Public Key (Lxxiii)

Oakley’s jeep showed up half an hour later. The truck had long since gone through the gate, leaving me to walk along the roadside. He drove right past me, then slowed and turned and drove back to pick me up.

Get in, he said. I walked around, opened the door, shoved in my back, and took the passenger’s seat.

He started driving.

Thank you, I said.

He didn’t say anything.

I watched the odometer. It was thirty miled back to camp. He never went less than fifty miles per hour the whole way. Partly because he was pissed off. Mostly because you don’t slow down in Lesotho at night, not at stopsigns, not ever. People wait at stopsigns. If you stopped, you might as well just get out of your car and throw them the keys.

We were crossing the bridge at Moteetee before he so much as said a word.

I’m not asking any questions, he said.

Thank you.

Don’t know what the fuck is going on-

Oakley-

Nope, no questions. You asked.

Pause.

Just tell me one thing, he said. Tell me you didn’t do anything dumb that’s gonna bring heat down on me.

I took a walk, I said.

A walk. A-

A walk. Just picked a direction and started walking. Didn’t see five people the whole time.

What, just sleeping under the stars?

Yes.

Jesus fucking Christ.

The only person I spoke to was the guy with the phone. I told him I was lost.

Great, so now he has my number-

I deleted it before I returned the phone.

Oakley grumbled.

Oakley-

Just tell me one more thing. Okay?

Okay.

Are you fucking staying?

I thought about it for a while.

Well? Are you?

I’m thinking, I said.

I wasn’t, actually. I was too tired to think. My mind was a blank. But that didn’t matter. I knew the answer, however I’d come to it.

Yes, I said.

Yes?

Yes.

So you’re not-

Oakley, I said, just shut up.

He shut up.

He pulled up the jeep in front of the main lodge. I grabbed my bag and started off for my hut.

Tomorrow, he called to me. Tea. Noon.You and me.

I turned. I’ll be asleep.

Then I’ll wake your ass up.

I was too tired to smile. No, I said, you won’t.

He swore into the ground. Okay. You come find me. At your convenience.

Yes, boss, I said. Turned, and went back home.

 

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~ by davekov on 4 March 2011.

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