My college girlfriend was a tiny, big-eyed girl who rode the Santa Monica bus passing for ten years younger than she actually was. Add to this a cute, a coquettish demeanor and some well-practiced babydoll expressions and she paid half-fare. One day at lunch she told a joke she had heard about the Pepsi salesman who was boiled and eaten by natives in the heart of darkness. She then smiled, poked her dimples, and added that the cannibals ate the poor salesman, all but his Thing.
Of course the punch line is the explanation that Things go better with Coke.
Reading Alain Mabanckou’s novel African Psycho, I could only smile every time the author referenced the main character’s Thing. But much like the American novel with a similar title, the narration is often involved with a gruesome and deadly sexual attack, or projected attack.