Waiting for a Roll

 

“Ey man, the line’s this side.”

I wasn’t having it. “Look, I’ve been waiting here for 30 minutes already. I’m after you. It’s fine”

“You must queue this side though.”

“No I’m not going anywhere, I’m standing here.” I said, not quite slurring.

He looked at me from over his shoulder. I looked at him frankly, then looked back at the simmering skottel of onions and boerewors, watching the lady turn them: pink, raw, boiling in their juices. The onions smelled good. The guy was still staring at me.

“What’s up?”

“You gotta queue over there dude.”

“Yeah I’m not moving. I’m behind you in this line, get your shit and you can leave and I’ll get my fucking roll.” I gestured to the skottel, drunk and expressive.

He glanced over at his friend. “What did you just say?”

“What?”

“Don’t say ‘fucking’ again dude.”

“What?” Smiling, “Fucking, what’s the problem? Hey? Fucking.”

Now he’d turned to face me. I took my hands from my pockets and held them loose and ready.

“What’s the matter? You wanna swing at me? Come lets go across the road if you wanna fucking swing.” His friend was laughing but they weren’t going to try anything. He turned back to the skottel.

And so did I. Still feeling merry and wanting to be on good terms, I started talking to him again.

“Hey. Listen. We could actually be friends.” He was weirded out by the proposal.

The friend chirped in, laughing, “Yeah ____ you guys could be friends.”

“Think about this” I continued earnestly, “Think about this. You were born, and raised, and had your life.” I illustrated the timeline with my hand. “As was I, my own life, nice guy, and now we’re here at this moment. We could be friends. I don’t want any beef. I’ve just been waiting here a long time, that’s it.”

 

 

Later, still waiting for this lady to finish stewing the sausages:

“What’s your name?” He held out his hand.

“Shaun.” Taking it. “And yours?”

“Loyiso.”

“Loyiso? Nice to meet you.”

 

 

Rollin Rollin

Advertisements

A Pimp, Marooned

 

“Gah damn it bitch you better watch your fucking tone when you talk to me girl. Woooh! Girl you gon’ feel all five a’these knuckles against that cocksuckin’ face a’yours. You think you know what busted looks like? Do ya?”

“Five knuckles? Whatta you gon’ do Tony, hit me with your thumb?”

Tony raised his hand in a tiger paw, demonstrating his thumb’s prominence in his old pimp hand. He was nodding.

“Come ‘ere bitch, let me change ya life.”

She just looked at him. She and the other girls were standing on a raised, harshly lit platform. Tony stood on the street below in a musty crimson suit.

“I tell you what, listen, hey, look at me when I’m motherfucking talking to you!”

“Shut the fuck up Tony” Another girl called. “You’re scarin’ away the customers.”

“Clarissa that you? Bitch I will kick that fat ass of yours down these stairs. Y’know what your problem is? Diabetes? Yes. Asking for payment in fries? Yes. But what’s really gonna kill you, what I will give my assistance to by giving you a light shove with my foot, is gravity.”

“Yeah fuck you too.”

“Now Shirley, listen, you’re gonna go to the store, -”

“Am I?”

“Alright that’s one slap for interrupting.” He counted this with his thumb. “Go to the store, and get me something befitting of my status, something classy and refined, but big, I’m hungry. Depending on how appropriate your purchase is, I may spare you a few broken limbs.”

“Tony I would shit in my hand and throw it at you but I’m too much of a lady. You aint even worth shit no more. Hah!”

Tony had opened his mouth. He blinked his narrowed eyes, emphasising to all, including himself, that he could not believe what the fuck he had just heard. He adjusted his tie by its knot and started up the stairs.

“Tony…Tony you can’t come up here! Louis! Louis!”

The other girls all began screeching, clamouring for Louis.

As he reached the platform, the large figure of a man appeared from around the corner and stood in front of him. He dwarfed Tony. Tony was faced with the broad chest, the crisp white jacket of young Louis Farigno.

“Tony…” He purred. Tony looked up at a grin. “What are you doing?”

“Did you hear what that bitch Shirley said to me?” He rubbed his palm along his knuckles. “She disrespected me Louis, ME!”

“I know, I know. I heard the whole thing.” He consoled him with smooth gravel. “But I can’t have you harassing my girls.”

“They were my girls!” He pointed a finger at them. Then he turned to look out across the intersection, sunken red under the streetlights, the warehouses, Franky’s bar on the corner, the coke hustlers leaning in the shadows, those ugly squat palm trees on the island of dead grass, his sight almost reaching to the next block along. “This all used to be mine.”

He felt Louis’s heavy hand on his shoulder.

“Watch the suit.” He mumbled.

Louis kept his hand there and walked him further around the platform, away from the girls.

“What’s the matter Tony, you need some money? Huh?  You’ve been wearing this for too long, it’s starting to stink. I gotta dispose of things that stink on my turf, you know that.” He spoke softly, pleading to his sensibilities. “If you come around here causing a stink, I’m gonna have to dispose of you.”

Louis pulled Tony around to face him. Tony looked slack and hollow under the light.

“I respect you like a father.” He tugged Tony’s lapels straight. “Get a new suit.”

Tony descended into the street and walked off in darkness. He heard one of the girls, probably Clarissa call out:

“Yeah fuck off Tony.” The statement was punctuated with a loud crack, then a tumble.

“That’s gravity bitch!” He exclaimed, his smile fading bitterly, his footsteps sinking away down the maroon sidewalk.

Gah damn, he was hungry!

 

 

The End

 

Life is Like a Bowl of Milky Granola

 

I was guilty of gluttony yesterday. This was proved beyond reasonable doubt when after seconds of supper and the remainder of the tub ice cream, I had made myself a second bowl of milky granola, this time with a crumbled sugar cone. My stomach practically burst with each mouthful. The usual glowing inner-hug I felt after eating was replaced with images of the grey boerewors from earlier looking even greyer as it writhed in the milky mire of my stomach. It was curling and writhing viciously, seemingly intent on rupturing out of my chest as if it was a young Xenomorph. Of course there wasn’t a long, unchewed piece of boerie in my stomach, I didn’t shove the sausage down my oesophagus while using lubricative, melted ice cream to ease the process. I may as well have, I felt disgusted. Not only that, but the crumbled sugar cone went completely soggy and offered nothing in the way of texture or flavour to the dish. I was disappointed. Finding a sitting position that didn’t threaten the dormancy of the alien lifeform was also difficult and so after completing some work I made myself a soothing mug of peppermint tea. Since I was unwell, the tea was medicinal and was therefore administered joylessly.

Yesterday’s overexposure to milky granola prompted a wonderful thought. Food is like life. The more you eat, the less there is on the plate. I will use the bowl of milky, vanilla seed granola (usually made with dates, coconut flakes, a drizzle of honey, and dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg) that prompted this insight to further explain the analogy. As we begin our lives we are faced with the full bowl with only its milky surface actually visible, save a few specks of spices or sesame seeds. The world is unknown, our lives are for the most part sheltered from anything hard or substantial. It is also pure in that sense and the first spoons are delightful, simple, and easy. Vanilla honeyed milk with only the softest resistance of floating sesame seeds testing our milk teeth. Ah, but we grow more inquisitive and brazen. Our spoons delve deeper and we begin to encounter the granola. The granola is harder and more substantial. It requires chewing, an action that like hard work is often its own reward. We become enthralled. The crunches pop with moments of delectable sweetness as unctuous chunks of dates are scooped up in the process. Aahh, the joys of life. It all begins to mix extraordinarily well, the flavours, the textures, all the while wonderfully accompanied by that never-ending pool of milk.

Or, it was never-ending, but as you pause to take a leisurely sip of your grandma’s homemade kombucha tea you have a moment of reflection. You are already half-way, maybe more, maybe less, and a feeling of dread attempts to set in. Here the mind will dictate how the rest of bowl will go. Every spoon from here on out not only depletes the milky granola, but does so at an increasing rate.  You could have never have known but the bowl is conical, the longest years of your life have already happened. You could attempt to bury this thought, let it become a dull but ever-present force that will destabilise that inner peace you had felt.  You could begin to eat it faster, ignoring your body’s pleas to slow down, you don’t care, or you say you don’t as with tears in your eyes you shove mound after mound into your mouth. You barely chew and swallowing becomes painful. Take a breath, there’s still so much left, you made yourself a big bowl after all. Take a spoonful, savour it, that spoon had two date chunks in it, would you have known otherwise?

We are getting close to finishing our bowl of milky granola. We are beginning to feel content and quite full. There are more dates at the bottom. Our smaller, more conscientious spoonfuls do little to slow the milks progress down the sides of the bowl. We have enjoyed it and feel restful. We make peace with the pangs of helplessness and greed for another bowl. We scrape the sides dotted with memories of times before. Our spoon has done all it can, there is no more granola left, just a shallow but richly flavoured puddle of milk at the bottom. Finally with a smile on our face, we grab the bowl with both hands, raise it to our mouth and take our last sip. A dribble of milk runs down the side of our chin and we recline with our eyes closed back into the chair.

I open my eyes and look at my phone. Ah, it’s already 11:00am, a couple more hours and I’ll have some lunch.

Thou Shalt Not Waste

By Shaun Clamp

 

It was a misty and carboliscious morning. Breakfast was at Granny’s and that meant that my already naturally relaxed arms were about to be twisted, forcing my head and torso into the spread of Weetbix, hot cross buns, and crackers that she had laid out. Thanks to my aikido training I went with the motion and offered no resistance. Luckily I possess an iron gut and an infinite resolve when it comes to food and as such would never let mere overindulgence at breakfast get in the way of lunch.

God seemed to have an issue with gluttony. Although it wasn’t a commandment, not being a glutton is still considered a strong rule. This rule is at odds with my own equally righteous mantra, Thou Shalt Not Waste. What results from the clash of laws is a morally beige area, a narrow road that I must walk across. This path happens to be as narrow, as beige and as acrossy as the glistening crosses that adorned those sweet, spicy buns I had dutifully enjoyed moments earlier.

It is Easter, a time where the guilt for killing Jesus is replaced with a guilt for eating too many glazed buns and chocolate eggs. Feeling guilty for eating is like feeling guilty for breathing and feeling guilty for overeating is like feeling guilty for doing cardio. Guilt is not what we should feel and neither is hunger. If we wish to repent then we should do cardio. Such is the circular and on the surface hard-to-argue-with reasoning I tell myself.

I am aware of the benefit of coffee’s diarrhoetic properties for my food pilgrimage. Like the donkey who lightened the burden of carrying the cross to its destination, coffee helps move the carb-heavy hot cross buns through my digestive system, allowing them to be bathed in a pool of pure white (porcelain) before disappearing into the ether. For this I give thanks.

I am getting a bit concerned that my writing with regards to food has become an exercise in crowbarring metaphors. As a writing technique it’s as lazy and self-serving as myself serving myself a milky bowl of granola at 12:30 am.

Shortly after breakfast it was time to go for lunch. We went to Overture. The restaurant was nestled amongst olive trees that swept in the wind. It was fairly high up the slope of a mountain. The weather was cloudy and the light was gently distilled through the clouds into a soft white. The food was delicious. The sense of urgency surrounding mealtimes that has developed recently was present. I wanted to try everything and thanks to our group being all girls (besides me) I was the designated human hoover. Leftovers were passed without question to my corner of the table. I suppose I should have felt self-conscious when the waiter would collect three or four empty plates from me after every course, but I didn’t. My finger would begin to tap impatiently within minutes of the table being cleared. My all-seeing eyes were acutely aware of every crumb that remained and would automatically assess which ones were large enough to warrant consumption. The miniature crane operator tugged heavily on its levers, my arm raised, my index finger and thumb separated. A thoughtless expression rested on my face, my eyes thoughtlessly rested upon a spot on the table. My arm swung mechanically across before halting. The miniature crane operator knew he needed to be quick. The action must be discreet but natural, it could not appear to be the product of intense deliberation. The claw without missing a beat lowered over a largish piece of sourdough crust before closing. The claw swept up in an arc and dropped the piece into my mouth with a final push. My jaw crunched.

If eating brings out your inner child, then I was a selfish, greedy little shit. And I was. My finger began to tap impatiently. I stared at the window which looked out across the expansive valley, and noticed only the waiters’ movements in its reflection.