Her lapel is a little faded and her lipstick slightly smudged in the corner of her mouth. “It’s an easy job,” she says, as her needle sucks up an ampule. “You get to meet all kinds of people.” She likes doctors who don’t wear shoes and laughs when she remembers a doctor calling another doctor a clown. “He said: that clown?” and she laughs again. She’s curious about alternative medicine, but when the homeopath said she must crush the pumpkin pips on the full moon she never went back.
The big woman’s getting ready for her pedicure at the beauty parlour. She’s a little bit pleased to be spoiling herself, but also a bit embarrassed. She says to the girl: “Sorry, I didn’t cut my toe nails, because I knew that I’d be coming here…” She’s sheepish, but also feeling luxurious...
She remembered the walls of the Geesteswetenskappe Gebou (the GW). They weren’t quite smooth, but had kind of a bubbly texture, rough. She was nervous about the test and while waiting she scratched her fingernails up and down, up and down. She didn't notice until the blood left a stain on the wall.
Awe 1 ting u cant beat pmb coz day wil b thumping da music in thiers cab u no shaking day heads 2 beats n yet here in jozi u get 1 o all alone in da cab hole 4 windows down bangin da music 4 da hole of Gp 2 hear bt dat madir lol got his earphones on i jst chune my owens check dis kunt n we al say loud ur pooesss of a kunt....den we al laugh n say nt like he can fuckin hear us. lmfao…Sup ladies eish could those's beautiful ladies that had me on bbm could u guy's plz invite me phone went in 4 a upgrade 39268EEA thankz mwaaahz
Edwin discovered that he rather enjoyed the routine tasks of organising, arranging and ordering the world. He lost himself within the flow of lists and was soon swept away by the relegation of folders and the categorisation of activities still outstanding. The Excel was open and Edwin was at peace.
The guy feels out a small chip in his tooth with his tongue.
"This is a part of my life,” he says, “which I’ll never get back.”
“For the rest of my life I’m going to have this chip in my tooth, maybe you can't see it...”
She: "You’re right, I can't see a thing."
He: “But I know it's there...”
She fell in love with him over his FB posts. He wrote the best updates, so funny. But when she met him it was a disappointment. He wanted to get into hiphop, but she was more into Keats. She found it tough to keep a conversation going. It would have been difficult even if he hadn’t startled her by yelling “Like!” at everything she said. So they went back to keeping it online.
She turns to her friend and arches a purplish eyebrow: “Nee wat, as dit is hoe Boeddhiste Kersfees vier dan weet ek nie meer mooi nie…”
The dude basically mooches about while his wife is at work. He sometimes plays rhythm guitar in a local cover band when the regular guy is away, but mostly he prefers staying in, lying on the sofa drinking Black Label and streaming series. Occasionally he might engage in a spot of Xbox to break the routine.
Her family don’t think much of the dude. He’s always lolling about while his wife shops, gardens, cleans. What they don’t know is that he provides a secret function, a core motor to her engine. When she’s rushing about her day, he’ll pick up the landline by its tail and let it hang upside down, allowing gravity to let the coil unwind. She never notices how she twists it up when she cradles it on her right shoulder while hastily jotting down her next appointment with a pencil.
So when she’s not looking, he gently allows it to relax open. Slowly, slowly, the coil stretches out those angry twists and turns and regains its default spring. Similarly, the hose pipe, from his days as a roadie he knows you need to give a quarter twist for every loop to keep the cable supple. He also sometimes loosens the lids of jars he knows she needs.
The monk sits in contemplation on a raft in the middle of a lake. He looks on quietly at the busy nest of termites eating away at the wood.
1] An earlier version of these last two character sketches is due to be published as part of a longer piece in an anthology of Experimental African Writing currently being edited by Ricardo Félix and Tendai Mwanaka.