Crispin was concerned. The locquat wasn’t getting any action. It happened since the streetlights murdered the hawk moths. He himself is a man of action, so he sprung or sprang into same.
Every fetish has its paraphenalia. This case it was stepladders and camel hair brushes. Handlangers were rustled up and we went a-fertilising. I was a keen volunteer as I hadn’t had much to do with sexual parts and sperm and ova myself for some time; and even if this was actually pollen and stamens, hey, you take what you can get.
Crispin knew where our targets lived. We crept up to and up them, tickled their upright stigma and style delicately with the soft camel hair brush and bang! pregnant! one shot! The candle flower, Oxyanthus pyriformis, natal locquat didn’t know what hit it. For all it knew it may even have been a hawk moth fondling it with its moustache.
Memory is a Dodgy Business. I remembered the scene so clearly. Standing next to a fresh buffalo carcase red with blood; looking around, nervous that the lions who had obviously recently killed it might come back and be annoyed with us for putting our feet on its lunch.
We were on a walk in the beautiful wilderness area of Mfolosi game reserve; no roads and restricted access; accompanied by our two armed Rangers we weren’t in any specific danger, but the feeling of ‘we’d better be careful’ was there, and I kept scanning the area around us.
Or that’s how I remembered it over the years. An actual picture painted a different picture! Photographic evidence of how dodgy one’s memory can be and how the years can enhance it! The top picture was sort of my memory; Here’s the actual carcase: No lion would want to look at it! Nor a hyena, nor a vulture! Only detritivores would still be interested in those horns n bones!
Aitch took the picture with her point-and-shoot Nikon. Our group photographer is the colonial Tarzan-like oke on the left. He had the penis-substitute camera and bossed us around and lined us up and made us pose (poeseer, he said, sounding like one of SanMarie’s jokes), and fiddled with his f-stop. A purist, he was still deeply into film and darkroom development theory. So where’s his picture?
He’d forgotten to put film in the camera! We have not let Taylor forget it.
Here’s the moth that will get to those horns in time:
was going too fast, but we were late and I could see miles ahead
along the sweeping roads on the hillsides of Lesotho. A speck of dust
would show up then disappear as we rounded a hill, then reappear
later a bit nearer, but still far away. Eventually a car would
materialise, turn into a white bakkie and sweep past in a cloud of
were hastening to get to Sani Top after entering Lesotho near
Ficksburg, and zooming over Khatse Dam after waiting a while for the
brakes to cool so they’d work again after too much sight-seeing
braking down the steep decline to the dam. Little Jessie and Tom
strapped in the back and me and Aitch in front. The Dizzis were
waiting for us and Aitch hates keeping anyone waiting and especially
the Dizzis, so I was putting foot, it’s true.
As I rounded one more bend at dusk my eyes widened and the donkey’s eyes widened much more. Huge, in fact as he stared at his impending doom. The look in his eyes was quite fatalistic, and he was rooted to the spot, massive bundle of sticks and bushes loaded on his back and sticking out more than his body width on both sides. On the left a high bank, on the right a cliff plummeting down to the river valley far below. Swerving was out of the question, as was hard braking, so I manual-ABS’d, slowing down as much as I could without endangering us.
As we hit the poor ass I probably closed my eyes. WHACK! A sickening bang. Dead, I’m sure. Kombi messed up. I stopped and hopped out thinking: You don’t stop and get out. For safety you keep moving. Like hell.
walked into a wall of cussing and swearing and remonstrating in high
seSotho. What the hell did I think I was doing and who the hell was
going to pay and where the hell was I headed in such a hurry and how
the hell was he going to . . . I hardly heard him. I was staring past
him at the donkey walking away minus its load, seemingly none the
worse for wear! I was so relieved I actually giggled and had to bite
immediately launched into a sincere and abject apology oft-repeated
and completely ignored. I apologised for speeding, endangering,
carelessness, being younger than him, and for breathing. I was sorry
that he’d have to catch his donkey and I regretted that he’d have to
do all the loading all over again. I was getting nowhere and the
tirade was warming up and getting more creative. I saw I wasn’t
getting through, so I returned to the kombi and fetched R200 and
pressed it into my tormentor’s hand.
It was like switching off a radio. He was COMPLETELY satisfied and what were we talking about a minute ago again? A last apology and off we went. We still had a long way to go.
was a sequel the next morning as we headed back into Lesotho on the
same road. There was my man again, so I gave him a cheery wave. He
was with a mate and he pointed at us jabbering away, grinning
excitedly. We had fun imagining what he was saying. All
complimentary, we agreed.