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the smoke


Two large men in suits knocked on the darkened front door at about eight in the evening.

They were strangers to me.

One was holding a rough wrapped brown paper package under his arm, the other was unfolding a Customs Search Authority for this address, valid for today, tonight, now.

They stated that their intention was to execute the authority immediately. Every room, the entire house.

There was no possible argument; they were inside in moments, then they shut my door behind them.

House rape. Soft entry.

The parcel contained a blue Durban 500 T-shirt wrapped around two fat sticks of Durban poison together with a letter from young brother doing the tour, and me a favour. We always got along with the smoke us two. Everything was just funny.

They started the house search without any delay; they opened every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen. They plundered the pantry, opening this tin and that. They emptied all the flour and biscuit containers, the herb bottles; these they chaffed out, sniffed and ran through their fingers – they upended the stacked plates. The refrigerator was emptied out onto a table and all was examined.

They unwrapped the garbage and sifted through the rot, and left it. They climbed up and looked over the cupboards, then they plundered  the laundry, the bathrooms, the linen cupboards. Slow and methodical, 11.30 in the evening now and they moved through the home like oversized termites, seeking the rotten wood.

Then they moved into the study where they took every book from the shelves and riffled them out, every letter they found they kept and put away into a hard-shell briefcase, every record was taken and shaken out from its cover. Every chair was upended and felt out, all the speakers had their front-pieces removed.

Every room was completely turned over and left turned over.

All the dust was disturbed.

We had two young daughters asleep inside the house.

Would we find it difficult if the girls were to be woken and their beds and their mattresses searched?

One was three, the other a baby.

Would we find it difficult ….

Later they accepted a cup of tea, and I searched for some humanity in their professionalism, some sign of life, some indication that they understood that the parcel was just a stoner’s generosity – in this case a younger brother adrift on the great African coast.

They didn’t.

They left, these impure and thoroughly politicised zealots, with the two joints and the T-shirt


At work the following morning and at about 10 am my phone rang and I was told that there were some visitors waiting at reception. They wanted to see me.

I had no appointments.

All the offices had glass walls and I was able to look over and see my visitors.

Two large men in suits stood at the front door, they were strangers to me.

They watched me walk towards them.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. And if you were still meddling in watery affairs at 2103 you would have met one of the top juniors who surfed in the 73 Gunston, the affable Mike Espostito.

    October 20, 2011

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