Paula was growing impatient and so were the eight people with her. She looked at their faces and she could see anger and disappointment. The three hours they had waited had managed to change sweet smiling faces to angry monsters. She had arrived at eight o'clock and found two people waiting outside on the dirty veranda. They smiled at her and motioned her to wait close to the door. The sun was out but not hot enough for an October morning. She stood next to a man. He seemed to have been oblivious of everything that was going on and as such had a surprised look every time someone addressed him. She decided to call him bemused Carl. ‘Good morning,' she greeted him. Startled out of his day dream, he muttered a response. ‘Quite a beautiful bright morning' spoke the lady in a loud British accent. ‘Yes it is.' She responded with a smile. ‘You know, it is very chilly where I come from and we barely see the sun.' continued the lady with an excitement. Paula observed that the lady had too much excitement to talk to her. Paula though, was not the type to be caught into small talk that she had not started. ‘Is it? The Western Province is quite warm.' She answered trying so hard to look at the woman. ‘I'm done, please come and sit in the waiting room,' a cleaning lady spoke as she ushered them into the room she had just finished cleaning. The three of them walked briskly to the door. It was only when they tried to open the door that they discovered that they could not all fit at the same time so they awkwardly walked back and gave each other turns. Paula was the last to enter. The room was spacious enough to host forty people but had only about fifteen chairs spaced out through the room. The set up was like a classroom as the chairs were arranged into three rows and five columns, facing the left side of the room. It was lit by a chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room. She sat on the first chair in front and looked at her watch; 8:15. In a minute or two, three people flocked into the room and quickly sat down in the back row. She turned and saw that it was a large man; with an unkempt beard, a woman much like herself; slim tall and light skinned and another woman; short, dark and plump with a beautiful smile. As she was about to turn her head two men walked in dressed neatly carrying briefcases. The room responded with energy. Bemused Carl, still oblivious of the situation, stood up and bowed. The men sat down in the row in front of him. Chuckles filled the room. At exactly 8:30, a man in his late forties appeared at the door, Paula turned and saw that he had an apologetic look that spoke deeply into her soul. He walked straight to the front and sat next to her. ‘Isn't it odd that we all don't know what time this will start?' asked the man. ‘Oh, I was told to be here by eight ten so I assumed we'll start by eight thirty,' replied Paula surprised. ‘I was told to be here by eight thirty but I came at eight. I was standing across the street and observing what was happening.' ‘Oh, ok,' reacted Paula who had a heightened interest in what the other attendees had been told. She surveyed the room's occupants. For the first time she saw it; anxiety; some people were looking straight ahead lost in thought while others were surveying the room. By ten o'clock, the sun had risen high in the sky and the temperature in the room was rising. Paula noticed that the room had only two windows; one on each side. She gathered courage and went to try and open the one close to the door but it was closed shut. As she struggled with it, one of the neatly dressed men went to the other one and by luck managed to get it open. Discovering that her heroic struggle was fruitless, she let go of the stubborn window and went back to her chair. Chuckles flowed through the room. Bemused Carl, seemingly bothered by the people's reaction spoke. ‘At least she had the idea. Some of you didn't do nothing,' The room went dead silent. Paula wanted to run into his arms and cry her gratitude. She looked at him and mouthed ‘thank you'. He responded with a nod. By eleven thirty tempers had started rising but there was no one coming through the door. The man next to her stood up and yawned. Everyone followed suit. ‘Ummh,' spoke the man with the unkempt beard, ‘why don't we get started instead of just waiting?' His suggestion was met with indignant sighs. Someone from the back spoke, ‘Oh please, why don't you…' Before she could finish, the doors opened and three neatly dressed men walked in. The excitement through the room could be touched with bare hands. The men walked straight to the front and as two of them sat next to the old man, the third man stood and addressed them. ‘We are so sorry for the delay, we had some hiccups along the way. You can all fill out your forms and bring them to me then you will collect your prize money from George over there. It's five thousand dollars each.'
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