Home > Creative Writing, Humour, Short Story > Love in a warm climate

Love in a warm climate

This post was first published on September 20, 2010

“Fancy a swift dop, later, I have some hot int?”

“Yea, lekker, man, what you got?”

“A plane load of Ozzie chicks flew in this arvie. They’re bound to head for the Frog and Toad for a bit of a piss up later.”

“Cool banana. Those birds are rough, but, hey, they are easy to pull.”

“Yea, that’s cos they are not used to real men where they come from. They always complain that the okes in Oz are bunch wussies.”

“Ja, I reckon. Chops!”

The two young men, Michael and Simon were typical Zimbabweans, tall with lean, rugged good looks. With quick wits, a ready smile and sparkling blue eyes, they were always popular with the female tourists who flocked to resort to experience excitement and adventure the like of which they were unlikely to find anywhere else in the world. Even the male tourists were somewhat in awe of these demi-gods. However, their warm, charming demeanours could turn to steel in the blink of an eye sending an icy chill down the spine of any who mistook their gentleness for weakness.

Victoria Falls, one of the Natural Wonders of the world. With a curtain of water that was twice as wide and twice as high as that of Niagra Falls, the place was a magnet to visitors from all over the globe. But the true aficionados came not so much for that one magnificent spectacle, and magnificent it most certainly was, but for everything else that was on offer there. The shores of the mighty Zambezi River were graced by the most beautiful animals in all the world. From Michael and Simon’s camp site one had a glorious view of Africa at its very best. Each evening a huge herd of buffalo, powerful and confident pushed to the water’s edge; young and old, male and female all eagerly quenching their thirst after a long day of foraging in the hot sun. Here a lone elephant bull stood thigh-deep in the river splashing itself with cool water showering from its trunk. There a fish eagle swooped over the water, its talons stretched out in front, ready to grasp a tiger fish that had strayed too near the surface.  The more timid game, impala, zebras, kudu, bushbuck and the like nudged hesitantly forward. Those at the front, terrified of the crocodiles lurking in the water while those at the back nervously looked around for lions, leopards or other predators that might attack them while they were so vulnerable. All the while pods of hippos grunted their contentment.

A colony of carmine bee eaters had dug a honey comb of tunnels in the embankment, further up the river. At dusk they swooped and dived, chasing insects, their crimson and blue plumage flashing in the setting sun.

“Heck this is a mushi spot hey?”

“Ja, man. I feel sorry for those ous who buggered off to Mud Island. There is bugger all game there and its piss cold and wet all the time.”

“Oz is almost as bad. A million bleeding kangaroos, a few thousand tree-rats that they call possums and some noisy bloody parrots. As for sights to see. Jeez. They think that bloody gomo is so special; Ayres rock or Uhuru, or whatever bloody Abo name they call it now. Zim has a million more kopjies that are heaps better. I tell you bru, Oz is a kak hole. I have been there.”

“Ja. I know, boet. I tell you I have no desire to go there. If I need the sea, I just head down to Moz. That’s the only thing they have that we don’t.”

“Ja, the sea and easy chicks. Zim chicks are hot, but man they are so damned larnie.”

“Ja, come, lets jol.”

It was past seven o’clock when the two friends and business partners strolled into the pub. Showered and shaved they wore lose fitting short-sleeved shirts and chinos with dock shoes. The barman gave them ready smile.

“Hello boys, what will it be? Shots or mozzies?”

“Evening Amos. I think we’ll start with a couple of mozzies. Shots will come later.”

“You wish!”

“Cheeky bugger. But with a bit of luck, we’ll get those shots too. I hear that a plane load of punda is in town.”

Amos, fetched a couple of beers from the fridge. Mosi O Tunua, ‘the smoke that thunders’.

“Tatenda, shamwari!”

“Zvakanaka.”

Michael and Simon looked around to check out the talent before sitting down at the bar. There were a few locals there who they nodded at and a couple more from a rival outfit whom they ignored. There had been an argument over the poaching of staff. It would blow over in a week or two, but for the moment they were not talking to each other.

“Hello, Simon, hello, Michael, how are you?”

The two looked around. It was Grace and Sally, two resident hookers who either by coincidence or intent shared the names of the current and former wife of President Mugabe.

“Ah Comrade Grace, Comrade Sally, good evening ladies. How are tricks this evening? Getting any?”

“Heh, heh, you two. When will it be?”

“Not tonight, Grace. I am afraid. A whole bunch of Australian girls have arrived. Why go to the shop when fruit grow in the garden, hey?”

“But Michael, you know what they say about us. Once you have had black, you never go back.”

“Yes Sally, I am sure that is true. I have also heard that absence makes the blacks look blonder. But tonight there will be no absence. When there is, we may come and see you. But don’t worry. I am sure we can send some business your way.”

“Make sure they are Australians. They are so eager.”

“Ok, but we want our commission.”

“Ah, but we are poor working girls.”

“Fair is fair, Grace. Toodle pimp.”

“Heh heh. Wena!”

Michael and Simon turned back to their drinks as the ladies went to sit down at a table in the corner. They would sneak a couple of cokes laced with vodka out of their bags and nurse them until some prospective business came along. After a short while they heard a vehicle approach and the excited chatter of foreign voices. There was only one problem. They were male voices.

“Hey Bruce, you want to split a beer?”

“Ah, no thanks, mate, I think I can manage a whole one.”

“Yeah, well don’t over do it. We don’t want you chundering like you did last night.”

“No worries, mate. This African air makes me feel as strong as a wallaby.”

The two Australian men approached the bar. They were in their mid thirties. They wore long sleeved shirts and shorts together with sandals with white socks. They stood next to Michael and Simon.

“Good evening, gentlemen, are you local or visitors.”

“Howzit. We are local ous. I’m Micheal. This is my mate Simon. Are you guys with that plane load of girls that arrived.”

“Gidday.  I’m Tarquin, this is my mate Bruce. What girls are you talking about.”

“We heard that a plane load of Australian women were arriving on some sort of incentive travel award. Top sales reps for a cosmetic company or something.”

“Sorry mate, I know nothing about that. What’s the beer like here?”

“Bugger. Well, you’ve got Castle, Bollinger or Mozzies. That’s what we’re having. Let me spring you a couple.”

“Cheers mate.”

Amos brought a couple of beers and the four got talking.

“Who are those girls at the table over there?”

“Ag, they are just a couple of local chicks. Sally and Grace.”

“Do they have boyfriends?”

“No, nobody special”

“You fellers not interested?”

“Not really, they are like sisters to us.”

“Oh I see. You mind if we talk to them?”

“Not at all. Go for it.”

Tarquin and Bruce walked over to Sally and Grace and sat down with them. Michael and Simon chuckled as they finished their beers and ordered a couple more.

After a while Tarquin came to the bar.

“Excuse me barman, I would like to order a couple of drinks.”

“Yes, sir, what can I get you?”

“I would like two vodkas and coke please.”

“Sure thing. Anything else?”

“Yea, another couple of beers.”

“Coming right up sir.”

“How you getting on with Sally and Grace?”

“They are very interesting ladies. Very accomplished. They seem to have travelled a great deal. They know people from all over the place.”

“Too true. I am sure they have been around the world a few times, if you know what I mean.” Simon laughed.

Tarquin obviously did not know what he meant.

He made his way back to the table with the drinks.

A few more people entered the bar. Michael and Simon greeted them, but still there was no sign of the tour group. Sally came past.

“How are you getting on Sal?”

“Hi, boys. Well they are keen, but they don’t seem to be able to hold their beer.

“Nah, man, they are just nervous. Get them to drink faster and then they will relax”

Soon it was Bruce’s turn to get the drinks. They watched him approach the bar, and there was a definite sway to his gait.

“Christ, he is half cut and he’s only had two beers. What’s he going to be like when the girls are ready to take them home?”

“Same again, sir?” Asked Amos. It was to Bruce and this was the 6th round of drinks. The two Australians were by this stage completely wasted.

“No, mate. This time I want two beers, a vodka and coke and, errm, wait, I forgot the other drink. How much is that?

“That’s eight dollars, sir.”

“Here you are mate. You’ve cleaned me out.”

He turned round and shouted across at Sally.

“Hey Sal, what was that fancy drink you wanted?”

“I want a Drambuie and Scotch with a twist of lemon please Bruce. On ice.”

“Hey Tarquin, mate. Have you got any cash left.”

“Sorry Bruce, I can’t find my wallet. I must have left it at the hotel.”

The two women looked at each other and then as one got up and left the bar.

“What’s that all about?” Asked Bruce as Tarquin stumbled up to the bar.

“Buggered, if I know. I can’t help it if I lost my wallet.”

“They must have really wanted that last drink.” Said Simon.

“What was it again,” asked, Michael

“A Drambuie with Scotch and a twist of lemon”

“Ag man, you mean for the want of a rusty nail the whores got lost?”

  1. Cymbeline
    December 22, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Good description of the rough and ready, very human colonial barfly world. My father has some funny stories of such people. One bloke he knew used to run a guest house in a remote part of PNG. He would ring a silver bell to call the ‘guests’ in for dinner, and then things would go hilariously and seriously downhill after that.

    I went to Victoria Falls when I was a little girl. The amazement remains.

    Typical Zimbabweans, with sparkling blue eyes, eh? That made me laugh.

  2. Cymbeline
    December 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    The Nancy Mitford/Orwell reference was fun too.

  3. December 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Some good natured joshing at Bearsy’s expense. Unfortunately the judge of the competition, Bilby, was also from Australia. I never stood a chance of winning.

    A good friend of mine spent several years in PNG in the 1980s. I think he grew coffee and tobacco. He told some interesting stories of the goings on there. Mostly though I laughed at the use of Pigeon English in the newspapers. “All buggered up pinnis”, if I am correct, was a perfectly respectable way of saying something was broken.

    I had a quick browse through Deborah (Mitford) Devonshire’s autobiography (Wait For Me) the other day. She must have had a very interesting life with all those people she met. I am not sure though that books like that are worth more than a browse. I think she would be lovely to have at a dinner party, but I do not think one would learn anything really worthwhile from reading her book.

  4. December 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Confession time. I did not know the Orwell connection. Now I do. Thank you.

  5. Cymbeline
    December 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Well, I could not remember who had written ‘Love in a cold climate’. Had to look it up, and managed to fish up George too.

  6. Cymbeline
    December 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Yes, that is perfectly acceptable language. O Zangado is proficient in PNG Pidgin.

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