Man at Work
by Marijke Hillmann
The acrid smells of cigarette butts and stale beer hover above the music blaring from the jukebox and the noisy banter on an early afternoon in the Windhoek pub.
An outburst of raucous laughter as the door opens and a pyjama-clad six-plus- footer enters, an IV-device strapped to his arm. The regulars greet him. “You managed to escape the nuns from the clinic over the road again, Horst” ?
He pulls himself up on a barstool, positions the IV drip against the counter and shouts out for a draught beer. “Teatime at the hospital is over in 15 minutes, so make it snappy, please”.
With a proprietary air, he asks to see the accounts and has a quick browse through the books. “You guys not doing your bloody job, then” he says “the takings are down you skimming me or what?”
He bangs his hand on the bar counter. “It is filthy in here” you guys thought I had died and gone to hell already, have you? Not before you mop those floors and empty the ashtrays “chop chop!!!”
Downing two pints, the pub owner gets up with a sigh and bellows: “see you in two days ” you can all have one fricking drink on me tonight?.it is my birthday. Sorry can’t join you need to sober up for yet another op tomorrow.”
He hobbles back to the clinic, crosses the road impatiently and shows his middle finger to a driver who brakes to a screeching halt.
Horst survives his operation, a car accident, two armed robberies and a devastating fire at his pub, but loses the battle against an ailing liver some five years later.
Marijke Hillmann writes a monthly story about Africa for our site. You can find out more about her and the time in her life she is writing about here: African in Short. https://www.everywritersresource.com/shortstories/africa-in-short-by-marijke-hillmann/2013/