Tag Archives: Africa

Strawberry Safari

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The African safari was ridiculous. Hippos in high heels? They had them listening to Pearl Jam songs from the 90s. I just looked at the scenery, which was decent enough, as the savannah carriage bounced along the rough road.

I tapped the driver on the shoulder. “When do you take us back to the hotel?” I asked him.

He gave me a quick look of disbelief. “But we’ve only begun. You want to go back? I can’t go back. Not until the tour is done. The other people, they want to see the animals.”

“Can you stop and let me out then?”

The driver braked. “You going to walk back? I can’t let you do that. There are wild animals out there. This isn’t Disneyland my friend. No.”

“This won’t be on you. I’ll take full responsibility. I’ve already written my family a certified letter stating that I may do something crazy in Africa, but it’s no one’s fault but my own. You and your company are absolved. Bye now.” I jumped out of the vehicle, and he drove away slowly. The other tourists stared at me as I just smiled and waved goodbye.

I walked like a bruise through the sky. I walked liked a man with purpose who didn’t want to die. The sun bore down it’s yellow tentacles of high heat. I suddenly missed the relative comfort of the safari vehicle… That was now but a speck of whirling dust in the distance.

I came upon a herd of elephants at a watering hole. I watched them from the brush. Some were bathing, some were playing. Some were trumpeting their agonies over what vile man has done to the Earth. The pool of water grows ever smaller.

I came upon a pride of lions, and I was very careful because I did not want to get eaten. But I knew they smelled me; I could tell by the movement of their noses. I was a dead man for sure I thought, but then they caught wind of a herd of something else out on the hallucinatory flats and they went for that. I don’t even have a gun, so I have no idea how I’d even be able to defend myself. I suppose I would just let whatever beast it was that attacked me rip me to shreds. And that’s all I’d be in the end. Shreds. Like chicken meat for chicken enchiladas.

I kept on walking toward a sun mirage… I kept on thinking about why I was where I was. The money problems. The family problems. The job problems. The health problems. Too many problems all at once.

My friend Jim ‘Sanitizer’ Santiago went out to get drinks with me one night back home in the city, and lo and behold, both our wives strolled in with different men on their arms. Isn’t that just great?

“Looks like I’m no longer on the menu,” Jim said in his deep, monotone, straightforward way. “But what can I do, my hands are tied… Care for some hand sanitizer?” He retrieved a small bottle from his pocket and squirted a small glob in my waiting hand. He had a thing about hand sanitizer.

“Thanks,” I told him. I rubbed vigorously. “Can’t be too careful in places like these. But seriously, let’s get out of here. I don’t want to seem my wife rub her body all over him if they decide to dance.”

“I’m with you on that one,” he agreed.

Jim ‘Sanitizer’ Santiago was the best-groomed man I’ve ever known. His hair was as dark as an evil witch and sat in perfect form atop his head. He had the most perfectly sculpted goatee and always smelled like an expensive men’s clothing store in a nice mall. We worked together at the magazine publishing house. Only problem is, no one reads magazines anymore. “How long until we get the axe?” I asked him as we walked along a dirty sidewalk through a neon haze.

“I’ve already got my resume up to date and ready to go. It could be any time now,” he answered.

“I’m not going to bother,” I told him. “If they can me, I’m just going to go to Africa for a while. I’ve always wanted to go on safari.”

“Hmm, animals. Nothing wrong with animals. Are you going to be animalistic and mount prey?”

“I could never be as much as an animal as you are. And I’m afraid my mounting days are over.”

He smiled at me funny. “Why don’t we just go to my place. I’ve got some new cigars I been wanting to smoke.”

“Why the hell not,” I said.

He had the cleanest apartment I’ve ever seen. Nothing was out of place. There wasn’t a dirty dish or speck of dust anywhere. His bathroom was spotless and smelled of bleach. When I came out, he was on the balcony smoking his cigar. I joined him. We gazed at the lights and listened to traffic. He then asked me a very strange question. “Do you want to look at some dirty magazines?”


“I’ve got some dirty magazines. Do you want to look at them with me?”

I laughed because I thought he was joking. But when he squeezed at himself through his pants and said, “I might need to take care of this,” I knew he wasn’t joking.

“No. I don’t, Jim.”

“You won’t have to do anything. You can just watch.”

“I think I may just go. Seems like you might need some privacy.”

He clamped a hand on my shoulder as I turned to leave. “Please… Or we could watch a porno if that makes you feel more comfortable. I just want you to stay.”

“What kind of porno, Jim? If it’s guys with guys forget it… Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just not my thing.”

He stubbed out his cigar. “All right then. Maybe I do want to be alone. Sorry if I’m being a weirdo drag.”

But I understood in a way I suppose. “It’s okay, man. I’ll talk to you later.” Seeing his wife with another guy at a bar. We all deal with it in different ways.

Maybe the animal isn’t always what it portrays itself to be…Until you find yourself in the middle of a safari wildland trying to get back to the posh hotel to live a life of luxury when you don’t even deserve luxury and can barely afford it anyway. I raped my credit cards for this trip, and I’ll be paying for it later. Literally. Why can’t anything enjoyable ever come easy. I curse the imbalance… Bad things happen so frequently and with such ease, but why is it such a battle in this life to get the good? I suppose like everything else; it all comes down to money. If you don’t have it, you suffer. If you have it, things are always easier. That’ sad, or maybe I just misunderstand everything.

I was back in my room, and I took a shower. My wife called and said she wanted a divorce because I was no longer the man she married and I just ‘didn’t do it’ for her anymore. I suppose I didn’t care, but then I did. I was suddenly all alone in the word, but then I have been for a very long time, so it sort of felt the same except that I was in this expensive hotel in Africa and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I decided to call Jim ‘Sanitizer’ Santiago.

“Well, look who the cat dragged in,” he said when he answered which I thought was strange because it was a phone call and not an in-person event. “How’s it going?”

“I’m in Africa and I’m bored. Can you believe that?”

“Maybe you need to go out and hook up with some jungle babes.”

“Nah… What are you doing?”

“Oh, I was just watching some pornography.”

“Anything good?”

“It’s called Mr. Clean the Sex Machine.”

“Oh, sounds interesting.”

“Why don’t you come by some time when you get back.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be back, Jim. I may go stick my head in a lion’s mouth.”

“That would be an awful way to go.”

“I suppose it would… I’m going to go now, Jim. Enjoy your porn. Bye.”

I ended the call and sat on the edge of the bed and looked through the big glass windows of the sliding veranda doors and the sky was strawberry red with clouds, a wound of humanity sopped up in gauze and bandaged with another wishful goodnight kiss.


Refrigerated Dreams (Act 9)

elderly man sitting om an office chair
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Author’s Note: You can read the previous part of this story HERE.

In Need of Serious Correcting

Rude Rudy squirmed in the chair in the office that smelled like sterile, dusty discipline. Across from him seated at the big important desk sat the stodgy principal, Mr. Simon Falcone, and he was staring at Rudy through round rimmed glasses lightly tinted green and he was rhythmically tapping the tip of a pencil against a pad of yellow paper as he considered his next words.

Beside the principal, standing and with thin arms crossed against her narrow frame, was the school counselor, Miss Clementine Grady. She was blonde like Marilyn Monroe and dressed tight like a mummy in its bleached white bandages. She appeared stern, but at the very same time she appeared light and airy as a feather loopily falling through the wind. She was nervously tapping her right toe clad in a glossy red shoe.

Mr. Falcone glanced at her rigid stature and then tossed his pencil aside like he was sick of life, and he got up and sat on the far edge of the desk nearest the boy. He took a deep breath and began to speak in that intellectual professor-type kind of tone he had. “Inciting a riot on school property is a very serious offense, Rudy. Are you aware of that?”

Rudy scoffed and shook his bushy orange head at them both. “I can’t help it if my people get excited. They have a right to be upset.”

Miss Grady leaned forward and blew the hair out of her face. She was always blowing the hair out of her made up with makeup face and people always wondered why she just didn’t pull it back and clamp it down to her head. “Your people?” she replied as a cluster of hair fell back down across the tip of her nose like a tail.

“That’s right. My people. They’re great people and they look up to me. Everybody knows this. These kids need a leader who doesn’t mess around.” Rudy grinned like an orange devil. “They need someone to direct their frantic youthful energy.”

“And that includes bullying poor Adam Longo?” Counselor Clementine Grady replied. “Why? Why would you taunt and tease him like that? You should be offering a friendly welcome, not sadistic rebel rousing.”

Rudy leaned forward in the chair and his lizard-like eyes bloomed wide and clicked. “It’s not my fault the new kid can’t take it. He needs to toughen up and quit being such a baby.”

Mr. Falcone broke in. “What do you mean when you say your people have a reason to be upset?”

“What?” Rudy said. “I can’t understand you. You talk like you have shit in your mouth.”

Mr. Falcone shot up off the desk. “Young man!” he scolded, visibly distraught by the words. “You will not speak to me in that manner.”

“A thousand pardons, master,” Rudy said in a salty, mocking tone. “Continue.”

Mr. Falcone eased back down onto the edge of the desk and wiped the nervousness from his face with a slowed, carving hand. “As I was asking, why are they upset?”

“Because school sucks. It’s boring,” Rudy said. “There’s not enough proper stimulation of our young minds. We have energy to burn and there’s no kindling.”

Mr. Falcone scratched at his face and spoke in line with his manufactured authoritative status. “What I’m hearing is that you want more options, more activities, a bigger sky in which to spread your wings… Have you ever considered getting involved with student council? It would be a wonderful opportunity to plant the seeds for positive changes that deliver results.”

Rudy laughed out loud at him like Bart Simpson. “I’m not hanging out with those nerds. They don’t ever do anything that matters. They’re limp wristed and idle. They’re horribly ineffective in their roles as so-called leaders of this school. Who gives a crap about some stupid school dance or what’s on the lunch menu or pep rallies for the so-called popular crowd. People want real-life action… And I give them real-life action.”

Miss Grady laughed back at him. “Well, young man. I’m afraid your real-life action has earned you a week of detention.”

“And you’ll be expected to help clean up the mess,” Mr. Falcone added.

“And another thing,” Miss Grady said in turn. “You’ll be required to attend anger management sessions with me once a week for two months.”

“What!?” Rudy yelled. “You can’t make me do that. I have rights. This is America! I have way better things to do after school.”

Mr. Falcone rolled his eyes at the foolish boy. “What things could you possibly have to do after school? Let me guess… Masturbate to underwear pictures in the JC Penney catalog and play video games?”

Miss Grady tossed a queer look of interested disgust in his direction.

“And it might be America out there in the silly world,” Principal Falcone continued. “But in here you follow my rules. That’s non-negotiable. You will do what we expect of you. Understood?”

The boy chuckled. “You’re so damn weird… And gross.” Then Rude Rudy rudely got up out of the chair and pointed at them. “Guess what,” he said. “This is happening,” and he turned around, yanked down his pants and wriggled his pale, freckled backside in their direction. “You can both bite my orange ass!”

Mr. Falcone took grave offense to the disgusting display and growled like an angry man-animal and leapt from his spot on the edge of his desk and put the whole of himself smack down on top of Rudy’s bent over body, roughly flattening the boy to the floor. “Oh yeah! How do you like that young man!? How does it feel to be pinned to the ground, to be helpless and with nowhere to go!?” he seethed into his ear. “I bet you feel like a prisoner, huh… Sort of like how you must make Adam Longo feel when you fill his world with nasty bullying. Not too fun, is it.”

“Get off of me you pervert!” Rudy yelled out; his breathing compromised.

Miss Clementine Grady was stunned, shocked, bewildered. She clamped her feminine hands to her powdery face and screamed out. “Mr. Falcone!” She rushed to where they were pressed together on the shiny school tile and grasped the man by the shoulders. “You’re hurting him! Stop it!” She tried to pull him off, but he was too large and strong, and she was too small and weak.  

Young Rude Rudy was trying to buck him off like how a horse does to a cowboy, but it only tired him more and he relented. “Help! Help me!” Rudy screamed out to the counselor.

Miss Grady quickly scanned the room for something, anything she could use to dislodge the brute of a principal from the boy. She spotted a spinnable globe sitting on a table near the window. She snatched it up and then crashed it down on the principal’s head as hard as she could, leaving a cavernous dent in the continent of Africa.

Mr. Falcone made a grunting uummph noise and fell to the side allowing the boy to scramble up to his knees, his pants still down around his ankles. Rudy was panting like a thirsty camel and his face was flush and his wide lizard eyes nearly filled with tears. He looked up at Miss Grady in ultimate dismay as she stood over the moaning Mr. Simon Falcone. She was till holding the globe. “You stay right down there on that floor, Mr. Falcone,” she said in an uncharacteristic threatening tone. “Don’t even twitch, or I’ll put your lights out for good with the Earth’s core!”

She looked over at Rudy. “Go on now. Get your pants up and get out of here! Go to my office and wait there. Stay there. Don’t go anywhere else.”

A humbled and frightened Rudy nodded his head, embarrassingly fumbled around to get his pants back up and fastened, and hurried out of the principal’s office.