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The Nappy Thief

by Montle Moorosi / 11.02.2010

“Poverty is no vice, that is the truth. I know that drunkenness is also no virtue, and that is even more so. But destitution, my dear sir, destitution is no vice, sir. In poverty you may still preserve the nobility of your inborn feelings, but in destitution no one ever does. For destitution one does not even get driven out of human company with a stick; one is swept out with a broom, to make it more insulting; and justly so, for in destitution I am the first to insult myself. Hence the drinking!” –Marmeladov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Heh, heh, heh… fucking Zimbos, so, so dumb… Who steals nappies? Wet back hobos shouldn’t be having children, why don’t they have the brains and consideration to at least wrap a barbecue flavoured Simba chip packet around their dicks or shove a chamois cloth up their vaginas so our legal system and drivers at robots don’t have to take care of these blind oil faced crumb snatching, smash and grabbing, border jumping bottom feeders.

So there I was in the Hillbrow Magistrate Court and morbidly surprised and disappointed at how clean it is compared to the vessels of blood, guts and subpoenas jammed into the place. The cops and the public prosecutors are cracking jokes amongst each other.
“They kicked him in his face like baahh!! Ha, ha, ha!!”
“Since when is heroin an ‘inappropriate substance’ to be caught with?” Said the dark toned public defender in exasperation, she had oh so kindly and in an un-introducing manner let me sit in her office because she’s so chummy with my attorney. My attorney then says to her:
“How are you going to defend your client if you’ve already decided he’s guilty? You have to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“That’s why I’m going to leave it till Monday… God I hate my job.” She says before leaving the room.

My attorney is six foot tall, shy, apparently meek and from Limpopo, but what is most noticeable is that he suffers from small village, big town “I want to save the world” syndrome and God bless him for it, and the side effects of malleable ethics, of course. As I wait for my case docket to be transferred from the Parkview Police Station I become strangely fascinated by the sight of a skinny, dark, chipmunk-looking man appearing as if he was on the verge of giving birth to a 50 pound St Bernard puppy. I step into courtroom 4 before the policeman closes the door to hear, as the negroes would say, “what is up with that nigga?”

Scissors Dlamini (Surname has been changed) is what my white friends would say is, “shitting bricks”. Despite what his savvy name may suggest, Scissors Dlamini is not that street smart. If crime was sex Scissors would be the guy who mops the private booths at Adult World, if not a deaf and blind peeping tom. Scissors is a repeat offender for shoplifting. Only three days ago he stole a bottle of hairspray and got caught when he decided to run in the direction of the Hillbrow Police Station to make an escape from the pursuing security guards. Today he sits in front of… God I fucking hate my life, how the fuck did I end up here? Alone as usual… but do let me finish… Scissors sits in front of a magistrate. The magistrate has a face that very apparently has been withered, depressed, compressed and even angered by the wooden benches, paper work, the eternal procession of South African reality and forever waiting for the lunch break. Her cheeks dropping to the floor like a dead bulldog, the magistrate pages through the docket while the young black female public prosecutor reads the charge in a jovial Sandton kugel accent, as if she were singing along in her car to her favourite Rihanna song.
“Your Honouuuurrrr! The accused was arrested three daaays ago for the same charge and was given a suspended sentence, the court asks that the accused be given a sentence of one year and be charged under Section thirrrty siii-eeiix”.

The judge looked at the prosecutor like everyone in the court room did, the same look a layman would give to an albino with Down Syndrome, a look of bewilderment and pity directed at the prosecutor more than Scissors Dlamini, but of course they know what remains of his fate.
“Sec-tiooon thirrrty siii-eeiix” is when an illegal immigrant is caught doing a crime and is sentenced to imprisonment in a South Africa prison and once his sentence ends he is then deported back to his country, and no one ever makes it out of Section 36, well, unless you have an attorney like mine, maybe… If you can afford one. The Magistrate lifted her head and her sagging flaps of skin off the floor.

“Mr. Dlamini the court has given you many chances and the fact that you were caught three days ago for the same charge not only tells me that you don’t respect the courts and the law but you also have no regard for this country and its people, after your sentence is done you will be deported back to Zimbabwe according to Section 36.”
The court interpreter then translates the message to Scissors; he then excreted his brick as his face slumped to the cobra polish soiled floor.

No one even mentioned that this time around Scissors Dlamini was caught stealing nappies. I know theft is not right, but there have to be some kind of leniency for someone who is so broke and backed into a corner that he needs to steal nappies for his kid.

And as for me? What about me? My destitution is mental, I drink, I drive, I wait in line at Home Affairs and I’m middle class, so of course I bribe. Here’s to you Roman Dutch Law, cheers! And speaking of cheers, despite Scissors leaving behind a starving child without diapers at least in prison he can finally enjoy and understand the depth and field that the Cheers sitcom theme song imparts:
“Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came, you wanna be where you can see the troubles are all the same, you wanna go where everybody knows your name.”

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