Public Key (Li)

I spent a fair amount of the next day in the vicinity of the outhouse. Apparently the bacteria in Lesotho didn’t play well with their Malagasy cousins. To say nothing of capsaicin. And rum.

I thought about how to clean the potjie. I was sure I could have just asked Oakley for advice, but there was a point when even I got embarrassed. I’d passed that point some time ago, but still. I resolve to figure something out for myself

I decided to take it for a walk. I picked it up and carried it down towards the river. It was a heavy fucker and no denying. I ended up carrying it on my shoulder. Maybe I’d work up to carrying it on my head.

The land sloped down gently, and then less gently, and then I came to what may as well have been a cliff. The land just stumbled straight down in a rough slide of rock and earth. It took me an hour to find a place where I could shimmy down. I threw the potjie down ahead of me. It took me an hour to get back up again when I had to carry it. But that was later.

I went down to the edge of the river. The bank was sandy and it was only in the last ten feet or so that I had to take off my socks and shoes. I wondered if there was anything to be afraid of there, the local equivalent of crocodiles or bears or some other beast. I looked around and didn’t see anything. That would have to do.

I got to my knees in the swift-rushing river and washed the pot as best I could. I scrubbed it with sand, then with a rock. It got pretty clean. I got pretty cold. I gave my feet a few minutes to dry, likewise thaw, then put my shoes back on and made back for my hut.

By then it was afternoon. I still hadn’t had breakfast. Clearly I’d need to work on this system of mine.

I mixed well-water with cornmeal, baking soda, jaggery and salt. I baked it in the potjie with the cover on. I burned the hell out of it. I managed to salvage enough to stuff me silly. I ate it with butter at first. Then, struck by inspiration, I shelled some peanuts and put them in my mortar with a splash of hemp oil and a pinch of salt. A few minutes of pestling and I had peanut butter. Whatever happened, wherever I ended up, I vowed never to eat store-bought peanut butter again.

Then I had two dishes I needed to clean. Fuck it. I filled the potjie with water and left it to simmer over the fire. That would help get the grease off. As soon as I stopped burning things I knew I could leave the potjies semi-cleaned, let them build up a season, spare me the labor of washing them. The mortar I scrubbed with ashes from the fire and rinsed under the pump.

By that point I was ready to fuck off for a while. I ended up fucking off for about eight hours, enraptured by a book I had on my hard drive. When I looked up it was dark, my eyes hurt, I was hungry, and I was still free.

Another day gone by. I felt wonderful.

The next day was much the same. And the next. And the next. I kept to myself. I didn’t even go up to the main lodge. I saw a car up near the expensive lodge, otherwise I didn’t see another living soul. I didn’t even see any movement. Except the sun, and the moon, and the river down below.

I finally got it through my head that I was as happy as I’d ever been.

Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage… actually I was quite content with my stone walls, thankyouverymuch. The food was good and I made it myself. The music was good if the guy making it can offer an opinion. The translation I had of the complete works of Dumas was impeccable. The half-dozen movies I had based upon those works went along with them nicely.

If I had been in Pittsburgh or back on the Plateau I wouldn’t have been living much differently. But it would have been louder, and more bland, and more boring, and what else was there? Sure I was spending more time doing little things this way. But I had the time, and I liked the things. And it was cheaper this way. Time was a resource I had in unlimited quantities. Money was not. Hell, I should have come out here months before.

I all but forgot I was wanted for murder. And so long as I stayed there, far away from everywhere and everyone, I could.

 

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~ by davekov on 22 February 2011.

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