The Future: February 2013


The Department of Health has been affected by the Dweebo virus: from the Minister’s PC all the way down to the Internet connection for the remotest rural clinic.

Doctor’s salaries and nurses’ wages cannot be paid, which is leading to nationwide strikes. Electricity and water have been cut off in many municipalities. Some healthcare workers are trying to keep on doing their jobs, despite the problems, but patients are suffering, and some have even died.


The Present: January 2013

Dwight finds the perfect box of chocolates. Each is individually wrapped in gold, shining and shimmering in the supermarket lighting. They nestle inside a clear plastic container.

“Golden chocolates for my golden Glenda,” says Dwight and smiles. “Surely this will tempt her?”

But at the till, he discovers he is fifteen cents short. Just fifteen stupid cents!

The till-operator shows him no respect. She is rude and mocking. “You’ll have to buy something cheaper, my friend.”

“No, I can’t. Only the best for her.”

“Well, you’ll have to go and get some more money, my friend. This isn’t a charity. This is a shop, in case you didn’t notice!”

In the queue behind, other customers are laughing at him. Especially a group of nurses. From their uniforms he can tell they work at St Mary’s, the nearby hospital. He recognises one of them. She was at school with him back in the bad old days.

Nasty, unattractive girl. Nomsa, her name is.

And yes, he can hear her whispering his awful nickname to the other nurses. “Dweebo. Dweebo!”

In a fit of rage, Dwight hurls the container down on the counter. Golden chocolates bounce in all directions. Now the other customers laugh out loud. Especially the nurses.

Dwight storms out of the supermarket, storms down the road, heading for his dark, lonely flat.

But Glenda is out in her garden. She bends to smell her roses, looking more beautiful than ever. All Dwight’s anger seeps away, like dark clouds evaporating before sunshine. Only love and admiration fill his heart.

Somehow he finds the courage to speak to her. “Your roses are lovely,” he says over the fence.

Glenda smiles up at him and Dwight feels that his heart will burst open with joy.

“Thank you,” she says in her honey-sweet voice.

Surely she can see in his eyes that his love for her is wider than the sky? Stronger than a storm? He grows even braver now.

“I would love to visit you sometime, Glenda. Can I?”

“I’d like that, sugar. How about Saturday? I’m free on Saturday. Do you want an hour, or the whole night?”

A whole night! A whole night with the golden girl of his dreams! What could be more wonderful than that? Dwight finds it too hard to speak.

“I have to warn you: it’ll be a Kay, sugar. A girl has to eat, you understand?”

“A Kay? What do you mean, ‘a Kay’?” asks Dwight, feeling suddenly ashamed and stupid.

“One thousand bucks, sugar. That’s not a problem, is it?”


Tell us what you think: Will Dwight admit to Glenda that he has no money?