<<recording starts>>

Post Mortem Recording 1a.  November, 2012.

Subject(s): 4 suspected victims of the ‘Blue House’ serial-killer

Scene of Crime: Atholl-Oaklands Road, near Melrose Arch, Gauteng

Presiding Doctors: Dr S’khovana and Dr S’khothane

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“Scalpel, Dr S’khothane”

“Of course, Dr S’khovana”

“I am now making the first vertical incision along the sternum. Note that there appears to be some sort of discolouration…”

“… yes, I can see it too. It looks like someone may have hurled some kind of solvent onto the victim before nailing it to the telephone pole. It smells like {sniffs} Johnnie Walker {sniffs} Blue. At least we know they’ve got good taste. Personally, I only ever pour out the Gold, especially if I’m gonna set it on fire. It burns so nicely in the flicker of the cheetahs and buffaloes…”

“Stop rambling, Dr S’khothane, and pass me that saw. We’re going to have to dig a bit deeper… All this surface matter is quite nauseating.”

“I concur, Dr S’khovana. Even from what I can make out, despite the beautifully shiny blue and white of the cardboard, I feel sickened. How could someone do that? How could someone use a verb like that? WINA. It’s not even Zulu. Do you think they used it ’cause they can’t pronounce NQOBA?”

“If you pay attention, Dr S’khothana, you will notice that the three other bodies have different wounds. However, it’s clear that only one thought was in the killer’s mind when doing the deed – WINNING. Look here – …WIN, …WEN, …WINA, …FENYA.”

“So they’re winners (or at least hopeful ones) – is there anything else that could point to the killer’s identity? I can smell something else under the Johnnie Black, but I can’t quite place it.”

“While you’re sniffing at potentially lethal substances, I’d like to draw your attention to these two victims to the left –  there’s craftsmanship in the English and Afrikaans ones, Dr S’Khothane. There’s evidence of premeditation here, and some ritual. In fact, I think I’ve seen this somewhere before.”

“Could it be? That smell that I couldn’t quite place, I think I have it now – it’s reminding me of the 80’s, and States of Emergency… it’s fear! They’re harnessing fear, Dr S’khovana!”

“I think you may be right, but look at this – the ‘hook’ of the English and Afrikaans is in the wordplay: REGISTER to VOTE has become REGISTER to WIN, and REGISTREER om te STEM has become REGISTREER om te WEN. Very subtle.”

“About as subtle as a truck, Dr S’khovana. The underlying message is that the fearful action of their supporters will stem (see what I did there?) the apathetic (but somehow still fearsome) Green and Black and Yellow tide. But at least no humans were harmed in the making of the Afrikaans and English ones – just imperatives and infinitives, command and effect, just like the good old days. In the others… I’m scared to look.”

“It takes a strong stomach, Dr S’khothane. I think that the killer may have been trying to connect more strongly with the readers in those languages, thus choosing second-person subjunctives to effect their purpose. It’s brutal, but effective.”

“I suppose so – “REGISTER so that YOU MAY WIN” is slightly better than “REGISTER to WIN”. They didn’t really have an option from an anatomical point of view, though, Dr S’khovana – the killing blow could only have entered through the purpose clause, severing both the English-Afrikaans puns and replacing them with a borrowed anglicism couched in a potential future. I still don’t understand why they didn’t use NQOBA.”

“I don’t think we’ll ever know, Dr S’khothane. One thing is for sure though.”

“What’s that?”

“My gut tells me that this isn’t the last we’ll see following this pattern. We may even have copycats before long. Prepare yourself – it’s going to get messy.”

<<recording ends>>