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AffectionHours before the cops found me, my hands spattered with blood, in front of a house with a body buried in the back I get on a bus to Jeffries Bay. Just as soon as I’d sat down, the woman next to me starts telling me how she’s going to write another letter of complaint to the airline for how they gave her the wrong meal again.
Already, I’m thinking, this is part two of my ass-numbing trip, a two-hour drive to solitary ocean bliss.
I tell the woman, okay.
She then starts telling me about how she’s had to fly down here and back six times already this month, for her job. Just to show her I’m not interested I grab the local newspaper from the seat in front of me and start reading, and she mentions how she’s had another bad day and how she’d really like it if she had a newspaper. I really don’t want to hear her whine about the crime rate or anything else on the front page, so I just open it and start reading something.
The woman, she starts telling me how much of a hassle it is to check into the hotel.
On page three the newspaper says how the bodies have still been turning up and how the police have no leads.
The woman beside me says how she’ll only be in bed by eleven because of the hotel’s slow check in service. In the newspaper it says how some of the victims turn up with their necks broken and how others have been shot. All of them have some body part or organ missing, one of them was found painted is its own blood with tribal graphics.
The woman says, “That’s if I don’t shower first.”
Two hours later we get to the stop and the woman has not stopped whining for the whole trip. As I get up I tell her, it’s been interesting but I really have to go. She says she hopes I don’t have to stay in the same hotel as she has to.
Yeah, I say, me too.
I step outside and at the bus stop is another one of our patriotic African culture markets selling all kinds of things carved out of wood and ivory. The bus stop is a few hundred feet from the beach and right here, where the sand gets blown over the concrete slabs, these vendors have set up their little market.
In this kind of setting the junk they’re selling just looks more authentic than the junk you can buy in the city, so everybody who’s been transplanted from there, for the holiday season is buying.
My normal reaction would be to just avoid the market and be bitter about it, but I’d have to bring my family back some gifts from my holiday so I might as well get it over with now. I go up to the first best stall I can find and look at some of his carved, African-looking stuff.
This one little statue is sitting back, holding a pointy log of wood. The way he’s holding it, it looks like he’s got a huge dong. Picking it up I ask the vendor what this is supposed to be.
“That”, he says, “is the god of silence and what he’s holding is the staff of thought.”
This will be perfect for my girlfriend, I think. A mute with a dong the size of a tree is all she ever wanted. This is what I get her from the stall and I move over to the next vendor. Behind me is the woman from the bus, standing at another stall, telling the vendor how overpriced his stuff is.
Later, I’m at a stall that’s selling what looks like every sort of knife ever made, and beside me someone says she’s looking for a pairing knife, if they have any. It’s a woman’s voice. I turn around and she’s about my age and really hot. She’s got long black hair and her body looks like one of those surfer chicks that you’re always seeing in denim jean commercials.
I’m thinking it would be really great if we could hit it off, go to her hotel room and spend the rest of my vacation time there. In a perfect world the woman from the bus would be next door and the whole time she’d be complaining to the hotel staff about the noise.
I say to the girl, hi.
She turns and looks me over thoroughly before she says hi.
She picks out a little knife, one of those used on fruit or something, and tells the guy, “I’ll take this one.”
Looking for something funny and intelligent to say, I tell her, nice knife.
Not even smiling, she asks me, “Do you want to get a drink or something?”
I say, sure.
Walking over to the nearby bar, this girl tells me her name is Angela. I tell her my name and look up to the sky and say, nice weather out here.
Useless social interaction stuff.
After we’d sat down and ordered our drinks, we just sit there until Angela starts telling me about the town. And she tells me about how she works as a real-estate agent’s assistant. Since we’re talking about jobs I tell her about mine and how I’d much rather be doing something else. Angela, she looks at me with those striking blue eyes and she tells me how she’s going to classes to become a professional chef.
Like that, we talk for hours and I start to think that this is the girl I’ve always wanted to meet. Then she gets up and says we should go walk on the beach. I’m really into her at this point and I think, okay, sex on the beach before sex in her room.
I say, yeah, cool.
We walk past the market and onto the beach. It’s already late at night and the people from the city are still making noise, buying overpriced junk at the market. As we’re walking on the beach we pass groups of kids around fires and families having night picnics. We keep walking and eventually it gets so that we can’t hear the city people anymore.
On the land side of the beach the houses are getting more expensive-looking and Angela says how right now, property prices are at their highest because of the holiday season.
All the big houses here are dark. The only lights are in hotel windows far away and the full moon.
We come to a fence built all the way from the houses right into the water.
Angela stops walking and she says, “we’re coming to the most exclusive properties now.”
She gets down on her hands and crawls under the fence.
She says, “follow me.”
I crawl under the fence and shake the sand from my shirt on the other side.
“We’re almost there,” she says and tells me that rich people buy these houses and never come here.
A light gust of wind from the water makes her long hair dance and she says, “Real estate is the biggest business in town.”
Angela points to a house and says, “it’s over here.”
As we’re walking towards the dark house she says how some of these houses get sold up to three times a year as rich people get rid of them, either to score from the property market, or to get out before they lose too much money.
When we get up to the front door she brings out some keys from her jeans and holds them out in the moonlight to see.
I ask Angela, do you live here?
“Yeah,” she says, “but the people who own it are selling soon.”
She picks out the right key from her hand puts it in the door. Unlocking the door, she steps inside and turns on a light. I follow her.
On the floor there are expensive-looking tiles all the way across the entrance, leading to an expensive-looking carpet. Beyond that the house is full of furniture covered in sheets, just waiting to become a ready-made home.
Angela brushes by me, locks the door and puts the keys on a little table. She walks around the corner, through big archway resting on marble pillars. To my right is a sign that says, “SeaNet Properties welcomes you.”
The motto beneath it reads, “we make your dreams your home.”
I follow Angela into a softly-lit kitchen. In the middle of it there’s a big counter with a stovetop and drawers built into it. Pans and cooking utensils are suspended above the counter and somewhere over that are hidden lights that makes the whole thing look more impressive. Angela opens the fridge and pours some juice into a glass on the counter, she asks if I want anything.
Trying to be funny again I say, nothing from the fridge, thanks.
She doesn’t even smile.
I put my bag of stuff I bought at the market on the counter and watch her as she drinks the juice.
Slowly, Angela puts the glass down on the counter and walks around to where I’m standing. While running her hands slowly down my chest she pushes me back against the wall. Angela’s only slightly shorter than me and she moves closer and puts her mouth up to my ear so I can hear her breathing.
She whispers, “I like you.”
I put my hands on her hips and say, I really like you too.
Angela slowly runs her hand through my hair to behind my head, and whispers, “I’m going to cut out your tongue.”
She said she was going to cut out my tongue.
I push her away and ask, what?
For the first time I see her smile and she slowly takes a step back.
Angela, she tells me, “I’ve got some rope upstairs.”
I wonder if this is some kind of game.
She runs her hand down her waist and into her pocket and pulls out the little fruit knife she bought earlier, and she tells me she’s going to tie me up and use the little knife to cut out my tongue.
Louder than before, I say, what?
She keeps her eye on me and steps back to the centre counter, she opens one of the drawers and brings out one of those self-defence tazer guns. I start backing off very slowly to one side and I tell her, this isn’t funny.
Giggling, she says, “I’ll have to kill you but at least you’ll be part of my history.”
Still backing off I yell to her how she’s a crazy bitch.
And slowly she’s following me and she yells back, “Yeah, I know!”
“That’s the problem,” she says, “I’m just another crazy bitch and no-one will ever know how much.”
When I’m almost to where I can think about making a run for it she stops and places her hands on the counter, she tells me how she’s been cutting out organs to correspond to letters of the alphabet and now she’s at ‘T’.
Slowly, I step over a bit more and I say, you’re the killer from the newspaper.
Angela smiles and says, “yes, but no one has worked out the alphabet thing yet.”
Now I’m almost on the other side of the counter and I yell to her, what the hell is wrong with you?
“Oh come on,” she says, “haven’t you ever thought about how to leave your mark in history?”
Still yelling, I tell her there’s other ways. Like art, I say.
“I’ve tried painting,” she says, giggling, “but I’m no good at it.”
Glancing for an escape route I see the shapes of furniture under the big sheets.
Angela walks slowly the other way around the counter, the kind of sexy walk where her hips do most of the work. Getting closer, she says how I really won’t feel anything because I’ll be unconscious. Then she grips the tazer to show she means business.
Angela looks me in the eye and says, “It’s not like you care, anyway.”
I tell her, no. I tell her I really do care and I don’t want to die.
She brings the tazer up to my face and yells, “you don’t give a shit!” She yells, “you’re just like the others, you whine about everything like a little bitch!”
For a moment I’m really disappointed that all she did was pretend to like me, just so she could cut out my tongue.
She lowers the tazer from my face and looks like she’s done talking. Next to me on the counter is the bag of gifts I bought my family. Somewhere in there should be the knife I got for my father.
Angela says that besides from the whining I’m nice and she almost likes me.
With my left hand I shove her away and she falls backward before she can zap me. The plastic sound as her hand whacks the tazer onto the floor echoes through the house. I shove my hand in the gift bag as she’s getting up, clawing for anything I can use as a weapon. She leaps toward me and then stops before she can zap me. Her breathing stops, like it got stuck in her throat and she doesn’t make a sound. She takes a step backward and then looks down at the bottom half of the little wooden statue I got for my girlfriend; it’s sticking out from her stomach. The tree dong guy is now being surrounded by a dark red spot that’s getting bigger. She slowly stumbles backwards and then slides down the wall.
After I ran around the house for a while, panicking, I phoned the cops and when I got back to the kitchen she was gone. I grabbed the knife from the bag and went outside.
Angela wasn’t there, but for the first time I really saw the ocean. From the front door of the house I felt like I could see it all. The full moon seemed huge, reflecting off the water. It was huge and shimmering and beautiful.