Fanny excuses herself from the group at the bar and tells Vetfaan she needs a bit of space.
“I just want to take a stroll, Fanie. To think. Please?”
Vetfaan feels a bit peeved that she should choose to be alone now – he’s there to help her, after all. He knows so little about her – their friendship only really progressed in the last 24 hours, and he still needs to learn how to manage the times she feels down. He brightens a bit when Boggel slides over a cold beer.
“I don’t know much about women, Boggel. How does one handle something like this?” He inclines his head towards the door she just closed a few seconds ago.”
Barmen all over the world are the most effective and cheapest therapists you’ll ever find. Like the real professionals, they make mistakes, off course; but their opinions are formed by real life and not by some academic who’ve dreamed up a new theory. Boggel, it is well-known, has been around the block more than once.
“Ag, Vetfaan, you know how it is. Nobody will ever fully understand the Female Mystery, Men think in straight lines: the tractor won’t start, so fix it. Women are different. If the tractor won’t start, they’ll think about it first. Analyse the situation, understand? Consider the battery, the petrol, the oil. Maybe consult the manual. Talk to the hairdresser about it. Phobe her sister. Then…they’ll get a mechanic to sort out the problem. It’s a longer process they have to work through, that’s all. And they’re not shy to admit when they need help – but only when they’re ready for it. So…the big secret, Vetfaan, is patience. With a capital P. The best thing you can do right now, is to sip your beer and wait.”
Fanny strolls down Voortrekker Weg, past Servaas’ little post office, the white church and the few houses. These people live such a simple life; so different to London. Things are…easier here.
Henry… What happened there? Everybody believed he was this mathematical genius, a financial guru. And now he’s done the unthinkable: committed fraud on a scale that’ll not only bring shame to him, but it’ll also cripple his family and all their interests. Bankruptcy. What an ugly word. Fraud is even worse.
She remembers their last conversations. He was more morose than usual, telling her about the down swing in the global economy. She said things will turn around again. He said he wasn’t sure.
Then he asked – again – about her visit to the Kalahari. She thought he simply wanted to change the subject, and was glad to retell the adventure, starting with the discovery of the wagon.
The wagon with the gold coins…
Oh, my word!
Boggel looks up in surprise as the doors bang open.
“Fanie! Gertruida was right! I know where Henry is heading… The wagon.”
Vetfaan sits back with a puzzled smile. “And how is he going to find it in the desert? He’s got no idea where to look.”
“But !Ka does. And we left him alone on the farm. It’s not difficult to find it – everybody knows where you stay. If he asks at Grootdrink, they’ll point him straight there. Of course he’d hope to find you or me there – or both. But if he finds !Ka…”
Vetfaan doesn’t argue. He’s already on his way to the old pickup.