Saturday, August 17, 2002

Europa, Parkhurst

Saturday, August 17, 2002

I'm having supper with Jason Ashberg and Dion Scher. Jason's a filmmaker. He made one of the one-minute Quickies, one that I co-wrote with him, called THE FIRST MOVE. Dion's a movie writer. He and Jason have just finished making PENDULUM, a short that Dion wrote.

The three of us are pretending we're in Hollywood, and we're waiting for photographers to burst through the door to try and steal pictures of us together to print in the society pages.

Jason tells us a story about our mutual buddy, Akin Omotoso. He's an actor on GENERATIONS, a daily soap opera, and the most-watched show in South Africa. He's also the director of a feature movie that's doing very well on the international film festival circuit: GOD IS AFRICAN.

Well, Jason phoned him last Sunday to say, "Akin -- you've made it, huh?"

"What do you mean?"

"C'mon, Akin. Don't you read the Sunday Times?"

So Akin scuffles with a newspaper, turns to the gossip pages, and finds a picture of himself and some society babe, along with a story about how they were seen in a restaurant together, and how they may be romantically involved, and how Akin dived under the table when he saw the reporter.

Akin fumes to Jason. "It's all bullshit!" he says. Yeah, of course he was at the restaurant. No, he's not involved with her.

Once Jason's finished telling us the story, I reckon that you've got to expect stuff like that if you want to be a soap star. I also caution him that we've got to learn to expect the same treatment in a little while, when we're also high profile celebs. We drink to that.


Earlier in the day, I meet with Kim briefly, before the SASWA Feature Film workshop run by Jeremy Nathan, the renowned guerrilla filmmaker. As a member of council, it's my turn to be the Master of Ceremonies.

But back to Kim.

She fixes her eye on a point between my eyes and my lips and says nothing. I've only spoken to her on the phone since meeting her the other day for lunch, after her rape. We're a little uncomfortable. I don't want to encroach on her physical space in any way. She's probably feeling unsafe, and I'm a man, and I just don't want her getting any ideas that I might want to rape her.

She keeps looking at my nose and says, "I'm pressing charges."

"Good for you," I say, and touch her shoulder.

She flinches. "The bruises," she says.

"Haven't they healed yet?" I say. I'm concerned. The rape was two weeks ago. She should be physically fine by now, surely?

"They're new." I look at her. I'm aware that I'm shaking my head. I don't know what I'm about to hear, but I've got a sick idea that she's going to tell me she's been raped again. She says, in her candy-voice, her best little-girl voice, "Don't be cross with me." And I know I'm going to be very, very cross with her. She says, "He did it again. You know last weekend was a long weekend? Well, I went to a dinner party he held. And basically, I was out for the whole weekend. I mean, out, knocked out. Unconscious. The same drug, it seems. I went to the doctor on Monday, and this guy definitely raped me again. The whole weekend." She points surreptitiously at her crotch. "I'm -- torn. Inside."

I can't be hearing this. Is she having me on? "Kim, are you telling me you WENT TO THIS GUY'S HOUSE?"

"Don't be cross. It's all the drugs I'm on."

Where I come from, I believe in that adage: "If you cheat me once, you're at fault. If you cheat me a second time, it's my fault."

Now, Kim's multiple-rape and bruising and vaginal lacerations at the hands of a sociopath armed with a drug that paralyses women is certainly not a bag of laughs to me. And I certainly do have some sympathy for her. But not as much as I had the first time this happened two weeks ago. Right now, I think she's an idiot.

"I've got to go to my SASWA workshop," I tell her. "I'm the MC today."

"Don't be cross," she says, and there's a vulnerable, drugged, stupid look in her eye that makes me want to go on a killing spree.

Instead, I introduce Jeremy Nathan with an unnatural amount of zeal. "Roy's too kind," he says, and I smile, settling back for an afternoon of learning about the state of feature movies in South Africa today.

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