Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo – Part 1, Tenete’ on the Serengeti

*Author’s note:  This story is a continuation of a series.  (see Shades of Hemingway and Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure for more details.)

 

     “Well, are you going to shoot him or just let ’em run over ya?”

     Hem is obviously impatient with me.  Typical of his temperament his words are more a challenge than a question.  He kicks at the ground as if he has exposed something of value, all the while disgusted at my lack of interest.

     I look up to see the charging rhinoceros bearing down on us.  Hem was casually standing just off to my right, dressed in fashionable hunting fatigues from the 30’s, a high powered rifle resting in the crook of his arm.  I find myself similarly dressed with a gun in my hands.  I am perplexed and uncertain of my bearings, Hem’s words jolt me.  My surroundings surreal, I am awake within a dream.

     “Shoot him?  Why should I shoot him?  He’s done nothing to me.”

     Hem has a tobacco pipe clenched in his teeth.  He takes it out of his mouth and examines the contents for a moment, then lifts his foot and taps the ash out on his heel.  The gentle breeze scatters the particles of singed tobacco, the remains of a life poured unceremoniously from the urn of a crematorium.

     “It’s called a hunt, Sport, and during the hunt you find big game… and once you’ve found big game, ya shoot ’em!”

     He has stopped kicking at the ground and looks at me; that wide, famous grin flashes across his face reminding me that I am in the company of a man’s man.

     It is a picturesque day, one that could have come from the pages of a magazine, one of those that boast the exotic getaways of a sportsman’s paradise.  Life is teeming all around, I imagined every sort in nature had made it out onto the grassy plains.  I take a long, deep breath and look at the rhino again, still charging and angrily bearing down on me.

     “Is that a White?”  I’m stalling a bit, trying to buy some time.

     Hem is obviously in his element.  He moves comfortably, purposely.  In my mind there is nothing Hem could not know, nothing left to surprise him.  All of life’s secrets have been turned on their backs and exposed to the warm, caressing fingertip rays of this morning’s glorious sun.  Hem looks out at the beast and shakes his head.

     “Naw… gotta be a Black.”

     “Well… he looks white to me.”  I squint a bit, adding authenticity to my astute calculation.

     Hem returns his pipe to his mouth and sucks a little, then pulls it back out and goes through the procedure of cleaning out the clog of ash once again.

     “Color has nothing to do with it, Sport.  Blacks are more indigenous to this area.  Besides, he’s too small to be a White.”

     I look out at the plains of the Serengeti and watch as the magnificent creature storms towards me, thrashing his head to and fro.  I should feel anxious, but I don’t.  Matter-of-fact I turn back towards where Hem is standing.

     “He doesn’t look all that small, Hem.”

     Hem flashes that trademark grin of his again and points the tobacco pipe tip at me like it is the barrel of a pistol.

    “He’s gonna get a helluva lot bigger if you don’t shoot ’em soon!”

     Hem seems satisfied that his pipe is cleared.  He pulls a pack of tobacco from an inside pocket and begins filling it.  I look at a black man standing to my left, perhaps a guide or an interpreter… possibly both.

     “What do you say?  Is that a White or a Black?”

     He simply gives me a broad, toothy grin and shrugs his shoulders.  Hem clears his throat.  I sense Hem’s irritation and his voice confirms it. 

     “Tenete’ is Nigerian.  His expertise lies in the traversing of the African frontier, not the identification of it’s occupants… though I dare say he could handle both tasks with extreme ease.  But I tell ya, Sport… you need to shoot that rhino and quit doddlin’!”

     I want to press the point, why I do not know.  This 2000 pound raging battering ram is about to slam into me at some incredible rate of speed, but I find myself wanting to bicker with Ernest Hemingway’s ghost over the morality of our endeavor.

     “Shoot him for what?”

     The ground that held such a fascination only a moment before becomes an object of disdain.  Hem makes an exaggerated kick at the earth sending a chunk into the air.

     “For the sport!” Hem is angry now.  “C’mon, raise that rifle up and show me what you’re made of!”

     “I don’t see the sport in shooting an unarmed animal.  Maybe if he had a rifle I’d feel more inclined.  I wonder how many great white hunters there would be if their prey had the expertise to fire back?  Besides, what I’m made of has nothing to do with it.”

     The beast is approaching very fast now.  I can hear his pounding hooves and make out the clods of dirt he is kicking back as the rhino makes his approach.  I turn to look at Hem; his eyes fixed on the raging rhinoceros, his face shone with enthusiasm, Hem’s excitement causing his whole body to shudder.

     “I don’t understand it, Hem.  He’s just a dumb animal protecting his habitat.  Why should I shoot him for that?”

     Hem brings up his free arm and places his hand on his hip, very indignant.  “Then what the Hell else are we here for?  Shoot the brute, for chrissake!”

     I raise up my rifle and aim at the rhinoceros, zeroing in on me with the determination of a heat seeking missile.  But after drawing a bead on him I stop and lower my weapon.

     “What are we here for, Hem?  I’m supposed to be rescuing Rachel, not big game hunting with you in Africa!”

     With that Hem raises his rifle and fires in one fluid movement, dropping the rhino.  The armored mammal sprays us with flying dirt and debris as he crashes to the ground only a few feet away.  Hem lowers his rifle and walks over to the dying animal still heavily breathing.  He raises a foot up and rests it on the shoulder of his kill as if to pose for a photographer.  Then Hem pulls out a wooden match and strikes it on his backside, putting the flame to his pipe and begins puffing away.

     “We are here,” Hem bellows, flamboyantly gesturing with the lighted match still in his hand, “because this is Heaven!” and with a theatrical sway of his arm to show the broad expanse of the Serengeti he pitches the match aside.

     I walk up to Hem, puzzled.

     “Excuse me, but… am I dead?”

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2 Responses to “Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo – Part 1, Tenete’ on the Serengeti”

  1. Chantal Says:

    Funny and brilliant! I love it when I read something that I can lose myself in, where all my senses (and sensibilities) are affected. Looking forward to reading the rest…..
    Peace,
    Chantal 🙂

  2. Świadectwa energetyczne Says:

    Po co to wymyślili! Jestem przeciwnikiem ale mimo wszystko ciekawie opisane, ale mam niedosyt! rzypadkowo znalazlam Cie w google, szukajac cos o oszedzaniu energii. Czekam na bardziej rozbudowane arty!

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