Scared Grubby Eyes

by Owen Townend

They thought I went to Africa. The first woman asked me if I had seen much whilst I was there, if I had learned any particularly sweet-sounding greetings during my time in the village. I came up with something that involved a lot of tongue flicks. I was in a room filled with the racially naive.

Her husband asked me how the journey back went. I told him a story on the spot about a plantation strike that blocked the way and having to turn down some seriously overgrown side roads that felt like they were leading straight into the nearest predator’s den. I expressed my fears that the driver was somehow in cahoots with the vultures. I’m not even sure there are vultures in Africa.

Just as I was grabbing some wine from a nearby platter, I was confronted by an elderly merchant banker and his two daughters. The daughters whispered into his ears despite both of them being thirty years old at least. I sipped my wine as the old man stuttered over the very simple question of what the tribe was like. I told him there was no particular tribe when I arrived there, just a scattering of families that closed their mud huts to any white men who ventured onto their land. I explained how we evicted them with fire and the merchant banker said quite rightly too. The freckled sister flashed her eyes at me. I fucked her in my jeep about an hour later.

The last person who came up to me did not ask about my time in the wilderness nor even if I enjoyed my stay there. It was a shame because I had a nice wad of hogwash ready to serve her about building a bridge across to the elephant enclosure. She told me that she had seen Darrel and I had a nerve even showing up here today. I have a feeling she was with the press though she did not exactly state that at the time. I asked her where the pictures were. She told me Darrel was keeping things quiet until I returned to his sister. I could not think of much else to say so I stood up to leave and then she grabbed my arm. Finally she asked me, why Africa? I answered that it was a safe bet that none of the toffs here had ever been there. She gave me Darrel’s new address and left the party.

I’m not going to call on him, of course. Now all I can see are his scared grubby eyes hiding in the bushes, sharpening his spear.

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Owen Townend writes about bizarre occurrences happening to curious people.

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