November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1, and November 30. Well, a first draft, anyway. I don’t know if it is possible but I figure, why not give it a try? Motivation!!!!!
Stepping off the airplane the air was thick enough to cut with a knife. She choked on her first breath, faltering for a moment, the second one came easier. She was dressed in white linen, fitting for the tropics. Or so she thought. She had not taken the dirt and grime of an African city into consideration. She was not going to a vacation resort but one of the bustling capitals of the Dark Continent. Having never been in this part of the world before, she had no idea what she was getting herself into. She was to find a completely alien world.
As she saw everybody pushing and shoving to get through immigration, she began to realize it would be some time before she arrived at her destination. Passports were being waved in the air and the rank smell of people who were obviously unaware of soap filled her nostrils. She tried to keep her composure but decided she must stand her ground if she ever wanted to get out of the airport.
Finally the immigration man took her passport. She smiled at him using all her charm hoping it would speed up the process. It did not. He tediously filed out the necessary forms and stamped everything several times and then he leaned down and gruffly said, “Make your way to the Health Counter”.
There being no through passage, she had to fight her way back through the crowd and around to the next stop. Her vaccinations were in order and again she fought her way to the luggage area. There, young boys descended on her asking to carry her bags. Being laden down with a coat, a carry-on bag, and her purse, she agreed to let them. They had to dig through the pile but finally all her luggage was accounted for.
As she approached the gate, an official asked if she had anything to declare. She couldn’t think what he meant and said “No”.
On the other side of the gate, a mob was stretching to see the people inside, looking for a familiar face or an easy mark. Several men asked her if she wanted a taxi but she paid no attention as she was also stretching to see a familiar face.
Her dark brown eyes relaxed as a man in khaki shorts and sandals came up to her. He kissed her on the cheek and asked about her trip.
“Long and crowded” she answered, “I’m exhausted. And I can’t believe this stifling heat! How do you stand it?”
“You will get used to it.”
“And the smell?”
“You will get used to that, too”, he said, laughing.
She hadn’t seen her brother in two years. He looked well. Tan and thin. He was a little taller than she was but not much. They shared the same brown eyes but he had lighter hair. Maybe from the sun.
Ned was living in the bush, working on some contract related to the US Embassy. He was probably some kind of spy. She didn’t really know what he was doing. But he seemed to like it.
They piled into his rugged white Peugeot sedan and headed off into nightmare traffic. It took them five hours to reach their destination, a large village north of the city. It was crowded and dirty and smelly but she was glad to finally arrive and unwind with a glass of wine on the porch. Her time was so messed up she couldn’t really think. She just went with the flow.
“Sorry but I’ve accepted an invitation for us to go out tonight.”
“It’s the Christmas Pantomime and then a light supper at a friend’s house. It will be fun. You can sleep through the pantomime.”
HaHa… I’ve got a long way to go… where will it take me?