What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegasby Dylan Muhlenberg, images by Justin McGee / 06.09.2010
1072 Schoeman Street could be any apartheid-era suburban home; the Vibracrete wall, knotty pine cabinetry and gaudy art deco light fittings all hangovers from a time before the middle class subscribed to a ‘Boere Toskaans’ vernacular.
The kitchen’s Formica counter top is sticky from spilled mixers. A streak of Andre Leo’s peanut butter skid-marks the linoleum floor. Salt and pepper carpeting has long been ripped up to expose the bare concrete floor in the lounge; a room furnished in an ugly floral motif that’s slightly damp to the touch. But you wouldn’t know any of this because you weren’t cool enough to be invited inside.
Which is at least what the three men pissing on the house’s Klinker Brick façade are bemoaning. They didn’t really mind the public indecency, they just wanted a cistern to rack a rail on top of. So, after zipping up and not washing their hands, they take turns to lick their index finger, push the digit into the little bag of confidence and then wipe the white residue around their gums.
A whole lot of cables snake from the stage’s Sony Bravia World Cup surplus sets and sound shit, through the French doors and into the lounge where a man in a carefully customised Van Halen vest and white plimsoles is sitting. His name is Rufio Vegas.
Someone Capetonian and vaguely familiar sits down next to Vegas and tells him that it’s good to see him. That he’d last heard that he was working in a fried chicken franchise in Worcester. Vegas tells the acquaintance that his dad bought him the shop, actually, because his dad is poes-rich, and that he also has his own bachelor flat in Worcester, where he isn’t jorling that much these days because he’s now klapping gym hard with Berlin East’s brother Dirk (after which he flexes his bicep and kisses it). The acquaintance starts saying something but Vegas just speaks over him and tells him how he also has a Toyota Tazz with mag wheels. And a flat screen TV.
‘Fokkit. Hoekom praat ek Engels, jou poes? Ons is in fokken Pretoria. Jy moet gooi.’ Then Vegas throws his bare arm around the guys neck, steering him towards the kitchen where they pour shots of complimentary Havana Club rum.
‘Brah?’ asks Vegas. ‘Do you have a loose for me?’
Everyone else is outside. Outside there’s no grass, and if this were a larnier area of Pretoria weekends would be devoted to the stuff. Nitrogen balls would be sown by the handful, manure would arrive in transparent 10 kilogram bags, and then, after both of these methods had failed, carpets of grass would be unfurled by a bakkie-load of men who have no problem calling Pretoria Tshwane.
Having necked some pills Vegas is now poes-jags and ready to charf a chick. Last weekend he managed to graunch a couple but tonight he wants to ghoen. He’s filled up a 2-litre Raspberry Sparletta bottle with half a bottle of Havana Club rum and he’s got one of his china’s Styvies behind his ear. He pushes his way through the crowd, dancing.
Dapper Dan is playing a futuristic instrument that makes DJing off of a laptop seem a lot more complicated than it really is. He warps the rave synths and wobbles the bass, adding bleeps and glitches to the fidgety dubstep electroclash bombast.
Then he sees her. Vegas. Vegas sees her – a girl in a red pleather jacket who has lost herself in the music and is throwing shapes that makes everyone who sees them want to make shapes of their own. She is gorgeousness and gorgosity and just looking at her puts a knot in Vegas’s stomach.
‘Hay, Rooikappie, I couldn’t help but notice you noticing me noticing you.’
She wrinkles her nose.
‘Luister pop. Ek gooi jou so vol vleis jou oe lyk soos n slaghuis venster.’
She laughs. Her friend tugs on her arm to go, but she tells him that she’ll catch up with him later. Vegas tells Rooikappie all about how he used to rap with Parow and even rapped with Waddy a few times. That Waddy came to his, Rufio’s, house and gave him, Rufio, a salt and pepper shaker as a house-warming gift.
Who knows what happens between then and now. Now everything is looking like a Sasquatch visual. The cops come, the party ends and it’s just Vegas and the girl in the red pleather jacket.
‘I think Griet is spelled wrong,’ says Vegas.
‘Skies?’ says the girl.
‘It should be g-r-e-a-t.’ he says, leaning in and kissing her plump lips while running his fingers through her short black hair.
The hoi-polloi leave and the after-party takes place inside the house. The girl in the red pleather jacket says that she’s feeling self-conscious about her brandy breath and goes to the bathroom where she brushes her teeth with a cup full of toothbrushes.
‘Rooikappie! What a big mouth you have?’
It’s morning and Vegas wakes up mourning the fact that he has yet to conquer his third favourite hole. Spooning his impish prize he searches for it under the cheap gray blanket, then jolts upright. Instead of a pachanga he finds a piel! And Rooikappie has transformed into a sweaty Congolese man who is wearing the same red pleather jacket?
Everything turns pumpkin. Vegas scratches at his groin, then pulls off the shit-stained glass slipper that he’d danced in all night.
‘Jirre fok,’ he says, then pulls on his grimy brown plimsoles and leaves.
All images © Justin McGee.