'Master Harold' ... And the Boys (2010) Script

You're listening to Springbok Radio and this is the news at six.

The entire population will be entered on a central register with separate classification for whites, natives, and coloreds.

Colored people are also to be subdivided into ethnic groups including I ndian and Chinese.

Do you really like it?

It's beautiful.

I think it's going to better than last year.

I want to finish it today so that I can practice in it.

Good idea.

...1957 and make all central...

You know I don't stand for second best.

Me neither.


Rain is expected...

Hally, are you up yet?

Hey Sam, you ready to bring home the title?

He's a dancer, not a fighter.

Did you hear about Verwoerd's new policy?

Policy?

It's on the wireless.

Hendrik Verwoerd wants to give our children Bantu education so they'll never be more than kitchen boys and street sweepers.

Hey wena, full upl No more.

Hey, Williel What about you, Willie? You ready for the big day?

Hey Willie, I know one of the ballroom judges.

He's from Motherwell Township.

Does he drink whiskey?

Maybe you can take him a case, Willie.

Haaikona, gents.

New Brighton must win this one fair and square.

Then we can't rely on Willie.


Don't worry about that one.

Willie, just remember what I told you, the secret is to make it look easy.

Ballroom must look happy.

Like, like romance.

I've got no romance left for Hilda anymore, Boet Sam.

Then pretend. I magine Hilda is Ginger Rogers.

With no teeth? You try.

Use one dab of Brylcreem just a little dab makes your hair look excitingly...

Hally, you're going to be late again I Brylcreem...

Brylcreem, a little dab'll do yah Brylcreem, you'll look so debonair.

Brylcreem, the gals'll all pursue yah they love to get their fingers in your...

I'm going, mum.

Okay. Where's my kiss?

Ah, you're not even dressed.

Bye, Hally. Have you got your lunch?


Kom, kom, julle passe! Let me see your passes.

Waar's jou pas?

Here, baas.

Baie dankie baas.

Hurry up.

Yes, Boss, I think I have it.

Hey, Sam I You dropped it on the busl May I, Boss?

Ja.

Sorry, Boss.

Semela?

Yes, Boss.

That's a Basutu name.

Yes, Boss.

So what are you doing here on the Eastern Oape?

Working, Boss. I've got Section 10.

The paper's in the back, Boss.

Okay.

Hey, Ballard I That's my boy I Must be hard to stand on three legs when you're pissed, hey.

Whoa!

Whoa!

That's my boy I

For his speech titled

"The greatest adventure show on earth... a drop of pond water under the microscope" Harold Ballard

That's my boy!

Aren't you having another drink, Harry?

He wasn't pissed.

Oh, yeah, I'm sure he wasn't.

How do you spell gimp?

Lost his legs in the Great War, huh, Hally?

Yeah.

Stupid cripple.

It's true, Boet Sam.

Hilda Samuels is a bitch!

Three nights now she doesn't come practice.

I wind up gramophone, I get record ready, and I sit and wait.

Ten o'clock I start dancing with my pillow.

How's your pillow with the quickstep?

Good! And why?

Because she's got no legs. That's her trouble.

She can't move them quick enough.

Struesgod, she doesn't come tonight I take back my dress, my ballroom shoes I find me a new partner.

Size 26. Shoe size 7.

Hey, Willie.

Ja, and now she's making trouble for me with the baby again.

Reports me to child welfare, that I'm not giving her money.

Haai boet Sam man.

She lies, Boet Sam.

Every week I am giving her money for milk.

And how do I know its my baby?

Only his hair look like me.

Ach.

Good morning, Madam.

Good morning.

Morning. Did you oversleep again, Willie?

Or are you going to blame the bus this time?

The bus was late, Madam, and the police were checking for passes.

Ja, every day a new excuse.

It's true, Mrs. Ballard.

It was easier when we were allowed to live here in town.

Ja, okay. Hurry up now. The water's not even boiling.

And Willie.

Yes, Madam.

I want clean tablecloths out.

Yes, Madam.

Come, come.

The Population Registration Act and the Bantu Education Act.

Music, Boet Sam.

Hendrik Verwoerd, Minister of Native Affairs was compiling a curriculum...

Okay, Willie.


Hey, hey, hey. This is a tea room, not a sheen.

Sorry, Madam.

Sorry, Madam.

Come now, you've got work to do.

Sorry, Madam.

I hope you've sharpened those pencils.

I want to see the three projections of the clutch plate.

Ballard, Ballard, Ballard.

Tell your parents you want be a librarian.

Yeah.


Try and keep it down, chum.

Can't we ask the nurse for more painkillers?

Sorry, pal. I'd be much better off if I was back home.

It was a bad fall, chum. It's for the best.

Dr. Oolley's still got tests to do and things.


Sam, I have to go to the hospital.

Tell Hally I'll phone him.

Yes, Madam.

Tell Willie to clean this floor.

Yes.

Bloody rain.

Make sure Hally eats some lunch.

Yes, Madam.

And tell Willie no buggering around.

Yes, Madam.

So much for business.

I mean it.

Of course, Madam.

# She was scandalizing my name #

# She took my money She called me honey #

# She called this love She was playin' a game ##

Alright. Oh.

Hey, Boet Sam, I'm getting it.

The quickstep!

Look now and tell me.

Show me again.

Oount for me.

Ready?

Ready.

And five, six, seven, eight And one, two, three, four five, six, seven, eight...

Your shoulders!

Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight Don't look down, Willie!

Two, three, four, five, six... look happy I No, Willie, relax.

I'm relaxed.

No, you're not. Willie, relax!

I am relaxed! Relax.

Breathe, and relax.

Boet Sam!

You make me make mistakes.

No, you are too stiff. You must try to glide through it.

Glide?

Ja, give it more style.

You must look like you are enjoying yourself.

I wasn't.

Exactly.

Willie... tell me something.

When did you last give Hilda a hiding?

Sunday night.

Aah, hiding on Sunday night then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday she doesn't come to practice.

And you are asking me why.

One day she's going to leave you for good.

So, she makes me the hell in.

You had the same trouble with Eunice.

Because she also made me the hell in, Boet Sam.

Willie...

She never got the steps right, even the waltz.

Beating her up every time she makes a mistake in the waltz no, Willie, that takes the pleasure out of ballroom dancing.


Look and learn don't worry about making mistakes or the judges or the other competitors.

It's just you, Hilda, and the music.

And you are going to have a good time.

Okay, Sam.

What Oount Basie do you play?

U m, "You the cream on my cupcake you're the salt in my soup. "

M m-hm, right, right. Give it to me in strict tempo.

Okay. Ready?

Ready.

# And you're the cream on my cupcake #

# You're the salt in my soup #

# You will always be right here for me #

# I'm a mess without you, bam-bam I ##

Great, Boet Sam.

Bravo. No question about it.

First place, Mr. Sam Semela.

Ohhh!

Howzit, chaps?

Okay, Hally.

At your service, Master Harold.

Not long to the big event, hey?

Two weeks' time.

You think you stand a chance?

Let's just say I'm ready to go out there and dance. Ahhh.

Ahhh.

You look like it. What about you, Willie?

He's got leg trouble.

Boet Sam!

Ah, sorry to hear that, Willie.

Oh, God, what a lousy bloody day.

Bad day for business, chaps, but... it leaves room for a nice quiet afternoon.

Ah. Where's my mom? Shopping?

The hospital.

But it's Thursday.

There's no visiting on Thursday afternoons. Is Dad okay?

I'm not sure, Halley, the hospital phoned.

Maybe he's coming home.

What makes you say that?

Oh, I don't know, I just heard your mom talking.

She said she'd phone you.

You want to eat?

Halley, do you want lunch?

Ja, just soup.

Kempston? Mental pollution.

Take them away.

They can't be discharging him.

They said he'd need at least another three weeks of treatment!

No, Willie, Sam's definitely made a mistake!

H uh.

So, Willie!


So, Willie, which leg is sore?

Boet Sam is only making jokes.

So you'll be in the competition?

Only if I find myself a partner.

What about Hilda?

She's the one with leg trouble.

I think the lady's gone a bit lame.

Boet Sam I Have you taken her to see a doctor, Willie?

I think a vet would be better.

What the hell do you think you're doing, Willie!

Act your bloody age! Get on with your work.

You, too, Sam. Stop fooling around.

No. Hang on. Tell me exactly what my mom said.

I have.

"When Hally comes, tell him I've gone to the hospital and I'll phone him. "

So she didn't say anything about taking my dad home?

No, it's just when she was... No, Sam, it's just...

We saw him last night and he wasn't in good shape at all.

And now suddenly today he's better?

You've definitely got it wrong.

Okay, Hally.


Who is this supposed to be?

Old fart-face Prentice.

Teacher?

He thinks he is.

Has he seen it? Ja.

Said I was no Leonardo da Vinci and that bad art had to be punished.

Six of the best?

And his are bloody good.

With your trousers down!

No. He's not quite that barbaric.

Ja. That's the way they do it in jail.

Really?

Ja. When the magistrate sentences you to "strokes with a light cane. "

Go on.

Come, Willie!

First you have to lie on a bench one policeman pulls your trousers down and holds your ankles.

It's not fair, is it, Hally?

A kaffir's black ass.

The other policeman pulls your shirt over your head and holds your arms.

Thank you, that's enough.

Then the one who's about to give you the strokes...

I've heard enough, Sam!

Jesus!

It's a bloody awful world when you come to think of it.

That's the way it is, Hally.

Well, it doesn't have to be.

You'll see, somebody's going to get up one of these days and...

They're called social reformers.

My history book's full of them.

So where is ours?

I don't know, Sam.

Napoleon and the Principle of Equality.

"Napoleon regarded all people as equal under the law

"and wanted them to have equal opportunities for advancement.

All ves-ti-ges"...

All that's remaining.

"All vestiges of the feudal system with its oppression of the poor were abolished. "

Aha! There's the social reformer that we've been waiting for.

No, sure, Hally. He sounds like somebody who is big.

Big and important.

What would you call it?

A man of... magnitude.

Magnitude. Aha.

I don't know, Sam.

Well, who would you say was?

Abraham Lincoln.

No, Sam, now you're confusing historical significances with greatness.

Try turning it the other way.

I know what I'm doing.

How did it happen?

Stop interfering with my work, Sam.

Wait a minute... I got it! Darwin! Oharles Darwin.

The Origin of the Species. Remember?

He's your man of magnitude?

Ja, precisely. For his theory of evolution.

Who's yours?

Jesus.

Oh, come on, Sam.

Jesus Ohrist.

The Messiah.

Sam.

The Saviorl Ja, but still... No, Sam.

Don't let's get started on religion.

I'm not going to waste my time again arguing with you about the existence of God!

You know perfectly well I'm an atheist and I've got homework to do!

Okay, Hally, okay, I take him back.

You have time for one more name.

Willie, what are you doing?

Singing with God, Master Harold.

Ohh.

Hally! I've got one.

I doubt it.

Think moldy apricot jam.

Penicillin and Sir Alexander Fleming!

Splendid, Sam! Splendid!

It's deeply gratifying to know that I haven't been wasting my time in talking to you.

Tolstoy may have educated his peasants but I've educated you.

My first lesson was geography.

Geography? God, ja, the J ubilee Boarding House.

That's how it all started.

Nothing but bloody misery wherever you went.

Somebody was always complaining about the food or my mother was having a fight with M icky Nash because she'd caught her with a petty officer in her room.

Maude Meiring was another one.

Do you remember those two?

There were prostitutes, you know. Ja.

Soldiers and sailors from the troopships.

Bottom fell out of the business when the war ended.

God, the flotsam and jetsam that life washed up on our shores, eh?

The memories are coming back now.

Walking home from school and thinking:

"What can I do this afternoon?"

And tried a few ideas, but sooner or later I'd end up back in there with you fellows.

Like that time I barged in and caught you and Myriam... at it. Remember?

Hell, Sam, couldn't you have waited until it was dark?

No...

And if you don't believe me wait until your time comes.

No, thanks.

Now, where was I?

Oh, ja, a gray little room with a cold cement floor.

Your bed was against that wall.

And I now know why the mattress sagged so much!

Sam, your things neat and tidy in a trunk right next to your bed and on it is a picture of you and Myriam in your ballroom clothes your first silver cup for third place in a competition and an old radio.

Sam, do you want me to teach you about South Africa?

Sure, I'd like to learn about South Africa.

Right, repeat after me, Sam.

Gold in the Transvaal.

Gold in the Transvaal.

Mealies in the Free State.

Mealies in the Free State.

Sugar in Natal.

Sugar in Natal.

Grapes in the Cape.

Grapes in the Cape.

Good. Okay, now once more from the beginning.

Haai man, haai, it's too late for school.

What are you doing in bed, Willie?

Hey, wena.

Williel

Hally, are you in there?

Sam, Willie... Is he in here with you boys?

Hally, will you come out of there at once!

So much for friendship, huh.

Hally, we couldn't lie to her, she already knew.

Ha, it's more likely your brain was getting fried and you wanted me out of there before I got on to the rivers and mountains.

No, Hally, I was happy for the lesson.

But, come now, Hally, it wasn't all so bad.

Ja, it was.

No, Hally.

Okay, maybe there was one good day.

Only one?

Ja.

And?

Come on, Sam...

Tell us, Hally.

Please, Master Harold, we want to hear.

It started off looking like another of those useless nothing to do afternoons.

I'd already been down to Main Street looking for adventure.

But nothing happened.

I didn't feel like climbing trees or pretending I was a private eye and following a stranger so, as usual:

See what's cooking in Sam's room.

This time it was you on the floor.

You had two thin pieces of wood and you were smoothing them down with a knife.

It didn't look particularly interesting but when I asked you what you were doing you just said

"Wait and see, Hally. Wait and see... " in that secret way of yours so I knew there was a surprise coming.

You teased me, you bugger, by being deliberately slow not answering my questionsl And whistling while you worked away I God, it was infuriating I I could have brained you I It was only when you tied the two pieces of wood together into a cross and put that down on the brown paper that I realized what you were doing.

Sam's making a kite.

I mean, the sheer audacity of it took my breath away.

Seriously, what the hell does a black man know about flying a kite?

I'll be honest with you, Sam, I had no hope for it, none at all.

No, if you think I was excited and happy you got another guess coming.

I n fact, I was shit-scared we were going to make fools of ourselves.

Ja, I could see that.

I made it obvious, did I?

You refused to carry it.

Do you blame me?

Can you remember what the poor thing looked like?

Tomato-box wood, brown paper Flour and water for gluel And then two of my mother's old stockings for a tail and all those bits and pieces of string you had me tie together so that we could fly it I Hell, no, that was only asking for a miracle to happen.

No, Sam, that kite will never fly.

Not without a tail it won't.

Harold!

Hally!

So what happened?

Come on, Sam, you remember it as well as I do.

I want to hear it from you.


When I let the kite go, you run.

No, do you want me to be a laughingstock?

Of who?

Come on now, let's try it.

This is it, I thought like everything else in my life here comes another fiasco.

Then you shouted, "Go, Hally, gol"

Ready... and go.

And I started to run.

Faster, Hally I Fasterl I don't know how to describe it, Sam.

Jal Ja, the miracle happened.

I was running, waiting for it to crash to the ground behind me but instead I felt something alive at the end of the string tugging at it as if it wanted to be free.

You shouted to me to let it have more string and I did, until there was none left and I was just holding that one piece of wood we'd tied to it.

And I looked back and I still can't believe my eyes.

It was flying!

Looping around and trying to climb up even higher into the sky.

It works, Sam, it worksl We've done it I And we had. I was so proud of us.

It was the most splendid thing I'd ever seen.

And you came up and joined me. You were laughing.

She's beautiful, Sam.

That she is.

The part that scared me, though was when you showed me how to make it dive to the ground then just on the point of crashing swoop it up again.

You didn't want to try it.

Of course not.

God, I'd have been suicidal if anything had happened to it watching you do it made me nervous enough.

I was quite happy just to see it up there with its tail fluttering behind it.

Who's laughing at you now?

You left me after that, didn't you?

You explained how to get it down we tied it to the bench so that I could sit and watch it but then you went away.

I wanted you to stay, you know.

I was a little scared about having to look after it by myself.

I had work to do.


Why'd you make that kite, Sam?

I can't remember.

Truly?

Too long ago, Hally.

It's time for another one, you know wouldn't be a good day to fly it, though.

No, you can't fly kites on rainy days.

Strange, isn't it?

What?

You and me a little white boy and a black man flying a kite.

Not every day you see that.

But why strange?

I don't know.

Would have been just as strange, I suppose had it been me and my dad.

A crippled man and a white boy.

Nope!

No, there's no chance of me flying a kite without it being strange.

There's a nice little story in that, you know.

"The Kite-Flyers. "

But we'd have to find a twist in the ending.

Twist...?

Yes, something unexpected.

I mean, the way it ended with us was far too straightforward... me on the bench and you going back to work.

There's no drama in that.

St. George's Park Tea Room.

Yes, Madam.

He's here.

Hally?

It's your mother.

Hello Mom?

Hally, I'm bringing Daddy home.

Oh, God!

But how can he get better so suddenly?

He's not really better it's just... he wants to come home.

Well, well, then very obviously you must say no!

Be firm with him, Mom.

Say Dr. Oolley wants more X-rays of his stump.

Or bribe him. We'll sneak double tots of brandy in future.

But Daddy's already up and ready to go, Hally.

Well, order him to get back into bed at once!

If he's going to behave like a child, treat him like one.

No, Hally I Nol Okay, Mom I I was just trying to...

You know how much he loves you.

I'm sorry.

That's not good, Hally.

I said I'm sorry.

Wait, my tickey-box is running out.

Tell the boys when they're finished with the floors they must clean the windows.

Okay, Mom, just listen to me carefully.

All it needs is for you to put your foot down.

Do you hear me?

I'll see what I can do.

My mom says that when you're finished with the floors you must do the windows.

Don't misunderstand me, chaps all I want is for him to get better.

And if he was, I'd be the first person to say, "Bring him home" but he's just not.

So don't just stand there! Get on with it!

What about when he's home?

Do you want me to pass my exams at the end of the year or don't you?

Agh, Hally, don't start with that talk.

I'm supposed to be fresh for school and I spend half the night massaging his gammy leg.

Hally, respect!

I'm not being disrespectful I'm just sick and tired of changing his stinking chamber pots full of phlegm and piss.

No, you don't.

I do. When you're not there he asks me to do it.

Why do you think I've got no appetite for my food?

You're not eating?

There's a lot of things you don't know.

For your information, I still haven't got that science textbook I need.

Well, I gave you the money.

Yes, and he borrowed it.

For what?

Why do you think, Mom? Booze.

All I can say is fick-it-all.

I'm sure he'll listen to your mom.

Please, Sam. He'll tie her up in knots.

I suppose he gets lonely there.

With all the nurses and patients around?

Regular visits from the Salvation Army. Balls!

It's ten times worse for him at home.

I'm at school and my mother's here all day.

At least he's got you at night.

And we've got him!

Lts just a plain bloody mess, this is.

And people are fools. They bloody well deserve what they get.

All right, Hally, all right.

What homework do you have?

Bullshit as usual.

Write 500 words describing an annual event of cultural or historical significance.

Well, that should be easy enough for you.

Please, Sam I Just leave me.

I'm not in the mood for games.

And remember, you're to help Willie with the windows.

Come on, now. I don't want any nonsense.

All right, all right.

Scary enough?

It could've been scarier, chum.

Yes, the music was creepy.

Really creepy.

How about when the woman went into the church?

We saw the dark shadow following her?

That's when you first grabbed my arm, right?

Right.

If you didn't lose your leg in the last war you would be there, wouldn't you, Dad?

Fighting H itler?

I didn't lose my leg in the war, chum.

I fell down the ship's gangway on the trip over from South Hampton.

I never got to the war, Hally.

One, two, three, one...

One, two, three, one...

One, two, three.

Much better.

Just a little quick on the turn.

See what happens when you relax and enjoy yourself.

But I don't have a partner, Boet Sam.

Maybe Hilda will turn up tonight?

No, I gave her a good hiding.

You mean a bad one.

Good bad one.

They'll refund you if you withdraw now.

No! I wait too long and I practice too hard.

Then find Hilda.

Tell her that you are sorry and that you promise not to beat her again.

No.

Then withdraw.

No!

Then I give up.

Haaikona, Boet Sam, you can't.

What do you mean, I can't? I'm telling you, I give up.

No! It was you who start me ballroom dancing.

So?

Before that, I used to be happy.

Are you blaming me?

Yes.

Hey Willie... Willie?

And now all you do is make jokes?

You wait. When Myriam leave you, it will be my turn to laugh.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

If Myriam leaves me tonight I know what to do.

U h-huh?

May I have the pleasure?

# I'm just a fellow with a pillow #

Sam!

# Dancin' like a willow I n the autumn breeze #

Boet Sam I Boet Sam I I swear, I don't know...

For Ohrist's sake, you two! Sam, Willie!

How the hell am I supposed to concentrate?

He start doing...

Shut up, Willie. Get on with your work.

You too, Sam.

Do you want another one, Willie?

Willie.

Suppose a customer had walked in then?

Or the park superintendent?

That would have been the end of my mother's license and your jobs!

Well, from now on there will be no more of your ballroom nonsense in here.

It's a harmless pleasure, Hally.

It's also a rather simple one, you know.

You reckon so? Have you ever tried?

You're not asking me to take ballroom dancing serious, are you?

Yes.

Oh, well, so much for trying to give you a decent education.

What's wrong with admiring something that is beautiful and then trying to do it yourself?

I'm sure the word you mean to use is entertaining.

No. Beautiful.

And if you want proof come to the Centenary Hall in New Brighton in two weeks' time.

Please, Sam, I've seen the two of you prancing around in here often enough.

Look, this is not the real thing, Hally... We're just...

So? I can use my imagination.

And?

I see lot of people dancing around and having a so-called good time.

We're getting ready for the championships, Hally not just another dance.

Yes, there will be a lot of people and yes, they will be having a good time but those are only spectators.

It's just the competitors out there on the dance floor.

Party decorations and fancy lights all around the walls.

And the ladies in beautiful evening dresses!

My mother's got one of those, Sam and quite frankly it's an embarrassment every time she wears it.

And your imagination left out the excitement.

One of those couples will be the 1950 Eastern Province Champions.

And your imagination left out the music.

Mr. Elijah Gladman Guzanna and his Orchestral Jazzonians!


And finally, your imagination left out the climax of the evening.

The dancing is finished and the judges have stopped whispering among themselves.

The Master of Ceremonies collects the scorecards and goes up to the stage to announce the finalists.

Okay. And you say it takes place every year?

Every year, Master Harold.

But only every third year in New Brighton.

Which, I guess, makes it an even more significant event.

Our "occasion" is now a "significant event. "

I wonder.

"Write 500 words describing an annual event of cultural or historical significance. "

You going to write about it, Master Hally?

Shall we give it a go?

I'm ready.

Me also.

Right. To build the tension and suspense, I need facts, Sam.

Give him facts, Boet Sam. Facts!

What you called the climax... how many finalists?

Six couples.

Go on. Give me the picture.

The six finalists go onto the dance floor and take up their positions.

The Master of Ceremonies goes to the microphone.

Ja... sh... we know how to make a noise, hey?

But that's okay, it means we know how to enjoy ourselves.

And isn't that what we're here for!

Ladies and gentlemen.

My, my, my.

Aren't they looking absolutely beautiful?

Yesl Yesl

No, I'm not talking about our judges I'm talking about our finalists.

That's a good touch... a joke.

Oreating a relaxed atmosphere which will soon change to one of tension and drama as the climax is approached.

Ladies and gentlemen we've now come to the great moment that we've been waiting for this evening.

The finals of the 1950 Eastern Province Open Ballroom Dancing Ohampionships.

Let me introduce the finalists!

Mr. And Mrs. Welcome Tchabalala from Kingwilliamstown!

Mr. M ulligan N kikelane and Miss Nomhle N konyeni of Grahamstown.

Mr. Fats Bokolane and Miss Dina Plaatjies from East London.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Down, boys. Down, boys.

Mr. Willie Malopo and Miss Hilda Samuels!

Me?

Hilda!

Relaxed and ready to romance.

Okay, here we go. Take it away, boys.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

Good, that's good. Keep it up, Willie!

Okay, now how are the points scored?

A maximum of 10 points each for individual style, deportment, rhythm and general appearance.

And penalties?

Penalties?

Ja. For doing something wrong.

Say you stumble or bump into somebody.

Hally...

What?

Willie.

What?

He wants to know what happens if me and Myriam bump into you and Hilda.

Why? What did I say?

Hally, there are no collisions out there.

That's what that moment is all about.

To be one of the finalists out there on that dance floor is like... like being in a dream about a world in which accidents don't happen.

Jesus, Sam! That's beautiful.

Ja, it is, Master Hally.

It's beautiful because that's what we want life to be.

But instead, like you, Hally we're bumping into each other all the time.

None of us know the steps and there's no music playing.

And it doesn't just stop with us.

America is bumping into Russia England is bumping into I ndia rich man into poor man.

Those are big collisions.

People get hurt and we're sick and tired of it now.

Are we never going to get it right, Hally?

Learn to dance life like champions instead of always being just a bunch of beginners at it.

You've got a vision, Sam.

Not just me. Everybody's got it.

That's why there's only standing room left at the Oentenary Hall.

For as long as the music lasts we are going to see six couples get it right the way we want life to be.

Is this the best we can do, Sam?

Dream about the way it should be?

Without the dream we won't know what we're going for.

Oh, when you come to think of it that's what the U nited Nations boils down to... a dancing school for politicians!

H mmm. Let's hope they learn, Hally.

All right. This is a lot bigger than I thought.

So what have we got?

Our title. "A World Without Oollisions. "

"A World Without Oollisions. " Beautiful.

Subtitle, "Global Politics on the Dance Floor. "

Eh.

Nah, a bit heavy, hey?

How about " Ballroom Dancing as a Political Vision"?

Saint George's Park Tea Room.

Yes, Madam.

Hally, it's your mom.

Hally, she's waiting.


Hello, Mom.

I've brought Daddy home, Hally.

Hally.

Hally, are you there?

Well, I just hope you know what you've let us in for.

Give him a chance. Please?

Okay, Mom I But just remember to start hiding your bag away again because he'll be at your purse before long, for money, for booze.

I don't want to hear you talking like this.

Then don't complain to me when he starts his old tricks.

When do I ever complain to you?

Yes, I get it from you one side and him on the other and it makes life hell for me.

I'm warning you now when the two of you start fighting again I'm leaving home.

Oh, Hally, how can you...

Mom, if you start crying, I'm going to put down the receiver.

That's enough now.

We're all going to try to do our very best.

Okay, Mom.

Aren't we, Hally?

Okay, Mom. I heard you.

Do you want to say hello?

No! I'll see him when I get home!

He wants to talk to you.

Mom! I don't want to!

No, Mom. No, Mom, I don't want tol Nol Mom I Hello?

Welcome home, chum!

Sorry to spring this on you, chum.

I bet the last thing you need right now is your old man back home fouling everything up.

Don't be silly, Dad.

You being home is just about the best news in the world.

Hell, man, I'm happy to be out of that place.

I bet you are.

Bloody depressing there with everybody going on about their aliments, hey.

Like a bunch of old women.

So how you feeling?

Fighting fit, chum.

Good.

How're things with you, pal?

Everything's just hunky-dory on my side, Dad.

Good. So... what's up?

Oh, well... well, to start with there's a nice pile of comics for you on the counter.

Batman and Robin, Submariner... just your cup of tea.

Ahhh I I'll bring them home.

Good. I've got some great new jokes to tell you, chum.

Ja, sure, we'll spin a few yarns tonight.

Ja.

That's for sure.

All right then, chum, I'll see you in a little while.

You won't be late?

No, I promise. I'll come straight home.

Okay, I'm handing you back to the commanding officer.

Hally, now don't forget to bring home Daddy's brandy.

Yes, I'll put it in my bag now, for God's sake. Bye.

That sounded like quite a bump, Hally.

M ind your own business, Sam.

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interfere.

Shall we carry on? Hally?

Boet Sam, tell him about when they're giving out the cups.

Jal That's another big moment.

The presentation of the cups after the winner has been announced.

The presentation of the cups.

You've got to put that in there, Master Hally.

So much for a bloody world without collisions.

We did say it was only a dream.

Life's a fick-up and it's never going to change.

Maybe that's true.

There's no maybe about it.

All we've done this afternoon is waste our time.

Not if we get your homework done.

I don't give a shit about my homework!

Hurry up now and finish your work.

I want to lock up and get out of here.

And go where?

Home-sweet-freaking-home.

Jesus, I hate that word.

Do you want to know what's really wrong with your lovely little dream, Sam?

It's not just that we're all bad dancers there's more to it than that.

'Oause you left out the cripples.

Hally.

Jal Ja, they're also out there dancing... like a bunch of broken spiders trying to do the quickstep.

I mean it's bad enough on two legs but one and a pair of crutchesl That's guaranteed to turn that dance floor into a shambles.

For once this afternoon let's use our imaginations sensibly, right?

There's no music, nobody knows the steps and the cripples are always out there tripping everyone else up and it's called the All-Comers-

How-To-Make-a-Fickup- of-Life Ohampionship.

And guess who I think is going to be this year's winner?

Now, Hally, stopl That's your father you're talking about.

So?

Take back those words and ask for forgivenessl It's a terrible sin for a son to mock his father with jokes like that.

Hally, I understand how you are feeling, but even so...

No, you don't!

I think I do.

And I'm telling you you don't!

Nobody does!

It's your turn to be careful, Sam. Very careful!

Just leave me and my father alone!

I'm not the one saying terrible things about him.

What goes on between me and my dad is none of your businessl Okay, then don't tell me about it.

All that concerns you in here, Sam is to try and do what you get paid for.

Keep the place clean and serve the customers.

My mother's always warned me about allowing you to get too familiar.

You're only a servant in here and don't forget it.

And as far as my father's concerned all you need to remember is that he is your boss.

No, he isn't. I get paid by your mother.

He's a white man and that's good enough for you.

I'll try to forget you said that.

Don't.

Look, Hally... You're right.

If we're not careful, somebody is going to get hurt.

I don't know what you're talking about.

Yes, you do.

Jesus!

I wish you'd stop trying to tell me what I do and what I don't know.

Come, Willie, let's finish up.

Don't turn your back on me!

Don't do that!

All right.

I'm listening. What do you want to say to me?

Well, to start with why don't you start calling me Master Harold like Willie.

Do you mean that?

Why the hell do you think I said it?

If I don't?

You might just lose your job.

If you make me say it once I'll never call you anything else again.

So? Is that meant to be a threat?

Just telling you what will happen.

You must decide what it means to you.

Well, I have.

It's good news.

Because that's exactly what Master Harold wants from now on.

Think of it as a little lesson in respect, Sam that's long overdue.

My dad agrees with my mom, you know.

"You must teach the boys to show you more respect, my son. "

So now you can stop complaining about going home.

Everybody is going to be happy tonight.

That's perfectly correct.

You see You mustn't get the wrong idea about me and my dad, Sam.

We also have our good times together.

Some bloody good laughs.

Want to know what our favorite joke is?

He gives out this big groan, you see, and says

"Oh, it's not fair, is it, Hally?"

Then I have to ask, "What chum?"

And then he says, "A kaffir's ass. "

We both have a good laugh.

Oh, what's... what's the matter, Willie?

Don't you catch the joke?

It's what's called a pun.

You see, fair means both light in color and to be just and decent.

I thought you would catch it, Sam.

I catch it all right.

But it doesn't appeal to your sense of humor?

Do you really laugh?

Of course.

To please him? To make him feel good?

No, for heaven's sake!

I laugh because I think it's a bloody good joke.

You're really trying hard to be ugly, aren't you?

And why drag poor Willie into it?

He's done nothing but show you the respect that you want so badly.

And that also is not "fair" and this time I mean just or decent.

Sam, It's all right. Leave it now.

Why didn't you just say "Sam's ass"?

That's the ass you're trying to kick.

Anyway, how do you know it's not fair?

You've never seen it.

Do you want to?

There. Have a good look.

A real Basuto ass.

Look at my assl Satisfied?

Now you can make your dad even happier.

Tell him I showed you my ass and yes, he is right.

It's not fair.

Come, Willie, let's finish up.

Sam...

Leave it, Boet Sam.

It's all right, Willie.

Well, you've done it...

Master... Harold.

I'll start calling you that from now on.

It won't be difficult anymore.

You just hurt yourself.

I saw it coming I tried to warn you, but you wouldn't listen.

So now you just hurt yourself bad.

And you're a coward, Master Harold.

The face you should be spitting in is your father's but you used mine, because you think you are safe inside your fair skin I

No, Boet Sam.

You don't know all of what you've just done...

Master Harold.

Not only have you made me feel dirtier than ever I've ever been in my life.

But how do I wash off yours and your father's filth?

A long time ago I made a promise to myself but you've just shown me, Master Harold...

I've failed.

I've also got a memory... of a little white boy in short trousers and a black man but they were not flying a kite.

It was the old J ubilee days after dinner one night.

You came into my room and stood against the wall looking down at the ground.

Ahh.

What is it, Hally?

And only after I'd asked you I don't know how many times, "What do you want?"...

Hally, what's wrong?

...did you finally speak and so soft I could barely hear you.

Come now.

"Sam, please help me fetch my Dad. "

Do you remember?

He was dead drunk on the floor of the Oentral Hotel Bar.

They phoned your mother, but you were the only one home.

You went in first and asked permission for me to go in.

Wat soek jy hier?

You better take him home, he's pissed himself.

You mean, pissed again.

Come, Mr. Ballard.

I loaded your dad on my back and I carried him like a baby.

Poor thing.

What a disgrace.


Get me some water from the basement.

We have to clean him up.

Don't let them take my other leg, Hally.

Promise, you won't let them take my other leg?

I won't.

I felt for that little boy...

Master Harold.

I felt for him.

I love him, Sam.

I know you do.

That's why I tried to stop you from saying those things.

You love him... but you are ashamed of him.

You are ashamed of so much!

And now that's going to include yourself.

That's the promise that I made to myself to try to stop that from happening.

You didn't do anything wrong, but for days you went around, as if you owed the world an apology, for being alive.

I didn't like seeing that.

That's not the way a boy grows up to be a man!

But the one who should have been teaching you what it means was the cause of your shame.

And if you really want to know that's why I made you that kite.

I wanted you to look up to be proud of something of yourself... and you certainly were that when I left you up there on the hill with the kite.

Something elsel If you ever do write a short story about it there was a twist in the ending.

I couldn't sit and stay there with you.

It was a "White's Only" bench.

You were too young, too excited to notice.

But not anymore.

And if you're not careful, "Master Harold... " you will be sitting up there by yourself, for a long time to come, and there won't be a kite in the sky.


Willie...

Will you lock up for me and look after the keys?

Okay.


You forgot the comics.


Hally...

I've got no right to tell you what it is to be a man if I don't behave like one myself.

Should we try again?

Try what?

Fly another kite, I suppose.

You can't fly kites on rainy days, remember?

So what do we do?

Hope for better weather tomorrow?

I don't know.

I don't know anything anymore.

You sure of that, Hally?

Because it would be pretty hopeless if that were true.

Anyway, I don't believe you.

I reckon there's one thing you know.

You don't have to sit up there by yourself.

You know what that bench means now.

And all you have to do is stand up... and walk away from it.


Come inside, Boet Sam.

It's going to be okay tomorrow.


Boet Sam, you're right.

I think about it and you're right.

Tonight I find Hilda and say I'm sorry.

And promise not to beat her no more.

You hear me, Boet Sam?

I hear you, Willie.

Then we practice.

Then I relax and romance with her from beginning to end.

Non-stop! You watch, Boet Sam!

Two weeks' time, "First prize for promising newcomers Mr. Willie Malopo and Miss Hilda Samuels. "


How did you say it, Boet Sam?

Let's dream.

You lead, I follow.