Dial Zero - Bikozulu
5 months ago, 13 Mar 10:50
I tipped the porter then stood at the balcony staring at the ocean now a sinister shade of blue, almost black. The sun had only just set behind the flat line of the horizon dotted with boats drifting home. Stringed music drifted up from the restaurant below. Couples from their romantic evening beach walks washed their sandy feet by the outdoors shower by the swimming pool. A knot of children ran by the pool, giggling. I was not thinking of anything in particular, just standing there wondering if I should shower first and go for dinner or if I should shower after dinner when I felt a presence in the room and I whirled around to find a man standing at the threshold, as startled to see me as I was to see him. My first thought was that it was the Tanzanian secret police. I would languish in a Tanzanian jail with lowly pickpockets. But then a lady peeked over around his shoulders and I relaxed. No secret police comes with a lady in red lipstick. The man was the short portly type that tend to say vaguely that they dabble in import and export. You know the type, don’t you? They drive Audis. He had on a gaudy untucked flowered shirt. He looked to be in his late 50s. Nice head of hair, most likely dyed. He stepped into my room like it was his, with slow, sure steps. He had that assured energy of a man who is used to having the elevator door held for him. His lady companion was obviously not his wife. There is a look wives have and she didn’t have it. She seemed too excited to be in his space to be his wife. She was wearing one of those spaghetti tops that showed her bone structure. “May I help you, please?” the man said. You know how someone can use the word “please” but still come across as abrasive or combative? The please was a mockery, a hostility, a lunge. I was standing at the doorway of the balcony’s sliding glass door now. I was thinking, what the hell is this portly man with Mandela’s shirt doing in my room? The lady placed her small kitenge beach bag on the dresser, its contents rattling in the process. It was a nice bag. They were probably from a sundowner where he told her everything about his export and import business, promised to take her to Paris next where he owns a condo as she sipped her cocktail, nodding like she was interested in import and export and rubbing his hairy knees lovingly like you would stroke the skull of a dog suffering from nausea. His accent was African. I know he wasn’t Tanzanian because he spoke English. He certainly wasn’t Kenyan because he wasn’t wearing bad swimming shorts. His legs were too thin to be a West African. Probably from the southern parts of Africa. He had a heavy portuguese-like accent but ...
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This year, as the column steps into its fifth year, I thought I would share with my dear readers some important lessons that I have learnt in the course of writing a newspaper column. ...Category: blogs