flashfiction

note: between 2007 and 2010, I wrote flash-fiction pieces on the EditRed website, I learnt a lot, especially thanks to Karen Jones who gave me editing tips -  and met a few people online. My efforts are on another page, but these were some of my favourite stories. Thanks to EditRed, I discovered lulu print-on-demand publisher which has been a great help for me.

http://www.theshortstory.org.uk/images/editred.GIF

http://a1.l3-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/49/0cb9c2b997e379818ed75c5df309623b/s.jpg"We were determined not to provide a distraction from writing - there were already plenty of sites out there for that. In fact a lot of community sites seemed to set writers up to compete against each other: who could get the most page views, comments or who could win the most kudos or reviewer credits. We figured there was enough competition out there without getting our writers to compete against each other every time they logged in.

"At Edit Red, you upload your work, workshop it with your trusted reader group and get it out there.  We don't care how many times a story gets read on Edit Red. We care about our writers developing their craft to the point where they're getting their writing published in reputable zines and journals. Our process is simple: upload your writing, build your network, build your publishing credits. Ultimately, that's what's going to interest publishers."

Edit Red has grown organically around the writers that make up its expanding community. As a result, Edit Red's members are as passionate about the writing craft and the site itself as its founders.

The vision is simple Edit Red doesn't want to publish your work; it wants you to get your work published.




thank you to Karen Jones - 

http://www.mslexia.co.uk/images/msbusiness/jones.jpgKaren Jones has been writing for several years. Her work has appeared in The New Writer, Writers’ Forum, Candis Magazine, Guildhall Press anthology The Wonderful World of Worders, Leaf Books anthology Discovering a Comet and more micro-fiction, Edit Red anthology City Smells and online at Alors, et Toi? and Our Atticus. She was shortlisted for the 2007 Asham Award. Apart from writing, her main interest is salsa dancing. Fortunately her writing is far better than her dancing, which will never earn more than sympathetic smiles.

  Karen Jones'  story: The Upside-down Jesus

Schnellrestaurant

Vyasar Ganesan (USA)
http://facebook.com/vyasarg

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/187029_588227994_5232436_q.jpgI can’t eat at Mekong anymore. The food has gone bad, there are hairs in the soda water, and all of the customers smoke. The service is composed of an amateur tattoo artist with a lazy eye, two Chinese supersluts, and a lecherous old man with a bad temper and wicked hump.

Well, no, not really. But since Dahlia left, that’s what it seems like. I went there the day she left, to try and re-ignite some of the old fire, to stir up a pot of memory soup. She loved the place. Said it reminded her of America, of home. But it was too painful without her, too hard to see what was good when I knew that the good was gone.

Old man Chang isn’t a bad sort, though. He saw me that day and pulled me aside for a glass of sake. “I hate Japan,” he wheezed, all seventy-seven of his years hitting me in the face like a swarm of flies. “But Japan make damn good booze. Drink.”

I didn’t say anything; I just drank like he said. Chang’s vision must have been going, because what he gave me didn’t taste a bit like rice wine, but more like bleach and what must have once been a very nice pot of Irish coffee. He smiled and drank some too.

“Thirty years, I run this place.” He looked around proudly, relishing in the red paper lamps and polished floors. “Mekong my wife home. When she die, I name this place for her. This my wife now.”

Chang looked at me squarely. I was staring at the glass, wondering what it was that I drank. “Be glad you not married.”

Don’t, I said. Don’t say what I think you’re going to say.

He drained the rest of his glass in a single gulp, and put it on a nearby tray. “I been married to dead woman and restaurant for too long. I no move no more. I stay here, in Freiburg and die here.”

I could feel what he was going to say like a train coming down the tracks, shaking solid steel with the fury of a forest fire. I begged and I begged. Please, don’t.

“You be glad she gone. You young man, need see world. World not America and Germany.” He pointed to a photo on the counter, of him and his wife standing beside the Chinese flag, smiling proudly in their Western-style clothes. “China world too.”

I had to leave then. I couldn’t stay a second longer. Dahlia was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was going to marry her and be happy forever. We were going to move to Berlin and be artists. We were going to smoke hash and travel Europe together. We were going to live as one, and when we died, we’d have a mausoleum that read “Two as One” in Latin.

But Dahlia is gone now. She took a plane back to the States so she could get a job as an accountant, and she’s going to die in cornfields and rolling prairie country. And now I’m alone in Freiburg, washing dishes at an Indian restaurant, buying food from Mekong on the weekends.

http://zebras54.com/oldsite/bricks.jpg

A seasonal character trapped in such a story... Very well done: a modern uptake on the Christmas story. Indeed, our houses are not Dickensian anymore.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nsM6yhek6FU/SlEiHvfn4OI/AAAAAAAAAAU/2YJcF5L227E/s200/SharonHarriottPoetInResidenceAt4thLondonPoetryFestival2008.jpgFrom the Balcony
by Sharon Harriott (Audiogeist)  UK
www.audiogeist.com
www.myspace.com/cravingaudio

He hung from the balcony wondering where it’d all gone wrong. This would never have happened a few years ago. A lot had to be said for those cop shows on telly. People were bloody paranoid these days!

His arms ached, spurring him into looking for an escape route. Groaning, he realised he was three floors up; whichever route he took it was going to hurt.

It all began with a show called ‘Changing Rooms’, hosted by Carol Smiley; people started ripping out their chimneys and having ‘faux’ coal fires. Then, of course, there was the security, alarms and killer dogs in every flat, terraced or mansion house.

It wasn’t magic he needed, he thought; it was Life Insurance!

Letting go of the balcony, he decided that the first thing to change was the red suit, for something less conspicuous.

Then he’d take an evening course in breaking and entering..



http://zebras54.com/oldsite/bricks.jpg
My Generation
by Krysten Morales

My generation has all the information. We know all the stats down the line and the eight digit numbers that define our lives. We’ve got all the smarts, looking through the books knowing everythang there is to see. We’ve seen all the words all the worlds that are out there looking down at us from the long siesta knowing what goes on inside our heads. It’s only information all the sentences and speeches. Human resources.

Still, my generation knows all the ways. Up and down back and fourth through the tunnel and the wood. We know all the paths and the places we can go, straight or wide, round or narrow. Anywhere it goes we know because we know the map, we’re handed it at birth. And we know the steps to take through the streets and through the hallways. Know the steps, know the path, know the way our feet will walk. One two one two, one and the other, one and the other.

Yeah, I guess my generation knows all the talk. Everyone is unique everyone is unique. Make your job play make your job play. And if you can’t then we’ll put you back in the transmorgifier you’ll go back a few grades and when you’re ready again you can be as unique as the rest of us. The rest of us. One of us. Everyone is unique you know.

The phone rings and my generation picks it up. Hello is Mr.Smithe there, is he the head of the household. Household ? Buying eggs and milk and every day up the same driveway. Same driveway. Same driveway. Say the same words. Same words. Same words. Hello timmy. Hello timmy. Hello timmy. Hello death.

My generation has the what if inclination. If I hadn’t listened and I hadn’t heard, what then. What then ? I couldn’t tell you. I wouldn’t know.

My generation has the heavy eyes. Naps in the afternoon naps in the afternoon and I had a dream about something. But I can’t remember what it was now. Lots of colors and a pink beret and someone singing to a beat that I couldn’t hear. Esperanza no name, esperanza no name. Something about a music box and an amethyst castle. But it was just a dream. Back to work now. Back to work now.

Confucius Say…

By Josef Zozaya (Vienna).

Words forgotten, or words re-imagined for a specific purpose.

I did not know what I was doing there, perhaps I was at that juncture where reconciliation was no longer a viable prospect.

I could smell the tattered bodies all around me. They were persistent, decayed, evicting something from their internal voracity.

I looked at the ceiling, at the emblems of a long forgotten empire of dread. Symbols of some mythological creature existed there. There was my labyrinth. I retreated into it at times.

Stretched upon the old mattress, whose odor had betrayed its beauty, I searched for my vitality. I read the books they brought me, archaic things upon yellowish paper, thoughts which had transpired long ago.

The memories of men were there, perhaps an ancient philosopher, or a madman who had yet to utter his stagnant words. A pipe was burning at my fingertips, awaiting my evocative, dislocated lips.



Christopher SchollarThe Camel and the Open Road

by Christopher Schollar

(Johannesburg, South Africa)

This is a story from my father of his days of hippyness and traveling.

I about the 1970s my father had ended up in Australia (a tale all by itself) and, having virtually no money, was hitch-hiking from Perth to Sydney to get money that his father had left sent him. Now, for those of you who do not know (as he didn't) this basically means getting across the entire continent, most of which is relatively uninhabited desert. On this journey he got a lift with one of the many truck drivers transporting whatever it was that they transported at the time.

Then, as now, truck drivers got payed for the amount of trips they made and although it is really only humanly possible to make about 2 of these long distance trips without killing something, this truck driver had decided to take his third without any sleep (meaning he had been awake for about 30 hours when he picked them up).

Now, after about an hour of driving, the truck driver began to swerve violently from side to side as he struggled to stay awake. My father, perceptive man as he is, decided this was not the healthiest place to be and asked the driver to stop and let him and his companion off before they all died. After this rather unsubtle hint, our truck driver decided it probably would be a good idea if they camped out at the side of the road for the night.

Sitting around a fire and after a little drinking, the truck driver began to explain that he used to be able to do the 3 trips with no problem. This is because he, as many truckers do today, took speed in order to keep himself awake for the long periods of sustained boredom that is truck driving. However, not to long ago, this particular trucker had decided to give up the stuff and he proceeded to give the story of his epiphany.

A few months earlier, while the trucker was driving late at night and high as a kite he saw a beautiful woman wearing flowing white clothes walk out onto the road in front of his speeding truck. Not wanting to kill the woman, he slammed on the brakes and slid across the road, nearly over-turning the truck and killing himself in the process. After surviving his braking he got out of his truck to discover that there was no woman anywhere to be seen, and blamed her appearance on the speed.


A few months after this, on another speed supplemented trip, out trucker was driving down another dark and lonely road when before his truck materialized a camel. Now for those of you who know about Australia, camels are not part of the indigenous life and the truck driver assumed this was another speed induced hallucenation and didn't even slow down.

(You are going to have to imagine the accent of a slightly drunk Australian trucker for this part)

"So what happened?" my father asked.
"Fucking thing was real, camel all over the fuckin' road and my truck."

Now it turns out that camels had been brought to Australia at some time in the past and some of them had escaped into the wild where they flourished in the arid environment with no natural predators big enough to kill them on the entire continent. Our truck driver had managed to kill a camel as it came out of the desert for one of its infrequent drinks.

He never took speed again.


Dear Unknown Friend


by Dritta Buzuku,
Ulqin (Montenegro)

Dear Unknown friend,
I am writing you this letter because I always wanted to write to somebody and share my stories with him/her, but I never had anyone to write to. I guess because I was afraid that I would not be understood, that people would laugh at me, and maybe they would understand me wrong. And I thought maybe it would be different if I write to somebody I don't know. 


My name is Drita. I'm 19 years old and I come from a very small town. I just started law school and moved into another town, bigger one. I would like to tell you a little more about myself, I guess this is the reason I am actually writing you, to show you myself. I am raised in this small town, with a lot of friends and family around me, good and bad people. I have always been free minded, trying and fighting to do whatever my mind came up to, but not always achieving that. I was always a tomboy, playing with toy guns, and playing basketball, and every possible sport. While I was a little girl I spent my days playing with my neighbors, especially with a little boy called Mondi and his 4 other sisters. Like everyone else I walked threw the journeys of life and grew up, became a person with clear ideas and needs, became a person who was never happy that is living in this town, especially because of the people and their conservative and judgmental thinking. I think I never loved the people here because I always had a feeling that they are trying to take away my freedom to be who a want to be, to do whatever I want to. When I was 12 I had a dream, but they killed it. I always dreamed of playing basketball for a good team. I dreamed those full halls with fans and me scoring, but after two years of playing my parents made me quit basket, because as they said I wasn't doing good in my school, but the truth was different, an Albanian girl shouldn't be playing basketball because it's shameless and people would talk. And since then I realized that I don't love this place, that I don't want to live like this, that people have to schedule my life and tell me what I can and can't do. But life goes on, I got over that, I moved on and tried to do other things. When I went to high school I realized that this is not the way I want to live. That I don't want to get married when I turn 18, that I want to finish college and become a educated person, someone that can be respected and honored for good things. I guess you won't believe but when I got to the 3rd year of high school, I proved to myself that this is nothing else but a shitty place full of double faced people, who are more than happy to see you fail, to see you suffer. A place where people have nothing else to do but talk about other peoples lives and making up things that are not even close to the truth. My sister met a boy that wasn't 'good' for my parents, they tried to convince her that that kind of boy it's not for her, that she is from a 'good' family and she must marry someone her 'class'. My parents were afraid that people will talk about that kind of marriage, like this is what it matters. After they realized that there is nothing they can do about it and they approved the marriage, even if they weren't happy, my sister got pregnant before she got married and that was the big BOOM to my family. I changed a lot during that 1 year, all those tears, unneeded tears have been cried, a lot of bad words have been said, a lot of fights have been made in this house, and I couldn't do anything else but watch and hear other people talk about that, and watching my sister suffer for nothing. I would spent hours and hours thinking but never being able to figure out why all this mess, why all this suffer. I would go to school almost crying because the fight would never end. In the other hand, my friends, actually people who I thought that were my friends talked behind my back, about my sister, and saying terrible things. And it tarred me apart that I couldn't find a shoulder to cry on or just a friend who would listen. But I guess it is true the saying that says that after the rain and storm sun always shines. During that period I met a really special person. She gave me power and faith that everything will be gone, that really the sun will come out after the rain. And it did. My nephew was born and for the first time in my life I felt the real love. I'm not saying that I don't love my parents, my sister, my brother, my friends, my family, I do love them, but my nephew is something special. He owns my heart, my soul. After he was born nothing else mattered anymore, not the peoples talk, not my parents, all the suffer and the tears were gone, all it mattered was HIM. And during this one year I realized that this place is never gone change, this is how it will remain, I guess forever. I convinced myself that it is impossible to change the whole town, and that it is easier to be who I am, not trying to be better in the eyes of anyone because that would make me just like they are, double faced, one person inside but the totally other one outside. And just because of that I am trying to live my life in my own way.

However even if I described all these bad things about my town, and even if I feel good that I left it, I sometimes miss it so much. I miss the beautiful sea, and those beautiful, golden sunsets, clear blue sky and the happy laughter of kids that wakes me up every morning, and makes me so angry sometimes, but in the same time it makes me happy that they laugh and not cry, I miss the loud music and those lousy songs my neighbors play every Sunday, and their loud laughter in the hot summer nights. I miss the river, and its calmness and those beautiful green 'patterns' that surround it and those beautiful, beautiful birds that fly over it and the shadows they make on it, and their amazing songs that make me feel so calm, so happy, I miss the river house where I spent so many beautiful summer days and nights, I miss the wonderful view from the river house where the river, the sea, the sun and the sky become one, and the minutes spent watching that magical picture, I miss the mosquitoes that make me so ma and I miss the frogs I used to catch, I miss those card games we played on the balcony, I miss the stars and the quiet nights away from the city crowd, I miss the fresh mornings beside the river and that breeze that runs threw your body, and I miss those happy barbeques, I miss the people's smile, I miss the smell of barbeque, and the smell of beer and wine. I miss those days I spent in that river house with my friends, the jokes, the freedom, the feeling of protection while lying in the sun and the slow wind passing threw every inch of our bodies, and the feeling that nothing bad could ever happen, and the hope that this will last forever, that our friendship will never be forgotten. I miss so many things, and I know that I will come back again, but one thing is for sure things will never be the same anymore. And sometimes that I am away I just close my eyes and remember all those magical memories and I wish I could change that dark side of this town, that I could change what people think.
I could write like this for days, about me, about things that happen to me, about my town, and the people, but I am going to stop here' I'll save something for my next letter.

Hope you'll like this one and write me back'

Sincerely, Drita.


(hello Drita,
I found your piece via the edit.red search engine. Many people leave their home town or country to find an existence elsewhere. So you are writing about a universal experience and yet from your description one can picture exactly who you are and how your place is. I like that.
I'm new to this site and this is my first comment.
I felt the way you wrote it as a letter should get an answer. So best wishes from Belfast Ireland!)

Deception

 by Siyaduma Noel Biniza 

from Cape Town, South Africa
website: http://www.youpublish.com/siya
Part I

'I'm back Mablebeza!' he says as he enters their two-roomed RDP house from a tiring day at work.

Does he have to call me that?! How about 'babes' or 'love' or 'hun' Why the hell 'Mablebeza'! Why does it have to be that stupid term? I'm sick and tired already! Sbongile thinks to herself, with much abhorrence, but she will not allow his stupidity and disapproval water her down as she prepares herself for a grand entrance into the main room.

'Oh, hi baby...' she says with a forced beam across her face.

He replies with an inattentive greeting and immediately asks her what they are having for supper. Sbongile grunts and mumbles a curse. He did not even notice her new hairdo. Two weeks ago he had given her R120.00 for a manicure and never even bothered to find out or even pretend to be interested at what his money had done. Now this! She had spent four hours at the salon doing this and he does not even bother to compliment never mind notice her graceful natural tiara as she liked calling it.

After a long resentful stare at his bulky tired mass of muscle which once allured her, she replied trying as herd as possible to keep her voice level. 'You'll have to have some of last night's leftovers, I am going out.', she replied. With her eyebrows arched like a hawk's wings while diving in for its prey.

'You're going nowhere without making me food woman!', he shouted with the hoarseness of his voice resonating through the house. Sbongile flinched but her anger was too much to withhold and she retaliated with no illusions of backing out or giving up.

'Look at me! I have a new hairdo! You didn't even notice. It took me four hours of anxious waiting and it cost you R90.00! You didn't even notice! Just two weeks ago I went for a manicure and you still haven't noticed! What are you?! Am I living alone? Everything I do goes unnoticed. All you ever cared about is your mother. You're always taking about her! What am I doing here? Am I your girlfriend or am I just a cooking, cleaning, working sex slave of yours! I am going out tonight and you're not stopping me! And we're having a baby...', she said with a thunder storm of her tears and voice erupting. Then she stopped when she say that she had done her deed. She left like Delilah with Sampson's hair in her hands as she saw him move closer and apologize with much remorse. She was not ready to forgive him though. She was going out tonight, besides, it was Friday night and her mpintsh's had plans for that night. So she used her opportunity and milked him of more money. She made up a few excuses and shattered him until he filled her hands with purple legal tender notes. She smiled beneath her tear-painted face like a happy clown with a sad decoration.

***

'Mpintsh, I'm coming... just give me an hour and a half.', said an elated Sbongile.

'I have no money mpintsh but Thando can go with you. By the way how did you get past your man on a Friday night?', said the inquisitive Princess.

'Ha ha! Mpintsh, I'm clever ' I never even asked him. Don't worry about the money, I have enough for the both of us.', Sbongile replied.

'Poor man... Thanks mpintsh I was looking forward to tonight ' I haven't been in a man's bed in months. Anyways, bye girl.', said Princess and she pressed the red button, to end the call, on her cellphone. This was going to be a big night. She raided her wardrobe for the outfit she she had arranged but had to discard after some financial difficulties. Going out was very costly. Princess and her friends were not rich and Sbongile, the only one who had a boyfriend she lived with, was not involved with a millionaire or an heir but she always managed to milk him of money. Princess was amazed by Sbongile and idolized her and thought that one day when she found a man worth keeping, she would go to her for tips. She found the outfit and laid it on the three-quarter bed she shared with her elderly grandmother then she dashed to the other room which was the kitchen, living area and main room all-in-one. She grabbed the matchbox and after some struggling with the primus stove, she put on a kettle of water for herself. She grabbed the little basin and her ragged facecloth and almost finished piece of what used to be a bar of laundry soap.

***

She had ten minutes before Sbongile would arrive. She dashed outside to throw away her dirty bath water. She went back inside to put on the little remaining perfume and switched on the radio. It was 18:35 and there was a news show on air. Her grandmother was asleep and she woke her up and gave her a cup of tea she had made with water that remained from her bath water. She had just given her grandmother the tea when she heard a hard rapping on the door. She jumped instinctively and left her grandmother and ran then opened the door to find a temptingly beautifully dressed Sbongile standing outside the door smiling. Princess turned around said 'bye' to her grandmother and closed the door behind her as Sbongile and her left to fetch Thando.

***

Thando was already dressed and beautiful when her other two friends arrived. Tonight was the night and the three man-eating-good-looking and charming trio was prone to have many hits tonight.

Sbongile was dressed in a floral red and white dress that only covered the upper half of her thighs and she wore a pair of black legging and pumps which was finished off with an exquisite-looking hairdo and a French manicure. She was slender and she was pregnant for a week now but one could not see her bulge.

Princess was dressed in a pair of tight-fitting Levi's skinny cut jeans (the only pair she owned) and a tank top. The premeditated enhancement of what she called her African Trade Mark (big breasts and big butt) was perfect. Her chest was heavy and it stretched the top which had 'I am your bad habit' printed over its chest. She smiled at herself and winked.

Thando the heavier type of woman. She had a pair of DD mammary glands and her behind which stretched anything she wore was often the centre of derision among her friend. It was dubbed the Thando Trailer. Tonight she wore tight black bootleg pants and a white jacket.

The girls were looking stunning tonight. They went to their friend, a taxi driver, and paid him to take them to the city and fetch them later. The city was abuzz tonight and the atmosphere was warm but not hot. The city lights were flashy making the night look more extravagant and lavish. The girls smiled as the lights moved past the taxi's windows; it looked like the lights were winking at them. They arrived at their favourite club, the first stop for tonight's extravaganza. They all jumped out of the taxi and filed in the club past security without paying an entrance fee, as usual, but getting a more touchy and aroused frisk than normal.

The club was packed as usual and the trio motioned straight to the pub and ordered stiff shots. Then they hit the dance floor and met some strangers. They shook and turned until they broke a sweat in the cramped humidity of the club. Then they returned to the bar each one with a partner.

Thando was known to be the hard-headed-man-eater. And tonight she had rejected four strangers and finally settled with one she thought was the best. Now she sat at the bar with her friends and ordered ciders. Sbongile and Princess sat right beside her sieging a man who was ordering them ciders and beer for himself. The night continued. The trio's routine of the dance floor and the bar with returning to the bar with different males each time continued. As they were leaving the pub at 20:15, Sbongile felt a warm hand grab her arm just before they exited.

'Hi, baby, my name is Mandla,' He looked at her with his light brown eyes and penetrated into her shyness. Sbongile shrugged in shame at the thought that he might notice that she was staring at him and admiring his strong muscular build. Her friends continued walking a few steps then stood and waited for her.'I've been looking at you and I must say you're a beaut,' Mandla said as he held her hand gently and turned her around and then looked at her face again, 'Eish! You've turned many heads tonight on that dance floor but some people heads like mine turned and never turned back sweetie. I didn't get your name baby.'

Sbongile stood before him, speechless. She gazed into his eyes and her purpose, her cause, everything became a haze. Prince Charming, her knight in shining armour, had arrived and was interested in knowing about her and was blatantly making a move one her. She thought as the awkward silence stretched. The world ceased to exist in her mind and she left her worries and squabbles behind. She had pursued it.

After a long gaze and awkward silence, she muttered something that sounded like 'Sbongile'

Her friends badgered her shouting that they were not going to wait much longer. She turned and told them that they could leave if they wished. She was definitely not going to leave behind an opportunity like such. Her friend tried pressurising her to leave the handsome man. But those attempts were all futile. After ten minutes they left Sbongile and her handsome Prince Charming. They left very disgruntled and decided that instead of continuing the club searching and partying, they would go home.

'So what do you do Sbongile? Sbongile ' THANK the gods I met you.' said Mandla. They were inside the club and they were seated in the VIP seating area. Mandla had decided that he was going all out tonight. Tonight would be his big night with Sbongile.

'What do you mean?

'I mean like ' where do you work or are you still at school?'

'I stay at home. I failed matric last year and now I stay at home.'

'Okay, I see.' from the second he heard she stayed at home, he thought to himself, she is too much of a liability.

'So what do you do love?'

'I am manager of this club. I have some taverns in the townships and I get money through the businesses. If you're wondering, I' single and I live alone in a town house here in town.'

She smiled and gave a faint laugh. It was just was just what she wanted to hear. Single, rich and lives in the suburbs. Just too good to be true. She must be dreaming. So she asked, 'So you're single , neh? Me too.' It had slipped her tongue. Damn! She cursed in her mind as a war raged between her love, desire and conscience. For the first time she had lied about nt having a man in her life. She loved him and she dreaded the fact that she lied about him. But it was too late for conscious correction now.

'You're not the shy type now are you. But that's what I needed to hear. Just couldn't let a beautiful lady like you go without having you.'

She shrugged. And gave another smile which turned into a grin when he told her she could order anything she wanted and that everything was on him. She let her imagination run wild but she had to be careful not to make a bad yet correct impression. Her friends had often taunted her and called her a gold digger. A gold digger she was. Every time she saw a a man with an overweight wallet, she glowed in desire and greed. She asked for Smirnoff Storm.

'Don't be silly honey. Have somethin' better. I'm having Guinness and some Cognac. Have some lavish champagne.' said Mandla. He held her hand and looked her in the eye and stared. 'You're beautiful..' he said as he caressed her face. 'I absolutely love your hair.'She moved closer and licked her lips as she was itching to lay her wet lips upon his. He moved closer and then paused abrupt. 'Do you kiss on the first date?'he asked. She did not reply instead she moved into him kissing him and feeling his biceps. After a while they stopped. 'Would you like to continue at my place?' asked Mandla.

Before even ordering or drinking anything, they left the club and moved down the street with anxious swift paces. After twenty minutes, they arrived at a block of flats.

Part II

He holds her hand and motions for her to enter room 16. She enters and looks around while her eyes adjust to the brightness of the light bulb above. After some seconds, he passes her and grabs a remote control and sets the mood with some slow Rhythm and Blues music and some Soul. He leaves her purse on the couch as he makes a brief disappearance and returns with some juice and a packet of chips. He welcomes her into his warm flat with a sensual kiss.

'I hope you're still in the mood baby. he says as he sits on the couch and motions for her to come sit beside him.

They have a long chat and dig into the chips and juice. Then it all ends. Then the only thing contesting against the slow low music is the sound of lips, tongues slapping against each other and a low moan. Mandla is very experienced when it comes to pleasing a woman's sexual needs. Tonight he uses his experience and expertise with greatest of success and ease. Before he knows it, Sbongile is thanking him with grateful moans and squeezes. Then he rips his shirt off while trying to keep the sensual lip communication going. She jumps for his abdomen and runs her manicured hand up - and down. As her hormones take over she moans louder and lifts her arms to let Mandla slid her dress over her head. Her inquisitive C-cup breasts jump up and are immediately attended to by Mandla's masculine hands. He squeezes gently and runs his fingers over her hardened nipple and pinches it gently. After what seems like forever to Sbongile, Mandla goes for the kill.

It is 21:10 when Mandla drops his hand between Sbongile's thighs... she immediately pulls her thighs together in uncontrollable ecstasy. Mandla's hand reaches an already wet patch between Sbongile's thighs. Mandla undresses her leggings and reveals a wet thong. He immediately rips his jeans off and stands in front of her in his boxers which resemble a tee pee because of his own excitement. She smiles and bites her lower lip in desire and they both remove their underwear before engaging in a sensual act of sexual indulgence.

It is 00:07 when Mandla falls asleep with Sbongile's naked body in his arms.

***

Mandla wakes up at 06:30 and prepares to go to work. He takes a quick shower and dresses in his one-piece overall, while Sbongile is asleep, and he leaves quietly without awaking a sleeping beauty. He makes for the street corner where he is about to be picked up at 07:00, sharp. His truck arrives and he jumps in the back while the red robots have not yet turned green.

Meanwhile, lazy sleepy-head Sbongile is asleep until her customary awaking time of approximately 09:30. She wakes up and lags in the bed for a while before deciding to get dressed and go home. She shouts for Mandla, 'Molo baby ' where are you? There is no reply and she jumps out of bed in confused anxiety. She takes a look at herself in the mirror and sees her dreadful face and a note. 'Hi babes. Left for work. Just lock before you leave. XXX' She crumbles the note and throws it into her purse as she takes out her perfume and makes for the bathroom. She looks around and finally finds the small bathroom.

***

She leaves after having tidied the flat and pampering herself. She locks as instructed to by the note. She kisses the door as she leaves. She turns and walks down the corridor, boards the lift and leaves Mandla's block of flats.

Part III

Sbongile arrived at her boyfriend's house at around midday. Princess, Thando and her boyfriend were seated in the main room when she entered. She saw their worried and dreadfully unamused faces and smiled.

'I'm home peeps!' she shouted. She had no intentions of answering any questions. She went straight to the bedroom and threw herself on the bed.

'Where the hell have you been? We've been worried sick about you!' shouted an unimpressed and annoyed Thando. She was angry.

'I'm not a baby and you're not my mother!' Sbongile shouted with no care at all.

'You don't ever talk to me like that again ' do ' you ' hear ' me?!' said Thando who pulled Sbongile by the collar and stared her in the eyes and almost head-butted her.

Sbongile pushed Thando off her but was unsuccessful. Thando retaliated with a slap. Princess and Sbongile's boyfriend looked on. Sbongile's boyfriend had long made peace with his soul. His anger was always under control. Especially after the last time he fought with Sbongile.

He had given her three solid punches and four slaps when she got off his grip and ran to the police. Then Sbongile returned with two officers who returned Sbongile's pain on him. He has always been cautious since. She repaid the policemen's favour with sex. And he knew about it.

Now as Thando was kneading Sbongile's face, he did not do a thing. Instead he stood and appreciated what Thando was doing. He stood and watched with no intentions of intervening. After all, Thando was doing just what his cautious fists itched to do the most.

Sbongile was screaming and pleading with Thando to stop but she did not. When she had had enough, she paused and asked, 'Are you ever gonna disrespect me again?'. Sbongile could not speak and she just shook her head. 'What was that?' Thando asked as she pulled on Sbongile's ear and drew her face nearer.

Sbongile replied with a, 'Mo...'. Her face was bloody and her cheeks were swollen.

Thando then left her and turned to Sbongile's boyfriend and said, 'That should straighten her.'She smiled at the man who trying very hard to hide a graceful smile. 'Let's go girls.', Thando said to princess. They left.

The minute Princess and Thando had left, Sbongile packed her bags and left. She knew where she was going.

She caught a taxi to the city. She got off at the city centre and had a take-away meal. She ate and then walked to last night's club. It was closed. So she walked to Mandla's block of flats. She entered, boarded the lift and walked down the corridor to room 16. She rung the bell and waited.

A sweet voice attended to Sbongile. She was flabbergasted but replied, 'I'm Mandla's girlfriend. I'm here for him. Is he here?'

'Are you sure love? Last time I checked, my Mandla was married to me.', said the beautiful lady as she showed Sbongile her marvelous wedding ring.

Sbongile could have dropped dead but death was not a certainty yet. 'Bu- bu- but he told me he was single.... Are you talkin' about the same guy? The one who manages the club in town - ', Sbongile replied with tears in her eyes.

'Honey! Come see... we have a psychotic girl here! She claims she's your girl and that you manage a club. Ha ha! Ha ha!', the woman shouted, 'Let him come speak to you personally.'

Mandla came and held the lady and kissed her on the cheek. 'What have we here?, he asked.

Sbongile told her story bearing the intricate happenings of the previous night. She told everything in hope that he may be exposed. She had lost all hope in being his now. All she wanted was to expose him.

Mandla and his wife laughed aloud. 'Well firstly, my hubby works for a gardening service. Secondly, he never goes out clubbing and I am his wife.'

'I don't even know you. Who told you all of this and how do you know my name and where I stay?'

Sbongile never replied. She left the flats in total shame and embarrassment. She walked down the corridor, boarded the lift and left the edifice.

Sbongile left the building.

Epilogue

The thing about appreciation is that it is always late. As the words of the cliché go '... appreciate what you have until it's too late.' This is because the human flaws of desire and greed are the most blighted part of our existence. The only thing that makes the best of humans is thought.

Thought is the only force capable of separating decision from regret. As Buddha, Aristotle and other great philosophers said, 'We ultimately become what we think.' Sometimes in life when we look back we often ask ourselves, 'What was I thinking?' That would never be the case if we actually thought.

In life we are often eluded to think that money, clothes, fame and looks are what makes a person. But the truth is that big people are made of far less materialistic and more intrinsic things ' values.

We also need not forget that we are human because of feelings. They are what we are due to and they are due to our thoughts. Love is the feeling we cannot do without and it changes foe to friend. Compassion is the difference between a friend and someone whom you thought was one. Doubt is a cause for regression. Lastly desire, the liar who makes himself a necessity and untimely leads the Macbeth in us to run amok.

There is no right way of doing things in life, deal with the consequences, just choose consequences that are easy to deal with.

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