In that moment of great inconvenience, they had to decide whether to stop or just continue. If they stopped the children would stop, maybe Benson would even chase after them with his belt, if he could get his pants up fast enough. But the children would have seen anyway, so they may as well finish it off. These were Joyce’s thoughts while her back was pressed against the rough cast wall behind the toilet at the back of the yard. While she debated in her mind on what to do about the children who were peeping behind the crack that formed between her wall and her neighbour’s, Benson’s body was already jerking about with pleasure.

She decided right there and then that she’d no longer play mistress to a man who used him as an object of self-pleasure. Now these giggling children were going to go around opening their mouths like the middle pages of a cheap newspaper.

Friday night, month end, was always the busiest. Men came to spend the money that was supposed to go stock up groceries for their families, while women came to help facilitate that careless expenditure. The wives would be mad, they’d curse and cry, make do with what’s left but they’d still stay because where else would they go? The hunger was worse outside their homes. Besides, the status of being a wife was more important than groceries.  

Joyce was doing the usual rounds, having a chat here and a drink there with her patrons. She was a friend of all and a friend of none. The women who came to drink befriended so to gain favour when they needed to buy booze on credit, but deep down they hated her. She had all the men, and she had all the money. They scraped, did the most demeaning of acts for half a bottle of beer and a cheap cigarette, only to go home with a complaining stomach.

Wives would never degrade themselves by stepping inside Kwa Joyce shebeen so when MmaMokgosi marched through the crowd, everyone knew something was amiss. She was foaming at the mouth, wearing mismatched shoes and her nightgown stained with breastmilk. It was past midnight.

Joyce knew those children had done it when she came eye to eye with MmaMokgosi, and her husband Benson running behind with a purple bump rising just above his left eye. Those damn children!