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African American Adventure Fiction

I anchored Magic in a little cove that was bordered by coco palms and fern over a black sand beach. It was one of those perfect beach scenes that I dreamt about as a child and now I was here. I got the dinghy in the water faster than ever with the thought that maybe the cove might disappear. I had my rum and a sandwich in my backpack to celebrate a small delight at finding this place. Before I touched the sand I had a sense of being in that dream; that I wasn’t really alive yet but still comfortably in my cot under our tree in our backyard. But, I knew I was here. The sand between my toes. The warm water over my feet. I tied off the dinghy to a palm next to a tiny trail that lead into the bush.

It is truly amazing to step into a place you’ve never been before, and yet not only know that you’ve been there before but strangely, though not startling, that I recognised people along this path and that they recognised me showing welcoming nods. The trail led to a small village and the people seemed to stroll in a cadenced grace of motion. They were in a mix of complexions, all dressed in loose whites going about their business with a general expression of alertness that I interpreted as something about to happen. I noted again that the clothing they wore was in various stages of cleanliness or age. But they all wore white without anything contrasting. White shorts, long pants, skirts, sarongs, dresses, all white. Even the children wore white, though mostly stained from games and play. There was a laughter about the place, even in direction giving or conversation that made me smile.

My first thoughts were that this was a religious community of some sort. My next thoughts were shocked by my name being repeated in greeting.

‘Afernoon, Cop’n Piktorne’, a little girl, bowing from the head in passing, said merrily.

‘Good Afternoon, Capitan Pickthorne’, an older man said raising an open palm and bowing slightly. A string of small fish were dangling from his other hand as he passed along.

A group of children ran across my path giggling at some pursuit in which they were engaged. The cobbler making sandals, the woman selling vegetables, the people sitting under the shade of a round twig thatched roof talking all reminded me of people I thought, no, I was sure with whom I was familiar. My head heated. The sun was relentless. I went over to the shade where a group sat talking under a thatched roof.

‘Hablan Ingles, Señores?’ I asked standing in the sun in front of their smiling faces.

‘Why yes,’ a white-whiskered man responded, nodding to me and giving me his full attention with a curious stare and parted lips, ‘we do, Capitan Pickthorne.’

‘Do I know you, sir?’ I asked directly.

‘Why yes, you do, Capitan,’ he smiled quizzically, ‘you know all of us, maybe you... have forgotten us, but... but time eventually chafes the untruths.’

He invited me into the shade and introduced me, or it seemed he was reintroducing me to the group who were seated on stiff straight back thatch chairs in a loose semi-circle. One man out of the group of seven arrested my attention with his smiling eyes. He was introduced as Capitan Alejandro Grande. I was informed that Capitan Alejandro was captain/owner of a trading sloop and a great dancer.

The others, all men at least in their fifties and the soft mix of skin colours, turned out to also be great dancers with a couple being introduced as both great musicians as well as great dancers.

‘Capitan Pickthorne,’ Capitan Alejandro spoke, ‘why do you not see the village... then please return to this shady spot... we still have refreshments awaiting your return.’

They all smiled in a warm excited manner at me and in agreement with the captain. I dug in my pack and handed Captain Alejandro my rum bottle. They all beamed at the gesture and some grunted laughs as older men sometimes do.

The village passageway softly curled as a snail’s shell, the apex being the older men’s shaded spot. I walked along the homes, each raised a few feet from the earth on mahogany trunks. They were well constructed huts or palapas of thatch roofed, most contained a single rooms with divisions and were white washed thatch and daub rounded structures. A smaller model was also raised above the ground for food storage. Each property was spaced at least 12 meters apart. Vegetables greened the borders of the buildings to the mixing with a neighbour’s growth. Orderly rows of greens, spinach, chilis, tomatoes, yams, zucchini, various beans, berries, ranging trees of mango, papaya, tamarind, sweet and sour sop, and banana palms waved to the slight of breezes, dwarf coconut trees formed the actual property lines. The properties were neat, a rubbish fire here and there.

Many of the people seemed to be waiting for me. They stood in family poses in front of their homes, each welcoming into their property and their homes. I went into the first three more out of courtesy than curiosity. They were very simple inside, with one wall dividing a comfortable cooking and eating area with sleeping spaces. The thatched twig sidings, painted white, provided shade from the sun, and allowed a breeze to pass through the gaps in the mud daubed thatch work. Being elevated provided a coolness to the floors where they had laid grass mats which seemed to direct air upward to my feet.

Their choices of mattresses or thick cotton mats, chairs of fat pillows, curtains or shutters were the only distinctions I could detect. Generally each home was an external duplicate of the others. This was a very organised community.

My slightly developed curiosity waned after the third one and I only token glanced into others that had a different entrance design or windows... something that would draw my immediate attention. By the end of the passage I was drenched in sweat, the birds screamed too loudly, the children were too impulsive, the sky was too white, the smiles somehow too loud.

My shirt was taken off gently. I was sponge washed, towel dried. A white shirt was slipped over my head and extended arms.. A simple shirt with a slit in the top for my head and of a soft cotton fabric for my comfort.

My shorts and underpants were taken off and I was sponged again and dried. Loose white cotton trousers were pulled on me and belted firmly in place by a thick leather belt with a large silver rectangular buckle. A wide brimmed hat was placed on my head, its swooping brim sheltered my shoulders and head from the sun. I adjusted the fit, feeling refreshed. A drink of clear liquid was handed me in a half coconut shell and I gulped it down.

All of this bathing and clothing was accomplished with happy chatter, even jokes and laughter. I did not feel I was in any way being ridiculed. It felt as though the people were simply at work making light of what happened to them on the way there.

I thanked those who had washed and clothed me and walked over to the village border of rice fields. The smell of the tall grasses overwhelmed me. I was in a complete state of smiling. Probably if I were on a city street I would have been labelled a fool grinning for no apparent reason. There, I simply joined my hosts who were mostly smiling at something or leading up to a smile or just coming off one. And it was not the kind of smile that you show at a cocktail party or because of listening to a comedian, or a good poet... it was just some kind of happiness inside that created the feeling and set the features.

Strange one, I thought, you look for reasons to smile to be happy and you never find a consistent one... you find yourself happy and you feel you have to explain it.

Poof, I said to myself, I can’t think of the whys or the feeling will go poof... this is it is all.

The drumming started and became stronger, the melody more defined, a doo dee doo bop doo dee doo bop.

I half stumbled, half trotted around back through the passage way, looking probably like a Tarot Fool and just like one not caring through an innocence in feelings that lightened my chest and straightened my back and pulled me toward the low sky. I felt that the clouds sent invisible fingers that pulled or pushed me. I was there but not. I was a passenger in my own body.

At the shaded hut of the older men my meandering stopped. I did not see them. I could not anything until I entered and the darkness dissolved to show a room not unlike my family’s room with a rounded couch, with a small cocktail table in front and an opened book lay on the table. But, there was an elevated open fire pit that sent a stream of smoke upward with a sweet smell on one side of a centre pole that supported the roof. Mats and pillows lay strewn upon a light cotton rug. Kitchen utensils were hung neatly along a wall. A long iron bar stood upright, implanted in a hole in the rug near the pit. Books lined a curving four shelved bookcase. A scorpion ran across my path. The scorpion was awash in a ray of sunlight, crouched openly near the pole as if hiding.

My feet were dusted from the walk and my ankles had sweat streaks marked brown in the dust on my dried skin. I looked at the palms of my hands as though they were new to me. Soiled dark in their sharply defined creases. Small and large mounds adding emphasis to the muscle underneath. Ready for any work, chore or pleasure that needed the contact for the touch I wanted to give. Around the palm and the light hued flesh of my fingertips there was a glow of golden richness that was tanned deeply. I looked around me at the smiling and grinning faces of the older men and others and a growing rumble of a chant.

I looked at tall rice stalks waving through the window, gold-headed, green-bladed, the sun at it’s last rays laid on the bristles encasing the rice heads.

Turning back again a great woman stood before me in the darkness of the poled hut. I started to understand some myriad of associations affecting me. But, it was as though other knowledges were passing me by. The great woman stood in front of me and sprayed me with liquid air. I inhaled as much as I could.

‘We are the clowns,’ she said to me and to white swaying figures around me, ‘the true buffoons of the Almighty Lords. They play with us and if we are aware of the game it is then possible to piece together some of the rules. The Lords might want you to play consciously, and then they will make the rules available... only the rules will be in their language and you will have to make a game of translating or absorbing their language. But you know their language is not to be interpreted, only absorbed.’

My heart was pounding rapidly, drowning out the drum-sea waving rhythms. Grains of light were rising speckled along the pole’s path into the darkness of the tent. I floated higher, feeling presences brushing through and about my body.

‘The cowardliness’, a voice within me softly spoke, ‘in us is not a false one. One that says we should find that spot before we get too old and settle upon that spot until we die a natural death, that is after living a natural life in that one spot.’

The darkness lightened into browns and golds that separated each fibre of the thatched roof. I was again with my feet on the earth, the ground pulsated the rhythm of my heart.

‘We are cowardly’, the voice resumed as I defined each golden hued palm braiding, ‘in that march toward the depth in our real being. Many other levels come our way and reached, only then can we absorb enough to be on our way to the grand threshold.’

I was smoking a black pipe, a top hat nudged, unbalanced on my head. I had a long black skirt on. It had big white dots. I had a tuxedo tailed jacket over my bare chest. My cane, which I swirled eloquently overhead, was the colour of my skin tipped with glowing silver.

I wanted money that the people gave me in bills and coins which I stuffed greedily into my pockets.

I wanted a bottle which appeared in my hand, I swallowed and sprayed air on the smoke pit and into adjoining mouths. People became clear. I could identify facial features, individual gestures, rings, bracelets then they became a swirling mass once more... except for one. The great woman danced for me. Her eyes were closed and she was lovely. Her body undulated pulling at my loins. I twirled my stick above us and circled her bringing her urgent body to mine, slipping past her, pulling her to me, slipping past. People threw coins and bills in the air and at my feet. She was racked with sensual spasms that lifted her off one foot, almost falling she would stomp down that foot to gain the other foot and again tilt to falling, then the other way she would go. My cane was pointing first this way, then that and she would follow to the wild beat of my heart. I stopped her, willed her still, willed her back bent head just above the ground. I lifted the skirt of her dress and the soft layers of her petticoats. Her lushness was thrust toward me. I opened my loose fly and placed my hardness upon her clitoris, pulling backward and forward., rubbing it with my urgency. She shook. I inserted slowly to the full and moved into an exploding darkness of dull luminescence. Instead of feeling spent, emptying , I felt as though I was pulling out her juices with me filling.

She was on the ground asleep. I was twirling my cane, comets trailed the tips. I was happy, like a child who was an adult.

The great woman again danced in front of me. 

The great woman was now dressed in billowy white blouse and trousers and had jumped up to then down from the ceiling. She danced before me with a concerned expression on her smooth face. A primary blue sash cut into her blouse and pants joining them to a narrow waist. Her long raven hair was matted, streaming black seaweed. She pointed to my crotch and my protruding organ. I quickly tucked it back in and closed my fly, my passions suddenly sapped. I was tired, barely able to keep my eyes open.

My cane was gone and I was again dressed in loose whites. I felt ashamed of the wild nastiness I had enacted. I was ashamed in front of all these people as witness. But, the drums still paced and my heart again throbbed replacing the drumbeat with my own cadence.

I smelled the sea but could not see it, knowing that I was well inland. I looked into the great woman’s eyes, unable to speak but willing my concern about being landlocked to her. She smiled.

‘Trouble is a voyage by land’, I heard a woman’s from behind me. I turned and saw nobody, turned back and the great woman was gone. I was alone on my cot under our tree.

February 24, 2024 15:39

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1 comment

Rabab Zaidi
15:10 Mar 02, 2024

What an amazing flight of fancy!


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