The Ndundulu Invasion – Chapter 8 – The King Is Gone But He’s Not Forgotten

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mantzariscoverMost of the time he was so peaceful and excited in Ndundulu that he did not even feel like driving to Melmoth or Empangeni.
Sometimes, however, he felt  the need to see some different people, faces and places.
In addition there were times that MaKhumalo took advantage of his weaknesses and convinced him to drive her there for shopping. She was extremely nice to him and he felt her warmth and hospitality everyday, so in most occasions it was impossible for him to refuse a favour.
On the other hand he was able to learn a lot of things useful to his mission because MaKhumalo was the CCN of the area and her knowledge encompassed a very wide field of data gathering and dissemination.
She was such a wealth of information, based on solid fact and research and not pure rumour or gossip that sometimes Bongi felt obligated to buy her pizza, her favourite food. This was one the major achievements of marketing, he always thought, when he saw her enjoying her seafood variety chewing well the tasteless prawns.
Some times Bongi was close to telling her what a prawn was, but he abstained, because he knew that would be the last time she would set food at a pizzeria.

He left her at the cafeteria in the mall, chatting with Mrs. Dlamini, a nurse at the hospital who was married to MaKhumalo’s brother Bongani and entered the supermarket. He needed toiletries, macaroni and tinned fish. He searched carefully the shelves and he was astounded by the variety and the prices, many of them more expensive than Umhlanga Rocks. It was, however, end of the month and there were chords of people shopping, chirping and debating issues loudly. As he looked around the shop he felt this urgency to shout loudly welcoming Europe in Africa, but he was afraid people might take him for a crazy old man shouting obscenities.

He finished his shopping and moved towards the cashier pushing the trolley. He felt a Breath behind his ear. It was not fresh. He did not want to fight. He kept his appetite for fighting during the Amazulu game, at 3 p.m sharp, King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi.

He did not need to turn, the Terrible Breath moved in front of him, side-stepping him smoothly and in style, no pushing. He was holding an Axe Special, and a cheap tooth brush, R4.99.
He was tattooed. A MANCHESTER UNITED insignia on the left side of his neck, and wearing a Wayne Rooney scarf, four rings in his upper lip and a tanzanite fake on his right eyebrow. He was of pale complexion, yet a member of the only existing race, the human race.
“Daddy, can I move ahead of you”, the Bad Breath, murmured, “I have locked the poodle in the boot and I need to rush.”
“Sure son, but I thought the Sex Pistols had retired.”, he observed.
“Daddy, the King is gone but he’s not forgotten, this is the story of Johnny Rotten. In fact the Sex Pistols have never and will never retire, dad, they just took a break. They never retire for one reason only, because they love themselves.”
“What do you mean, son?”
“What I mean, dad, is that it’s good to be in love with you, because to be yourself is a full time job.”

Bongi looked into the young boy’s green eyes, a pale imitation of his green and yellow Mohawk.
“Whatever, my boy”, he whispered, “I’m Bongi.”
“I know daddy. I’ve seen you on TV, take care now, I’m Nikolas.”

The tall boy disappeared fast. Bongi could not bring himself to tell him that he was never on TV.
The young boy’s one liner felt like one hundred years of solitude mixed with one hundred vicious whipping strokes on his back.
He needed a cigarette.
Urgently.

Next chapter: Chapter 9

©  Evan Mantzaris – The Ndundulu Invasion – Rozenberg Quarterly 2013 – ISBN 978 90 361 0201 8

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