1/27/2005

The vulture

I was in my bed yesterday morning when my telephone rang. Before it rang, my primary feeling was one of desperation. I was bored and tired of guarding banks, and I absolutely hated the endless waiting, with nothing happening. There was so much private work I also had to do and all this work was not getting done. I was drying up, my energy was sipping away, and my life evaporating into nothingnes.

I picked up the phone, and heard the clipped Afrikaans accent. You have been invited to the Presidential office. Please appear properly dressed to meet the president.

I dropped the phone, and lay in my bed for a few moments. I stood up and got under the shower. I brushed my teeth, and only then did it begin to strike me that something was going to change in my life. A meeting with the President. I wondered what I had done right.

I stood in the waiting room, in a crowd of about 10 men. A good number were police officers, some in uniform, some in plain clothes. You could tell from their judging eyes that they were men of the law.

The vulture was also in the crowd, but I did not acknowledge him. Professor Steyn, tall, thin, trembling lips, a large nose and a stare like a vulture makes as it circles around the corpse, and waits for the humans to go before disturbing it. He was a pathologist, well known because he worked in the field also, and not just in the hospital. I had met him before, and we were not the best of friends. He looked across at me, I saw from the corner of my eye. He did not acknowledge me either.

The door opened and we were ushered into a large office. Thabo Mbeki was sitting, and waited for us to file in. Then he stood up, came across and shook our hands. He greeted everybody by their names. When he came to me, he said „John Ben-Younes“. I replied „Mr. President“. Okay, there is something a bit goosebump inducing about a president speaking to you like he knew you.

Then we all sat down, and he proceeded to tell us what he called us in for.

1/24/2005

Jazz

Many years ago, I walked the streets of New Orleans. When I think of those days, they are dark and unclear, shot in brown and white, with long hovering shots of old black men lining the sides of the streets. I walk through the streets in slow motion, wearing a heavy black coat, and dark spectacles. My head is bent towards the ground, my footprints snake through the streets, following me.

You cannot listen to Jazz, you can only feel it. And you can never explain it, if you do not know what the piano thumping signifies, if you cannot touch that wail floating through the air with your hands, if someone has tell you why the trumpet moans and why that eletric guitar cries, then there is no need that you ever be told, because you will never understand.

I sat in a square in New Orleans with my guitar and I played the blues. I could not sing, but I could hear my voice in my head. I could hear the rusty groan that my Jazz voice would be, I could hear the words I would be saying, the hope that would shine through the despair. Jazz made me smile, it made me laugh.

I remember the Jazz in New Orleans, but there was also the death. We were following a man who we were told was going to kill, and I remember his face well. I sat next to him in a music cafe, and I listened to him speak. He spoke slow and sad, he had weight on his shoulders. He spoke of destruction, and he spoke of war, he spoke of murder and he spoke of terror. Though he spoke without fear, he spoke with gravity and a sadness that was terrible to hear.

There was Jazz in that man. There were feelings; when I listened to him, it was like hearing the blues.

I could see him walking to his family home, having been out of his country for several years, and seeing a burnt and bombed ruin with dying trees and poisened plants. I could see him looking around, his heart in his stomach, his mind unable to understand what he was seeing. And I would watch his brown eyes as they settled on the mounds of earth, I could feel his hand tearing into the cold earth, and his heart realising that there was nothing left to love, and that he was alone in the world.

And the fear in his heart congealed and changed him into a creature of sadness, a gestalt like that one can only find in old Jazz records, scratching way on an old record player.

He spoke on his phone, and I sat beside him, and I felt more than I had ever felt. I looked into my drink, and saw the reflection of the blue helicopter appear in the rippling water. I saw dark cars pull up to the cafe, heard footsteps as heavy men rushed towards where we sat.

I turned around and looked at him, and he looked up with an expression difficult to describe. I've seen it before, on old black men who sing on the cold streets, I've seen it on women on stage, I've seen it in the mirror.

He looked at the men rushing towards us, he watched me stand up and pull out a pistol and point it towards him. He sat down silently, looked around at the frozen faces of everyone around. Then he looked at me, and I understood that we were very similar.

We had both seen the misery, we had felt the low notes, we had felt the high notes also, and through all those Jazz clubs I had tailed him into, we had felt the same emotions, we had been joined by the music.

They took him away in a flurry of screaming activity, and I stood there in my long coat, my guitar hanging on my shoulder, and my gun drooping from my limp hand, Billie Holiday crooning from the Cafe speakers. I loved that moment, because it was a moment of true emotion, true sadness, a moment of true Jazz.

1/21/2005

Something in the air

Don't depend on me for this one, but a couple of men have told me that some people they know have heard from other people that it is being rumoured that some groups from the middle east are currently based in South Africa and are planning on doing something or the other.

It is not being said what that "thing" is, but they are offering to hire men, one of those jobs where they do not tell you what it is, but they do tell you it is high risk. They are giving preference to muslims.

My estimation is that something is being planned outside Iraq and that whatever it is, it is going to go down within the next two to three weeks.

Don't quote me on this one, the info is rather vague....

1/20/2005

Whores

I spoke to this young girl, and she wanted a job from me. She did not know what I did, all she saw was my good suit, my car, my watch, and she let me know everything she was good at.

I pretended to be interviewing her, I pretended I was considering her abilities, and would spring a suprise job offer on her. I manipulated her thought process, and I could read her mind.

She knew I was not going to offer her any job. She knew it, yet she did things for me like I was going to. She searched me out, she almost treated me as her boss. She lied to herself, I saw.

I wanted to sleep with her, but I could not. I could only see the prostitute in her, I could only see the girl who wanted to please me because she thought I could offer her something.

I mean, that girl was not planning to sleep with me. When I touched her, she pulled away. However, she let my hand linger as long as she could without appearing impolite. She did that because, in my later perception, she was a woman who would sell herself for profit.

It disgusted me, all the girls that surrounded me and tried to sell themselves to me in one form or another. It spoke to me of a general decay in society, of a society that was broken, and spilling its morals into nothingness. When there are no more morals, that society shall break down into a hurricane of violence that will reinstall moral values, but in an extreme form. That is what history teaches us.

Please women, cover yourselves up. It is not worth it, I'll take what you offer, and I'll give you nothing back.

1/19/2005

Robbery

I’ve been working for about 3 months now as a security guard. I work for a big security company, and we guard high risk targets. For example, when the president is going somewhere, the company is hired, and sends people who walk around in the crowds (with concealed guns). When rich men are going to dangerous places, they usually call us up.

Anyways, I was working on valuables transport. What we do is sit in black cars and speed through the country carrying “things” in the car. Everyone is armed to the teeth, and usually, nobody knows what we are carrying. Apart from like 3 guys, only one of which is outside the main car where the thing is being transported.

Anyways, a couple of weeks ago, we were heading towards Pretoria from the cape when the car at the head of the convoy suddenly slowed down. Then it started banking to the left and slowly rolled to the side of the road, and slowed to a halt.

The Jeeps sped around the car, and stopped in a sort of protective circle. We all jumped out, everybody pointing guns in various directions. I looked over at the small car, a black Toyota sedan, and there were bullet holes in the windscreen. By this time, the crowd of armed men were slowly approaching the car, walking cautiously and slowly.

Some guy approached the car, and looked into the window. There was a burst of gunfire from the window, and it smashed into tiny pieces, which fell to the floor. The man who was shot grabbed his face, took two steps backwards, stumbled and fell. As he fell, I saw that half his face was missing.

We all ran back towards our cars, threw ourselves behind the cars, taking cover first of all. When I turned round to look, I saw that someone with a gun, one of the security guards, was running down the road, trying to shoot backwards over his shoulder towards us.

There was a single shot and he stumbled. Then there were roars of tens of guns shooting the man. He fell on his knee, and even as he fell, I saw chunks of his flesh being ripped out by bullets.

After 5 minutes, we were back in the cars, and speeding onwards. As my car drove past his body, I saw that his entire body was in a pool of blood. He was ripped apart.

I never heard the full story of who he was, what he wanted, or why he shot. All I heard was that he was a robber, part of some larger group.

What I think of sometimes is how he felt when he was running down that long straight highway. There were no bushes on either side of the road, there was nowhere to hid. All one could was run, but there was no hope in running. I wonder how he felt, knowing that in a few moments, bullets would tear into his body. And I wonder why he even ran.

1/16/2005

Summer, summer

_The sun is shining, the weather is sweet._

I found myself a new woman. Her is jael, she has long black hair, is slim, smiles a lot, and likes to walk around the house barefoot. She reads a lot, and listens with fascination to my stories. I rather like her.

I bought myself a piece of land in karoo, and I'm planning to make a small thing there where I can sit with my friends and relax. Like a pool, tennish court, gardens, that kind of thing.

I've been playing a lot golf lately, it is quite relaxing. I never thought I'd get to like it, but apparently it is possible. It really depends on whom you play it with, I think.