Cruel City: A Novel

By Mongo Beti; Pim Higginson | Go to book overview

4

THAT SAME MORNING BANDA was in line in front of the inspectors to whose knives he was supposed to submit his two hundred kilos of cacao before he would be allowed to sell to the Greeks.

The inspectors were two boys who were neither old nor young; their expression didn’t reveal whether they were well or poorly fed. It must have been rather poorly given the way they behaved. They had begun by having people wait for them the better part of the morning. When they finally did arrive, they slowly reviewed the queue of people waiting for them. This little ritual took more time. Whenever they spotted a man or woman not perfectly in line, who stood out, they surmised that that person had cheated.

“Go to the back of the line. That’ll teach you to be in a hurry. When you arrive, you’re supposed to go to the back of the line. Will you ever get that idea into your thick bushman skull? We don’t like disorder; what the devil, we don’t like it when things are a mess! Don’t make us call the police …”

They uttered these lines each time they sent someone to the back! One of the inspectors was talkative. The other didn’t say a word, and rumor had it that he was the rougher of the two.

While they looked the queue over, half a dozen toughs accompanied them; there were an additional eight members

-20-

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Cruel City: A Novel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Romancing Africa xi
  • 1 1
  • 2 8
  • 3 16
  • 4 20
  • 5 35
  • 6 47
  • 7 64
  • 8 78
  • 9 93
  • 10 108
  • 11 123
  • 12 139
  • 13 151
  • Epilogue 166
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