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from They Call Me Nothing by Jenny Young

Copyright © 2018–2021 Jenny Young

Chapter 10

          I never thought I would see Lucky again. He looks terrible. I can see he is on Nyaope. His eyes look like they are made of glass and there is a big black empty hole in the middle of each one. I don’t notice him until he calls my name.

         “Hey, Nothing,” he says, “Nothing can sleep on the floor.” He laughs like a mad hyena. “You’re not my brother. My brother is the best brother in the world. He looks after me. Look at my nice clothes. We live in a fancy apartment in Sandton. My brother looks after me. You’re not my brother.”

         His clothes look good quality but they are dirty. He looks like he hasn’t washed in weeks. He is out of his mind. Sipho is killing him with drugs. If I hadn’t run away I might also be like him.

         “I don’t believe your fancy apartment, I tell him. What’s it called?”

         “Don’t know. Sunshine, Sunlight, something…” He laughs again throwing his hands sideways as if he had not a worry in the world. He moves closer to me and puts his face right in front of my nose.

         “My brother knows about you,” he says. He wags a finger from side to side. “He found your CD player and your book in that stinking field. He’s got all your stuff.” His voice gets louder as if he is spitting words in my face. “He’s coming after you. He doesn’t like to be crossed. Last person who crossed him he cut.” He gestures with his finger across his neck, still smiling madly. “He’s going to kill you. He’s going to kill you!” He is shouting now.

         My mouth grows dry. I am not afraid of Lucky. He’s wasted. But Sipho! Maybe he’s nearby. I pull Gogo Kaye. We must get out of here!

         I am going to have to tell her everything. It’s not fair if I put her in danger. She is a kind lady. I have to trust her. There is no other way. I am in trouble. I need help.


         When we get to her house we sit at the dinner table across from each other. She has made us some sandwiches and cut them into pretty little triangles.

“Now, tell me what’s going on,” says Gogo Kaye. She sounds stern, like my Gogo when children didn’t listen or Stella’s Gogo when children fight about food. Are all gogos the same?

I want to start at the beginning so she will understand. “In Alex, not far from where I live,” is a very kind granny. Every Sunday, she makes chicken stew and pap for all the children in the neighbourhood. I only found out about it when some younger children walking in front of me called their friend and told him to come, they were going to Stella’s Gogo for Sunday lunch. I followed them and stood in the line at her yard. I think she started off just cooking for the people in her yard, but now other children from the neighbourhood also come.” I pop a triangle into my mouth.

“What do you mean by ‘Yard’?” asks Gogo Kaye.

I try to explain. “A yard is like a piece of ground. There are five or six houses all built on the same piece of land. Sometimes they used to be bigger houses that got divided up so now different families live in different rooms. There is usually a toilet in every yard and sometimes a shower. In Stella’s Gogo’s yard all the families are friendly and help each other. When the grown ups go to work, one of the older girls or one of the grannies looks after the young children. The school children walk together to the school.

“Stella is her granddaughter. Stella’s mother died when she was a baby and now Gogo looks after her. Stella is very shy but she is kind to me. When she washes clothes, she lets me wash my clothes too. Once when it was raining, she asked her Gogo if I could...

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