GUILTY AS SIN !          - 26/2/2007      <--Prev : Next-->

Unlike my dear departed Mum, I am doomed to languish in eternal hell ... for yesterday I actually bribed a government official !! And the worse thing is, it is not the first time I have done so !!

Now MY MUM was a legend in her time, she was so honest, upright and true, she would not even use a company envelope for her own use!!

And so she tried to pass on this little virtue, unsuccessfully it would seem, to brother Gavin and myself !!

My most recent transgression occurred at the Beitbridge Border Post, but with my first encounter with bribery, I plead total innocence I promise.

A couple of years ago, obtaining a National Parks registration number for a boat was not normally a problem, and having done it once previously I was au fait with the "system". A quick visit to National Parks, an entry in a hard cover black ledger book, a small payment made, and off one should go, both happily and hopefully... .

I could see the book on the shelf behind the parks officer, it smiled at me enticingly, but the officer was not going to get off her chair and so told me it would "take about a week" to process.....

However I did not have a week as we were leaving for the lake that very day and I had even bought the paint and made a stencil to paint the number on the boat !!(As per National Park rules !!)

A tad miffed to say the least at her unbending uncivil service-like manner, I dumped my parcels on her counter and rummaged in my bag for the payment.

The parcels I dumped on her counter included a box of Charons chocolates for a friend I was about to visit in hospital.

When I emerged from my "ridiculous reticule" (as Mum always called my handbag) the box of chocolates had vanished and in its place on the counter was the very book with the very number that I needed so urgently !!

Blushing in horror, canker and perversion emanating from every pore, I raced off clutching my red hot burning and corrupt boat number, and I could feel Mums eyes boring into me from her little cloud up there above me.......

Now my recent brush with depravity of course came a lot easier, now that my morals have been lowered and my soul is decayed..... .and after all The Beitbridge Border Post gleefully invites all transgressors to it dens of iniquity.

Fresh from our air conditioned vehicle, we manfully struggled through the queue for the little blue customs paper, the queue for the bridge toll, the queue for Immigration and sallied forth to the queue for the Returning Residents road access. Armed with the massive sum of $300 Zimbabwe dollars, we joined the seething mass of humanity.... humbly, contrite, eyes glazed smilingly, submissive as is our recent lot in life in Zimbabwe.... .

Half an hour passed and we were surprisingly, still the last people in the line, but by now we were beginning to succumb to the forty degree heat and little rivulets of perspiration were pouring down our backs.

HeeHoo and Big Mike were sweating profusely by this stage and I of course was merely "glowing" (Mother always said that ladies never sweated !! Horses sweated !! Ladies merely Glowed !!)

An hour had now passed and we were still the last people in the queue.... Big Mike however has the advantage of being two heads taller than everyone else, and he could see quite clearly what the rest of us were missing.

At the front of the queue was a lady in a lime green tee shirt, and she had pinioned herself carefully at the front of the queue. She was boldly taking the money and gate passes off anyone and everyone and, with the blessing obviously of the security guard and the uncivil servant, making herself a tidy little sum of money.

No wonder we were still at the very back of the queue as everyone was going round the side of the queue and handing their passes and money(plus a gratuity for the lime green agent) right over our heads !!

Glowing and glowering furiously, we folk who make the laws, now decided to break the laws and join the rotten state of Zimbabwe, and I found myself brandishing my own gate pass and a largish bank note right under her lime green nose.

This resulted in immediate service,and I sallied forth triumphantly, my corrupt chin quivering half in glee and half in terror and my pathway to hell firmly secured for ever- more !!

I could feel Mum turning in her grave as tottered in guilty haste from that inferno that is the BeitBridge Border Post !!