Sunday, 12 September 2010


We take more breaks, a caravan sits by the road side. A white body of faded painted signs and a dusty board with a blown away menu. Travelling is looking out of the window, peering through the windscreen dust and swallowing the unchanging dry air until the next meal stop arises. We take two Coca Colas from the wrinkled owner and sit on a plastic chair under the solitary parasol. The flat plain stretches over to a blue tinge of distant mountain, maybe fifty miles in the haze. The Coke hit’s the spot and our eyes close in the heat as we respond to the inner cooling. I feel that somehow I should urinate by the heat and sweat make it a rare occurrence, I feel like I’m drying out from the inside, desiccating and warping with leather intestines and a canvas stomach.

My eye twitches open as I sense a movement. Armadillo. It shuffles across my line of vision about forty feet away, big armoured back oblivious of us and starts to dig at the edge of the parking area. Claws grabbing the dirt, searching for grubs, fleeting and hungry and wild in a dull place. The caravan owner comes out and he is carrying a shot gun, the breaks it’s back and plops in two cartridges ready to blast the Armadillo, “bastards!” he cries and takes a shot. The ground explodes beside the poor animal and Ernesto and I jump to our feet. “Is that how you deal with everything here?” He ignores us and drops the gun barrel while looking out across the landscape.

The sky is a straight ahead blue with those fizzy white edges but in the east is a cloud, a cloud no bigger than the fist of a man. My eyesight is remarkable or am I just imagining this tiny cloud as some kind of pattern piece on the plain background of the worlds ceiling. As I stare at the cloud it grows, coming nearer, spinning and forming a shape. I focus on it’s wandering and vaporous heavenly signature. Now it is also making a noise, that’s because it is a Beechcraft Bonanza, flying low and looking for all the world like it’s about to land on the plain behind us.

I can see the caravan man looking at the oncoming aircraft. He stares at it like it’s a Zero at Pearl Harbour and to my horror lifts the shotgun to his shoulder. He gathers the aircraft into his sight and follows it’s line with the barrel. The Beechcraft angles over a little as the pilot struggles against the warm, rising air. Ernesto and I are frozen, dry mouths aching to shout, tired limbs aching to move.

No shots are fired, thankfully and the aircraft lands. Who are these people?

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