‘He’s back at the keyboard.’ Kleinpiet sighs. ‘Now our days of sneaking to Boggel’s Place for a quickie is over. Shees! The way uncle Rama is constantly changing the rules, is really frustrating.’
‘And it’s not as if our hospital is overflowing, man! We don’t make accidents and we don’t have a hospital. So, what’s the point of forcing Boggel to close down again? It’s pure madness.’ Vetfaan’s voice sounds like Tannie Nkosasaan’s after a heavy night’s smoking. He’s had a bout of Kalahari Flu last week after drinking Kleinpiet’s pineapple tequila.
Boggel manages a smile. ‘Alcohol bans are here to stay, guys. As long as the majority of people insist on socialising in the most dense spots in the country…’
‘Whao, Boggel, you’re treading on holy ground, Bru. You can’t go on saying such things. It’s socially irresponsible. Rather tell us about the long silence we’ve been forced to endure?’
‘He’s done another biography…again. This time he had to study all about atoms and leptons and mesons and bosons and quarks. And all that at his age, nogal. It took him a full year just to understand what he was writing about. But, in the end, the book explains everything you ever wanted to know about time.’
‘Time? The reason we look at watches? What a waste! The sun rises, the sun sets. Winter, summer. What else do we want to know about time?’ Vetfaan has never worn a watch in his life.
‘No, man. It’s an interesting subject. When did time start? Can we slow it down? Speed it up? And what about warping spacetime? What does it mean and why can it help us to get to other galaxies?’ Boggel slides new beers across the counter. ‘Think out of the box, Vetfaan. Even if we live in the Kalahari, we still have to know something about the outside world.’
‘Nah. Not me. The outside world is sick. You pay me a million bucks to go live elsewhere, and I’ll tell you where to put that money. Here we can say what we want. It’s okay to discuss colour and gender and religion and politics, without waiting for a guy in a uniform to bang down your front door. We don’t disrespect people who are different, we just reserve the right to be independent thinkers, that’s all.’
‘You’re right, Vetfaan. At least here, we can talk about Bloukrans or the Boere-oorlog and not get angry about the past. What happened, happened. It’s the reason we are where we are. Toppling a statue doesn’t make history go away.’
Boggel sits down on his box beneath the counter. Ah, yes! It’s good to be back. And it’s nice to hear the banter in Boggel’s Place again. At least the guys didn’t ask him whether he was going to lock up the bar. It would have been a waste of breath, wouldn’t it?