Travelling with Boys (Part 4)

Langebaan, 30 December.

The team is exploring a deserted koppie.

“Interesting geology,” observes Moonman, as he always does whenever he sees earth (being from the Moon, one can understand this fascination).

A group of guinea fowl babies scatter and run madly across the road in front of the bakkie.

“Look, no tarental* guidance,” I say.

“Good one, Skootle!” Moonman says proudly.

Surfer Dude spots a succulent plant next to the track.

“Prickly pears! My favourite! Let’s stop and get some!”

“Good idea!” the others agree, and they spill out of the car in a hurry. Not keen on prickly pears myself, I sit and watch. A minute later:

“Ooh, I got a thorn in my finger.”

“Me too.”

“I got one in my liph.”

“Argh! Dad, I’ve got a million thorns in my hand!”

“Skootle? Can you help?”

Skootle, healer of burns, wounds and legendary remover of thorns, rolls up her proverbial sleeves and gets to work. All three of them are back in the bakkie. They hold out their hands. I’m trying my best not to laugh, but I can’t quite get the smile off my face.

“Thkoodle, I have a thohn in my thongue, can you thee ith?” Moonman asks, sticking out his tongue.

For the next half hour, I remove dozens of tiny, almost invisible thorns, from hands, lips and tongues. Finally, all three are declared dethorned.

Later, we’re back at home base and all washed up. Moonman, staring out the window, sighs and says, “What a beautiful sunset!”

Dynamo Boy, leaning over the balcony railing, replies, “What a beautiful turd!”

We decide to tootle down to the harbour to see what’s happening there. The party boat, Tropicana, out on the lagoon for a sundowner cruise, glides slowly towards us, its deck swarming with party-goers. Someone says, “Let’s moon them!”

“Yeah!” reply the other two, and all three spin around, pointing their li’l white bottoms at the passing boat. Wondering where I am in all of this? I’m hiding behind a bush, waiting for the sirens in the distance to get louder.

Next, the Moonfolk decide to find a novel way of setting off some celebratory crackers. They chuck them into a huge underground water pipe. I stand a safe distance away, due to my profound dislike of firecrackers and other illegal activities.


When the echoes die down, a moment of silence follows. Then, a startled voice is heard from inside the closest house: “Hey man, I think something just went off in my garage!”

The three of them are falling about laughing, but trying not to make a sound, in case they get bust.

“Let’s do it again!” whispers Dynamo Boy.


“Oh Lawd, I’m hit!” groans Surfer Dude, doubled up on the ground, clutching his stomach, and now we are all in stitches, even me, in spite of msyself. (If we all get arrested one day, please would someone just come and bail me out. Leave the boys in the dungeon. Just for a bit. Not too long.)

After fleeing back to the safety of the house, Moonman decides to make Bullybeef for the team.

“Always a firm favourite,” he tells me when I wrinkle up my nose at the dish. “Maybe that’s because I never went to the army…” he muses.

Dynamo Boy asks, “Grab-the-Spleen, anyone…?” referring to a card game originally taught to me by my Ouma Nora, and known at that time as Grab-the-Spoon.

Moonman replies, “Let’s rather have a stimulating discussion.”

“OK,” says Dynamo Boy. “Can I pee off the balcony?”

A little later, Moonman is having a quiet dop of rum and coke. The boys are still up, past their bedtime. Time to crank up the discipline.

“Boys, you can choose: either go to bed now, or stay up drinking with me all night.”

“I’ll stay up drinking,” declares Surfer Dude.

“One sip,” admonishes his father. “ONE sip.”

Surfer Dude takes the glass, tips his head back and downs the whole lot. In one go. His father is dumbstruck. The boy gets up without a word, brushes his teeth and falls into bed. That is the last we see of One Sip Tim until morning.

Another time, we go driving to the nature reserve. We’re all stuffed into the front of the bakkie. We seem to be a little short on cash for some reason, and the boys decide to make a plan. Dynamo Boy, being younger but bigger, sits up straight in the seat, while Surfer Dude (aged 10 at the time)  is covered with a blanket, only part of his face visible. He huddles down next to me, sucking his thumb. He passes as an under three-year-old, and gets in free. Whoo-hoo!

We seem to be the only visitors to the reserve. We come to a deserted clearing.

“Dad, Dad, do a doughnut! Please??” Dynamo Boy begs.

Most surprisingly, for such a law-abiding citizen, Moonman puts foot down, cranking the steering wheel all the way. Round and round and round we go, the boys howling and whooping with shocked delight. After a few minutes, Moonman straightens out the bakkie and we resume our travels at a more sedate pace. Years later, now and then someone says, “Remember that guy who did doughnuts in the nature reserve?!”

And the rest of us reply, shaking out heads in disgust, “Yeah. Some people’s children…”

Erica Neser (c) 2011


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. meladjusted
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 20:13:08

    You’re such a square – these Moonfolk are obviously VERY good for your internal balance!


  2. ericanexpress
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 22:14:28

    I know – it’s terrible what a library prefect I am. No fun at all… but getting better I think, little by little!


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