Juicy Gossip

By Drum Digital
03 October 2013

Illustration: Caine Swanson KEEP your noses out of my family's affairs!'' Mrs Mabeza foamed at the mouth. Her bosom heaved and her face twisted in fury. Sihle, Mary and I just sniggered at this angry comment, hurled at us from the middle of the dusty street. ??Rumour-mongering witches!'' Mrs Mabeza spat before stomping off down the road. Her pleated skirt swished from side toside as she walked off in a huff. We screamed with laughter, our scorn following her. ??What will you achieve by getting fired up like that?'' Sihle shouted after her. Mrs Mabeza didn't look back.

Turning to Mary and me, Sihle clapped her hands and said, ??Heh! All we did was ask about her husband! After all, he hasn't been around in a long, long time. We only wanted to know where he is, as any concerned neighbour would. And when she expects him to return.'' ??You mean if she expects him to return,'' Mary corrected with a chuckle which provoked renewed peals of hysterical laughter from the three of us. We'd all hated the Mabezas from the very minute they'd come roaring into the neighbourhood in their flashy, noisy 4x4

that morning in January three years ago.

Our dislike had deepened every Wednesday from then on when the extravagant newcomers put out no less than three

overflowing bins for the garbage truck. Empty packets of imported fillet steak, expensive biscuits, spice bottles, cereal

boxes, yoghurt containers and Swiss cheese wrappers showed what a lavish lifestyle they were leading. It was a standard of living we could only dream of.

Even when the Mabeza's ate traditional food ? which wasn't all that often ? the evidence among the skimmed milk cartons and pickle jars was clear to anyone who cared to notice. Only the most expensive brands were consumed in that house.

Then there was the fact their teenage daughter and her preteen brother both sported designer labels and had Model

C-school accents ? it proved they were a little too posh for the township their parents had chosen to live in.

It should be only too clear why their presence among us could be described as irritating.

But then Mr Mabeza lost his job. And there was no means of paying off a car loan without a fat salary. The shiny 4x4

roared away with a messenger of the court at the wheel, never to annoy the neighbours' eyes and ears ever again.

Who would have imagined Mr and Mrs Bigshot, their pampered offspring in tow, would be reduced to plodding to and from the bus stop with other mere mortals?

There were other debts too. These people had practically lived on credit. The house was spared only because it wasn't theirs.

Imagine buying a car like that before investing in your own home!

Was it this embarrassing turn of events that had sent him flying off to seek his fortune overseas? Probably, some said. Definitely, we concluded. Part 1 To be continued... -by Mirirai Moyo

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