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Double Penetration

Shosholoza

Disparate men flee for their lives to find their dissimilarities bring luck.

Many thanks to the fine writers on Nifty, the editors and administrators of the site. Millions of readers spend millions of hours here enjoying creative expressions and posting them.

JB, WM, and NM, inspired this tale from across the mountains, across the sea, across time.

Shosholoza:

https://www.youtube/watch?v=2aFlQS4k3wo

Characters:

Jannus:         Narrator, former small business owner

Nkosi:                 Finance specialist 

Luuk:                 Young teen

Goldie:         Fredrik Goldblum, Namibian business associate of Nkosi

“Toos:”         (Two-cent) Luke’s father

Koenig:          Geologist

This tale is fiction, all characters and activities are solely from my imagination. (Adult content.)

Shosholoza

“Move Fast” 

“Hurry!  Now!”  He couldn’t hear my screams.  

It gained speed coming out of the curve. Rocky ballast—feet kept slipping as we met the speed of the train. Lungs burned from sudden exertion, adrenalin pulsed, sweat surged. Grabbed the door handle in one hand, foot on the undercarriage.

Luuk swung his weight briefly from the straps of my rucksack, climbed up my body, scrabbling where he could find footing and got a grip for himself. Slung myself in behind him.

Empty boxcar.… Smelly, dark, and we were hidden crossing Griqualand West.

They said it was racial unrest.  How could it be racial when most of the population carried an international mix of genes?  Greed.  Their lust for lucre forced too many to leave.

The second wave of African colonizers were entrenched. Post-apartheid nouveau rich used the same chisel of skin color as a distraction while theyplundered the national coffers. This time their weapons were more lethal.

The game had changed though. Everyone had a video camera on their phone, instant virtual revenge. Hackers revealed memos, transfers, plots and secrets—the videos went

international immediately. Consumed by fiduciary thirst, our governance left a trail of evidence on millions of cellphones. So drunk on power they couldn’t buy-off all the turncoats, blocking leaks would eat up their gains. Still, they kept a tight grip.

Shosholoza Part 1

“Stimela Sipum’e South Africa” 

Crazy what our overlord-wannabees did; crazier what we saw on videos. Government corruption at every level bringing outrage against it—small, sneaky citizen groups began borrowing tactics from international terrorists. Schools were raided, children were taken to be sold or held for ransom. 

Resistance groups split: opportunists and looters were one faction.  Peaceful protesters for change, another group.  Armed terrorists bent on destruction, violent revolutionaries made up the third division and it was hard to tell the difference between them; alliances changed often.

I had a kid in school, I had to monitor the groups’ tactics.

Finished raising a family of my own. They lived in the west, big metro area and I “acquired” a boy, or boyfriend. Son of friends lived in a small portside city where I retired. I didn’t chase my student, he chased me, caught me and used me frequently to my delight.

Luuk didn’t have to recruit me for support when he came out to his parents, everyone suspected why I was different.  Diidn’t bother them; they swung both ways themselves. Sexual practices moved to the back seat during those times.

In a precarious turn of events, Luuk’s parents were grateful for my good nature. Political climate heated further and Luuk’s parents worked in the national medical system. Their hours increased; factions clashed as the underground groups flooded our port nightly with contraband. Luuk’s parents were forced to leave him alone at home. Schools went online..

Farm murders, home invasions began. Luuk stayed with me; at times I had a childcare circus with children of other medical workers. Nothing we could do but adapt to our war zone.

“Jannus is retired, he doesn’t have anything else to do.” I didn’t like their attitude, but felt sorry for the kids. Scared and clingy they were, I spread peanut butter on crackers with a kid hugging each thigh.

Luuk was thirteen at the time, he helped herd the little ones around the yard till the shelling started. By ones and twos, medical workers were killed or left the area; my childcare dwindled.

Weeks turned to months; Luuk’s parents were required to work. They moved to a crowded flat near the hospital to avoid the streets. They called, conversations were short, always gunfire in the background.

My Luuk and I hunkered down behind the bed, on the floor at night and I taught him male pleasures a young, queer kid needed to know.  Came to love the boy. For however long it would last in this madness, I’d love him. Didn’t expect the same, though I could tell he’d fallen in love with me. Came to enjoy him experimenting on me, his kisses in the morning.

Heady on lust, hearts beating as one, we were about to embark on an unexpectedly difficult and fortuitous journey.

Luuk’s parents found a private school in Bloemfontein for their son, one with a high brick wall and excellent instructors—finest in the nation. Sadly, it was a six hours drive from the port. “He’ll be safer in Bloemfontein–Free State’s peaceful.”

Bought a used truck, packed and left. Took everything of value, all Luuk’s things—wasn’t about to leave a jewel like Luuk alone in Free State.  Only rumors, but I heard the resistance was more covert there.

Got Luuk on campus at Bloemfontein, met a few of the administrators. Everyone smiled, shook hands–all the civilities. Behind the courtesies was an edginess. Polite, yes; relaxed, no.

Made me antsy about leaving him on campus, “If you feel something’s about to go down, call me. Say nothing. Tap the speaker three times. I’ll be waiting behind that shebeen we passed on the way in—with a yellow door. Remember it?”

“I remember. This place is spooking me.” His eyes scanned the campus.

“Yeah.” I stepped back, cleared my throat, “Boarding schools are different. You’ll get used to it. Let’s hope things calm down after the next election.” Gave him a kiss and left.

Campus was landscaped beautifully. From the air it probably looked like an encapsulated spot of green on the vlakte. Luuk’s campus wasn’t inside the city, but on the outskirts. So, I found myself a small, mud and brick house on the edge of the reserve nearby. Farmlands to one side, widely-spaced small businesses and homes on the other. Peaceful, it appeared.

Semester began, and all went well. Luuk found friends, called when allowed. Settling in the countryside was easy. Clean air, simple life, emailed Luuk’s parents to update them on the area. Got myself on social media sites and found the updates from the Free State underground. Seemed they had some heavy-duty fire power, surveilled with drones.

In the blue skies above me, karoo, doves; in the distance, my neighbors’ roosters crowed and peafowl screeched. Met a few neighbors, heard their livestock occasionally, I began writing again as pastoral aromas wafted along currents in the humid air.

We planned to visit Luuk’s parents over the holiday, come back for some quality time alone. That’s what we planned until Luuk’s parents no longer answered our calls. Tried calling the hospital, news reports were sketchy from the area. Nerf-news on the government channels was pure propaganda.

Social media carried news that the port was heavily damaged. I suspected the worst, then I started thinking the violent resistance forces probably needed refunding after the port siege. Thought kept nagging me, almost undetectable fluxes moved through my guts. Night before the school’s holiday break, I couldn’t sleep.

Midnight, I loaded my revolver, shoved it up under the dash of my truck, buck knife in my belt and left early, expecting trouble on the way.  Filled two, two-liter jerry cans with gas and covered them in the bed of the truck.

On the road, my intuition was partially confirmed. Too quiet, no birds, little traffic, houses were all dark and to my surprise, the shebeen with the yellow door was open—old blue van parked out front.  Stopped for a snack, water.  Two old men hustled about inside, closing everything down, locking all the coolers, pulling the metal doors shut at the stockroom, “What’s going on?”

“Armed gangs, resistance, rebels, who knows anymore.  Gonna be bad….” One grunted.

“Small arms?”

“Small arms mostly in the city,” he turned to look at me, “Heard there’s a detonation crew going to the dam, then  the bridge.  We’re being cornered… trapped.  Word is they’re going to hunt down all the military and the cops first.”

“Thanks.” Threw my cash on a table, grabbed several bottles of water and candy bars—everything into my rucksack and I flung dirt behind me getting to the school.

In the distance, I saw the morning fog around the high brick walls of the school. Got a feeling that I shouldn’t go inside, I’d be stuck with Luuk if the guerillas were anywhere around.

Front gate was ajar, lock busted apart.

“Hey, I’m here for Luuk…. Send him to the gate.” I yelled into the intercom. Heard voices, couldn’t decipher the words, then felt a sharp, heavy thud in the bed of the truck. In the rearview mirror—Luuk. He’d jumped from the brick wall and landed behind me.

“Get outta here!” He kicked against the wheel housing, fell to the bed as I sped away.

Headed west, back toward my place, but took a different route, smaller roads, through the farmland while my boy’s lanky legs came through the passenger side window.

“What happened?”

“Last night, they came—about eight or ten, covered with ammo belts. Security guys were, uh, taken…. Didn’t see any teachers…” Still breathing hard, “All the girls are locked in the cafeteria. They picked out the biggest boys, took them to the auditorium. They were taking the boys from my dorm to the gym, I hid behind the hydrangea before we had to count off…” He suddenly stopped; began crying, sobbing. Then, several times he screamed.

“You did the right thing.” Kept repeating that.

He calmed after a while, “We’re going to the port?  Home?”

When I didn’t answer, he began crying again. The kid wasn’t stupid, his parents hadn’t answered his calls either. Took thirty kilometers for him to collect himself, “Where are we going?”

“Guys at the shebeen said the dam and the bridge would be blasted today, we’re going to cross the river before it blows and head north.  Over the mountains, jump the border into Botswana. Sort it out from there.”

Got to the edge of the reserve, all seemed too quiet around my place. Turned the engine off and coasted close, shoved the revolver in my waist. “Luuk, if we get separated, look for the highest point nearby; radio tower, plateau, tree and go to the foot of it.  Wait for me. Do the dove calls, do you remember?”

He nodded, as wary as I was about the surrounding stillness. No peafowl cries, no animal sounds, even the breezes had stopped. “Get over in the brush near the road. Don’t make any noise.” I smelled blood; not the time of year for slaughter, best not go in the house and get trapped.

Gun in hand, I silently, slowly circled my place. Someone was inside, I heard the refrigerator door shut, beer bottles on the door clinked against each other, voices whispered, small lights moved around—their phones.

Went to the road through the path and found Luuk. “They’re inside.”

“We better leave.” He whispered; eyes big as dawn warmed the sky. “There’s evil here, I feel it everywhere..”

“Wait. Let’s wait, maybe they’ll go.” Hoped I could grab a few things from my house.

“Probably waiting for you, thinking you have cash—didn’t you see the dirt?” Luuk explained that there were several holes in the yard, near the porch and the old well. Years ago, people hid valuables in the ground.

That’s when we heard the door of my truck slam shut. Group of men looked around, scanning the brush.

“Get down.  Don’t get up till I’m back.” Whispered to Luuk and went to watch.

Six guys; Two got into their jeep.  

Two got in the cab of my truck and turned on the engine, laughing and half-drunk probably. Other two sat in the bed of the truck, smoking.

Perfect.

Laid low until my truck passed us down the drive and stopped before it turned onto the road behind the jeep. Slowly stood and took aim at the jerry cans; couldn’t squeeze the trigger. I’d give away our location and only had eight bullets.  Six guys likely had more.

Shaking inside, felt like I was internally crumbling trying to decide…. Shoot and possibly get shot by giving away my location and leave Luuk alone or lean on good fortune?

Watched the taillights of my truck disappear down the road, it stopped in an explosion, then another. Black smoke rose from the flames. One of the smokers checked the jerry cans.

Went to my house to grab my thumb drive.  At the threshold, I only shut the door and turned away.

Nothing left for us in Free State, we walked paths to the north, watching for anyone else. Everyone was hiding, I hoped—didn’t know who we could trust. My guts were still shaky at noon, though I’d never admit it, the thought of being so close to death, killing another human disturbed me with a tight, twisting through my guts.

I might have to at some point. I’m no coward and I couldn’t leave Luuk to defend himself alone.

Slowly, the landscape became flat, dry, sandy, dotted by small clumps of short bushes.  Long grasses, golden and dry vibrated in the small breeze. “We only have three bottles of water and four candy bars. See that plateau? Trees at the bottom–must be water there as well as wild animals. We have to get there before sunset, refill the bottles and find a place to rest.” Luck was with us, it was fall, the weather was cool.

Luuk nodded, pulled his hoodie to cover most of his face. He was a pale boy, not like a redhead, but with pale tan skin, very light color with light brown wavy hair.  I could be Greek or Italian, darker.  Heavy beard would cover my cheeks soon. Knit hat held my long hair back.

Passed a few old campsites, evidence of fires, trash—nothing recent. Stopped at noon, checked our bearings, split a candy bar, took a few sips.

Luuk was in a better mood. Sat on a rock, squinched his eyes at the horizon, “Several tribes used to live here. They survived—we’ll be alright. The air’s so clean, smells good, tastes good too.”

“The worst part is ahead….” Started explaining that the climate had changed from when the tribes lived here but he shushed me, stood on the rock and stared northward.

“What is it? Lions?”

“Look.” He kept staring then jumped down, “A train.” He pointed.

Climbed the rock, at the horizon a tiny dark line moved in karabük escort steady motion westward. Railroad? Out here?  I’d never ridden a train and hadn’t ever been this far north. “We’ll have to cross the tracks. Sharp eyes seeing it so far away.”

“Mom and Dad took a holiday on the train, they said it was like a ritzy hotel.”

Made it to the trees at the bottom of the plateau with a steady pace. Hyena footprints around the waterhole.  We climbed part-way up the side of the mesa and found a flat rock still warm from the sun.

Woke to the low, distant whistle, we were almost half-way to the tracks. Beautiful dawn with Luuk-dick in my mouth, and I limited it to that. Wasn’t sure about the next time we’d eat or have enough to drink our fill.

Trekked north. On the way, I thought about how far we had to walk. Over twenty-eight kilometers to the horizon, but we were on the wildlife paths, not a straight line or smooth path to cover the average of thirty-two kilometers a day. If we kept moving, we might make the tracks by sundown.

Walking to Botswana would be difficult at this rate. The train would be easier but going east-west, it went to Namibia, former German colony from Free State. Couldn’t go back there.

Didn’t know much of Namibia only that it was a small nation, peaceful, relatively well-off with oil, diamonds and a big tourist industry. Languages were different; Luuk and I spoke English with a heavy Afrikaans accent.  Namibia might work till South Africa calmed down.  Could take a boat from Namibia to Cape Town, stay with my kids later. 

I chose the plan of the lazy man; we were taking the train west and sort it out on the way.

Shosholoza Part 2

Trans-Kalahari

At the tracks: No train. No houses, buildings or depot we could see, and kilometers of track in both directions. Thought for a few moments. “We’ll go west, maybe there’s a station on the way.”

Luuk laughed, “Only the Kalahari to the west. Let’s go back east and find their last stop.” That made sense, there were farms to the east.

We started walking, Luuk stopped us, “Look, the tracks turn. Trains have to slow down on curves, like cars. Don’t they?” He looked down the line, then ran to a small rise, looked down the tracks, “It curves to the south ahead. Let’s go.”

The kid was brighter than me. Around four hours later, we saw the changes in the landscape–greener.  Found a stream under a train trestle; drank the clear, warm water straight from the bank.  Refilled our bottles.

Put our ears to the rail but heard nothing. Studied the curve of the tracks. To jump on unobserved, we had to wait till enough cars had passed so the engineer couldn’t see us. Kimberly was a small town east of Bloemfontein, the best I remember. Probably a train depot there.

Plan made. We waited, listened.

And waited. Half-melted candy bar, we licked it off the wrapper. Wove bushes and limbs to make a lean-to. Built a small fire before we nested on a bed of leaves and slept lightly. “Maybe it’ll come tomorrow morning.”

Luuk was a trooper, never complained. We both knew we had little water left, didn’t want to go back to the trestle with the stream and miss the train. No more candy bars, and so far, we were okay.

Woke in the night by a motor, scraping metal and voices in the distance. Left our lean-to, hid in a cluster of acacia. Saw a small, gas-engine vehicle on the tracks, it had one headlight and carried two men with floodlights. Rail security, they must be checking the tracks for damage, signs of trouble—they carried rifles, wore bandoliers over their red uniforms..

.

Moved back through the bush and watched them slowly moving westward till we couldn’t see them. Hours later they came back east and passed us, moving quickly.  IIn the distance, their

light moved off the tracks; they’d turned off of the mainline to a spur east of us.

Didn’t speak, didn’t sleep; listened to the hyenas till dawn.

Cleaned our campsite, found shade to wait close to the tracks         .

Anxiously, we detailed our plan. Since I was taller, I’d run, grab onto an empty freight car, Luuk had to keep up with the speed of the train and grab me when I had a grip. Seemed reasonable but the ballast of chipped rock under the tracks was hard to run on. “If you can’t keep up, I’ll jump off and we’ll try again.”

“We’re both going to get on.” Luuk said, keeping his eyes down the tracks. “This isn’t the hard part.”

“What is the hard part?”

“Not knowing what’s ahead; who’s ahead.”

Like a mirage seeing that red dot on the horizon. Bright red engine, its headlight shining, coming in front of the rising sun. Closer, closer; we stayed in the bush, planning our steps. Ground began rumbling under our feet. On the curve we saw several engines followed by container flats, tankers, boxcars. Long train.

Engines whizzed past.  Searched for an open door on a boxcar. One was ajar by half a meter, “That’s it.” I took off beside the tracks; wheels screamed, whole train shook, ground trembled.

Train was gaining speed out of the turn–

Run–  Faster–faster.

Metal bar on the door.  Faster–

.

Grabbed the door handle in one hand, foot on the undercarriage of the boxcar.

Suddenly pulled back by Luuk’s weight–

Gripped tighter; gritted my teeth. He climbed up my body, scrabbling where he could find footing and grabbed the handle above my hand.  Leaned over and was in, turned and pulled on the strap of the backpack.  Pulled  myself in, half-in, half-out on my stomach.

Empty boxcar.… Smelled like rotten produce; it was dark, and we were now crossing the sunlit Griqualand West.

Still breathing hard,Luuk stood at the open door, feeling the wind on his face. Behind him, I kissed his hair. Without the national chaos this would have been an insane adventure and as a refugee, it’s extremely unsettling.  Would we be found, thrown off, taken to jail, or worse?

“Move from the door. You don’t want to be seen.” Softly spoken.  A dark hand lightly grasped my shoulder and pulled me back.

Luuk and I turned, staring into the dark car at a man we couldn’t see well; he didn’t seem threatening. He appeared tired, body slumped, arms hung at his sides.

“Name’s Nkosi from… let’s just say, from the east.” He had only a donga stick, looked closer—an ancient knobkerrie; executioner’s tool. Carried a small bag on his shoulder, looked like he’d spent time in the bush like us, dusty skin, scrapes and scratches on his arms.

Nkosi was a mixed man, meaning he was dark but not fully African, South Asian eyes and ears, dark reddish-brown skin and tightly waved dark hair. Nice looking guy with an air of gentility about him.

“I’m Luuk, and this is Jannus. We’re going to Namibia.” Slender teen hand was offered, Nkosi shook it, then mine..

“So, we’re all going there.” He smiled, “Jannus is your father?”

“We’re—“ I began, trying to find the right word.

“Boyfriends.” Luuk stated.

Nkosi chuckled, sat back in the darkness at the corner of the boxcar. We followed him, sat nearby and Luuk put his head on my rucksack, tired. “You’re not going to use that on us, are you?” I glanced at the knobkerrie.

“No, an heirloom. Travel light, leave no tracks. Don’t want to rouse attention to my presence by leaving a trail of bodies behind me.” He leaned his head back.

“Someone looking for you?”

“I have my reasons, and this be clear: I will take no part in the destruction, join neither side. I support only those who hold the same sentiments.” He gave me a serious look that cast awareness that he had lost all but his knobkerrie. “Violence is not the path to an orderly society.”

Leaned to shake his hand, “Ah, a fellow refugee. Have you been to Namibia before?  Is there safe haven?”

“Huge refugee camps in the Sudan. Camps turn into cities eventually; do you have a skill? What kind of employ did you hold?”

“Ever had a burger at Wimpy?”

“I’ve seen them, never dined there.”

“Had a crew of guys and all the equipment, trucks. We cleaned fryer vents at fast-food places. Grease fire in the stack causes a roof fire. Sold my business when I retired.” Lifted my face fully, “Running the business, I wore all the hats. Skills? Anything to do with managing a service company.”

“I see.” He chuckled softly. “Would have figured you for one of the entertainment wrestlers.”

Luuk was snoring softly, “And you? What did you do before hopping freights?”

“Finance, accounting, investments. I’ll say no more than I have the passwords. Price on my head now is worth more than I’d earn in a lifetime.”

That sent a chill down my spine, yet this man Nkosi held his air of confidence, appeared knowledgeable.  Seemed he had a plan.

We found positions allowing us to sleep and dozed as the rhythm of the rails lulled us. …

Shaken awake as the train slowed at dusk. Nkosi took Luuk’s arm.

“We’re at Groblershoop.” Took his knobkerrie, tapped it on the corner of the ceiling of the boxcar, “There’s a door here, small door above the metal rungs. Can you see them?  Climb up, unhook the door and get on the top of the car and lay flat. We’ll be right behind you.” The train slowed; we scrambled to the roof.

Air was cool as the train stopped. Several large crates were placed on a flat car behind the engines. Crew must have gone for dinner. We waited and watched security give the cars a cursory glance.

Inky dark, maybe midnight as we felt the train begin to slowly rumble away. Powerful rumbles and jerks shook our bodies as the cars began moving, pulling the load behind.

“One more stop before Namibia—Upington.  A few hours later and we’ll be safe, well, we’ll have a new set of challenges, but there’s no fighting.” He glanced at me. “I’d prefer you get rid of your gun, it could identify us as terrorists.”

“How did you know?”

“We drank all the water, and your pack’s got a heavy load, about the size of a, what? Thirty-eight?”

“We may need it.”

Shosholoza Part 3

Namibia

Stopped in Upington; we were hungry and thirsty. Had to wait–Namibian border was close. Passed through the checkpoint on top of the car unnoticed.

Couldn’t tell where the border was, but knew we arrived in Ariamslever, Namibia—signs were different, people wore different clothes, food stalls smelled different. Small old town, hints of German style, well-kept, clean. 

We alit and dodged from the tracks to the edge of the busy marketplace. Nkosi told us to buy new clothes, he took Luuk to a vendor, left him with an elderly woman and came back to me.  

“Jannus, my grease-scrubbing brother. Tell people you’re in the oil business, because you were.” He chuckled, “Get an outfit like the local men wear, plain shirt and slacks. Hurry.”

We bought two duffle bags, stuffed the new clothes in, found Luuk and crammed his things in the bags. Nkosi was paying for everything with his card. “What do I owe you?”

“My step-sister sends her thanks for befriending me. She’d want me to be with good people.” “Step-sister?” I looked around in the crowd.

“I lost her in Gqeberha. Remember, they used to call it Port Elizabeth. The whole town was razed, burned to cinders.  My sister was there when it happened. I don’t imagine they’ll ever find her body so I’m using a card we shared. Her funds are deposited monthly. I’m not without means, only without friends.”

Port Elizabeth is gone? “Don’t tell Luuk about Gqeberha. He was born there; parents live there.”

He nodded and we gathered Luuk.  Found the barber, changed clothes behind his booth. Haircuts, shaves, cologne’d and looking sharp; got directions to a small hotel off the main street and signed into adjoining rooms.

Drank every bottle of water in the room, and slipped into the shower with my boyfriend. He was sunburned slightly, but otherwise unscathed. “Look, Nkosi has funds he’s willing to spend. Don’t take advantage of his generosity. He needs friends as much as we need him.”

“Hungry, Jan.  I’m so hungry.” He whined.

Couldn’t help but kiss him and promise he’d get a ride later.

We heard Nkosi at the door claiming to be withering to dust motes from malnutrition. Lady at the desk said there wasn’t a Wimpy in town, but pointed us to a local café.

Don’t remember what they called it, and couldn’t identify it but it tasted great. Basket full of fry-dough and big bowls of stew full of vegetables and meat. Reminded me of my mother’s food.

Bellies filled, we walked back and stopped for the local and national newspapers, magazines.

In our room, Nkosi told me to go through half of them, he’d study the others for “unbent” news.

“Wait.”  I patted the bed next to me and we reviewed the social media sites for videos and citizen news from South Africa. Luuk’s school was partially burned, students were “lost.” 

Can’t just lose that many kids in a span of a few hours…. Hid that news. My Luuk was going to bear a heavy load of loss at some point in his future.

Nkosi left the room.  

“Look.”  Luuk came beside me, showed me a package of girly panties, sheer red fabric with a heart on the front.

“How did you get those?”

“The lady helped me find my new clothes and I told her I needed a gift for my twin sister.” Had to grab that saucy little slut; nope, not yet.

Luuk wanted to dance, model his skimpy panties. Strutted around the room in full-chanteuse mode asking if I loved him. Taunted me, leaning over to give me a shot of his butt through the transparent fabric.

Chased him around the room as night fell. Street lights bathed us in an unnatural blue light as I pinned him on the arm of the couch and began kissing. My Luuk had full lips, big eyes, upturned nose that made him appear impishly cute. He wanted dick and made me suffer for a few minutes while he practiced his seduction skills, like he needed any.

Over the arm of the sofa, I tugged his panties into his crack and began licking through the thin fabric. Had to hold his head in the cushion he was giggling, taunting me saying I didn’t know what I was doing. My tongue had every minute gather on his hole memorized.

Frustrated with the covering, I ripped the panties down, stuck my face between those soft, white mounds and chomped. Caused another round of laughter and wriggling. He turned over, slipped his legs around my waist.

Half-grown, hairless package; short dick straining for my tongue. “Get in bed or get spanked.” He darted away, turned to stare at my dripping rod; grinned but eluded me several more times jumping across the bed, behind the table at the patio door.

“Look. A fire!” I appeared startled, pointed at the window. When he stopped to look, I grabbed him and took him to bed. “Stop playing around, I know what you need and I got plenty of it.”

Straddling my hips, he aimed my stiff, oozing karaman escort rod at his hole, “Help me.” I held his butt cheeks open with my fingers and my rod straight as he adjusted himself for penetration.

“My sweet lover…  my boyfriend.” I chuckled. This was going to be short, I was half-way already. Panting hard as soon as half my cock was up him. Grabbed his rod, began jerking him off. Felt something strange hit my face. Did the ceiling leak?

My boy just shot off; he’d always been dry.

Excited me, I wiped the spots off my face and brought them to my tongue as he kept moving and I couldn’t stop myself. Gushed load after load, felt it oozing back down my dick, out his hole.

Slender body slumped forward, soft rod fell out of him. Kissing his hair, I noticed movement by the door to the adjoining room. Nkosi closed the door silently behind him.

Luuk slept, I tapped on the door to Nkosi with a handful of newspapers. “Respectful to ask first.”

He grinned. “I’m sure it is.  Thanks anyway.”

I sat on the side of the bed. “Let’s check online for that old man’s videos—the pastor in Australia, see if he’s got any news.”

We researched on the phones for a while; more violence in Free State. Dam was destroyed, bridge was out. The capital building was burned, top floors blown off.

Shosholoza Part 4

Self-(Re)definition

Nkosi ordered breakfast.  We ate, our faces glued to our phones.

I read about refugee camps. “Are you going to the big camp in Sudan? Gonna be hard getting there, and they say people are waiting outside the gates.”

“Refugee camps…” Nkosi put his phone down. “Criminal activity, confusion, hunger, waiting in lines… But they do have some benefits.”  He looked out the window, “Medical, food, tents. Not yet, I’m in my prime, I need to work and so do you.”

Luuk was tickled, “Me, too?”

“I believe you do have a valuable skill, seun.” He winked, leaned back, “Jannus, saying you’re refugees is—how do I phrase this…?  ‘Refugee’ sounds pathetic, pitiful.  You’ve put yourself on the bottom rung of any ladder with that label.”

“What are we?” Luuk asked, “We’re not lost, we’re surviving away from home, seeking refuge.” “You chose to leave. That makes you visitors, tourists…”

“Expatriates?” I asked.

“Such a nasty connotation with that word. Not the best choice. You want to go back home, I suppose, so we’re not immigrants.” Nkosi checked his phone, “How about paleontologists?”

“You mean those guys digging all day in the sun for old crap?”

“Precisely.  We all know how to shovel and sweep. Am I wrong thinking that?”

“Jy gek!  You’ve lost your marbles.”

“A paleontologist doesn’t get questioned further.”  He grinned.  “They’re boring.”

Probably right about that.  

We left that day on a bus to the Atlantic coast. Oranjemund is a small port town on the border of South Africa and Namibia. “DeBeers finally allowed the citizens to govern themselves in twenty-seventeen. I see great opportunity there.” Nkosi smiled.

Stopped several times on the way. Always a market close by; Nkosi ordered Luuk to get a school uniform. “Shorts, shoes, shirt, tie. The vendor will know what you need.”

“Why?” Luuk in jeans and a tee shirt looked fine. 

“Want to see that butt in shorts with his shirt tucked in.” He winked, “Like the locals.” He laughed, patted my back when I shot him a look.

“Where are we going and is it safe?”

“Very safe. We’ll stay with an old business associate of mine. ‘Goldie.’”

Shosholoza Part 5

Two-cent

Goldie lived in almost high-style.  We were greeted at the gate and entered his compound mid-afternoon.

Ocean smells, tropical plants, wide lawns. The older man was an accountant for DeBeers most of his life. Bald, slender African-something else man with fine features and a wide smile, he was delighted to meet Luuk and me.  Welcomed us into his home, his kitchen.

Put together a plate of fruits and cheese, mixed a pitcher of juice and rum, took us by the pool to talk. “Luuk?  You said your name was Luuk, correct?” He leaned toward my boy, grinning.

My boy was eyeing the pool. “Yes.” He gave Goldie a coy look.

“Ice cream in the freezer, if you’d prefer, liebling.”

Sweetheart?

Nkosi and Goldie talked the old days. They both dealt with international banks, discussed the current state of global affairs as I watched my boyfriend go for a third ice cream cup.

Goldie grabbed his hand as he passed. “My little suiker butt.” He patted his lap and Luuk jumped on it, giving me a cheesy grin.

Sugar butt…

The old man fed him bites of cheese, fruit, giving his nose a kiss each time, listening to Nkosi explain a new inflation theory.   Goldie let my boy sip from his drink. They started whispering, giving each other goo-goo eyes, twittering. Right in front of me.

Suddenly, Luuk stood, stripped and jumped in the pool.

Best way to stop a monotonous conversation; about a minute later, the four of us were enjoying cool water under the banana trees. Napped on the chaise lounges, hammocks.

What relief. Had a few moments to replay our escape in my mind—one-eighty degree turn around from five days ago.

Recalled some of Luuk’s comments at the school, at the house… he had a keen intuitive sense, and he was relaxed here. We were safe and clearly welcome here.

Stayed with Goldie, got to know Oranjemund. Being on an alluvial plain, it was entirely flat. Nkosi bought us bikes and we rode through town, along the paths, to the market in the mornings. The beach nearby was blocked by DeBeers. No mines, the diamonds washed down across the alluvial plains and belonged to DeBeers–we were warned.

Afternoons, I began writing after a dip; Goldie allowed me an old PC in his den. Luuk usually napped or watched movies behind me during the hottest part of the day. Life fell into a routine as I detailed our journey and before.  

Always checked the news in South Africa.  Elections brought more violence; death tolls mounted as the date neared. Candidates disappeared.

The day before Luuk’s fourteenth birthday, I logged in and got a notice that I had email, then another, and another… What? I seldom got any email. Hadn’t heard from my daughters, yet they had husbands and friends around them.  I trusted they were safe in the Cape Town suburbs. Every several weeks, I got a text message from them saying only “We’re OK.”

Opened my email inbox: list of new mail all entitled: “Luuk and Jan.” Scrolled down to the first sent and read it: “Call me. Toos.” Followed by a South African phone number. He was alive?

During days when people could exercise a sense of humor, Luuk’s grandmother named Luuk’s father Two-cent. Odd name; we called him “Toos.”

 

“Luuk,” I grabbed my phone. “Your dad wants us to call.” He read the email, opened several more. “How many messages are there?”

Counted and smiled, “Fourteen.” Couldn’t punch the numbers in fast enough and hit the speaker icon. “Daddy, where are you?”

“Luuk.” He began crying. “I’m with Jan’s family. Are you safe? Where are you?” “Daddy, I miss you.  Where’s Mum?”

Only soft sobs, “She’s not with us anymore.” That started tears on both ends of the conversation. “Jan, Jan. Are you there?”

“I’m here. How did you find my kids?”

“A man told me where they lived, their last names… It’s a long story.” Big sigh, “We got to the basement of the hospital. Had to dig out later… went to your old house thinking you’d come back.  Everything’s gone… destroyed.  I was in shock when I noticed…. There was a man sitting in the rubble of your place, he said he knew you. He was hoping you survived.”

“His name?”

“Bokamoso, I think. He said you were kind to him…. Jan, he told me he’d lost his family, he had five kids.”

Still had Bokamoso’s number on my phone, “I’ll call him.”

“Don’t bother, he’s with my wife now.”

Eyes filled; I gritted my teeth; my most dependable employee for years, Bokamoso. His face came clearly to me with his big smile, wearing his blue uniform shirt. A good site manager, dependable worker, honest. He and his uncle bought the company from me.

Had to pull myself together, “Toos, stay with my family, help keep them safe. We’re alright, Luke’s safe with a friend of a friend we met, I keep him close.  We’re just across the border in Namibia.”  I needed time to think, Luuk took the phone and they continued speaking softly.

Went outside, let the sun beat on my bare skin as I scooped leaves from the pool.  

With every cell in my body, I begged the universe to stop it, stop all this chaos.  Stop the losses. Overwhelmed with thoughts that stabbed through me, I sobbed. Uncertain future, uncertain return, everything was soft, fuzzy with no place to grasp it to sort it out.

Stop it, stop it. I’ve done nothing to deserve this, and I don’t know how to make it stop.

A thought slipped inside me: no more comfortable routine, never again. Never.

How long could I wait in a holding pattern created by contagious malevolence in South Africa? Helpless, defeated, empty….

Something had to change. Soon. I wanted control of my life; I wanted a life I built with Luuk beside me.  .

Shosholoza Part 6

Paleontology

Goldie had a cake delivered to the compound, I built a fire for the birthday braii.

Costume required; we each had a pair of transparent, frilly red panties, pointed foil hats and paper horns. Music played, we danced and the star of the evening was showing off his first pit hairs. All twelve of them–he counted them for us.

“The kid is like medicine for me.” Goldie began as he lit the candles on the cake, “I was equally precocious at his age, if not more so.” He thanked me for taking care of Luuk. “What I want to give him, probably would fall flat.” He chuckled. “I can see why you love him–something different about this one.”

My boy took a big breath, blew out the candles and cut me a piece of cake, Nkosi scooped on the ice cream.

“What did you wish for?” Goldie asked.

Luuk didn’t answer.

“Do you want to go surfing?  Deep sea fishing with me?  How about a skateboard?  Scooter”

Luuk pensively answered, “I want to see my dad… you know, well, later….”

“I’ll be your daddy tonight.” Goldie wiggled his eyebrows, lightening the mood.

Tiki torches lit, Luuk and Goldie danced, rubbing their red panties against each other when Nkosi told me something strange: “You and Luuk, so comfortable together. Never could relax with another man the way you do. I buy mine, pick out the ugliest, turn the lights out and fuck hard. Get my money’s worth and avoid the sticky attachment.”

I could only stare. 

Evening devolved into Goldie and Luuk smearing the buttercream icing into their red panties, on their nipples and it appeared in their butt cracks. Nkosi was laughing, pouring more wine. Lot of tongue action going on between the three. I could only watch, feeling unsettled about my life.

Took Luuk to bed at midnight, still frustrated, sullen. Had no job, no gift, my life had no meaning.

“What’s bothering you?” Luuk whispered, I smelled wine on his breath.  Goldie indulged my boy way too often.

“Feel like a failure.”

Darkness, silence.

“A failure? We’re alive, together, life is great. Where’s the failure?”

“I’m spinning my wheels here. Got to make a plan. Get some normalcy in our lives.”

He sat up, “I don’t want South African normal because it’s not.” He paused, “Coming across the vlaktes, we could have died—hard not to remember all the death we walked away from. Teachers, classmates, the men in your truck.

“Had to keep the thoughts pushed down and keep putting one foot in front of the other. That was all I could do. Now, Mum’s gone, Dad’s so far away.. No more normal ever again.”

“I miss my vaderland.” Needed the smell of the sea, the earth at the port, the vaal, the colors and noises of my homeland.  “It was comfortable–familiar, you know, easier there..”

“You can’t go back. It’s all gone for me except for Dad and he doesn’t sound so good—seems depressed.”  He snuggled close, “Only way we can go back is to join the resistance or the military. What good is that?”  He paused, “Feels like something’s coming. Like looking down the train tracks and seeing a spot of red. Remember how good that felt?”

“Almost couldn’t believe my eyes.”

“Remember when we were on the train leaving Upington? The engines started, then the cars began jerking when they started moving?”

Nodded, that was one sensation I’ll never forget, feeling the energy beneath my body as the heavy cars jerked the ones behind.

“Like there’s a big engine somewhere, it’s moving forward, and the movement will come through people we don’t know–they’ll pass it along. Hard to describe, but it feels like change, energy is coming through the other people ahead of us.”

Tried to imagine that and felt calmer, picturing a cosmic train engine behind Mars getting into low gear, people waiting at train stations.  

Our heroic Nelson said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”  Time to put down the cup of self-resentment and get on with rebuilding.  Fell back on what I’d seen, what I knew: building a business.  Scrap what I could, sort it all out. Start my life over, make a better normal for Luuk and me.

To shore my perseverance, I began calling Toos every day. Checking on everyone. Toos wanted videos of Luuk.

In the pool, on his bike, at the market, with Goldie trimming the plants—simple videos of his son’s life. Luuk always always told his father he loved him, missed him. Videos ended with a boy on the edge of tears. Other times, Luuk called his father and spoke for hours. Couldn’t bring myself to cut them short.

Toos sent videos of my daughters, their families. Nauseated, shaking to see how they were having to adapt. The nation was falling apart.  They adapted and kept their families, friends close; Toos led classes from workbooks, “load shedding” left them without electricity most of the time, they improvised a water filtration system.  Ate from their garden, trading clothes and food for what they needed.  Videos ended with Toos on the edge of tears.

Words.  Words they sent back and forth to each other were the words of fathers and sons separated in every war, in every age. They loved each other, needed each other and videos and words were all they had.

Nkosi rented a small office in town, began an accounting business through Goldie’s generosity. Luuk and Nkosi biked to town together almost every day.  There were several other teens who played dodgeball behind the building. Good to see my boyfriend come home red-faced and sweating after a hard bike race..

In his retirement, Goldie doted on us.  More than happy for us to stay as long as we wanted, he kars escort had his own scheme going–getting me back to work in Oranjemund, settle down in the compound with Luuk. Being in his late sixties, I wasn’t worried about him molesting my boy with other than bad jokes and stupid phrases. He was a kind man at heart. So kind that he introduced me to Koenig.

Decades ago, Koenig studied with Goldie in Bonn. Different major; Koenig went to work in Alsace-Lorraine–german coal mining area as a geologist. Both retired here, enjoying the mild weather. Heavy set, round, head of white hair that stuck out in unkempt curls, and a wide, white handlebar moustache, Koenig was as funny as he looked.

Old men aren’t subtle yet an attempt was made:: Koenig stood in his swim trunks, water droplets clinging to his bramble of white chest bush, “We plant tree today.” He held a shovel..

Goldie peeked over Koenig’s shoulder, holding a bucket, “We need a fig tree. Pipes get backed up, you know…..”

“What? There’s plenty of trees here. Get some prunes for your pipes.”  I tried to ignore them, it was hot out and for some reason they wanted me to dig a hole.

Goldie’s compound was about five hectares, spacious. The geezers wandered here and there, deciding the location of the fig tree. Stood the shovel in the ground right under the largest banana tree, in the shade.

“A fig tree in the shade?”  Had to rectify this nonsense. “Fig tree’ll never grow there, put it in the sun. Over near the croquet lawn, not here.”

As soon as I stepped near Koenig, Goldie began complaining about his back and disappeared into the house.

Wincing at Koenig, “What are you guys up to?”

“I want to dig, right here. Wunderbar–you came to help.”

“Did someone bury–you know, hide something here, like valuables?”

“We dig a hole.”

“There’s only one shovel.”

“I’ll supervise.” Koenig snorted, handing me the shovel 

At this point, I was curious and began digging under the shade of the banana. “Why are we digging here?”

“DeBeers still owns the mineral rights, they’ll take me to court thinking I want their diamonds. I don’t.”

Half a meter down, I stopped for a few moments, “What do you want?”

“Information.” He sipped his rum cooler. “Valuable information down there.”

All afternoon I dug, till I had over a cubic meter of dirt removed. Koenig handed me a bucket and a whisk broom. “Sweep the rocks to your left into the bucket and give them to me. No clay or dirt, only the pale rocks… and that black one.”

“Can I take a break and have some tea now?”

“When we’re done.”

I didn’t know what I was looking at with the magnifying glass until Koenig explained.  He took a rock and chipped it to reveal tiny mussel shells, spirals and swirls from a billion years ago. Microscopic crab pincer, arrow-shaped snails; it was filled with evidence of their short lives here.

Koenig had been further to the east of Oranjemund; a similar find showed some kind of correlation to continental drift he was interested in.  That baffled me, and these were beautiful testaments to a rich ocean bed.

Began digging for Koenig every day.. He was polishing and mounting some of the specimens and we signed a contract for a fifty-fifty split when they sold online.

We found a tiny petrified crab, Koenig polished and mounted it on a ring for Goldie. They disappeared the rest of the day, unplugging pipes no doubt.

Gained a wide back, strong biceps digging and, yes, planting fig, mango, all kinds of fruit trees.  I remember how proud Goldie was of a Monkey Orange blossom in December, our warmest month. Holidays were close.

Goldie, Nkosi and Luuk decorated with lights. Took pics, vids, sent them to Toos. They sent back their decorations. Melancholia hit Luuk and me when we saw Toos and my family.  By car, they were sixteen hours away, but felt like the other side of nowhere. Road robberies, carjacking, the mayhem continued across the border.

Felt good to give Luuk a thin silver chain with a fossilized Aclisina; polished smooth and bright. Luuk handed me a brown cardboard box filled with origami cranes. He’d folded pages from an old accountant’s ledger; hundreds of cranes, all sizes filled the box. He knew what I wanted, only the symbols were enough to touch me deeply.

Goldie and Nkosi planned on giving us a surprise. I figured they’d invite Koenig, maybe a few friends from Windhoek for the weekend. Goldie told us to go to bed early on December thirty-first, we were leaving before dawn.

“Where are we going?” Luuk asked.

“Deep-sea fishing.”

Left in the dark to the docks; a small commercial seiner took us asea. Spirits were high in the galley, though I was perplexed when the captain told us to stay quiet in Port Nolloth, he’d handle the mooring.

“Port Nolloth?” Luuk looked at me, the tiny port city was in South Africa, close to the Namibian border.

Used the big rods and reels, threw a few lines out. Wasn’t really interested in fish, I wondered if we would meet Toos–would bring my daughters? 

Goldie knew Luuk wanted to see his dad… My guts clenched, would Luuk stay with me?  Would I stay in Namibia?

A little after noon, we pulled up to empty docks. Plenty of fishing boats moored nearby–crews were home celebrating. Captain left the ship with Goldie, telling us to stay aboard with the crew.

Around an hour later, they returned, smiling. “Come, they’re having a party. We’re invited.”

Nkosi grinned, grabbed Luuk’s hand, “Party time!”

Remembered I’d left my gun; why was I anxious? We entered the small office of the harbormaster. Inside, a few desks, maps all over the walls, taxidermied sailfish… motion from the second room, my muscles tensed.. An older, gray-haired man appeared at the door, didn’t recognize him at first; “Toos?”

Before I could get to him, Luuk blocked me, latched onto his father.  From behind Toos, my daughters slipped out, “Daddy!”

Nkosi began taking pics and vids.  Goldie and the captain popped a bottle of champagne. Tears and toasts, “Where are my grandkids?”

“They’re at home with the papas, we had to come. You look great…”

Lie. We all looked older than we should. Captain announced we only had an hour. “Lunch?”  No one wanted to eat, didn’t want to waste a moment. Luuk hadn’t left his father’s embrace.

“Are you coming back?”  My daughter asked. “Gonna be tough for a while longer, and I hear Europe and some of the other nations are pressuring the government, threatening to cut funds, stop trade. We’re applying for refugee status in Australia.”

“Come back?  I don’t know yet. I’m working, but I won’t bring Luuk back into the chaos.”

“After what he told Toos, I wouldn’t either.”

“What did he say?”

“Dad, he told us everything… at the school, your truck blowing up, crossing the reserve, the train. I’m surprised he’s not traumatized with all that’s happened to him.”

“He seems happy, kept asking to see his dad.” Dark memories circled my head, had to block them. “I’m getting paid next week, can I help out?”

“Cash?. Nothing in the stores; we get by well enough with our friends and Toos. I worry about you. Don’t think I don’t love you when I say this: don’t come back. We don’t want to lose you.”

Seemed like five minutes later we had to leave. Moment neared, would Luuk stay with his father?

The captain led Auld Lang Syne and Nkosi shouted “Shosholoza!”  Everyone joined in; the words stuck in my throat, my guts.  Kept my eyes on Luuk as he hugged my daughters and went to Goldie. Smacked a big kiss right on his lips and came to me, “Time to go home.”

I watched Toos escort my daughters to another boat; they hadn’t driven. Watched their boat until it disappeared from the horizon, Luuk beside me.  He was tired, went below before dinner.

Nkosi sat beside me showing me the photos he got, “You had a family? Unusual for a queer man.”

Catty remark, “Queer men take queer paths. Don’t regret a moment of my life or my children.” “Where’s your wife?”

“Not your concern.” Good mother, too rigid to accept my changes, but a good woman living in Botswana.

“If you weren’t taken, I’d ask you out.” Gave me a sly smile and handed me my dinner platter. “And you are taken. I can’t ask. I do wonder what you would say.”

Everyone up late the next day but Nkosi. He was filling in the forms on a dating site in Windhoek, said they had a Pride Day.  For gays, Namibia was more restrictive than South Africa, but better than other African nations.

Luuk got up and went to the pool, I got up and started digging–easier to think when I was at physical labor. Carefully filled two buckets with rocks and went inside for my coffee. Sat with my boy.

“Dad’s pulling a little bit out of the bank at a time, he wants me to go back to school. There’s an academy–Duneside in Erango. He says I’ll like it.”  Didn’t seem excited about school.

Erongo was east of Windehoek, about a ten-hour drive from Oranjemund. “I don’t know about taking you to another boarding school, and it’s so far. I’ll call Toos later, we’ll work something out.”

Didn’t have to call Toos. He called me saying that Luuk was given a scholarship to study in England. “How?”

“Remember those videos you sent? Pulled me through my worst moments….  Your daughter put them together with the videos he sent explaining what happened. She made them into a story and it went viral.  Luuk and six other children were selected for scholarships.  An educational charity was moved to help.”

Amazed as I listened to him further:  “The screws are tightening down here, the old regime is barely standing.  When they were asked about Luuk’s videos, they said they didn’t know anything.  Your oldest daughter called in to the program, asked them to explain what happened at the school in Bloemfontein–why the children weren’t protected.  On the national station, they lied. Still dangerous here, but I believe South Africans will come back together, rebuild again.”

Went to the videos Luuk sent my daughter, the story he told.  There was much more brutality, carnage he hadn’t told me when he jumped in the truck at his school.  I hadn’t lied; he hadn’t lied yet we had withheld the entirety of what we saw, what happened from each other. He was protecting me and I, him… my thirteen year old boyfriend had protected me.

Felt a rumbling on the soles of my feet.  A train was pulling into the depot from a long journey.

Shosholoza

Epilogue

Never thought I would, but II opened another small business with Koenig, contracting for managing dig sites across Africa. He had contacts in the universities; I supplied trained diggers, security.  Koenig gave me the basics, and I scrapped my skills together, it felt much easier this time.  Came to enjoy the work.  When the foundation or walls of an ancient house were uncovered, I remembered my Luuk.  “Be careful with that shovel, people bury their valuables.”  

That earned me the respect of the supervisors and specialists.

Koenig and geology taught me several lessons. The earth is in constant motion, borders and boundaries change, and people change.  I change.  To hold on to futile dreams is to struggle with them gripped in your palm.  Change is natural and necessary; it is the only norm.

Koenig said often, tapping his chest, “Keep it strong and keep it soft, it’s all we have.”  Koenig, in his way, loved me.  Seemed he never told Nkosi that wisdom.  Nkosi, my generous, handsome, empty-hearted friend moved to Windhoek, more of his kind of action there.  Took his knobkerrie, his business and did well, we heard.  

Luuk graduated his levels in England, then enrolled in a prestigious university going into the medical field like his father. Toos and I flew to London for Luuk’s high school graduation,he was a beautiful young man, and we were glad to get home.

Goldie was slowing, and it put me in a bind.  Wouldn’t let anyone but me take care of him. “What about Toos?  I’ll call  him.”  Toos only said he would be there when he could.  

Almost had to cancel a contract to manage a dig in Zaire when Toos showed up. I left Goldie in his hands to meet with Koenig for our last job together.  I loved that old German, admired him and he told me it was time to close down, “Enjoy the rest of your  life, you’ve already done so much.  Relax, stay with Goldie.”

Did just that.  

Toos and I became lovers of a sort.  We had much in common–nightmares, tears, trauma and erratically functioning equipment.  Expectation adjustments happened often, yet we were bound closer than most men by our unspoken pasts.  

Cleaning the house, I found him holding my gun, put the barrel to his nose.  “What’s going on?  Feeling low?”  Frightening to see that.

“No, smelling it.  When did you last fire this?”  

“Never have.”  I took it from his hand, “Only held it once, couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger.  Would have left me dead and Luuk alone.”  

“I’m not depressed, not a bit.  Just wondered… What happened?”

Stared at the gun, deciding what to say.  “It was tight for a few moments. Had to do with smokers and jerry cans full of gasoline.  We got lucky–we waited; hid, survived to escape.

“Time to get rid of this.”

Dug a hole and buried it at the edge of the compound.  Not as a valuable but as it’s grave.  Poured in memories with each shovel of dirt that covered it.  Took Toos out for dinner that night, not a Wimpy burger, but another just as good.  Came home to play old songs, sang along while we danced in each other’s arms..

South African grifters in government, with all their dirty money, were on the run, hounded constantly by the media, hackers and investigators. They found no peace at any stop.  Had their own train arrived?

Goldie was weaker and Toos proved to be a dedicated carer.  Goldie and Toos often wandered the orchard we’d planted, picking their fruits, eating them on the way.  Brought some for breakfast.

When things cooled down around Cape Town.  My children, grandchildren visited often to see Goldie.  Still indulging the children, he was a good second grandfather.  Grandkids loved him with messy kisses and hugs he treasured.  Spoke of them constantly after they left–called them often.

Our Goldie passed laying on his chaise lounge by the pool, rum cooler and bowl of figs nearby.  Left the compound and all his accounts to Toos, Luuk and me; sad gift memorializing much love shared..

Holidays came, my boy called–he wanted to come home for a few weeks.  Toos and I were excited. This would be a holiday to remember, though my boy wasn’t a boy any longer.  Wine, food, gifts, all kinds of treats, deep-sea fishing.  We pulled all the Oranjemund stops out to celebrate.

When his plane landed at the capital, Luuk called.  Told us to meet him at the train station in Karasburg with his husband William.  “You’ll love him like I do.”

We did.

End.

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