Barns And Nobles- The South African way! by Luna Darkes

Today my mom, Dianne had to go and get gas in Empangeni. So my family and I piled into our white Toyota Condor, along with a few friends of ours. I sat in the very back, so that I could watch what everyone was doing.

My six foot tall brother Bili, sat hunched next to our eternally smoking, steam-train friend, Locomotive a rubenesque  female associate of ours who is renowned for wearing clothes that would hardly cover a skinny child, much less her voluptuous figure. She has long blonde locks that come down to her hips, which contrasts her husband’s cherry-red naked scalp. In fact, she has so much hair compared to his bald head that one almost gets the impression that she’s wearing his hair as well as her own. Her husband, Gobstopper, aptly named after his self-dislocating jaw, which makes it seem as if he was continually eating one, is the total opposite to her, he is skinny and red in colour, with the appearance of being cleanly shaven atop his head, whilst in all actuality he is naturally bald. His red features give him the appearance of a carrot that’s just had it’s top cut off.

Sitting in the front was another acquaintance of ours, Dylan, a large middle-aged man who habitually wore the same clothing for weeks on end, I sometimes wonder if he ever did laundry, or even washed for that matter since his huge feet were black with dirt and he had a neglected crop of stubble.

We arrived at the gas depot and had soon refilled the L.P.G bottles. It was around that time when my mom decided it would be fun to visit the shed- a giant metal building bursting with miscellaneous articles that were sold off at auction to the shop as they are for whatever reason, damaged goods. It’s basically an unusual pawn shop that sells strange items that no one else does -or wants. The shop is roughly the size of a large indoor hockey shed, and it has high rafters that are barely visible from the rows of stacks of furniture. It’s a lot like the maze that Minos had Daedalus make in order to keep the Minotaur captive.

Although, this maze has narrow crevices that you have to squeeze through and larger passageways as well. Some of the goods have been there for eternity, and others are brand new. Although the origin of some of the items is a bit questionable.

All in all, it’s a great place to visit as you are never certain of what you will find there, for instance, there’s two huge metal bins occupied by second-hand army gear, although luckily, the hands are not included, free of charge with the gear.

As soon as Dirty Dylan saw the shop, his eyes lit up and he started scurrying about the place like a naked mole rat. He immediately spotted the army helmets and was adamant that he had to march about with one on his head emphasising his thick neck. When he found the gas masks he reluctantly put down the army helmet and started walking about with it strapped to his face instead.

Eventually after digging through the heaps of furniture and other articles strewn haphazardly around the barn, Filthy Dylan found a Hazmat suit and I could see he was tempted to put it on, Ironically the Hazmat suit was more likely to protect the environment than its occupant.

My mom was looking at the bolts of material lying near a row of wedding dresses. I left her to search through the fabric and walked around with Ryun, interminably cautious of the fact that the heaps of jumbled goods sat teetering atop each other, and would come cascading down atop of us like an assorted avalanche if we accidentally knocked one of the piles over.

My brother found an old Atari game console and was soon wondering how heavy it would be if he hid it deep in the bowels of his cabin, this laughably was the very self-same person who was willing to cut holes in all his clothes in order to reduce weight on the boat. I ambled off and came across an old miners torch. Above the torch was a pile of burnt filing cabinets, their drawers melted shut and sealed forever.

To the left of me sat an old broken cupboard with circuit-boards attached to the inside, presently, my brother joined me .

“Hey Boet, what is this weird contraption?” I asked puzzled.

Bill sighed, raised his left eyebrow and lowered his right one before begrudgingly answering.

“Its a ancient telephone switchboard, what did you think it was – a giant computer?”

I blushed. He had , as usual, read my mind.

I was still marvelling at all the weird and wacky articles that the store held when I realised that it was time to go. Locomotive and Gobstopper were already waiting by the car, smoking as if it was their last cigarettes that they would ever smoke, but Dirty Dylan was still wandering the store. I thought I may have to go inside the shed to fetch Dirty Dylan before he decided that he was going to make himself comfortable and move in permanently. All in all, the barn has a bigger selection than Barnes and Noble but it’s done African style- because that’s how we do it in Central African Time!

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About seashoes

I am Lawrence Huntingdon-Rusch, writing as Don Darkes. This choice of pseudonym is due to the fact that I am also writing a Biographical memoir provisionally titled, Darkest Africa My Life of Crime, the life story of an incredible man, Don Darkes, who was given this identity, at birth, in order to keep a secret and the fact that like him, my given name is also an accident of birth concealing my true heritage. I am fifty-something and have been ecstatically married for over three decades to my incredible wife Anne who bore me three miracle children. After repudiating my Psychology degree in the mid-seventies I served my mandatory National Military Service in a clandestine, top-secret unit stationed in (then) Rhodesia -for which I received a medal. (The subject of a novel in progress) During the eighties, at the height of apartheid, together with (then illegal) “black” partners I built a successful manufacturing company which I sold to buy the yacht upon which I was shipwrecked together with my wife Dianne, our five year old son Bill and four year old daughter Morgan. After returning destitute to South Africa I rode a ripple in the dot.com wave and cashed in my Internet start-up in order to distribute rare organic chocolate and to research a challenging historical novel, The Madagascar Plan, which explores an intriguing link between the Jewish Holocaust and Madagascar. Currently, together with my wife, son and two daughters we reside high off the ground amongst the branches of a Casuarina tree as the family works together to build another yacht whilst I also work on several books that have as a common denominator, my love of history and my belief that fact is stranger and far more interesting than fiction.
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5 Responses to Barns And Nobles- The South African way! by Luna Darkes

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