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A Christmas to forget

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It was Christmas in the city of Bulawayo. However, the Christmas spirit was palpably absent as working men and women had very empty pockets. The kids well, their stomachs were just as empty.

“A mean old man whom you don’t know stole Christmas,” a father said after his hungry children asked him why he had not bought them rice and chicken and brand new clothes. As he spoke, he reached for a brown plastic container popularly known as a scud and downed the contents. The children followed his every move as he lifted the scud from the old table and to his visibly filthy mouth. Froth from the opaque beer stained his upper lip and, turning the back of his hand into a serviette, he wiped the froth filled filthy mouth.

“I’m drowning my sorrows,” the father said when the wife asked how come he could afford to buy a scud for himself but not a litre of Coca-cola for her and the kids.

“I cannot get drunk on Coca-cola,” the perpetually bitter and broke husband said, half to the wife and half to himself. He suddenly felt his head getting woozy. The scud was doing a terrific job taking him to a land where there were no ruling parties: just people minding their own business.

The wife wept. Four hungry little children all yet to reach their seventh birthday watched as the man they called papa took huge quaffs of opaque beer and wondered if this was Santa Claus’s idea of a merry Christmas.

Elsewhere in the same city, a woman screamed. The moon and the stars looked down without emotion. It was not the scream of unfettered festive ecstasy. The woman had bolted from a house in the high density neighbourhood semi-naked with a man with only his boxers on in hot pursuit. “I will kill you, you stupid cunt. Come back I’m not done with you,” the man yelled as the woman disappeared into the night, her bare breasts jiggling violently. But some place elsewhere Christmas bells jingled merrily. A night of passion gone terribly wrong? Perhaps, but the neighbourhood wasn’t bothered. Men, women and nubile virgins were too busy dancing the Christmas spirit away, their adrenalin being rushed by intolerable and intoxicating levels of alcohol, marijuana and all kinds of mind-altering and liver-cooking whiskies and vodkas bootlegged from South Africa.

Elsewhere more than 400 kilometres away in the capital city, an old man with a funny-looking moustache laughed at his own jokes as he entertained his young family. “Thanks-but-no-beer-and-cigarettes-here-we-are-God-fearing-people” was beautifully calligraphed for all visitors to the palatial home to see. The visitors had to take note or risk raising the venom of the old fool who otherwise loved to present himself an altar boy – and this being Christmas – as Santa Claus himself. Only this old man never kept a beard; just that funny-looking moustache. But everybody knew this man was no Santa. Satan maybe, but certainly not Santa.

On the dinner table were all kinds of weird foodstuff never seen and never to be seen by the cursing alcoholic in the opening paragraph. Some of the food remained untouched while some looked like it had only been nibbled at by very spoilt kids. It was obvious the laughing old man and his family had just finished having a Christmas meal fit for a king. Fit for a cruel man, the poor man who loved scuds to a fault cursed bitterly as he walked aimlessly in the dark night, not really looking forward to returning home to four hungry children and an angry wife.

“I just want to die,” the alcoholic said. “I just want to live forever,” the old man with a funny-looking moustached mused as he watched his children sitting in front of a big television screen screaming excitedly as they competed for championship in the latest Playstation their mother had brought them from one of her many shopping trips in the Far East.

“Life is good,” the old man said rather loudly. “What did you say?” asked the wife. “Nothing, nothing,” he waved her off lovingly as he stroked her shoulder. “Senile old fool,” the wife said in the secrecy of her heart.

Meanwhile, the screaming semi-naked woman ran blindly in the dark with the night breeze caressing her bare breasts. A few meters away, she could see three silhouette figures approaching. This was a period of the year when many township souls became nocturnal and there was virtually no fear of being mugged. Festive mood they called it. Thus it was that parents gave schoolboys and girls permission to gyrate provocatively at the discotheque held at the local community hall for that one night only throughout the year.

The bare breasted woman ran right into young men who were coming from the community hall and who had gulped one too many and decided to call it a night. Soon, she was pleading for help, going and on that there was a killer after her. “Please take me to the police station.” “Yeah sure,” the drunken boys readily offered. “What good Samaritans on Christmas eve. This sure is a Christian holiday,” she wept silently, grateful as one of the young men took off his jacket offering to cover her. “Wait,” one of them said. “Let’s pass through my place. I can get her one of my sister’s blouses.” “Great,” they all agreed, including the female. No report was made to the police that night. The three spent the night emptying their lust on the poor woman.

Meanwhile far, far away, the old man with a funny-looking moustache closed himself in the bathroom. He took two blue pills and hastily swallowed them. Feeling like a stallion, he joined his young wife in bed. He never saw Christmas. His heart stopped while he was on top of his wife trying real hard to make her feel like a woman. When the cardiac attack set in, the wife had imagined the spasms to be an orgasm.

And thus it was that it became known as a Christmas to forget.

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