sion is stripped the moment that the trig­ger is pulled and the traitor in Neo’s nest takes a bul­let to the head.

SHOCK & FEAR

“I don’t think that he ex­pects it to go that far,” Hun­gani re­veals. “I think he is ex­pect­ing Neo to taunt Yvonne and the guy who’s tied up. But once the gun­shot goes off and the body falls to the ground, it’s like a slap in the face. He re­alises that he’s ac­tu­ally mess­ing around with the big dogs.” Romeo im­me­di­ately bolts for his car. “He is in a mas­sive, mas­sive panic state as soon as he gets into the car. With all that he’s done be­fore to Neo, he’s now ba­si­cally plac­ing him­self in that po­si­tion [to be shot]. Now he knows that if he pushes Neo too far, he could be shot dead. He’s been mess­ing around with a cold-hearted gang­ster and not just an ‘ec­cen­tric’ gang­ster.” It like find­ing out that the maraca in­stru­ment you’ve been shak­ing is re­ally a hand- grenade.

MAKE YOUR MOVE

Now that Romeo can see the mon­ster’s true face, his whole sit­u­a­tion seems far more threat­en­ing. “It feels like Neo has been want­ing to take over in the busi­ness of the ho­tel. Now Romeo’s wor­ried that if things don’t go Neo’s way, he may just kill both of them – Romeo and his mother – so that he can con­tinue to do what­ever he wants. It makes him think twice about the but­ton that he has to press and it’s like walk­ing on thin ice. “As soon as Romeo gets into the car, you see him strug­gling to breathe and not know­ing what to do, whether he should call the cops,” says Hun­gani. But would trust­ing Neo’s son Lerumo (Tshepo Mos­ese) or any of his col­leagues with his ev­i­dence against Neo be all that smart? “It’s al­most like he has the up­per­hand but he can’t re­ally use it. Romeo just wants to get rid of Neo.”

THE EN­EMY OF MY EN­EMY

With the cops out of the ques­tion, Romeo de­cides on Thurs­day 20 April that he needs a part­ner: some­one who sur­vived the ware­house shoot­ing. “Ul­ti­mately Romeo still knows that this part­ner can, at any point in time, turn their back on him. That’s how the per­son who got shot died.” He could be right. Early in the week of 24 April, it looks like Romeo’s worst fears have been re­alised as he re­ceives a rough sum­mons from Neo. “It’s the moment when you are called to the prin­ci­pal’s of­fice – you ba­si­cally al­ready know why you’re be­ing called,” says Hun­gani. “He im­me­di­ately thinks, ‘Neo knows’. His life is over… and I guess the rest is his­tory,” Hun­gani teases.

Neo gets down to busi­ness while Yvonne watches ner­vously.

Romeo gets an eye­ful of se­ri­ous trou­ble.

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