Joyce walks into the dining room and finds Clayton sitting by himself, looking depleted, as though he hasn’t slept for days. The table is set for dinner. Joyce takes a seat next to Clayton.
JOYCE: Clayton, my dear boy. You look like you could pass out at any moment. Are you alright? I hope you’re not back on those drugs again. (Laughing uncomfortably)
CLAYTON: (Noticing his grandmother a while after she’s been sitting with him.) Granny … hi … is everyone still coming to dinner? I don’t think I can stay long. Have a lot to get … I lost my train of thought. What were you saying? (Laughs)
JOYCE: Haibo Clayton! What’s happening? Oh Jehovah, are you okay? You seem off, my boy.
CLAYTON: I am just tired. And my mind is racing. I can’t focus my thoughts. In fact, I really don’t feel like being here.
JOYCE: (Getting up and placing her hands on his shoulders. Closes her eyes.) I find that prayer helps in hard and confusing times. Let’s us pray. Oh Lord Jesus, my grandson is very ill. Take this sickness away. I am sure that you know that this is because of that witch Lucille, but Lord, don’t punish the boy for his mother’s sin, please.
Lucille enters, sees what is happening, and pulls Clayton away from Joyce.
LUCILLE: What are you doing to my son? Joyce, how many times do I have to tell you that your religious nonsense is not welcome in my house? (Turning to her son.) Clayton, are you okay?
CLAYTON: (Not making eye contact.) I’m fine. I’m just a little tired. Have you spoken to Tebogo today? I should check on him. I think he hates me now.
LUCILLE: No, sweetheart. He should be coming down for dinner. I’ll speak to him later.
Kgosi enters the living room and walks to the dining table, where he greets his mother.
KGOSI: Hi Ma. Why does it seem like I walked into the middle of something intense?
JOYCE: Oh my son. It’s nothing new. Just your wife disrespecting me as usual. Anyway, don’t mind that. Look at you; you are skin and bones. Had you married a black woman, you’d be well fed.
LUCILLE: I run a business full-time. I don’t have the time to cook every night Joyce. My being coloured has nothing to do with it, and I’m not interested in impressing you anyway.
KGOSI: Where is Thandi? (Shouting) Thandi, hurry up with that food! (Muttering) Let’s eat before all hell breaks loose.
Thandi comes in mumbling to herself.
JOYCE: What did you just say?
THANDI: No, madam. I didn’t say anything. Has anybody seen Tebogo? He wasn’t in his room when I checked. Have any of you seen him?
KGOSI: (Annoyed) Tebogo will turn up at some point. I think you should focus on serving us our meal. Lucille, didn’t you say Ella would be joining us? I requested this dinner so the whole family could be together.
LUCILLE: I don’t keep tabs on my sister. Considering your history with her I think I should be asking you where she is. For all I know she might be rolling around in your sheets. (Rolling her eyes)
Ella walks into the room, adjusting her blouse.
ELLA: (Taking a seat) Hmm what is that divine smell? I hope you weren’t waiting for me, darlings. In any case, I’m here. Let’s get started. I am famished.
While everyone starts dishing up, Tebogo enters and sits down next to Ella.
TEBOGO: Sorry I’m late. I am starving. This food looks so good. (Starts dishing up)
KGOSI: Now that everyone is here we should dig in, I am so glad that we could have this meal together as a family.
Moments later there is an argument by the door. Thandi and Ayanda come bursting in.
THANDI: Miss Ayanda just barged in. I told her you were having dinner, Mrs Davidson. She just wouldn’t listen. She is so disrespectful!
CLAYTON: (Jumping to his feet in surprise) Ayanda, what are you doing here?
LUCILLE: (Interrupting Ayanda before she can speak) Thandi, go to the kitchen and get dessert ready. I’ll handle this. (Thandi leaves, Lucille turns to Ayanda) Ayanda, I don’t understand why you keep appearing everywhe–
KGOSI: (Interrupts) Lucille, let’s not cause a scene. This is clearly between Clayton and Ayanda.
AYANDA: Exactly! This has nothing to do with you, Lucille. I’m here to see Clayton.
CLAYTON: (Standing up, walking over to Ayanda and pulling her to the living room) Ayanda, can we talk about this another time? I’m having dinner with my family.
AYANDA: Clayton, do you take me for a fool or do I have ‘stupid’ branded on my forehead? I just got off the phone with my lawyer and he said you only transferred three percent. The agreement was five. Are you trying to make me angry on purpose?
CLAYTON: Ayanda, please! Can we talk about this some other time? My parents can’t find out about this.
AYANDA: (Loudly) Oh! So you didn’t tell mommy and daddy that you promised to give your son more shares?
KGOSI: (Laughing) Sometimes I wonder if you’re really my son. Where is your head? You just let this woman disrespect you. (Shaking his head)
LUCILLE: (Walking to the living room) So you’re blackmailing my son, again? Clayton will not give you more shares of my company. (Walks over to Ayanda) Listen here, you may have your nails dug in deep, but you won’t have a hold over my son much longer. Keep this up and I’ll have you back on the streets faster than you can say ‘five percent’. I’ve lost my appetite, the rest of you. Let me know once you’ve taken out the trash. (Leaves the room)
CLAYTON: Ayanda, I think you should leave and we can talk about this some other time.
AYANDA: (Holding up a bag of cocaine) And what do you want me to do with this?
CLAYTON: What are you doing? Do you want everyone to see you handing me drugs?
AYANDA: Hey, you’re the one who asked me to bring you cocaine.
CLAYTON: (Snatching the cocaine from her.) Not here, in front of everyone.
AYANDA: Do you still do that thing where you mix the blow with your bipolar meds? Why do you do that anyway?
CLAYTON: Yeah I do; it makes the high more euphoric and sometimes it lasts longer. Look I have been going through it lately. I might need to go recalibrate my meds, but for right now I need something to make me feel good. This whole thing with Tebogo has me shook and …
AYANDA: (Cutting him off.) Okay spare me your tragic story. Consider this delivery as an incentive. Have a good time tonight, and find a way to get me what I want.
CLAYTON: Fine, I’ll see what I can do about those shares.
AYANDA: That is music to my ears. Go on now; have fun.
Clayton quickly leaves without saying a word to his family. Ayanda walks over to the dinner table and makes herself comfortable.
TEBOGO: I don’t feel like eating anymore. Sitting across from the gold digger that got my brother hooked on drugs suddenly made me lose my appetite. (Exits)
KGOSI: Ma, Ella, could you please excuse us. I’d like to have a word with this young lady.
JOYCE: I’m never coming to the city again. There’s always drama montlong ena. (Exits)
ELLA: Sure. Love your shoes darling, you must tell me where you got them. (Kgosi clears his throat and stares at Ella.) Uhm, how about you just text me the details. Ciao! (Leaves)
Tell us: Did you know that if you have a family history of bi-polar you should never take drugs, as they can trigger the illness? Do you blame Clayton for taking drugs?