Syblings: Episode 10

by Paul du Preez



While Darren was being entertained by Arno in a mysteriously unlocked deli, Leandré, performance over, had left the stage to tumultuous applause. Warmly congratulated by Saloni (after sneaking a peek at her trending social media stats) she and her bestie were amused by rapper, Marcus’ attempts to introduce himself. Saloni pulled Leandré aside, insisting they had to leave.


Leandré is in the passenger seat of Saloni’s blood-red, F-type Jaguar convertible (her cello safely asleep, tucked into its velvet case back at the church). Soft soul-sax plays on the car stereo as she checks her media feeds.


Likes and reactions have slowed, but there are some comments she needs to reply to.

Later. When she gets to her laptop, back home. Because…

I hate virtual keyboards.

But the comments keep calling, caressing the sweet-spot in her psyche. She feels a yearning to engage, convert them into followers.

I do hate virtual keyboards, but…

She starts staring and blinking – booting the app. But the car’s vibration interferes: she mis-stares, and the keyboard minimizes on startup; she blinks it back and its lambent green wire-frame skin unfurls above her lap; she tries to type, but vibration skews her key-strokes.

“I hate virtual keyboards,” she yowls.

Purse-lipped, Saloni flicks her a glance before jerking her eyes back to the road.

“The night is young but soon is getting older – it is like the virgin who will never be a grandmother. Dear girl, I am going to Woodstock to score.”

Darn blink and stare, fumes Leandré. It’s blinking useless!

And then thinks: I’m sure Saloni won’t mind if I switch to voice-to-text. The music shouldn’t interfere. But if it does…I’ll ask her to turn it down.

“Reinstate voice command.” says Leandré.

“Voice command reinstated,” responds her AR glasses’ on-board assistant. “How may I help you?”

“Voice-to-text…on my SpaceBook comments.”

“Hey! I’m not best Bombay taxi-driver, OK.” There’s a snarl in Saloni’s tone. “I thought you want to be with me. Not SpaceBook. Switch off!” Saloni flashes her a warning glare, before snapping eyes front – they’re motoring along forest-cloaked Rhodes Drive at illegal speed: Saloni is an aggressive but also meticulous driver.

“I worry. The last time you are with SpaceBook like this you went on downward spiral.”

Leandré twists, open mouthed. Saloni really must be upset – her rough Rylands grammar is showing.

“I thought you wanted to be with me,” Saloni amends. And then, wryly: “It was only your memories that repeatedly came back to me, but this time I wish you to come back instead.”

“I’m sorry,” says Leandré, shutting down her media.

And recalls their conversation before leaving the church, after Saloni pulled her away from Marcus.


“The night is young but soon is getting older – it is like the virgin who will never be a grandmother. Dear girl, I am going to Woodstock to score.”

“Score what?” asked Leandré, doubtfully.

“Only marijuana.”

Leandré weighed up her options: spend the rest of the evening unwinding with her bestie; or spend the evening getting closer to Marcus.

…Much too quickly.

She could feel that’s how it would be.

Patience, kitty, she cautioned herself, feeling again the eager twitch of little needle-like claws. You’ve been hurt before. And added, with a wry grimace, Remember: don’t roll over easy!

“Well?” meowed Saloni.

“I’m coming with you.” They had smoked together, once, maybe twice before – when things were not so good. But things were different now…

“Are you quite sure? You could stay, and play with that charming young man.”

Leandré snorted. “I’m coming with you.” Saloni looked pleased.

“But I’m not going to use.”

“You’re right. I did say I wanted to be with you,” admits Leandré.

“Good,” says Saloni, matter-of-factly. “Then we should talk.” She takes a breath.


“What about?” asks Leandré.

“That smock you’re wearing.”

“What about it?”

“It’s a lovely dress… But the neckline doesn’t suite your face.”


“It’s a strappy, square neck. And your face is long. You should be wearing a bateau, or crew. Maybe even a turtle.”

“But…that makes me look like a duck!”

“Yes, it’s your jaw.”

This is Not Fair! Leandré protests to herself. And remembers the hours she had spent in-store choosing the dress. She had liked the way the low, straight neckline set off her heart-shaped jaw; loved the way it showed off the tan glow of her skin. She had even fancied that it made her face look ‘aristocratic’.


Oh Lord, I’ve been a fool, she flushes. My face is too long: a giraffe – I’m a giraffe!

“Is that why you want me off-line?” Leandré snaps. “So that you can bitch at me?”


† Jubin Nautiyal, Tum Hi Aana, Marjaavaan.

Image Credits

Angel Wings by Sergei Tomakov on Pixabay

Twin Figures Beneath a Starry Sky

Intro Music (on Podcast)

Excerpt from Black, White and Blue by Paul du Preez

Disclaimer, Copyright and Permissions

Syblings the Syrial is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are the product of Paul du Preez’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

All rights are reserved, including without limitation, the right to reproduce Syblings the Syrial and the original art or music associated with it, or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Paul du Preez. Copyrighted 2020 by Paul du Preez.

The reader may download from this site for his or her personal use.

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