Archives for: April 2009
Locked up in prison.
Tuesday, April 28th 2009
So Mr. Hardly-There-Any-More came over today. The landlord. It's been over a week.
“Oh, I guess you've just been really busy with all the exact same stuff you do every day,” I said. I was being sarcastic.
“Sorry Shark, but I've been run off my bloody feet all week. All the tenants have left the move right till the last minute and now I have to run around and help them,” he said. I had my doubts about this.
“Don't they have another six months still?” I asked. The landlord looked at me harshly.
“They had six months to move out six months ago. All the leases end at the start of May. You and me have to be out of her on the first of June.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said. “You told me.”
“Yes, many times,” he said. “You haven't really gotten yourself very ready yet,” he let that hang in the air and after a while he began on a different part of the topic. “I helped that friend of yours, Bradley, and his mother move out all the way to Wynberg. Shame, his mother's quite ill. I've known her for a long time now, she's a good woman but she's not done a very nice job with that child.: He looked at me to check if it was okay to talk about Monopoly this way. I nodded to make him continue. “I heard on the radio the other day that in America you can go to prison for wearing your trousers too low. Did you know that?” I didn't know that. I don't listen to the same shows as he does. I don't have to because he tells me all about them anyway. “They'd send that Bradley to prison straight away. One look at him and – vuuu!” he pointed at the window.
“Monopoly would go to jail?” I checked. I had to check because it didn't seem very realistic. I was actually a little bit thrilled because the landlord is always so realistic and I would have liked to have caught him in an unrealistic mood where you could joke with him.
“Yes. In America, it's the law now,” he wasn't being unrealistic. Though I don't think that jail would stop Monopoly from wearing his jeans like that. He'd keep them low every day no matter how much it annoyed the wardens. He's uncompromising.
Man, just thinking about it, I know Monopoly would kill at jail. He'd know all the right things to say and would team up with the right teams and become the right people. He'd get into a hiphop jail group with his cellmate and some other guys and they'd form a tiny community where everyone wore their pants like that and they all help each other out with their problems. Really late in the night and the dark, when all the other prisoners are asleep, Monopoly's cellmate will tell him exactly how to get along with his ex-wife and what to do if she finds out he's dating again. In the laundromat, the whole gang will sit down when they should be working and will figure out a better way for the education system and the schools to work. They'll talk about which blender is the best kind for your kid. They'll help each other write better dating profiles and they'd all go out with girls from the internet who know what's going on because they don't get all of the information from talk radio.
“So, about the money you're going to let me have – can I have it all at once please?” I said while he was making lunch. This made him stop making lunch and come into my room and say:
“We talked about this. I don't think it's a good idea. You know how you are with money, it's – you're just not very careful.”
“I know but do you think I could have the money all at once, please?”
“I don't think it's a very good idea, Shark. I don't.”
“Yeah, but can I have it all at once please?” I smiled. He shook his head and didn't say anything till lunch came out. Then he talked about how Cape Town and the Western Cape should become its own country. After he was done talking about that he had to go do some garden stuff.
“I don't know why I bother now,” he sighed. “It's all going to get paved over in a few weeks. There's not even much of a garden to bother with.”
I think he's pretty close to giving me the money. When Monopoly gets out of jail we are going to make the best TV company in the world.
The grocery kid's kid.
Monday, April 27th 2009
When the grocery kid came round yesterday I asked him how his daughter was doing. He seemed surprised by this.
“Why the sudden interest?” he said, kind of sarcastically.
“I was reading one of your books,” I said, “I think it's my favourite one of your books – Die Boeremeisie Teater”
“I don't remember that one,” he said. He shook his head. He was uncomfortable. I went to go find the book so he'd know which one it was. I found it under my bedcovers. I handed it to him and he got a look at the cover. On it, a young bride was standing on the altar, getting married to this guy. She is looking over her shoulder and is looking over her shoulder at us. She is not happy. She wants us to help her. The bride and groom and the whole wedding is taking place on a stage. The audience is applauding. I showed him the cover but he just shook his head again.
“I've written so many of these things, honestly, and I never even look at them after they send them.” he said.
“It's about a father who wants his daughter to get married as part of a play for all his drama friends to see,” I explained. That didn't work either.
“Oh,” was all he said. He really wanted to go.
“They live on a farm and they have all these problems,”
“That happens all the time,” he said, looking anywhere but at me or the book.
“Your daughter's old now, isn't she?” I asked. He looked back at me.
“She's not that blumming old. She's nearly forty. She's a spring chicken next to you or me.” He was almost laughing.
“In the book, the wedding didn't work out because another guy found her message. Her marriage didn't work out either in real life, right? Did a better guy find her? A guy you didn't like?” I said. He turned to me and slowly took the book out of my hands.
“This book's not about her. I never wrote any of these about anything worth mentioning. I don't write 'about' anything any more. I'd prefer it if you didn't read them at all.” He handed the book back and I looked down at it. The picture seemed different. It wasn't 'about' anything now. It was just a bad drawing. It didn't contain any secrets.
He brought cloths and sponges and a new brush, just like I asked. I tried to thank him for it but he took it all the wrong way.
“You'll have a lot of cleaning to do yourself from now on,” he said. I quite like cleaning up, really. It's like meditation for your brain and shows progress.
“You could have fooled me,” he said.
A lot less to do.
Tuesday, April 21st 2009
The internet doesn't seem as fun without @groombridge around. I've stopped looking for things that he'd like so I can show them to him. I took away a lot of bookmarks for the sites he liked today. I don't think I'll go to them if he's not around to tell me when there's something good to see.
I mailed Sarah and told her most of what we covered in the meeting on Sunday. I didn't tell her anything about Monopoly's phone. While I waited for her to reply, I decided to tidy up my kitchen a bit, but all the sponges and cloths had a bad smell on them and I had to throw them away. I'll have to get the grocery kid to buy me some new ones so I can do the cleaning next week. Instead of that, I had a look through the back room to see if maybe I could pack or sort through something and when I went back there I realised that all the garbage from Sarah's week as the grocery kid was still there. I couldn't do anything about it today because Monday is the day for taking the garbage out and if I did it on a Tuesday I'd have to answer a lot of questions.
I got my statue of the landlord, which is a work-in-progress, out from behind the dishes and I tried to find a place to work on it. It's kind of brown now, but I can work with that. Thing is, the best place to work on it is the kitchen table and the kitchen table is full of mess. So that's another thing I can't do right now.
Then it was about time for the landlord to call me and leave a message. The message came and on it he said he wouldn't be visiting me today since he's helping a very old tenant move out. I wondered who it was and where they were moving to. If there was one place in the world that I'd like to move to, it would be the Abrahm's old house down the road, which is where Celene lived-in and worked, back in the day. I only saw it the one time, just after the Abrahms got kicked out and Celene came back to live with us. It was so big with these pillars outside on the stoep that held the balcony up and it was painted in all these colours you wouldn't expect to see on a house, like blue and pink and purple. I asked the landlord's mother if we could paint her house up like that but she said it was gross and we would never do anything like that. Then I joked, well what about my house next door? She didn't like that. She hated it when I pointed out that the house next door was mine, even though technically they were both mine but we didn't talk about that either. The whole thing became a non-issue quite soon after that, though, when she teamed up with the grocery kid and turned both houses into the apartments. I didn't want to paint the apartments. They all looked ugly and small.
I thought that maybe this very old tenant who moved out today was moving into the Abrahm's old house. Maybe I could live there too and Sarah could look after the tenant. Maybe he wouldn't let me in and I've have to sneak inside and live secretly in the attic. I'd only be able to watch TV at certain hours or he'd hear me and send someone to catch me. I can't really wear headphones.
So Sarah mailed me back. She'd been at the Department Of Home Affairs all day trying to get visa forms. She said that it hurt her. She was tired and stressed and she was sorry she didn't come on Sunday but she wasn't feeling very well. She said it is getting difficult to leave the country now and there it a lot more for her to do.
When I did that sort of thing, going from one country to the next was really simple. You just had to tip everyone and you got where you wanted to go.
Sunday, April 19th 2009
We had a TV company meeting today in my kitchen. Monopoly was there. Sarah said she'd come with her friend who is into photography, but she didn't. I guess she must have forgot.
The meeting went pretty well. We got a lot of stuff sorted out. Monopoly said he'd been talking to some guys he knew who were also street and he said he could make it all happen. He knew a guy who made hiphop music review videos that he put up on the internet. He can be the director. Apparently, this guy is pretty popular as a music reviewer. He gets a lot of people talking. It will be good to get someone with a built-in audience. Monopoly said he knew a lot of sound guys who could do mixing and he would do all the music himself. It would be hiphop and it would be uncompromising. But there was one thing:
“When's the money coming?” he said.
“Don't worry,” I said. “It's coming.”
“I'm not doing anything until I've got the cash in my hand. My time is precious, do you understand?”
“Yes, I will get the money.” I said. I understood him. He didn't have to ask if I did.
I got down to telling him what the sitcom we'll make is all about. I told him it is about families and how sad parents get.
“The main character is an astronaut called Ric,” I explained.
“An astronaut?” he snorted. “That shit's all fake. You don't believe in that stuff, do you?”
“I do,” I said, off-guard.
“You've got no idea what's going on in the world,” he said. He didn't seem upset and I wasn't too sure what he wanted me to say to that, so I told him some more about the characters in the sitcom.
“His wife's name is Carolyn and she's kind of magical. He had to leave her to go to space and she got into a relationship while he was gone with her psychiatrist, Burzum.”
“Burzum?” he said and he snarled up his face when he did it. “The singer?”
“In this he's a psychiatrist,” I said.
“He's a skinny-ass pussy, that's all he is. I could take him in a fight, one time. If he was here right now I'd stomp his ass. Understand?”
“I understand,” I said.
“So when are we going to make this happen, when's the money coming?” he said.
“I just need to talk to the landlord about that,” I said.
“I just need the money,” he said back very quickly. I stayed quiet for a while and he claimed a victory.
“How come that Sarah chick's not here anyway? You said she'd be here.” he said.
“I thought she would be.”
“Did you call her?”
“I've already called her,” I said.
“When? Call her again.” I didn't want to be rude and call Sarah a lot of times in case she was doing something important but Monopoly made it seem like it wouldn't be rude and it wouldn't matter if I disturbed her.
“That chick's so fine man,” he said while the phone was ringing. “And she's such a skank, too. She'd go with anyone. And listen, when she was going out with my cousin I took a video of them doing it on my phone. He was giving it her doggy, it was like - ” he grabbed his chest in both hands, closed his eyes and shook up and down. Then he opened his eyes, picked up his phone and said, “Do you want to see it?”
The call to Sarah went to voicemail. I hung up the phone but made no sudden moves. Monopoly grinned. “Yeah you want to see it. Let me show you...” he pressed some buttons on his phone but then he suddenly got very angry and crammed it back into his pocket. “Ah shit, it's on my other phone!” I slowly put my own phone down. Sarah wasn't coming. My mouth was dry. “It's cool though,” said Monopoly, “I know you wanted to see it. I'll bring it next time. Just make sure you bring the money.”
After he'd gone, I e-mailed David again. I said how great it was when he lived next door and we hung out, before he moved out. I told him that everyone was moving out now. I said that I hardly play TV games any more. Not even Monopoly wanted to play TV games today. He said that my games were all old and lame-looking. I told David that if he ever wanted to come to my chatroom and talk to me for a bit, I'd give him ops. He can kick and ban anyone he wants. I think everything will change when that happens. It would start like this:
@david: Hey Shark, sorry it's been so long. I've just had some crazy family stuff going on, you know?
Burzumfan9999: It's okay David.
Burzumfan9999: I know how it is with families.
Friday, April 17th 2009
I don't think that I'm friends with @groombridge anymore.
We drifted apart. Yeah, it happens. It's been coming for a while now actually. I saw all the signs. It's cool, he can do what he wants. He changed his profile on the dating site back to the way it was before I wrote all that stuff about astronauts for him. It's boring now, but whatever.
He also made it so I can't see Sarah's profile on the site. He must have given me a virus.
It's a pity, really. He needed me way more than I need him. I was giving him advice and help. Last week he said he was afraid of what his ex-wife would do if she found out he was on a dating site and what she'd say when he met someone through it. He didn't tell me what he thought she'd say, exactly, but I bet it would have been really sarcastic. I told him not to worry. When the time came, I would fix it all for him. If there's one thing I know, it's ex-wives. I know a lot about kids and being a parent too. I know how it is. I think I had a pretty good handle on solving the problems he had with the school too. I've some some really good ideas for how schools should be run.
So it's pretty weird not having @groombridge around on the internet. Whenever I see something weird or interesting go down on IRC, I usually mail him a transcript and then we talk about it, especially if it involved someone who's on our 'watch' list. Yesterday, in a chatroom, I saw a guy have a fight with another guy, only this fight crossed borders of reality. First, the cooler guy we watch called the bad guy we watch a paedo. This part actually happened a few days before. He called him that because he was always defending his choices of bad music he liked and was really friendly with all the admins on this one forum. Anyway, what happened yesterday was that the bad guy found out that the cool guy had called him a kid and had found out the cool guy's home phone number from a link in his profile and had called the cool guy's wife. The wife wouldn't let the bad guy talk to the cool guy and the bad guy got really aggressive and called the cops. The chat I saw yesterday was the bad guy taunting the cool guy because the cops didn't do anything and actually made the cool guy apologise for making a big deal out of everything. They were both explaining their sides of the story to everyone else in the chat while trying to correct each other's story and call each other names. At one point the cool guy pointed out that the bad guy could only use sentence fragments, which is incorrect and the bad guy said that he only needed fragments to prove that he was a douche. People took sides. It was life.
I don't think @groombridge saw any of it because he would have been asleep when it happened. I guess that's another thing he's missed out on now.
The odds against love.
Sunday, April 12th 2009
So a few days ago a strange thing happened. @groombridge got a message on his dating site. That's not the strange part. The strange part is that the message was from Sarah. He told me about it and I acted cool. He said that she looked so young and pretty in her photos. She was making tea in her photos. I warned him that she wasn't into older guys. Then I told him that he could get around that. He said he'd send the e-mails to me but I had to do was one thing. I had to trust him.
Burzumfan9999: I trust you.
So Sarah got talking to @groombridge and he told her all about how the school that his kids go / went to was a bad school, and that all the schools in his country were bad schools unless you had a lot of money to send your kids to the good ones. Even the good ones are bad because then what matters most is who your parents are and what kind of car you come to school in. Anyway, the schools that he can afford don't work. They don't respect his kids' individual strengths and weaknesses and all they care about is targets and budgets.
That's great, says, Sarah back to him, but she's got problems too. Her dad won't let her leave the farm. He doesn't want her to love by her own rules, he wants her to marry the pizza punk who delivered to them this one time. He's already written their wedding as a play and he wants them to perform it to a whole room of his old drama buddies who he hasn't seen for years and years. This is his big chance to show them all that he was worth it the whole time and he wants it all to be perfect. Her dad is kind of a jerk. As soon as she gets the chance, she's going to leave home and never really talk to him again. She'll only see him at funerals or sometimes at christmas. That's what you get for being a jerk.
Sarah tells him about her brother and sister. They're suffering under the grocery kid's bad parenting skills too, but in different ways. Her brother is an alcoholic, straight up. He never sleeps in his own bed. At night he's either passed out on the couch or, if he's upset Sarah's sister, sitting on the front doorstep with an empty bottle of wine. Sarah usually goes outside and takes him a blanket. In the past she would try to get him to come inside but he didn't want to. He was too proud. He'd been told to go out, he'd say. He was just doing what he'd been told.
Sarah's sister is the brawn of the family. She's the one who supports everyone and works and keeps things running. If it wasn't for her, the crops wouldn't get watered and the trucks wouldn't arrive at the right time and the farm-boys wouldn't get paid. She is always tired and always being bossy but she knows what's best and what everyone should eat for dinner. She used to cook dinner herself but now she doesn't have the time. It's all oven meals in plastic trays. It's okay though because she buys the fancy ones with the vegetable chunks in. She says that Sarah should cook once in a while, you know? But it's not like those things are hard to cook and Sarah says she's busy with guys a lot of the time. She's not afraid to say this to @groombridge. Guys are a part of life.
Sarah's father is too old to do anything useful on the farm any more. His back hurts too much. All he does is fetch the groceries from the shop once a week. He treats this like it's a really big deal and he uses it to show how much the family needs him, but they all know that Sarah could do the whole job just as easily or that they could order food off the internet if they wanted. He's aware of all the problems in his family, though. In fact, he doesn't think of much else. He's always calculating how much inheritance each of them will get when he dies. He's always changing the ratios around in his mind. A lot of the time, Sarah's sister will get most, if not all of it, because she's always cooking dinner and looking like she's in charge, but from time to time he'll look favourably on Sarah. If she goes through with this wedding to Francois and makes him look good in front of all of his old drama buddies, he's going to give half of everything to her. That's the farm, the house, all of it. It's a big farm. They grow important things there and it makes a lot of money thanks to Sarah's sister. The brother won't get anything, of course. He's not very good with money. If he got it he wouldn't know what to do with it. He'd probably try to give it back. That would be funny, seeing him do that.
The grocery kid has even told Sarah about his plan to give her the inheritance but Sarah doesn't care. She's not going to marry Francois. They're not even going out. They just went on this camping trip and things went from there. Love is the most important thing to Sarah but nobody has told Francois the right way to love her. Until that happens, he'll just be another guy, another pizza punk, all adrift in the world, eating popcorn off the stove and living a life of shallow necessity. She knows enough about @groombridge from his dating site profile to know that he's not like that. He's into deep stuff, like cars and Leonard Cohen. His life is the exact opposite of someone who takes a blanket out to the porch to cover up their drunk brother. He's been a parent and he's been rejected by everything that ever made him attractive. He feels sometimes like his job his done, he got some new people made and he got them to a certain age – maybe that's all there is to life. She can show him how wrong that thought is.
She said all this to @groombridge and he asked me what he should do. He was kind of suspicious of everything. This wasn't how things had gone down with his ex-wife when they had met. So I told him all of the thing I would have said to Francois the other night if he had showed up. I told him to tell her that she was special, so much more than a simple farm girl. I told him to warn her that the city is strange and very noisy and there isn't much space, but if she was with him, she would never have to work so hard to please her jerk father. Every day would be her day that she controlled and she'd be able to wear fancy clothes and everything. I felt a little weird about losing Sarah to him, but I knew that we could all still be friends and hang out. I thought of what Nikki would say when she found out about Sarah and @groombridge.
“How could they possibly have met and hooked up and fallen in love?” she'd ask me. “The chances against it were so astronomically high!”
“How do any two people end up in love? Aren't the chances always as small as nothing?” I'd say back. “You just have to believe that love can beat the odds.” I'd know that it was really me who made it all happen and I'd wink then she'd know and she'd smile and then... who knows?
@groombridge asked me why I was always online at the exact same time as Sarah was on the dating site.
Burzumfan9999: It must be a coincidence.
The right way to love.
Saturday, April 11th 2009
I wanted Francois to be the one to come and bring the pizza on Friday night. Normally, if you want this to happen, you tell the pizza girls who you want when you're on the phone and ordering your pizza. I was just about to do this when I realised that Francois would find out that I was expecting him and he might do something tricky. To talk to him properly, I'd have to catch him by surprise. The bad thing was that I only realised this while I was already talking to the pizza girls. It was like this:
“Will there be anything else, sir? Would you like anything to drink with that?” said the pizza girl.
“I'd like to request that a certain boy bring the pizzas to me,” This is me talking.
“Certainly, we can arrange that if he's on tonight. The pizza might come a bit later though,”
“That's fine, I'm fine with that. I always burn my mouth if the pizza is too hot anyway.”
“Who would you like, sir?” This is when I got stuck. I had wanted to surprise him but if I told the ladies that I wanted him in particular then he'd know that something was up. When you make a request for a certain boy, it gets printed on the slip. I've seen it. I suddenly didn't want to ask for him any more. I tried to think of another name, of some other pizza punk who'd visited me. They all had names but only one came to mind.
“I want Moe. Send Moe please,” I said. There was some talking that I couldn't quite hear on the other side of the line.
“Moe doesn't work here any more, sir. Is there anyone else you'd like.”
“No thank you, Moe's the best one you had.”
“Yes, we all miss him.” I could hear that she was smiling. I think she meant it.
If Francois had come and I'd caught him by surprise like I wanted, I imagine at first he'd been shy and maybe dangerous, but then I'd invite him in and ask him to play TV games. I have a pretty good idea of how good he'd be at them. He wouldn't be as good as Moe, because I don't think Francois is nearly as clever as Moe, but maybe he's better than Monopoly, who didn't have a good style for games. I'd play with him or, if he didn't want me in the way, I'd just watch. He's probably not used to people who can just watch another person play TV games like that. After a while I made him some tea and I brought out the biscuits I had. We started talking about music and Leonard Cohen and he liked that. I told him the meanings to some of the best Leonard Cohen songs. He didn't know that they meant that, he had his own interpretation of them that wasn't anywhere close. It's cool, you can keep that interpretation. It's your truth.
We sat and talked for ages about all kinds of things. I told him about Carolyn and about Sarah, how she's so aware of what's going on in the world. I don't think I was ever so aware, not even when I was her age. I don't even know half of the things she talks about, I've got to look them up or ask her or connect them up to something I've seen on TV. Sometimes it seems that she can go anywhere, that there are no secrets from her. If there's something she wants to know about, she'll just go right out there and find it. It's the way she talks to people – they want to automatically tell her their secrets. I told him about Sarah's parents. You have to be careful around her because her parents are really sad. Her father is this alcoholic who doesn't do anything all day. He's done, he's all out of dreams. Her mother works so much that she isn't even a person anymore. You have to know that Sarah still loves them even though they are holding her back and keeping her stuck in their bad ways. But then she's got these really great friends like Nikki, who smile and back her up and are always on her side but not at the expense of people who aren't her. They don't want to fight you. They want you to join them.
At any point during my telling of Sarah to him, I could look over into Francois' eyes and see that he was learning to love Sarah the way I did. I don't think his way of loving Sarah was right. I think it lead to problems. I think Francois knew this too.
“Listen bru,” he sad, “I've got to put it all right. I've got to love Sarah the right way,”
“You're young,” I said. “You can do it.” I think that was the point where Francois and me became friends. We drank some more tea and we played TV games – neither one of us was better than the other, we were exactly equal – we ate the pizza we ordered and then we ate the pizza he had in his car (it was free) and then we just jumped about and shouted until it was time for him to go. I asked him if he wanted to help me make a television company and he said he did. I don't know exactly what he'll do in the company. Maybe he can be the pizza guy, like he's always been. We'll need a lot of pizza when the company is up and running.
Just as he was leaving, a bird walked down the corridor towards him. He told me to come out and look. I did. The bird walked right past him, around the corner. He was amazed but I knew what was happening.
“Some birds,” I said to him as he looked around at me to share in the crazy thing that had just happened, “Have been living in buildings for so long that they don't fly anywhere, they just walk around like they own the place.” He didn't believe me but I smiled it away. “Scientists have observed that they only appear when you're doing everything right.”
He looked down the hallway. It was empty now. Before him lay the whole world.
“You're on the right path, chugger. Keep going.” And then he ran out to the world, to Sarah, to everything.
That's how it would have gone. Instead they just sent some random guy. He didn't want to talk about Sarah or anything else, he took the money from the plant and went.
Tuesday, April 7th 2009
Sarah had e-mailed him and knocked on his door and now he was here. Sarah had told him to come here. He sat on my bed and looked at me in this way that told me he was aggressive about being here, but he was here anyway and it was my problem. My heart was going crazy but I knew I wasn't sweating. He can't see my heart, so it's okay. He looked like he'd gotten fatter.
He was always a man of the street. He dressed like he lived outside – a vest and a bandanna for summer, who-knows-what for winter. It's his face that is the real giveaway. Monopoly is people. He's everyone he's ever met and he's not ashamed of that. Most people, when they meet someone new, they try really hard to not listen to the newcomer, to not absorb too much of them. They are afraid of losing themselves. Out there, on the street, you can't play that game. You've got to flow from person to person, being everyone. I could still see bits of myself in Monopoly's eyes, from back when we were friends. I could see Moe.
He was here because of his skills. Everyone has powers and Monopoly has been everyone.
“So what do you want? Sarah said you wanted to employ me or something,” he said. I checked his face but he didn't look like he was going to twist or jump or spit or do anything weird like that. You have to watch Monopoly.
“Yeah, basically,” I started. “Listen, Monopoly, tell me about all the things you've seen.”
“What things?” he said.
“All of them. Tell me about your experience.”
“What is this, are you hitting on me, you old moffie? I will waste you, you understand?” he rose and suddenly everything was different and dangerous. I felt the sweat prickle in a little bit and I put my fins up and shook my head. I didn't mean that!
“No no, sit down, I wasn't talking about that, okay?” he'd actually already sat down before I'd got a chance to tell him to. “What I meant was, you've seen some things, right?”
“Yeah,” he said, nodding. I went on.
“You've had thoughts,”
“And you meet people all the time,”
“I'm good with people, man.”
“I thought so,” I said. I looked around. I had chosen wisely. “Do you watch TV?”
“Do you want to make TV shows?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, as a living?”
“Yeah,” he was smiling now. People can change so fast. “I could do that.”
“What if I said I was getting a million Rand soon and I need a producer for the TV company I'm going to set up?”
“Yeah man, where do I sign? I can do that. I know people. I can get stuff together.”
“That's what I thought,” I smiled. “I'll call you. Don't leave the country!” I joked. He wasn't really going to leave the country.
“Okay, cool man. Cool. Cool. What's the company called? I want to start telling people right away.” I stopped to think. I didn't have a name yet. I cycled my mind through a million possibilities and I settled on just one.
“COMMUNITY TV,” I said. “All in caps.”
“Okay, cool, I get it.”
“Because TV is like a community,” I said.
“Yeah, cool,” he agreed.
I showed him to the door (which was just behind him, but businessmen have to be polite) and he thanked me and we shook on it and then just before he went out the door he went all 'whoa' and lent back like he'd been punched in the chest and frowned and said,
“So aren't you going to give me my money?”
“I don't have it yet, I told you - ” I said.
“Not the mill, man – my money for this meeting. I didn't come here just to chat. I'm a busy guy, you know, I've got a lot going on.” I looked around. I didn't know this is how it was done. It makes sense though, because businessmen are busy guys too and they need rewards for turning up and going to meetings. There could be all sorts of meetings they aren't going to so they can go to yours.
“I don't have any money here,” I tried.
“Yes you do, man. You've got that big box of it. I want my finder's fee.” My head span and I couldn't see anything for a second. I put my mind around the room. All I had was R10 left over from a few pizza nights that I was saving and half a box of cigarettes.
I offered them to him.
“Thanks man. See you around,” and then he was no longer here.
Sarah is everything.
Thursday, April 2nd 2009
“All of the endings are so happy,” she said. She had three of the grocery kid's book spread out in front of her.
“I know.” I said.
“Even if the guy and the girl don't end with each other, they're still left off as better people from the experience.”
“I know!” I said. I did know.
“It's all so uncomplicated. It's not messy at all.”
“It's how love should be,” I said. “It's how love actually is, in the right situation.”
“Ja,” she said, but her eyes darted around the room. I could see that she needed to read more of the books.
I didn't offer her any just then, though. I wanted first to talk about love some more. I shuffled over to my computer and I made some special movements. A screen appeared and I moved out of the way so she could see it.
“Could you love this man?” I asked. She moved in close, her smell became huge and she inspected @groombridge's dating site profile.
“Did you write this?” she said.
“I helped.” I said.
“Who is he, Sharky?”
“He likes Leonard Cohen.”
“And cars, I see.”
“Would you want to go out with him?” I repeated. I didn't want to get hung up on the details with her. Sarah looked back at the screen. She looked at his photo. I'd told him to change it but he didn't. She saw his earring.
“Nno,” she said slowly.
“What if you lived in America or he lived here?” I asked.
“I don't like older guys, Sharky.”
“How old?” I wondered.
“I don't know, hey – twenty? Twenty five would definitely be my limit.”
“After that, people get so sad,” I said.
“I don't know - ”
“I've seen it happen. Their brains change into a shape it can't change out of. Everything they need to know is locked in and now they're stuck with it.” We weren't looking at the screen any more. I was looking at Sarah and Sarah was looking at me.
“Sharky, you're old and you're not like that,” she said.
“I know,” I said, breaking the look we shared forever. “It's different for sharks.” She crossed her legs and leaned forward. She was so close.
“Why don't you get out there? You could meet other sharks, hey. You could place an ad or go on a dating site yourself – you could join an art group, Sharky. They'd love you! I'm sure there are other sharks out there, you're bound to meet one if you look.”
“No, they're all gone,” I said.
“Come on, there must be one more.”
“Actually, one came to my door,” I said, doing a secret smile.
“His name was Francois. He played a trick on me.”
“Oh Sharky -”
“He said that you were going out.”
“Sharky! I didn't know he did that, you should have said right away.”
“We're not really going out. We went camping and thing just went on from there, you know?” I thought of Sarah touching Francois' hand so gently. They are camping. Carolyn's house is there in the distance. There's a thunderstorm in the sky and the rain is coming down upon their little tent. They might not survive this. Maybe god really means it this time. She know he can't hear her so she doesn't even bother to say the words, she just mouths them. Francois smiles. He smells of pizza grease and petrol. He touches her hair, it curls around his fingers with a life of its own. The air is suddenly silent and he says,
“Don't schnaai me, bru – okay?”
“It's fine,” I said to Sarah and I felt like the landlord. I wonder what the landlord would do if he met Francois. He'd probably freak all the way out. “It was a funny joke. We're cool now.” It was pretty funny, actually. A big part of what makes something funny is the surprise.
“I'm sorry he tricked you, honestly, we're not really even seeing each other any more,” she said, but I had moved on. I was rising above everything.
“Sarah, I need you to do something for me,” I said it quiet and I said it serious. Sarah's face hung there and I had to smile to show it was okay. “I need you to find Monopoly for me.”
“What, who – Bradley? What do you want to talk to him for?”
“I think he lives here in the building,” I said.
“I know where he lives – what do you want with him?” she said. She wasn't being aggressive, she just wanted to know the secret. I can't tell you the secrets yet, Sarah. You're still in training.
“There's something else I'd like you to do,” I said. I picked up the something else and handed it to her. It was one of the grocery kid's books. “Would you like to read another one?” She gave it back to me.
“No thanks, not right now.”
“Okay.” I trusted her. It was Sarah.