Brit Memories of Africa (the Definitive Collection)

The bull elephant flowed toward us at top speed, a towering river from which his ivory tusks and small pig-eyes gleamed. "Toss me the bolo," I whispered to my spellbound companion and, sensing his inability to comply, was obliged to seize it from his frozen hand.

Somewhere in the wastes of Tanganyika I inadvertently stumbled upon the secret to the caves of Tarku. After an uneventful day in the wild, dusk fast approaching, when my attention was first drawn to the inexplicable movements of a pair of circling vultures.

My initiation into the tribe of the Kakinmen-nomadic wanderers of the highest veltland-occurred in the following manner: having fasted three days, I was led to the banks of a nearby stream and coated, head to foot, with the red clay thereof.

The dragon of Tellestal, in those days, thought to be merely a product of local witch doctors, a talisman useful in politics. Therefore, with some surprise I had occasion to measure the footprint of the beast. Unrolling the tape, and instructing my assistant to maintain his position at the starting point, I inched forward alongside the cavity until discovering the tape's full six feet unrolled and was forced to measure the remaining distance with my two hands. The overall length of the single print was then found to be six feet and fourteen hands.

You ask if fear of going native crossed my mind. I tell you only this: bogaloo, bogaloo, bogaloo, and then, whee, wheis, and tpelt--

You, when you are in Africa, will feel the fear of the night that is Africa's night. It is black and the scent is upon the wind and the wind carries the scent to the beast and he turns, restlessly, then . . .

Under a fierce August sun, the shadows beckoning, I turned, prompted by some deep instinctive warning and there, beyond the periphery of my eye, turning as I turned, stood a savage warrior. "Hello," I stated, by way of introduction. He forthwith produced, from under his feather cloak, a goodly portion of the flesh of the crocodile. We feasted.

I brought with me one time, from the home office, a couple of dozen electric fans as a gift to the erstwhile Sultan. He was, as may be imagined, delighted. Subsequently, I learned it was his pleasure, as the setting sun bade adieu, and having placed said fans in an approximate circle within the confines of his tent-I leave you to picture his surprise when the s- hit the fan.

Some time having passed since I set foot upon the soil of Africa, I refresh myself with the milk-blood drink of the peoples who passed me by as I lay parched and dying upon the plain, hearing again their plaintive chant as they, receding into the distance, muttered--

About the author:

Anna Sidak is a Southern California writer whose work has appeared in Linnaean Street, Web Del Sol (In Posse), Pig Iron Malt (Nov 01), Snark Bite, and Pacific NW Potpourri.