On his first day off from the ‘farm’, Dawid Sundays sat back in the morning and had a cup of coffee that he brewed on the stove. It was the first time he’d done this – made himself coffee. The wife was at work. His children had abandoned him, and now that his offspring had fled the elderly couple were bootstrapping’ – as Martha called after reading about this on the internet at work. Subsequently the maid only came in once a week, and Dawid was home, alone.
The coffee was too bitter. But Dawid refused to let this small failure ruin his first day of freedom. Dawid had spent thirty five years gat kruiping at Old Mutual. At first he wasn’t white enough, but after democracy dawned in 1994 he was told he was too white. He hated his new black boss, and couldn’t identify with the white underlings he lived with in the hellish Groundhog Day that was work.
Pension was his revenge. He scrimped and saved. He worked overtime, did freelance book-keeping and paid off the modest family house in Cape Town where his kids grew but left as soon as they were able. He did everything he could to get good bonuses and incentives. But always felt bitterly undervalued at work, and by the small local client base he’d grown over the years. What please him though was that he’d invested his saving far more smartly than his clients ever had.
And today Dawid was finally free. He wasn’t going to let the small matter of his inability to make coffee the way he liked it, ruin the first day of the rest of his life. Dawid chuckled out loud. The wife wrote that on the special card she’d picked out for him from the CNA. “Ag shame. What does she know about life? She’d be lost without me,” he thought.
Maybe he’d take a mistress. The wife had gone slightly to seed, but he’d followed The Official British Army Official Fitness guide faithfully. Daily. He was edging toward sixty, but was lean and hard. His thoughts turned to the Old Mutual call centre, and the league of young beauties that populated it. Joanne Blink in particular was pleasing.
Dawid had undone the top button of Blink’s blouse when the first blow struck. A dull thud on the side of his neck. Dawid didn’t turn around until he felt a stinging sensation and warm liquid flowing down his chest. When he finally turned, David round he saw the raised kitchen knife. He recognized the girl’s son. He tried to speak. All he manage was a gurgle.
There wasn’t a lot of pain. Mostly shock and confusion. Soldierboy was surprised to find his mother’s employer still at the house – Sundays was supposed to be at work. Dawid was dazed at being murdered on the first day of the rest of his life.
The world began big that morning. Dawid and Soldierboy ran into it with curiosity and wonder. As they did, the world became smaller for both of them.
Dawid died a long time before Soldierboy started stealing for drug money. But, let’s face it – Soldierboy was fucked from the get go. Statistically the birth lottery Soldierboy ticketed determined that he’d be murdered, dead from an overdose, or be in prison by the time he was 25. But Soldierboy wasn’t the only statistical success that was claimed that day.
If Dawid had read the logs of Old Mutual’s actuarial sciences they’d have revealed that coloured men who work for one company most of their lives and retirement are at the greatest risk of an early death. And the company’s data is unnervingly spot on. Apart from fleecing clients with the crazy illusion that they’d retire wealthy, how else do you think Old Mutual makes its money?