One Man’s Trash Replacing one type of pain with another has its uses.

He leaves the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura in a huff.

Things didn’t go quite as well as he had planned today.

His car reeks of leather and the absence of pets, hormonal teenagers, and his wife’s You Don’t Love Me Any More perfume.

They’ve all gone to The Farm for the weekend.

But he has work to do.

“Work” with a husband, two kids, and a need for some special attention.

He stops by the Supermarket For The Permanently Employed to pick up some No More Kids condoms, Fat Fuck wine and Had Too Much antacids.

He hopes she doesn’t expect him to feed her too.

Cooking for guests is not his forte.

She’s there when he gets home to his I’m Scared security complex.

Without wasting any time they proceed to the No Married Sex In Here main bedroom, where he throws her down onto the Don’t Cry On These With Your Make-Up On pillows.

He kisses her.

Her lips are stained in a bright shade of Waning Self-Esteem, which was on sale at Spend Your Money On Shit Here, while he fiddles with her Empty Promises bra.

She unbuttons his Good Boy shirt and takes off his Swimming In Debt watch when the dam walls break.

Her throat tightens and her High Expectations mascara starts to run.

“Why can’t you leave your wife for me?” she whispers.

His happy weekend deflates in his I Don’t Exercise pants.

“I can’t do this any more,” she says.

“I can do this a lot more,” he says.

What a dick, she thinks.

What a day, he thinks.

She leaves.

He throws away the No More Kids condoms, but drinks the Fat Fuck wine with last night’s Instagrammable pizza leftovers.

He stares down at the Teenagers Chomp Chips Here carpets and wishes they were rather You Better Not Spill On These rugs.

He’s so fucking tired.

He takes out the trash, plunges into the One Happy Family couch, watches nothing on There’s Nothing To Watch, and falls asleep, thinking he’ll mow the lawn tomorrow.

And of the chick in accounts he’ll make a move on next week.


Hendrik Goaseb has no idea what time it is.

But he knows it’s trash day in Klein Windhoek.

His bony back is killing him after a night of tossing and turning, with only two blankets between him and the floor in his one-room home.

He gets up and starts pushing his trolley in the direction of where he thinks the road is.

He can’t see his hand in front of his eyes, but he lets the smell of urine and human faeces guide him as he manoeuvres the trolley out from between the shacks.

His wife and kids have gone to work on a farm in the south, and for a split second he wonders what they would be eating today.

If they would be eating today.

The sheer exhaustion from pushing the trolley up Sam Nujoma Road past the Hilton in the dark is a welcome distraction from his family’s pain.

His pain.

Replacing one type of pain with another has its uses.

He finally reaches Nelson Mandela Road and stops at the Supermarket For The Permanently Employed to ask one of the vendors outside for some water.

From there it’s downhill, and his back will be pain free for long enough to allow him to inhale the sweet smell of privilege and breakfast in the suburbs a bit deeper.

He stops at the I’m Scared security complex, which is right next to the Please Don’t Take My Stuff apartment block.

The green rubbish bins are neatly lined up on the pavement.

Hendrik rummages through the first bin, and as usual can’t believe what people throw away.

Among the piles of dog shit in plastic bags, food covered in vape juice, and very empty wine bottles, there is always an old kettle, a fixable TV, unloved toys, and perfectly usable stationery.

He often finds clothing nothing’s wrong with, useless party decorations, and meaty chicken bones.

And sometimes, like today, he’ll find something odd.

Like an unopened box of No More Kids condoms.

Hendrik puts it in his pocket.

Maybe he can trade it for a loaf of Tastes Like Cardboard bread later.

Karin Eloff obtained an honours degree in psychology from the Rand Afrikaans University in 1997, and has been reporting and copy editing for the past 16 years in South Africa and Namibia.

She published a novel called Stiletto through Tafelberg Publishers in 2009, and co-compiled short-story collections Bloots and Skarlakenkoors for Tafelberg Publishers in 2013.

She is currently The Namibian’s chief copy editor.

Cover Image: Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash.