If your long lost dad dressed like a Tuareg Indiana Jones suddenly appears in the middle of nowhere how will you react? The tea ceremony is like a fail-proof neighborly ritual between ancient desert tribal chiefs from the movie. I won’t go into details. But the two french actors/actresses conduct the ceremony and exchange polite greetings perfectly in vernacular language beyond this millennial. I play my role as the dumb servant superbly. How do they look? The horsemen? Well, brilliant blue and dazzling white. I would not lower myself to even give a glance their direction of course. Weapons? O, certainly, long knives and guns. So you see, minding my business is the best strategy. One thing we millennials do well is to stay cool and composed even when cold sweat oozes out from every pore.
I hope the horsemen will leave soon but I don’t expect the next scene. One Tuareg horseman lingers behind. He is the one with the long knife and carries a whip. And he walks toward me. He speaks perfect British English! “Look what we have here? You are no Tuareg.” He leans over.
Then he whispers, “you foolish boy, who do you think you are trying to fool?” He knows who I am! “Get out of this war zone immediately. NOW! Get the two German girls to start scrambling for safety!”
It just has to be my dad. The long absented senior nerd turned treasure hunter in South America. He has spotted me because of the minuscule mole on my left eyebrow! But why does he call them German and not French? He reads my mind and clarifies, “French-German.” Pulling me up from the ground he barks, “NOW! follow me!” I sprint like I am seven year old again and explain to the girls it’s my dad and we can trust him to get out of danger. Surprisingly they nod in unison and follow. He brings over two spare horses. The two girls ride on one and I ride with the kid and the goat.
Later when this journey is over and my dad has left I ask the two girls why they agree to follow without hesitation. The librarian laughs, “Why not? We love the Indy Jones movies!” LOL. How dumb can I be.
But why has my dad appeared at the right time? He is a treasure hunter of a higher level. Is he after the same football-field-size gold? What is he doing with the heavily armed Tuareg horsemen? Why is he dressed like a Tuareg Indiana Jones? There is no way I can find out as he quickly rides off into the glorious orange sunset with his horsemen as soon as we reach a highway.
The highway is safe? So we are told. It is empty. No vehicle. No traveler. Just orange dust. Anyway my robot gives me the same instruction to go this way. By now we need to drastically lose weight. I mean I need to drastically lose the weight of my overbearing load. I have two options, the Gen Z kid or the goat. I cannot dump the brat/kid. (What with her amazon aunt towering over me watching like a buzzard). So I decide to dump the goat or eat it. I can no longer swallow another mouthful of the bland meatless concoction the girls has been spooning out without expecting my head to sprout cabbages in another 48 hours anyway.
The snooty anthropologist asks, “How, may I ask, sir, are you going to kill this royal goat and cook it?” The Gen Z kid raises her hand and volunteers cooly, “Easy. Ma’am. I will do the slaughtering.” The librarian (her aunt) rolls her eyes and snorts, “O, no, you certainly won’t!”
“Piece of cake,” I say to myself. As I want to maintain my stature as an able independent survivor if marooned in the desert, I google and find about 50 ways to kill a possibly already dead goat and cook it. Alas, I have to eliminate nearly all because I do not have the equipments or ingredients in this no-man-land. Finally I decide to forget about the googled information and just do it my way.
As I lift up my Weathered Leatherman Portland Oregon knife (survival tool), an unearthly shriek pierces through the still air and all the hair on the back of my neck stand on end…(to be continued)