Chapter 1 – The jilted skhothane

Opening his eyes he realises this hangover has brought a gun into the knife fight, Dutie’s head is pounding like the heart of a running thief. His body clock has long lost the efficiency Mother Nature gave it. His eyes dart all over the place to familiarise himself with his surroundings, he finally figures out he slept in his lounge.

The room is not only spinning but it is also hotter than hell itself. His back is in terrible pain, thanks to him having slept on the couch again. Gingerly he stands up to gather his thoughts and the TV noise is not helping. The visuals show a prostitute busy slapping a midget, who is protesting he touched her holy of holies by mistake when his outstretched hand crossed her personal space.

The last of the beers that he drank last night is watching him like a hawk. A very heavy contest is taking place between his sober and drunken minds, the battle is on whether he should finish off the now flat beer or not. A sharp pain is causing havoc on the left side of his head the headache tablets he drank before sleeping are not helping.

Dutie: I need a greasy salty breakfast and Soweto is the way

Like one of those illuminous neon signs outside adult entertainment places, the words “Panyaza” flash right in front of his eyes. If ever there is a place that can sort his hangover, Panyaza’s is the place. Nestled in the middle of Soweto, the place provides good meat, excellent music and cheap beer at a nearby bottle store. A very dangerous combination indeed if ever there is one. All he must do now is convince his good mate Momoza, to come along.

Having now fully recovered from the sleep induced dizziness, he starts to tidy up. There are papers all over the room it looks like there was a fight between newspapers vendors. This is a clear sign that he was seriously wasted when he got home from Soweto. While cleaning he sees one of his sharp Ginsu knives inside the fish bowl. The poor fish have decided to swim as close as possible to the top of the bowl, fearing genocide from their drunken owner.

The spring cleaning now in full swing, he hears a gunshot or what sounds like a gunshot outside. In typical apartheid era moments, he quickly ducks underneath the kitchen table. The gunshots start to sound closer for his liking and he wonders if civil war has reached his country. The speed of his farts following each other, are worrisome and sooner or later he might cross the River Rubicon of farts.

All his senses tell him he might have done something wrong last night while drunk. A sudden introspection floods him and all he says is “forgive me dear lord if I sinned”. It is not really surprising as he seems to be a prime example of what sinners look and live like. A Hail Mary here and there takes him back to his Roman Catholic high school days and reassures him, he is still alive.

A sigh of relief visits his skinny grief stricken body and he garners enough courage to stand up. The gunshots now increasing the liquids in his bladder, he needs a loo urgently. The fear in him affects his sense of direction because instead of going to the loo, he goes straight for the scullery. The smell of cinnamon helps him regain his bearings and he makes a u-turn for the loo.

As he pulls a long strong piss, another gunshot bellows. This one shakes him to a point of peeing on himself, while trying to fit in under the cistern and leaving a map of Africa now firmly drawn on his pants. He leaves the wet bathroom floor and herds for the lounge. As he relaxes, another gunshot sends him to the floor in a split second.

In typical army training fashion, he leopard crawls towards the window. On reaching the window, he carefully lifts the curtains so as to not be spotted by whoever is trigger happy. Peeping through the window, he realises there is no gunslinger.

Dutie: this is bollocks. Who the hell is busy behaving like Clint Eastwood?

The unfinished opened beer from early this morning makes for a good company. He takes his 3rd sip, another shot gets fired. Now more irritated than scared, he makes a beeline for the main door. After a few self-inflicted slaps to the face, he is now relaxed to a point of not feeling his left leg. Liquid now trickling down the cheeks, not sure if its sweat or tears. Either way the face needs liquid to reassure him, he is okay.

His feverishly shaking hand opens the door slowly. He takes a moment to ponder on whether the shaking is from the hangover that measures 7.9 on Richter scale or it is from the fear of the unknown outside. As the door opens wide, a rush of midday breeze passes by speedily like a Gautrain rushing to Park Station.

After peeping outside for few occasions, like a seasoned voyeur, he exits from the house. Couple of steps forward and then left, he is now firmly on the grass. Just as he is about to relax, another gunshot makes an entrance. The speed at which he goes down, he didn’t even give his body shock a chance to follow him down. The shock only catches up few seconds later. Looking for the direction from where the shots are coming from, he thinks about his life insurance payments and whether they are in order.

Township Christians always sing: “Lungisa indaba yakho no Jesu” (fix your story with Jesus) and the thought of doing just that crosses his mind. They say when you are about to die, your life flashes past you. Unfortunately for him, only the Heineken dumpies are flashing and this worries him. He starts to pray.

Dutie: Our father, which art in heaven

He forgets the next verse and starts afresh.

Dutie: Our father, which art in heaven

Just as he is about to forget the lines again, a miracle happens. He suddenly notices the cause of all this mayhem and his prayer sessions ends abruptly. The gunshots are the smoke and the faulty exhaust system of a truck, which combine to give a Cowboys movie effect. This elicits a barrage of profanities from him.

Dutie: Voetsek maan, bloody truck driver, bloody swine

After satisfying himself with the profanities he spewed, he looks up to see if any of the other neighbours saw him. Assured of no witnesses, he dusts himself off the grass and gathers enough courage to click his tongue a couple of times. The map on his pants now shrunken to the size of SADC region, he thinks of the only thing that could calm him ever further.

B E E R

These words flash past his eyes like a Taiwanese girl that loves somebody long time. He blissfully makes his way to the house and straight for the fridge to search for a very cold one, now having long forgotten about his number one rule.
Never drink on an empty stomach.

As he takes his first sip on this dumpy, he tells himself that rules are meant to be broken. He goes upstairs to his bedroom balcony. The mission two pronged.

1. To get the SADC stain dried out by the sun
2. To check on the shot firing truck.

As he is about sit on his sun deck chair, he notices his neighbour from the unit across. He’s always makes a point of going to his balcony topless, when this neighbour of his is around. She always lurks around her bedroom window, when he is on his balcony. Unfortunately for Dutie, her husband is watching this scene unfold from their lounge and gives Dutie a look that threatens him.

With his tail now firmly planted between his legs, the still drunk Dutie goes straight to the deck chair on the balcony and pretends he didn’t see the beefy husband. As the stain starts to be the size of Lesotho, he fetches another cold one. These beers slowly begin to take him back to the state he was in last night.

Dutie: honestly, I’m still drunk

The truck drives slowly in his direction and he wonders if it is a delivery truck bringing his new neighbours. The next door unit has been empty for couple of months now. The former tenants having left partly through his efforts.

The security guard who’s was staying there with his wife eventually found out that Dutie was having an affair with his wife. Each night when the security guard went to work, Dutie went to his house to do some work of his own. After finding out, the guard pummelled Dutie to a pulp. Having not learnt from that lesson, he is now trying to pull the same stunt on the neighbour across.

The big green truck pulls up next door, smoke bellowing from the faulty exhaust system. This is a sign the truck is still far from being taken to a scrapyard. As the truck makes a stop, the sound of worn out brakes comes alive and barely helps the truck to stop. The driver, a big potbellied fellow is wiping his sweat like a seasoned tennis player.

The front of the truck is smoke filled and fire is imminent. This leads to Dutie rushing inside to his house, his intention is to pull out his family’s old unused fire extinguisher. Just as he is about to dust of the cob webs from the extinguisher, the sound of the dearly departed Brenda Fassie come screaming out from one of the accompanying cars.

The fire extinguisher rescue mission is halted and he rushes back outside. Watching from the balcony, he realises there are two suspicious old Mazda 323’s who form part of the green truck brigade. Brenda Fassie is screaming from the oil leaking faded blue Mazda, its occupants each holding a bottle of Carling Black Label.

It dawns on him that very second that he is about to gain extra ordinary neighbours. As he watches the drama unfold, a colourful lady with curlers on her head gets off from one of the Mazda’s. A stolen glance says this might just be the new Mrs-my-house.
After a couple of voetseks back and forth between Mrs-my-house and one of the occupants of the Mazda, he realises there’s nothing holy about this new neighbourly family.

Some of the Carling Black Label posse leave the Mazda and gather near the new neighbour’s gate, on closer look the guys are christening the new neighbour’s garden with alcohol infested pee. They are peeing on the garden and don’t care what damage their acid rain is causing on the garden.

While this is going on, their pitch black dog suddenly gets aroused by the truck’s left rear tyre. This only leads to the dog humping on the poor worn out tyre. This scene leaves Dutie questioning whether the tyres are damaged by the nymphomaniac dog or the potbellied driver’s skill. On seeing this, the lady with curlers gives the dog a mouthful.

Lady with curlers: voetsek, we’ve just moved here and already you bringing your township habits. You bloody bastard, stop behaving like a dog with no fixed address. Bleksem.

The scene is so surreal for Dutie, never has he seen a dog getting a mouthing from its owner like that.

Lady with curlers: Hello makhi

Mrs-my-house screams in a high pitched voice, raising her hand to wave and this leads to her skimpy crop top revealing her flat board belly. This sends alarm bells to Dutie’s brains and intrigues him. This is the moment he knows he can never erase, her skimpy top has started a journey that is laden with obstacles.

Dutie: Hi Ausi…..

He replies in a voice that betrays his guilt. He cannot for the life of his, see her clothed again in his brains. That skimpy top has changed all the rules of engagement and it is hard not to picture her naked. Her skinny jeans also don’t leave much to imagination, a troublesome neighbourliness is about to begin for Dutie.

Slowly but surely the rest of the Carling Black Label gang start to move into the yard, singing out loud to the sounds of bubble-gum music ofcourse. As the CD player moves on to the Ali Katt’s Let The Good Time Roll song, he knows right there that these new neighbours must be from Soweto. Afterall it is not every day one meets people who cannot hide their love for bubble-gum music.

As the truck reverses into the yard, the new family’s good looking daughter reveals herself. Her walk, her poise and dress code, makes her seem like a Patrician. She is such a breath of fresh air, which only makes Dutie accidentally spill the beer on his pants again. All the while his neighbour from across is watching this and she is taken by jealous.

As luck would have it, the new neighbour’s daughter looks his age. Suddenly he try’s hard to erase the images of her naked mother on his brains. Her dress code slightly more revealing than her mother’s and this just upped the housing complex’s temperature. As she walks she drops something and while picking it up, she accidentally reveals a plumber’s cleavage.

Dutie: Hi

Atleast that’s what Dutie thinks he said to the younger lady. The greet gets no response, which he only blames on the loudness of the Dalom Kids belting out from Mazda. In the midst of it all, Mrs-my-house shouts Vusi towards one of the Carling Black Label brigade. One of them in a worn out grandpa hat, commonly known as a spottie in the townships, shuffles towards the colourful one like a sheep to slaughter.

Their lack of personal space as they are chatting clearly shows they are the king and queen of the new castle. They look like they are parents of the young hot girl who by now is nowhere to be seen, she is already in the house.

Just like precision German engineering, the Mazda brigade opens the back of the truck and start to move the stuff into the house. Mrs-my-house is barking instructions like a Noord street taxi rank marshal, with each broken glass accompanied by a helluva tongue lashing towards the drunken movers. She makes sure each of one of them knows who the boss is.

In no time, the truck is empty and the driver moves it out of the yard. The moving truck
spews a couple of gunshots sounds and needless to say, the accompanying smoke in tow. Without even asking, the driver parks the truck right in front of Dutie’s house.

A red VW Golf VI with Mdu Masilela ‘He mzala, seku moshakele’ loudly screaming out of the car speakers, blasting its way to the gate next door. The speed with which the Golf is being driven, it is clear the driver learnt that skill from being chased by police in townships. They say never judge a book by its cover but the skinny bloke, who comes out of the driver door is a clear skhothane.

He has skinny jeans on tight enough to squeeze life out of him, with a matching ferocious looking illuminous coloured mercerised t-shirt with guava imprints. The shoes are unmistakenly Carvelas, suede ones nogal. The Skhothane’s presence clearly an irritation to the Mazda brigade, who have now opened a mini Shebeen on the front yard.

While the skhothane is getting a couple of tongue clicks from the not so sober platoon, one of them walks into Dutie’s yard. Fearing that the guy might be thinking his lawn is a perfect place to pee, he quickly goes downstairs to reprimand him if need be.

Platoon member: Hi
Dutie: Hi
Platoon member: howsit
Dutie: I’m well Uncle

The platoon member was now giving Dutie an investigative look, which makes him feel uneasy.

Platoon member: is jy nie Mehlo se laaitie?
Dutie: I am Uncle

In typical Soweto style, most of the older generation speak Afrikaans. This being a legacy from the days growing up in Sophiatown, before being resettled in a newly established township called Soweto.

Platoon member: Geez man, I thought your face looked familiar.

The geezer goes on without waiting for his reply.

Platoon member: I used to change your diapers my boy. You see this lap you used to sit on it as a baby

Now that sent a scary thought to Dutie’s brain, the bloke in front of him looks battered and he doesn’t seem like anyone his dad can hang with.

Platoon member: I’m Uncle Joey
Dutie: You got to be kidding me, Uncle Joey. Is jy die man?
Uncle Joey: that’s me my boy
Dutie: good to see you Uncle Joey. What happened, you look err…….
Uncle Joey: Watch it my boy. It’s a long story my boy
Dutie: oh I see, good to see you thou
Uncle Joey: aaah my boy, jy’s nou n larney moes
Dutie: not really Uncle Joey
Uncle Joey: listen I’m looking charcoal. We just want to have a mini braai
Dutie: sure I do have

He says as he enters the house to go get the charcoal from the scullery.

Dutie: Uncle Joey, who are these people you are helping with the move

He asks as he hands over the still sealed bag of charcoal.

Uncle Joey: Oh that’s Vusi and Pinky Maseko, from ko Zone 6.
Dutie: Oh I see

He says noting that he grew up in Zone 5 before spending most of his teen years in a boarding school in KZN.

Uncle Joey: Ta my boy

Uncle Joey saying this as he shuttles back to Bra Vusi’s house, while adding “You must pop in for a piece of meat and a beer ne”. Dutie agrees to do just so atleast he could get a closer look at Bra Vusi’s young fine lady. It does not even bother him that Uncle Joey did not ask how his friend Mehlo was doing but was more bothered by fact that he didn’t get the young lady’s name.

Dutie: Uncle Joey, who is that girl they are with?
Uncle Joey: jy’s laastig nou mei laaitie but pop in and maybe I’ll make a plan.

As Uncle Joey leaves the yard, Dutie’s childhood memories suddenly trickle in and he vividly remembers Uncle Joey’s limp. The story being that Uncle Joey used to be a train surfer and had an unfortunate incident at Mzimhlophe Station, ages ago.

As Mandoza’s “Nkalakatha” starts playing on the red car, the hot young lady gets out of her parents house and meets the driver at the gate. The greetings seem cold, as Miss-my-house seems not pleased to see the skinny bloke. Within not time, she is already shouting at him like a seasoned army commander.

Dutie takes a break from the scene at the neighbour’s gate, if only to check score on the Chippa United vs Sundowns game. He retreats while the voices of the two feuding lovers upped the ante a bit. The skhothane it would seem, is batting from the back foot and little Miss-my-house is in control of the innings.

Turning his eyes to the telly, this does not help much. The score line convinces him that by end of the day, one coach is going to increase the unemployment figures in the country. The score line reads like a script from the under 12 soccer match. Dutie reckons the only thing that can save him is a hunt for a cold beer in the fridge.

Now having regained all senses that were lost earlier on, he decides TV is a waste and switches on his sound dock. Fiddling through the songs in his iPod, he goes straight for his daily pick-me-up –song.

“Years Go By” by The Sura Quintet.

This is one song no matter what issues he has, always takes care of everything. As if on
cue when the first beat comes, he is lost somewhere in the world. This is one song he cannot go by daily without listening to. As he ups the volume and presses the repeat knob, the music leads him towards the fridge.

Opening his fridge, he grabs the nearest cold beer he lays his hands on. His life saved quicker than Miss Spears said I do in Las Vegas. On taking his third gulp, he has an epiphany. He realises that something is missing.

His cell phone

A few minutes of investigative workmanship reveals the lost phone. The phone is firmly planted in the bread tin, thanks to his hunger pangs when he got home from Soweto. He does not remember even eating a sandwich few hours ago, let alone how he got home.

The game is not inspiring to say the least and only makes him want to go back to the balcony and check on the two feuding lovers. As he reaches the balcony, he notices the melee downstairs is still in full swing. Undoubtedly the little Miss-my-house is still in control, while Brenda Fassie’s Weekend Special is now the defacto soundract coming out of the golf .

Miss-my-house: I don’t want you any more
Skhothane: Mabebeza please listen
Miss-my-house: No, leave me alone. I don’t want you anymore
Skhothane: baby I said I’m sorry
Miss-my-house: it is over. Voetsek maan. Read my lips, it’s O V E R

While the skhothane is getting a roasting from the petite one, the Mazda brigade has all along been watching this. To say they find the whole scenario hilarious is an understatement they are literally on the floor, laughing their lungs out. This goes on until one of them accidentally kicks the Smirnoff 1818 vodka bottle nearby and this brings out the Bruce Lee in Uncle Joey.

The Mazda brigade side show takes on life of its own on the side, with Uncle Joey hammering out a barrage of smacks at the speed of light. This ends when Uncle Joey is floored by one smack with a beer bottle on the head and followed by Bra Vusi and Pinky spitting out profanities at them. After a couple of sorry and nxas, all is back to normal.

Hearing her parents shouting in a not so friendly manner, the young lady asks the skhothane if they could move their show next to Dutie’s gate. This pretty much gives Dutie a clear front seat view of the drama and as luck would have it, the petite one does not drop the tempo of her salvos.

She still keeps the barrage at a high level and the skhothane is now buckling under the strain. The family dog joins the fray, biting and pulling the pants of the skhothane. The poor skhothane is now being attacked on two fronts and the strain clear for all to see.

The shenanigans of the day are starting to look like scenes from the movies and no doubt adding to the colourful events of the day.

The roasting and biting of the poor red Golf driver goes on unabated. The vigour in attacking him reaches fever pitch and this goes on for couple of minutes until she says words that get the skhothane to keep quite.

Young Lady: no maan yesus, los mei I have a new man

The skhothane is shell shocked and lost for words. This not only shocks skhothane into listening, it also gets Dutie’s attention. The whole complex could have heard a pin drop.

Skhothane: Baby but we said we’ll talk and solve things. How can you do this to me? Who is this new man?

As Dutie is about to take a sip from his cold beer, all that changes when he realises Miss-my-house is pointing at him. Instinctively he turns around to see if maybe somebody else is being pointed at. After a double take he looks back at the feuding Romeo and Juliet, only to find her finger hasn’t left his direction.

Skhothane: You mean that guy on the balcony
Miss-my-house: yes him. He is not that guy, he is George

The sudden realisation that the he is now part of this feud scares the living crap out of Dutie’s socks. Not only is he now part of a love triangle but he has a new name aswell. This only speeds up the beer intake. Two more gulps and he needs a new cold beer.

Skhothane: That scruffy looking guy up there?

The skhothane says as he tries hard to reject the news that the balcony man, is the one who replaced him.

Miss-my-house: that’s what I said

She immediately waves at Dutie

Miss-my-house: Hey babes

She says looking at him, to say he is mystified would be a lie. Dutie is gobsmacked and all he does is wave back. A couple of quick sips on his beer are all he needs to kill the disbelief in him.

This sends a couple of electricity vaults towards the balcony and leaves Dutie numb. Slowly the Miss-my-house leaves the skhothane and enters Dutie’s yard, making a beeline for the main door. Each step by Miss-my-house increases Dutie’s heart rate and the knock at the door nearly makes him break the beer bottle he is holding. The short walk to the door is mighty unpleasant, as all he hears in his head are three words repeatedly.

Dead Man Walking

As he opens the door, a melodic voice greets him. Without waiting for come in, the petite one enters with a broad smile. Her well-endowed milk producers are now staring at him. On seeing this, the man of the house quickly hides the knife he picked up for
protection. Little Miss-my-house gives him a probing look.

Dutie: I was just about to cut the bread

He answers.

On hearing this, she gives him a phansi phezulu(down up) look and starts walking towards the stairs. His state of mind now more scared than in disbelief, he follows Miss-my-house as she herds for his bedroom balcony.

Dutie: err hi, I mean hello
Miss-my-house: Hello Hi, my ex is soooo irritating. So I told him you are my man now
Dutie: huh……
Miss-my-house: come on, play along. It is not like you haven’t done it before
Dutie: me…..

Miss-my-house grabs his hand and pulls him closer, he is lost for words. The chemistry between them instantaneous, just like dry grass meeting fire. The skhothane watches from below, softly begging for forgiveness. This only serves to give Miss-my-house second wind and she is more determined to have things her way.

She pulls Dutie closer and plants a moerse kiss on his lips and he immediately sees himself on the stairways to heaven. She does this with one eye looking at the begging cretin at the gate. She kisses him in a manner that does not leave much space for reconciliation between her and the skhothane.

Miss-my-house: please play along

The skhothane gets into his car, gives them a pitiful look. In a twist of irony Lira’s Noma Ungahamba starts playing in the car. He presses the ignition bringing the German car to life and pulls off a ferocious doughnut that leaves skid marks on the complex’s street. Miss-my-house never once letting go, until she is sure the Golf has reached the complex’s exit gate.

The family dog acting like a chaperone, chases the car all the way to the gate. Miss-my-house must have told the dog about her dislike for the skhothane, it comes back jogging happily like somebody from a batchelor party filled with asian girls.

While Dutie and Miss-my-house are checking each other’s tonsils, the neighbour from across is watching each moment. She is staring at this with envy and worry, wondering if her chance of using Dutie’s body for scientific research has passed. At the sight of Dutie grabbing Miss-my-house’s left breast, she slams her bedroom window and startles her husband in the lounge. The beefy guy must have thought there is someone breaking in because he quickly grabs his baseball bat and goes straight to the bedroom.

On realisation that the Golf is now long gone, Dutie gets a slap on his right hand that is now at home on Miss-my-house’s breast. This brings him back to earth and wipes the smile off his face. All he does is to give the young lady a horrified look and stand back.

Miss-my-house: Thanks ne
Dutie: But
Miss-my-house: What?

She says wiping her lips. She then adds

Miss-my-house: I must say, you’re a good kisser
Dutie: err well….
Miss-my-house: oh… I’m Tumi by the way
Dutie: err I’m Dutie.

He says as he sits down, to quickly hide the bulge in his pants.

Tumi: Is that your real name. That’s a first. Never met somebody with that name
Dutie: oh well

As they get to know each other, a voice screaming Tumelo is heard outside. Without even waiting for the second scream, she herds downstairs. Dutie meanwhile follows suit.

Dutie: err Tumi, can I see you maybe later?
Tumi: Nope
Dutie: haaa please man
Tumi: Good grief what’s with this song, is your iPod stuck on repeat?
Dutie: emmm I, I mean why?
Tumi: Geez it is irritating……

Even before she can finish, he is already lowering the volume. His heart now in turmoil, here is the woman he is set on but she doesn’t like his favourite song.

Dutie: Tumza so about later
Tumi: What about later?
Dutie: please man can see you
Tumi: I said nope, what’s with men and not listening?

While he is trying to beg as they reach the kitchen main door, another Tumelo comes screaming from the gate. The poor Tumi now is visibly irritated and can’t stand her mother screaming her name out like that.

Tumi: eish….what Maaaa

She screams as she dashes past the grass, where her family dog is excreting poop. The dog looks at her as she dashes past and carries on with its ablution activity. This leaves a painful mark on Dutie who was chasing after Tumi and he contemplates barking voetsek at the dog but does not want to lose brownie points.

After giving the poor dog a couple of not so good looks, he takes the short walk to the house. As he walks past the car, he notices it is not locked and the key is still in the ignition. The joys of coming home drunk ne, he thinks to himself. He opens the car and yanks the keys out. The smell of beer forces him to open all the windows and remove the empty beer cans at the back.

Once the mini car valet is done, off to the house he goes. The thought of going back to the house and chilling all alone is haunting. The game in progress is also not enterprising enough for him to sit the whole remaining 45 minutes. All he thinks about is the young lass who has just checked his tonsils and then left him hanging high and dry.

He gets himself a cold beer and sits on the couch. The game is still on and Chippa United has scored 2 more goals, to his dismay. He is a closet Sundowns fan and the happenings are not improving his mood. All he thinks about is food now but he is too lazy to do anything. He consoles himself by remembering some scientific pamphlet that said humans can live off beer alone because it has the nutrients a human body needs.

The comfort of the couch is forgotten because he starts getting baby slaps from slumber. He tries hard to desist it but sleep is on him like cheap suit. As he fights off sleep like the big rats from Alexandra fighting off tsotsis for a space in a dark alley, he seems to be on the losing side. Blackout is coming in truckloads and the beer has induced an Eskom like load shedding on him.

He is out …..

He slept for a couple of hours and when he woke up the popular LOTTO draw is being shown on telly. He convinces himself he slept because of fatigue and not beer. The beer that spilled on him when he started dozing off, presents a different evidence thou.

The smell of braaied meat comes hurling itself to his nose, like a high jumper over the beam. This reminds him of the offer made by Uncle Joey earlier. He has a change of clothes, a splash of cologne here and there helps with the smelly body odour. Not even once did his body visit the bathroom today, hence the wash with perfume. Seeing it is a tad chilly outside, he decides to wear his favourite green sweater.

Walking out of the house, he does not bother to lock the house as he will be outside at the neighbour’s yard. As he gets to the gate he realises that he left the cell phone behind. Going back seems a daunting task and so he carries on to the next door.
His appearance elicits a hearty welcome from Uncle Joey.

Uncle Joey: gents, this is Mehlo’s offspring

A beer glass filled to brim with Smirnoff 1818 and a droplet of lemonade, in hand. This surprises one of them who has an eye patch on.

The-patched-one: are you Didi?

The patched one now calling Dutie by his childhood pet name and Dutie immediately remembers that this is Bra Knox, one of his father’s friends. His story being that he lost his eye in a fight at Orlando stadium in 70’s during the Soweto Derby, when the derby rivalry was still dangerously contested. Even thou he lost the eye he didn’t lose his sense of style, which all the early Kaizer Chiefs fans were known to have.

Dutie: Bra Knox, is this you?

Even before Bra Knox could answer, Uncle Joey interrupts him. He quickly pulled the youngster and introduces him to the king of this new castle.

Uncle Joey: Didi, meet Vusi. Bra Vusi to you
Dutie: hi Bra Vusi
Uncle Joey: Didi my boy. Vusi was best mates with your dad growing up. They separated when Pinky came into the picture.
Dutie: so Uncle Joey, what happened for them to separate?

Bra Vusi gives Joey a look that tells him to keep the reasons sealed and utters something.

Bra Vusi: milk for babies and meat for men

With that came the end into the probe of what happened to the love triangle that separated Bra Vusi and Dutie’s father.

Bra Vusi: and whose offspring is he?

Bra Vusi asks with a surprised look.

Uncle Joey: this is Hlehle’s last born.

He replies using Dutie’s dad’s soccer name.

Bra Vusi: damn it man, I thought your face looks familiar

This opens a Pandora’s Box which gives Bra Vusi a smile. The friendship it seems was fine until Mehlo and Vusi met Pinky in the 70’s. Their battle to win Pinky got so fierce that the whole Zone 5 got to know about it, leading to them having a fierce knife fight. Dutie’s father came out second best, losing out on Pinky and his friend Vusi.

The queen of the house comes down strutting a cat walk from the house, like a super model on the ramp. She came to drop off the salads Uncle Joey asked for and never misses a chance to show off what she did best in her heydays. She was Miss Drum magazine 1979 and nostalgia seems to have taken over.

Bra Vusi: Pinky, do you know whose child is this?

He points at his young neighbour.

Ausi Pinky: Vuvu my darling, I don’t keep track of all your friends
Bra Vusi: no man love, look at this boy carefully

After looking carefully, Pinky gave a nonchalant answer.

Ausi Pinky: oh isn’t he the drunkard who was singing like a maniac last night at the night vigil

The answer gives Dutie a serious scare for for few seconds, until he remembers that yesterday he never attended any night vigil. After leaving his work place, he went straight to Soweto and spent time at Momoza’s shack. They spent most the whole evening drinking there, up until he got a call from one of his ex-girlfriends.

Bra Vusi: No man, this is Hlehle’s son
Ausi Pinky: Hlehle? As in my Hlehle, the dribbling wizard?

She says with a little smile on her face.

Bra Vusi feelz like a R10 note, while Dutie’s father must be feeling like a million dollar wherever he is. The answer not only startles Dutie but also makes him realise Pinky has serious loose tongue. This does not bother Pinky thou as she turns back and herds for the house, without so much as feeling guilty about what she just said.

Bra Vusi: Nxa. Ignore her

He says, just before he takes a moerse gulp from his bottle of Castle Milk Stout.

Bra Vusi: Didi my boy, what do you drink?
Dutie: juice is fine Bra V

He was now feeling comfortable enough to shorten his neighbour’s name.

Bra Vusi: No man do what you mean? Are you sure you are Mehlo se offspring?

This jolt’s Dutie into realising that Bra Vusi is offering him something stronger than water and anything less than that is an offense to his host. The non-existance of empty Heineken bottles worries and horrify the hell out of him. He stands there wondering how he is going to make the transition from boys to men (juice to alcohol) without being seen as a choosy person.

Dutie: I normally drink Heineken Bra V but I’ll take whatever is on offer
Bra Vusi: now you are talking my boy. You have taste sonny, I knew long time ago that you are from Mehlo’s loin

A broad smile now firmly planted on both their faces and a new bond created.

Bra Vusi: you see your father liked good things and I see you are a chip from the old block

Nostalgia has kicked in and a long for a past that is long gone, is written on Bra Vusi’s face. He goes on to tell the youngster about the good times he spent with his father in their younger days. The sweet 70’s as he fondly calls them. While narrating about his childhood, he remembers that he was about to offer the whipper snapper a drink.

Bra Vusi: Tumi,….. Tumelo
Tumi: Pa
Bra Vusi: Please bring me 1 Heineken, 3 Black Labels, 1 Stout and a……

As he is about to order a drink for the truck driver, something tells him to check on the driver. The potbellied one is fast asleep, snore adding a dramatic touch to his demeanour. With each breath, a sound of a fart is heard almost ripping the underpants off.

The beautiful Miss Tumi walks towards the gathering and stands next to her loving
father. Bra Vusi pulls his daughter closer and gives her a bear hug she seems needing. The hug only leads to Dutie getting a close-up of Tumi’s plumber’s cleavage, thanks to her skimpy short cargo pants.

With the hug done, Bra Vusi introduces Tumi to his new neighbour. He is always on a look out for a good boyfriend for his last born child, the ones he has be introduced to him so far fell short.

Bra Vusi: Tumi my pumpkin, meet Didi. He stays next door
Just as Dutie is about to say something, Tumi gives him a look that says he better not mention how they met earlier. He obliges, if only not to get a tongue lashing from the petite one.

Dutie: Hey, I’m Dutie….
Bra Vusi: He is the son of my old friend from Zone 5

The formalities done, Tumi leaves for the house with the tyre bonking poodle in tow. Just as she got to the stairs, she turnes and asks what drinks her father wants again. The whole walk from grass to stairs is so breath taking for Dutie and he only gets distracted when Uncle Joey throws a beer bottle cap at him.

Uncle Joey: You are Mehlo’s boy indeed. He always had a taste for good things. At it boykie.

The private joke eliciting giggles between them. The old men stand there talking about the good old days when people used to bring knives to a fist fight and not guns. They reckon guns have taken out the fun in testing each other’s testosterone levels. Nowadays their knives are only used when slaughtering sheep and cows at a wedding, funeral or traditional gathering.

He stands there listening to the geezers as they reminisce about days gone by. The sound of a midget dog brought relief to him as he will get a chance to see the vivacious Tumi. Meanwhile Pinky the resident DJ was changing the CDs as if she got a night slot on Kaya-FM. If ever there was any bubble-gum music fanatic alive that was not there, they clearly missed out.

Tumi: where must I put them Papa
Bra Vusi: On the grass its fine my luv

Her bending motion revealed the plumber’s crack again and Dutie wondered if the only chance he will get to see her is when she is showing her crack.

Just as they were talking, the potbellied truck driver hit the grass with his forehead. The thud that follows scares everyone into thinking there is an earthquake and the poor little dog leaves the yard running back to Soweto. The commotion the fall causes intensifies when Pinky comes rushing outside covered only in a bath towel.

Tumi runs after the petrified dog who is now thinking he is Jock of the Bushveld. Dutie is now caught up between using the first aid skills he learnt at grade 2 on the driver or run after the Tumi and dog like police chasing a pickpocketer during peak hour at Smal Street.

The old men besides Bra Vusi are torn between helping the driver and ogling at Pinky. Dutie cannot help but join the older fellows at noticing Pinky’s well-toned thighs, there are no stretch marks and for such a middle aged woman it is impressive. The neighbour from across can surely learn a thing or two he thinks to himself.

Truck Driver: eish
Bra Vusi: Never mind gents, he’s alive

This elicits a barrage of threats from the queen of the house

Pinky: Moloi don’t ever come to my house or else I will chop you ears off. Why must I get
a heart attack because of your drunkenness? You are just a lump of meat that’s just causing…

Bra Vusi interjects to save his friend who is now holding the right side of his head. Pinky’s finger never leaving Moloi’s direction and is now swinging it like that of the late Groot Krokodil.

Bra Vusi: Pinky go back to the house. You are embarrassing me with your nudity.
Pinky: I embarrass you! Fine let’s see if my nudity with embarrass you later.
Bra Vusi: I hope that’s not a threat

Pinky is now near the steps far enough not to hear what he had just said, not that it would make any difference. Once she’s said her mind what follows does not worry her one bit. The singing as she enters the house is testimony to that. Tumi and her sex addict dog on her left hand come panting like a pack of hyenas going for a kill. The dog is now barking at the still dazed Moloi, who is still trying to help himself off the ground.

Moloi: Jesus my head is pumping
Uncle Joey: Don’t worry pain is a sign on being alive
Moloi: easy for you to say
Uncle Joey: Spot on Moloi, I’m not the one who got a blackout and hit my head against the ground.
Moloi: voetsek

With the Moloi’s earthquake now safely gone and no aftershocks being felt, the drinking resumes. The beer that Tumi had brought for Dutie got spilled when Moloi bumped it when he fell and tasted the manure Bra Vusi uses in his grass. The need for a beer got the better of him and he has no choice but get another one. Bra Vusi sees his puppy look desperation and looks around for Tumi who is nowhere near them.

Bra Vusi: Dutie my boy, go to the house and ask Tumi or Mama Tumi to give you a beer. You might as well get everyone
Dutie: Okay

The walk to the house starts badly as he trips on the outstretched leg of Moloi, who is placing the half empty bottle of Carling Black label on his face. Moloi says something about preventing the face from swelling up.

Dutie takes the short walk to the house and on entering there is an immediate bulging in the front of his pants. He finds the queen of the house sited like Mona Lisa, still in the bath towel and watching The Girls from Playboy Mansion. The bulge is embarrassingly visible and Pinky pretends that she didn’t see that.

Dutie: Mama Tumi, Papa Tumi has asked me to come get some beers.

She looks at him and simply points to the fridge. His embarrassment gets worse when
he finds Tumi in the kitchen eating supper by herself. She must have seen the bulge because she starts giggling for no reason while he is opening the fridge.

Dutie: What? What’s so funny?
Tumi: Nothing

Not wanting to embarrass himself further he leaves the kitchen with no further comment. The journey through the house is short yet event full, going past the lounge he gets tortured again by the siting position of Pinky. She is now lying on the couch like somebody who has gone to a psychologist for the umpteenth time.

Reaching the braaing brigade saves his pants from being torn by the bulge and the speed at which he opens the beer quickly cools him down. The tent created in his pants slowly deflates and he can now move with ease. The braaing skills of Uncle Joey are second to none and most of the meat does not reach the house much to the annoyance of Pinky.

As the night gets older, the grass gets colder and the breeze starts to slap them with the strength of a school ground bully. He stays at Bra Vusi’s for another hour or so before bidding them farewell and herds to his house. He manages to sprint from his neighbours to his house without feeling the effects of the alcohol intake.

He goes straight for a shower and then has headache powder to help with the morning hangover. An hour or so of TV would not be a bad idea he says to himself and his 60 minutes of channel hopping begins. The first few channels he visits are sport channels ofcourse.

Few minutes into his new job of being a Channel Hopper, a knock at the door disturbs his solitude. He is not expecting any visitors at this time as his phone is already switched off and the complex guards know he doesn’t let anyone in at this time. He pretends he didn’t hear the knock until the knocker screams his name out and he recognises it as Tumi’s voice.

Dutie: come in
Tumi: Hey
Dutie: Wasup
Tumi: oh nothing much. I needed a break from the motley crew, they have moved into the house as it got colder outside.
Dutie: oh okay
Tumi: they are now playing their music loudly and I can’t get a wink of sleep
Dutie: No worries. I was watching TV anyways. Can I offer you a drink?
Tumi: Tea is fine
Dutie: O righty. I was having a glass of red, night cap they call it
Tumi: oh good for you

He ventures in to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea and refill his glass of wine.

Dutie: So where are you guys from originally?
Tumi: We are from Zone 6
Dutie: Oh I’m originally from Zone 5 but left when I was young.
Tumi: small world indeed

He gives her the tea and a side plate of biscuits. He places his now refilled glass of wine next to her tea and nestles himself on the couch. She joins him on the couch and they chat about everything under the sun. His wish of seeing her again now fulfilled, he has one thing in his mind and that is kissing her again.

As if she read his mind, she starts talking about the earlier event.

Tumi: Listen apologies for the stunt I pulled earlier today. That guy is my ex and won’t
take no for answer. It has been two months now since I dumped him, I’m so over him

Dutie listens attentively, realising now he has no chance in hell of kissing her anytime soon. The fear of being lumped in the same place as the ex-boyfriend stops him dead in his tracks. The least he can do is bide his time and play an understanding friend.

Dutie: No man should force a woman to be with him

This wins him brownie points and elevates him from the dumps the ex-boyfriend is in.

Tumi: you are right

That is her opening salvo and she carries on and on about how the skhothane is not good and all the negative things he did. All Dutie can do is be a good agony Uncle. The chopping to pieces of the ex-boyfriend continues unabated leading to Tumi getting tired of drinking tea.

Tumi: What wine you drinking?
Dutie: it is a Rupert and Rothschild Baron Edmond 2010
Tumi: mmm you got good taste. It is one of the few wines I enjoy, the others being Vilafonte Series wines
Dutie: Yeah… can I pour you a glass?
Tumi: please do and don’t get any funny ideas
Dutie: what ideas?

Now more convinced Tumi can read his mind, he erases all preconceived ideas and he decides to play along. He is off to the kitchen and pours her a glass, in one of those big mouth wines glasses.

Dutie: here we go
Tumi: thanks

After a sip, she looks at the man of the house and gives a wink. He is seriously now in trouble as he does not know what to do and the signals she is sending are like meeting a stripper dressed in a police uniform. Confusion is written all over his face but he decides to play a fool.

The call of nature forces him to visit the loo and he goes with intentions of being quick. The visit takes longer than he hopes and on return he finds her sleeping on the couch. He just watches this beautiful soul in her beauty sleep and wishes he could win her heart over. He gently calls out her name and gets no reply from the sleeping beautiful. He decides not to disturb her again just so atleast he can watch this sleeping beauty for a while.

An hour or so later, he feels the sleep marching band herding his way and he gently nudges her, informing her he was off to sleep. He thinks this would be a signal for her to make her way home and instead she goes climb the stairs to his bedroom. To say he is surprised is an understatement, he is stupefied.

He quickly switches off most of the appliances downstairs as per request by Eskom and then walks to the kitchen to lock the kitchen door. With wine glass in hand, he walks up the stairs towards his bedroom. He finds her sleeping peacefully under covers and tiptoes to the balcony.

He takes a sip from the wine glass and takes few minutes to reflect on the event of the day. This being a ritual he began when he moved in to this house. After the last droplets he moves into the house and safely locks the balcony door. After switching off the side table lamp, he joins Tumi in slumber land.

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