Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In Grace-land ( a short story)

The prison band played Graceland, the singer singing like Paul Simon except with a Setswana accent, while the green and white tent blew in the hot breeze almost in time with the beat, but not quite. MmaYaone wiped the snot from the nose of Baby Number Ten and got rid of it on the edge of her skirt. She was tired of sitting. She could feel a drop of sweat making its way down her back. The baby was niggly. MmaYaone suspected the singer was not pronouncing Memphis correctly. The speeches hadn’t even started yet, there was still a full programme to get through. She had no choice but to sit and wait it out. She wished it was over, but she knew it never would be, really. She knew they had a piece of her now, it was the price she had to pay, she knew there was always a price.  

Thabiso Nonyane’s head pounded. The bass guitar on Graceland seemed to originate from the sorest spot of his brain. He blamed it on the cheap wine, the only thing he could afford now with the president’s alcohol levy on top of alcohol levy that pushed his beloved Black Label out of his economic reach. So it was two boxes of red Harvest Time and a carton or two of Chibuku. He got sufficiently drunk, but now he was sure his head was contracting with each downbeat. He needed a bit of something to level things out or he’d never get through this day.  But the VIPs were keeping an eagle eye on him. He’d be lucky to slip out at lunch the way they watched him. All smiling with their teeth out like there weren’t any black flies around.  He’d just make a quick trip to the loo via the shebeen at the back of the compound, get a few sips of the homebrew MmaChompy always had on tap, with or without the president’s approval. That would sort him out.

Sgt General Malatsi looked around at her good work and she was proud. The poor desperate lady with the ten kids would have a new modern house thanks to her. She saw BTV had pitched up, so she ought to get some good national coverage, ought to help with her promotion. She was a shoo-in for that promotion. This would just make it certain, solid and certain. She tapped her foot to Graceland and smiled at the Minister. 

(Read the rest of the story at The Kalahari Review)

No comments: