Ravensklip Tuesday Morning
The strident alarm of Thomas’s cellphone woke him from a deep
sleep. He rolled over and fumbled at his bedside table and
succeeded to knock his spectacles, cursed and found the offending
cellphone set it to snooze, thus giving himself a ten whole minutes
to open his eyes. He rolled over snuggled into Ann's arms,
proceeded to stroke Ann’s hair, then kissed her gently on her
“Good morning my one”, he said to a very drowsy Ann, she nuzzled closer and gently nibbled his earlobe, a warm soft smile was on her Kewpie doll like face.
“Morning darling” returned his kiss as she and enfolded him within a very full body embrace her naked body pressed firmly against his.
“Time to get a move on, have to pick up the ladies a little early this morning, as Nita has a whole round of meetings.” Stated Ann just as the alarm on his cellphone clicked in again.
Thomas, after another long lingering kiss rolled over, switched off the alarm, switched on the bedside light, retrieved his spectacles from the floor, got out of bed and slipped into his dressing gown.
Ann in the mean time was busy untangling the sheets that had entrapped her legs. Stood up, stretched and asked him to sling her dressing gown over to her, “Do not want to go into the passage without it on as Ma might come out and be struck blind, now do we!”
“Nope, we cannot have that happening,” with a smirk on his face as he gazed down at the tent in the gown, which was very evident, he carefully adjusted the gown so that he would remain covered in the walk down the passage. He took her by the belt of her gown and led her down to the bathroom.
Where he turned on the shower and carefully adjusted the temperature for her, she liked her shower a lot cooler than his, lukewarm which was freezing by comparison to his steam filled shower, this even in the heat of midsummer. This made Ann feel a tad bit claustrophobic with a result that she always showered or bathed first, unless they were both in shower together.
Once they had finished in the shower, Thomas quickly dressed, disabled the alarm system prepared their morning tea, assembled Ann’s breakfast and lunch, packed them into her bag, for the office. He unlocked the front portion of the house, packed everything that Ann needed for the day in the car.
Ann who had by now dressed, sat and enjoyed that early morning cup of tea, chatted with Thomas about what is happening today, her eyes on the clock. At six she slipped her cellphone into the side of her bra, embraced Thomas fondly and left to pick up Lorain and Nita, who both worked with her in a company situated in Midrand. It was Nita who actually some ten years before who was looking for a temp, Ann applied and that then turned into a permanent position. Lorain who has been with the company for close to twenty years is practically part of the furniture.
Thomas, settled down as he made himself another cup of coffee and lit his first cigarette for the day, he rarely smoked in front of Ann or Barbara, sat and roughly planned his movements for the day. He went out to the back yard and called his “girls” to heel, closed the side gate, thus keeping them confined to the back yard, Barbara was still sleeping, and the dogs would bark at the daily influx of domestic and casual gardeners that would walking up and down the road.
He unlocked and entered his den, booted up his PC, "Auntie" jumped onto her position on his thigh and proceeded to pad and purr, Lucy curled up with her front paws locked around his ankle. His one on the time, good it was still twenty minutes to go before the end call more time, logged onto the Internet quickly checked his email, nothing much, only the usual penis enlargement and Viagra junk mail, too bad today Auntie," he said, "makes a change from the usual, you have won $1,5 million in our Sweepstakes, not so!"The offending mail went the way of all unsolicited mail and sent to deleted file, this too was quickly deleted permanently. As promised, he sent off an email to the twins with those requested photographs attached. Sent off another quick email to a distant friend that lived in Australia, to let her know he what he was happening in his life. While doing this daily round of communication, he was thought that it was "unreal" that the world had shrunk to a couple of keystrokes and Australia and friends, as well as anyone anywhere could communicate so rapidly. That is of course if the telephone lines were working. He disconnected from the net, fed and watered the cats the left his den.
As the “girls” had had a long walk the previous day Thomas decided on only taking them down to the river that morning. The early morning’s sun shone through the overhanging branches of the trees, casting pools of light and shade on the river and its banks, he took a couple of longer exposure shots as an experiment, trying to get the moody type of picture. Thomas listened to the early morning strident bird calls as they foraged for there food. He was at peace with the world, content and loved, he slowly wound his way back home, the dogs gambled and frolicked around him, quite often they nearly tripped him up as the charged in underfoot.The start of another day, that promised to be pleasantly warm, although slightly overcast day, temperatures in the mid twenties, if the forecasts where accurate. A blessed relief from the heat wave, which had persisted over the past month.
Thomas decided to get an early start on the last of the minor repairs to one of the empty houses that had just been sold. This house appeared to guard and protect the right-hand side approach to the of the entrance to the suburb of Ravensklip. A large square White flat roofed house with turreted buttresses on all four corners, each equipped with archery slits, or ‘slag gate’, that left one with the impression of a small fortress. This structure, built on a slight ridge, overlooked the approach road, the river on the southern side, as well as the link roads that within this tranquil suburb.
Thomas loaded up the equipment required in his, heavy on petrol, station wagon, drove down the road to the ‘fortress’. Unlocked the gates and drove up the steep winding drive, climbing the hundred-meter rise that led him to the final hairpin bend before reaching the courtyard with that imposing very solid front door. He parked his car after turning it around in the tight driveway. Unlocked and opened the heavy hand made railway sleeper door, leaving it open, as he unpacked the car.
Thomas went to work on replacing the washers on all the taps, the toilets and the shower heads, attended to the blocked shower drain, checked that all windows opened and closed. This done he tidied up, then did a final check to see if he could perhaps pick up any more repair or maintenance tasks. He signed off all of the prescribed work as completed. Although he would have liked it if there was something else that needed fixing. He decided to just check that the TV Antenna were still properly bolted and secured. He closed the front door, picked up his camera, slung it around his neck, then entered the alcove on the right hand side of the front door then climbed up the inside stairs within the entrance hall, this led him up to the flat roof of the "fortress". He went to the parapet and gazed out over the river, He contacted the estate agent, from his cellphone, to set a time when he they could come out for the final inspection of the repair work, however more importantly, to settle the bill. They agreed to see him at site early that afternoon, they would give him a call when they arrived, he reminded him to bring cash for the bill as he did not trust banks.
He went over and stood by the northern parapet wall, which reached his chest, his elbows rested on the ledge. As he eyes traversed over the neat suburb, set, as if in the basin below him, the various gardens and houses. From this vantage point, he observed that he could see practically all of the houses on the eastern side of the suburb. His home, and the three other houses alongside him, the frontages of the six other houses behind him in Upper Road. As well as the wooded area behind the house that stretched up to the rock ridge that partially encircled the suburb. The tower that provided them with the coverage for the cellphones stood tall on the highest point of the north eastern ridge.
He watched the general slow relaxed movements of the inhabitants, comparing it in his mind, to the frantic milling around of the populace just over the ridge in the nearby closest boulevard. That reminded him of the fact that he needed to go across there later that morning, not only for ritualistic coffee there was also the need to collect an assortment of basic essential items, mainly food for the cats and dogs.
Just as he was leaving the parapet, to descend to the ground floor, a movement out of the corner of his eye, caused him to pause. He turned his head to see what had attracted his attention, he smiled to himself, quickly raised his camera, adjusted the focus and set the aperture to f5.6 then zoomed in on the back yard of the house below and to the right of where he stood in the shadows, he snapped of a frame, checked that the image was clear changed the speed setting to 125th of a second, fired and checked the result, exactly what he wanted.
Anita a final year art student in the nearby Technicon, is the daughter of Nita and Jurgens, had just returned from a four month sojourn in Germany. Anita, standing five foot eight, Thomas could never adjust to metric height, was a lithe twenty year old, filled his view finder, her long ash blond hair, which hung down to the middle of her back bounced with the rhythm that was created by the strides taken by her long slender well toned legs. With that carefree confident long strides of a dancer she glided across the lawn one foot carefully placed in line with the other, she covered the ten odd meters to the side of their jacuzzi. She reached the outdoor lounger , adjusted the drape of the beach towel across it, then pivoted and swung her one leg over the lounger and straddled it, then in one fluid slow movement, lowered her body until her bottom was on the seat of the lounger, then she settled her back against backrest, lifted up each leg and placed them stretched out in front of her. His Canon fitted with 75 to 300mm zoom lens had captured these images in sharp focus at 4,5 frames per second, and stored them into its memory card.She was stark naked, Thomas could not believe his eyes.
Mentally he made a note to find some way to warn her, in a very nice way, that soon, her privacy to wonder around as she fancied in the back, when she could be observed by the new tenants, four Malawian males, who were scheduled to move in over the following weekend.
He looked at his watch and realized that he would not be able to dally any longer, no matter how tempting the view, he very reluctantly put down his camera, he slowly descended the steps to the ground floor and removed the last traces of his repair work, locked up and left the property.
Thomas returned home at eleven to inquire if Barbara needed any errands ran or if she required anything from the shops. As he needed his, now not so early morning caffeine fix from his favorite coffee shop. It was the cheapest and always had a cup and a refill. She amazingly enough did not require anything, although he new from past experience that she would invariable phone him, then request that she needs something to be bought, shortly after he had already left the shopping center and was on his way back home.
He went through to the den powered up his stand alone PC, then downloaded those photographs of Anita. While the download ran he sat there as he recalled the very intimate and personal way in which she had applied the sun screen or oil to her body, “What was going on in that young mind of hers,” he said to Auntie who was on lying across his thigh, purring away as she padded his knee. He powered down the PC, reformatted the cameras CF card and left the den, carefully locking up behind him.
Climbed into his car and drove out towards Mall leaving behind that quiet peace and tranquility of Ravensklip. Carefully negotiated his way around the bends up and over the koppie and past the Nature Reserve before he joined the main road. Settled into the erratic flow of traffic, that normal hustle and bustle of the late morning traffic.
He reached his destination and pulled into the slip road that led down into the boulevard.
Spotted a parking right outside where he wanted to be. While he negotiated himself to reverse park into the spot, when one of those “want to be traffic policeman”, so called, car park guards, started to wave and tried to direct him into a space into which Thomas had not the slightest inclination to be in. He reflected that in today's times that these car park guards seemed now to have become an absolute necessity in the new South Africa.
Entered the local grocer and picked up food for the dogs a carton of cigarettes and some fresh balsam. Placed his purchases in the car then ambled across to the open air section of the cafe.
He settled down at his normal table, watched the kaleidoscope of human activity, the passing parade of mall rats, still attired in gym clothes, mixed with the office workers who had slipped out for an early lunch. Reps entertaining customers, pandering for hard to get sales, dotted the nearly full pavement cafe, the waitrons, frantically took the orders and delivered the meals, drinks and bills to those other tables. Thomas admired the well ordered pattern of these well trained waitrons as they served their customers.
He relaxed with his first cup of strong filter coffee, black and sweet. Which had been brought to him without him even having to order it Lit a cigarette and started to enjoy warmth of the day as he did not have anything to do until two thirty when he needed to transport the twins home. The real estate agent called Thomas and they would meet at three at the "Fortress". He had earlier decided on doing a his favorite Quiche and salad for their supper, so he had no need to hustle and bustle around.
From his vantage point he was amazed at the number of offices that were happily operating in the relaxed atmosphere of the coffee shop, he recognized several small business operators that he had got to know over the past couple of years of frequenting this venue, There they were interviewing prospective Multi Level Marketing Millionaires in the making, laptops lap linked, explaining the intricate details. At least six tables where running there businesses, armed with laptops and cellphones instant office portability, a real estate agent setting up her appointments sipping a skinny latte smoking a cigarette. "Wonder if Revenue Services are aware of the amount of Rands these entrepreneurswere claiming for their home offices annually".he said quietly to no one in particular.
Thomas as he gazed out to the other corner of the coffee shop suddenly noticed Leonard Schmidt, who sat at far quiet corner table. A bit surprised by the unusual sight of his neighbor in this setting, as Leonard a senior duty manager for one the large exclusive steak house situated in the opposite end of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, and should have been there, ever inquisitive he picked up his coffee cup and ambled over, as Leonard was alone.
As Thomas approached, he noticed that Leonard was not his normal cheerful self. Leonard’s complexion was pasty Grey, his eyes were sunken and darted all over the boulevard and his left hand trembled so much so that he his coffee, not only slopped over into the saucer but a fair amount ended up his shirt front. Thomas greeted him and sat down, this movement caused Leonard, to tremble violently, that he knocked over the cup as he tried to place it in the saucer, coffee spilled everywhere as the cup rolled off the table and crashed and both cup and saucer exploded on the floor.