Fired for a little bit of play


I never understood my boss and up to now I am still puzzled by the way that he just told me to walk. I mean what kind of occupation is that where a little play is not tolerated? I just came late by a good hour for three days in a row and it was not my fault.

Transport has been a nightmare lately and there is nothing I can do nature has to take its course and I overslept. Okay enough about this crying over spilt milk, I don’t have a job and that’s it.

For a month now I have been pretending that I was on leave but since when do companies like Food For The Stomach give packers like me a month off? I ask you since when did the big headed money bags go soft and give a month to rest and fill your pockets as well? Well I guess it’s all over the ghetto that I have been on the streets for over a month now, news like that travel fast even CNN can’t beat it.

I have been trying to cover it up by doing rounds of my artist friends but now I have come to a point where I don’t even have money to hitch a ride to the city.

For two days now I have been grounded and I have no idea where my next meal is going to come from. You see people like me never have savings because even when everything is working out for you . . . I mean like waking up at an ungodly hour to go some place you call your workplace, spend the best part of your day doing some boring repetitive work, you still find yourself counting days to your pay day.

You still find yourself borrowing each month. Now think about it folks, I have been spending that better of the day admiring the rented walls how do you think I survive? Yesterday I tried to walk around hoping to stumble on something that would put a few coins into my pocket but nothing came my way.

The ghetto has never been a good hunting ground for an artist, while the ghetto crowd loves to have funny they are never the right people when it comes to paying for it. I have always said it that I should leave this place but since when has been easy to leave places like this?

Once branded a ghetto nobody you can never leave. Somehow you find yourself stuck, unable to cook up something that would see you glide out of the unbelievable place.

Yesterday I came home and there was not a drop of paraffin in my stove and I am poor but a very proud person. I don’t like . . . I despise begging. So I didn’t go around my fellow tenants asking to use their hot plates . . . one thing I was always telling myself I would save enough to buy . . . now I am jobless with no single cent saved. I don’ t have a hot plate and I will not use one besides what was there to cook . . . two wilting potatoes? I took the two miserable and confused wilting potatoes, peeled them, sprayed them with salt and ate them raw. I don’t know if you have thought about but after a day of absolutely nothing down your throat raw potatoes would test like heaven.

Now today is another day, take each day as it comes, they often say. Don’t look at the bigger picture when you’re in trouble, take each step as it comes and be glad at what you have achieved. I often wonder if this kind of advice is not the same thing that has kept poor poor and the rich rich. I mean a rich man when doing business always boast of looking at the big picture while the poor who so happens to be in trouble all the time is forced to look at the smaller picture.

Think about it folks you might find your way out of circle of poverty. Now I guess I am the right candidate for this kind of advice and I wonder if there is anything to look at.

Maybe there is, last night after my supper of raw potatoes I fell sleep with the consolation that things always look different in the morning but it doesn’t look that way.

There is still nothing for me to eat. I wash my face and head for the shops and things are still the same. The woman I saw selling rotten vegetables, which is where I got the wilting potatoes for a real bargain price, is still at it. She is still sitting by the street corner, her wares on a spread out rug and just behind her there is a heap of all the rubbish from the ghetto, the sun is hitting her hard but she doesn’t seem to mind.

Further down the street a bunch of men who don’t seem to be worried about getting a job anymore are still playing their money games with no care whether the police will pay them a visit or not.

Down at the end of the suburb women and children whose water supply has been cut because of unpaid bills are still fetching water from the stream gossiping like there was no tomorrow.

On the same stream just further down are old men tired of hoping for a better tomorrow, all they do now is spend the day with the fishing hooks in the lifeless contaminated waters of the tiny stream.

I don’t think anybody has ever caught any fish here in a long time but it’s good for these old men to spend the day somewhere talking about their what ifs and missed opportunities from their prime years. I cross the stream and wave at the old men, a crowd of naked boys also taking a deep in the stream wave at me and cheer.

My plan is to visit a group of boys and girls who call themselves a theatre group. They spend their time rehearsing at a dilapidated barn just across the stream.

I don’t think they are good and they could do a lot better if they could contract me for scripting but where would they get the cash. I have seen them performing at rallies and other social gathering but all they can do is ghetto, they will never get anywhere with the nonsense I always see them dish. I am expecting much from them but maybe a word, a phrase that will help me want to see tomorrow.

But what they could they possibly say, what if they don’t even look my way, what then? I have to take on plan B, swallow my pride, walk to my cousin’s place, hope I find him in, fall to my knees, tell the truth and lick his shoes if that would move his heart.

The bunch is there alright and they are really excited about the next performance. It’s for the local campaign against child sexual abuse.

There is no script, all they have is the storyline and each actor improvises. It’s all dump but I join in the excitement just to be part of them besides I haven’t laughed in a long time. In no time I find myself correcting their lines here and there and providing better ones. They seem to like the idea and I am handed a piece of paper to write some of the lines down. Lunch is brought, there is sponsorship after all, I am given a full plate. The day ends well, nothing has been said but they need me there is no doubt about that.

They are all talking like I am part of the production and I like the idea. Well I was talking about leaving the ghetto but not at the moment.

August 2006
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