A spindly piece of ash fell from the end of Harold’s cheroot on to the paper-cluttered table.
“What a bladdy week, Ada! Now I see this guy has found a job … without letting us know!”
His wife shook her blue-rinsed hair and puffed on her Stuyvesant. “It just gets worse!” she shrieked.
Running the Last Chance Employment Agency had never been Harold’s dream, but he’d inherited the business and building in the Joburg CBD from uncle Hymie in ’74 and it had been expected he would run it as his family duty.
At least then, you could pop out to Stuttafords and have some nice tea and scones … and you could smoke in the restaurant, too.
The past few years had been tough … although the protection money he paid to the nice Nigerian guy meant the taxis, drug dealers and whores on the street largely left them alone.
If only the Black Like Me man had done the same thing. Now that Herman Mashaba was mayor of Joburg, though, he wanted to get his hands on everyone’s money, thought Harold.
Well, there’s no bladdy way I am paying that new valuation – R117 million! The man is nuts!
Anyway, I’ve already told the nice Nigerian guy he is my preferred hijacker for the building … Just a couple of months now and they’d be able to get out, sell the flat in Killarney and move to Plett – although that bladdy schmuck of a man their daughter married wanted to put them up in a converted garage.
And he could only convert it because his bladdy Range Rover was repossessed.
Harold shuffled through the files on his desk.
“Bladdy Fikile Mbalula! He didn’t tell us he’s been given a new job by the ANC at Luthuli House as head of elections. And after all the trouble we went to fixing up his CV! Really, Ada – what man thinks that because he’s got 1.3 million followers on Twitter he can be CEO of Google?”
He shook his head: “Good thing we never sent that CV to California … they’d still be laughing – just like Mad magazine did when we sent them Steve Motale’s.”
Ada took a drag. “Didn’t we get people who wanted to interview Fikile?”
Harold replied: “Yes, we did, and he had a bladdy good chance for two of them – the Comedy Channel, who wanted him just to say anything in the commercial breaks and the Boswell Wilkie circus, who wanted him as a clown!”
Ada nodded. “Mind you, Harold, at least the ANC saved us a bit of trouble taking in Lynne Brown. I know we’re not the world’s most blue-chip employment agency but, hell, how could we send her CVs to universities asking for a professorship in good governance?”
Harold remembered something: “We got a few nibbles on Dudu Myeni, because of her experience in the airline business, hey Ada.
“There were no board chairperson, CEO or even pilots’ positions available (I don’t think she should have put in her CV that she was more trustworthy than white pilots) … and even when I aimed lower, they weren’t impressed. Stewardesses should be younger, shouldn’t insist on flying only to New York, London, Paris, Rome and Milan … and they should expect less than R1 million a month.”
He fired up another cheroot. “This is a bladdy thankless task. Who’s next? Mosebenzi Zwane. Experience: agriculture, mining and international funds transfers …”