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Sunday Times Books LIVE

Angelina Sithebe

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Interview

To Dolly’s surprise when she phoned a few of those in power they were quite pleasant and eager to meet with her. A few suggested exploratory coffee, which sounded terrific and quite civilized. Then the time shifted to dinners, usually from the dodgy husbands. When the date and time of meeting did materialise, Dolly discovered that these days most people do not adhere to African time like sauntering an hour late without an apology or laughing in your face for trying to live like an English woman. They just don’t show up. As you wait they could be five hundred kilometres away or travelling overseas which you discover when you phone their roaming cell phones at your expense. An emergency cropped up, a friend they haven’t seen in ten years has died suddenly and their presence is required immediately. They might be waiting at the salon while their child is implanting hair extensions for four hours, tasting wine or any freebee, maybe buying food for their non-pedigree dogs. Or they might be at the doctors with the influenza while you hear the loud music playing and their chums laughing in the background. He might yelp in your ear while he’s gate-crashing a function, “I’m at the Conference Centre. I’ll call you now. Hey there’s the Minister…” And there is no phone call that follows. They’re never where they say they will be. Their word is as worthless as their bouncing cheques. If fortunately they do remember the meeting it is two hours late and they expect you to drive an hour to meet them. No apologies. Then they promise to make you a star as you listen to the eulogy of their deals.

Dolly actually nailed a few meetings. On those occasions she wore the same flat shoes, thick pantyhose, long sleeved loose fitting buttoned up blouse, long shapeless black skirt and no makeup. And just in case, she packed in her handbag the sharp army Swiss knife and a lighter to try out a trick she saw in a movie to blow up a sex-pest’s fuel tank. The first meeting was vague but there was promise of something. Dolly waited patiently at the eerie quiet reception for a while until he bounced down from behind the stairs. Dolly felt like an intruder and prayed he wasn’t armed. He swiftly took in her austere attire and the tiny flicker of hope disappeared from his greedy eyes. While he spoke, he chomped his potato chips and disgusting dried sausage snack with his mouth open. Not even an offer of tap water did he make to her. Dolly noticed he jerked furtively with wild eyes and thought he could be ADD inflicted or he could have been targeted too. His desk was littered with papers, he answered her silent question, “That’s how busy I am.” He expanded he was writing a book from the perspective of a teenage girl, which from the looks of it was copying from the ten books on his desk. At sixty years of age, Dolly wondered what did he know about teenage girls. He must have read her lack of enthusiasm for abruptly the meeting was over. His parting advice to her was invaluable though, “It’s a tough world out there.”


An excerpt from the “Target Life” series.



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