(1987-1988: Potchefstroom & De Aar)


December 1987

The train slid slowly into the station, DE AAR, the sign proudly said.

I got off slowly, thinking that this would be the last of what had seemed like an endless merry go round of Suid Afrikaanse Spoorwee, back again, "funny thing the Army, you always seem to end up where you began" I thought, somewhat grimly.

I lugged my balsak and civvie bag over to a bench, dumped them down next to it and lit the first of many cigarettes.

I surveyed the town, actually it was more like a railway station with a few houses around it, De Aar is proud to be the second biggest railway junction in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Shit I've spent 18 months in this dump" I thought, "and what now"?

I'd been here on detached duty, and the SADF in its wisdom, only gave me a ticket back to De Aar, I had to wait... my lift was still somewhere between here and Hanover, and equally small town about 100 k's away.

"He'll be going past the farm road " I mused

Somewhere a locomotive was shunting, "choooooof choooooof chuf chuf chuf", I'll never forget how those old steam puffers would run , night and day, rain or shine, whenever I hear one I still to this day think of that little guardhouse with no glass in the windows, and no door, sitting there alone at 3am, listening to the shunting....either freezing my petards off or boiling my butt, normally dik gerook.

"Hey Poes, gotta light?".... Jonathan Mentz, he'd come down on the same train from Potch, funny little guy, he was off to PE as soon as he could get back to the camp and get his bike, a Kawasaki 1100, about 6 times bigger than him, shit it was funny to see such a little guy on this huge bike.

I threw him the lighter, "here... keep it, I stole it from Laas anyway".

I lit another one... Mentz buggered off... he could see I was not in the mood for shit, "hey check you sometime in Cape Town broer"?

"Ja cheers, don't fall of your boney"

He giggled and vanished

I lit another fag, Idlewild, "Jees, when did I start smoking this shit?" I thought.

I was alone again, "two fucking years" I thought, "shit, and what now...."

I was somewhat scared actually, in a weird way I was now more alone than I'd ever been in my entire life, my school friends had all pissed off overseas, my girlfriends were (almost) history and my parents hardly knew me any more... I gave up talking to them about six passes ago.

I looked at my boots, they were filthy, "shit I'd have gotten a mean opfok in 8 sai for you lot" I told them.

Twenty minutes later Ben, my lift, friend and the ex NCO of our camp, arrived.

"Hudson! Staan op!"

"Fuck you, Corporal Cunt!"

"Hey , lets move!"

"Ja" I picked up my gear, "Lets get the fuck out of this dump, it gives me the shits, De Aar maak my naar"

We climbed into his diesel bakkie, " Did Slimding score you enough diesel"?

"Naa he was not there, I siphoned it out your truck".

"Ja you fuck, its been you all along ... cunt, you know how much kak Ive had to go through to gyppo the logbook!"

"Ja ja lets go"

We climbed into the white Ford Courier, he started the engine and pulled out of the station parking lot.

"Should we drive past the gate one last time?" he asked.

"Naa, fuck that, lets just get the fuck out of this place"

We drove out, over the bridge that covered one of the railway lines leading out of the town, I looked to my right as we went over at the collection of buildings that had been my home the past year and a half. They looked the same as always, quiet, almost sleepy, a solitary roofie walking to the guard hut...

"Hey! Brent! There is the fucking Telkom cunt with his binoc's trying to catch the guys long tickying the phone!"

Sure as eggs, there was the bugger leaning over the railings, we hooted and showed a few zap signs, "FUCK YOU, UP YOURS YOU TELKOM CUNT...HAHAHAHAHA", to which he retaliated... as usual.

We stopped talking at this point, each having his own thoughts about the two years we had had.

I thought back, jees so much had happened, it took so long, and yet the time flew, it almost felt as if I'd never been there in the first place........

End of Prolouge

Chapter 1 ... "Pre Service" follows as soon as I have the time >

Published: 1 July 2000.

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