THE GREAT BIG JACKPOT.
Owongo was feeling decidedly rough. Mirumda was no more and it had taken him less than a day to decide that she had been the love of his life after all. Suddenly he had to feed himself and he wasn't altogether sure what to do. Snacking whilst on the hunt was one thing, but from time to time she had provided him with a proper meal involving more than one ingredient, and he wasn't sure how she went about it.
So, feeling rough, he mooched about.
Gondut, a neighbour with huge genitals (they went about naked back then, so the size of genitalia was easy to assess and only rarely the cause of animosity or jealousy) came up to him with a cheery look on his good natured face, and clapped him on his back so hard that he winced.
“Poor old Owongo,” he murmured, “We were all so sorry to hear about Mirumda.”
“So was I,” growled Owongo.
“She's a sad loss to all of us,” consoled Gondut.
“How you mean?” demanded Owongo.
“Better not say,” stammered Gondut. “But maybe if you look twice at Owongo Junior and wonder where he got all that extra-big wedding tackle from...?”
“What you suggesting?” shouted Owongo.
“Nothing,my friend … just that Mirumda was good friend to all of us. Very good friend to some! So we miss her very much.”
“I mean nothing, friend Owongo. Just a sad old man mourning the passing of a friend, that all.” Gondut's voice had become like verbal treacle, all sweet and sticky. Owongo noticed, but didn't like to think what it might imply.
“I have gift for you,” added Gondut. “I have lottery ticket for friend Owongo who misses his missus in pain and anguish.”
“What's lottery ticket?” asked Owongo, suspiciously.
“Weekly draw,” grinned Gondut. “Every week folks buy ticket and every week there's big prize for winner. There's been a roll-over for ages and now big jackpot is new luxury cave up where posh blokes live,”
“Me not posh bloke,” almost snarled Owongo.
“But might be,” sighed Gondut. “Here, have ticket. Gift from your friend in memory of the lovely Mirumda.”
Owongo shook his head, but took the sliver of flint with fine tracery etched on it.
“What these?” he asked.
“They the numbers. You never done lottery before?”
Owongo shook his head. “Mirumda say it waste of time,” he muttered.
“Mirumda mostly right,” grinned Gondut, “but if your numbers come out, these numbers on ticket, then you win luxury cave where the posh blokes live. Think about it, Owongo, and take this ticket as gift! See: your numbers are 6, 13, 20, 24 and 29!”
Owongo held the flint ticket tightly in one hand, and walked on. He needed time to think. What had Gondut meant when he'd said that Mirumda had been a good friend to everyone? When he, Owongo, had been hunting? But no! Mirumda would have done nothing like the man had implied! She had been such a hideous creature with hairy armpits that were knotted and foul, and so many spots on her face it was hard to tell which was her nose and which was a weeping boil. Surely nobody would have taken advantage of her … there were many finer looking women around, some even beautiful like Impata, the gorgeous young creature who had shared a few moments of sympathy with him up the Mourn hill. No, Mirumda had been a home girl, a maker of comfort in a world in which comfort was hard to come by. And no matter how hard he tried to picture her homely, smiling face with its many imperfections, all he could see was an image of the woman he knew he had truly loved all his adult life.
That evening the Head of the Village and the entire population of the village gathered in the Lottery Field. It happened every week, but Owongo had never bothered to go before because he had never had a ticket. It had been Mirumda's decision, and he had gone along with it.
A silence descended on everyone as the great man pulled the first number from a hollowed-out section of an oak tree trunk. It was etched on a flake of flint and mixed in with fifty others, all of them bearing numbers that may (or may not) appear on one of the tickets that had been bought by most of Owongo's neighbours.
“Now for the big prize,” announced the Head. “And the winning numbers are 6, 13, 20, 24 and 29!”
“Owongo win!” shouted a voice from across the lottery field. It was Gondut, because he had known the numbers on Owongo's ticket.
“Mine?” asked Owongo, confused, and he looked at his flint ticket. The numbers etched on it were exactly the same as those proclaimed by the Head of the Village.
Owongo was confused.
“You'll have a nice new home, and you'll need a woman to care for it while you're away,” whispered a voice in his ear, “and make your favourite meals,” it added.
It was Impata, and she smelled gently of roses and sweetness, and her breasts were pert.
© Peter Rogerson 15.05.12