Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Settlement

[Published in April 2002, this piece looks at the divorce between Kafupi and Deera]

The Settlement

‘What have we got this morning?’ asked the judge, as he sat himself on the bench.

‘Divorce settlement for Mrs Deera Kafupi, My Lord,’ said the clerk of the court, as a woman in a brilliant green satin suit squeezed her ample bulk into the witness box. The morning sun glinted upon her many rows of pearls, and heavy gold earrings.

‘My dear Deera,’ said the judge, leaning forward and peering over his spectacles, ‘What are you asking of this court?’

‘My Lord,’ said Deera, ‘my husband has divorced me, and left me destitute and starving.’

‘I shan’t asked you to swear on the bible,’ laughed judge. ‘How much are you asking for?’

‘For my share of the ploperty, My Lord.’

‘Tell me about the marriage,’ said the judge. ‘Did you help your husband in his work?’

‘Oh yes, My Lord. When I met my littul Kafupi, he was just conductor on a little minibus. That was more than thirty years ago. He had no qualifications at all. He only got the job because he was so short. He could walk up and down the minibus without have to bend.’

‘So how did you help him make his money?’ asked the judge.

‘I was the one who knew alithmetic. So I showed him how to count the money. And how to siphon off a little margin for himself.’

‘So things began to go well? Suggested the judge.

‘Oh yes,’ said Deera. ‘Soon we recluited all the other conductors into the same scheme, and set up the Movement for Money Diversion.’

‘So all the conductors were on the take?’

‘They all got their little share.’

‘But your husband got more?’

‘They all paid ten percent into his holding company, the Milking Money Deposit. He had the cheque book, but I was the blains behind it.’

‘So how much would you say your husband is worth?’

‘He’s velly litch!’

‘Just from milking the bus company?’

‘That was only the beginning, My Lord. After milking the bus company, we soon moved into bigger organisations. Then we set up the Movement for Marginal Diversion, for the diversion of government funds.’

‘So you infiltrated the government?’

‘Even the state,’ My Lord. ‘We even set up the Movement for Manipulating Democracy, which successfully diverted the Constitution.’

‘But were you still assisting your husband, or was it now him doing all these things?’

‘Oh no, My Lord. Without me it couldn’t work. Sometimes it happened that a disgluntled gloup of people would become despelate and dangerous after Kafupi had diverted their wages, or pensions, or medicines. But then I would always alive by helicopter with a few bags of mealie meal for their empty bellies, some salaula for their naked bodies, and some salt for their wounds. We called it the Hopeless Foundation, a charity for all the people whose lives we had made hopeless. Then all the hopeless people would jump up and down and cheer, saying The hour has come, Deera was sent by Kafupi, and Kafupi was sent by God! Kafupi Mpusushi!

‘What a marvellous marriage partnership!’ declared the judge. ‘And a most equitable gender division of labour! For the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away! So what went wrong?’

‘Sex,’ said Deera.

‘Sex!’ the judge salivated. ‘I’ve been waiting for this bit! Was he perverted? Insatiable? Bisexual? Was there any sadism? Masochism? Fetishism? Any whips? Black leather? Anything like that? Ho ho, you must tell me everything, that's what I'm here for!’

‘Don’t over excite yourself,’ snapped Deera. ‘It was just the normal sort of mid-life crisis. First his eyes began to wander. Then his hands began to wander. Then his other parts began to wander. He was going with other women.’

‘How many? Two at a time? Three at a time?’ demanded the judge, leaning forward, rubbing his hands, and bouncing up and down on his seat. ‘Where did they do it? Did you catch them at it? Were they naked? Did you take any photos? Have you got any exhibits to put before the court?' The judge was now perspiring with excitement.

‘Calm down, My Lord! For him, it was just a natural extension.’

‘Natural extension? How big was his natural extension?’

‘Another natural extension of MMD, into the Multiple Matrimonial Diversions. He used the helicopter to snatch other men’s wives. Then he kicked me out of the house.’

‘A thief and a philanderer!’ gasped the judge. How much is he worth?’

‘About five billion dollars, My Lord.’

‘Good God! And how much did you manage to carry away when you were chased?’

‘Only a couple of million dollars, My Lord. I’m destitute.'

‘Well, Deera, from what you have told me, I can see that you did your best to stick by your husband and help him in all his nefarious endeavours. Therefore, under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1981, you are entitled to half of the marriage property. I therefore award you two and a half billion dollars.

'Ooh, thank you my Lord!'

‘In addition, I sentence you to twenty years hard labour for receiving stolen property.’

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