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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Country-gaming at the beach earlier this year.

"To play country-game you need two rings: a big outer one, then inside it, a little one, where the caller stands. You divide the outer ring depending on how many people are playing and cut it up in nice pieces like this. Each person then picks a piece and writes the name of the country on there, which is why it’s called country-game.
But first we have to fight over the names because everybody wants to be certain countries, like everybody wants to be the U.S.A. and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and France and Italy and Sweden and Germany and Russia and Greece and them. These are the country-countries. If you lose the fight, then you just have to settle for countries like Dubai and South Africa and Botswana and Tanzania and them. They are not country-countries, but at least life is better than here. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti, like Sri Lanka, and not even this one we live in—who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?
If I’m lucky, like today, I get to be the U.S.A., which is a country-country; who doesn’t know that the U.S.A. is the big baboon of the world? I feel like it’s my country now because my aunt Fostalina lives there, in Destroyedmichygen. Once her things are in order she’ll come and get me and I will go and live there also. After we have sorted the names we vote for the first caller. The caller is the person who stands in the little inner circle to get the game started. Everybody else stands in the bigger circle, one foot in his country, the other foot outside.
The caller then calls on the country of his choice and the game begins. The caller doesn’t just call on any country, though; he has to make sure it’s a country that he can easily count out. It’s like being in a war; in a war you don’t just start to fight somebody stronger than you because you will get proper clobbered. Likewise in country-game, it’s best to call somebody who is a weak runner so he can’t beat you. Once the caller calls we scatter and run as if the police themselves are chasing us, except for the country that’s been called; that one has to run right into the inner ring and shout, Stop-stop-stop!
Once everyone stops, the new country in the inner ring then decides who to count out. Counting out is done by taking at least three leaps to get to one of the countries outside. It’s easier to just count out the country closest to the outer ring, meaning whoever did not run that far—you just do your leaps nice and steady; the other country is counted out and has to sit and watch the game. But if you are the new country in the inner ring and cannot count anybody out in three leaps because you were not fast enough to stop the other countries, you pick the next caller and leave the game. It continues like that until there is only one country left, and the last country standing wins.
We are in the middle of the game, and it’s just getting hot; Sudan and Congo and Guatemala and Iraq and Haiti and Afghanistan have all been counted out and are sitting at the borders watching the country-countries play. We are running away from North Korea when we see the big NGO lorry passing Fambeki, headed toward us. We immediately stop playing and start singing and dancing and jumping." WNNN.
Za and Khanyi scattering.


  1. I really loved this part of "We need new names" it was well written

  2. Reading about my childhood was the best. Thanks for the gem, NoViolet. Mad, mad love!

  3. missing the game and smiling uncontrollably