whoonga for dummies


Aryan Kaganof

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 124 in September, 2010.

I was spinning out again, unravelling.
the trip to valkenburg hadn’t done me any good.
tranquilizers and therapy are a combination guaranteed to make me murderous.
so i booked myself out of the nuthouse and bought a second hand electroshock apparatus at the milnerton market.
hours and hours of 1600 volts coursing through my brain cells later: relative calm.
that’s when bongani knocked at my door with some new drug the kids in kwadabeka township were smoking.
he sold me a box of the stuff for R800, drank a cup of hot milo and went back to his life of street corner begging.
only he wasn’t a beggar, he was a carefully placed counter intelligence operative who moonlighted selling designer narcs to junkies like me.
the whoonga was a deadly and highly addictive concoction made up of the antiretroviral stocrin, dagga, strepsils and that old favourite, rat poison.
it was typically starchy to begin with but after eight or nine hits the bang was sicker than a burial backbeat.
by the time the wife and kid got home from panic practice i was well and truly spinning.
i was not in the mood for nappies and play dough.
she pelted me with verbal abuse while i put on my street clothes, wiped the slime from my nose and took a hike.
“bastard! useless cunting bastard!!” she screamed after me as i shut the gate and turned up the road towards the mountain where, i was certain, there’d be hobbits to bag.
damn it feels good to be a gangster.
i hissed at the two fresh flatfoots in blue that passed me on kloofnek. startled, they tried to make pleasant conversation but i told them to arrest somebody with money and a job, i didn’t have either. they seemed to understand the pluck i was on, left me to continue my perambulation.
years and years later, coming down, the whoonga causing clots in the blood to form pellets that you scratch at but can’t stop the itching. not to mention the man in the mirror face that is the opposite of pleasant. let me out of this body. it’s not my body anymore. i want a new body. throw in a new face. i’ll take a new face and body you can have my old soul in exchange.
it’s curtains for me and my kind.
blackwash has got it in for us. all we’re good for is sharkmeat.
kill or be killed that’s the law of survival. equality’s just a slogan that the less than equal hold on to in lieu of self-respect and that all important commodity - cash.
at my age job prospects are minimal. al quaeda turned down my application to be a suicide bomber on the grounds that my beard is too stringy. i would go back to crime but they changed the gun laws in this country so now i don’t have a 9mm license. i wouldn’t want to shoot anybody without a license.
whoonga is a strange drug. there’s no up or down after a while, just this terrible clawing sensation from inside the place where your stomach used to be. you can snort it or smoke it or inject the stuff straight into your veins without very much difference in the ultimate effect which is that you get severely fucked, and i do mean cunted!