Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rehash: This actually got me an A in college.

A story! Sadly its an old story from ‘Advanced Writing’ circa 2003. I wrote it after a Larium induced dream about a girl in the wilderness. Mostly it was inspired by the consummate lack of viable females for weeks on end. Though the inspiration came for it back in 2000 when I was in Zimbabwe I did not put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard more likely) for many years more.

This story is also the first to be typed out on my Dell silver and black keyboard which I am still happily clacking away on today.

Enjoy, I have not edited it since March 5 years ago.

A Tumbler Tumbled

Seth Keipper

No American adolescent expects to lose his virginity to a British colonial living in Zimbabwe. A camp in the wilderness during the dry season is hardly the most romanticized place in storybooks and movies. I may be the first ever to attain such an unlikely goal. That’s how it will begin on judgment day, with this story and how I fared in the face of temptation. What a day that will be, something to look forward to in the afterlife.

Even as the night pervaded my every outer sensation I was on fire under my skin, behind my eyes. She is impossible to dislodge from my brain, her face a splinter of pulsing pleasure in my eyes. The unfamiliar glow of liquor and her lingering warmth sickened and delighted me on my return. A new man fought his way back to my hut. I had left surefooted and swift only hours ago, he returned with shaking legs and arms aflame from exertion.

This night has done what so many others have feebly attempted, put my fears and misunderstandings to the grindstone and abraded them away. Proud bastions of resolve and spirit now lie in powder, wholly without cohesion. The once fine and proud engines of my soul are fantastic dreams remembered only vaguely from troubled sleep. Sliding into my originally intended bed I can still feel her breasts against my hands, her lips and teeth on my neck, her moans and mine ringing in my ears.

Lying there alone in my thoughts I found little peace. The irresistible motions still suspend me like the swaying ocean, a rhythm as old as time. Only two hours have passed since her impatient message “meet me as soon as you can get away unnoticed.” That note was the opening salvo to the assault on my chastity. Now all I can think about is how I should be back at home, safe from her, safe from the night, safe from the dangers of real life, still safe behind my walls instead of sifting through the ashes of my once unassailable morality.

Events up to the now are made hazy by alcohol, but guilt keeps the important parts crystalline. Though normally an advocate of sobriety my pride had pushed me to drunkenness with my childish adult brother. Now he sleeps smiling mere feet away in total ignorance of my doings that night. Probably dreaming of disposable sorority girls and the parties to which they flock, who knows what the robot thought about, he knows nothing of the struggle I have so recently lost.

The past three weeks had found me amidst the raw and primal forces that have kept life at a perpetual fighting readiness for the past millions of years on this continent, the cradle of mankind. Animals bred to chase eating animals bred to flee, every niche filled by nature or emptied by man. Here is a land unlike our own, perpetually eating and being eaten, always building and destroying. Birth, life, and death are the balls which nature juggles under the callous sun and stars.

Every day is an exercise in restraint. Only one hundred moments are there to capture inside four black cylinders in my camera bag. I must choose what I see and what I will see weeks from now.

The terrible strength of the predators is offset only by the moments of serenity. Calm waters and savannahs are host to all sorts of rugged rebels. They are the French resistance against the steely-eyes of oppressive Tigers and Panthers. In a better world, my eyes and ears would keep perfect records in my mind so I could always return to any moment, to never forget. Except for one night which I would obliterate.

Every walk, boating, or drive is a step outside of reality. The rest of the family, my brother and parents, always chatter on about what they see. I only ask questions and make observations. Once I impressed our guide Nevson by pulling myself into the jeep with only one arm and a small hop.

You are a very strong man,” he said smiling behind his rifle. The same rifle had killed thirteen cape buffalo and three elephants. This man was as hard as hyena jawbone and sharp like an ivory spear. He lived in my dreamland, a permanent spectacle beyond the reach of chit chat. The seriousness would have struck me anywhere else, but here everything is serious, everything is as it should be.

Thank you Nevson,” I replied. He didn’t know that other than my arms and chest I was as bandy legged as an English knight and had a flabby golfers stomach. Swimming and pushups make swinging or climbing easy and natural, and we have a history with brachiating. ‘Strong at first glance’ is how I felt about myself, but it runs deep here. Soil, Air, and Water reek of it.


The sunrises make me forget ever wanting to sleep. The sunsets are all that remind me. Nights are long with dreams, my malaria medicine has a side effect that makes them vivid. Larium takes a nickelodeon dream and turns it into an overproduced adrenaline flick. It also keeps parasites from taking over your blood stream. When I wake, the only difference is the need to breathe between my words.

Day and night are almost as intense as one another here. Day is only lacking the hardwired fear of dark, night only lacks the hunger of day. There is no need for rest in either. The night and day above our home are a bitter married couple with no desire to see each other. Playful lovemaking in the heavens keeps things regular here, the light depends on who wants to be on top.


With little privacy, few comforts, and the absolute lack of viable females I had grown accustomed to escaping life. Acute shards of tension needed to be eased into a smoother vein of reality. With the natural world beating at my tolerances I found a friend in spirits. Alcohol, literally yeast excrement, had become my substitute for female company. However, too many bold gulps before my usual amount lead to something wholly unexpected.

The bartender, Iona, had been sent slugs of harsh native liquor to my brother and me while we ate some appetizers. I ate down the various wild nuts and fruits, banana wrapped in bacon, fried mopani worms and various other meats and plants. Some of the older men on the group discussed politics and the upcoming elections. Iona and I mainly talked about my country. Everyone inside the USA is from America, the rest of the world sees us as the states. My brother and some of the others are actually upset at this ‘outrage.’ Normalcy has an appropriate time and place, here I am the only one who has figured out not to trust your watch or culture, just instincts.

I finished with a shot of tequila, using my forehead sweat for salt and chased it with baobaab juice. Nevson and I had spent almost an hour knocking the large fruits out of the huge trees to make the drink. There was no actual juice to squeeze, only powder that mixes well with water and sugar. Hollow fruit would be a novelty to me back home.

Through the curved sides of my final glass that Iona finally caught my eye. While nondescript at first glance, the girl behind the bar had revealed some sort of subtle beauty. How had she concealed this before? A simple trick of makeup surely did the job while I was distracted. Her little eyes curiously gazed at me behind her dark wispy hair. I wanted her right there, on the bar if possible.

Lust, like sneaky ice had slowly been laying in ambush on me, not showing up until I was entirely cool. Though fire is the preferred indicator of this sin, nothing makes simple sense here. Debauchery does not cover the list of things I did to her in my head in that moment. The exposed portion of her taut breasts was restrained by a single button on her shirt, if I could just reach out and

Before I could add weight to this thought nature grudgingly decreed my presence was needed elsewhere. I found, after standing up, that I was marvelously intoxicated, never having been under such a spell I cannot describe how drunk I was. All I could think about as I ambled away was the cunning beauty and her poison. It had not occurred to me that the danger of violating a deeply sacred rule was imminent.


When I returned to the lodge dinner had been served, the length of my delay was an obvious result from decreased coordination. Cursing my sluggishness I grabbed a chair and found an empty spot by Nevson. Sitting down I realized I was also next to Iona who was blushing and beautiful in the candle light. I had to ignore my snickering brother, he was thrilled that I had been so corrupted. Brushing him aside, I found dinner that night to be especially delightful, food as well as atmosphere and the unexpected company of this amazing girl child.

We were in preposterous circumstances, sitting in the middle of the bush of Zimbabwe eating a feast of international cuisine, and I was whimsical. Pervasive warmth, both due to the velvet heat and my wit, was amplified it seemed from the intoxicants. Boldly I threw out my thoughts on politics, science, religion and women of America, much to the fascination of the guides, and staff including Iona, my prize. Most thrilling was the brutal refutation of the benefits of gun possession I delivered to Jim, an NRA hardliner from the Midwest.

All the while my hand rested under the hem of Iona’s shorts between her thighs, delicately stroking her breathing into staccato whispers and keeping her squirming under my soft touch. I kept very still and rested only my fingertips on her skin, brushing the silky baby hairs back and forth in tiny circles. Jim and my brother looked at Iona for a great deal of the meal and though I met every point with a liberal dose of wit, I never strayed from my teasing. It was second nature at the time to do this, though boldness of this order I cannot imagine coming back anytime soon.

Afterwards, during the usual coffee time I told her, the charming girl, of my home, the horses, and my friends. She asked my all about the blonde-haired splendors that I carried in my wallet, obviously fascinated by their sterile beauty. The irony is that none were my closest friends but rather cheerleading acquaintances I carried for the express purpose of showing off to seem less insecure. God, what fearless man took my words and actions into the swaggering beast I was that night?

Seducing her only took a cup or two of brandy-spiked coffee, her favorite, and some slightly exaggerated compliments about her being just as endowed as my ‘friends.’ Poetry I had never written nor read somehow was at my fingertips As everyone began to disperse back to their huts I shakily rose and she whispered for me to come see her when the others were asleep, I smiled not truly believing what I had done until I had to leave my bed.

The dreams almost came before the night ended and dragged me away from opportunity. Under the mosquito netting I lay for almost as hour. The huge red wasps that plagued us during the day had all huddled together on the ceiling. The ‘hut of doom’ was the worst infested and we were in it tonight. A spider as broad as my fist trundled along the ceiling sending spikes of worry up and down my spine. I prayed there were no snakes or scorpions while sliding into my shoes and slipping out the door.

Now nearly sober I stalked out into the night, like so many other predators following what nature destined for them. The camp was a crescent situated on a seasonal creek bed that would be bone dry until the rainy season. My route was defined by shortcutting through the unfenced river area to the staff houses. The moon was hiding but the stars shone clearer than any night in my recollection; here on the bottom of the world no pollution hid the sprawling ribcage of our galaxy, our greater home.

Only pausing to pull back when I stepped in a shallow patch of quicksand did I notice that it had just turned midnight. My only other scare before arriving was hearing some lumbering creature perhaps fifty feet distant, but wholly invisible to me.

Only two animals really scare me, and by that I mean call out emotions of the sort that temporarily abolishes all rational thought. Six-ton armored beasts armed with ivory spears are one. Elephants can tread with lighter steps than two hundred pound humans. Their louder counterparts can be much scarier. I almost prayed for the former, if I were caught we would be discovered. For some reason death did not occur to me, nor very little except keeping silent and not turning back. After a few minutes past in silence I finished the first leg of my journey, then things got much louder.


I came to her hut while she was brushing her hair. The light spilled towards the buzzing wilderness, sending her sounds from the door less hut into the night air. Creeping ever so delicately to the door, I walked rolling my bare feet with insect quietness until I could see inside. Nevson had taught me to walk at night, so as not to scare the animals away. Once we crept up on a pack of sleeping Impala, unnoticed in the moonlight we watched for half an hour in utter silence, scared to even breathe.

She sat nearly naked from the waist up facing away from me under the mosquito net around her bed, softly singing something in an unfamiliar language. I leaned against the wall for a moment simply marveling that I would soon be inside this girls most intimate region, her inviolable memory, and forever. When I was ready I made just enough noise for her to turn, just her head to smile at me. No more words were needed here, so I let my body do the talking. And loud I spoke.

From then on I surrendered to her and instinct took over. I watched myself lift the netting and slide next to her. With a finger I silenced and reassured her with my lips, kissing her shoulder, following the straps of her shirt down her arms and to her waist. Then traveling up her naked back I paused at her neck and finally back around to her lips. Beads of shining perspiration added salt to the hormone stew that was brewing between us. From there I laid her down and conjured every sensual talent I could muster. Her skin was my canvas, the bed my easel, and the picture needed some minor adjustments.

Hands laid down broad sweeping strokes on rippling flesh, tender incisions to relax and excite beneath the skin, into tributaries of nerves that feed the mind. More lightly my tongue added texture and shadowing to the landscape, here and there a love bite or touch of saliva, deepening and adding breadth. I sucked experience from her every pore, feeding my brain as I fought impulse to devour her whole. But I could not resist forever, nor even an hour before I was incapable of resisting this writhing, gasping creature who trembled and quivered under my every touch.

Seemingly built for nothing else I stepped outside of my convictions and entered an unfamiliar world of warmth and comfort. Semen balked and crushed me from the inside, demanding release, but no force of my body would stop me in my finest. There were no words but whisperings and gasps came through in tongues of a faith that seemed so alien to me at the time. Holding on to her I realized she was shaking under me, around me, through me. She bit into my neck and seemed to beg me to stop, to relent for a second. I paused only long enough to see in her eyes that there would be no more stopping. Once again the unshakable rhythm, so new yet so familiar, returned and sped

I was not ready for it. It seemed as if the world had stopped me and though my muscles ached from exertion it was the world that moved me, moved us. I shuddered, we were so close, too close, I could barely contain myself, my thoughts, my feelings burst and reformed, I mustered every bit of concentration to resist surrendering to the inevitable as violent pleasure knocked me further from my world and gave way to my resistance, I burst again in a shower of grunting and gasping and passionate clawing into my back as I slipped off of heaven’s foundation and landed back inside myself slowly growing back together. The world inevitably, achingly came back to mock my performances, since the beginning.

With that I collapsed into her waiting arms and held me, slowly rubbing and caressing me with hands that had moments ago cut me with passion. Her kissing followed the side of my neck softly where blood was drawn seconds before. Words came back in style and she whispered in bursts of love and happiness, and I gasped back to her lies of the same variety between choked pants and lingering shudders of bodily pleasure.

Only as the gooey glow subsided could I begin to think again. Ramifications and consequences again became part of my vocabulary and realization dawned on what had just happened. I was awake for the first time since I popped my first larium pill. Now fully sober I tore myself from her objecting grasp and began to dress. I kissed her goodbye and promised to see her tomorrow night also. Thus began my return journey along the abandoned bridge and hard-worn path leading over the creek bed back to my hut and safety.

Coming back along the more direct path I found myself crossing a rickety railroad bridge. Several concrete ties were crumbled and twisted tubes of metal poked out like neglected stubble. Some were missing entirely, one cracked beneath my left foot and gave way to stars momentarily. Perplexed I watched the fragments crash several meters into a stagnant puddle of sludge and animal waste. The heavens seemed to vanish so I gazed skywards, daunted by the unimaginable splendor of the naked heavens. Not wishing to share the fate of the stars I pressed on, only wishing to be home by day.

Pollution robs those of us with industry from the honest glimpse into our present. This jewel of a planet, cut and polished finer than any other and more massive than the mind dares calculate is still a blip in the greater picture of our universe. I choke and vomit on the dusty path outside my room, bringing swift acid death to all the unfortunate antlions within my spewing reach. Bitterly I crawl into bed and curl up, shaking and twitching from total exhaustion and defeat.


Lying alone in this bed brings a hundred thoughts to bear on my conscience; somehow I am able to cast off all but two. Simple smiling relief at finally conquering a woman by myself is the first, and secondly the fear that my partner in crime might conceive and bear a child. The second brought a hellish image to my mind. A boy, wild and strong as the native Mopani, gazed with absolute fury upon me and through my own eyes. His quiet disgust was as powerful as that which I now turned on myself. Terror struck me deeper than Nevson’s strength or the elephant’s menace had earlier. Regret only settled in after realization crushing my walls had given me breathing room I needed. But my recklessness could ruin the rest of my life, and another, perhaps two.

As elation had given way to remorse now this even fell to an evil far more capable. The ultimate conquest of my life had been fulfilled, the closest thing to heresy I had conspired for and won, for what? The answer lies in empty barrels and long abandoned tombs.

I had long since dismissed superstition; magic to me was as ridiculous as the people selling it to gullible peasants both here and in my homeland. Now I am no better, this life, this culture had saturated me with notions both subtle and crass about the nature of sex. One mystery in life, solved, elicits tears as the last brick standing on another cracks and falls to earth.

Copyright 2003, Seth Keipper

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