BLACK AND WHITE BLOOD

A farmer's wife's dog dies. Who else will die as a result of the pet's death?

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A few years before Jabulani would automatically have entered the labour force on Kruger’s farm, he was playing outside the milk shed waiting for one of his brothers to finish milking. But Kruger gave orders to one of the younger milkers, Dixon, to go and look for a missing heifer before he could go home.

 

Jabulani went with Dixon who was in his late teens. As they walked they chatted and Jabulani was fascinated at the older boy’s attitude. He didn’t like the farmer or anyone in his family. He didn’t like farmers, period. He didn’t like the conditions he lived under, but he had no other options. He didn’t like the government. It had changed little in fifteen years. The signs on the toilets had changed. And on the railway stations platforms. And on the front of the busses. And everyone was allowed to sit on the same benches in the park. But very little else had changed. Very little indeed.

 

A prominent priest had said the gravy train stopped just long enough for one set of politicians to get off while the others - the new lot - got on.

 

Well, perhaps some people’s attitudes had changed, but there were not many of them. Most simply masked their innermost thoughts and feelings because they had not changed at all.

 

Dixon talked about some people that had plans to change things at a faster rate. They would be visiting all the labourers on Kruger’s farm over the next few weeks, he told Jabulani.

 

*

 

They found the missing heifer in a field of maze and chased it back onto the dirt road leading to the farmstead. It knew the way and walked in front of them.

 

They saw a white Japanese car parked just off the track. They both knew it belonged to Kruger’s sister in law. Dixon ran up to the car, gesticulating frantically. He was pointing to the fact that it was unlocked. A very unusual situation. A ladies handbag lay on the front seat. They both looked around. A path led through the reeds down to a dam surrounded by willows.

 

Jabulani was apprehensive. He beckoned to Dixon to get back to the cow and their mission. Dixon started down the path. Jabulani hesitated for a moment then followed him.

 

Smith’s sister in law was lying on a blanket. Most of her clothing lay in a neat pile next to her. She was in her underwear.

 

She was with a man the boys both knew. He was from the work force on the next-door farm. He was completely naked. And it was obvious that he was ready to make love.

 

Jabulani was terrified. He pulled at Dixon’s shirt and motioned him to leave. Dixon shook his head.

Jabulani crouched down and walked quickly back along the path back towards the car. He looked back once. He saw that Dixon had taken out his penis and was started to masturbate while staring at the couple involved in this frightening situation.

 

Miscegenation had, until recently, been a serious crime. Jabulani probably didn’t know what that meant, but knew that there would be serious consequences emanating from what they had just seen. Love played no part in the equation. Because he knew intuitively that the social convention was as powerful as ever. The consequences were inevitable, and that the couple they were spying on were fucking across the so-called colour bar. A very dangerous thing to do in this area.

 

*

 

Dixon came to see Jabulani the next day. He showed Jabulani a brilliant gold lipstick. He took the cap off and, by twisting the shaft, Dixon made the bright red make-up protrude from the top of the container. Then, by reversing the action, he made it retract. Just like a shiny wet glans moving in and out of a golden prepuce.

 

Dixon made a mark on his skin with the crimson colouring. Jabulani thought it looked as if Dixon had slashed his skin with a blade revealing the bright flesh beneath. He looked away.

 

Dixon took Jabulani to a rocky outcrop. He moved some large stones from the front of a small cavity to show Jabulani where he had hidden Kruger’s sister in law’s handbag in amongst the dassie shit.

 

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