The two tall women that joined them for the night shift were Mary and Rudo. They were both large big boned women, especially around the hip area. One could have sworn they shared parentage. Mary’s jumbo heavy head supported brown ropes of plaited artificial hair with bright red highlights shooting out at various places. Her hair contrasted deeply with her dark curved facial features. She was a heavy-boned woman in every sense. Her cheek bones rose high on her face to shelve deep blood shot eyes.
Through the ropes of hair Brian could see she was not wearing any make up. Somehow that was a relief as he dreaded to imagine what makeup could complement that forceful face. Mary quickly introduced herself to Brian, asked where she was allocated to work and proceeded firmly. Brian watched her walk away to the rhythm of the squeaking floor boards. But she carried her weight elegantly. Rudo was more passive and heavier. Her body was rounder and she struggled with it. She spoke softly with her eyes always fixed elsewhere. There was something with her that drew sympathy from Brian. Her face spelt of suffering deep bone. Her tired shoulders spoke of many nights of this sort. There was something in her eyes that brought anguishing pain within Brian. He saw a broken guilty woman who had found herself travelling a road that she would not have dreamt of ever travelling. A woman disheartened and submitted to her fate. Such a cruel fate with no glimmer of hope.
As Brian paired with Mary for the first half of the night, they brutally worked through their allocated half of the people to put to bed. He marvelled at how dextrous she was with her hands and mouth. She juggled two phones that rang constantly and at the same time working at great pace and with such precision at wiping bottoms. He had been quickly instructed by Mary (to the greatest of his relief)to just “roll” while she did the dirty bit.
With a phone cleanly pinned to her ear by her head, Mary alternately backed commands to the poor residents to shift this way or that way. She would then return to her conversation on the phone as if the interjection was insignificant to apologise for. This continued until they finished putting everyone to bed.
During all this Brian had picked up that Mary was speaking to a number of different men. They were all being made to promise to do one thing or another for her. Her voice changed when she was on the phone and there was an impersonated sexiness that made Brian shudder. The fact that she jumbled up her English often didn’t seem to bother her. As long as there was sexiness in all. Brian somewhat admired this woman’s determination such that when they sat down for their break he ventured to point out.
“It seems like you’re a very busy lady”
“Who? Me?” Mary enquired with a satisfied smile. “I just live life to the fullest my brother”, she continued as she adjusted her chest to take another incoming call. Brian couldn’t help starring at her bosom which had pushed up as she adjusted herself. Although fully covered, on her chest she secured two of the biggest plumps he had ever come across.
“This one thinks he’s clever, nxaaa!” Mary continued pointing at her phone after completing her conversation.
“He is a Nigerian fool! Now I’m making him raise a son who is not even his. Fool!” Mary sneered. Brian sat back onto his chair. He said nothing. Rudo came to join them at the table with a plate full of jell-of-rice. It smelled glorious.
“At the moment I have three, three”. Mary continued as she stuck three plump fingers at Brian across the table. Brian could see Rudo’s lips lift to crack a smile and reveal beautiful white teeth.
“Three what?” He wanted to know more.
“Nigerians of course..ahah! I don’t do Zimbabweans anymore. Nigerians have money”. At this Mary and Rudo broke into a simultaneous belching laughter, tilting their heads back with a high five across the table. Brian smiled uncomfortably and remembered a dear friend of his who had a serious Nigerian problem. Bruce, his name was. Bruce was going through a terrible divorce. His wife of seven years had suddenly “turned” as Bruce had put it to everyone. She had begun mixing with Nigerians.
As the wife was bent on a quick clear cessation of all ties with Bruce she had expedited the divorce process out of her own pocket. She wanted Bruce out of their mortgaged house with nothing but the shirt on his back. He could take his computer too. Bruce, with a bit of luck on his side and with witty friends as advisers pleaded with the courts that he still dotted on his wife. That she was the one intending to breakup a perfect marriage.
He claimed his wife’s unsocial trysts with these Nigerians were the source of this alteration in his wife. The courts then instructed the wife to depart the house pronto and seek accommodation elsewhere. As Bruce was the aggrieved, he had the privilege of choosing the car to use and he obviously opted for the slick 2009 model leaving the wife a battered 1996 model.
Unfortunately Bruce’s wife had to continue paying for the mortgaged house as well as the car on finance. So to celebrate his court success Bruce invited a few trusted friends for a barbecue one afternoon. As usual small gatherings tend not to be small as word spreads quickly. Free running golden nectar and meat! Bliss.
One such individual that caught the waft of the barbecuing meet was of course Sheila, Bruce’s soon to be ex-wife. It was the screeching halt of the Ford Focus outside the gate that announced Sheila’s arrival at the barbecue. Bruce calmly lit a cigarette unmoved.
“What are you all doing here?” Sheila bellowed as she exited her car.
“What’s all this, heh!”
“You Bruce, what are you celebrating? In whose house?”
“Sheila kani!” Bruce tried to say but a torrent of expletives ejected from Sheila’s mouth as she brutally described how her husband Bruce was now morbid in bed, how he always has been morbid. How he never satisfied her with his disabled manhood. How he lacked adventure unlike the Nigerians who had extremely long manhood and performed all kinds gyratical manoeuvres in bed. Sheila went on to gesticulate and demonstrate how the Nigerians flipped her around in bed at which point he angled her body acutely almost hitting the concrete floor with her head, slapped her bottom thrice while shrieking “…they even do me this side too…”
At this point Bruce, drawing the last smoke from his cigarette, flipped the butt over the fence, shot strings of smoke into the sky and slowly approached Sheila waving his skinny long finger cautioned her that she was getting too “happy” and that she should not mistake his silence for foolishness. His voice was half convincing and half assured. This only spurred Sheila on, who with much gusto began such a voracious volley of verbal vermin.
“You dog of a man!” she screamed.
“What do you think you can do to me? Heh! Make me shit, let’s see! Make me shit!”
The scattered men had quickly re-congregated but had now paired up with their feminine, where muffled under-the-collar jeers and hums were exchanged. The unhinged also drew closer together and gaped at this unfolding scene. Charged with the eyes of the eager crowd Sheila began rippling the air with her arms wildly, skipping from one foot to the other. Her hands had balled into sizeable fists that none would welcome a collision with.
Sheila flipped her sandals into the air one foot after the other and beckoned Bruce on. Brian who was in the crowd remembered imagining that had she been in a skirt she would have tucked it well into her undergarments by now. All the while Sheila’s mouth had not stopped. The terrible rumpus had disquieted this seemingly reserved neighbourhood. A few curtains began to draw and a few faces picked in the shadows while a dog barked wildly over the fence. Before the crowd was unfolding a scene only now dreamt about but very real in the nineties of Zimbabwe.
Many men unashamedly felt like briskly rubbing their hands together in gleeful anticipation. The atmosphere was pregnant and the challenge was on. Brian’s good friend Bruce, not known for shying away from these immortal combats, waded closer to Sheila still waiving his finger.
But this was a different brawl. Not the usual intoxicated scuffles. Sheila took off at a full speed charge and at drawing her arm back, discharged a thunderous clout that landed squarely below Bruces’ exposed ear. Bruce reared momentarily and was soon lying flummoxed on the concrete floor with eyes rolling in.
“Yohwee!”"amai! “The women squealed. The men gulped, nearly chocking on their brown nectar. This was followed by a brief morose silence as all eyes fixed on the lifeless figure on the floor. Even Sheila halted on her vituperation. Sheila had been equally jolted by her own strength as she stood shaking with rage over Bruce lying lifeless on the concrete floor. However, as soon as she realised she had stopped delivering the virulent vermin, she promptly resumed screaming “ I will kill you” at her limp-limbed husband beneath her straddled legs. As fateful seconds passed by, the men began an earnest plea (more from saving poor Bruce’s life or some further embarrassment on him, Brian suspected) for Sheila to desist from this belligerent stance. Some clapped their hands together and hung their heads to their sides in entreaty.
No one dared to venture within arm’s length of this woman though, who was now fully rabid, still straddling the body. The women surprisingly remained rather reluctant to halt anything. Some covered their mouths in horror while others were already on their adept gadgets sharing this momentous occasion.
Some women had begun skipping around in panic as they watched Bruce lying expiring on the floor in some apoplexy. His body shuddered briefly before remaining cold still with eyes rolled in. Some ingenious individual suggested pouring water on Bruce’s face to drown him back to life. Thankfully no one subscribed to this as people began to detect some semblance of life before poor Bruce was abundantly hydrated. He emitted a low guttural howl before painfully embarking on collecting his wits through his searching eyes. He did not need to search long. The sight of the strapping Sheila above him instantly brought all preceding events to recollection.
Bruce moved to shield himself from any more likely onslaught from his intrepid aggressor but Sheila only skipped over him to depart still hurling threats and abuse. The men that were pleading for Bruce’s life moved in quickly to help him off the floor as soon as the danger eased. Thankfully Bruce had only suffered nothing more than a bruised ego and a sore head.