Winning is just so much fun

THE FIFTH COLUMN

Atul and Ajay, the brothers Gobble, were so very happy. All their dreams had come true. Or at least the dreams that should have come true by that point in their schedule for Total State Capture. They still had big dreams for phase four — get in on nuclear deal, buy bank, buy Reserve Bank …

They were sending cards of congratulation to all their new appointees. First, of course, was the card to Malusi, just anointed Number Two Gobble Minion (by Number One Gobble Minion).

“Hosts of congratulations, dear MaLoose. Hope you find something to wear for the job! We know that will be hard — it’s not like you can just whip out your airline pilot outfit and that cute cap again! Joke! :) In all seriousness, however, we know you will rise to the occasion, that you will take these new challenges in your stride, and we have every faith that you will find a brand-new form of advanced menswear to garnish your new role. You could pioneer a whole new look for the Up-and-Coming Banana Republic Finance Minister of Today!”

“We’re out of space,” said Ajay Gobble. He had filled up most of a very large card with his big child-like script. He had also drawn some flowers and hearts in the margins.

“Ah,” said Atul Gobble. “I’ll have to put a PS on the back, then.” And he wrote: “PS Looking forward to your Diana Ross impression at our next private party, MaLoose!”

“What’s that noise?” asked Ajay, his head perking up like that of an alert rabbit. A chubby rabbit, but a rabbit nonetheless.

“Oh,” said Atul, “that’s just Andile’s stormtroopers beating up some White Monopoly Capitalists protesting outside.”

“Eek! Should we start up the Panzer?”

“No, no, the Bluffs will handle it. You know that’s what they call Andile’s fight squad? The Bluffs.”

“Oh,” said Ajay wonderingly.

And so they continued, writing on the selected cards and reminiscing about the past.

“And to think it all began when we made friends with Essop Pahad! So long ago …” Atul nearly got a tear in his eye.

“And now he doesn’t even talk to us!” squealed Ajay.

“Still,” said Atul, “we could send him a little card, for old time’s sake.”

“Not now, though. We’ll send it at Christmas time.”

“Good thinking,” said Atul. “And we’ll send one to Thabo Mbeki, too. Just to rub his nose in it. I mean, just to show there’s no ill feeling.”

“Ooh yes!” cried Ajay. “Do let’s!”

Atul smiled indulgently at his brother. Ajay’s excitement reminded him always of their happy childhood in Uttar Pradesh, when they played Pirates and Looters together and dreamed of being fantastically rich. “Okay. Pick a very small card.”

“Tee hee,” said Ajay, and then, a little sadly: “What about Brian and Des? Commiserations?”

“No, no cards for them. Shame, poor Brian, after all that kerfuffling! We’ll give him a present. A new Ferrari, maybe?”

Shaun de Waal

Shaun de Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week. Read more from Shaun de Waal

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