Staring at the alluring and magnificent dark sky that extended above me like an infinite blanket of divinity. Moreover, the fact that I was a man of little religion, possessing within my grasp only a minor appreciation of biblical scriptures; I could not help but feel that I was in the presence of apparent holiness - apparent godliness. I was in a small town, where nothing happened: at least nothing new. Everyone had small thoughts - even smaller dreams - I was like a tree rooted among leaves, a philosopher contemplating among dull cave dwellers: a lonesome man possessing enough intellect to see beyond the horizon. Worse still, my environmental surroundings did not compensate for the inadequacies of its inhabitants; rather, it stubbornly persisted to burn my skin with its abnormally high temperatures. We needed neither an electric kettle to boil water nor specialized UV light to tan our skin: the yellow candle of doom dangling in the blue was more than sufficient. However, what the small town of Tzaneen took in the day gave again in the night. There was an exquisite orange glow of the flowing setting sun that could be mistaken to a rare Picasso painting, whilst, the shimmering light of the twinkles above could mislead you into thinking you are staring into the eyes of God.
While I stood there in a semi-spiritual state, my thoughts, like that of a sea voyager, were still sailing the vast oceans of Sunnyside. I was a man without a past, or at least I wished I didn't. How did I come to this predicament? Perhaps it was the root of all dire evils: money and lust. However, in my heart among hearts I knew it was her… I knew it was all because of Angelica. It was back in Sunnyside, a city once called little Paris in its days of glory, before the revolution. Although it has now been transformed into a hellish city of weed and lust, you can, in a good day uncover its scores of beauty, but one thing was certain: Sunnyside was I and I was Sunnyside.
Walking along the street admiring my city, I came across a local club filled to the brim. The mirror had earlier convinced me that I look distinguished: a black stylish shirt, trouser and shades to match. Later in the evening, I had a drink in one hand a smoke in the other. At the center of my eye was Caramel, at least, that is the name I came to know. She was the shimmering glow in the dark, a master among slaves as she commanded all the air, men and eyes around her. Her dance was more than just cool; it was devilishly sexy. Like a high-ranking Brazilian stripper, Caramel was all that mattered. But a few feet away from her was Angelica, whom I could be wrong, but all the grace of ancient beauty - except for innocents - lived on her divine face, no not innocents; just beauty.
The first time I saw her through the crowd, I remembered how I have had nightmares entwined with dreams about this encounter. I recalled how I dreamt about her, time and time again, in the nights that preceded this one. Angelica was a woman looking for something, and I was a man looking for companionship. "I fell in love with you there and there," she later came to tell me "your smell, your eyes and this… distinguished look". Her hair was blonde, although to a certain extent, I am not sure of its originality, while tight clothes wrapped around her skin, I remembered how I have had nightmares about her - I am sure they were nightmares.
After we shared a few words, drinks and silent laughs, her long slender body wrapped around me like a snake or a warm embrace and her lips were moving all over corners of mine. It looked like a one-night-stand, it felt like one-night-stand and it had all the compact and passionate elements of a one-night-stand, but the nightmares of the days before convinced me otherwise. It soon became evident when she introduced me to her three friends (Caramel among them) that she was part of an elite pack of four. When introduced, Caramel melted in my arms, and later when Angelica was not around she would whisper words into my ear while her hands were slowly moving in my pants; I knew that the plot had just thickened and this night was to be a good one.
"What do you do for a living?" Angelica sweetly asked, perhaps, in the hopes of measuring my worth in society. "I'm …I'm a publisher" I responded with a quick-paced urgency, as if I was concealing a dire secret - but it was no secret: it was no ugly secret. I could not find enough passion to disclose that I was a writer. My own words felt less important, less heard… less valued; whilst, all my previous accolades hazed into a distant disdain. I could tell her I was a real man, a beautiful lover… even a lost atheist: but not a writer; I could not tell her I was a writer.
Ask me of a good day, I'll gladly tell you that it was the day I met Angelica and her friends: the day I met the women of desire. Caramel did not even smile or look my way, when Angelica was around, as if she denied me the beauty in her eye by deliberately glancing away. Besides, the Angelica who was in my arms, they all smoked and drank away… they all laughed and joked away. However, although my hand, found itself in the passionate companion of Angelica, who was like a flower next to a stream; in the near distant, was her lady Caramel who puffed different shapes of mist from her cigarette smoke and several movements from her naked yellowish thighs when she walked. I yearned for her - I yearned for the touches she gave me earlier, and the touches she would give me later.
Later came, Angelica who never left my sight (guarding me like a vigilant hawk), and her other women of desire decided to rest at my flat for the already expiring night. I was blessed as I laughed a silent and evil laugh, but it was not I that was blessed… it was surely not I. Angelica and I made passionate love through the night while the others slept peacefully, or un-peacefully, in the opposite room. In the morning light, while she slept an absent distant away, I felt that all my past loneliness and tiredness was but a thing of memory. I was happy among her lips and her hands… I was a beating someone between the cages of her heart.
Later in the morning, by chance or design, I found Caramel (the sexy dancer and now the chef) preparing a manufique dish for us five.
"What would be your response, Mr. Romeo, if I said 'let's go rob a bank?'" she asked without greeting - her voice was soft and sexy - her breast touching my chest and her green eyes, like that of a bangle tiger, were fixed to mine.
"I'd say only a fool would agree without a foolproof plan, a plan that will ensure that everything runs smoothly."
"Could you come up with one…?"
"A plan?" I asked,
"No… not a plan, a foolproof plan to rob a bank?" she slowly retreated to her 'workstation' and returned with a carrot in her mouth, while I was thinking about what was going on, her lips were thick and juicy as she played with the object in her mouth: back and forth, to and fro.
"Or maybe, you just don't have the balls, Mr. Romeo."
If I had any chances whatsoever of becoming the carrot in her mouth, I knew that my chances lived and died with the quality of the foolproof plan - it was a test, although I did not have the foggiest notion to the question, a test to what?
I worked tirelessly, in my study; devising the required plan to steal money from a bank. Later, still with tired eyes and an irregular voice, I explained to her and the other women of desire, who had taken an interest to our conversation; to my astonishment, they all smiled bewildered. It soon became clear that they had been a part of this the entire time by the way they all pitched in to convince me that this plan could work and that we should rob a bank.
The obvious emotions like surprise and horror were filling my brain; I mean the only thing crazier than robbing a bank was, well literally going mad. However, as I sat there, I thought; I was no longer a writer - I could be anybody; I could be anything. Yes, I could not be a song or a poem… or the words I used to write, but I could be a part of something… I could be a bank robber. There was a certain sexiness to the idea, a thrill you can never put down to experience.
"Think about it," Caramel said "all the pussy you could ever want," her hand causing me to hold the soft lips between her legs and my other hand on her thin covered breast. Her breath was filling my chest, more and more.
"I'm in" I impatiently said, feeling as if I was just about to explode.
"Good, we start tomorrow." Sexiness walked away.
Moments later, I overheard Caramel and Claire (the other friend), having a strange conversation: "We don't need him," Claire said "He's too weak… we had our fun; let's hit the road" there was a pause, then Caramel softly said "He has the brain, charisma, and face to not just pull this off, but to run this goddamn city. With us by his side, he can even bring down that scumbag Dark" Claire paused for a while,
"OK. He fuck's up, it's on you."
Writing was my life, I lived to write - a storyteller had become my way of life - it was all I ever knew. When I met these women of desire, I feared I was not good enough, that my life had been a wasted life: that I was simply a disgrace to family, and worse still, a disappointment to myself. The women of desire gave me something to live for, a joy… that I only found in writing. Perhaps they needed me just as much as I needed them - perhaps they were just as lost. I was unsure onto what they expected me to do, moreover, who was this Mr. Dark.
The next day, they all took turns to explain to me about the weed industry, while we all got high. Claire's family, that resided many miles from the city, owned a farm. I came to understand that the farm that extended as vast as the eye could see was not filled with apples, or kiwis, or pumpkins, but rather, good old South African weed. All we needed to do was to transport it from there to here; while they spoke, a plan simultaneously grew in my head.
"Ladies, we're going to need a truck," I interrupted
"No… that's too big, nobody is that stupid to fill a truck with weed - its too risky. No I'm not going to do it." Claire objected, who was at the forefront of the conversation. She knew the weed industry, she grew up to it, for generations and generations, this was the way of her family - she was our golden goose.
"Lets here him out" my Angelica said,
"Have you ever seen a rabbit disappearing in a magician's box? The basic principle is to divide the box into two parts, you the audience only see one half of the box and never see the half with the rabbit; a great illusion."
"We are going to use the magicians trick. A truck, yes Claire, a truck. Divide it into two compartments. We will load as much weed as possible, build walls and mirrors make the illusion that this is the edge of the truck." Caramel was the first one to get it, opening her soft legs from the opposite side.
"What about the truck driver?" Claire questioned with a much calmer tone.
"None of us will be driving, we will hire someone; a nobody. He will be oblivious to what he will be really transporting, making him as natural as possible if the cops stop him, while at the same time, if they catch him it just boils down to his word; and besides, I think I have better lawyers." Caramel stood up "here's to the Sunnyside heist."
In the night outside, the wind was slowly turning the leaves; inside, Angelica was trembling like the leaves outside as I held her tight in my arms, "we don't have to do this," she said "we are better then this… are we not?" I could not utter a single word of response "promise me everything is going to be OK… I will believe you."
"It's going to be perfect" I told her, she wiped her tears before she silently went to sleep. I was falling for her, but sometimes I still had dreams about Caramel. Like the day before when Angelica and I went for ice cream: when the lady on the counter asked me which flavor I preferred, I found myself instinctively saying "Caramel… definitely Caramel".
Mr. Dark was the buyer, and I left it to the capable hands of Caramel to strike a good deal; and she did… Caramel always delivered. Despite this, living with her hurt, I remember living with Caramel hurt. She would sometimes walk out of the shower naked, all the curves of her body; the short trimmed hair beneath her waist; exposed to my wavering eye, while passing me as if I was a painting on the wall: living with her was torture, but she kept me alert. Her yearning for her, made me excel at what I did. It made me into a gangster.
The night before the heist, she came to me while the other girls were out. "Do you fantasies about me when you're with her?" looking straight into my eye, her soft hands moving with the rush of my blood. "How do you imagine it, am I tied to your bed wearing nothing but a gag in my mouth, or perhaps you are ripping my clothes off and taking it forcibly from behind?" Her hands were now in my pants and her lips so close to mine, just an inch from mine. All this time, my fingers were almost inside of her, she then said "pull it off tomorrow and I'm all yours" Caramel left, and my body was left in a somehow disturbed state.
Finally: the day of the heist. We were all sitting, taking short turns to stare at our clocks, fingers were crossed and hearts were really beating fast. Angelica was panicking as she squeezed my hand tight - "something is wrong" Trish exploded (the last of the four women of desire) "he should have been here by now". I held her face and calmed her down; Caramel gave me a nod, as if to say, "I never doubted you for a second." Just then, the driver called, "I'm here"
"none" he said. My women of desire jumped to the roof.
In Sunnyside there was always more demand than supply, we were starting a revolution of weed in the streets: it became more accessible, cheaper and so much more popular. Dark and I were the two parts of a unified machine that propelled this revolution to move forth. But peace between our kind was not made to last. What made Dark so powerful was that everything moved in small scales: small distributors and small suppliers. However, we tipped this scale by supplying on a gigantic scale.
Money was pouring in, we had more money than we could spend, my women and I were drinking Champagne when thirsty and going to Paris when we needed breakfast. One day when it was just me and Angelica in beautiful Rome "Let's stay," she said "we can be happy here."
"what about the money?"
"It is not important, let's leave everything behind… especially fear" she paused for a while, then continued to articulate
"Fear of the police, Dark… Caramel" She then breathed heavily
"Caramel, why should we fear her?"
"Nothing… I'm just confused." I was blinded, blinded by foolish power and money. I should have saw it.
"If you can hold it; it is not Important. If I can hold your brain; it is not important, but if I cannot hold your ideas than they are priceless. If you can hold my heart in your hands , know that it is worthless: but, if you can never hold my love; always know that it is to die for."
Although I could not recite to her how I felt, Angelica was now the only thing that had value to my existence, but still I was too foolish to take her away and never come back. Back in Sunnyside, Claire whispered to me that I was almost as powerful as Dark and that we no longer needed him anymore. "Why not get rid of the middleman?" Caramel's spellbinding nature towards me broke off and later when she offered herself to me I chose to be a man of dignity instead, a man worthy of being called a man.
It was the first time, Dark and I ever met. The encounter was classic, we both had man who carried machine guns, but I had what he would never have: I had my women of desire. He was Dark, no not black, just dark. His nose was long and crooked, going right, left and right again as if it was confused which direction to take. But the most distinctive feature about him was not his tall height or his finely gelled hair but his eyes, they looked like a graveyard in the night - giving shivers to the bones.
I had grown cocky, almost to the point of believing I was invincible. "I'll no longer need your services Mr. Dark or Black, whatever your name is" I was trying to intimidate him, when you are a gangster you cannot show weakness. "You're slowing me down… I've outgrown you. This is my City now - Sunnyside is my birth-right; it is my destiny." I had too much confidence, perhaps I realized that I had a small army as compared to the few men at his side.
Dark looked at one of his men. The man took out a cigarette and placed it in his mouth, the other guy on his right lit it for him. He stared at me, without a single word from his mouth. The cigarette left his mouth and met with the ground; when his shoe put the lingering flames out, Caramel walked towards me and Dark walked away - I was perplexed. She kissed me on the chick and followed Dark. The man whom I was certain were protecting me turned their guns on us. My heart dropped to the floor. She had betrayed me, Caramel betrayed us; like Judas betraying Christ for 30 pieces of silver. I managed to escape but Angelica and the other's were not as lucky - I think he wanted us alive.
I took whatever money I needed and hid the rest. It took a while: it takes a while to hide millions. I retreated to the place nobody could ever find me: The town of Tzaneen, my home town.
So here I was staring at the alluring dark sky, touched by a strange sense of spiritual divinity, with my heart shrinking into oblivion: dying with every slow breath I took.
I could have took the money and ran, but I was a breathing someone in her mouth, I was an important someone in her eyes. With her, I had everything I ever needed: cause, a wise woman once told me that if you cannot touch it, it is to die for… if you cannot hold it; it is to live for.
Therefore, I made Dark an offer he could not refuse: I traded all the millions I had for her, soon, In front of us was a road, a road filled with nothing but infinite potential, as we drove into the sunset with nothing but the clothes on our back and the wind to our hair. Nothing else mattered but her; together, we found a home and turn into a dream. I became a writer in her hands… a song in her voice.