I started this journey to Timbuktu to meet an impossible goal and am still doggedly persisting in my pursuit to save a fellow nerd-friend from being devoured by a football club of former cannibals who happen to own a gold football field in the desert. In the last episode I reported that “I am in a sort of place that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places.”
The last time with any Indy-Jones-like action was when I jumped out of my prison window and landed on an incredibly timely acrobatic horse and we galloped happily into the sunset.
The rest is history. The horse (AI programmed) takes me through the desert with a speed comparable to a hyperloop transmitter (or so I imagine) and drops me off at a huge building that looks like a dune of golden sand.
“It is not sand. ” My AI voice assistant, SiZu, has reactivated herself and corrects my thought. “Touch it.” She issues a command.
“What? It is gold!” I cannot help but let my thought be verbalized aloud, my two hands glistening after dipping into the sea of gold dunes.
“Of course it is mere gold. You expect diamond? Hard luck.” Two Tuareg men and one boy appear from nowhere and one man speak impatiently, “Hurry in. The local ruler is waiting!” They are the two and half German-French fellow travelers I met earlier! One straps onto my back the run-away royal goat which appears to have been recently freshly groomed, “Here, you better be useful. Don’t even dream of asking how we escaped and repossessed this trophy.” The librarian amazon casts a look on me that spells big trouble if I dare open my mouth to make one wee sound.
We walk into a cleverly concealed door in the dune like building and enter a long tunnel. I cannot detect any visible lighting equipment, but there seems to be a supply of natural daylight from an invisible source. The gold walls glitter and beckon me to imagine I am Alibaba in the forty thieves’ treasure cave. But I say nothing. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something”, SiZu warns, “Plato”.
“But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them. Christopher Columbus.” I respond in my thought.
One thing I cannot understand is why the two rather superior women involve me? They are highly probably after the same gold. Why bother with adding one additional “accomplice” to their scheme? I have recognized that since the gold is so apparent everywhere there is no need to use my special “hidden-gold-detection” talent.
“You just wait and see. You are invaluable!” SiZu begs to differ. LOL. But soon it turns out that her prediction is accurate! “There is something the two women cannot be. No matter how superior they are compared to you, they would not be considered a man in the heart of the ruler.”
The tunnel leads to a gigantic hall paved floor-to-floor, wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-ceiling with gold. I suddenly feel my stomach rumbling and my knee buckling under the strain of hunger figuratively speaking. I have to swallow hard to stop my mouth from drooling.
The place is filled with people who look important, possibly senior officials and military personnels who line up on both sides as we walk through to reach a golden throne. The occupant of the chair squints his eyes and look hard at me, or rather at my back and then he cries out loudly and runs down the steps to hug and kiss me, or rather, the goat on my back. He removes the strap gently, carries and rocks his pet the way some of us treat our pet puppies.
At his command the two women and a girl disguised as Tuareg men and boy and I are led to a glittering banquet hall to have our big meal. “Why did you two ask me to carry that pet goat?” I just have to ask. The Gen. Z kid answers on their behalf, “Simple. You are the only man. ” Because the king has decreed that his pet goat can only be carried/transported by a man. Apparently it was stolen one day by a petty thief who found it strayed outside and sold it to the market. That was how it got into the flock of fifty goats on top of our bus which crashed in the desert.
“BTW, we have located your nerd-friend, the football captain Romano and his team-mates, the ex-cannibals. They haven’t eaten him yet.” The Gen.Z announces.
“What?!” This news brings me to the brink of tears. I have come this far on a heroic-altruistic (half, at least) mission and now the two foreign women are going to clinch the success from me. Not fair!
“They won’t release him unless we have a football match with them. ” The kid then adds, “And beat them in the match.” She stares hard at my hands and declares, “We need a dexterous reliable goalkeeper. Are you any good other than texting?”
“What happens if we lose?” I swallow hard and ask (or whimper at a crucial yet perilous time like this).
The kid rolls her eyes and says as a matter of fact, “Well, obvious isn’t it? Their spokesman said they were looking forward to exotic food.”
(To be continued)