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Ian Martin

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Frikkie And Plug Target The Racists

“As he has grown older his racism has gotten worse.”

Frikkie was referring to his father, who, dressed in his AWB uniform from the 1980s, looked out from the photograph on the mantelpiece with an expression of blood chilling malevolence in his eyes.

Plug was visiting Frikkie in his mansion, and they were passing through the winter lounge on their way to the atrium. They had just waved goodbye to the Accountant, The Lawyer and the Financial Strategist after one of their informal monthly meetings. In the atrium they settled themselves in loungers and looked out over the lawns and the lagoon to the beach and the sea.

“Yes,” Frikkie went on, “My father still refers to all black people as ‘f**ken k**fers’. You know I bought a cottage for him and my mother at a Village of Golden Harvest? Well, he wanted to put up a flagpole so he could fly the old flag, but they wouldn’t let him, and now he hates them and is filled with even more frustration and rage and bitterness than ever.”

Plug didn’t say anything and seemed to be concentrating on the view.

Frikkie’s new girlfriend arrived to see if they wanted anything before lunch. She stood beside her fiancé and stroked the back of his neck. He ran a casual hand up the inside of her thigh and let his fingers say hello. She giggled and went off to fetch the drinks.

“Something on your mind?” asked Frikkie.

“I’ve just had an idea,” said Plug, and he sat up and began to act all animated, as if he had just found a vein and fired the gun. “I think we could be about to add more territory to our empire.”

When Frikkie began to speak of his father’s ingrained racial bigotry, it had occurred to Plug in a flash of inspired lateral thinking that if racism were to be viewed as a commodity, there was money to be made from it. Big money.

“In South Africa there are hundreds of thousands of repressed white supremacists, most of them Afrikaners,” he said. “These people are incurable and need palliative treatment until they die out and stop poisoning the minds of succeeding generations.”

“And we are going to provide the treatment?” said Frikkie. “What kind of treatment?”

“These people, like your father, look back on the apartheid era with nostalgia,” said Plug. “They see it as a golden era when the white man was in charge and everything worked, and there was hardly any crime.”

“Yah,” said Frikkie. “My father likes to say that in those days you could treat a k**fir like a k**fir, and everyone knew where they stood.”

“And now, if you use the k-word you can go to jail,” said Plug. These old racists are filled with so much pent up frustration they would pay good money to relive some golden oldie apartheid experiences. That’s what we’re going to give them.”

“You mean, like make them pay to be abusive to some black dudes on our payroll?” said Frikkie.

“Precisely,” said Plug, pleased to see that his friend had already cottoned on and was getting his brain up to speed. “We could set up apartheid theme parks all over the country and offer a whole range of old time scenarios.”

“Ouch! Eina! Ouch!” Minor explosions were going off in Frikkie’s cerebral cortex as the images flashed before his mind’s eye. “Like a street scene out of the 70s and 80s?” he said. You walk in and there’s this black oke lounging on a WHITES ONLY bench. You swear at him and tell him to get his black arse out of it, and when he doesn’t move you call to a couple of men dressed in old style SAP uniforms, and they come running over and pretend to beat the black dude with their sjamboks, and then drag him to the vintage cop van standing nearby and throw him in the back and drive off. Something like that?”

“Perfect,” said Plug. “Then you could proceed to have a confrontation with a black pedestrian, forcing him to get off the pavement and walk in the gutter until you had passed. You could also enter a shop and enjoy a number of staged incidents involving the humiliation of black customers.”

“Yah,” said Frikkie. “Like push in front of them and then have a loud conversation with the white guy behind the counter, saying all sorts of insulting stuff about k**firs and c**ns, and how they shouldn’t be allowed in the shop because they stink.”

“I can see you’ve got the idea,” said Plug. “We could also have a house or two and offer different domestic situations involving servants.”

“My father used to pomp the maid, I swear it,” said Frikkie. “While she was standing at the kitchen sink.”

“Brilliant!” said Plug. “If we have a contingent of black sex workers on our staff we can offer the chance to re-enact some of the secret sex the racists used to enjoy under apartheid and offer them the sweet fruit they are no longer forbidden to taste, and let them savour again the old thrill.”

Frikkie’s girlfriend arrived with the drinks. After putting down the tray she would have liked to sit on Frikkie’s lap, but she had already learned that it was not a good idea to distract him when he was talking business with Plug. So she only stayed long enough for them to eyeball her cleavage, and then left them alone.

“How about having an old style kroeg a bit further down the road?” said Frikkie. “Men Only and Net Blankes. Visitors could go in and get a bit pissed and tell Mugabe and Malema jokes and talk about how bad the government is, and how stupid and corrupt they all are, and how it would be better to have a troop of baboons running the country rather than these useless k**firs. And they wouldn’t have to keep their voices down and watch what they said.”

“A bar is a great idea,” said Plug. “A good money spinner, too. And talking of bars, how about a church a bit further on? They could pay to go into an NG kerk and listen to a dominee thundering on about God’s chosen Volk, and how God had given South Africa to His people as a present, and that the Bible stated quite clearly that the white race was superior to the black race, and therefore it was entirely correct that God’s chosen boere should subjugate the indigenous people and put them to useful work instead of loafing about in the shade of a tree drinking skokiaan and making a hell of a racket.”

“Yah,” said Frikkie, letting his imagination take over. “Then you could go straight from the church to another house, shout and swear at the garden boy and threaten to give him a klap, and then go through the house and out the kitchen to the maid’s room in the yard and have sex with a black woman on an old iron bed with a coir mattress.”

“Awesome!” said Plug. And the public toilets would have WHITES ONLY signs, and we could have the old flag flying, and there could be big portraits of people like Kruger and Verwoerd and DF Malan and PW Botha.”

“What about piped music?” said Frikkie. “We could play Die Stem, and Sarie Marais, and De la Rey, and Genoeg, and other redneck boeremusiek.”

By the time they moved to the patio they had worked out many of the details that were to make the Apartheid Theme Parks such a success. Over lunch they discussed the financial side of things.

“How would we charge visitors?” asked Frikkie. “A once-off entrance fee, or what?”

“Yes and no,” said Plug. “They must pay an entrance fee, say R200, and they can wander around and listen to the music and old recordings of political speeches, and use the WHITES ONLY toilets, but for direct contact with our staff they must pay extra.”

“How much would I have to pay to shout at a gardener and call him a f**king lazy c**n?” asked Frikkie.

“R5 for ‘f**king’,” said Plug, “R5 for ‘lazy, and R10 for the c-word, or k-word, or whatever. That’ll be 20 bucks, Meneer.”

“Shit,” said Frikkie, “my father would go through a fortune in ten minutes! And that’s without getting a domestic to give him a hand job, or anything. How much for sex?”

“Depends,” said Plug. “At least R1500 for full intercourse, I would guess.”

By the end of lunch all the main concepts had been formulated, and within three months of this initial brainstorming session they were ready to open their first Apartheid Park. It made sense to locate it in Pretoria, where there was a huge potential market. Their staff had been carefully selected from thousands of applicants and given a course in anger management and told what was expected of them.

On the opening day hundreds of people flocked to the Park, many of them enjoying special discount rates because they were members of Afriforum , there was live music with a booreorkes and performances by Bok and Steve and Sunette, and the celebrity guest list included the likes of Corne, Kallie, FW, Koos and Pieter, who all thought the Apartheid Park would play an important role in soothing the wounded white psyche.

The money poured in and soon Plug and Frikkie were opening Apartheid Parks all over the country.

Then something curious happened. Black South Africans began to take an interest. So much so, they had to make Thursday Non-Whites Only Day. The clientele proved to be almost exclusively from the upwardly mobile middle class and were predominantly female. It seemed that professional black women who led pressurised lives and employed maids, child minders and gardeners could be just as fastidious and hard to please as their white counterparts. For these women a trip to an Apartheid Park, where they could give vent to their frustrations and scream racial abuse at the actors posing as domestic staff, was highly therapeutic and helped them cope with their own lazy, thieving and incompetent servants.

And possibly even more curious, was the reaction of the Park’s staff to these Thursday visitors. It became clear that they resented being abused by black customers far more than they did by white!

Well, this really got Plug and Frikkie thinking, and it was not long before they decided to devise ways of soothing the wounded black psyche as well.

 

 

God Makes Frikkie And Plug Very Rich

“A model, modern day messenger of God must take full advantage of the latest innovations in technological gimmickry,” Plug told Frikkie, who was about to slap some slabs of steak onto his charcoal-powered Weber. “The public address system will be the single most important investment we make.” Frikkie’s steaks were fresh. Only ten days ago they had been walking about a feedlot grazing on fishmeal and steroids and were still dripping red blood rich in testosterone.

“Yes, I don’t want to damage my vocal cords by shouting all the time,” he said as he laid the four steaks on the grid. Two of them were the shape of Africa, and the other two were the shape of Australia.

“With a really good PA system you can go from a theatrical whisper to an operatic scream without any strain,” said Plug. “And everybody for miles around can hear you.”

Like all truly creative South African entrepreneurs Plug and Frikkie came up with their best ideas while standing in warm sunlight, glass in hand and the smell of roasting flesh in their nostrils.

“A successful church must be run like a modern circus,” said Plug. “We will attract worshippers by offering a variety of amazing spectacles and daredevil stunts.”

“Daredevil stunts?” said Frikkie, raising his eyebrows even closer to his hairline. “In a church?”

“You mustn’t forget that your congregation is going to be drawn from a multitude of numbskulls who believe in the occurrence of miracles,” said Plug, and he ripped the ring tag off another frosty prior to douching the back of his throat with foaming ale. “These people have been brought up to believe it is possible to defy the laws of nature by bringing putrefying corpses back to life, converting plain tap water into 10 year-old Cabernet, causing the sea to part by shouting at it, curing terminally ill patients with a pat on the shoulder, being able to walk on water without sinking, and using lightning like a guided missile to sort out some bastard who swindled you.”

“I once knew a Catholic chick who used to stretch two scarves in the shape of a cross under her mattress,” said Frikkie. “It was supposed to protect her from being seduced.”

“Did it work?”

“Hell no,” said Frikkie. “I ended up having to pay for first the abortion and then her funeral.”

“Crazy, man, crazy,” said Plug. “I tell you, religion is so suffused with magic and superstition you can get the faithful to believe almost anything, just by attributing it to the supernatural power of God Almighty. That’s why it is going to be so easy to dupe them with spectacles and stunts, and then take their money off them.”

“What kind of spectacles and stunts do you have in mind?” asked Frikkie, using his braai tongs to move the Africans to the periphery and the thicker Australians to the centre where the heat was more intense.

“We must have an in-house team of actors and magicians,” Plug said. “To become a credible faith healer and miracle worker your performances will have to be carefully stage managed. So when you call on the lame and the deformed to come forward we will wheel out one of our people. You will command him to throw away his crutches and his wheelchair and step up in the name of the Risen Christ. When he fails to comply you can shout at him and accuse him of having no faith, and tip him onto the floor. He will drag himself about to demonstrate the extent of his paraplegia, and then you will get him to pray with you. Finally you will command him to arise in the name of the Lord, and he will be helped onto his feet, he’ll totter a few steps, gain strength, walk unaided. As he strides up the aisle, totally cured, you will whip the congregation into a frenzy of Hallelujahs, amens and Praise the Lords, and we will be going round with the plate.”

“Sounds cool,” said Frikkie. “I think we must eat.”

“To intensify the religious experience we will use special effects and state-of-the-art lighting,” said Plug, as they moved to the patio where Frikkie’s housekeeper had laid the table with Greek salad, noodle salad, garlic bread and a bottle of Merlot. “And we will have our own tightrope walker, too.”

“Tightrope walker?” said Frikkie. “What the hell’s he going to do?”

“For night time performances,” said Plug. “At a given signal from you we will plunge the church into darkness. Then a spotlight will pick out the disembodied head and shoulders of our acrobat floating high overhead and moving slowly from left to right. He could be made up to look like an angel, or a Jesus double, or even God himself.”

“And in the dark no one will be able to see the tightrope? Wow!” said Frikkie. “The men will shat themselves and the women will wet themselves.”

“Yes,” said Plug. “This is very good, Frikkie. Only slightly chewy.”

“Yah. Those fucking bastards at Woolworths,” said Frikkie. “Sometimes their meat’s like what a gravedigger comes across, and at other times it flinches when you put a fork in it.”

“Have you noticed that these steaks are shaped like Australia and Africa?” Plug said. “A religious person would find some significance in this purely random coincidence. For example, if they were contemplating buggering off down under, and the Australian steak was more tender, they would take it as a sign from God that they were doing the right thing.”

“And if Africa was more tender?” asked Frikkie. “Would they cancel their plans?”

“Probably not,” said Plug. “But when they got to Australia, the moment they encountered any hardship they would say it was on account of them not listening to the message God had sent them via the steaks.”

“Jesus!” said Frikkie. “And to think that not long ago I used to be one of these imbeciles!”

He called to his housekeeper to bring another bottle of the red stuff, because he could see that the first one would never be able to cope on its own.

Frikkie and Plug then began to work on the plan of action that would lead to the successful establishment of their Church. And as a result of this brainstorming session they started a page on Facebook, bought a PA system, hired a marquee, and gave their first performance, and from the word go their project exceeded their most grandiose dreams, and the money poured in.

It seemed that they could do nothing wrong in the adoring eyes of their rapidly swelling flock of worshippers. When Frikkie arrived in an open top limo with three half naked babes in the back seat they screamed and swooned, and when he rode into church, dressed in a couple of old sacks and sitting astride a flea-bitten donkey, the congregation prostrated themselves and swore to give up most of their worldly possessions to the Church and follow in Frikkie’s footsteps.

With the help of God and Plug and the team of actors, magicians, acrobats and technical wizards, Frikkie’s fame spread throughout the land. He helped the tabloids to boost their circulation, and the social networks were abuzz with frenzied comments on his latest miracle.

And when he turned his back and pretended to urinate in a flask, and then got one of his magicians to turn the liquid into illuminating paraffin and light up an oil lamp, Frikkie went big time viral and hundreds of thousands of the poor and the ignorant joined the Church in the hope of getting access to free fuel just by pissing in a bottle and saying some gobbledegook prayers.

Yes, their church proved a phenomenal financial success and God made Plug and Frikkie obscenely rich in a short space of time. All that remained was to promote Frikkie to the position of Archbishop, appoint half a dozen bishops to take over the grimy work of the ministry, and sit back while Plug dreamt up the next exciting scheme.

 

Plug Prepares Frikkie For The Ministry

“Religiosity is a debilitating mental disorder, and those who suffer from it are particularly susceptible to brainwashing,” Plug told Frikkie. “You will find it surprisingly easy to convince them that you are a prophet sent by God, and that if they give us their money they will be rewarded with everlasting life and all manner of goodies when they get to heaven.”

“I don’t get it,” said Frikkie. “What makes religious people so stupid?”

“Faith,” said Plug. “Faith paralyses large areas of your brain and you lose the ability to reason in accordance with the basic rules of logic. It blinds you to the evidence before your eyes.”

“Is that why it’s called blind faith?” asked Frikkie.

“Probably,” said Plug. “Once a person has faith they become easy prey for unscrupulous charlatans as well as authoritarian leaders.”

“I take it we fit into the unscrupulous charlatan category?” said Frikkie.

“If you like,” said Plug. “I would prefer to say we are smart businessmen who base our strategies on astute observation of human nature. On this planet there are billions of people who are afflicted with faith, and as a consequence of their diminished reasoning ability they can be persuaded to behave irrationally. Like willingly go to war and kill strangers with whom they have no quarrel. They also vote into power scoundrels who clearly demonstrate contempt for their supporters and misappropriate tax money to enrich themselves and their families. And it is easy to persuade people with faith to work hard for meagre wages in order for a tiny minority to become inordinately rich. It is this willingness to abandon reason, join the herd and obey commands, no matter how nonsensical or abhorrent they might be, that distinguishes the person who has surrendered to faith from those of us who retain control over our intellects. And by holding on to our scepticism we are able to take advantage of those whose judgement is clouded by faith.”

Frikkie and Plug were seated side by side on a couch in Plug’s luxury apartment. In front of them was a big plasma screen and behind them was glass and an over-priced view of the Atlantic Ocean.

“You are telling it like it would be dead easy for me to become a successful evangelist, but you are forgetting something,” said Frikkie.

“What’s that?”

“The most important quality of any cult leader,” said Frikkie. “Charisma. I don’t have even the slightest trace of charismatic appeal in me. I couldn’t get a Labrador puppy to follow me, let alone thousands of adoring disciples.”

“That’s where you are wrong,” said Plug. “All of the top celebrity preachers employ a range of techniques that can be studied, copied and improved upon. We’re going to get started by watching a whole lot of videos.” And he picked up the remote and pressed PLAY. Billy Graham’s face filled the screen, he looked straight at the two charlatans on the couch and asked them in an accusing tone whether they were sincere about doing the work of the Lord. Plug pushed PAUSE.

“Lesson number one,” he said. “Make your flock of mutton heads feel guilty by questioning their depth of commitment.” He took out his cigarette box and pen and made a note. “I’ll make a list as we go along.”

They watched three Billy Graham videos and then some footage of Adolf Hitler and finally a YouTube clip of Eugene Terre Blanche.

“That will do for a start,” said Plug. They went out on the balcony and looked at the view, which seemed a real rip-off, because the weather had turned cloudy and a nasty wind was picking up. “Tomorrow we can watch some more, and you can start practising.”

Under Plug’s tutelage Frikkie learned fast and by the end of the week he was able to address his imaginary audience with growing confidence. He strode back and forth, stopped in mid stride, pointed accusingly, and demanded answers to questions like, ‘Have you driven Satan from your heart?’ and, ‘Have you been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ?’ He tried speaking in a normal tone of voice and then, without warning switching to a shout. Plug said this was scary and very effective. Plug also helped him to get his timing right when he asked a stupefyingly imponderable question like, ‘What is God going to say to you on the Day of Judgement?’ The trick was to pause long enough for the sinner to realise he hadn’t a clue what God would say, but not too long before putting some extremely intolerant words into God’s mouth.

“It’s all about inducing mass hysteria,” said Plug. “The last thing you want is for the members of your congregation to act like thinking individuals.”

“Ever since you got me to give up my faith I have felt liberated,” said Frikkie. “I now find it hard to grasp how it is that so many people can still believe that Bible stuff in the 21st century.”

“Yes,” said Plug. “An atheist cannot fail to be astonished at the extent to which people will go to delude themselves.”

Plug coached Frikkie in a variety of oratorical techniques, teaching him how to make his eyes bulge when he went into ranting mode, how to simulate weeping when expressing sorrow, how to turn his spittle into froth, how to shout like thunder, and how to scream and gabble like an imbongi. He also taught him how to pace back and forth, stop, point accusingly, raise eyes to heaven, fall to knees, and pretend to kiss the dusty feet of Christ his Saviour.

“You must also learn to speak in tongues,” Plug told the trainee minister.

“Wouldn’t it be better if I got someone else to speak in tongues and I do the translation?” said Frikkie.

“Good thinking,” said Plug, who liked it when Frikkie gave his brain a bit of exercise. “Anyone who is into rap would find it dead easy speaking in tongues.”

Plug was delighted with Frikkie’s rapid progress and was sure he would soon have a large flock eating out of his hand and donating their money to the church. It was time to hire a PA system and a large marquee, and to get the show on the road.

 

 

 

Frikkie And Plug Turn To Religion

“That’s the trouble with the relentless advance of technology,” said Plug. “It never stands still for an instant, and what’s cutting edge today can be obsolete tomorrow.”

He and Frikkie were in low spirits, having had to accept that the Dumpmeter was now dead in the water. Admittedly they had made a good few million and could now count themselves as entry-level rich, but at least for the time being, their dream of becoming billionaires was will and truly down the toilet. Those fucking Americans had stolen their concept and produced the Fectracker. Contained in a medicine capsule, this miniaturised device was taken orally. It passed through the digestive system until it reached the rectum, where it immediately implanted itself and began monitoring the departure of all stools. This eliminated the need for external hardware and the services of a plumber, and was clearly an advance on the Dumpmeter. After swallowing a Fectracker all one needed to do was download the app from iTunes and the system was up and running. As simple as that.

“And now what are we supposed to do?” asked Frikkie.

“God knows,” said Plug, his brain having been incapacitated by disappointment. He shook his head and pumped his arms up and down the way a boxer does when trying to regain his senses after being caught with a right uppercut hard on the heels of a left hook.

“If we weren’t both atheists we could ask him,’ said Frikkie.

“What?” demanded Plug.

He was staring at Frikkie, and it was as if someone had pressed PAUSE and frozen him in his tracks. Frikkie didn’t bother to reply. He was well acquainted with the expression in those eyes behind the spectacle lenses. When Plug’s eyes went round and glassy like those of a goldfish trying to see beyond its reflection, it meant another cigarette box scheme was about to be hatched.

“I just said that only God knows what we are going to do next,” Plug said slowly. “I know it’s just a turn of phrase, and that we don’t really believe God knows what we are going to do, because we’re not so stupid as to believe in the existence of God. But this has given me an idea that involves God in a big way.”

A while back Plug had explained to Frikkie how it was that people still believed in the existence of a supernatural father figure.

“Because we are a verminous species incapable of curbing our pernicious and odious inclinations, we experience an inordinate amount of self-inflicted suffering. And as a consequence of our inexhaustible capacity for greed, we are never content with the simple pleasures of life the way other animals are. We tell ourselves there must be more to life than this pointless journey from nowhere to nowhere, when clearly there is not. We cannot accept that after a life of boredom, disappointment and suffering, there isn’t something better to look forward to. Petulantly, we insist that there must be a life after death in which our Father in Heaven will love and protect us and provide us with all that our greedy little hearts desire. Considering our nature it is easy for us to delude ourselves and believe this rubbish. It takes a superior type of intellect to recognise such rubbish for what it is and to dispense with these feeble-minded delusions.”

This is what Plug had told Frikkie, and he had followed it up with such an abundance of incontrovertible evidence illustrating the absurdity of all forms of religious belief that Frikkie had immediately renounced Jesus Christ as his Saviour and torn his copy of Die Bybel in half before throwing it in the bin.

“So what’s this God-inspired scheme you have in mind for us?” Frikkie asked Plug.

“When you responded to my rhetorical statement by saying that we could ask God what to do next if we weren’t atheists, an image flashed before my mind’s eye,” said Plug. “I saw Frikkie Welgemoed in an immaculate white tuxedo, pink carnation in lapel, standing behind a pulpit up on a podium addressing a great multitude of gullible idiots. You were telling them what God wanted them to do next.”

“And what was that?” asked Frikkie.

“The same as what preachers have been telling people to do for thousands of years,” said Plug. “You were saying God wanted them to donate a tenth of their money to your church.”

“Ah, I see,’ said Frikkie. “So we are about to start our own church, with me as the minister? But you know I don’t believe any of that bullshit any more.”

“No problem,” said Plug. “Neither does the majority of your fellow clergy. The few who sincerely believe the nonsense they spout have first had to swallow a bottle of anti-depressants and book their brains into Happy Days Guesthouse.. The rest of them are fully aware it’s all a pack of lies, and if you observe them closely it’s clearly apparent from the look in their eyes. There’s something crafty about your average messenger of God. As he tells you the good news he has the exact same shiftiness of manner as a used car salesman trying to sell you a car with Stop Leak in the radiator and sawdust in the engine oil. Next time you see the Archbishop on the box, carefully watch his expression as he tells poor people who live in a shack and shit in a bucket that God loves them.”

Frikkie looked sceptical and like he would need a lot of convincing.

“But preachers have to deliver sermons to their congregations,” he said. “I wouldn’t know what to tell them, apart from the bit about handing over their money.”

“No sweat,” said Plug. “I would write your script for you. If you had ever listened to what the dominee was saying in that church you attended for all those years, you would have noticed that his sermons were repetitious and devoid of rational content. They could just as well have been written by the drunken retard hanging around the bottle store across the way, waiting for Sunday to turn into Monday. No, to write a sermon all you need is a stock of mumbo-jumbo phrases and some anecdotes about how vindictive God can be, and backed up by a few of the more odious and pernicious excerpts from the Bible.”

So saying, Plug produced his cigarette box and ballpoint, and began making some preliminary estimates.

Plug Invents The Dumpmeter

Frikkie’s fortune ran out very quickly. When he was forced to sell the Beemer the Lord appeared to Eva and told her Welgemoed was one of those individuals who made the Lord doubt his own infallibility and wonder if Satan hadn’t pulled a fast one on Him. He told Eva not to waste any more time with this loser and to go in search of another challenge.

“Whatever you do,” Plug told Frikkie, “Don’t get rid of your fancy wardrobe. You are going to need that designer suit and those shoes.”

While Frikkie was busy shooting intruders and being helped by Eva to get rid of his Lotto millions, Plug had been playing online poker and inventing the Dumpmeter. Fitted to a toilet, the Dumpmeter was an electronic device capable of measuring the volume and mass of solid matter as it was flushed from the bowl into the sewage pipe.

“I got the idea from watching parliamentary proceedings on TV,” Plug said. “I was struck by the high incidence of obesity amongst the politicians and it occurred to me that, far from being an embarrassment, it was perceived as a mark of success. I then looked further afield and saw that this flaunting of fat pervaded the business world as well, especially in the corporate sector. Being grossly overweight has become a status symbol, as has the car you drive, the clothes and jewellery you wear, the holidays you take, and the wine and whisky you drink. By demonstrating to the world that you eat excessively your physical shape commands envy and respect. And if the quantity you eat is a source of pride, then it is logical to conclude that the amount you defecate must also be something to boast about.”

“I see,” said Frikkie. “So it’s like some over-fat barrel of a guy is at a fancy restaurant, and he eats double of everything, and then he rushes off to the toilet and has one hell of a crap, and then comes back to the table to tell everyone the details? Is that what you mean?”

“Exactly,” said Plug. “Then some huge hippo of a woman will get up and waddle to the cloakroom and come back and claim she has just had an even bigger bowel movement than the barrel’s. And this is where the problem comes in. Who do you believe? Where’s the proof?”

“Ah, so that’s why you need a Dumpmeter, is it?’

“Yes,” said Plug. “The device measures weight and volume and sends a message to your phone via the Service Provider and OS. You have to have downloaded the Dumpmeter app, of course.”

“Sounds a great idea,” said Frikkie. “But how are you going to market it?”

“I’ve already made a breakthrough,” said Plug, and went on to tell Frikkie how he had managed to get an interview with the President’s nephew. “He loves the concept and I have offered him a hefty kickback percentage if he can get us a contract for all the toilets in the Houses of Parliament. We should know any day now whether he has been able to pull it off.”

The very next day Plug received the joyous news he had been hoping for. Dumpmeters were to be installed in the toilets of all parliamentary buildings, including Tuynhuys, Groote Schuur and the official residences of cabinet ministers and their deputies.

“This is where your designer suit and R2000 shoes come in,” Plug told Frikkie on appointing him as Chief Liaison Officer. “You will deal with the relevant officials on behalf of the Dumpmeter installation team and arrange access to all parliamentary toilets. If you aren’t suitably dressed they won’t treat you with respect, and we will be kept hanging around forever.’

All went exceedingly well, and then one day Plug had a call from Frikkie, who sounded excited and not like his usual phlegmatic self.

“Hey, Plug,” he said. “I’ve just met the President! Can you believe it? He actually shook my hand and congratulated us on the Dumpmeter. He says he has already got the app on his phone and is going to try it out at the gala banquet tonight. Man, I can’t believe he’s the President. I mean, he’s just a regular, really friendly old guy.’

“What did you expect?” said Plug. “Did you think he would have a shower coming out of his head, or what?”

“Kind of,” said Frikkie. “But listen to this. For security reasons he wants us to install Dumpmeters in all the toilets at his country residence. And he wants it like tomorrow.”

Frikkie was away for almost two weeks, and when he returned he was wearing a Party T-shirt and had a smug expression on his face.

“I have learned a lot,” he told Plug. “Not only about the President, but also about how things really work in South Africa.”

Frikkie had been treated most hospitably and had stayed in the sumptuous Chicken Hok suite. On several occasions he had interacted with the great man on a personal level, and he had attended two of the family briefings.

“It’s really hard for him to connect with them all,” said Frikkie. “I mean, with five or six wives and about thirty kids, how do you find the time to interact with them? And everyone seems to want stuff from him all the time. And at first I found the mixing of traditional and modern culture very confusing. Sometimes all you hear is English and it’s about cell phones and TV and celebs and shit like that, and other times it’s pure Zulu, and I suppose all about cattle and ancestors and stuff. One day he’s in a suit and tie, and the next he’s walking about in just a jockstrap and a leopard skin toga. But as I got used to it, things began to make sense.”

Frikkie said that Jackson, the President’s butler, had told him that in African tradition the Chief expects loyalty from his subjects, and in return the subjects want to be rewarded with favours. Because loyalty is valued more highly than ability and competence, it often happened that ignorant people who could hardly speak English were given top positions in government. Just as it was customary for the Chief to have several wives and many children, the President also had a very large family that extended well beyond wives and kids. Half the blacks in South Africa were now related to him and could lay claim to some form of handout. It was little wonder that he was obliged to accept gifts and donations from anyone generous enough to make the offer. How else was he to support so many hangers-on?

Jackson had also told Frikkie about the President’s double.

“As you know,” Frikkie said to Plug, “There is a lot of very expensive security around the President’s country residence. This is in order to keep the country rabble from invading the place. Otherwise there would be thousands of simple bumpkins milling about trying to knock on the door and make a nuisance of themselves,” he said. As it is, there was a queue at the main gate stretching kilometres into the rural distance, all waiting to shake the Chief’s hand, spend five minutes chit-chatting back and forth about matters of absolutely no consequence, and then launching into a sob story culminating in the inevitable plea for financial assistance.

“Jackson told me that the pressure was getting too much for the President to handle, “ said Frikkie. “So they found this guy who bears a strong resemblance to Number One, they did some plastic surgery on him to get the likeness spot on, and now he’s taking an acting course to perfect the impersonation. Soon he will begin taking over some of the more tedious and trivial duties.”

“That’s a very clever idea,” said Plug. “Will he also help out on the domestic front?”

“Jackson didn’t say,” said Frikkie. “But what he did say was that this dude is better educated and more intelligent than his role model. The NEC are at present considering the possibility of getting the double to run the country while the President shakes hands, grins and hands out freebies.”

Frikkie told Plug that he had decided to join the Party and now felt like an insider. He was confident that Dumpmeters would soon be installed in all Central, Provincial and Local government toilets throughout the country. And before long RDP toilets would have them, too. They might even be able to adapt a bucket to take the device. And now that Frikkie had established this personal relationship with the President they could confidently expect other doors of opportunity to be opened for them.

Their optimism and ambition knew no bounds, but little did Plug and Frikkie know that at that very moment unscrupulous rivals were hijacking their invention.

 

Frikkie Goes Ballistic

“The main reason why I have decided not to play the stock market is that it requires too large an investment for me to stand a chance of making big bucks in a hurry.” When Frikkie got back from Joburg this is what Plug told him. “There are other reasons, too,” he said. “To make smart decisions one has to do a great deal of research and technical analysis, which is hard graft. And even if you do your homework, the way the market gets manipulated by the big players it’s often difficult to make intelligent predictions. Algorithmic trading and dodgy accounting procedures and fake figures skew the data you have to try and make sense of. No, the small trader doesn’t stand much of a chance.”

“So if you’re not going to play the stock market, what are you going to do?” asked Frikkie.

“I am going to play online poker,” said Plug. “If you play a lot, and you keep good records, and you get to know the other players, and you know how to bluff, then poker is actually more predictable than the stock market. And I’m good at bluffing.’

“And me?” asked Frikkie. “What have you got in the pipeline? I’m going to need another project when my money runs out in about six months time.”

“Don’t worry,” said Plug. “I’ll come up with something before then.”

Frikkie found a flat and out of boredom began to drink more than usual. When he went to the bottle store to stock up on brandy and Coke a man in the queue at the payout dropped something. Frikkie picked it up. It was a Lotto ticket. That’s how Frikkie won R10 million.

After Frikkie Welgemoed became rich he did the usual stupid things that people do. Like instead of getting pissed on brandy and coke, he took to malt whisky at R450 a bottle. He didn’t like the taste and said it smelt like peat-flavoured sheep’s urine, so he drank it with lemonade. There was nothing wrong with his 5 year-old Nissan Hardbody but he sold it and bought an out-of-the-box Beemer for700k. He also went and rented a luxury unit in an upmarket security complex.

He did lots of other stupid things too, like buying expensive designer clothes, a R2000 pair of shoes that gave him blisters, and a flashy watch similar to the one Julius used to wear before he had to pawn it. He even joined a golf club! And another thing. Prior to getting lucky, he used to either masturbate or go out with sluts to keep his hormones under control. Now he discovered that if he flashed his money around the babes would show an interest in him. If he was prepared to spend close on three thousand in the form of flowers, a gift, a live concert, followed up with a meal at a top restaurant, he could get one of these babes to go to bed with him and give him more or less what the sluts gave him, only it felt much more classy. Frikkie liked feeling classy. It was just a pity that these babes were more interested in what he could buy them than in him as a person. Then he met Eva.

Eva was the classiest babe he had ever set eyes on, and he threw a lot of money in her direction to get her attention. It paid off, because she started going out with him and then, before long, she agreed to move into his fancy apartment. Some people said that she must have superb eyesight to be able to discern his good qualities. Others said she must be half blind not to see what rubbish she was getting in tow with. But they were wrong, because it had nothing to do with her visual acuity at all.

Not only was Eva a luscious beauty, she was also an Evangelical Christian of the sweetest and most sincere kind. What she saw in Frikkie was a challenge. The Lord spoke to her all the time, and one of the first things He told her about Frikkie was that it was her duty to help him redeem himself. She made it her mission to love him no matter what, and to make him a good and righteous man in the eyes of the Lord.

All went well and according to plan for the first few months until the novelty began to wear off, and the first signs of boredom set in.

One summer’s evening they were at home, as usual. Supper over, they thanked the Lord and got ready for bed. On bended knees they dedicated their love to Jesus Christ, who had died for them on the Cross, and then had sexual intercourse, which was so-so, and hardly worth expressions of gratitude.

They lay in the dark. Then Frikkie turned on the bedside light.

“It’s too hot to sleep, Tootsie,” he said. “Don’t you want to make us some hot chocolate?’

While they sat in bed drinking their hot chocolate they could have watched TV, but they didn’t. Instead they checked out their phones. Frikkie looked at some cars, and then some guns, and then started playing Candy Crush. Eva was on Facebook, and then went through text messages.

Suddenly she gasped and shrieked at the same time, as if she had just seen a rat climbing onto the bed.

Startled, Frikkie was in time to see the image on her phone. It was a man, stark naked, with a hard-on. And what a hard-on! He grabbed her hand and read the message. LUV YOU EVA. THIS IS FOR YOU.

Of course Frikkie wanted to know what was going on. In a very loud voice he demanded to know what was going on. She said it was some pervert who was stalking her. She hardly knew the guy. But how come he had her number? She was lying. Was she two-timing him? He didn’t understand what a beautiful woman had to put up with. They were both shouting. He wanted to see her phone. She wouldn’t give it to him. He was screaming at her, calling her all the horribly misogynistic names he could think of. He wouldn’t put up with a whore. He was going to give her a lesson. She screamed and ran to the bathroom. What could he hit her with? A belt, the way his father used to thrash him? But she had probably locked herself in the toilet by now.

He caught sight of his golf bag and pulled out a number four iron. The toilet door was locked, as he had suspected, so he banged on it and shouted at her to open up. In order to  thrash her? Little wonder he got no response. In fury he swung the club, but it was badly aimed, glanced off, and he hit his knuckles against the doorframe. Enraged, Frikkie rushed back into the bedroom. That was it. He had had enough. He was going to kill her. Where was his gun?

Again he was back at the door, banging it with his fist. Open up, or I’ll kill you, so help me God! No response. BANG! No response. BANG! BANG! BANG!

There was still no response but when Frikkie looked down he saw blood making its way under the door from the toilet to the bathroom. The sight of it brought him out of his blind rage. He had shot her and she was bleeding to death. Several times he swung the golf club, punching a hole big enough to get his hand through and turn the key.

There, half on and half off the toilet, slumped against the wall was a black man with a balaclava pulled down over his face. In one hand he still clutched a knife with a blade at least a foot long.

Frikkie’s confusion was total. How could Eva have turned herself into this caricature of a burglar? Was it some kind of miracle? He looked about and saw the bathroom window pulled wide open. He put his head out into the night and there below him, propped against the wall was a ladder.

Stunned, Frikkie went back to the toilet to look at the dead burglar. This had to be a miracle. In His wisdom, God had sent this intruder to provide an escape route for Eva. There could be no other explanation. It was God’s wish that he and Eva should be one!

 

Frikkie Leaves Joburg

In the course of his research into banking and the stock market, Plug came back to Joburg for a few days to meet and talk with some people who knew a thing or two. He stayed at 29 Bantry Road and slept on a mattress on the floor in Frikkie’s room. His visit coincided with Floyd’s experimental dinner party.

“I’m not a great meat eater,” said Jasmine, “But these foetuses are delicious. You say you did them in a casserole?’

“Yes,” said Floyd. “I chose three nice plump ones. Around seven months in the womb, Doc?”

“Around about there, “ said Doctor Pillay. That’s when they start filling out nicely.”

“Well,” Floyd continued, “I first defrosted them, cut off the heads, hands and feet, opened them down the front and scooped out the lungs, heart and other organs as well as the stomach and entrails, and washed everything well. Then I browned them lightly in a pot with some canola oil before laying them in the big casserole. I hope you like my choice of vegetables, which I layered on top of the meat.”

First was half a dozen thickly sliced onions, he said. Then came the cubed brinjals, followed by a packet of frozen green beans and topped with chopped carrots.

“Is there chilli in here?” asked Tulip, Patrick’s girlfriend. “I love a touch of hot spice. It stimulates the gastric juices.”

“Yes,” said Floyd. “Two bright red cayenne chillies, fresh. Also salt and pepper, and a jug of sweet Late Harvest wine poured over before closing the lid and slow cooking for two and a half hours.”

“I think you’ve got a winner here, Floyd,” said George. “Not only is it an exotic dish, it tastes bloody marvellous too. I am sure there are many very wealthy people who would pay a lot of money for a delicacy like this.”

“If this is what you can do with a foetus you can’t fail to make a killing with a suckling,” said Plug. “Have you thought of doing a spit braai?”

“No, but that’s a brilliant idea,” said Floyd. “I can just imagine a bunch of billionaires standing around sipping cocktails and watching a skewered little kid slowly turning above the coals. Crazy, man!”

“There’s a 5 month-old coming in tomorrow,” said Doctor Pillay. “Shall I freeze it, or would you like it fresh?”

“Fantastic!” said Floyd. “I’ll definitely take it fresh and do it on Sunday.”

Plug postponed his departure until Monday so that he wouldn’t miss the Sunday bash. Floyd threw on half a bag of charcoal and the heat was intense. The beer and wine flowed and so did the conversation. Michelle and her client joined them on the patio and she squealed in delight when she caught sight of the slowly rotating rotisserie.

“Oh, how cute!” she said. “It’s just like a chubby black doll.”

“I’ve already got some Russians interested in importing sucklings,” said Floyd as he basted with a long-handled brush. “All the millionaires and billionaires and zillionaires in Moscow are crying out for something outlandish when they eat out.”

“You know, it’s a pity you can’t get hold of white kids as well,” said Patrick. “It would be cool to watch a white baby slowly browning, like it was getting a tan.”

“That’s actually a sharp idea,” said Plug, ever on the lookout for business opportunities for Frikkie. “There is in fact a potential supply of white meat out there waiting to be exploited. Not only black people live in poverty in Mzansi. There are now about 400 000 poor whites, most of them Afrikaners.”

“As many as that?” said Doctor Pillay.

“Yes,” said Plug. “In the days of apartheid the dumbest whites were provided with sheltered employment on the Railways, the Roads Department, the Police Force, the Army and the Navy, and other state institutions. But that all went down the toilet very quickly when Affirmative Action kicked in. And now all the moronic, unskilled white losers are unemployable, and they’re in the same boat as the moronic, unskilled black masses, living in squalor and not knowing where their next meal is coming from.”

“But they keep breeding?” said Frikkie.

“Too stupid to get themselves sterilized for free at the clinic or hospital,” said Plug.” There are at least 80 white squatter camps in the Pretoria area alone. All of them must be full of Afrikaners who would jump at the chance of getting rid of an unwanted foetus or screaming brat for a good price.”

Plug then proposed that Doctor Pillay appoint Frikkie as his agent in the poor white market. Being an Afrikaner himself, Frikkie spoke the lingo fluently and was well qualified to sell the concept to this underclass, and could set up appointments for when the doctor came round in his mobile clinic.

A deal was struck, there and then, more booze was consumed, and they all gathered round and tucked in to the sizzling Sunday roast.

When Frikkie’s lease had about three months to run Patrick came to him and announced that he and Tulip were getting married. Tulip was Soweto born and bred, but her family thought it would be nice for her to have a traditional Xhosa wedding. Would it be possible to use 29 Bantry Road as the venue for the occasion?

Frikkie thought about it

“It’s going to cost me something to smarten the place up, so I will have to charge a fee,” he said.

Edna’s husband picked up all the rubbish lying about the place and dumped it in the far corner of the garden behind the trees and shrubs. He also borrowed the neighbour’s lawnmower and cut the grass. After a day of weeding and trimming he reported to Frikkie, who made a round of inspection and expressed his approval.

“This will have to do,” he said. “After all, it’s not the President who is getting married here.”

The big day arrived and the wedding proved to be a lively affair. Certainly there were aspects that could be called traditional Xhosa, but it was largely a multicultural occasion. Frikkie set up a bar on the patio and did a roaring trade selling Black Label, brandy and whisky to the thirsty guests, who numbered close on a hundred. The food was both plentiful and varied, ranging from pap and wors to KFC takeaways. Floyd said that where he came from in Nigeria it was good luck to slaughter a bullock at a wedding, and he generously arranged for one to be on hand. The young men were supposed to wrestle it to the ground and then cut its throat but the animal failed to cooperate and was chased around the garden until it fell into the empty pool and broke a leg. By good fortune several men had their pistols on them, and a fusillade of shots put the animal out of its misery. And a kindly VIP reversed his Discovery V8 into position, a rope was attached and the carcass was dragged out for Edna, her daughter and her husband to commence the butchery under Floyd’s supervision. Festivities went on till late, no one was stabbed or shot, and it was agreed by all that Patrick and Tulip had celebrated their wedding in fine style.

“Don’t pay rent for the last two months,” Plug advised Frikkie over the phone. “The deposit will cover one month, and there’s no way they will go to the trouble and expense of taking legal action for just one month’s rent. But make sure your tenants keep paying. If anyone tries to be clever, get brutal, or the others might also get ideas.”

A week before 29 Bantry Road was due to be vacated and handed over to the property developer, Frikkie apologised to his tenants and began selling off the furniture and fittings. In a fit of generosity he sold the garden shed to Edna for just R300, and on the final day he got rid of the gate to a scrap metal merchant and, for R2000, granted access to an entrepreneur who specialised in the rapid dismantling and removal of unprotected property.

Driving out of Joburg in his fully laden bakkie Frikkie reflected on his year as a landlord and concluded that it had been both interesting and profitable.

 

Frikkie Grows His Income

Frikkie soon found someone to take Ridley’s room. Floyd was a Nigerian chef who worked at the Afro Exotic Restaurant in Greenside. His specialty was bushmeat casserole prepared in accordance with a secret recipe. What was secret about it was the fact that the bushmeat wasn’t from the bush at all, and consisted mainly of goat, with the addition of dog, cat and rat, depending on availability.

“Our clientele will pay a lot of money for anything out of the ordinary,” he told Frikkie. “The sex organs of a lion or leopard can be turned into a very expensive dish, when we can get them.

Floyd waited a month to prove how reliable and trustworthy he was as a tenant, and then asked Frikkie a favour. He wanted permission to butcher meat in the back yard next to the wash trough.

“But what about all the blood and entrails and stuff?” asked Frikkie.

Floyd assured him he would hose everything down most diligently, and anyway, there would be very little in the way of waste material to be disposed of.

“This way I can make some extra bucks,” he said. “I will supply the meat to the restaurant and I can sell the offal to my friends at the market. You see, Africans are quite happy to eat offal, especially if they are poor.”

“Okay,” said Frikkie. “But I will have to charge you a R200 a month abattoir fee.”

When George’s NGO promoted him to Field Officer it meant that he would be spending much of his time away on trips to the rural areas. It did not make sense to pay rent for a room that he rarely occupied.

“I have a suggestion,” he told Frikkie. “I would like to give up my room and sleep on the couch when I am back in Jozi. I would pay you, of course.”

“Of course,” said Frikkie. “That’s sorted, then. You can come and go as you wish, use the bathroom and kitchen facilities and sleep on the couch, all for just R500 a month.”

The new tenant who took George’s room was Michelle. A Masters student at Wits, she drove an almost new Polo and obviously came from a family with money. She was blond, and although not exactly beautiful, she was vivacious and very sexy. She had a problem, though. It was an H problem, and it was expensive.

“I’ve already spent my allowance,” she confided to Frikkie at the end of the month. “You can take my laptop while I make a plan. It’s the latest model Mac, you know.”

“Rather take it to a Cash Crusaders,” said Frikkie, sensing danger.

“Just give me a week,” she wheedled, standing close and placing her hand on his arm. “Give me a week, and I’ll give you a wank.”

Well, thought Frikkie later, that was very nice, but if she doesn’t cough up after a week, how much will it have cost me? One week was a quarter of a month. Using the calculator on his phone he divided 2500 by 4, and was horrified to see 625. Man, that was an expensive handjob!

“Speak to Jasmine,” was Plug’s advice.

“I’ve got more work right now than just one pussy can cope with,” Jasmine admitted to Frikkie when he got to see her between clients, and she id indeed seem a little whacked.

It was agreed that she would send surplus work Michelle’s way for a modest referral fee. Frikkie graciously gave permission for Michelle to work from her room. All he asked was that when she paid her rent she should include a five-minute favour with it.

On more than one occasion, while getting his bakkie out of the garage, Frikkie had noticed Doctor Pillay hanging about in the driveway and showing an interest in proceedings. He found it a bit odd but hadn’t given it any more thought. Now the good doctor approached him with a proposition that accounted for his peculiar behaviour. He wanted to hire the garage.

“You’ll never get your kombi through the door with that sign on the roof,” said Frikkie.

“I know,” said Doctor Pillay. “That doesn’t matter, because I don’t want to use it as a garage. I want to use it as my clinic in order to offer a more professional service to my patients.”

He went on to tell Frikkie how his practice had been going from strength to strength. He felt the time had come to have a proper surgery and waiting room. He had been saving hard and had an amount of R10,000 to invest in the conversion.

Frikkie said that the floor area under discussion was equivalent to at least three bedrooms. But he was a reasonable landlord with a philanthropic outlook and would only charge R5000 per month, water and electricity included. And, being an ex-builder, it made sense for him to undertake the alteration work.

“Your husband is a jack-of-all-trades,” Frikkie said to Edna. “All he needs is a white man to tell him what to do.”

They were watching Edna’s husband painting the wall where the garage door used to be. He had built the blockwork and plastered it, and he had put up the plasterboard partitioning, and done the ceiling, the plumbing and the tiling. He had done all this with the help of just one labourer and directions from Frikkie.

The man who bought the garage door and electric opener was also looking for a second hand pool pump. This worked out well, because when they tried it they found the one at 29 Bantry was still perfectly functional.

It soon became apparent from the stream of women and girls passing through Doctor Pillay’s new premises that his judgement had been sound, and that there was a crying need in the community for just such a clinic specializing in late terminations.

“Just how late are you prepared to go?” Frikkie asked. He and Floyd were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying some of the chef’s excellent faggots made from the liver, lungs and spleen of a goat that had been slaughtered and butchered out the back that very morning. The doctor had pulled up a chair and joined them.

“Six months,” he said. “These faggots are delicious. I must compliment you, Floyd.”

“Six?” said Frikkie. “That’s one month more than most clinics offer.”

“No it isn’t,” said Doctor Pillay. “It’s ten months more. When I say six months I mean six months postpartum.”

“Postpartum?”

“After childbirth,” the doctor said. “When I was expelled from the university I swore an oath to my conscience to devote my life to alleviating the suffering of the poor, even if it meant contravening unjust laws and regulations. The 20-week limit is a particularly callous part of the legislation.”

He went on to speak with conviction about how unfairly women were treated, considering their natural tendency to obey their sexual urges and behave with reckless disregard for the consequences.

“It doesn’t make moral sense to force a woman to have a child, and it doesn’t make economic sense to bring unwanted children into an overpopulated world where they will inevitably swell the ranks of the unemployed, or end up in prison. And I see no good reason to deny a woman the right to change her mind in the first six months of an infant’s life once she recognises the implications of her mistake.”

“How do you terminate a 6 month-old baby?’ Frikkie was curious to know.

“I administer an intravenous dose of Telazol,” said Doctor Pillay as he mopped his plate with half a slice of white bread. “It’s a veterinary drug used for euthanasing dogs and cats. It results in complete anaesthesia and death is rapid and entirely painless.”

Floyd suddenly sat bolt upright and his eyes shone like two stars in his black face.

“What do you do with the foetuses and dead babies?” he wanted to know.

“I put them in plastic bags and store them in an old chest freezer,” Doctor Pillay said. “When the freezer is full I will have to make a prudent decision about how best to dispose of its contents. Why do you ask?”

“I’ve just had an amazing brainwave,” said Floyd. “This could be a real win-win situation.”

 

Frikkie Plays The Landlord

Frikkie drove Plug to the airport on the day after they had signed up the sixth tenant.

“Now I must get back to my research into banking and playing the stock market,” Said Plug.

“And I must get back to playing the landlord,” said Frikkie.

The tenants were a varied bunch. Derek was the oldest, at 53. In spite of, or maybe because of, an exceptionally high IQ, his life was messy and strewn with ruined careers, failed enterprises and disastrous relationships. Most of the time he was manic, but he claimed to have attempted suicide on three occasions, once by hanging, once by overdose, and once by driving over a cliff. His first wife, an alcoholic, had made a better job of it by drinking a bottle of pesticide. His children refused to have anything to do with him other than to demand money. His second wife had been an unfaithful nymphomaniac.

“The bitch left me, came back to give me Chlamydia, and then fucked off for good,” he told them. Currently he was juggling with two girlfriends, both of them married. He made a precarious living from selling small quantities of cocaine to other members of the Mensa branch he belonged to, and by giving Tango lessons. When he asked if he could make use of the lounge as his dance studio Plug immediately agreed and raised Derek’s rent by a thousand rand.

“You see what I mean?” Plug had said to Frikkie. “There are many ways for a landlord to increase his income.”

Patrick was a Congolese hairdresser who worked in a salon in Sandton. He asked if it would be okey  dokey if his girlfriend Tulip shared the room with him. Plug had said that was no train smash and would be only a thousand bucks extra.

When Jasmine said she was a sex worker and explained that she might on occasion need to service clients at all hours of the day and night, Plug had immediately spotted the gap and offered her the servant’s quarters at R4000 a month.

“This garden flat will suit your purposes perfectly,” he told her, and she expressed her gratitude by giving him a gentle squeeze.

Ridley was 44 but appeared older. He was emaciated and none too clean to look at or to smell. An insurance salesman, he drove a clapped-out Nissan Champ and told a story that was garbled and woeful.

“Probably a pack of lies,” plug had said to Frikkie. “In Gauteng 62 percent of white males over the age of 40 claim to have been swindled in business, usually by their partners, and have crashed from a lofty height and have a riches to rags yarn to spin. Keep an eye on this character.”

George was a cheerful young graduate who worked for an NGO. An optimistic idealist, he hadn’t yet learned how to be a pragmatist.

The sixth tenant was Doctor Pillay. About 30, he was tall and slender and had gelled hair swept back from a high forehead. His fingers were exceptionally long and he kept them sensitive by rubbing their tips on 150 grit sandpaper. He was always dressed in a knee-length cotton coat, his stethoscope protruding from one of the pockets. Being white, this coat tended to show the dirt. When in his final year at medical school he had been expelled for being found in possession of two kidneys. He had whipped them out of a freshly deceased patient without due authorisation in order to save a life and fund his studies.

“This is my mobile clinic and dispensary,” he said, pointing to his Volkswagen kombi. “I serve poor communities where the need is greatest.”

At the end of the first month everyone except Ridley paid their rent on time. When Frikkie confronted him he said he was waiting for commission, which was due any day now. Frikkie scowled and assumed his caveman stance.

“I will give you one hour,’ he said. “If you have not paid me in full after one hour I will immediately advertise your room, and then I will put you and your possessions out on the pavement ready for the refuse collectors in the morning.”

Ridley thought about this for a bit and then said his commission might have been paid in whilst they were talking. He went off to the bank, discovered that the funds had indeed come through whilst they were talking, and was able to beat the one hour deadline.

A few weeks later Frikkie encountered George in the kitchen. George did not seem his usual cheerful self.

“Got a problem, mate?” Frikkie enquired. “Toothache?”

No. George was unhappy because he had made Ridley a loan of R500 and now doubted if he would ever get it back. Worse than that, Ridley had persuaded him to shell out 3000 to the pawnbroker in order to redeem Ridley’s iPhone.

“The deal was that I would use the phone until he could come up with the money,” George said. “But last night he asked to get some information off it and, stupidly, I handed it over. Now he won’t give it back. Says he needs it and will pay me when his commission comes through.”

“This is your opportunity to stamp your authority on 29 Bantry, once and for all,” said Plug, when Frikkie phoned him for advice. “Make an example of this character.”

That evening the kitchen was crowded with members of the household making supper. Ridley walked in and Frikkie invited him to sit at the table for a chat.

“I understand you have stolen George’s phone,” he began. Ridley started to bluster but Frikkie raised his voice. “I do not tolerate thieves in my house,” he declared, sounding remarkably like his father, Dolf Welgemoed.

Ridley got to his feet and would have rushed from the room had Frikkie not grabbed him and twisted his arms behind his back in a manoeuvre he had learned in Unarmed Combat 101. Patrick, the Congolese hairdresser, obligingly went through Ridley’s pockets until the stolen phone was found, and handed it to its rightful owner.

“Maybe I should waterboard you,” said Frikkie. I have always dreamed of waterboarding someone, ever since I learned about it from the Americans. But I won’t do that. No.”

Instead, he frogmarched Ridley out into the garden and threw him in the swimming pool, which contained a layer of thick scum floating on primordial soup a metre deep. Ridley must have taken this rough treatment as a sign that he was no longer welcome in the house. By midnight he had cleaned himself up and packed his scant belongings. Putting behind him yet another misadventure from which he had learned nothing, he drove off into the night, never to be seen or heard of again.

Thus it was that Frikkie established his reputation as a strict but just landlord who would not put up with anti-social behaviour of any sort.

 

 

Frikkie And Plug Go To Joburg

“There are three types of people in every society the world over,” Plug told Frikkie. “These are the backward-looking conservatives, the optimistic idealists, and the pragmatists.”

“What’s a pragmatist?” asked Frikkie. They were passing a yellow mine dump that looked like a replica of mine dumps they had seen in photographs.

“A pragmatist is a practical person,” Said Plug. “Pragmatists act according to how the world works, and not to how the world ought to work.”

“Common sense,” said Frikkie. “Grayston off-ramp coming up.”

“Good,” said Plug. “It will take us through Sandton.”

They were in Frikkie’s bakkie heading north on the N1. In the back, stacked up to just under the roof of the canopy, were all of Frikkie’s worldly possessions.

“In Pretoria,” Plug went on, “The majority of white people are backward-looking conservatives, while in Cape Town and Durban most are optimistic idealists. But in Joburg you will find that everyone is a pragmatist, regardless of race or class. Their purpose in life is to make money and amass goods, and to that end they will employ any means that works.”

“Sounds like us,” said Frikkie. “Man, there’s a lot of fancy cars here! Check that Lamborghini.”

They passed through the heart of Sandton, which was clogged up with people scurrying about in search of wealth and merchandise to buy with it, and got into Ballyclare Road. Plug called the agent.

“She says we must turn right into St Audley and then left into Bantry Road.”

“So this is Bryanston?” said Frikkie. “Looks pretty larney.”

There was an abundance of mature trees of the type they loved to climb in their youth; the houses were substantial, the properties large and the fortifications formidable.

Frikkie braked hard and took a detour around what was probably a pothole but could have been a sinkhole.

“There’s 29,” said Plug. “We’ve arrived.”

Frikkie pulled up in front of the gate and switched off. They sat looking at a big house in very big grounds, all of which had gone to hell a good few years back.

“Neglected,” said Frikkie.

“That’s why it’s cheap,” said Plug. “Here’s the agent.”

The agent got out of her Merc and high-heeled over to them. She didn’t remove her shades but showed them some white teeth set in a crimson oval, and opened the gate.

Lounge, dining room, TV room and big kitchen. There were six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a guest loo, double garage, separate servants’ quarters and a garden shed. The house was furnished in a style that was both minimalistic and shabby.

They sat at the dining table to sign the lease, which was for one year at R10,000 a month and R10,000 deposit. Plug did the transaction, her phone confirmed the transfer, and she handed over the keys and remotes. They accompanied her to the door and watched her ass all the way to the Merc.

“Nice ass,” said Frikkie.

“Good teeth,” said Plug.

The agent had told them that the house had been sold to a property developer who was going to tear it down in a year’s time. He planned to put up a cluster of townhouses behind a high wall topped with razor wire and an electric fence to repel any black barbarians who might want to invade the place.

“We must immediately advertise for tenants,” said Plug, as they returned to the dining room. He produced a cigarette box and began to make calculations. “You take the main bedroom with en suite bathroom. That leaves five bedrooms plus the servant’s quarters. Six tenants at R2500 a month gives us R15,000.”

“You expect me to have a life on five thousand?” asked Frikkie. “ And no maid?”

“The maid can have the garden shed,” said Plug. “It’s a big shed and it’s got a raised wooden floor, which is very healthy. Much better than a shack. She can bring her family with her and you can make them work in the garden and do other stuff for you.”

“Yes, but five thousand?” said Frikkie. “ You know the price of petrol. And brandy. And food.”

“You must be alert for opportunities,” said Plug. “There are many ways to make a buck in this town if you keep your entrepreneurial eyes wide open.”

He placed an ad on Gumtree and they went outside and walked to the far end of the property. Forcing their way through the perimeter jungle they arrived at the boundary fence and looked into the neighbor’s garden. A black woman was bringing in the washing. Plug called to her and she approached.

“Hello, Mama. How are you?” he said. “Can you help us? We require a domestic worker skilled in cleaning, washing and ironing. This is a wonderful opportunity for some poor devil who lives in a shack, shits in a bucket, and is desperate for employment. We also require the services of an unregistered electrician specializing in informal connections.”

The housekeeper agreed to see what she could do, and bright and early the next morning a middle-aged woman appeared at the gate, her husband in tow. Edna was her name, she was neatly dressed, had a cheerful disposition, and said that she had been employed for 12 years by a family that had recently packed up in disgust and gone to Australia. It was agreed that she, her husband and her daughter would move into the shed on the following day.

Around 11am the intercom buzzed. Three men were at the gate, one holding an Eskom toolbox, the other two carrying a City Power extension ladder. While they got to work Plug explained to Frikkie.

“Half of Joburg runs on free electricity,” he said. “ That’s why there are so many power outages. Anyway, you’ve got to be thrifty, and this is an obvious way to cut costs. If any officials should ever show up wanting to know why you don’t use any electricity, just slip them a hundred apiece and they will leave you alone. It’s well worth it.”

There had already been several responses to the ad, and the first applicant was coming at 5 o’clock.

“We must draw up a contract,” said Plug, and started typing on his laptop. “They pay two and a half thousand deposit and the first month’s rent up front. Subsequent payments must be made by the last day of the month, and if the money hasn’t shown by the first, they forfeit their deposit and you immediately advertise their room. And they must agree that they will never take legal action against you.”

“Like for what?” asked Frikkie.

“Our Constitution is the best in the world and is designed to protect murderers, rapists, fraudsters and thieves of every description,” said Plug. “It’s not so easy to evict someone, even if they don’t pay their rent. Let’s go and get this printed.”