By the time Servaas sputters the old Enfield down Voortrekker Weg, he is tired, bone-sore and as dry as the rocks on Bokkop. He has spent a full day on the motorbike, leaving him with only one thought: his favourite chair in Boggel’s Place. He’s been fantasising about that chair with the comfortable cushion and the easy backrest…
He allows the old engine to die while he kicks out the stand. Getting off is a slow and delicate task. And then he adjusts the kudu tail, rams down the hat firmly, and tries to be a Bronson look-alike when he staggers up the steps to Boggel’s veranda.
Yes, the fluffy hairs above his ears have grown ever so slightly and the moustache has become a bit unruly – but what he lacks in looks, he makes up in attitude. Has he not completed an epic journey, something most men in their seventies wouldn’t even vaguely consider? And has he not had adventures the others can only dream of? No, he is Servaas, The Kalahari Biker, and he’ll make a grand entrance…
Taking a deep breath, he slams open the swing doors with gusto, to see….nothing. The place is empty. Not a soul in sight, not even Vrede, who usually sleeps under the counter on Boggel’s cushion.
“Well, that’s a fine home-coming,” Servaas mutters under his breath, “a real welcome to a weary traveller.” Snorting loudly, he shuffles around the counter, selects the Cactus Jack, and pours himself a generous tot.
“Here’s to a warm reception,” he swings the glass towards the empty room, gulps down the fiery liquid and refills the glass. Then, feeling slightly better, he makes his way to the chair. Oh, for a nice rest…
The chair is not there. It’s gone. No chair…
While he gapes at the empty space, the group in the store room simply can’t contain themselves any longer. Guffawing and sniggering, they emerge to crowd around Servaas.
“Your chair, sir…” Kleinpiet and Vetfaan had hidden the chair behind the building, and now carries it back to its original place.
Smiling sheepishly, Servaas sags down with a contented sigh.
“Come on, Servaas, tell us all? What happened? How was the trip?” They all seem to be talking together.
“Ag, you know, I had some fun, but I’m glad to be home again. Got arrested, spent some time in jail, caught a baby – things like that. Nothing special, you see?”
Gertruida says that’s the way one should live: a bit closer to the edge. Comfort zones, she’ll tell you, are the most dangerous of all places: one must avoid these very carefully. Oh, she’ll warn you not to be stupid or anything like that, but still: complacency is the first step on the road of slow self-destruction. Once you settle in a certain groove, you’ve got to ask yourself: what’s next?
Oudoom agrees. He likes to quote Romans 8:15 from the Message: This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
Servaas isn’t so sure. He’d like to remain in his chair for a while, thank you very much.
But…there was the discussion he had in Nieuwoudtville, where he met that friendly mechanic. What was his name again – that chap at Protea Motors? Thinus, that’s right! He said something about microlight aeroplanes, and how one could build one powered by a motorcycle engine. Now there’s a thought!
Maybe…he thinks, just maybe….