Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Things with teeth and peaches

I've always liked big machines, especially ones with teeth. I love the way they roar and I love the power. Wahahaha! The power! (recovers sangfroid with an effort).

I once did an interest test that said something like 'She is highly motivated to operate large machinery'. The same interest test (done in my teens) didn't seem hopeful about me becoming a domestic goddess and recommended outdoor work.

Well, they were right as it turns out, and I'm still highly motivated to operate large machinery. Its just as well that the machine operator removes the keys from the large orange machine currently decorating the back yard of my house or I'd demonstrate that motivation. The dam is being enlarged, and every evening, I stop for a bit and admire The Machine (note capitals).

If the keys were in it, I'd take it for a spin for sure. What do you mean, that sounds dangerous? Oh alright it is, especially if I get it onto the freeway (don't argue with me in traffic, creep...) but I suppose it won't happen, so there's no need to worry.

On a completely different subject, I have decided to use my extensive knowledge of South African country lore for your benefit, gentle reader, and thus I will inflict... I mean 'present' a short story that was based on something my grand dad did. To spare your eyes (and stretch the story) you'll get it in little bites (a trick I learned from another maunderer: thanks, mate).

The smell of peaches (part the first)

The traffic policeman wasn’t in a very good mood. What he’d like to have been doing, was sitting in his parked car under the shade of a roadside bluegum tree from which shady vantage he could watch the road for transgressions of the Road Traffic Act while idly chatting to his partner. Instead, he’d been instructed to pull off all passers-by to check their vehicle licenses, check basic roadworthiness and look into anything suspicious.

It was the hottest of days, and the heat waves shimmered on the tarmac so that it looked like a molten river. The heat seeped up through the soles of his boots while the sun beat down on his head. He’d stopped numerous cars today representing a cross section of road users: smart cars with sleek owners that looked down their noses at him, rattling farm pickups driven by ruddy complexioned farmers and everything in between. He’d found a few minor transgressors and fined them, but he knew the Captain would be far from satisfied that so many of the drivers were adhering to the letter of the law. It was bad for revenues.

The sun was past its zenith now, but the discomfort of the day was undiminished. His bottle of drinking water had become luke-warm and his head ached. Dust kicked up by vehicles pulling onto the road verge encrusted his skin except where new runnels of sweat had trickled down his forehead. The back of his shirt was dark and damp with perspiration. He could feel it sticking to his skin. His partner was as taciturn as he was today. No driver was getting off with a caution today, that was sure. If it wasn’t for them, well, he wouldn’t have a job, but he wouldn’t be standing here in the blazing heat either.

A rattling over the crest of the hill heralded action, and he stepped wearily into the road as a battered farm pickup hove into view. It clattered noisily to a halt, rich with the promise of questionable roadworthiness. A beard emerged from the drivers’ window, followed by a face shaded by a battered hat. It grinned at him. He didn’t feel like grinning back. Shrugging off the cheery greeting with a gruff ‘Afternoon’ which didn’t specify whether it was good or bad, but sounded like being the latter, he bent to inspect the license disc which, to his chargin, was in order.


You read that? Oh good for you! More tomorrow then...

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