M95 Nagant

22 Aug

No one knows who she really is, except me. To the rest of the people in this building she’s some pain in the ass African who blasts Adewale Ayuba or Ibro Diabate on Friday evenings from her apartment, and who has strange, white men go in and out of her one bedroom unit in the middle of the night. But I like her. I always have. Years ago, on my 15th birthday, she gave me a real Kudu antelope horn from South Africa.
“A Kudu bull stands over five feet high at the shoulder,” she said. “He has a remarkable sense of hearing, keen eyesight, keen sense of smell, and great speed, which makes it difficult to capture.”
She gave me the instrument in the laundry room, downstairs. And she showed me how to blow into it and make music with it. I was sitting on the machines feeling lousy because my father was acting up again, quarreling. I thought he might at least give it a rest on my birthday. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have been spending a Friday evening in the laundry room of an apartment building in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
No one knows who she is, except me. When the police came to take her away, most of the tenants came out in their robes to watch. They were happy the cops were finally removing this nuisance of a woman.
“The whore.”
“The animal.”
“I heard she shot the poor man with a Russian pistol. They found it hidden in a cupboard.”
“They oughta deport her.”
“Do the Russians make pistols still?”
No one knows her. Only me. Only I know she is Zinzi Mandela, daughter of Nelson. She’s right there in his book, “Long Walk to Freedom,” on page sixty-eight. But even if she’d told them they wouldn’t have believed her. No child of Nelson Mandela’s would live like this; would behave like this.


2 Responses to “M95 Nagant”

  1. Anonymous 23/08/2007 at 12:26 AM #

    She’s not on that page. And what does the title mean?

  2. Lx 23/08/2007 at 1:36 AM #

    It’s a type of Soviet pistol. Thanks for checking up on the particular page; may I remind you that this is fiction. Thank you.

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