It was just something to do in a place of nothing much happening; no other reason to go to The General Store. Malcolm certainly hadn’t anticipated running into anybody like Becca. Had no idea that anybody like her existed around here, or anywhere.

She had driven down into town off the mountain, where most of the farmers lived, bouncing in the seat of an old, dusty, brown bakkie, with country music blaring so loud the lyrics were audible from inside the shop. He stood by the cooldrinks and watched as she strolled through the door wearing cowgirl boots, exactly like in the Westerns on TV. His eyes travelled over her tight-tight jeans that hugged her hips, paired with a faded pink T-shirt, which bore a small tear on the sleeve. She kept coming towards him, never pausing, as if she knew he’d be there.

“Hey,” she said. “I’m Becca.” There was a twinkle in her green eyes. But it was the tiny cross around her neck that caught his attention, drawing his eyes to her chest. She wasn’t wearing a bra.

“Hi, um, I’m–”

“Malcolm.” She popped her gum and a grin slid across her mouth. “Everybody knows; don’t get too many black faces around here. Believe me, we know all about you. You’re seventeen, just like me, and arrived with a white mom and no dad, and live with Althea.” She gave him a wink.

It was unreal. She was blunt, in your face, and smiling like those American girls in the commercials. Her accent was so twangy, the gum smacking so annoying, she was so peachy-pink and yet, he smiled right back and gave a shrug.

“Bunch of us going out to the river tonight – wanna come?” Her gum smacked loudly. She giggled.

He felt torn between rolling his eyes and laughing. “The river?”

“Yeah.” She said, as if that explained everything. There were rivers all over the place. Raging bodies of water that made the South African versions look like leaky taps. But, no point in asking and looking like the local idiot. So he shrugged his shoulders, glancing down at his shoes. He looked back up in time to catch her scratching her arm. This made her breasts jiggle.

He averted his gaze, shoving undetectable debris with his toe. Why didn’t she have a jersey on or something? It made it hard to concentrate. Was that the point?

“Well, that’s great,” she said.

“Ya,” he said, focusing on her forehead.

She winked. “See ya later,” and walked away.

He watched her go; staring at her butt, knowing full well that she knew he was looking. Her hips began to swagger a touch more. What was she playing at, exactly? Was she just bored like him and thought he’d be fun to mess with?

“You wanna buy this can of pop?” asked the girl behind the till.

Startled, he turned to the counter. “Um, ya. Yes. Here.” As the girl took his money it hit him: he had no idea what time Becca was planning to come by. Nor had he told her where he lived.



Tell us: Is Malcolm right to be wary of a girl like Becca?