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Easier for a camel

John Talbot
Easier for a camel
by John Talbot
Copyright © 2004
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Table of Content | i
Table of Contents
FOR............................................................................................................................ 1
PREFACE ................................................................................................................. 3
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................... 5
CHAPTER 1.............................................................................................................. 7
HILLARY’S MYSTERIOUS LOVER ............................................................................ 7
CHAPTER 2............................................................................................................ 12
ADVENTURE ON TOWN HILL................................................................................. 12
CHAPTER 3............................................................................................................ 19
WORLD WIDE MOTORS......................................................................................... 19
CHAPTER 4............................................................................................................ 25
AGNES HALFSHAFT............................................................................................... 25
CHAPTER 5............................................................................................................ 30
LESLIE’S ENTERPRISE ........................................................................................... 30
CHAPTER 6............................................................................................................ 35
TALL STORY ......................................................................................................... 35
CHAPTER 7............................................................................................................ 39
DEADWOOD CASTLE ............................................................................................. 39
CHAPTER 8............................................................................................................ 45
PRINCE ANDREW................................................................................................... 45
CHAPTER 9............................................................................................................ 51
ENCORE................................................................................................................. 51
CHAPTER 10.......................................................................................................... 54
LUCY MARGO ....................................................................................................... 54
CHAPTER 11.......................................................................................................... 61
ASTAR PERFORMANCE......................................................................................... 61
CHAPTER 12.......................................................................................................... 65
FURTHER STAR PERFORMANCES........................................................................... 65
CHAPTER 13.......................................................................................................... 75
AFIVE STAR PERFORMANCE................................................................................. 75
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CHAPTER 14.......................................................................................................... 82
TRAPPED ............................................................................................................... 82
CHAPTER 15.......................................................................................................... 86
RACK THERAPY..................................................................................................... 86
CHAPTER 16.......................................................................................................... 93
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT ...................................................................................... 93
CHAPTER 17........................................................................................................ 104
THINGS IMPOSSIBLE ............................................................................................ 104
CHAPTER 18........................................................................................................ 109
WHERE THE RED DISA GROWS ............................................................................ 109
CHAPTER 19........................................................................................................ 118
SALVATION AND MURDER .................................................................................. 118
CHAPTER 20........................................................................................................ 126
BODIES AND GHOSTS .......................................................................................... 126
CHAPTER 21........................................................................................................ 129
TO THE RESCUE................................................................................................... 129
CHAPTER 22........................................................................................................ 134
ENDLESS VACATION ........................................................................................... 134
for | 1
for
Hillary
2 | for
Preface | 3
Preface
Easier for a camel is a story of the events that took place when a rich man
decided to follow the Lord Jesus. It is a mystery novel and a thriller, much of it
based on the author’s own experiences. Several biblical principles are illustrated,
especially the confession that results in salvation, viz "Jesus is Lord," and "the
measure you give is the measure you will get back." Inspiration for the writing
of this novel came from the author’s wife who remarked, "You missed your
vocation, you should have been a writer of fiction." After reading the original
manuscript, she commented, "The trouble with it is it’s not fiction, it’s revenge."
However, most of this fourth version is fiction. The reader may distinguish
between what is fiction and what is "revenge" by the fact that "revenge" is
stranger than fiction.
It is hoped that at least some of the readers may emulate Stuart Tall in following
the Lord Jesus and reaping the vast rewards, both temporal and eternal.
.
4 | Preface
Introduction | 5
Introduction
Easier for a camel was written for Hillary during her matric year. Since then it
has been rewritten three times. Each time it has got a little shorter. This is the
first version to be published. The description of Loch Athlone and the Athlone
Castle Restaurant was accurate at the time of the first writing. Sadly, it is no
longer so. Few artifacts of the RMMV Athlone Castle remain. The restaurant is
now called Athlone’s Beef Baron. The fare is excellent and it is worth a visit.
The reader will surely want to see the venue of those epic events described in
the book. Leslie Grainger, whose chance remarks to my son were repeated at
the dinner table, inspired the Leslie Granger of the book. Unfortunately, Leslie
met with a fatal accident on the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria
between the first and second writings. His family and friends may take comfort
from the fact that he is with the LORD and they will see him again.
John Talbot
Directed by The Lord Jesus
Johannesburg
4th June 1998
6 | Introduction
Chapter 1 | 7
Chapter 1
Hillary’s Mysterious Lover
Hillary’s one ambition was to become a detective or private investigator. She
had read many exciting books on the subject and longed to share in the danger
and excitement. At school she had excelled at all sports and had been victrix
ludorum. Having done courses in kung-fu she was skilled in the martial arts.
Now it seemed she might have to accept an office job, something she found
repulsive. Her mother was a widow and would not be able to support her much
longer. She had just matriculated and had not been able to find a job as a
detective. She was feeling despondent when something happened to change all
that.
The postman brought an envelope addressed to her. Inside was a card which
read: Meet me at St. Helen’s at 1pm Tuesday 19th. It was signed, "The one who
loves you." Hillary was mystified. St. Helen’s was a very exclusive restaurant.
She had several admirers but none she knew of could afford that sort of fare.
The invitation had come just in time. It was Tuesday 19th and only one hour to
go to 1pm. She was sure this was the start of the kind of adventure she craved.
Nothing would keep her from going.
Dressed in her sexiest outfit she caught the bus into town. She had no idea how
she would recognize her host. Presumably he would recognize her. She waited
at the entrance. It was indeed a grand place. She felt a little awed. The head
waiter caught sight of her. "Please, Miss Keating, come in . Your host will not
be long." She was surprised that he knew her name. She had never been there
before.
He seated her at a table near the band. Giving her the menu, he told her that
her host had said she could order whatever she wished. The prices were so high
she wondered how anyone could afford them. She was afraid to order anything.
What if her host did not arrive and she was left to pick up the tab? Could it be
someone’s idea of a joke to embarrass her? The waiter asked if she was ready to
order. She expressed her fears to him. He told her not to worry as her host was
a regular client of the highest integrity.
She ordered chateaubriand, her favourite dish, followed by strawberries and
cream. She ate slowly, all the time expecting her host to arrive. He didn’t. She
was terrified when she saw the waiter approach with a slip of paper on a plate.
Surely this was the bill? To her relief she saw that it was not a bill but a cheque.
It was made out to her and was for a very large sum. The signature was illegible
but, since it was a bank draft, there was no way of knowing who her benefactor
was. There was a note with the cheque. It read, "Please forgive my apparent
8 | Chapter 1
absence. I am here but you cannot see me. You may do whatever you wish with
the gift. Thank you for coming." It was signed "Towly." "So, my mystery lover
is called Towly. That’s not much of a name. I wonder what he looks like?
Anyway, he’s generous," Hillary said to herself. She read the amount of the
cheque again to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. She could hardly believe her
eyes. Towly must be an oil sheik or perhaps an owner of a gold mine. She had
visions of an eastern potentate with a cloth tied around his head, not quite what
she would choose as a lover for herself. Surely he must still be present. If she
was quick she might catch him before he left.
The waiter told her it was too late. He had already left. He had orders not to
disclose anything about him. Another waiter said he had seen him depart.. "He
left here in a blue Turbo Cornish, a convertible," he said. "He shot up that hill
like a rocket. Even my brother’s Sporch can’t move like that."
Hillary was thrilled. A Turbo Cornish was a very rare and expensive car and
very sporting. Clearly, Towly must be very rich and adventurous.
On her way back to the bus stop Hillary visited the bank that had issued the
cheque. She opened an account and deposited it and was given a cheque book.
Then she passed a motor show room. In the window was a smart looking
roadster. It was called a Turbo Dream. The sight of it brought visions of James
Bond’s Aston Martin. It was just the thing for a private investigator of her
calibre. She bought it and drove home in it. As she entered the drive her
younger sister, Odille, ran out to greet her. "Where did you get that thing?" she
asked.
"It’s not a thing, it’s my dream car," Hillary replied. "All right, then, where did
you get that dream car?" "Wouldn’t you like to know!" Hillary responded. There
was a lot of rivalry between the two sisters and Hillary had no intention of
sharing her secret.
That evening, Hillary’s mother, Lorraine, was due to entertain some guests.
They were very special guests and Lorraine had gone to a lot of trouble to make
it a special evening. John Tall was there from Johannesburg. He was known to
them as "Uncle John." For some years he had been a father to the girls and had
contributed to their support. Both girls were very fond of him. Then there was
the pastor of their local church, Bert Richards. Richards was very straight laced.
Lorraine regarded him as the ultimate source of knowledge and wisdom.
Whenever she had a problem she consulted him. John Tall was also very strong
in his knowledge of the Word but most people thought he had the bible all
upside down. Bert was a very conventional Christian. Lorraine had been
brought up in a main line church and clung to the accepted doctrines.
Bert brought along two visitors from a Pentecostal church in Roodepoort. It
was the first time Lorraine had met them. One was the pastor of the church,
Arthur Deadwood. The other was a deacon, Kenneth Roberts. Ken had the
Chapter 1 | 9
peculiar habit of calling his pastor "Boss." The subject of Hillary’s new car was
raised over dinner. Lorraine expressed concern over it. She could not
understand how Hillary could become the owner of such an expensive car so
suddenly. "I hope you didn’t steal it,’ she said. She looked at Bert, hoping that
he would be able to get at the truth.
"No, Mom, I assure you I didn’t steal it," Hillary said. "Then where did you get
it? Don’t tell me you bought it with your pocket money that Uncle John gave
you." Turning to Uncle John, she asked, "Did you give it to her?"
"No, I know nothing about it," he replied. "Come on, Child, you must tell your
mother how you got it," Bert prompted.
"I bought it with the money Towly gave me."
"Towly? Who is Towly?"
"I don’t know. He invited me to lunch at St. Helen’s and didn’t show up. When
the waiter brought me the bill I saw that it had already been paid. There was this
cheque made out to me and a note saying I could spend it on whatever I liked."
"A likely story indeed. Go to your room and don’t come out until you can tell
the truth."
"It is the truth." Hillary insisted. She produced the note from Towly. It was
passed from person to person. They were all mystified. Who was this
mysterious person calling himself Towly and being so exceedingly generous. It
was hard to believe but difficult to deny in the presence of the note.
"Hillary always gets the presents. She’s spoilt. Make her give me half," Odille
pleaded.
"Yes, you give half to Odille," Lorraine commanded. "You know I’ve always
taught you girls to share."
"That will be the day," Hillary said in a rebellious tone.
"Yes, do as Mom says. Give me half."
"I won’t give you half. I’ll give you two — two black eyes," Hillary threatened.
"Now, now, girls, don’t fight." Turning to Bert, Lorraine pleaded, "Please calm
them down. I can’t afford to lose any more crockery. When these two fight the
crockery gets smashed."
"Take it easy, girls. This matter can be resolved amicably. The remaining money
should be given to God. It will be enough to build us a new church. That way
you will both be blessed. Then you can share the car." "I think not. I think a
tithe to the church’s building fund would be fine. Haven’t you always taught us
to tithe, Pastor?" For once Lorraine was questioning the advice of her pastor.
She couldn’t see why the church should have the whole benefit.
10 | Chapter 1
"I think it is entirely up to Hillary to decide what she wants to do with her
money. Towly, who gave it to her, said she could use it any way she likes. I
think we should leave it at that." This piece of advice came from the Reverend
Arthur Deadwood.
"That’s the way, Boss. That’s good advice." This support came from Ken
Roberts. He was a handsome man in his early thirties. He showed great respect
for his superior.
The party decided that was the way to go. They would leave it to Hillary to
decide what she would do with her money.
"I’ll give a tithe to the church," Hillary conceded. She brandished her new
cheque book and wrote the cheque and gave it to Bert.
"That will pay for your new ablution block," Deadwood said to Bert.
"What about my car?" Odille complained.
Hillary wrote another cheque and gave it to Odille. Odille was not pleased.
"This will only get me a second hand Cadenza while you get all the boys with
that fancy sports car."
"Too bad! A pity you weren’t born beautiful like me then you might also have
found yourself a rich admirer." Hillary stuck out her tongue. Odille raised her
dinner plate. Lorraine and Bert grabbed her arms just as she was about to smash
it over her sister’s head. When the evening came to an end Lorraine was
relieved that she had not lost any more crockery. She was also relieved that
Hillary had come into that large sum lawfully. The pastors assured her she had
done nothing wrong in accepting it.
Next morning Hillary took Odille into town in her Turbo Dream. Odille was in
a good mood. Even a second hand Cadenza was exciting as a first car. When
she dropped her sister in the town Hillary told her that she was about to start
her investigations into the identity of her secret admirer. "That’s exciting! As
soon as I get my car I will help you in your search." Hillary was surprised at her
sister’s enthusiasm. She drove out to Hilton on the N3. The waiter had seen
Towly depart in that direction. That was the obvious place to start looking.
She made inquiries at all the filling stations. None of the petrol attendants had
seen a blue Turbo Cornish pass that way. She waited for hours at the roadside
but no Turbo Cornish passed that way. At lunch time she returned home. There
was an envelope in the letter box. Handwritten in pencil, it bore only the name
"Hillary." The note inside read: STOP YOUR INVESTIGATIONS OR FACE
A PAINFUL DEATH. It was signed, "The Red Disa."
Chapter 1 | 11
12 | Chapter 2
Chapter 2
Adventure on Town Hill
Hillary was pleased with the death threat. It made her a worthy P.I. Someone
hiding behind the name of "The Red Disa" was afraid of what her investigations
would turn up. She took a sheet of paper and wrote on it in large letters "Hillary
Keating 007 — super sleuth." She pinned it to the door of her bedroom. She
now had two mysteries to solve: the identities of Towly and the Red Disa. She
would get her men and soon she would be as famous as James Bond.
After lunch Hillary continued her search for the blue Cornish. Odille had not
yet returned. Hillary was keen to see what kind of car she had bought. It was
unlikely to be a fine Italian roadster like her Turbo Dream. This time she drove
out on the Richmond road. She kept a sharp lookout and made several inquiries
but her search was fruitless. Towards evening she returned to Pietermaritzburg.
She decided to have dinner at Monty’s. Monty’s was a restaurant at the
intersection of two main routes. From her table by the window she would be
able to watch the passing traffic in the hope of seeing her quarry. Blue was a
colour she associated with manly virtues. A Turbo Cornish was the type of car
driven by princes and knights in shining armour. She pictured Towly as such.
Now her imagination was running riot. She saw herself marrying Prince Towly
and becoming a princess.
The traffic fascinated her. She wondered about the travelers. Where were they
all going? Were there others going in search of princes and knights in shining
blue armour? Why was there so much activity?
She was aroused from her reverie by a loud exhaust note. Soon the offending
vehicle came into sight. It was an open two seater, rather old. It slowed down
and parked in front of Monty’s. The occupants wore caps put on back to front
and held in place by goggles. they parked next to her Turbo Dream. The driver
removed his goggles and crawled under the car. He shouted something to the
passenger who then rummaged in the back of the car. Finding some tools, he
passed them to the man under the car. With some hammering and swearing the
repair was completed. The two men entered the restaurant. They had removed
their caps. Hillary noticed that one was extremely handsome. Except for the
streak of grease on his face, he could easily have been the type she imagined
Towly to be. She also noticed that they had seen her and made approving
gestures to one another. She pretended not to have noticed and looked the
other way. They seated themselves at the table next to hers. The handsome one
glanced at her. "The scenery’s good," he remarked to his companion. The other
concurred. She felt a thrill but pretended not to hear.
Chapter 2 | 13
"That’s the third time today we’ve had to put that baffle box back," the not so
handsome one remarked. "One of the penalties of good road-holding. It’s a
nuisance but it’s worth it. Look how she corners." "I wish you hadn’t lowered it
so much. Austin-Healeys are so low to start with."
"Look how she corners, look how she corners! We can take on anything and
win."
Their conversation was all about Austin-Healeys and their virtues. She
wondered how they could be so enthusiastic about their ancient piece of iron
work. Next to her shining new Turbo Dream it looked like a relic from the ox
wagon era.
"You’ll see, on the winding road out of this town we’ll clean up everything.
Even those fancy Italian jobs with their skirts won’t stay with us," the
handsome one said. Hillary was stung. Her Turbo Dream was Italian and had
skirts. Besides the men fascinated her, especially the handsome one. She
welcomed the opportunity to get better acquainted.
"Want to bet on that?" she asked. She was convinced her car could walk away
from that antique on any road. The handsome youth turned round sharply at
the unexpected remark. "What do you drive?" he asked.
"A Turbo Dream."
"What! That rubbish! I should have known. Only a lady would drive a car like
that. It’s a girl’s car. That’s why it ‘s got skirts. I’ll admit it’s got a lot of power
but it corners like a drunken cow."
She was incensed at the insult to her car. "Choose your route," she said,
challenging him to a duel.
"The Austin-Healey’s a little heavy to race up Town Hill," the youth admitted.
"I’ll tell you what. Let’s drive up to Hilton and dice down on the old road. That
will give us a good test of cornering ability. First one over the railway at the
show grounds is the winner."
Hillary agreed. The Healey looked distinctly tired. Clearly it had enjoyed a long
hard life. She was confident she could beat it. The choice of route disturbed her.
The old town Hill road was notorious for accidents. Racing down it would be
sheer madness. Yet her pride got the better of her.
They followed the motorway up the escarpment. At first Hillary was content to
follow. When she heard the Healey change down she could not restrain herself.
Her right foot hit the floorboard. Soon the Healey was out of sight. At the
Hilton exit she waited at the roadside. After a few seconds the Healey arrived. It
stopped alongside. What a contrast they made, the one car from the space age,
the other a relic of the past.
14 | Chapter 2
The passenger in the Healey stood up. "We’ll take it from here," he said. "I’ll
count to three and then shout ‘Go!’" He lifted his right hand high above his
head. "One, two, three, go!" he shouted, lowering his hand on the shout of go.
Both cars rocketed forward, smoke coming from their spinning tyres. Hillary
easily out-accelerated her competition. She braked hard into the left-hander and
accelerated as she started the steep descent. She felt confident. She was in the
lead. She had the better car. But what a road! Her right foot was alternately
hitting the brake and the accelerator while she swung the steering wheel from
side to side. They were on a sweeping left-hander when she heard the squeal of
tyres alongside her. To her astonishment she saw the red form of the Healey in
the beam of her headlights. It was right on the limit, the passenger leaning far
out over the door, fighting the centrifugal force. On the straight she put her
foot down and drew level. She was now on the wrong side of the road, over the
solid white line. Both cars braked hard for the right-hander. She was on the
inside, struggling to take the bend. The cat’s eyes glared at her. The Healey was
getting ahead. A pair of headlights appeared, coming towards her at alarming
speed. She considered going into the ditch on the right but that was impossible
as her car was right at the limit of its adhesion. She would have to fall back
behind her competition. She braked hard, locking up all four wheels. The tail
came out and the car spun clockwise through 180 degrees. She missed the
oncoming car by inches. Her car slid backwards on the verge on the left side of
the road eventually coming to rest facing the direction from which it had come.
Hillary was in a whirl, not knowing where she was. Her heart was beating fast.
She wasn’t sure whether she had hit the other car or not. She fainted.
When she came round her opponents were pouring water on her face. She
sensed their relief as she recovered consciousness. They inquired whether she
was injured. Hillary was more concerned about her car and the other driver. She
was relieved to hear that she had missed the other car and that her car was
undamaged. She told them she would never do anything like that again and she
conceded that their car could out-corner all comers. "By the way, I’m Graham
Grant,’ said the handsome youth. "This is Leslie Granger. The car’s name is
Humphry. Would you like to meet us back at Monty’s? You look like you could
do with a drink."
Over coffee at Monty’s, Leslie said, "You’re a game chick. How would you like
a job where you could earn two thousand a day?"
"Doing what?"
"Stripping at private parties."
Hillary laughed. "Do I look the type?"
"Leslie runs a theatrical and entertainment agency," Graham explained. "He’s
always on the lookout for new talent. There’s no doubt you’ve got what he’s
looking for."
Chapter 2 | 15
"Yes," Leslie confirmed. "You’ve got it all in the right places and sizes and
shapes. You’d be a good investment."
"It’s good money and it’s more exciting than a nine to five job. I might consider
it if I can’t find something more suitable. Right now I’m on an assignment."
Leslie gave her his card:
LESLIE GRANGER
MANAGING DIRECTOR
ENTERTAINMENTS UNLIMITED
"When you’re in Johannesburg come and see me. I’ll get you lots of work. You
need never go hungry."
"What’s this assignment you’re on?" Graham asked.
"I’m a private detective."
"You mean you spy on guys with mistresses and that sort of thing? Isn’t that
very unsporting of you?"
"I’m involved in more diplomatic matters, like princes and their activities. I’m
on a case at present. It has to do with a prince’s car. Perhaps you could help
me? Have either of you seen a blue Turbo Cornish in these parts?"
"Is there such a thing? I was not aware that the Cornish was available with a
turbocharger," Leslie said.
"Yes, the convertible is available with twin turbochargers," Graham said. "It is
made in small numbers, for royalty: princes and oil sheiks and the like. As a
matter of fact I saw one only yesterday. It was at the Mount West service
station. We stopped there to refuel."
Hillary was excited at this news. "Tell me more about it. Please tell me all you
know."
"It was blue, driven by a youngish man, very handsome. In fact, I’m almost sure
it is the one they had for sale at World Wide Motors. The salesman claimed it
had been Prince Andrew’s but I have my doubts."
"That’s the one I’m supposed to trace. Tell me more." "I don’t know any more.
I can only suggest you talk to the salesman at World Wide Motors. He should
know what happened to it."
She got the directions from Graham. World Wide Motors was in Randburg.
That is about five hundred kilometres from Pietermaritzburg. She planned to
make the trip the following day.
"What do you do for a living?" she asked Graham. "I’m reading architecture at
the University of Port Elizabeth."
16 | Chapter 2
"That sounds like an honest profession, one that will allow you to sleep with a
clear conscience. I’m not so sure about Leslie’s. He might have problems with
his conscience."
" Ask Graham what he did before," Leslie suggested.
"What did you do before?"
"Can’t you guess?"
"I haven’t a clue."
"He’s given you quite a few clues already. I’m surprised you haven’t guessed,"
Leslie prompted.
She wracked her brains. She couldn’t think of anything Graham had said that
would give her a clue.
"For a private detective you’re not doing too well," Leslie said. "Sherlock
Holmes or Monsieur Poirot would have solved that one long ago. Come on,
don’t tell me you’re a dumb brunette? We took you to be a brainy kid."
Hillary couldn’t think of anything.
"He was a racing driver — old stuff like C types and D types and Austin-
Healey’s."
Hillary’s mouth dropped wide open. "No wonder you could drive like that.
Now I remember, I once saw you drive at Roy Hesketh. You’re famous, and so
is Humphry."
"Actually, Roy Hesketh is my favourite circuit. It suits Humphry with its twists
and turns."
"Well, I had no idea I was taking on a professional racing driver. I’ve only had
my licence two weeks."
"You could have lost it if the cops had seen the way you drove tonight. I
suggest you give up motor racing and enjoy life a little longer. A pretty girl like
you would do much better working for Leslie. It would be a terrible waste if you
were to be written off in a motor accident."
"Yah, strip dancing’s a lot safer and it pays better," Leslie said.
"She might have to contend with jealous wives. That could be more dangerous
than motor racing. I think she should stick with what she is doing, or become a
secretary, or something like that."
"I couldn’t think of anything worse than being a secretary, except being a bank
teller. I think I will stay with detective work. I’m all for an exciting outdoor life.
I might work for Leslie on the side. I’m not afraid of jealous wives. I’ve got my
brown belt."
Chapter 2 | 17
The young men were both from Johannesburg. Hillary looked forward to
meeting them there. She had done ballet at one stage of her life and she thought
dancing might suit her, at least as a side line. Taking off her clothes had no fears
for her. Earlier they had lived at New Hanover, a pretty village in the country
north of Pietermaritzburg. There she had often swum naked in the river. A
farmer who lived on the other side used to watch her through his binoculars.
Occasionally she would wave to him. He could do her no harm.
18 | Chapter 2
Chapter 3 | 19
Chapter 3
World Wide Motors
When Hillary arrived home it was quite late. In the drive was a large white car.
On the boot lid were the words SILVER SMOKE II. She supposed they must
have visitors and very important ones. That was the kind of car owned by kings
and the super rich. Many people considered it to be the best car in the world.
She was surprised to see only her mom and Odille in the lounge. "Where are the
visitors?" she asked.
"What visitors?" Lorraine seemed puzzled.
"Those with the Silver Smoke."
"Oh, that’s Odille’s car, the one she bought with the money you gave her."
"Like Hell it is. The money I gave her was only enough for a second hand
Cadenza. That Silver Smoke cost as much as twenty Cadenza’s. It’s brand new."
"Is that true?" Lorraine asked Odille.
"Trust you to give the game away. I suppose you think you’re the only one with
a rich admirer. Well, I’ve got news for you. My sugar daddy is ten times as rich
as your Towly. You think you’re beautiful. Everyone says I’m much prettier
than you."
Lorraine moved quickly to lock the middle door.
"What are you doing that for?" Hillary asked.
"I can’t afford to lose any more crockery."
"You don’t have to worry. She’s not worth a fight. I’m going to bed."
"She’s a coward."
"By the way, I received a death threat today. If you still want to help me in my
quest, you’re welcome. That is if you’re not put off by death threats." She
showed Odille the note.
Odille’s attitude changed. "So somebody’s threatening my sister with a painful
death. What a cheek! When we catch whoever it is we’ll make boerewors of him
and have him for braaivleis."
At breakfast the next morning Lorraine said, "I’ve made an appointment for us
to see Pastor Richards. These strange presents and talk of sugar daddies are
making me uneasy. I really think we should see him again.
Hillary had no objection to seeing Pastor Richards. She quite liked the old man.
He was a fatherly type and she had lost her father when she was seven. Lorraine
20 | Chapter 3
wanted them to go in Odille’s car since Hillary’s was a two seater. Hillary
objected. "Odille doesn’t have a licence and she can’t get one as she is under
age," she said.
"It’s all right," Lorraine said, "She has friends in the police force and I’m
friendly with the messenger of the court. He often comes in for tea on his
rounds."
Eventually Hillary consented to being driven by Odille. The Silver Smoke was
very comfortable and luxurious. Lorraine explained to Pastor Richards that
expensive new cars kept turning up and there was no logical explanation for
this. There was talk of sugar daddies and this worried her. She feared for the
future of her girls.
Bert understood her concern. He asked Odille to explain how she had come to
own so expensive a car. Odille refused. She said it was her business and hers
alone. Bert pointed out that she was still a minor and that she owed it to her
mother to tell her. Even this did not sway Odille.
"I hope you’re not involved in prostitution or anything like that?" Bert asked.
"What if I am? It’s my own life, I can do what I like with it."
"You’re not your own. Jesus bought you with a price, with His life, in fact.
You’re behaving very foolishly. This kind of behaviour can only get you into
trouble."
"Tell her to sell her car. With the money she can buy one like mine and you
could build your new church with the balance," Hillary suggested.
"Nobody asked you. Why don’t you sell your car and give money for a new
church.?"
"Perhaps you should both sell your cars and get honest jobs," the pastor
suggested.
"Okay, I was offered a good job last night. Perhaps I should sell my car and take
it," Hillary said.
Bert Richards brightened. "Let’s hear about it," he said.
"It’s strip dancing. It pays well, two thousand rands a day. You’ll get rich on my
tithes."
Bert brightened some more. "Strip dancing, is that a new art form?"
"It’s not all that new. There’s something about it in the bible. I think Herodias’
daughter did something like that for Herod and it got him into a lot of trouble."
"Yes, I was never sure exactly how she danced. Herod certainly liked it. Tell me
more about this art form."
Chapter 3 | 21
"It’s simple. You just dance some ballet steps and remove your clothes in the
process. I think most men like it. Herod was no exception."
Bert frowned. " I think you want to consider seriously what I have advised. I
could arrange an honest job for you with the Natal Provincial Administration. I
have contacts there."
"How does the pay compare?" Hillary asked.
Bert’s frown deepened. "I think you place too much importance on money. If
you’re not careful it will corrupt you. Think deeply about what I have said." The
meeting ended shortly after. The girls were determined to have their own ways.
Bert was concerned. He told Lorraine she had her hands full and that he would
pray for her and her girls.
That afternoon the girls agreed to join forces. Odille said she would go after the
Red Disa while Hillary continued her quest for Towly. She wanted to have
lunch at St. Helen’s where she would make discreet inquiries. Meanwhile Hillary
would make preparations for her trip to Johannesburg. She intended leaving
early the following morning.
Odille was out all afternoon. When she came in after returning home she had an
envelope in her hand. On it was written in pencil the one word "Odille." Inside
was a note: STOP YOUR INVESTIGATIONS OR FACE A PAINFUL
DEATH. It was similar to the one Hillary had received the day before. Odille
laughed as she read it. "This only makes me more determined," she said. She
put a handwritten notice on the door of her bedroom: Odille Keating 008 —
super sleuth. For once the sisters had common cause.
Hillary drove the long distance to Johannesburg. She spent the night with Uncle
John and his wife Joan. Uncle John knew World Wide Motors well. It was only
half a kilometre from his home. The cars on the show room floor made
Hillary’s mouth water. There were Aston Martins, Ferrari’s and Porsches. A
striking convertible coupe caught her attention. On the boot lid were the words
CORNISH TURBO II. Hillary was excited. Unfortunately it wasn’t blue. It was
olivine with olive green trim. It was upholstered in cream Connolly hides with
olive green trim.
A salesman came over. "Beautiful, isn’t she?" he said.
"It’s magnificent. How much do you want for it?"
"Miss," he said, " If you have to ask the price you can’t afford it."
"I’m sure I can’t but I’m curious to know how much you expect for a car of this
quality."
"There’s only one price for this car. Four hundred thousand — no offers. It’s
the only one of its kind in the world. It used to belong to Prince Charles. It has
many features they would only put on for the prince. Come and look at this."
22 | Chapter 3
The salesman opened the driver’s side door and drew her attention to the fascia.
"Digital displays for the bake circuit temperatures — both circuits! That’s
something they would only do for the prince. And it’s got active suspension like
the Turbo Z. See these seats; they’re a special leather, softer than silk. He held
out his tie. "Feel my tie," he continued. "It’s real silk. Feel how soft it is. The
seats on that car are softer than that."
Hillary felt his tie. It was indeed soft. She wondered why he did not ask her to
feel the leather seats. "It’s a lovely car," she said, "But actually I’m after the blue
one, the one that was Prince Andrew’s."
"Oh, the blue one. We sold that two weeks ago. This is a nicer colour and it has
done a smaller mileage. If I were you I’d buy this one. The green trim matches
your eyes."
"It’s the blue one I’m interested in. Who did you sell it to?"
"I can’t tell you. All our deals are confidential. I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you a
special price: 370. The blue one went for 380 and this is a nicer car. You won’t
do better than that."
"I thought you said there was only one price for this car. Now you’re offering
me another price?"
"I would only do that for you. I can see you’re royalty. I want to keep this car in
the family." He winked at her, "You know what I mean."
"That’s very kind but I have a special interest in the blue one. Surely you’d like
to keep that one in the family, too." She winked at him, "You know what I
mean." "Sorry, Ma’am, that’s more than my job’s worth."
"Aw, go on. Just this once."
"Sorry, Ma’am."
As Hillary was leaving she passed the receptionist at a desk near the door.
"Going to buy that one?" she asked. "No, I want the blue one they sold two
weeks ago but the salesman refuses to give me the name of the new owner. The
lady slipped her a card. "Don’t read it here," she said. "Slip it into your pocket
and read it after you leave here."
It was an ordinary business card but on the back was written the name Agnes
Halfshaft and an address in Constantia Kloof. Hillary found the address. It was
a mansion perched on the edge of the escarpment. It had turrets and ramparts,
just like a castle. On the gate was the name DEADWOOD CASTLE. The
name seemed to be as incongruous as the castle. She rang the bell several times
but there was no answer. A lady passing by asked who she wanted. She replied
that she was looking for Agnes Halfshaft. "She does not live here any more,"
the lady said. She gave Hillary Mrs. Halfshaft’s new address. It was in
Berlandina Street, Roodepoort. It did not take long to find the new address. It
Chapter 3 | 23
was an old house with a hedge around it. There was something strangely
foreboding about it.
24 | Chapter 3
Chapter 4 | 25
Chapter 4
Agnes Halfshaft
Hillary entered through the narrow gate. She had the feeling that she was being
watched. She felt uneasy, as though walking into a trap. The woman who
answered the door was past middle age but was still quite handsome. She had a
certain poise and dignity and was tastefully dressed. Hillary introduced herself
and explained that she was trying to trace a blue Turbo Cornish that had been
sold to a lady by the name of Agnes Halfshaft.
"Yes," Agnes said, "It was a magnificent car. Unfortunately I don’t have it any
more. The pastors made me donate it to the church. It was given to me by the
Lord Jesus. It had a card reading, ‘From the Lord Jesus.’ The pastors said that
anything from the Lord Jesus was for the common good and must be given to
the church. They showed me I Corinthians 12:7 and Acts 4:29. So I was happy
to give it to them. They gave me a Cadenza in exchange. At least the Cadenza is
more economical."
Seeing that Hillary had more questions, Agnes invited her in for tea. Hillary
found her mission a little difficult to explain. She explained about the note and
the cheque from Towly and her curiosity about his identity. The only clue she
had was the blue Cornish and she was following that up.
"As far as I know, Pastor Deadwood still has the car. If it was as recent as you
say, it would almost certainly be him. However it is not like him. He makes
people give things to the church rather than the other way round." Hillary asked
whether it was possible that there was another blue Cornish in the country.
Agnes assured her the car was unique. It had been a special for Prince Andrew.
She had seen him in the car on TV. That was before he brought it in great
secrecy to South Africa. The house in Constantia Kloof had also been a gift
from the Lord Jesus and had suffered the same fate as the car. She asked Hillary
not to mention these things to anyone. They had warned her to tell no one. She
was receiving a small widow’s pension from the church and they had threatened
to cut it off if she talked. For twenty years Agnes had been happily married to
Harry Halfshaft, a motor mechanic. Then tragedy struck. A customer collected
his car while Harry was still underneath working on a halfshaft. That had left
her with four fatherless children. They were happy in spite of their poverty.
Then they started to receive gifts from the Lord Jesus. First was the castle in
Constantia Kloof, then a monthly income and finally the car. "Do you know the
identity of your benefactor? I mean, apart from the Lord Jesus. He must have
used someone as His instrument."
26 | Chapter 4
Agnes did not know. She was sure it wasn’t one of the pastors from the church.
They were indignant that the Lord had been so generous to her. That made it
difficult to believe Deadwood could be Towly. It was so out of character. But
who else could have left in the blue Cornish?
Hillary was disappointed to think that her invisible lover might not be a prince
but a seedy old pastor like Deadwood. But there were several things that did not
fit. She couldn’t imagine Deadwood being secretly present at St. Helen’s and
then making off up the hill at such speed that not even the waiter’s brother’s
Sporch could move like that. Perhaps Prince Andrew had returned for his car.
Yes she was sure that was it. Her secret lover was most likely Prince Andrew.
Why had he brought his car into South Africa "in great secrecy?" She thanked
Agnes for her help. As she passed out of the gate two men who had been hiding
behind the hedge grabbed hold of her. One had a gun which he jabbed into her
ribs. "Come with us," he said, "The boss wants to talk to you." They forced her
into the back seat of a large car. The man with the gun sat beside her. He kept
the muzzle of the revolver in close contact with her ribs.
After a few kilometres they arrived at a large church complex. They led Hillary
through a side entrance into the main building and stopped outside a door
marked REV ARTHUR DEADWOOD: CHIEF PASTOR. The pastor’s
secretary admitted them. She seemed most astonished that Hillary was being
held at gun point. Apparently this was not an everyday occurrence.
The secretary spoke to Deadwood on the phone telling him he had visitors
whose business was very urgent. Within seconds his face appeared at the door.
He hurried his visitors in and locked the door. "Are you mad?" he said to the
men. "Didn’t I tell you not to show your faces here? And with a gun!"
"This is an emergency," the man with the gun said. "She’s been to the castle and
she’s been talking to Agnes Halfshaft. She’s dangerous."
"I see what you mean," Deadwood said.
"Let us give her a dose of cyanide. I know of an abandoned mine shaft where
we could dispose of her body. They’ll never find it. No one will ever know."
"Fools, did not God say, ‘Thou shalt not kill? Repent of your ways. Put that gun
away and get out of here."
The men left.
Deadwood turned to Hillary. "It’s Hillary, isn’t it?" he said. "Why are you
meddling in things that don’t concern you? I don’t know what Mrs. Halfshaft
told you but the church acted correctly in this matter. The house and the car
were given to her by a member of this church who was certified mad. There was
no way we could let her keep the gifts. My advice to you, young lady, is to go
back to Pietermaritzburg as fast as you can. Get yourself a steady job. Get
married to a nice Christian boy, settle down and have children. That’ll keep you
Chapter 4 | 27
out of trouble. You’ve seen how unhealthy this city is for you. You’ve seen what
might have been your fate if I had not intervened to save you. Go back to
Pietermaritzburg and stay there. You owe it to your dear mother and sister."
Hillary asked if someone could give her a lift back to her car. It was outside
Agnes’ home and she was not familiar with Roodepoort. Deadwood took her to
a room marked CHRIS MOODLEY: INDIAN PASTOR. She wondered if all
the pastors were either chiefs or Indians. Chris drove her to her car. He was
very polite and friendly and would not let her leave without the LORD’s
blessing. She had no intention of going back to Pietermaritzburg. There were
too many unanswered questions. Why was Deadwood so eager to get her out of
Roodepoort? He was concerned for her safety but there was something he was
hiding, something he didn’t want her to uncover. Why had those men taken her
to him? They called him, "Boss." Did that mean they were working for him?
Why would a pastor employ dangerous henchmen? Why were they so eager to
have her out of the way? The idea of Deadwood being Towly did not make
sense, even if he did still own the car. Towly had to be someone young,
handsome and romantic. Prince Andrew might do. Why couldn’t it be Prince
Andrew?
As she drove past the Ranch Motel she noticed a large blue convertible parked
in the hotel grounds. She made a U turn and went back and parked alongside it.
On the boot lid were the words Turbo Cornish II. Hillary’s heart missed a beat.
It had to be the car she was looking for. If it was Deadwood’s surely he could
not have got there so soon. He had warned her. If he was there she would make
sure he would not recognize her. She went to the ladies’ cloak room where she
rearranged her hair and her face makeup. She changed her clothes. Then she
went into the dining room. She was excited. Towly must be there somewhere.
She knew she would recognize him when she saw him. Her eyes scanned the
guests. She was hoping to see Prince Andrew. To her surprise she saw Leslie
Granger at one of the tables. He was alone. He took a moment to recognize her
as she joined him. That was good. Her disguise was working.
"What on earth are you doing here?" he asked.
"Tracing a blue Turbo Cornish. Incidentally, there’s one outside. I don’t
suppose you would have seen who arrived in it?"
"As a matter of fact, I did," he said.
"Who?" she asked, blushing with excitement. She was afraid Leslie would think
her childish. It seemed like ages before he answered, "The handsomest guy in
this room."
Hillary looked around again at the guests. "I don’t see anyone particularly
handsome," she said. The guests were mostly middle aged business men.
"Aren’t you overlooking someone?"
28 | Chapter 4
She looked around again. "I can’t see any likely candidate."
"And you’re supposed to be Sherlock Holmes? You should be saying,
‘Elementary, my dear Leslie.’"
She pressed him for more clues. "I can’t believe this," he said, "Even my
secretary could have solved that one by now."
Over lunch she told Leslie about her meetings with Agnes and Deadwood and
the death threat she had received in Pietermaritzburg. She was almost sure that
Deadwood was the Red Disa. His henchmen had wanted to give her cyanide
and then to drop her body down a disused mineshaft. Perhaps that was the
‘painful death’ the note referred to.
Leslie was amused. "That’s not such a painful death. Cyanide is quick. After that
you wouldn’t feel a thing. That’s quite an idea you’ve given me. There are a lot
of disused mineshafts in these parts. I must remember that. How do you know
I’m not the Red Disa?"
"I can’t exclude anyone at this stage but I’m determined to find out. I don’t
think you’re the type."
"Don’t be so sure. You hardly know me. How do you know I’m not a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde? But that name, Deadwood, I’m sure I’ve heard it before. Yes,
he’s one of our customers — has a standing order for a stripper once a week."
While they were having coffee Leslie said he would have to hurry. He felt in all
his pockets, then said, "Would you mind paying? I seem to have left my wallet
behind. Either that, or it has been lifted. I’ll square with you tomorrow. Phone
me." The waiter was a long time bringing the bill. When it came she noticed it
had been paid. She thought Leslie must have found his wallet. Then she saw
there was a little card under the bill. It read, IT’S ON ME, TOWLY. Hillary
raced out. The car was gone. What a fool she had been. She had overlooked
present company. It was obvious now. Leslie was Towly.
Chapter 4 | 29
30 | Chapter 5
Chapter 5
Leslie’s Enterprise
She had solved one mystery. She knew the identity of her mysterious lover. That
was cause for congratulating herself. She was a little disappointed that it wasn’t
Prince Andrew but Leslie was a nice kind of guy, very friendly and sporting.
Graham was handsomer, of that there was no doubt. Deadwood was probably
the Red Disa but she had to be certain. She wanted to let Leslie know that she
had found him out. It was no good phoning his office, he would not be there
yet. She decided to drive there, hoping to find him there when she arrived.
Leslie’s secretary told her that he had not yet arrived back from lunch but she
expected he would not be long. She offered Hillary tea. When Leslie did arrive
she stood up, greeting him with the words, "Hi, Towly." She wanted him to
know that she had at least succeeded in solving that puzzle. She was afraid that
Leslie might think her stupid.
"What have you been drinking?" he asked. "Are you following me? Am I your
latest suspect?"
"I’ve solved one mystery. I know you’re Towly."
"How did you work that out?"
"Elementary, my dear Leslie. You are the one who arrived, and left, in the blue
Cornish and you left this card for me."
"This gets better and better, considering that I only bought the Cornish this
morning. I was celebrating my purchase by having lunch at the Ranch Motel.
About the card: this is the first time I’ve seen it. Sherlock Holmes would have
been proud of you."
She was disappointed. At least she had traced the car. Leslie confirmed that it
was indeed the one that had been Prince Andrew’s. He had bought it that
morning from Investment Autos in the main street of Roodepoort.
"It’s a very queer thing," Leslie said, "the Turbo Cornish is a rare car. Derby
Motors make only one hundred a year. I was under the impression that there
were only three or four in South Africa. Yet Investment Autos had eight on
their floor, all virtually new and being offered at ridiculously low prices. I got
mine for two hundred thousand. That’s a fraction of what it’s worth. It’s a
fantastic investment. Did you see the item in yesterday’s newspaper? The
Cornish driven by Babe Bonhatto, which won the le Mans three times, changed
hands for over ten million pounds. Any R series will fetch over a million
pounds. My car is unique. That, together with its royal origin, will make it
sought after. In a few years I’ll get a big price for it." "How can you be sure it
Chapter 5 | 31
was Prince Andrews car? Doesn’t it strike you as odd that such a valuable car
should appear at a used car dealer’s in Roodepoort?"
Leslie reached over and picked up a photo album from his desk. "Take a look at
this," he said.
She examined the album. It contained photos and press cuttings of the car and
Prince Andrew and occasionally other members of the royal family. It seemed
the claim was genuine.
"I’m in the right business to exploit it," Leslie continued. "I’ve numerous rich
clients who will hire the car for special occasions. Society women will pay big
prices to be seen in it. Advertisers and film producers will want to hire it. It will
provide an income as well as appreciate in value."
Hillary felt an urge to visit Investment Autos to find out more about the car’s
history. She realized the dangers she would face. The cyanide and mine shaft
threat was still fresh in her memory. Those men might see her. She would have
to be disguised. She asked Leslie about fixing her with a suitable disguise. That’s
no doubt the real reason you’re here. I’ve got a job for you tomorrow.
Deadwood has ordered a strip dancer for 12:30. If you’d like to take this one I’ll
pay you R400. That’s what we start strippers on. If they ask for you again, I’ll
increase it."
She was pleased. That would not only give her extra pocket money but would
give her a window on Deadwood and his activities. She would have to be very
heavily disguised. Considering that she would be stripping that would not be
easy.
Leslie gave her an audition on the spot. He said she was a natural. He helped
her to choose garments and gave her a few tips. For her disguise she would
wear a wig and her face would be made up to make her look older. Leslie said
not even her mother would recognize her. She asked if he could organize a
disguise for her immediately. She wanted to go to Investment Autos that
afternoon. "We’ll do that small thing for you. What will it be? A deerstalker,
matching tweed suit and pipe. I understand that’s what your kind wear."
Investment Autos was an upmarket used car dealer similar to World Wide
Motors. The showroom floor was full of Turbo Cornishes. It appeared they
specialized in that make. Hillary was attracted by one that was olive green over
dove green. It was in pristine condition. Her interest in the car attracted the
attention of a salesman. To her astonishment she saw that he was none other
than the Ken Roberts who had joined them for dinner a few nights previously.
He did not recognize her. From her dress and demeanour it was clear to him
that here was a business woman of the first magnitude. Along with her handbag
she carried a copy of that morning’s Business Day. It was open on the stock
exchange page. She opened her handbag and took out a gold cigarette case. At
32 | Chapter 5
the same time she dropped her newspaper. Taking out a cigarette she asked,
"Do you have a light?"
Ken Roberts first stooped to pick up her newspaper and then reached for his
lighter. As he lit her cigarette he noticed there was a computer printout in the
fold of her newspaper. It was headed, "Lady Emily de Rothschild — Portfolio
Valuation." It carried the name of one of Johannesburg’s largest stockbroking
firms.
"I’m Emily," Hillary said in her best Oxford accent. She held out her hand.
He bowed as he took her hand. "Dr. Kenneth Roberts, at your service, Ma’am,"
he said with deep respect. "Interested in this car, are you? It’s a beauty. It was
Prince Andrew’s and it has many features they would put on only for the prince.
For example, the seats are trimmed with a special leather, softer than silk. Feel
my tie, it’s real silk. You can’t imagine anything softer than that, yet the leather
on these seats is softer than silk.
She felt his tie. It was real silk. "Do all Cornish salesman do that?" she asked
fascinated.
"Do what, Ma’am?"
"Wear silk ties. I suppose they dish them out to you on a sales course?"
"They did nothing of the sort. I bought this tie at Herrop’s. It cost me over
R100.
"I was told that Prince Andrew’s car was blue. Are you sure this is the car that
was Prince Andrew’s?"
"I won’t argue with you Ma’am, I’ll prove it to you," Dr. Roberts said obligingly.
"How will you do that?"
"I’ll get Prince Andrew to tell you himself. I’ll arrange for him to take you to
lunch tomorrow and he can tell you himself.
"Unfortunately I’ve got a previous engagement. Can’t you make it for dinner
tomorrow night?"
"I’ll phone him now. Where would you like him to meet you?"
"At the Ranch Motel."
Ken Roberts got through to the prince. He addressed him as "Your Royal
Highness." He had no difficulty in making the arrangements. "Okay," he said to
Hillary, "He’ll meet you at the Ranch Motel at seven tomorrow evening."
"How is it you have so much influence with the prince?"
"If I tell you, you must promise not to repeat it. It has to do with this car. You
see Cornish make superb cars for very rich people. They can’t afford to have
their customers having accidents at 300km /h. Therefore they put governors on
Chapter 5 | 33
their cars limiting them to 240km/h. Now, Andrew, little rascal that he is,
removed the governor from his car. He was trapped on the M6 at 270km/h.
The police hushed it up but the queen found out. She was furious. I mean the
prince was supposed to be an example to British youth. The queen already had
enough trouble of her own, what with Princess Di and all that. She ordered him
to get rid of the car as quickly as possible before Cornish found out. It
contravened the conditions of sale. So where better to send a tampered with
Cornish than to South Africa? You Britishers know our people. They insist on
the right to self determination so they can get their own way. ‘Every man his
own general,’ as the saying goes. Tampering with a Cornish fits the image that
overseas people have of us. So that’s where I came in. I offered him a quick sale
for the car without disclosing any of the hoary details. That is why he is so
grateful to me. At present he is in disgrace with the queen. That is why he is in
South Africa in the greatest secrecy — a kind of part-time remittance man.
That’s why he owes me one. Now I’m passing the benefit on to you."
"That’s very kind. How much do you want for the car?"
"Three hundred and fifty big ones. You’ll never regret it. In a few years when all
this blows over you’ll get millions for it."
"It sounds wonderful," Hillary said, "But I’ll wait until I’ve seen Prince Andrew.
By the way, thanks for arranging the date."
Dr. Roberts gave Hillary his card. It read, DR KENNETH ROBERTS,
DOCTOR OF DIVINITY AND ECONOMICS. Contact me after your date
with the prince," he said.
"What is a doctor of divinity and economics doing selling used cars?" she asked.
"I’m intrigued by the market for cars of this quality. As an economist the
market intrigues me. Besides there’s money in it and I get to meet the rich and
famous, like your ladyship here."
"Just call me Emily," she said, shaking hands with him. As she turned to leave a
shiver went down her spine. Two men had just entered. She recognized them
immediately. They were Deadwood’s henchmen who had wanted to give her
cyanide that morning. They stared at her. "Some chick, hey?" the one said to
Ken Roberts. "Yes, she’s the daughter of England’s richest banker," Ken
replied. Hillary left as fast as her new status would allow.
34 | Chapter 5
Chapter 6 | 35
Chapter 6
Tall Story
On her way home Hillary checked into the Ranch Motel under the name Emily
de Rothschild. That was where Prince Andrew would be calling for her and he
knew her only by that name. Her belongings were at the home of Uncle John
and she had to let him know that she would no longer be staying there. Uncle
John did not at first recognize her. There was something familiar about the
voice but it was some time before he realized that the woman rattling the gate
was Hillary.
"Why all the security?" she asked as she was taken through three locked gates
and the back door.
"It’s Aunt Joan’s way of welcoming my friends," he said.
"What on earth have you done to yourself?" Aunt Joan asked when she saw
Hillary. She explained that Leslie had provided her with a disguise to help in her
investigations. Aunt Joan was reading the newspaper. "Can you beat that? The
Summit University has opened a mental hospital in the town of Naboomspruit!
Reverend Arthur Deadwood has been appointed an honorary professor of
psychiatric medicine. He says the hospital will be run on Christian principles.
Dr. Mary Shrink, formerly of the University of North Alaska, has been
appointed professor and head of the department of Christian psychiatry.
"What good do you think can come of that? The Summit University is in
Roodepoort. They call Roodepoort the Summit City. Some kind of summit,
that! If you ask yourself the question, ‘Can any good thing come out of
Roodepoort?’ the answer is No! Never, not ever! If you want to see what trash
comes out of Roodepoort just look at Uncle John. If ever there was an apology
for a man it’s him."
"What’s wrong with Uncle John?" Hillary asked.
"He gives all his money to drunks, won’t works and prostitutes, and then he
tries to bring them into my house."
"He’s been like a father to me. I think he’s wonderful," Hillary said.
"That’s just it. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. He wasn’t satisfied with the
children I gave him, he had to go looking for other people’s children to be a
father to.
"If you want further examples of the scum that comes out of Roodepoort, you
only have to look at his father. He only baths once a week. Bathing? That’s not
bathing! Wallowing in the mud, I call it. He was about to be certified when
36 | Chapter 6
Pastor Deadwood took pity on him and arranged for him to be admitted to his
new psychiatric hospital. Don’t expect any good to come out of that place while
he’s there. He’ll lead them all astray. He’s good at that."
Hillary was astonished at Aunt Joan’s outburst. As much as she detested her
husband, she had once admired him. He was a physicist and had been the sole
owner of a company manufacturing electro-optical devices. Then one day the
Lord Jesus appeared to him in a vision, saying to him, "One thing still you lack.
If you would be perfect, sell up all you have and distribute the proceeds to the
poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me."
John Tall sold up everything and followed the Lord Jesus. When he started
distributing the proceeds to the poor the news got around quickly. Soon they
were besieged by the needy. Day and night they came, telling their tales of woe,
receiving handouts. People who had been sleeping on park benches, in trees,
storm water drains, public toilets and holes in the ground became guests in the
Tall’s home. His guests sometimes helped themselves to anything they wanted.
John didn’t mind but when they started taking Joan’s personal things it was a
different matter. She chased them out of the house. Then she had bars installed
on the doors and windows, chains and padlocks on the gates. She did
everything she could to discourage visitors. Yet still they came. Often the
household would be disturbed in the middle of the night by visitors rattling the
chained gate. Twenty years later they were still coming. John continued
ministering to the needy. Forbidden by Joan to do so on the property, he had to
entertain his guests on the pavement. He heard that his former colleagues were
saying of him, "What a tragedy! All that wealth and all that talent, and now he
sits on the pavement and eats with blacks."
All this had changed Joan’s attitude towards him. She rued the day she had
prayed for his salvation. It seemed the LORD had played a dirty trick on her.
All she had really wanted was a husband who would go with her to church and
sit and listen quietly to the sermon. She regarded John’s continued ministry to
the poor as weakness. He was not man enough to stand up to the beggars and
chase them away. She despised him.
John’s father lived in Roodepoort. He had lived in the same house for sixty
years. He was extremely rich although no one would have guessed it from his
lifestyle. At the age of forty-nine he had inherited a fortune which he added to
his already substantial investments on the stock exchange. A shrewd long term
investor, he had multiplied the value of his investments many times over.
With a population of half a million, Roodepoort is the second largest city on the
Witwatersrand. The latter is a north facing escarpment rising 150 metres above
the plain. The name is Afrikaans and means "White Ridge of Waters." It is here
that some of the world’s richest gold bearing reefs outcrop. It attains its highest
elevation of 1719 metres above sea level in Roodepoort, hence its nickname,
"The Summit City."
Chapter 6 | 37
With John’s history Hillary could be excused for thinking that he was Towly. He
assured her he knew nothing about the matter. She knew she could trust his
word. She explained her reason for moving to the Ranch Motel. It was because
she had a date the next evening with Prince Andrew. She was known to him as
Lady Emily de Rothschild, in which disguise she now appeared. It would enable
her to get used to her new identity as she was registered there under that name.
Joan thought it dishonest to deceive the prince with a false identity. She warned
Hillary of the error of her ways and what might come of it.
38 | Chapter 6
Chapter 7 | 39
Chapter 7
Deadwood Castle
At eleven the next morning Hillary arrived at Leslie’s business premises. Leslie
was expecting her and got a makeup artist busy on her. The girl did a good job.
Hillary was looking forward to her strip dancing act. She loved adventure. This
one should be unusually exciting. If she was recognized it might mean cyanide
and a mine shaft for her. She had to admit she was more than a little scared.
Leslie decided he would drive her there himself. He wanted to give her as much
encouragement as he could. "Don’t worry if you’re caught," he said reassuringly,
"Cyanide is quick. You will hardly feel a thing. And the mine shaft will save your
folks the expense of a funeral." Hillary thought that very reassuring. She had
read that secret agents often carried a cyanide pill in case of need. She was being
spared even that inconvenience. Leslie parked a little distance from the entrance
so as not to be conspicuous. He gave her a whistle which he told her to blow if
she was in trouble. Then he would come and rescue her.
After she had rung the bell a voice on the intercom asked her to identify herself.
She was Debbie Delightful, the hired entertainer. The gate opened and a man in
uniform met her. He took her to a large hall where a long table was set for
lunch. On the north side glass doors led to a patio and beyond that a swimming
pool. An iron security fence running the full length of the patio separated the
latter from the pool. There was a gate in the fence. She noticed that it was
locked. The man in uniform told her to make herself comfortable. He said the
elders would be along shortly. She examined the premises carefully, working out
a plan of escape should things get too uncomfortable.
Deadwood arrived accompanied by several men. His face brightened when he
saw Hillary. "You must be Debbie Delightful," he said. "Gentlemen, meet Miss
Debbie Delightful, the delightful little dish whom God has so generously
provided for our dessert. He introduced her to each of the men in turn. To her
astonishment Deadwood’s two henchmen were among the elders present. The
one who had pressed the gun into her ribs was introduced as Mr. Butcher. The
other, who had driven the car, was Mr. Blackhench. Ken Roberts was there too.
As she was introduced, she took the hand of each man in turn and curtseyed.
She said nothing as she feared her voice might give her away. Deadwood seated
her at his right hand. He thanked God for the meal they were about to have and
especially for their "little dessert."
She listened intently to their conversation. She hoped to learn something that
would help in her investigations. She heard the name Stuart mentioned several
40 | Chapter 7
times. He seemed to be giving them a lot of trouble. Deadwood said he had
made provision for him in the usual way.
"You mean Naboomspruit?" Butcher asked with a chuckle.
"I mean Naboomspruit," Deadwood replied.
"That was a good idea of yours, Boss, but I liked that one of Butcher’s too. He
wanted to give that meddlesome girl a dose of cyanide and then throw her body
down a mine shaft," Blackhench said.
The men laughed at that. "You can’t be serious?" one of them asked.
"It sounds terrible," Ken Roberts said, "But when you think of it, it’s really a
good idea. If you treat a loony in a hospital he keeps coming back. He’s a
nuisance to himself and everyone else. With cyanide it’s over in 30 seconds and
it’s final. The abandoned mine shafts around here are 2 to 3 kilometres deep.
Nobody will ever find the body. I remember when some boys from my school
went looking for ferns in a shaft collar. One lost his balance and fell down the
shaft. The mine management winched men down on ropes in an effort to
recover the body. They tried for days but couldn’t get anywhere near."
"But what if he’s not a Christian? Wouldn’t you be sending him to Hell?" was
the shocked query of another elder.
"Oh yes, you’d have to make sure first that he was saved. We wouldn’t like
anyone to go to Hell. If they’re saved they go straight to heaven. They’re much
more comfortable there — no more worries. They’re no longer a nuisance to
themselves or anyone else. So it’s really a good deed."
"Enough of that," Deadwood said, "You’re talking murder here. You’re elders
of the church, you should know better. Did not God say, ‘Thou shalt not kill?"
Let us leave things like that to God. We will do the best we can for them in our
hospital. Ken, how are the car sales going?"
"Excellent, Boss. I sold the blue one to a young man yesterday. He paid cash.
And I’ve got a lady interested in the green one. Boy! Is she some lady! Lady
Emily de Rothschild, no less. She’s the daughter of England’s richest banker. I
offered it to her for 380. For her, that’s pocket money. I’ll have the deal sewn
up tomorrow."
"Good," said Deadwood, "We need the money. Perhaps you could persuade
Lady de Rothschild to come to church. She might even join the church. Her
tithes would be most welcome in our present circumstances." Then he
announced that it was time for Miss Debbie Delightful to start her
performance. He helped her on to the table. Apparently she was meant to dance
in between the dishes and cutlery for they were still there. This did not deter
her. She had done ballet from an early age and was highly skilled. The music
started up. She began to dance. At first she confined her movements to normal
ballet steps, pirouetting and the like. The elders whistled with delight as her
Chapter 7 | 41
skirts flared out. Leslie’s artist had provided her with some very lacy half slips
and suspenders and garters. To the male eye the effect was very pretty. The
elders were enjoying their "dessert."
She overcame her initial nervousness and soon found herself enjoying it as
much as her audience. The expressions on their faces told her she was doing
well. She liked pleasing men in this way. Some unconventional steps brought
applause. She felt she was getting a little warm. It was time to take something
off. First came her scarf. She removed it with some elegant flourishes, then
flashed it around a bit before throwing it into Deadwood’s lap. He held up his
trophy and waved it with delight. The men cheered loudly. Next to come off
was the jacket she was wearing over her lace blouse. She threw that to Ken
Roberts, covering his face. Again there were howls of appreciation. Her bra was
now visible under her blouse. This was an area in which she was gifted. She
danced for a long time before removing a shoe. This she threw at butcher,
hitting him on the forehead with some force. The other shoe she directed at
Blackhench with a similar result. Now she was dancing in her black patterned
stockings. They showed her legs off to perfection. She was gifted in that area
too.
Next to come off was her skirt. That required some intricate dancing steps. She
did that with some delicacy, eventually draping it around the chandelier. It made
a pretty sight with the lights shining through. Her outer slip was white satin
trimmed with pink lace. Under that was a black slip trimmed with red lace and
under that a white lace slip. These remained in place for a while.
Her blouse was mauve lace. Under that was a white lacy bra. The blouse she
draped over Deadwood’s head. The white lace slip, the innermost one, was next
off. That went to the elder who had expressed shock at Butcher’s suggestion.
Her black slip trimmed with red lace went to Ken Roberts.
Removing her stockings while dancing required some novel footwork. She was
good at improvising. She danced on one leg while removing the stocking from
the other. That was as far as she intended to go. Dancing for some time after
that, she was surprised to find how much she was enjoying it. Finally she
somersaulted off the table and bowed to her audience. They cheered heartily.
Some of the elders congratulated her and told her she must come again.
To her dismay, she saw that Butcher and Blackhench were whispering to Ken
Roberts. Had they recognized her? Dark thoughts of cyanide and mine shafts
went through her mind. The glass doors leading to the patio were still open. If
necessary she could easily scale the security fence. The elders were leaving.
Blackhench, Butcher and Roberts remained. They came towards her. She felt
instinctively that an ugly scene was about to develop. She decided to leave
without saying goodbye.
42 | Chapter 7
Clad in only a bra, bikini panties and a suspender belt, she made a dash for the
security fence. In a trice she was over it. Butcher drew a revolver and fired a
shot. It was only a warning shot. She dived into the pool. The men called to the
servant to bring the keys for the gate. She swam under water. By the time the
gate was open she was at the far end of the pool. she surfaced, stuck out her
tongue and shouted, "So waa, bet you can’t catch me." To her surprise she was
enjoying the chase. There was something strangely romantic about being chased
by men with guns.
Hopping out of the pool she found herself up against another tall wrought iron
fence. Beyond that was a steep descent to the road up Allen’s Nek. The fence
was no obstacle to her. She sped down the hill. The stones hurt her bare feet. A
bullet ricocheted off a nearby rock. Immediately afterwards she heard the shot,
reminding her that a bullet travels faster than sound. She heard Deadwood
shout, "Don’t shoot her, save her for the cyanide."
The men were closing in on her. Her feet were sore from the stones, otherwise
she could have outpaced them easily. A car was coming up the hill. It was
moving slowly on account of the steep slope. She ran into the road and waved
both arms frantically. Her wig had come off in the pool and her long auburn
hair was dripping water as were her bra, panties and suspender belt. Her
elaborate makeup was running down her face and neck on to her chest. Seeing
her appear suddenly in front of him in this condition, the driver screeched to a
halt. He jumped out as fast as he could. He was a huge bulk of a man. He
looked like a Springbok rugby player.
"Please, Sir, these men are trying to rape me!" she shouted.
"Is that so? Well, they’ll never try that again."
Blackhench was first to arrive. One karate chop and he was prostrate on the
ground. Butcher and Roberts turned around and started to run away. He
overtook them with ease. Three men lay unconscious on the ground. She
looked at him admiringly. Even she could not have done it that well.
"Black belt?" she asked.
"No, no," he replied, "Black Cat!"
"Now I remember where I’ve seen you. In that TV ad for Black Cat peanut
butter."
"That’s me."
"I must remember to get some."
He was startled by her appearance. After all, it is not every day that one
encounters a wet mermaid on a public road. She explained that she had dived
into a swimming pool in order to escape from the men. He gave her a lift to her
car.
Chapter 7 | 43
Leslie was standing in the road, revolver drawn. There was a quizzical look on
his face. "That’s my chauffeur and that’s my car," she said.
"You sure do it in style," he said. He asked for a date.
"Some other time, I’ve got to rush. I’ve a date with Prince Andrew tonight."
Leslie was relieved to see her. He had heard the shots and was anxious.
"Where are your clothes?" he asked.
"I didn’t have time to put them back on."
"And all this water?"
"Shut up! And put the air conditioner on hottest, I’m cold."
44 | Chapter 7
Chapter 8 | 45
Chapter 8
Prince Andrew
The Ranch Motel consisted of a number of separate chalets. Hillary insisted that
Leslie drive her back to her chalet so that she could dry herself and put on dry
clothes. He parked in front of the chalet and waited while she attended to her
needs. She was surprised to find the door of the chalet open. There was an
intruder. A woman was rummaging through her suitcase. She was not aware of
Hillary’s presence. The room was dimly lit, the curtains being drawn. Silently
she tiptoed up to the intruder and was about to deliver a fatal karate chop when
she caught sight of the intruder’s face in the mirror. "Odille!" she cried in
amazement, "How did you get here?"
Odille was equally surprised. She had not heard her co-investigator come in and
took fright when she heard her cry out so close to her. "I’m just checking your
clothes. Mom insisted I come and bring you some clothes and that basket of
food. She was afraid you would go cold and would forget to eat. She said it gets
much colder in Johannesburg so you might need some warm clothing." Then,
catching sight of Hillary, "By Gad, she was right! Where have you been like
that?"
"Swimming."
"Like that?"
"Yes, like this. I forgot to pack my swimsuit. I hope you’ve brought it." "I
haven’t but I’ll buy you one. You can’t go swimming like that. What will people
think? They’re fussy at this hotel. I’m surprised they allowed it. What’s all this
red stuff? It’s stained your bra, hey?"
"Fortunately, I’ve got a firm body. I don’t really need a bra."
"Mom wants both of us to give up this Sherlock Holmes stuff and come home.
I’ve had another death threat. Mom didn’t like that. She thinks this job is too
dangerous. She’d rather we worked for the Provincial Administration or the
Receiver of Revenue."
"Tell me about your new death threat. Was it like the first one?" Odille showed
Hillary the note she had received. It was identical to the earlier one.
"I’m sure I’ve seen that handwriting before. I wish I could remember where. Let
me get my magnifying glass."
Her magnifying glass was missing. "I’m sure I packed it in my spare handbag.
Now it’s not there," she said.
46 | Chapter 8
"Well, I’m not giving up until I know who Towly is and who is the Red Disa."
"I feel that way, too," Odille said.
"How did you know I was here?" Hillary asked.
"Mom phoned Uncle John last night. He told her."
"How have your investigations been going? Have you found out anything about
the Red Disa?"
"No, but I did find out something about the blue Turbo Cornish. A petrol
attendant at the Mount West service station remembered the car. He said it was
definitely Prince Andrew who was driving it. He said he has often seen the
prince on TV and he knows what he looks like. He was sure it was Prince
Andrew."
"Look outside while I shower," Hillary said.
Odille looked out of the door. Leslie, not knowing that Odille had arrived, took
her to be Hillary in another disguise. He presumed she was Lady de Rothschild
ready for her date with Prince Andrew. "That won’t do," he said, "It’s too
different. If Ken Roberts sees you like that he’ll know you’re not the real
Emily."
Odille drew back in . She recognized the car but she was sure the young blonde
man was not Prince Andrew. And what was this about her not being the real
Emily? She was bemused and asked her sister what was going on. Hillary told
Odille that the car was indeed the one they had been looking for, that it now
belonged to Leslie, and that she had a date with Prince Andrew that evening.
Prince Andrew knew her as Lady Emily de Rothschild. Odille was envious. "So
you’ve found your lover boy at last. I’d better phone Mummy and tell her that
her precious little daughter is safe and is dating a royal prince."
Lorraine tried to persuade Hillary to come home. She thought Odille was joking
about her date with Prince Andrew. When Hillary persuaded her that it was
really so, Lorraine persuaded her to stay on. "Now be careful not to mess it up,"
she said, "If you play your cards right you might be the next queen of England."
Leslie took Hillary back to his office to be made up as Lady de Rothschild on
her evening out with the prince and to collect her car. While she was being
made up Leslie came into the makeup room. "Congratulations," he said,
"You’re a big success. Deadwood said you were magnificent, the best he has
ever seen. He wants you again for a private performance. He’s willing to pay
R10 000 and he guarantees your safety. He apologizes for the behaviour of
some of the elders. They won’t be present when you go again." Leslie was
pleased. He had a winner and he intended to make the most of her.
Hillary had other ideas. Pressed, she said she would think about it. She had
other things on her mind at that time. It might depend on how successful she
was with Prince Andrew. She didn’t want to jeopardize her chances of
Chapter 8 | 47
becoming a royal princess or perhaps even a queen. Her mother had expressed
such ambitions for her. She wasn’t sure that was what she wanted. She had
often thought Prince Andrew a wimp. Tonight she would get to know the real
Prince Andrew.
At seven o’clock Hillary sat nervously twitching her fingers. Would Prince
Andrew really come for her? "Is he really coming?" she kept asking herself.
Odille kept peeping through a crack in the curtain to see if he was coming. She
hoped to catch a glimpse of him. The phone rang. Surely it must be him? It was.
He was in the main foyer. She asked him to wait there, she would come to him.
Odille followed at a little distance. She hoped to see him but it was too much to
expect him to believe that she was the sister of Lady de Rothschild. Hillary had
attended an elite school and was able to affect an upper class English accent.
But Odille was pure South African.
He was much handsomer than his TV appearances suggested. And he was so
polite and charming. Hillary curtsied and called him, "Your Royal Highness."
He said, "Just call me Andy and I’ll call you Emily." And so the two became
acquainted. Odille witnessed these proceedings from behind her newspaper on
the far side of the foyer. Prince Andrew was driving the green Turbo Cornish
that Ken Roberts had tried to sell her the day before. It was a lovely evening.
He had the top down. She was exhilarated by the wind in her hair and the stars
shining down so brightly.
He took her to a night club on the top floor of a very tall building in Hillbrow.
He mentioned to the waiter that he had booked a table in the name of Rowe.
He explained to her that he was traveling incognito. He warned her against any
practice that might give him away. He asked her not to use his title. "To you I’m
just plain Andy," he said. She did not tell him that her mother and her sister
already knew that he was dating her. Much less did she tell him that her mother
had expressed hopes that she would be a royal princess or even queen of
England.
She asked about the blue Cornish that Leslie had bought. "Yes," he said, "It was
my car but I gave it to Charles because he likes blue so much. Green is more my
colour." He looked into her eyes. "Like your eyes," he said. "You’ve got
beautiful green eyes. They sparkle like green diamonds. I love green diamonds."
She felt a special thrill as he looked into her eyes and made those remarks.
Perhaps she would be a princess after all. She had visions of a large green
diamond engagement ring. She looked at her finger. Already she could see it
sparkling there, great flashes of green light.
He was so friendly and much handsomer than his photographs. She wondered
if he could possibly be her Towly, the one who loved her. Could he have been
the driver of the blue Cornish on that fateful day? She asked him if he had been
to Pietermaritzburg.
48 | Chapter 8
"Not yet," he said. "It’s one of the places I really must visit. I hear it’s called
‘The Last Outpost of the British Empire.’ The citizens of Pietermaritzburg are
reputed to be more British than the native British. I should feel at home there.
"Then there’s that battle that took place at Isandl something or other. I never
can remember the name, or pronounce it — the place of Chelmsford’s disgrace.
We princes are expected to know the whole history of the British Empire."
Hillary’s expectations grew. Eventually she would have to tell him the truth, that
she was plain Hillary Keating from Pietermaritzburg. If he was in fact her Towly
he would already be in love with her. She wondered if he loved the Hillary
Keating, that he had been so generous to, more than Lady Emily. What a
strange set of circumstances to be in. Any way it was reassuring to hear him talk
that way about Pietermaritzburg. Perhaps he would marry her and settle there
and make it the capital of the Commonwealth.
"What is it that makes Pietermaritzburg so British, do you think?" she asked.
"It was undoubtedly that fellow Colenso. When a distinguished Cambridge
mathematician turns cleric and becomes bishop of a British colony, you must
expect trouble. In English terms what makes a city a city is its cathedral or
university. Some cities have both. Pietermaritzburg is unique in that it was the
only city in the British Empire that had a university and two Anglican
cathedrals. That kind of outdid the English at being English. That was
Colenso’s doing."
"I thought it had something to do with cricket. You know, Jonty Rhodes diving
onto the stumps, for example. That’s beating the English at their own game."
She was disappointed that he had not been in Pietermaritzburg on the day that
Towly had invited her to lunch. That meant he couldn’t be Towly. However she
was pleased that he regarded her kind as so British. That might improve her
chances of becoming a princess.
Andy asked her what she was doing in South Africa. She said her father had
sent her there to study the "kaffirs market." He had a large share holding in
"kaffirs" and wanted to know more about their prospects. Leslie had told her to
say that. He told her that "kaffirs" was the name used on the London Stock
Exchange for South African gold shares. That was all she knew about the
subject. Fortunately he did not ask her to elaborate. She told him it was more of
a holiday for her. To change the subject she suggested they study the menu.
They spent a long time eating and drinking. The prince ordered champagne. He
toasted their friendship. It gave her a feeling of wellbeing. She had to keep
reminding herself that she was Lady de Rothschild. She had to be careful not to
lapse into her native accent. With the champagne loosening her tongue that was
becoming a bit tricky.
Chapter 8 | 49
He asked her to dance. That reminded her of her adventure earlier in the day.
She wondered how he would react if he knew about it. Perhaps he would like
her to strip for him. She had on some very glamorous undies. She wondered
what he would think if she suddenly jumped on to the table and started her act
all over again. Would he be pleased and love her all the more? Or should she be
looking for an escape route? Would she have to swim for it again? Then she
remembered they were on top of a tall building. Should she be looking for a
parachute?
It was wonderful to be held like that in his arms. She wished he would kiss her.
He must have been reading her mind for that is what he did. She felt she was in
the seventh heaven. To be held in the arms of this handsome prince, to dance
with him, to be kissed by him! This was the most wonderful night of her life.
Perhaps he would propose before the night was over. He began to sing in her
ear, a beautiful love song. How well he sang! She had been all wrong about her
assessment of him from the media. He was anything but a wimp.
Food was served all night long. It was delicious and, far more, so was the
company. They left the night club in the early hours. On the ground floor of the
building was a shopping centre. There they found an upmarket jewellery shop.
In the window was a ring with a large green diamond. She admired it. Andy said
he would get her one much better, perhaps something from his mother’s
collection. She wondered if she should regard this as a proposal. Her dreams
were shattered when he said it would be a friendship ring. He asked her if he
could date her in England, after their return. She said he could.
After that they drove to the Ranch Motel, again with the top down so that they
could see the stars. They parked outside the chalet. He held her. They kissed
again and again. What a night it was!
50 | Chapter 8
Chapter 9 | 51
Chapter 9
Encore
When Hillary awoke, Odille told her that Leslie had phoned and wanted her to
call him back. It was mid-morning. She had been dreaming that she was dancing
in Prince Andrew’s arms high up among the stars. He had married her and
made her Queen of the Commonwealth. Their palace was on World’s View, at
the top of Town Hill, and Pietermaritzburg was the new capital of the
Commonwealth. Her mother, Lorraine, was so pleased to be the mother of the
queen and she was so proud of her daughter and her son in law.
After being awakened, she wondered if her night out with the prince had been
nothing more than a dream. Odille assured her that she had, in fact, gone out
with Prince Andrew and had been out the whole night.
Leslie wanted her to come in as soon as she could. He had arranged with
Deadwood for Hillary to give him a private performance at 12:30 that day. She
was reluctant to go but Leslie insisted and offered to split the R10 000 down the
middle with her. In the end she agreed. When she met Leslie at his office he
told her that Deadwood was paying a lot for her performance and would
probably expect a lot. She replied that if he expected too much he might get
more than he had bargained for. A few kung fu movements made her meaning
clear. Leslie asked her to be considerate. Deadwood was now their best client.
He would be glad if she did not offend him.
He drove her there in the blue Cornish. She thought of what Prince Andrew
had told her about the car. Why had Prince Charles disposed of it? Had Andy
removed the governor from this car also? She thought better of asking Leslie to
see if it could exceed 240km/h. As it was he was driving fast enough.
Deadwood met them at the gate. He invited them in and had a short chat with
Leslie. He assured Leslie that she would be perfectly safe with him. Leslie said
he would wait in the car.
She gave Deadwood a performance similar to the first one. After somersaulting
off the table she somersaulted back and started recovering her items of clothing
and put them on as she danced. She gave him a double feature, like a film being
shown forwards and then backwards. He showed his appreciation by cheering
and clapping. She ended her performance fully dressed.
Deadwood invited her to come upstairs with him to the master bedroom. There
was a mirror there. That would help her tidy her clothing and her makeup. He
said it would give him pleasure to watch her do that. While she was busy he
locked the door. He said, "I am paying a lot of good money for this. Perhaps
you wouldn’t mind giving me a little extra."
52 | Chapter 9
"With the greatest of pleasure," she said. "What would you like? Some monkey
dancing, perhaps?"
He was sitting on the double bed. She somersaulted over the bed, straightened
herself, jumped on the bed and swung on the light fitting above it. Round and
round she swung, her legs rotating around his head. She dropped into his lap
and gave him a lightning peck on his cheek. He tried to embrace her but before
his arms closed she was off again, dancing around the room. Secretly she
removed the key from the door and slipped it into her bra. Every now and again
she would give him a kiss on his forehead, his cheek, even his lips. He tried to
grab her but she was too quick. Like lightning she would dart away. He went
after her but always she was too quick for him. She pursed her lips. When he
tried to kiss her she was no longer there.
Then she stood by the window. She said, "I hope you enjoyed the extra; hope
you got your money’s worth. Please invite me back." She dropped her shoes on
to the patio, stood on the window sill, blew him a kiss, and dived into the pool.
As she surfaced she saw him at the window. "Hope you enjoyed yourself as
much as I did," she shouted. She left the key on the patio table.
Leslie saw her dripping water in the road. "Don’t tell me you had to swim for it
again?" he said.
"Not really, I just felt like cooling off after all the exercise. You had better let
Deadwood out. He’s locked himself in the master bedroom. The key is on the
patio table. She had collected her clothes from the previous performance.
Deadwood had put them ready for her. She got into the back of the car, took
off her wet clothes and put on the dry.
When Leslie returned he said that Deadwood was very impressed with her
second performance. It was even better than the first. He hoped to see a lot
more of her.
Chapter 9 | 53
54 | Chapter 10
Chapter 10
Lucy Margo
That same afternoon Leslie had another visitor. Lucy Margo, daughter of a
wealthy mining magnate, had hopes of becoming an actress. A mutual friend
had put her in touch with Leslie’s agency. She had just finished her schooling
and was grateful for the opportunity to discuss her future career with Leslie. He
gave her a few tests and was favourably impressed. He told her she was a
natural. "You either have it or you don’t," Leslie said, "If you don’t it’s a waste
of time attending a drama school. But you have it. I could get you any number
of parts right now."
Lucy was pleased. She gladly accepted Leslie’s invitation to dinner that evening.
He took her to an exclusive restaurant. On returning to the car after their meal,
he put the top down. They went for a drive to see the lights. Linksfield Ridge is
a noted vantage point for viewing the lights and the stars. Here they came to
rest. Lucy suggested they might be more comfortable on the back seat with the
top up. She was excited about her chances of becoming a star and wanted to
make sure they did not go awry. They were getting comfortable when Lucy
remarked, "There’s something wet here." She held the offending object up to
the light. "A bra!" she exclaimed, "And soaking wet." Then she pulled out
another object. "Gee, what a fancy suspender belt!" Still more objects were
brought to light, all dripping water.
"Oh, Leslie, you are a romantic," she squealed with delight. "You took your last
date swimming in her clothes and she’s left them in your car to remind you of
the occasion. I suppose you took her home in her birthday suit. You must take
me swimming too. Then you can have my wet things instead of hers." She
threw the wet things out of the car.
"You mustn’t do that," Leslie said, "Those things belong to my firm. They were
expensive. They were used by an actress in a scene where she had to swim for
her life. And she wasn’t my date." He got out of the car, picked up the wet
clothes and put them in the boot.
"No need to be bashful," Lucy said, "I understand about these things. My
undies are just as pretty. She lifted her skirt to display some fine satin and lace.
"Come, we’ve a pool at home. We can swim there."
Leslie was pleased that Lucy had such a free and easy attitude. He had forgotten
about the wet clothes. With any other girl they might have been an
embarrassment.
Chapter 10 | 55
Lucy’s home was on several hectares in Morningside. The pool was close to the
house but secluded. Lucy removed her shoes and dived in. Leslie joined her,
wearing only his underpants. When Lucy surfaced she said, "It’s terrible
swimming in so much clothing." She removed her skirt and blouse and threw
them on the paving.
A man came out of the house and walked towards the pool. It was Lucy’s
father, Sir George Margo. He was surprised to see his daughter in the pool in
that condition. Lucy thought quickly. She remembered what Leslie had told her
about the wet clothes in the car. She said to her father, "Dad, this is Leslie. He
is a film producer and he has given me a part in a film where I have to swim for
my life at night in my clothes. Leslie is teaching me the part."
Sir George took Lucy’s explanation to be an excuse for her errant behaviour.
He told her to get inside, he would deal with her later. He warned Leslie to
remove himself. Leslie told him that his daughter had told him the truth. He
showed him his card to prove that he was a theatrical agent and film producer.
Sir George, now convinced that his daughter had told him the truth, invited
Leslie in for a drink.
Leslie told Sir George that Lucy had a great future as an actress. That had been
her ambition and her father was pleased that it would now be realized. He asked
Leslie if he had enough capital and offered to lend him money if he needed it.
Leslie said he would bear that in mind but he thought it would not be necessary.
Asked for the name of the film, Leslie told him it was "Easier for a Camel." It
was based on a book of that name by John Tall.
"That’s a very interesting title," Sir George commented. "What is easier for a
camel?"
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to
enter into the kingdom of God. If you don’t believe me try it."
"I wouldn’t know how."
It was obvious to Leslie that Sir George Margo was not a reader of the Bible.
"Sell up all that you have and distribute the proceeds to the poor. Then take up
your cross and follow the Lord Jesus," he said.
"No wonder it’s easier for a camel!"
The next morning, Leslie, still exhilarated by his moonlight swim, phoned
Hillary at her motel. He was eager to see her and his driver was already on his
way to fetch her. She was ushered into the back seat of the Cornish. There was
hardly a dry place for her to sit. She was surprised that the wet clothes were not
hers. "Had the night shift also had to swim for it?" she wondered. She was
impressed by the quality of the clothing.
56 | Chapter 10
Leslie was glad to see Hillary. Deadwood had raised his offer for her services to
R15 000 and Leslie was insisting that she accept. "He says he wants to see a lot
of you. This is your big opportunity. We’ll split the proceeds 50-50."
"He has already seen a lot of me and what he hasn’t seen I don’t mean to show
him. He can keep his money."
"Now wait a minute! You may not need the money but I do. Through my rash
actions last night I’ve committed myself to making a film about a camel." "Get
someone else."
"He wants you. He won’t pay R15 000 for any other girl. The most he has paid
for another is R1 000. We’d be fools to turn down an offer like this. Just think,
You’ll get R7 500 and a free lunch and an hour’s fun. Most girls would give
their back teeth for a chance like that."
"I don’t trust him. If he is offering that kind of money you can bet your bottom
dollar he will want something for it. I wonder if the members of his church
know what he is doing with their sacrifices?"
"That’s a thought," Leslie said, "I wonder where he gets all the money? If he’s
getting that kind of money in his collection plates, I’ll be going back into the
ministry."
"You? In the ministry?"
"I was ordained a pastor by the Spoken Word Church. I spent two years at their
Bible Training Centre."
"Perhaps Deadwood will give you a job. Think of all the perks: free strip shows,
a castle at Allen’s Nek. I wonder what else?"
"I’ll keep it in mind. I might be glad of it if you won’t change your mind."
"You’re wasting your time. Who did you send there last night? She also had to
swim for it by the look of things. You certainly gave her quality undies — Lily
of Engedi — that’s the most expensive brand you can get."
"What do you mean?"
"Those frilly undies and things in the back of your car, all wet. I could hardly
find a place to sit."
"Oh heck, did she put them in my car?"
Hillary was surprised at herself. She didn’t think she had any feeling for Leslie
but now she was feeling a little jealous. "Who is ‘she’?" she asked. Lucy Margo.
We went swimming last night. She saw what you had left in the back of my car
and presumed I take all my dates swimming in their clothes. She insisted I do
the same for her."
"She must be terribly rich. Lily of Engedi are the kind of undies worn by
princesses and film stars."
Chapter 10 | 57
"She is. Her father is chairman of Anglo-Witwatersrand."
"What did she go home in?"
"Same as you."
"At this rate you will be able to stay in business by selling ladies’ undies. You
won’t need Deadwood’s job."
"What’s she like?"
"She’s a lot like you, only more blonde."
"Are you in love with her?"
"No, I’m her agent. It’s a business relationship, like my relationship with you."
"Why don’t you give her the Deadwood job?"
"That’s brilliant. You’re on form today, Miss Hillary Sherlock Holmes. We’ll get
her up to look like you and do your act. How well did Deadwood get to know
you?"
"Hardly at all. He knows I can dance and do acrobatics and move as fast as
light. He knows my figure but apart from those things he doesn’t know
anything about me."
"She’s very keen on an acting job. I could tell her I’m sending her to Deadwood
for an audition. That way I wouldn’t have to pay her. She’s ambitious enough to
fall for it."
"You cheat. Is that what they taught you at bible school?"
Leslie ignored her question. The more he thought about it the more he liked it.
It wasn’t long before he had her sharing his enthusiasm. It appealed to her sense
of adventure and it let her off the Deadwood hook. He telephoned Lucy and
told her he had arranged an audition for her. It was for a leading role in a
movie. She would need a little preparation first. He was sending his driver for
her.
Lucy was excited and looked very pretty. The news, and perhaps the midnight
swim, had added colour to her cheeks. Leslie introduced Hillary as the actress
she would be understudying. Lucy spent the rest of the day learning her part.
She was a born actress, as supple and quick in her movements as Hillary.
Leslie took the girls to lunch at the Sunnydale Hotel. There was a swimming
pool in the grounds. He suggested they go for a swim in their clothes while he
called Deadwood to tell him it was on. They laughed and pretended they were
diving in. When Leslie returned to their table he was smiling. He said
Deadwood was delighted. "Your audition has been arranged for 9:30
tomorrow," he told Lucy. "Your stage name is Debbie Delightful. No one must
know your real name. From now on you are Debbie Delightful."
58 | Chapter 10
The afternoon was spent giving Lucy further training for her new role and
identity. While Lucy was on her way home, Hillary suggested to Leslie that they
do something to provide Lucy with protection in case things turned sour. They
agreed that Hillary would hide in the bushes behind the wrought iron fence she
had scaled. From there she would watch the proceedings with a pair of
binoculars. Leslie would stay with the car. They would be in radio
communication. She was thrilled with the arrangements. They had all the
ingredients of danger and excitement that she enjoyed so much.
The next morning Leslie drove Lucy to Deadwood Castle. Hillary followed in
her car. She took a slightly different route and parked near the top of Allen’s
Nek Pass. Lucy identified herself as Debbie Delightful and was admitted.
From her position outside the wrought iron fence Hillary could see the table
she had performed on. The glass doors leading to the patio were open. The
curtains were drawn back giving her a clear view. She made herself comfortable
as she waited for the action to begin. It did not take long. Deadwood helped
Lucy onto the table and seated himself in his chair. Lucy started dancing. Her
style was a little different. Would he realize she was a counterfeit? Or would he
think that Hillary was unusually versatile? "Driver to Big Eyes, Driver to Big
Eyes. Are you receiving me?"
They had decided on the call signs "Driver" for Leslie and "Big Eyes" for
Hillary.
"Big Eyes to Driver. Receiving you loud and clear. How do you read me?"
He asked if she had anything to report. She told him she had a good view and
that so far all had gone smoothly. There was no sign that Deadwood had
noticed the deception. She continued to report in detail as Lucy danced away.
Deadwood was clapping and cheering. He was enjoying it greatly.
Lucy stripped down to her tanga, danced for a while longer on the table and
then somersaulted off it. She did a series of somersaults. Out through the glass
doors, over the patio, and into the pool. She continued dancing in the pool. She
lost her tanga and then retrieved it. She danced over to the far end. Deadwood
helped her out of the pool. "That was wonderful, my dear, you get better and
better."
She reclaimed her clothing and put it on. She kissed Deadwood on the cheek
and rejoined Leslie in the car. Leslie told her to wait in the car while he had a
talk with Deadwood. When Leslie returned he was smiling. "He says you were
magnificent. You’ve got the part. Congratulations."
Lucy was thrilled. All the way back she talked of being a great actress like
Marilyn Monroe. When they arrived at Leslie’s office, Hillary was already there.
She pretended to Lucy that she had been there all along. She asked how it had
gone.
Chapter 10 | 59
"Congratulate her. She’s got the part. Deadwood says she will be a great star. He
should know. He’s our leading producer."
Then Leslie broke the big news. The film was going to be shot over four days in
Bethlehem of the Orange Free State. Lucy was to be paid R50 000 for her part.
Leslie was to do the filming.
Hillary could not help feeling a little jealous. Perhaps she had some regrets.
60 | Chapter 10
Chapter 11 | 61
Chapter 11
A Star Performance
After Lucy had left, Leslie spoke earnestly to Hillary, "I’m a little worried," he
said, "Deadwood is paying us R100 000 for this. That’s a lot of money. I’m not
sure what he expects for it. Lucy thinks she is going to star in a film. Deadwood
has asked for four days of private performances. He thinks Lucy is you and his
henchmen have threatened to give you cyanide. Perhaps he regards this as a
opportunity to get rid of you. Lucy may be in danger. I would like you to keep
tabs on them and make sure she doesn’t come to any harm. I’ll engage you as a
private eye and body guard. You’ll get R1000 for your services. You must go
secretly. Don’t let Deadwood know you’re spying on him. Use a disguise. I’ve
told Lucy that I will be doing the photography. So I’ll have to go too and try
and photograph the scenes with Lucy being aware of my presence and
Deadwood not. That might be difficult." Hillary was glad. She was making
headway in her profession. The excitement and danger were to her liking. She
was curious to know more about Deadwood. What was he up to? Nothing
made sense. Why did Ken Roberts and the two henchmen call him "Boss?"
That suggested they were in his pay. Gangsters usually called their leader
"Boss." Why were they so eager to have her out of the way? Why was
Deadwood so free with his money? Where did he get all the money? Surely it
could not all come from the church members’ tithes? Clearly they were involved
in some criminal activity.
Deadwood asked for Debbie Delightful to be brought to his castle early on the
Monday morning. He wanted her to perform in Bethlehem for four nights.
They would return on the Friday.
When Odille heard about Hillary’s assignment she was keen to go along. After
all, was she not her sister’s co-investigator 008? Hillary was glad of her sister’s
help.
Deadwood was unaware that Hillary and Odille were following at a discreet
distance. He was driving a white Silver Smoke II, a very expensive and luxurious
car. The traffic was light and Hillary had no difficulty in keeping the white car in
sight. It was Hillary’s first visit to Bethlehem. She was not familiar with the
town and its surroundings. A surprise came when they headed out of the town
on the road to Fouriesburg. Little did she know what was in store for her.
The reader must realize that these events took place before the advent of the
"New" South Africa. Bethlehem was then still a conservative town reserved for
occupation by "whites." It was said that the Lord Jesus had to be born in
Bethlehem of Judea because the LORD GOD could not find even three wise
62 | Chapter 11
men in Bethlehem of the Orange Free State. That was before the advent of the
"New" South Africa. Today things have changed to the extent that the events
described here would not even raise an eyebrow. Then it was different.
Three kilometres from Bethlehem, on the road to Fouriesburg, is a lake called
Loch Athlone. It is on the Jordan River and is the centre of a substantial holiday
resort. There is a caravan park, a number of bungalows and rondavels and a
very unusual restaurant. The last is built into the hull of a dummy ship in the
lake. Here the great culinary traditions of the Union Castle Line are continued
to the present day. The dummy vessel is painted in the colours of that line and
bears the name Athlone Castle. When the RMS Athlone Castle was scrapped, its
dining room, complete with furniture and fittings, was transferred to the
dummy vessel. Access to the restaurant is by gangway from the shore.
It was here at Loch Athlone that their journey ended. Deadwood hired a
bungalow. Hillary and Odille hired one nearby. Shortly after their arrival,
Deadwood and Lucy proceeded to the restaurant for lunch. Hillary and Odille
followed, both heavily disguised. Hillary wore a hat, dark glasses, a yellow
costume and yellow shoes. That was a colour she did not normally wear. The
hat, also yellow, had a veil which made it difficult to discern her features. Her
long hair was done up in a bun on top of her head. Odille wore a mauve hat
with a veil, an orange blouse with green skirt and blue shoes. This was so
different from her normal attire that even her closest friends would not have
recognized her.
At the end of the gangway they found themselves in a vestibule. In front of
them were two polished wooden doors with a sign which read THIS IS THE
DINING ROOM. Hillary turned the door handle. The door flew open and a
bell rang. A man came towards them. He was wearing a white shirt, white
trousers and a navy blue jacket with brass buttons. His tie had red and navy blue
diagonal stripes. He wore spectacles and his longish hair was greying. He gave
them an amiable welcome and led them to a table set for two. The restaurant
was dimly lit with oil lamps and candles. They could see Deadwood and Lucy at
a table further along. The waiter was taking their order. Lucy was beautifully
attired in a mauve skirt, frilly white blouse and a mauve and white scarf. In the
centre of the room was a long narrow table on which various dishes were laid.
Deadwood ordered champagne and they drank a toast to Lucy’s success in her
new career. He ordered a second bottle. They talked and laughed as they ate.
They appeared to enjoy each other’s company. Suddenly, to Hillary’s
amazement, Lucy jumped on to the table in the middle of the room and started
to dance. Deadwood’s mouth dropped open. It seemed to Hillary that he was
even more amazed than she was. Clearly it was not part of his plan. The
restaurant was nearly full. For the most part the guests seemed to be business
men. they applauded enthusiastically. Lucy danced between the dishes without
disturbing them. She threw an ostrich feather in the direction of an admirer. It
Chapter 11 | 63
floated gently down coming to rest short of its target. There was a scramble to
get at it. It drew great applause. She blew kisses to several of the men. The only
person who did not seem to be enjoying Lucy’s act was Deadwood. He sat with
his hands over his face.
With a flourish Lucy parted with her scarf. It was caught by a middle aged man
whose wife gave him a dirty look. Then off came her blouse. It landed in
someone’s soup. He was delighted and held up the wet trophy for all to see. It
was a splendid article, full of frills and lace. Her bra was now visible. Like her
skirt it was mauve. It had a pink bow in the middle and was edged with black
lace.
Her skirt was next. That landed over a man’s head. It was confiscated by his
wife. As if to compensate him, Lucy sent a stocking in his direction. That too
was confiscated.
Odille was about to start eating her double decker Wiener schnitzel when a
black and cerise suspender belt sent a splash of lemon juice into her eye. When
she could see again she cleaned the anchovy off her veil and extracted the
suspender from her schnitzel. "I really must ask Lucy where she buys her
things," Hillary said to Odille as she admired the item.
The men in the audience were applauding enthusiastically. A few of the women
were sitting up very straight, their faces showing no sign of a smile. Two left,
leaving their meals unfinished.
Lucy somersaulted off the table and ran out of the restaurant. Hillary noticed
that Deadwood made some signs to two men in dark suits. They walked out
after her. A shiver went down Hillary’s spine as she recognized them. They were
Blackhench and Butcher. She pointed them out to Odille.
Odille said, "You can be sure Deadwood is up to no good if he’s brought his
henchmen with him. You had better go and make sure they don’t harm Lucy.
I’ll stay here and keep tabs on Deadwood."
Hillary reluctantly left her meal and followed the men. They were standing
outside looking all around. Lucy was nowhere to be seen. Hillary walked past
the men. She greeted them with, "It’s a nice day to be out in the fresh air."
"Indeed it is, Ma’am," they replied.
She was pleased they had not recognized her. Her disguise made her look much
older. She walked over to the rose garden and smelt the roses. She saw Lucy
come out of her bungalow fully dressed. She walked past her without
recognizing her and reentered the restaurant. Hillary waited a few minutes and
then returned to her table. Deadwood was ashen. Lucy asked him what he
thought of her act. He said nothing. The man in the striped tie, their host, came
up to their table. "That was a star performance," he said. "We’d like you to
come as often as you can. You’re our guests. There’s no charge for you, ever."
64 | Chapter 11
Chapter 12 | 65
Chapter 12
Further Star Performances
After lunch Leslie arrived with his cameras and two assistants. They were there
to make a film of Lucy’s performances. It was to be an X rated film to be called
"The Fairy Dancer." They were planning to do the filming secretly. Hillary
spotted Leslie and told him he had missed Lucy’s star performance. She didn’t
tell him it was an unscheduled act.
Deadwood had dreaded the outcome of Lucy’s unforeseen act. He was relieved
that it had turned out so well. Now they would at least get their meals free. He
supposed that Lucy would still have to perform on the table in the dining room
but he was determined to get the private performances for which he was paying
so much. He would encourage her to practice in front of him. Leslie spoke to
the owner of the restaurant, a Mr. Prinsloo. He was delighted that a film was to
be made there. It would be good for business. Leslie assured him that people
who saw the film would come from far and near to see the venue. He told Mr.
Prinsloo that such a novel venture as his deserved to be better known.
Meanwhile Hillary and Odille took stock of the situation. Odille was sure that
Deadwood was the Red Disa who had sent death threats to both of them. She
said he was almost certainly a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As Dr. Jekyll he
pastored a church and as Mr. Hyde he headed a gang of murderers. He paid
large sums of money for Hillary to strip dance for him and then he hired
murderers to try and get rid of her. It was clear he had a split personality. He
had both a passionate love and a passionate hate for her. That was typical of a
person with a split personality. He wanted a film of her dancing so that he could
indulge his passion for her after he had destroyed her. It would give him
pleasure to think he had destroyed something so beautiful. Hillary was amazed.
It was unlike her sister to think of her or her dancing as "something so
beautiful." Usually Odille used adjectives of a very different kind to describe
anything to do with her. She wondered what had happened to change Odille’s
opinion . It was probably their working together as 007 and 008. Having a
common cause was helping Odille to mature.
"If Deadwood is the Red Disa, who is Towly, do you think?"
"It’s Uncle John. We both know he is the most generous man on God’s earth.
Look what he did for you while you were at school. He even wrote a book
called ‘Easier for a Camel’ for you. He always said he would give you a car."
"But he denies it. I’ve never known him tell a lie."
66 | Chapter 12
"You know that he says when it comes to giving your left hand must not know
what your right hand is doing. He doesn’t want you to give him the credit."
"Well then, the case is solved. We know who the Red Disa is and we know who
Towly is. Is there anything else we need to know?"
"We need to know why. We’ve got to find out what is driving Deadwood to do
these things. We’ve got to get him put away. Otherwise our lives will always be
in danger."
Odille suggested that Hillary survey their surroundings so that they would know
the area. That might be useful should a situation develop in which they would
have to rescue Lucy. Hillary went out in her disguise. She saw Blackhench and
Butcher by the rose garden. They were smelling the roses like she had done
earlier. Deadwood and Lucy came out of their bungalow. The two men who
had been smelling the roses turned around and hastened into a nearby wood.
That was strange. Were the henchmen out of favour with their boss? Or didn’t
they want him to know they were there?
Leslie had set up a camera near the restaurant. He was filming the surroundings.
When he saw Deadwood approaching he put a black cloth over his head so that
he would not be recognized. Hillary made a mental note of hiding places among
the rose bushes and the trees. The grounds were well wooded and there were
numerous small gardens. There were many places a person could hide,
especially at night.
At dinner time Hillary and Odille went to the restaurant. Again they were
heavily disguised. Deadwood and Lucy were already there. Lucy looked very
lacy and fairy like. They were eating. Leslie was there filing the interior. He wore
a mask so as not to be recognized. Lucy noticed him and took him to be one of
Leslie’s cameramen. Deadwood noticed him and took it he was from one of the
media.
Soon the restaurant was full. Mr. Prinsloo spoke to Lucy. Then he announced
over the loudspeakers that they had a special guest who would entertain them,
Miss Debbie Delightful, the Fairy Dancer. The music started and Lucy jumped
on to the table and began to dance among the dishes. Hillary thought how
beautifully attired she was. She had more accessories than usual. Her audience
applauded heartily as she danced through her act. When she reached the end
she somersaulted off the table. Her audience called for an encore. She said that
if those who had the items of her clothing would hold them out she would do a
dance in which she would retrieve the items. This she did beautifully, even
putting on makeup as she danced. During all of this Leslie and his assistants
were busy with their cameras. They filmed from various angles. The audience
kept calling for more. Lucy obliged with numerous variations. Hillary was
envious of her talent. She hoped she would get her chance. Little did she realize
the extent to which her hopes would be fulfilled.
Chapter 12 | 67
When Lucy had tired of dancing she was invited to join a group of men at their
table. They ordered champagne and one man gave her a bunch of red roses. Mr.
Prinsloo joined Deadwood at his table and had a long chat with him. While they
were still busy Lucy left her group and walked out. Odille prompted Hillary to
follow her to ensure her safe return to her bungalow. As Hillary was passing the
rose garden she saw the two men were there smelling the roses. As a cover for
their activities that was wearing a bit thin. She wondered what they were up to.
"A lovely perfume those roses have," she said as she passed them. "Especially at
night," one of the men replied. He was holding something in his hand. She
thought it looked like a gun. There was another smell that mingled with the
perfume of the roses. It was the smell of bitter almonds. She had once read that
potassium cyanide smells like bitter almonds. The man raised his hand above his
head. In the moonlight she saw that the object in his hand was a syringe. He
was about to bring it down on her. Quick as lightning she kicked it out of his
hand. She landed a kick in his groin and a chop on his neck. He fell motionless
to the ground. The other man drew a pistol. It went the same way as the
syringe. He fell to the ground dazed. She put the pistol in her handbag. The
syringe she deposited in a dustbin covering it with rubbish. She wondered why
they had attacked her. Had they recognized her? Or were they simply out to
murder anyone? She would have to use another disguise. She was concerned
about Lucy. Deadwood was under the impression that Lucy was her. She knew
that Deadwood and his two men had planned the cyanide attack for her. In that
case they may also have attacked Lucy. The light went on in Lucy’s bungalow.
She ran over and peeped in the window. Lucy was undressing. Thank God she
was all right. But the mystery remained. Why had the men not attacked Lucy?
Were they aware of the subterfuge?
Hillary tried the front door of the bungalow. It was locked but the key was in
the lock. She obtained a sheet of newspaper from a nearby dustbin and pushed
it through under the door. Using a toothpick she manipulated the key until it
fell onto the newspaper. She opened the door without making a sound. There
was a briefcase on the table. She opened it. Inside was a towel, a syringe and
several glass tubes. The last were sealed and contained a white substance. She
was sure these were ampoules of cyanide.
Taking the glass tubes and the syringe, she left as quietly as she had entered. She
deposited her finds in yet another dustbin. Then she returned to Lucy’s
bungalow. Lucy was in bed. At first she did not recognize Hillary. She was
about to scream. Hillary identified herself just in time. Lucy was surprised to see
her, especially in those strange clothes and makeup. Hillary told Lucy that her
life might be in danger. She asked Lucy to change places and clothes with her.
Hillary, in Lucy’s nightdress, escorted Lucy, in her disguise, to Odille’s
bungalow.
68 | Chapter 12
Odille had not yet returned from dinner. As was her habit she was enjoying a
few drinks. Lucy got into Hillary’s bed wearing the latter’s nightdress. Hillary
went back to Lucy’s bed.
Some time later Deadwood came in. Hillary, disguised as Lucy pretended to be
asleep.
Deadwood said, "Are you asleep already?" She did not answer. He said, "Just
my luck! The darned girl has gone to sleep just when I need her company most.
Oh, well, she did have a busy day." He got into the other bed in the same room.
Hillary fell asleep. In the early hours she woke up. Deadwood noticed that she
was awake. "Thank God you’re awake! I need to have you dance for me. Your
dancing does something to me. I’m hooked on it."
"What! In the middle of the night?"
"I’d get up at any hour to watch you dance."
She asked him to excuse her while she got dressed. He went to the front room.
She was pleased to be wearing Lucy’s Lily of Engedi underwear. Normally only
the super rich could afford it.
She went through her routine with him. After she somersaulted off the table he
asked her to come to bed with him. She asked to be excused. He pleaded with
her, saying that Mrs. Deadwood was past it. As she got into bed with him she
kicked him in the groin. He doubled up in pain. "Oh, I’m sorry," she said,
pretending it was an accident. Then she bruised his eye with her elbow. She
apologized again. "How clumsy of me. It must be because I’m tired from all
that dancing. I think I really need a good night’s sleep." She got up and went to
her own bed. This time he did not protest.
In the morning Hillary got dressed in Lucy’s clothes and went to her own
bungalow. Odille was amazed when she opened the door and saw Hillary. Lucy
had been asleep when Odille came in the previous evening. She was unaware
that the two girls had exchanged roles. Hillary said she wanted to go into town
to buy some clothes. She needed a new disguise.
In town she bought various items of clothing that would have suited a much
older lady. Then she returned to Loch Athlone.
At lunch time the restaurant was full. Some would-be guests were turned away.
These included Hillary and Odille. Lucy performed for an appreciative audience.
When evening came there were so many guests that Mr. Prinsloo held two
sessions. Lucy had a long evening. When it was over, Deadwood and Lucy went
back to their bungalow. Hillary spied on them through a chink in the curtains.
He was clearing the table. Could this mean that Lucy was going to give him a
private midnight performance? She wasn’t left wondering for long. Lucy
jumped on the table and began to dance. Stripping down to her tanga she left
Chapter 12 | 69
items of clothing scattered about the room. To Hillary’s amazement, she
opened a trapdoor in the ceiling and hoisted herself through it.
He climbed on the table and appealed to Lucy to come down but she refused.
Deadwood threatened her with breach of contract if she did not come down
and complete her act. She trod on his fingers when he took hold of the jamb
and tried to lift himself up. Hillary decided it was time for her to intervene.
Using the window sill and a down pipe she got on to the roof. She removed a
tile. "Psst," she whispered to Lucy. Lucy heard her and came over to the hole.
"He wants to rape me," she said.
Hillary understood Lucy’s predicament. She thought quickly. "Listen," she said,
"Change clothes with me." She pulled out some more tiles until there was a hole
big enough for her to get through. She explained to Lucy that there was a meter
box built into the wall of the bungalow. In it was a main switch which would
enable her to put out the lights. With the place in darkness Deadwood would
think she was Lucy.
Lucy left through the hole and lowered herself to the ground. She found the
meter box and cut the power. All went dark inside the bungalow. He swore.
"What’s the matter?" she asked.
"Must be a power failure," he replied.
She dropped down from the ceiling. She had on only Lucy’s tanga but she soon
collected her exquisite clothing and dressed herself in it. Looking out of the
window, she said, "It seems to be only our bungalow. You wait here while I go
for an electrician." He agreed to let her go but threatened serious consequences
if she did not return. He gave her the keys of the Silver Smoke. It was the first
time she had driven such a large car but she managed it well. In the town she
found what she was looking for: a prostitute and a bottle of cherry brandy. The
prostitute was eager to make the kind of money Hillary offered. The cherry
brandy was an illicit brew known locally by the Afrikaans name "mampoer."
On Arriving back at the bungalow, Hillary instructed the prostitute to wait
outside for a few minutes and then to switch on the lights. After that she was to
wait until she was called in.
"Where is the electrician?" Deadwood asked as Hillary entered. "He’s working
on the fuse box outside," she replied. "As soon as the lights come on I’ll do my
act for you again. Then we’ll go to bed together. I’m sorry I gave you uphill
earlier. Meanwhile I’ll get us some champagne. That’ll get us in the mood." She
opened a bottle of champagne. Deadwood’s glass she laced with cherry brandy.
When he had drunk half she topped it up with neat brandy. His senses had
become numbed and he did not notice the difference.
The lights came on and Hillary started her act. She was wearing Lucy’s clothes.
Deadwood, now quite drunk, did not notice that they were now on a different
70 | Chapter 12
girl. Every few minutes she would jump off the table and top up his glass. Her
act completed, she had to help him to the bedroom. He flopped onto the bed.
It was clear he would not be able to get up unaided. She went to the door and
beckoned to the prostitute to come in. She told her to get into bed with him
and make passionate love to him all night.
She made up a bed for herself in the front room. Early in the morning, while
Deadwood was still asleep, she took the substitute back to town. The
newspaper vendors were out. She could hardly believe her eyes. SEX BOMB
HITS BETHLEHEM, read one headline. STRIP DANCER STUNS FREE
STATE, read another. there was only one subject on the front pages of all the
newspapers. Colour photographs showed men holding up various items of
Lucy’s expensive underwear. One had a colour photo of Lucy in her tanga. She
bought copies of all the newspapers. There were eyewitness accounts of Lucy’s
performance. An Afrikaans newspaper described it as out of character for the
conservative Free State town and warned that it could hasten the return of the
Lord Jesus. The items of clothing were described as being scented with erotic
perfumes and flavoured with wild cherry and almond. She wondered what had
made the journalist taste Lucy’s clothes. She hoped the almond flavour wasn’t
bitter. Back at the bungalow Deadwood was still in dreamland. She hoped she
had not overdone the brandy. To her relief he was still breathing. She made a
brief call at her own bungalow to see how Lucy was.
Seeing the newspapers, Lucy was a little dismayed by the publicity her act had
attracted. "I could be run out of town for this. You now how conservative the
Free State is."
"Fortunately, they don’t know your real name," Hillary said. "According to the
report, the owner of the restaurant was as surprised as the guests. No previous
arrangement had been mad with him. I wonder what Deadwood hopes to
achieve by such unorthodox methods?"
"It was all a misunderstanding," Lucy explained. "I asked him where I was to
perform. He said, ‘Here.’ I thought he intended me to go on there and then but
he intended it for a private party later on. At first he was livid but when Mr.
Prinsloo expressed his thanks he changed his tune."
When Deadwood awoke, Hillary gave him breakfast in bed. He wasn’t feeling
too well. The previous night’s entertainment had been a bit much for him. "But
you were wonderful — the very best!" he told Hillary.
"So were you!"
"We should do this more often," he suggested. She pretended to agree. After
breakfast Deadwood said he was feeling exhausted. He wanted to spend the
morning in bed. He suggested she take the Silver Smoke and see a bit of the
country. "See if you can get me some cherries," he said, "I’ve got a craving for
cherries."
Chapter 12 | 71
Hillary collected Lucy and took her for a drive in the country. They bought
some cherries at a farm stall. When they returned to Loch Athlone they found
there were cars parked all over the grounds. They were unable to get the Silver
Smoke anywhere near the bungalow. Hillary parked some distance away. As she
got out of the car she heard a voice say, "Come this way, Miss. If you’re quiet
and do as we say you won’t get hurt." She was dismayed. She knew that voice
only too well. Butcher showed her the gun he had concealed under his coat. She
went along meekly. The men ignored Lucy. They led Hillary in the direction of
the restaurant. The place was jam-packed with people and cars. There were cars
with registrations from all four provinces. A queue stretched down the gangway
and for a long distance along the road. The men led her up the gangway into the
crowded restaurant. Mr. Prinsloo looked relieved to see her. "Thank God
you’ve come!" he said. "The guests are demanding to see your performance.
Some have flown up from Cape Town. We’ll pay you a thousand rand per
performance."
She was relieved to find that she was only required to do strip dancing. She had
expected to be given cyanide and have her body thrown down a mine shaft. She
was still wearing the clothes that Lucy had used for her act the previous
evening. That was surely the reason they had brought her there rather than
Lucy. She agreed to the terms, provided her clothes were returned to her. She
could not afford to replace Lucy’s expensive clothing. Blackhench and Butcher
were appointed to guard her clothes. She was to go on immediately as the guests
had paid a cover charge of R25 each and were becoming impatient. As Lucy
was walking towards the bungalow she was met by Deadwood. He looked
agitated. "Thank God you’ve come," he said, "Something terrible has
happened." Lucy was surprised that he recognized her as she was wearing
Hillary’s clothes. He seemed not to notice. "You’ll have to help me, my dear,"
he said. "I’ve received a telegram from my wife. She read something in the
newspaper. As a result she will be arriving this afternoon with a friend. They are
coming to hear me preach tonight. She believes I came here to hold a series of
revival meetings." He led her to the bungalow where he opened his briefcase.
He rummaged in it, then he said, "Did you take anything from my briefcase?"
"No. Is something missing?" she asked.
"Just my medicine." From a pocket in the lid he removed a thick wad of bank
notes. "Take these," he said, "Hire any hall you can. Then go around town and
find as many layabouts as you can. Tell them that everyone who comes to the
meeting will be paid R5 after the service. There will also be free drinks. Buy a
couple of cases of wine and a few loaves of bread. We’ll make it a communion
service. Starting time will be 7pm. Report back to me as soon as you return.
"Before you go get your things out of here. You won’t be able to stay. Find
another place. Use some of the money to pay the bill."
72 | Chapter 12
She was only too glad to move out. She moved her things to Hillary’s bungalow
and then drove the Silver Smoke into town. That make was standard transport
in the Margo household. She called at the municipal offices and hired the town
hall. Then she bought two cases of red wine and six loaves of bread. Finding a
congregation was easy. There were many out-of -works who were pleased to
accept her invitation to join her for a drink in the town hall that evening.
When she returned, the Loch Athlone grounds were still packed with visitors’
cars. The queue for the restaurant was a long as ever. As she approached the
bungalow on foot she heard voices inside. She knew then that Mrs. Deadwood
and her friend had arrived. Deadwood introduced her as Debbie, a helper from
a local church.
Mrs. Deadwood was an uninspiring woman, much overweight. Her friend
Susan Sweet was more interesting. She was slim with a lively smile and a
pleasant voice. Deadwood asked for him and Debbie to be excused while he
gave her the musical instruments he had brought for her to play at the meeting.
They were in the car.
Once outside, Lucy informed him that she had hired the town hall and that he
had an assured congregation of at least eighty.
"Splendid, you’ve saved my bacon!"
When they returned to the bungalow, Mrs. Deadwood produced a copy of that
morning’s paper. "You’ve come to Bethlehem just in time," she said to her
husband. "See what degradation has set in here." She passed round the front
page with colour photographs of men holding up their trophies. Deadwood
hadn’t seen it before. Mrs. Deadwood read the report aloud to her audience. It
contained a paragraph to the effect that the strip dancer had been seen in the
company of a man who was apparently responsible for bringing her there. It
was believed he was living off the proceeds of her prostitution.
"Absolutely disgusting!" Deadwood commented. "And in the Free State of all
places! You’re right. I have come just in time. But things are going well as you
will see tonight. We have got the town hall. We’ve saved some of these Free
State sinners already. We’ll save more tonight."
"You must preach a strong sermon about the dangers of lust," insisted Mrs.
Deadwood.
"That I will certainly do."
Turning to Lucy, Mrs. Deadwood said, "My husband’s a man of very sound
morals. He’s not afraid to preach out against things of the devil. Everybody will
tell you he takes a very strong stand in these matters. It was he who started the
anti-pornography campaign. I do so admire a man who takes a strong stand
against these things."
Chapter 12 | 73
"Yes, I can see he’s a man of strong moral character. You are so lucky to have
such a fine husband," Lucy agreed. She turned away to conceal her smile. "He’s
such a wonderful example to the young men of the church. I wish all men were
like him," Mrs. Deadwood continued.
"Well, now that you’ve got your instruments, I guess you’ll want to go home
and practice," Deadwood suggested to Lucy. He saw her out. At the door she
asked if he would like any table top performances that evening.
"Good heavens, no! Not a word about that, do you hear!"
Lucy left with a clarinet and a tambourine, the instruments he had got out of his
car for her. She had never played either and did not know how. She decided to
leave them behind when the time came for her to join the Deadwoods for the
trip to the town hall.
74 | Chapter 12
Chapter 13 | 75
Chapter 13
A Five Star Performance
Before leaving for the town hall Mrs. Deadwood made her husband bath. "You
smell like a cherry, only more so," she said, "And brush your teeth, your breath
smells terrible. People will think you have been drinking."
"I’ve been eating cherries all day. It’s strange, I’ve had a craving for cherries."
"It must be something lacking in your diet. I must remember to get you more
cherries in future."
As they were leaving in the Silver Smoke they saw a procession coming towards
them. They were mainly women. They held placards, some in English and some
in Afrikaans. HANG THE MAN WHO BROUGHT THE STRIPPER HERE
and AWAY WITH THE STRIPPER were typical of the messages they bore.
"Thank God we can rely on our Free State women to keep the province clean,"
Mrs. Deadwood said. "I’ll go along with that, ‘Hang the man who brought the
stripper here.’ I really like that one."
Deadwood had to stop the car to allow the procession to pass. He opened the
window and shouted, "Bravo, girls! You’ll get rid of this filth, won’t you?"
The leader of the procession came up to him. "We’re petitioning the State
President to hang the man who brought the stripper here. Will you sign?"
"He certainly will, and so will I," Mrs. Deadwood replied from the passenger’s
seat. They all signed except Lucy. She pleaded for mercy for the man.
"Shouldn’t we rather get him to come to our meetings and get saved?" she
asked.
"Men like that are beyond salvation. There is only one thing to do with a man
like that and that is to hang him. In fact, hanging is too good for him.
Otherwise they will seduce decent men like my husband and Susan’s,"
commented Mrs. Deadwood.
"May I remind you that I’m not married," Susan said.
"But you will be one day when the right man comes along. You’ll marry one of
the fine men from the church, perhaps Mr. Butcher even. What is it you said
Mr. Butcher does?"
"He works for the Durban Roodepoort Mine where he extracts gold from the
ore using cyanide," Deadwood replied.
"There you are, isn’t that a fine thing to do? He takes that dusty old rock and
turns it into beautiful gold. I love gold, it speaks to me of God." Mrs.
76 | Chapter 13
Deadwood stroked her 24 carat gold necklace and pendant affectionately. "That
must be a wonderful God-given substance, that cyanide. Think how useful it is
turning that dusty old rock into beautiful gold."
"It is indeed useful," Deadwood agreed.
When they arrived at the town hall the congregation was already singing
choruses. They were in a happy mood. Deadwood went into an anteroom to
pray. Mrs. Deadwood organized some helpers to bring in some chorus books
from the car. Susan Sweet tuned her guitar and invited Lucy to accompany her
with her clarinet and tambourine. Lucy said she had left them at home as her
practicing had not gone well and she believed she was out of form.
At starting time the hall was nearly full. Mrs. Deadwood welcomed the
congregation in the Name of the Lord Jesus. She led the chorus singing while
Susan played the guitar. The singing livened up when a man started singing
loudly, with yea’s and Amen’s between the lines. The singing continued for half
an hour. Then Deadwood appeared at the rostrum. He prayed a long prayer in
which he mentioned the terrible evil that had come to Bethlehem. He asked the
LORD for help in stamping it out.
When he had finished praying he asked the congregation to open their bibles at
Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 27. He read:
You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to
you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out
and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your
whole body go into Hell.
He continued, "I am sure I do not need to tell you of the terrible evil that came
into your town last night. You have seen all the newspapers. Last night, in this
very town, a strip dancer appeared at a well-known restaurant. She had the
effrontery to dance on a table so all the men could see her legs. As if that wasn’t
evil enough, she then started to strip off her clothes. "This is the work of the
devil. He knew I would be having a campaign here. He brought this evil woman
here to tempt the men with lust and keep them away from my meetings. He
also brought your town into disrepute.
"Now, do as the bible says. If this woman causes you to sin, pluck her out and
throw her away. Even worse is the man who brought her here. He is said to be
living off her earnings. That is like living off the proceeds of prostitution. I am
sure you will all agree that hanging is too good for this man. The good people
of this town have got up a petition to the State President to have this man
hanged. I urge you all to sign it. I’ve said hanging is too good for this man but
our law doesn’t provide for anything more appropriate.
Chapter 13 | 77
"If you don’t do as I say this evil will continue to grow. The minds of your men
will be corrupted. It will affect all of their lives, even their rugby — especially
their rugby. I don’t have to remind you how important rugby is to the Free State
and to South Africa. If this continues the Free State will never see the Currie
Cup. The Springboks will be beaten by the Lions and the All Blacks. Worse
than that, it could precipitate the second coming of our Lord. If He sees the
way we’re going, if we don’t put a stop to this evil, He will put a stop to it
Himself. Therefore I beseech you, root out this evil from your town before it is
too late.
"Now I am glad to tell you that that there is One Who came to save you from
all this evil. His Name is the Lord Jesus. He gave His life for you, two thousand
years ago. He went in your place to pay the price. The wages of sin are death.
He took your death upon Himself that you might go free and have eternal life.
Now, if there is anyone who would like to be delivered from this evil, please put
up your hand and I will pray for you. Is there one tonight?"
Virtually all of the congregation put up their hands. Deadwood also put up his
hands while praying for them, telling the Lord they were sorry for their sins and
asking for His forgiveness. Then he gave thanks for the harvest. After that he
announced that they would go to the Lord’s table. "The blood of the Lamb will
cleanse you from all unrighteousness," he said. "We are now going to serve you
with the body and the blood of the Lamb. The blood will wash you inside. It is
an internal cleansing." He then read from Mark, Chapter 14, verses 22 to 24:
And as they were eating, He took bread, and blessed it and broke it, and gave it
to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And He took a cup, and when He
had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to
them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."
Then he ordered the bread and the wine to be brought and put on the table. He
took the loaves and broke them and gave them to the helpers to give to the
congregation. Then he ordered the wine to be served. After that they began to
sing again in tune with Susan’s inspired guitar playing. The singing continued
for a long time as many were reluctant to leave. Deadwood asked his wife to
close in prayer. She thanked the LORD for saving the town of Bethlehem from
the terrible evil and asked the LORD’s help in apprehending the culprit and
hanging him.
Stewards at the doors gave R5 notes to those who claimed them. They both
received donations and paid those who wanted to be paid.
As they were leaving, a man came to Deadwood. Speaking with an Afrikaans
accent he asked, "But, Dominee, how can this be? When the woman caught in
adultery was brought to Jesus, He said, ‘He who is without sin, let him cast the
first stone.’ Why are you urging these people to throw stones? Shouldn’t they
rather forgive?"
78 | Chapter 13
"You have a point there," Deadwood said, "Some people believe that passage
about the woman caught in adultery should not be in the bible. If you look in
your bible, you will see it says that this passage is not found in some ancient
manuscripts. I’ll ask my wife what she thinks?"
He spoke to his wife. She came over to the man who asked the question. "That
passage is definitely not in the bible," she said. "How could it be? It would
encourage people to commit adultery."
The man seemed unconvinced. He left without asking any more questions. On
the way back to Loch Athlone Susan commented on what a wonderful sermon
Deadwood had preached. Mrs. Deadwood agreed. "I do so admire him for the
stand he has taken. He is such an example to the young men of the church. I
wish all men would follow his example."
The next morning Deadwood took his wife and Susan into Bethlehem to have
breakfast. Mrs. Deadwood’s sharp eye caught the headline: MIXED
GATHERING: BETHLEHEM IN UPROAR. Other papers had similar
headlines in Afrikaans. She bought a paper. The front page article was about
their meeting. According to the article, the town hall had been declared an
amenity for the exclusive use of whites. (This was in the days of apartheid
shortly before the Separate Amenities Act was repealed.) The article described
how an unidentified preacher had held an illegal meeting there the previous
night. It was alleged that he had paid people of all races to attend and that he
had given them free liquor until they were drunk. There had been drunken
singing throughout the night. Complaints had been made to the police who
were trying to establish the identity and whereabouts of the preacher.
"What nonsense! That’s the devil again, trying to put you off. That proves how
big a blow you dealt him last night," commented Mrs. Deadwood. Fearing the
police, Deadwood suggested they beat a hasty retreat. Mrs. Deadwood would
hear nothing of it. "You’ve come to drive the devil out of Bethlehem and you’re
not going home until you’ve done that," she insisted. After breakfast they
returned to Loch Athlone. As they were getting out of the car a woman
approached them. She was leading a small band of young men. She pointed at
Deadwood. "There’s the man who was with her," she said. "He’s the one who
brought her here."
The men looked at Deadwood. "No, it can’t be. He’s the dominee who told us
to pluck her out and throw her away," said their spokesman.
"I’m sure he’s the one," the woman insisted. "He’s the evil one who is living off
the proceeds of prostitution. He’s the one you want to hang."
Mrs. Deadwood intervened. "What’s this?" she asked.
"He’s the man who brought the stripper here. He’s the one we should hang,"
the woman persisted.
Chapter 13 | 79
"Don’t be mad. He’s God’s man of the hour, the one God has sent to save
Bethlehem."
The spokesman for the men said, "Yes, she’s right. He’s the dominee who told
us to pluck her out and throw her away and to hang the man who brought her
here. I see you practice what you preach, Dominee. You’ve also come to pluck
her out and to help us hang the man who brought her here. That’s good, we can
work together."
"Yes," Deadwood said, "We’ll work together."
"That’s what I like to see. You go with them and find the man to hang," Mrs.
Deadwood urged.
This was a turn that Deadwood had not expected. The men had been at the
meeting the previous evening and were practicing what he had taught them. He
felt uncomfortable but he had no option but to go with them to help them in
their mission.
Mrs. Deadwood urged her husband to go with the men and help them in their
search for the man. She suggested that she and Susan should have an early
lunch at the Athlone Castle Restaurant in order to identify the girl for further
attention. She said the men should not eat there in case they should be tempted.
The restaurant was closed but was due to open earlier than usual in view of its
newly found popularity. The grounds were swarming with would-be guests.
Mrs. Deadwood and Susan stood in the queue for a long time. They were
determined to get the best seats in the restaurant to have a good view of the
dancer so that they could be sure to identify her later for plucking out and
throwing away. The atmosphere in the restaurant was jovial and the food good.
The two women were enjoying themselves. Half way through their meal the
dancer entered and was introduced to the diners as Miss Debbie Delightful.
Then she mounted the table and began to dance among the dishes. Hillary was
wearing Lucy’s pink skirt trimmed with pale blue lace and a frilly white blouse.
Mrs. Deadwood was envious of her youth and beauty and her splendid attire as
well as her dancing skills. She was not slow to express her disgust of the girl’s
lack of modesty.
Hillary was enjoying herself but she was feeling tired after so many
performances. She was feeling nostalgic towards Prince Andrew. She regretted
not having provided him with a means of contacting her. He had promised her
a friendship ring and they were supposed to be dating. She wished he could be
there to enjoy her dancing.
Mrs. Deadwood continued to express her disgust to Susan. She said she was
glad she had not allowed him to attend. Even a man of such strong moral fibre
might be tempted by such immodesty. She had spared him that.
80 | Chapter 13
Susan remarked, "She’s a lot like the girl who came with us last night. I wonder
if they aren’t sisters?"
"I doubt it," Mrs. Deadwood said, "That girl last night was from a good family.
You could see by her clothes."
"If clothes are a factor, I would say this one is also from a good family." "But
they are not her own clothes. Obviously, they were just lent to her for the
performance."
The dancer stripped down to her two-piece swimsuit. It was one of Lucy’s and
of the highest quality. Then she jumped off the table and ran out. The two
women left, happy in the knowledge that they would be able to identify the evil
girl. As they came down the gangway they noticed a commotion nearby. They
saw that a gallows had been erected, making use of a large tree. There was a
man on the gallows. The mob were about to lynch him. "Oh, good," Mrs.
Deadwood said to Susan, "They’ve found the man and they are about to give
him what he deserves." She shouted encouragement to the mob. The man was
blindfold and they had his head in a noose. He was bound hand and foot and
was standing on a box. One of the men pushed the box from under him. There
was a scream. The man’s body hung limp.
Mrs. Deadwood was pleased. She shouted, "Good! Now we’ve shown the devil
a thing or two."
One of the young men who had been at the revival meeting came up to Mrs.
Deadwood and said, "We’ve got the girl." He looked at the body hanging from
the tree. Then he called to his friends in Afrikaans, "Jislaaik! Kom kyk hier.
Hulle het die dominee opgehang!"
‘Jislaaik’ is an Afrikaans expression of astonishment that has no adequate
English equivalent. The rest may be translated, "Come and look here. They‘ve
hanged the parson!"
The other two youths came over. They had the girl between them, her hands
tied behind her back. They stared incredulously at the body hanging from the
tree.
Suddenly Mrs. Deadwood’s expression changed. She went pale as a ghost. "You
fools," she shouted, "You’ve got the wrong man." She became hysterical. The
crowd was silent. She rushed into the restaurant and came out brandishing a
carving knife. She cut the rope. The body fell to the ground. She cut the noose
and administered mouth to mouth. It was no good. Deadwood lay there, dead
as a piece of dead wood, his petition granted even before it reached the State
President. His and Mrs. Deadwood’s prayer request had been granted. Mrs.
Deadwood cried out, "You fools. You’ve killed God’s man, the only man who
could have saved Bethlehem and the Orange Free State. Now they are doomed
for ever."
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Chapter 14
Trapped
"All is not lost, my dear. Have faith in God. Did not Jesus command us to raise
the dead?" this was the reassuring voice of Susan. "He told us to preach that the
kingdom of heaven is at hand and to raise the dead. You can read that in
Matthew 10, verses 7 and 8." Turning to the onlookers, she said, "The kingdom
of heaven is at hand. You will now see that this is so." She knelt beside
Deadwood’s body. Stretching it out on its back, she laid her hands on its chest
and said, "In the Name of the Lord Jesus, rise up."
To the amazement of the onlookers, Deadwood opened his eyes and sat up. His
wife couldn’t believe her eyes. "Arthur, is it really you?" she asked.
"Yes, it’s really me, Arthur Deadwood, back from the dead."
"Are you all right?" she asked, incredulously.
"I’m fine, except my neck’s a bit stiff."
"Jislaaik! In my life I’ve never seen anything like this!" the youth said in
Afrikaans.
Deadwood stood up, rubbing his neck.
The two youths who were holding the girl approached Deadwood. "Dominee,
we’ve got the girl. How must we pluck her out and throw her away?" one asked.
"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," Deadwood replied.
The youths looked at one another, uncertain what to do.
"You fools," Mrs. Deadwood said, "You’ve got the wrong girl. That’s the one
who came with us to the meeting last night. She got saved. I saw her get saved."
The youths untied her hands and let Lucy go.
"Come on, you’re sick. We must go home before anything worse happens to
you," Mrs. Deadwood said to her husband.
When Lucy was caught by the youths she was on her way to relieve Hillary who
had danced eight sessions in a row. She was identified by a woman who had
seen one of her performances. Hillary appeared on the scene shortly after Lucy
was released. Some women recognized her as the stripper and tried to arouse
the crowd against her. The onlookers were so dazed by what they had seen that
they were not keen to make trouble. Lucy explained to Hillary what had
happened. They decided to quit before things got nasty.
Chapter 14 | 83
As the girls arrived at their bungalow they saw the Deadwood party leaving.
Mrs. Deadwood was driving her own car with her husband beside her. Susan
drove Deadwood’s car.
Since Hillary’s Turbo Dream was a two seater, Odille and Lucy had to share the
passenger seat. They headed out on the main road to Johannesburg, the R26.
Hillary drove fast, about 20km/h over the speed limit, which on that road is
100km/h. After they had gone some distance, she saw in her rear view mirror a
car approaching from behind. It was traveling very fast. It had the distinctive
radiator shutters and headlights of a Cornish. Hardly had she seen it than it had
overtaken and passed them. It nearly blew her car off the road. She heard the
whine of its twin turbochargers as it shot past. It was the one Prince Andrew
had used the night he had taken her out. She was sure of it. It had passed too
quickly for her to recognize the driver. Surely it must be him.
She hit the throttle. There was a satisfying whine as the turbocharger came to
life. Its pitch rose with the speed of the car. She had a rush of blood to the
head. The Cornish was soon out of sight. She continued at full speed, hoping to
meet up with Prince Andrew somewhere. Perhaps he would stop or slow down.
Too late! She was over the gatsometer lines before she could lift her foot off the
accelerator. The traffic officer ahead was waving his arms, signaling her to stop.
In spite of hard braking, the Dream came to rest far beyond the man. A second
traffic officer on a motor cycle drew level with her and stopped. Her gave her a
computer printout showing her measured speed as 197km/h. "That’s nearly
100km/h over the limit," he said, "I’m afraid I’ve no option but to arrest you."
As he was putting the handcuffs on her, Hillary’s attention was attracted by a
large car driving slowly past. It was a convertible in two shades of green and was
going in the same direction as she had been. It was indeed the same car that
Prince Andrew had taken her out in. The driver raised his thumb in salute and
smiled broadly. It was Ken Roberts.
He parked the Cornish in front of her car, got out, and walked up to the traffic
officer. "Good work," he said, handing him a fat envelope.
Parked at the side of the road was a caravan. It belonged to the Department of
Justice. The magistrate asked her how she pleaded. "Guilty," she said. "Have
you anything to say in mitigation?" he asked. "No," she replied. "I’ll give you a
light sentence," the magistrate said, "One month’s correctional psychiatric
medicine."
As they were taking her out, she saw out of the corner of her eye that Ken
Roberts shook hands with the magistrate and gave him a fat envelope similar to
the one he had given the traffic officer. He had set a trap for her. Knowing that
she would give chase, he had shot past her. Once out of sight he had turned
into a side road and waited for her to go past. It was obvious he had set up the
whole thing. The handshakes and fat envelopes confirmed that. As Hillary was
84 | Chapter 14
getting into the police van, Odille handed her an envelope. "I nearly forgot to
give you this. It came for you at Loch Athlone," she said. Being handcuffed,
Hillary was not able to open the envelope. She asked Odille to open it for her.
Inside was a card YOUR DAYS ARE OVER, it read. It was signed "The Red
Disa."
It seemed like forever that she had been in the police van when they entered
through a stately entrance where a sign read: SUMMIT UNIVERSITY —
CENTRE FOR CHRISTIAN PSYCHIATRY. She wondered what fate awaited
her there.
Chapter 14 | 85
86 | Chapter 15
Chapter 15
Rack Therapy
The handcuffs were removed after Hillary got out of the police van. Two
orderlies were waiting for her with an operating table. They strapped her to it
then wheeled her into the foyer. A pleasant woman with a badge that said
MATRON took down her particulars. Her cell was at the end of a long
corridor. They locked her in. She was all alone.
After a few hours a hatch opened in one of the walls. A tray of food was passed
to her. The food was good and the bed comfortable. For a prison it was not
bad. In the morning breakfast was served in the same way. Shortly after
breakfast the hatch opened again. A woman’s face appeared. "Good morning, I
am Professor Mary Shrink, your therapist." the woman said, "I’ll soon have you
back to health and strength again. Your therapy will start in a few minutes. They
will be coming for you now."
She was surprised to hear that they thought she needed nursing back to health
and strength. She was a particularly strong and healthy girl.
Hillary was taken to a large office. On the door was the name DR E. DE
VILLIERS. Dr. de Villiers was very tall and thin. He had a pleasant face with a
smile from ear to ear. He greeted her amicably as he opened her file. "Dr.
Shrink has prescribed some rather drastic treatment for you," he said. "In the
old days psychiatrists used electro-convulsive treatment. Now that has been
banned and so they have introduced alternative methods of torture. Dr. Shrink
is very keen on the rack. She has a saying that stretching the back shrinks the
head. She must think you have a very large head. She has prescribed 2000
newtons for you. That’s near fatal. I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll program the
computer to give false tension readings. When it reads 2000 newtons you’ll only
be getting 200. That won’t hurt you. Two thousand might be fatal. I don’t want
to be an accomplice to a murder." "Gee, thanks," said Hillary.
"Two thousand is sheer madness. The only sane people here are the patients.
Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. As soon as you leave this room you will forget
I said it. Don’t worry, I’ll see to it that you get only a token stretching. Play
along. As soon as you feel anything give a few groans. When you feel
appreciable tension scream as though in great pain."
Hillary was escorted along a corridor to a room marked RACK THERAPY.
Inside were a number of cubicles. In one of these she was fastened to a rack. It
had stocks to which her shoulders and ankles were fastened. Professor Shrink
appeared with an open file in her hands. She took a tape measure and measured
Hillary’s length from head to foot. She wrote the measurement in the file. Then
Chapter 15 | 87
she gave some instructions to an operator who sat at a computer console.
Hillary felt a slight movement of the stocks. Then it stopped.
"Do you still think you’re Napoleon?" Dr. Shrink asked.
Hillary laughed. "Why on earth would I want to be Napoleon?"
"What is your name?" Dr. Shrink asked.
"Hillary Keating."
"That’s much worse. Take the tension up to 500."
Hillary felt a further movement of the stocks. She was still comfortable. "Ouch!
That hurts," she played along.
Dr. Shrink laughed gleefully. "It’s starting to work," she said. "Who do you
think you are now?"
Hillary thought she’d have some fun. "Prince Andrew," she replied.
"That’s a slight improvement. Take it up to 600."
Hillary felt her body being pulled a little tauter.
"Who do you think you are now?"
"Adolph Hitler." She was starting to enjoy her therapy.
Dr. Shrink looked bewildered. "This is not working. Something must be
wrong."
"Are you sure you’ve got the right file?" the computer operator asked.
"Oh, that’s what it is. I’ve got the wrong patient."
Dr. Shrink left and returned shortly after with another file. "I’m sure this one is
correct. How much tension have we got?"
"Six hundred," replied the computer operator.
"Okay, keep it there." Then to Hillary, "Do you still think you’re Ayrton
Senna?"
"Yes, I’m Ayrton Senna, what of it?"
"Make it seven hundred," Dr. Shrink said to the operator.
A little tauter, Hillary thought she had better not push her luck too far. She
pretended to scream with pain. "I’m Hillary Keating," she screamed.
"And what speed does Hillary Keating drive at in a 100km/h zone?"
"One hundred and ninety seven."
Dr. Shrink ordered the tension to be increased. Hillary screamed. She pretended
to be in great pain.
"At what speed should Hillary Keating drive at in a 100km/h zone?"
88 | Chapter 15
"One hundred and thirty, like everyone else."
Dr. Shrink ordered the tension to be increased further. Hillary screamed.
"Mercy! Mercy! I’ll keep below 100, really I will."
Dr. Shrink ordered the tension to be removed. "How can the Americans say
this doesn’t work?" she asked the operator. "We get results with it every time."
Then to Hillary she said, "Cheer up, Girl, we’ll get you right. We haven’t yet had
a failure with this invention of mine."
Hillary was taken back to her cell and given a meal. The staff were all pleased
that she was making such good progress. They said what a wizard Dr. Shrink
was.
Hillary was left undisturbed in her cell for several hours. She pondered over the
events of the past few days. She hoped that Lucy and Odille were safe. She
wondered about the identity of the Red Disa and why he thought her days were
over. Odille was convinced that Deadwood was the Red Disa. She wasn’t so
sure. How had Butcher and Blackhench known who she was the night they had
attacked her with syringe and revolver? Deadwood was clearly under the
impression that Lucy was her. If Deadwood was, in fact, the Red Disa, why had
he not instructed them to attack Lucy? It didn’t make sense.
Then there was Towly. Odille was convinced that Towly was Uncle John. Her
argument was unconvincing. Uncle John never told lies, not even to cover up
his activities. Perhaps Prince Andrew was Towly. In that case he probably lied
about not being in Pietermaritzburg on the day she was invited to lunch at St.
Helen’s. Surely it was Prince Andrew? He had been intoxicated by Lady de
Rothschild. Perhaps if he had known her real identity he would have proposed,
especially as she was so very British. She wished he would come and rescue her
from her present weird situation. Surely he would come if he knew? He would
probably have Dr. Shrink locked up in the Tower of London. What a pity
Naboomspruit was not a part of the British Empire like Pietermaritzburg. If it
was, he would have the power to confine Dr. Shrink in the tower.
Shortly after the dinner things had been collected, the hatch opened again to
reveal the smiling face of the matron, Glenda Turnbull. She told Hillary to be
dressed and ready to leave at midnight.
When midnight came, Glenda opened the door of Hillary’s cell and led her out
through a side door into the courtyard. The door had been locked but Glenda
had a key. She was careful to lock the door behind her. A large car was waiting,
its engine running. Glenda hustled Hillary into the rear seat and then got in
beside the driver. She introduced the driver as Stuart. Hillary remembered what
had been said about a man called Stuart and of how he had been "taken care of"
at Naboomspruit. Was this the same man, she wondered? It was too dark to
Chapter 15 | 89
make out his features. He had sleek black hair and seemed to be in the prime of
life.
The car sped towards Johannesburg on the N1. She wondered where they were
going and what they were about. On the seat beside her was a carton full of
large brown envelopes. When they stopped to pay toll there was enough light
for her to see that each envelope bore an address. One had Agnes Halfshaft’s
name on it.
Hillary told Stuart and Glenda about the trap that Ken Roberts had set for her
and how the magistrate had sentenced her. She also told them of the hanging of
Deadwood at Loch Athlone. She wondered if he was still alive. Stuart and
Glenda expressed their concern and hope that he was still alive. She gathered
they were friends of Deadwood’s.
Stuart asked Hillary if they could drop her off at Sir George Margo’s home in
Sandton. She would probably find Lucy there and be able to recover her car. He
suggested she get out of Johannesburg as soon as possible. He said the people
who were after her were dangerous. They might even follow her to
Pietermaritzburg. He advised her to go to Durban and not let anyone know
where she was.
If Pietermaritzburg is the last outpost of the British Empire then surely Sandton
is a piece of upper class England that got lost in Africa. Its citizens are
described by their neighbours as being more English than the native English.
The nostalgia for their native land is reflected in the suburb and street names.
Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Bryanston, Sandown, Hurlingham, St. James’s Crescent,
Cumberland Road, West Hertford Road, Dover Road and Shrewsbury Road are
all to be found here. To live in Sandton is to show the world that you’re super-
English and that you have made it. Sir George Margo was one such. He was
chairman of Anglo-Witwatersrand, one of the "Big Six" mining houses. His
magnificent home was on several hectares in Morningside.
It was two o’clock in the morning when Stuart and his passengers arrived,
hardly a good time to make a social call on the Margo’s. The entrance was
guarded by security gates and a sentry. The sentry confirmed that Lucy was at
home but he was loathe to phone her at that hour. He said Hillary was welcome
to sleep in one of the guest rooms in the gatehouse.
When it came to a respectable hour Hillary was allowed to visit Lucy. Lucy was
pleased to see her. She said that after Hillary had been taken away by the police
she and Odille returned to Loch Athlone. There they had resumed the table top
dancing acts. They took it in turns to entertain the audiences. She had arrived
home the previous night. Odille had gone back to the Ranch Motel with the
Turbo Dream. While at Loch Athlone they had met up with the youths who
had captured Lucy. They were rugby players who had been at the meeting in the
town hall. They believed what Deadwood had said about the effects on their
90 | Chapter 15
rugby. They wanted Lucy and Odille to stop their performances at Loch
Athlone and to go to Cape Town. That way the Free State would be able to take
the Currie Cup from Western Province. Free State rugby officials had spoken to
Leslie about this and he had got them a fixture at The Moonscape, a well-
known night club in Cape Town. Lucy was thrilled. As Debbie Delightful she
was the star of Leslie’s movie "The Fairy Dancer." That, and all the publicity as
the notorious strip dancer of Loch Athlone, had made it easy for Leslie to place
her. Promoters from all over the country had made Leslie offers for her
services. He could have placed her anywhere. She invited Hillary to go with her
to Cape Town to share the dancing. Hillary was tempted but in the end she
decided that her life as a private eye held more excitement and danger. She had
no intention of leaving Johannesburg before all the mysteries had been solved.
Why were so many people eager to get her out of that city? She intended to find
out.
Hillary told Lucy about the treatment she had received at Naboomspruit and of
how she had been released and brought there by Glenda and the mysterious
Stuart. She mentioned the brown envelopes. Lucy was sure these were letter
bombs. Stuart and Glenda, being so concerned for Deadwood’s well-being,
were obviously in cahoots with him. They were obviously all mad. Had not Dr.
de Villiers himself said so. She urged Hillary to report the matter to the police as
soon as possible. Otherwise poor Agnes Halfshaft and others like her might be
killed or maimed.
Lucy took Hillary to the Sandton Police Station. The constable insisted on
taking her name and address before he would listen to her. She insisted that the
matter was urgent and that people’s lives might be at stake. He made her sign a
written statement which he showed to his superior. The latter read it and said,
"Hillary Keating, isn’t she the one who escaped from the loony bin?" He took
some papers out of the basket on his desk and compared the details. "Yes," he
said, "She’s the one all right. She’s described as dangerous. She has an identity
crisis. She thinks she’s Ayrton Senna. Under no circumstances must she be
allowed to drive a motor vehicle. She must be sent back to Naboomspruit
immediately. Make sure they put handcuffs on her." Poor Hillary was
handcuffed and taken back to Naboomspruit. Glenda was surprised to see her
brought in by the police. She asked why she had not gone to Durban as Stuart
had advised. Hillary told her what had taken place. "You silly girl," she said,
"Those were gifts of money. Stuart loves to help widows and their fatherless
children."
Hillary was taken to her cell and locked in. Soon after, two orderlies took her to
Dr. de Villiers’ office. He was in a good mood and was singing the well-known
chorus "Love lifted me." He stopped singing when he saw her. "Well, well, who
have we here? Mr. Houdini himself? Naughty, naughty of you to have run away,
my dear. Don’t you like us? I’ve done my best to accommodate you. How did
you enjoy your rack therapy?’
Chapter 15 | 91
"Yes, that was fun. Thank you for taking care of me like that."
"Dr. Shrink says you are the toughest patient yet. You only grew one centimetre
in length after having 1000 newtons for five minutes. She’s never seen anything
like it. She says it’s no wonder you are such a good athlete. but she’s still
worried about the size of your head."
Hillary couldn’t help liking Dr. de Villiers. He had such a pleasant disposition
and was so helpful. She probably owed her life to him. Dr. Shrink seemed to get
a sadistic pleasure out of torturing people. That was one person she felt she
couldn’t trust.
"The board has sentenced you to three days solitary confinement without
rations, not even water. You will be given a meal this evening and that will be
the last for three days. During that time no one will be allowed to open the door
or hatch to your cell. You will be locked in and the key put in safe custody at
the bank."
Hillary’s face fell.
"No, cheer up. It’s all right, you’ll enjoy it. You’ll see."
She felt a little reassured. She wondered why Dr. de Villiers was so sure she
would enjoy it. She supposed he had done something to ease her burden as he
had with the rack therapy. She was taken to her cell and given dinner. While she
was eating she noticed a tiny envelope sticking out from under the saucer on
her tray. Inside was a note which read, "Make sure you are awake and dressed at
midnight." It was unsigned.
92 | Chapter 15
Chapter 16 | 93
Chapter 16
Solitary confinement
At midnight the door of Hillary’s cell opened. A woman in a pale green nurse’s
uniform entered. Hurriedly she closed the door. She held another pale green
nurse’s uniform over her arm. "Quick," she said, "Change into this." Hillary was
wearing a bright red track suit which was the uniform of inmates guilty of
misbehaviour, such as trying to escape. She changed into the nurse’s uniform.
The woman in pale green who had brought her the uniform was none other
than Odille. Hillary was very surprised to see her. "How on earth did you
manage this?" she asked.
"Friends in high places."
"Dr. de Villiers?" Hillary queried.
Odille nodded.
They locked the cell door and left through the same side door that she had used
the night before. Odille’s car stood outside. Odille drove her to a house not far
away. Glenda was there to receive them. She took them to a bedroom where
they spent the night. Next morning Glenda brought them breakfast in bed. She
told them to waste no time as the bus would soon be there. When the bus
arrived it had only one passenger, Stuart. The girls boarded and the bus
proceeded to a hotel in the town where fifteen additional women boarded. It
then headed out on the N1 towards Pietersburg. Hillary was still wearing her
nurse’s uniform. She felt a bit spare as the other women were all so well
dressed.
They bypassed Pietersburg, stopped at Haenertsburg to admire the view, and
had tea in Tzaneen. In Tzaneen Stuart took Hillary shopping. He insisted she
have the best and paid all the bills. He bought her an elephant leather handbag
and a suitcase and let her have all the clothes she wanted. After changing, she
was as well dressed as any of her companions.
They arrived at a privately owned game reserve in time for lunch. There they
were treated to many mouthwatering dishes. After lunch they were shown to
their quarters. These comprised a number of luxury tents, each on top of a
bathroom. They were on a river bank where the wild animals came to drink. As
they were leaving the dining room Hillary felt someone poke her in the ribs. She
looked round to see a middle aged woman. She was dressed in a leopard skin
safari outfit. "Don’t get any ideas, Kid," she said to Hillary, "Just because he
bought you all that stuff doesn’t mean he’s in love with you. He’s mine! He’s in
love with me. If I see you near him I’ll plant you one between the eyes,"
94 | Chapter 16
Hillary felt an inclination to lay the woman out with a kung fu chop but she
restrained herself. Her solitary confinement promised to be more interesting
than she had expected.
As they left the dining room, some of the women were jockeying for position to
get Stuart’s attention. An older woman was saying to a younger one, apparently
her daughter, "Don’t let him out of your sight. We must be sure to get the tent
next to his. I have it on good authority that he is richer than Oppenheimer."
Stuart was still very much an enigma to Hillary. He was clearly very rich and
generous. Where did he get all that money that he gave away so freely? That he
was a hit with the women was probably as much due to his generosity as to his
good looks and gracious manner. He seemed to enjoy the attentions of all the
women and was mildly amused by the rivalry among them.
Stuart’s tent was the last in the row. The older woman and her daughter
succeeded in getting the tent next to his. Hillary had to share the next tent with
the woman in the leopard skin outfit. She continued to make it clear to Hillary
that Stuart was hers and she should not have any ideas about getting him for
herself. Hillary had no ambitions concerning Stuart but she thought it might be
fun to pretend that she had. There was a risk of getting into a fight. She had no
fears about the outcome should that happen. As she was already in "solitary
confinement" she thought better of letting it go that far. It might be safer to
play the leopard skin off against the other contenders.
In the course of the afternoon each couple was issued with a pair of binoculars.
Later they had tea in the dining room, when they were told they would be taken
game viewing later that afternoon. After that they would be taken directly to the
dining room for dinner.
With the tent flap rolled up, the guests could observe the animals at the
riverside while lying on their beds. The binoculars gave them an outstanding
view. Shortly after tea, Helia Hotspur, Hillary’s tent mate, decided to go to the
bathroom to prepare herself for the tour and dinner. Hillary continued to
observe the animals. As she was planning a simple turnout, her preparations
would not take long. When Helia returned Hillary had difficulty restraining her
laughter. She was wearing a skin-tight leopard skin with large areas of her own
skin exposed. She had acquired an instant suntan and was heavily made up with
various cosmetics. She wore a wide-brimmed felt hat trimmed with leopard
skin.
As Stuart helped Helia into the Land Rover she implanted a dense coating of
lipstick on his cheek. She said, "My darling, how sweet of you." Then came the
mother and daughter team. They were to share the Land Rover with Stuart and
Hillary and Helia. The mother was tastefully dressed in a manner becoming an
older woman. She wore a straw hat liberally decorated with flowers, a blue
cotton frock and high heeled shoes. The daughter wore a dress with a very low
Chapter 16 | 95
neckline and a short skirt with slits. They were introduced as Mrs. Felicity
Warburton and her daughter Heather.
Mrs. Warburton and Heather shared the bench seat on one side, Hillary and
Helia the bench seat on the other. As Stuart got in Mrs. Warburton made room
for him between herself and Heather. He was about to sit down when Helia,
taking him by the arm, made him sit down next to her. Mrs. Warburton looked
at Helia with distaste. "These synthetic leopard skins really are vulgar," she
remarked to Heather but loud enough to be heard by the other members of the
party.
Helia glared at her. "Synthetic, my hat! This is a genuine Herrop’s leopard skin
direct from Herrop’s of Harare."
"It suits you, it looks so regal," Hillary commented.
Stuart looked amused but said nothing. He was in a good position to observe
the scenic delights of Motswari. Heather looked slightly uncomfortable but
there was not much she could do about it. She wished her mother had not
insisted she wear her most revealing skirt. That she had a superb pair of legs no
one could deny, not even Helia who was visibly jealous of the attention they
were getting. That was her own fault. For Stuart the scenery was compelling. He
loved this wild country and the wild creatures it produced.
The driver was a young, handsome game ranger. He stopped the Land Rover
and then backed it up a little. He had spotted a lioness with her cubs and was
positioning it for the best view. Through her binoculars Hillary saw that the
lioness was a brilliant gold in the light of the setting sun. Helia’s hair was that
colour. How alike they looked, Helia and the lioness. Hillary thought that a lion
skin would be more appropriate for her. "That lioness’s coat looks magnificent.
Have you ever thought of wearing a lion skin?" she asked Helia.
"No, but I shall in future."
"You’ll look great. You’ve the right colouring for it. You’ll be irresistible to
Stuart. It’s obvious he’s very fond of lionesses. That one’s getting even more
attention than Heather’s legs."
They arrived at a water hole just as the sun was setting. From their vantage
point they watched as the animals came to drink. The animals approached
cautiously, sniffing the air, on guard against predators. Hillary felt relaxed and
happy. It was an atmosphere that only Africa could provide. There were giraffe,
kudu, impala, waterbuck and many other species.
As it became dark they were driven back to the dining room which was
tastefully decorated with Africana. It retained that wild bush atmosphere that
Hillary liked so much. Africa was casting its spell over the party. The food also
was in keeping with the bushveld tradition. There was grilled boerewors, chops,
sosaties and steaks. Delectable salads tempted the appetites of the guests and
96 | Chapter 16
every kind of fruit and wine was on offer. While they were enjoying their pre-
dinner drinks in the lounge, Stuart came and spoke to Hillary. He asked if she
was enjoying her solitary confinement. "These women are members of the
Naboomspruit Widows’ Club," he said. "They’re all widows except Mrs.
Warburton’s daughter and your sister. Some of them have not had a holiday for
decades. That’s why I have brought them here. The LORD has a special
concern for orphans and widows and there is a special blessing in ministering to
their needs."
She realized that Stuart must be a committed Christian. He was obviously very
different from the mad letter bomber she had at first taken him to be. That
there was a special blessing in ministering to widows she could believe. They
were all lavishing their attention on him.
"I’m sorry," Stuart continued, "I neglected you on the game viewing tour. I got
absorbed in the sights."
"Yes, they were rather absorbing. They seemed to be absorbed in you, too."
Stuart laughed good-humouredly. He enjoyed a joke and it was clear to him that
Hillary had a sense of humour.
Helia joined them. "Don’t get any ideas," she whispered in Hillary’s ear.
"No need to worry," Hillary whispered back. "I’m on your side. I’ll help you
catch him." To Stuart she said, "Excuse me." Then she turned on her heel,
leaving Helia alone with Stuart.. As she passed the Warburtons, she heard
Felicity say, "You’d better go and talk to Stuart. That snake in leopard’s clothing
is busy trying to seduce him again."
Heather went over to Stuart to practice her charm on him. Helia turned away
and came to Hillary. "Be a dear," she said, "I told him you don’t like sharing. I
asked if he would mind swopping with you. He’s got a tent all to himself. He’s
agreed to let you have his tent and he will move in with me. Be a dear and don’t
ruin my chances," she pleaded.
Hillary would not have expected this of Stuart but she was glad of the
opportunity to get away from Helia. She readily agreed. An idea came to her. It
was something she thought would please Helia and provide the others with a
few laughs. There was a shop in the foyer that sold African curio’s. On her way
in she had noticed in the shop window a magnificent lion skin complete with
mane. Her belongings were in Naboomspruit in safe custody and so she had no
money with her. She borrowed some from Odille and bought the lion skin.
After dinner Helia and Hillary went to their tent. Hillary had to collect her
things. She told Helia that she had a plan that would make her sure of Stuart’s
affections for ever. Stuart was very fond of lions. They had both seen his
interest in the lioness that evening. What could be more romantic, and in
keeping with the atmosphere of Motswari, than a woman in a lion skin? She
could wait for him at the entrance of the tent and spring on him as he entered,
Chapter 16 | 97
smother him with kisses and then be led by her instincts, or his. Helia thought it
a good idea and was pleased with the gift. Hillary left and Helia prepared to
welcome Stuart. Stuart and some of the widows remained on in the lounge. As
host Stuart was obliged to remain there until last.
As Hillary was climbing the steps up to Stuart’s tent, two black figures came out
of the shadows and pounced on her. They looked like black panthers. For one
moment she thought it was a joke but the violence with which she was pulled
off the steps made her realize it was no joke. She landed on her back in some
kind of box. One panther jumped on top of her and tore open her blouse. the
other panther yelled, "Make sure you get the main artery. That’s right, there!."
There was a smell of bitter almonds as the figure lunged towards her with a
syringe in his hand. For one moment she thought it was all over. Quick as
lightning she grabbed the hand with the syringe. With superhuman strength she
was able to arrest it just as the point touched her skin. It remained there for
what seemed a lifetime as she struggled with her opponent. Her screaming
brought the security guard over. He came running, brandishing his baton. The
two figures disappeared into the shadows as suddenly as they had arrived. The
security man helped her out of the box. She saw that it was wide in the middle
tapering towards the ends. It was a coffin. As the security man shone his
flashlight over it she saw there was a card in it. It was the size of a playing card.
There was a picture on it. It was a picture of a red disa, that rare orchid that
grows only on Table Mountain.
She was shaking all over, the adrenalin still pumping. The security guard helped
her to the main complex. He called the manager. The manager called a doctor
who gave her a thorough examination. He was glad to report there was no
injury. They believed it was a rape attempt. She did not tell them about the
syringe and the smell of bitter almonds. She did not want them to call the
police, being afraid they would discover that she had escaped from the "loony
bin." She was enjoying her solitary confinement. She did not want to go back to
the real thing. She made light of the attack.
Odille came to comfort her. She warned her sister not to walk around alone at
night. She was to keep her co-investigator informed of her movements. The
manager appointed a special guard to stand outside Hillary’s tent all night. Stuart
collected his things and went to Helia’s tent. A great reception awaited him.
Considerations of etiquette require that a veil be drawn over it and subsequent
events.
Hillary could not sleep. She was puzzled by the evening’s event. How had her
attackers known she was there? The card indicated they were working for the
Red Disa. She was supposed to be in the "loony bin" in solitary confinement.
Only one or two people knew of her whereabouts. Dr. de Villiers probably
knew. Could he be the Red Disa? Had he planned her outing so that she could
be murdered secretly in a remote part of the bushveld? It seemed unlikely. The
98 | Chapter 16
"black panthers" were almost certainly Butcher and Blackhench. That was their
style. Perhaps they had trailed Odille knowing that she would lead them to her.
That seemed the most likely explanation. But who are they working for? Who is
the Red Disa?
While she was still trying to solve this puzzle her guard lifted the tent flap to tell
her she had a visitor. Her name was Heather Warburton. He asked if he could
admit her. She gave permission.
Heather was surprised to see Hillary. "Where’s Stuart?" she asked.
"I’m hiding him here under the blanket," Hillary replied.
"I didn’t really want to come," Heather explained in a plaintive voice, "But
Mama insisted. She said if I did not make my move now we might have to live
in Naboomspruit for the rest of our lives."
"Well, what are you waiting for? Come in and make your move now," Hillary
invited her.
Heather decided she would rather go back to her own tent and left without
further ado. Hillary was alone again but only for a little while. Her guard
admitted another visitor. There, in the moonlight, she saw a woman in a scanty
nightdress, her hair and face beautifully made up. She smelt like a perfume
shop. On seeing Hillary she beat a hasty retreat.
At last Hillary fell asleep. She dreamt she was being racked by Mary Shrink. But
why was she wearing a lion skin? "Are you still getting ideas?" she asked. Hillary
tried to reply that she wasn’t but the words would not come. "Take the tension
up to ten thousand," the lion-skinned Dr. Shrink commanded. Next morning
the guests were awakened before sunrise by servants bringing coffee. they were
advised that it was the best time to see the game. Hillary lay on her comfortable
bed sipping coffee in between watching game with the binoculars. She was
happy, It was so peaceful. At breakfast Hillary recognized the woman who had
come in the scanty nightdress. Seeing Hillary, she asked, "What’s he like to sleep
with?"
"Better than anything you could imagine," she replied.
Mrs. Warburton had arrived on the scene and heard what was said. "Filthy
harlot," she commented. Helia wanted to know why her friend was being called
such a rude name. "She seduced Stuart last night," Mrs. Warburton explained.
"Oh, Hillary, you didn’t?" said Helia amused.
"I slept in his tent."
"You’d better be out of there before tonight if you want to be alive tomorrow,"
Mrs. Warburton warned. Hillary laughed. A newcomer on the scene wanted to
know what all the fuss was about.
Chapter 16 | 99
"She slept with him last night," Mrs. Warburton explained. "I warned her; we
don’t want any unprincipled behaviour on this tour."
"Bully for her," commented the newcomer.
After breakfast the group departed on a hiking trail. The handsome game ranger
who had driven the Land Rover the day before led the way. Heather walked
alongside him. It was clear to everyone, and especially her mother, that she
enjoyed his company. Mrs.. Warburton caught up with her daughter. "Leave
him alone, Stuart’s your man. This game ranger will never be able to support us
on his miserable wages. My child, you must learn to be more discerning. Go and
walk with Stuart."
Heather ignored her mother and continued to exercise her charms on the game
ranger. Her mother tried again to persuade her. "Don’t make a fool of me,
Mother," she said. Felicity was upset by her daughter’s rebellion. It was not
every day that a man of Stuart’s enormous wealth came along. In her charming
and beautiful daughter she believed she had the perfect bait. Now Heather was
spoiling it by going after this penniless game ranger.
It was a pleasant day, if a little warm. Their route lay along the river bank for
most of the way. The dense vegetation provided shade. Hippopotami,
crocodiles and bush pigs were the main animals to be seen. After some distance
Felicity complained that she was feeling tired. Stuart decided they would picnic
in a nearby shady nook.
The surrounding country was completely wild and its atmosphere totally
African. This atmosphere has been known to do strange things to people. It
arouses primitive instincts long dormant in the city dweller. There is a feeling of
remoteness, of having left civilization and civilized norms far behind, of being
in the jungle where the law of the jungle prevails. Africa is romantic. It casts its
spell over those who dare to enter into its secret parts. Normally staid married
women have been known to make sudden passionate, even violent, romantic
advances on unsuspecting game rangers. Women approaching middle age are
particularly vulnerable. Rhodesian women even more so. This is part of the very
special charm that ex-Rhodesian girls are noted for.
Game rangers are a particular target but any man could be attacked in this way.
The more manly and handsome he is the more likely he is to become a target.
Stuart’s party consisted of himself, a handsome game ranger, two porters, and
seventeen attractive women. While lunch was being prepared, Africa was casting
its spell. The men were accustomed to this life. It was the women who were
becoming intoxicated by it. Unwisely, champagne was being served.
Experienced travelers in the wilds of Africa know how dangerous this is. It
enhances the spell. Then anything can happen.
100 | Chapter 16
Helia was wearing a leopard skin leotard which left her substantial thighs
exposed. Soft leather hiking boots and a felt hat with a leopard skin band
completed her outfit. She looked regal, primitive, savage. She had gained an
advantage over her rivals and she was determined to maintain it. The night
before, like a lioness, she had pounced and made her kill. Her unsuspecting
victim had been unable to offer any resistance. She was determined to protect
her prize.
Felicity was also coming under the spell of Africa. Deprived of her daughter’s
attack, she was weighing up her own chances. Was she not a handsome and
desirable woman? She was still young enough to be attractive to Stuart. Does
not old wine taste the best? The thought of spending the rest of her life in a
poky little flat in Naboomspruit was unbearable. In Rhodesia they had been
much better off. That was when her husband had been alive and the Smith
government in power. This was probably her last chance of a better life. She
had to make a move. Besides, under the influence of the spell and the
champagne, Stuart was becoming irresistibly attractive to her sexually. This was
her last chance of a romantic attachment to a man she could fall in love with.
While lunch was being prepared, Felicity saw Stuart disappear into the bushes.
She decided to follow him. He went a little way and then stopped to examine
something on the ground. "Leopard spoor," he said as Felicity caught up with
him.
"That’s not surprising, that leopard has been following you round all day," she
said. "How about something more refined? Like the special charm that only
Rhodesian girls have."
"Oh, yes?"
"Yes, we Rhodesian girls have got it — like no others. And I’m the best to
come out of Rhodesia. You’ll have the time of your life — unforgettable! You’ll
never regret it." She drew Stuart closer to her. She compressed him against her
bosom. She drew him into a dense clump of undergrowth. The fragrance was
pleasant. It mingled well with Felicity’s perfume. She felt a compulsion to do
this. Her love for Stuart had become overpowering. She wanted him. Even
more, she wanted him to have her. She wanted him to have her now, right here
in the bush, under the African sun. Her instincts were overwhelming. She had
to give herself to him. She had to be his. What a fool she had been to try and
push Heather on to him. She herself was meant to be his. She pressed her wet
lips against his. She was afraid he might reject her, but he didn’t. His arms were
around her caressing her. His embrace was tightening. How strong those arms
were. She was his. His embrace proved it. Surely he would never let her go. She
pulled him towards her with all her strength. She could feel his thighs against
hers. What ecstasy! The undergrowth hid them.
Chapter 16 | 101
Lunch was served in their absence. They all wondered where Stuart was.
Felicity’s absence was not noticed, not even by Heather who was now totally
absorbed in the yarns of the game ranger. Helia was ranging round the group
like a leopard on the prowl.
Stuart suggested to Felicity that she return to the group by the way she had
come. He would arrive later and from a different direction. Felicity’s arrival
went unnoticed except by Helia who looked at her suspiciously but said
nothing. Stuart arrived fifteen minutes later from the opposite direction. He said
he had found a leopard spoor and had followed it to a leopard in a tree. He
wanted to take the group to see it but Helia insisted he have lunch first.
Stuart led the way to the leopard followed by the game ranger who was armed
with a rifle. They found the leopard and watched it from various vantage points.
As they were leaving the leopard site, the girl who had gone visiting in a scanty
nightdress asked Stuart to lag behind the group as she wanted to give him "a
little something." It proved to be very passionate and not so little.
That night, after dinner, they had a bible study. Stuart read to them from James,
Chapter 1, verse 27:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the
fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from
the world.
He said that when he had first read that he had nearly torn the treads off his
tyres in his zeal to practice it. He drew their attention to the fact that they were
all widows except Heather and Hillary and Odille who were fatherless girls. In
visiting them he was practicing the pure religion and undefiled before God and
the Father. He then made a startling revelation. From I Corinthians, Chapter 7,
verse 39, he read:
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband
be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
It is entirely up to the widow. She is at liberty to be married to whom she will.
There is only one restriction, the man to whom she is to be married must be in
the Lord. Stuart mentioned that he was in the Lord. Any widow who so willed
was at liberty to be married to him. Those widows who had not already done so
now proposed to Stuart. Thus the word was confirmed in accordance with
Mark, Chapter 16, verse 20. Stuart accepted them all. Stephen, the handsome
game ranger, proposed to Heather. Stuart and Felicity announced the
engagement of their daughter, Heather, to Stephen. They celebrated with tea
and cake. For once, Stuart was alone. He sat on a couch, drinking tea. Having
realized their ambition, those who had been rivals for his attention no longer
sought him out. Hillary, after hearing what he said that evening, thought it most
likely that he was Towly. He made a point of being generous to widows and
102 | Chapter 16
fatherless children. It was logical to think that he was her benefactor. He had
probably become aware of her and her sister through Uncle John, who also was
concerned for widows and orphans. Indeed he had done a lot for her and
Odille. She decided to find out more about him.
Chapter 16 | 103
104 | Chapter 17
Chapter 17
Things Impossible
"You’re a very puzzling person," she began, "Most Christians believe they can
only have one wife but here you are with many. How do you account for that?"
"There is a lot that our churches teach that is not from the bible but, instead, is
man made tradition. The Lord Jesus warned us about this. He said to the
Pharisees that they make the word of God of no avail in order to honour their
tradition. Things haven’t changed that much. We still have Pharisees in our
midst. There are a lot of things that people think are in the bible but in fact are
not.
"As an example, how many wise men came from the East to worship the
newborn Saviour and to bring Him their gifts? Come on, you must know the
joke about Bethlehem of the Orange Free State."
"Three," she replied.
"That’s what most people believe. In fact, nowhere in the bible is the number
given. Where do you find the marriage vows in the bible?"
"I don’t know. Where do you find them?"
"Nowhere, they’re not in the bible. And so it goes on. Often Africans come to
me asking for money for the funeral of a relative. They tell me that the bible
says we must give our relatives the best funeral we can afford. I ask them for
chapter and verse. No one has yet been able to give them to me. That is a
tradition of the black man that many take for scripture. They are trying to get
me to give their relatives the best funeral I can afford. One thing they do believe
in is the resurrection from the dead. Some come regularly once a month for
funds to bury the same relative, over and over again.
"Now about my polygamy, the Lord Jesus says in Luke 18:29-30 that there is no
man who has left a wife for the sake of the kingdom of God who shall not
receive manifold more in this present age. I left a wife for the sake of the
kingdom. Now I am receiving manifold more wives. This scripture is confirmed
in Matthew 19:29 where the Lord Jesus says that everyone who has forsaken a
wife for His name’s sake shall receive a hundred fold. It follows that where a
wife is forsaken for both the Lord’s name’s sake and the sake of the kingdom of
God that he will receive manifold more hundreds of wives."
Hillary went on to question him about himself. Where did he get all this money
that he gave away so freely?
Chapter 17 | 105
He was an accountant by profession. His surplus earnings he invested in
industrial blue chips. When he was forty-nine his father died leaving him a
fortune which he added to his investments on the stock exchange. A shrewd
long term investor, he multiplied the value of his investments many times over.
Eventually their worth was nearly a billion rands.
Many people, including his wife, had tried to make a Christian of him. He had
resisted that. To him Christians had seemed mad. His eldest son had become a
Christian and had sold up all and given the proceeds to the poor and had
followed the Lord Jesus. In Stuart’s eyes he had gone mad. He had believed that
people who read the bible a lot went mad. He refused to read the bible. He
would not allow the bible to be read in his presence. Something inside him kept
saying, "One thing still you lack. If you would be perfect, sell up all that you
have …" He had no peace. The thought of selling up all his shares that had
taken him so long to accumulate seemed like madness. He couldn’t sleep. He
had to take sleeping pills.
The irony of it was that his son, who had sold everything he had and given the
proceeds to the poor, and now had nothing, was as happy as the day is long. He
had no difficulty sleeping and, although he had nothing, he never lacked
anything. Stuart, by contrast, had no peace. He contemplated suicide. The voice
inside him became more persistent, "One thing still you lack ..." Eventually he
could stand it no longer. He grabbed his wife’s bible. He read Luke 18, the
account of the rich young ruler. He saw that the rewards promised were very
great. He rushed to sell up all he had and to distribute the proceeds to the poor.
He read that passage in James, Chapter 1, verse 27 about the pure religion and
undefiled before God and the Father. He was overcome with zeal. All the
widows in the church were given new houses and new cars. He gave them the
best. He imported many Silver Smokes and Cornishes, generally regarded as the
best cars in the world. He concealed his part in this so that the Lord Jesus could
have all the glory. The gifts were stated to be from the Lord Jesus. His wife was
horrified. She had prayed for his salvation for sixty years. All she had really
wanted was a husband who would go quietly to church with her and listen to
the sermon. She rued the days she had prayed for his salvation. It seemed the
LORD had done her a shot in the eye.
"So that’s where Agnes Halfshaft got her house and car," Hillary interrupted.
"Your wife prayed for you for sixty years? But you only look about half that!
How can that be?"
"My youth has been renewed in accordance with Psalm 103, verse 5."
"How old are you?"
"I’m eighty-nine."
"Good heavens. I took you to be thirty-five."
106 | Chapter 17
Stuart continued to explain. The news of his generosity got round very quickly.
Every needy person in the surrounding districts came to his house for handouts.
He gave freely to everyone. They were besieged twenty four hours a day. Some
came through the windows, some down the chimney, like Father Christmas. His
wife complained to the elders of her church. The elders declared Stuart to be ill.
They tried to get him to seek medical advice. Instead, he called for the elders to
pray the prayer of faith over him in accordance with James, Chapter 5, verses 14
and 15. A person doing that is raised up, restored, and, if he has committed sins,
forgiven. As the elders prayed the prayer of faith over him he was restored to
the prime of life. When they had started praying he was a wrinkled old man with
grey hair. When they finished he looked like a man in the prime of life with
sleek black hair just as he had in his youth. The elders couldn’t believe their
eyes. They had prayed with their eyes closed. When they opened them there was
this younger man before them. They were visibly disturbed and were quick to
take their leave.
Even his wife could not believe he was her husband. He looked like the day she
married him, sixty years before. The elders tried to convince her that he was an
impostor bent on doing her out of her wealth. She asked him to leave. He went
to the Transkei as a missionary. The actions of his wife and the elders resulted
in his being sent to a mental institution for observation. He was certified mad.
They thought he was a young man who thought he was eighty nine. They would
not believe he was who he said he was. They tried to make him tell them who
he really was. Deadwood had him transferred to Naboomspruit. He was being
racked by Mary Shrink. She kept asking him if he still thought he was Stuart
Tall. When he answered that he did, she would increase the tension. He was
getting taller as a result.
"Stuart Tall? Is that your name? I know a John Tall."
"He’s my son."
"Incredible! He looks more like your father."
Glenda Turnbull, the matron, believed his story and had become one of his
manifold more wives. She had secretly given him a key to his cell. He often
made secret excursions late at night, sometimes in the company of Glenda, as
on the night they had taken her to Lucy’s home. Like Hillary, he was now in
solitary confinement.
At this point Odille joined them. "You must hate me," she said to Stuart. "What
makes you say that?"
"Look at all the stuff you bought my sister. And me, what did you buy me?"
"We’ll stop in Tzaneen and I’ll buy you all you want," Stuart offered.
"No, it’s too late now. I don’t want it. It’s not the same. You should have given
it to me without my asking. Now I know you hate me."
Chapter 17 | 107
Next day they had a leisurely trip back to Naboomspruit. The other women
were dropped at the hotel but Hillary and Odille were taken to Glenda’s home.
There they stayed until midnight. Then, donning their pale green nurse’s
uniforms, they went to the hospital. Odille unlocked Hillary’s cell. A minute
later she locked it again, leaving with her sister’s uniform over her arm. The
next morning Dr. Shrink ordered the paramedics to be ready with the life
support systems. Hillary had been without food or water for three days. Would
she be in urgent need of resuscitation? Would she still be alive? They all stood
wondering what they would find when they opened her cell. A messenger
arrived from the bank with the key. This was the moment everyone had been
waiting for. Hillary emerged looking like she had just returned from a holiday at
the coast. She was smiling. Her cheeks were a deeper pink. Her suntan had
darkened. She looked the picture of health.
The onlookers were amazed. Dr. Shrink was disappointed that she did not have
to use the life support systems. She put Hillary on the scale. As she was about to
enter 54kg in Hillary’s file, she noticed that she had been only 52.5 at the start
of her confinement. "That’s impossible," she said to herself. "I’ll have to get Dr.
de Villiers to check the scale." She entered 51kg.
108 | Chapter 17
Chapter 18 | 109
Chapter 18
Where the Red Disa grows
After tea Hillary was taken to the rack room for further rack therapy. She was
fastened in the stocks by one of the orderlies. Dr. Shrink was busy with another
patient in the cubicle alongside. "Give me his file," she heard her say. Then,
"Suffers from delusions of grandeur. Thinks he is a ninety year old multi-
millionaire. At other times claims he is the Lord Jesus." Hillary realized that the
patient was Stuart. "He is an extreme case," she heard Dr. Shrink say, "He will
need very severe treatment. Start at 1000 newtons." A little later she heard Dr.
Shrink call out, "What is your name?" "Stuart Tall," came the reply. "That is not
your name. What is your real name?" "That is my real name." "Take the tension
up to twelve hundred. So it went on. The tension was taken up to two thousand
four hundred newtons but they could not break the patient. Hillary felt
compassion for him. She resolved to help him as soon as she could. Clearly
Stuart and Towly were one and the same. At the time he left the card and the
cheque for her he could have been in "solitary." That would explain how he
came to be in Pietermaritzburg. That was why he left her the cheque, so that she
could track down the Red Disa and set him free.
Her therapy was much as before. She was quick to declare that she would drive
within the speed limit in future. That shortened her treatment.
Early the next morning she was awakened by someone coming into her cell. It
was Mary Shrink. She was unable to sleep and asked if Hillary would sit with her
in the garden for a while. She agreed. They sat on a bench overlooking the pool.
Dawn was about to break. There was a wall beyond the pool. Suddenly a man’s
hands appeared on the top of the wall. Then the whole man appeared. For a
moment he sat on the wall. Then he jumped down and started walking towards
them. He was singing, "I’m walking on the water, I’m walking on the sea, I’m
walking with Jesus, He’s walking with me."
The man was Stuart. He was obviously in a hurry. Instead of walking around the
pool, he walked over it. He walked on the water. As he passed them he greeted
them cheerily. He really was in a hurry for instead of going through the door he
took a short cut through the wall of his cell. For some time Mary sat
openmouthed with astonishment. When she recovered her ability to speak, she
said, "Did you see that?"
Hillary decided she would have some fun. "See what?" she asked.
"Did you see a man walk across the pool on the water and then walk through
that wall?"
110 | Chapter 18
"No," Hillary said, "I saw no man."
"Then I must be going mad." she rubbed her eyes. "I must stop drinking that
cheap sherry."
"Perhaps a little rack therapy would help?" Hillary suggested. "Look what it has
done for me."
"You’re right, but please don’t tell anyone. Promise you won’t tell anyone."
Hillary promised.
They went to the rack therapy room. Hillary fastened Mary’s feet and shoulders
in the stocks. She sat at the computer console. "Start at two hundred," Mary
said. Hillary took it up to four hundred. "Two hundred it is," she said. Mary
winced.
"What is your name?" Hillary asked.
"I’m Mary Shrink, Doctor of psychiatric medicine, graduate of the University of
North Alaska."
"Did you have an hallucination about a man walking on the water?"
"Yes."
"I’m taking the tension up to four hundred," Hillary said. She took it up to eight
hundred. Dr. Shrink screamed. She tried to hold back the tears in her eyes.
"Did you see a man walk on water?"
"No, I did not see any man walk on water."
"End of treatment," Hillary said. "Like you said, it works every time. How silly,
those Americans who say it doesn’t work." She took the tension back to zero
and released the stocks.
Dr. Shrink was crying. She said her back was very sore. She excused herself and
had two glasses of cheap sherry before going back to bed.
When it came to the time for Hillary’s treatment, Dr. Shrink told her that her
treatment had been successful and that she had recommended to the board that
she be released immediately. Then she added that all the patients had recovered
sufficiently not to need further rack treatment. She had recommended that they
all be released. Then she started crying and said her back was sore. Hillary
massaged it for her with liniment.
When they served her lunch, Glenda told her that the board had agreed to her
immediate release and that she was free to go as soon as she had eaten. The
door of her cell was left unlocked. There was a card under her saucer. It read:
LOOK FOR THE RED DISA WHERE THE RED DISA GROWS. It was
signed, "Towly." Now she was sure that Stuart was Towly. She had at last
succeeded in getting him released. That was obviously why he had set her on
the trail of the Red Disa. That was one mystery solved. Now for the Red Disa.
Chapter 18 | 111
She was sure he was Deadwood but she had to prove it and have him
apprehended, together with his two henchmen. It was all clear to her now.
Deadwood was robbing the widows of the things Stuart had given them. They
did not want this made known so they had to get rid of Stuart and her. Now
that they were being released, they would have to be on guard against the
cyanide men who would now be more determined than ever.
Odille arived just as she finished her lunch. "I’ve come to take you to Lucy’s.
Your car is there," she said. Hillary showed her the note from Towly.
"Good," she said, "It grows only on Table Mountain, so you will have to come
to Cape Town with me. Leslie has fixed me up at the ‘Moonscape’ where I’ll be
taking turns with Lucy as ‘The Fairy Dancer.’"
Odille had to see Leslie to get a copy of her contract. Leslie was surprised to see
Hillary with her. He asked if she did not also want a contract. She declined. She
told Leslie of the card she had received from Towly. He confirmed that the Red
Disa grew only on Table Mountain. She asked after Deadwood. Leslie had not
seen or heard of him since the day he was hanged at Loch Athlone. He hoped
he was still alive as he did not want to lose his best customer.
Hillary phoned the Ranch Motel to find out if Prince Andrew had left any
messages for her. He hadn’t. She was disappointed but she was looking forward
to her visit to Cape Town. She had not been there before. She would have the
company of Odille and Lucy and might get an opportunity to dance at the
Moonscape and earn some money.
When they joined the queue to check in for the flight, Hillary noticed a man a
few places ahead of them. There was something familiar about him. He was
wearing a neck brace which made it more difficult to recognize him. As he
turned to leave the check-in counter she saw his face. It was Deadwood. He did
not see her. That confirmed that he was the Red Disa. Obviously Towly must
have had foreknowledge that he would be going to Cape Town and that was
why he had alerted her. Odille agreed that her suspicions were well founded. In
walking to their seats on the Airbus they passed Deadwood. A very attractive
girl in the seat next to his was receiving his full attention. Hillary wondered if he
was on another revival campaign similar to the one he had conducted at Loch
Athlone.
Hillary had a window seat. As they approached Cape Town she had a splendid
view of the du Toit’s Kloof Mountains. It was the first time she had seen fold
mountains. They were completely different from the block mountains of Natal.
The scenery exhilarated her. The Cape was exciting. She sensed adventure.
Deadwood hired a car. The two girls did the same. Their mission was to track
down the Red Disa. Deadwood was their prime suspect. They decided to follow
him. He left the airport with the attractive girl beside him. They booked in at
the Cape Moon Hotel. That suited Odille as the Moonscape was part of that
112 | Chapter 18
hotel. They waited until Deadwood and his companion had been shown to their
room before they entered the foyer. They did not want Deadwood to know that
he was being followed.
The Moonscape had provided special quarters for Odille. Hillary was pleased to
book her own room. Odille would be performing until late at night and might
disturb her if they shared a room.
Looking out of her window, Hillary saw that the hotel was built in the form of a
rectangle with a large courtyard in the middle. She ordered a meal in her room
and then went to bed. It had been a busy day.
Hillary was up early the next morning. She had breakfast and then decided to
explore Cape Town on foot. Cape Town was different. It had an atmosphere all
its own. She was fascinated by the quaint narrow streets with their romantic
sounding Dutch names. It was in one of these streets that she came across a
small but elite motor showroom. It contained a few Silver Smokes and a
Cornish in two shades of green. She was sure that was the car Prince Andrew
had used to take her out. She entered to have a closer look.
A smartly dressed young lady appeared and asked if she was interested in the
car. Hillary said she had seen one like it in a showroom in Roodepoort and she
wondered if this was the same car. The salesman there had assured her that it
had been Prince Andrew’s. It was apparently unique.
The lady said she would have to call the manager. When he appeared she
recognized him immediately. He recognized her too. His expression changed to
one of dismay and unbelief but he quickly recovered his composure. "Yes, it is
the one that was Prince Andrew’s and it is unique," he said, pretending not to
recognize her. He offered her a ride but she declined. She did not trust him. She
thanked him and left as quickly as she could. She had a premonition that
something unpleasant was about to take place. She slipped into an alleyway and
looked to see if she was being followed. Two men emerged from the showroom
and started running in her direction. They passed her hiding place without
seeing her. At the intersection they stopped and looked all around. Then they
turned round and started running back. They must have realized she had turned
into the alleyway. She darted up the alley only to find that it was a blind alley.
She would have to fight her way past the men. They each had a knife. They
lunged at her, knives flashing. She dodged the one, grabbed the other by the
wrist that held the knife and helped him on his way. He collided with the wall.
The other lunged again. He obviously had no idea of the speed with which
Hillary could move. In a trice she was behind him. A terrific kick in the pants
added to the momentum of his lunge. He ended up against the wall. They came
at her again. This time they were on the blind side of the alley. She dodged their
knives again and landed on each in turn a tremendous kung fu chop. Their
knives went flying. This time they did not get up. She was about to attack them
Chapter 18 | 113
again. They lay on the ground, pleading for mercy. She left them and ran out of
the alley.
After that she felt she needed some refreshment. She went to a restaurant in the
Golden Acre. She ordered coffee and a Black Cat peanut butter sandwich.
While she was waiting she saw Deadwood come in. He was still wearing the
neck brace. On his arm was the same attractive girl. She had light gold hair
down to her shoulders. Her features were unusual but very handsome. Her
complexion was olive and her eyes dark brown. She wore an elegant beige dress
with matching shoes and ostrich leather handbag.
Hillary held the menu up in front of her face so that he would not recognize
her. When the waiter came she asked him to add a newspaper to her order.
Behind the newspaper she was safe.
Deadwood chose a table on the other side of the restaurant. He and the girl
seemed to be having an argument. They both looked unhappy. She could not
hear what they were saying. She waited until they had gone. Then she went
window shopping in the Golden Acre. There were many elegant shops. She
bought some items of clothing. There was an adult shop. Amongst its strange
wares were some life size inflatable dolls. She wondered who would buy those.
Another shop sold binoculars and cameras and many interesting devices. She
looked to see if there was anything she could use in her profession. She bought
a tiny pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass and a minute spy camera. Then she
saw something that really interested her. It was an infrared listening device. The
picture on the box showed a beam being reflected from a window and the
reflected beam being received by a detector. The operator was listening with a
pair of earphones connected to the detector. She bought one. It was expensive
but she still had most of her earnings from Loch Athlone. If necessary, she
could always provide Lucy and Odille with some time off. She also bought a
small tape recorder so that she could record messages received by the device.
The device had one small snag. In order for the beam to be reflected back in the
direction of the receiver it had to be aimed perpendicularly onto the window
pane. This meant the operator had to be directly opposite the window. She tried
out the device when she got back to her room, aiming it at the window directly
opposite. It worked. She could hear the sound channel of the TV set in the
room. She wanted to use it to hear what Deadwood and his friends had to say
to one another in private. Before she could do that she had to find out which
room he was in. A phone call to the reception desk did it. His room was one
floor below hers and a bit to one side. She located the room in which the device
would have to be placed. A handsome tip to the chamber maid enabled her to
try it out. She heard nothing from Deadwood’s room. Presumably he was out.
Another tip and the maid opened Deadwood’s room and switched on the TV.
It was all right, she could hear the sound clearly. The room where she needed to
114 | Chapter 18
install the device was occupied by a company representative. According to the
maid he always came in for lunch.
Hillary changed into her sexiest clothes and sprayed herself with her best
perfume. She hoped to make an impression of the representative in the hope
that he would be cooperative. Shortly before lunch time she went to the foyer
to await his arrival. She knew his room number and so she would know him
when he asked for his key.
She waited near the reception desk. Eventually a smartly dressed man asked for
the key number that she was listening for. He was given his key and he turned
to go. Hillary was about to speak to him when she recognized him. He was
none other than Ken Roberts. She turned the other way but too late. The
change in his expression showed that he had recognized her. He was not
pleased to see her. She would have to make another plan.
That afternoon she phoned Uncle John. He was an optical physicist and knew
all about the device she had bought. He explained to her that she could use it
with the beam at an angle to the window if she placed the transmitter and
receiver at different positions. He explained how to do it.
From her room she aimed the beam at Deadwood’s window. Using the
instructions Uncle John had given her she worked out where the beam would
be reflected to. She estimated it would strike a window on the first floor. Still in
her best clothes, she determined the number of the room she needed to use. It
was locked. Again she waited in the vicinity of the reception desk. After some
time a man asked for the key of that room. He looked like a helpful type.
Besides, he was handsome. She followed him into the elevator. There were just
the two of them. She invited him to join her for a drink. He replied, "No
thanks, I don’t go for prostitutes."
He left the elevator and hurried down the corridor. She followed him. "Please I
need a favour from you," she called after him. The man stopped. She explained
that she needed to install a device in his room. When he heard her story he
became cooperative and helped her set it up.
With the transmitter on her window sill, she located the beam reflected from
Deadwood’s window by using the receiver in her new friend’s room. Then she
changed the transmitter and receiver around. That way she could listen in her
own room. When they had finished setting it up he said he would accept her
invitation to join her for a drink after all. He showed real interest in her career.
She was the first woman private investigator he had met. Until then he had
believed they existed only in the movies. He agreed to let her keep the
transmitter switched on in his room. Then she could listen in any time she
wanted to in her own room.
Hillary was pleased that he had been so helpful. She had to admit to herself that
she enjoyed being well-dressed. There was something so womanly about it. It
Chapter 18 | 115
was strange that he had at first taken her to be a prostitute. While waiting for
the elevator to return to her own room, a Japanese man asked her how much
she charged. Remembering what a motor car salesman had once told her, she
replied, "If you have to ask the price you can’t afford it." She put on the
headphones and switched on. She could hear the TV. Good, it was working.
She took her new binoculars and looked into his room. He was sitting in an
armchair watching TV. She got a book to read and waited with the headphones
on in case something should happen.
After a while she heard a knock at his door. He switched off the TV. Through
her binoculars she could see that his visitor was the attractive girl who had been
with him in the restaurant that morning. Greetings were exchanged. "I’ve got
something to show you that will make our eyes pop out," she heard him say. He
went to the wardrobe and took out a briefcase. Then he put it on the coffee
table and opened it. "Now doesn’t that make your heart glad," he said.
"Wow! They’re beautiful. Are they diamonds?"
"Genuine, every one, worth ten million all together. Half will be yours if you
will change your mind and come with me."
"I’m scared," she said. "I’m afraid of the sea in that little boat and I’m afraid of
the police. What will happen if they catch us?"
"I’ll probably get ten years. I doubt they would do anything to you. At worst
you’d get a suspended sentence."
"I’m scared," said the woman. "You go on your own. Find yourself a nice girl in
Spain. With all these diamonds that should be easy. Just give me one big one to
remember you by. My mother will help me look after our baby. If it’s a boy I’ll
name him after you."
"Unfortunately, I have to go. My time has expired. They will be after me soon."
"How did you get into this mess?"
"It was all that money of Stuart’s. It corrupted me. I became greedy. I had a
castle and beautiful girls to dance and strip for me. I got carried away. I became
addicted to beautiful girls. I fell in love with them. I fell in love with you. Now
you’re carrying my baby. How can I abandon you? I love you. Then came this
blackmailer. He threatened to tell the church about me. My reputation and my
job are at stake. I’ll lose everything. He gave me a time limit. It expires today.
I’ve failed. I’ve got to go."
"What about your wife? Don’t you love her?"
"Once she finds out she won’t hesitate to divorce me. She thinks I’m a paragon
of virtue. Besides she’s a prude. After the wonderful girls I’ve had, she’s so
boring."
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"Why don’t you become one of us? The police would never think to look for
you in the coloured community. Once the Immorality Act is repealed we could
get married. In the meantime you could change your name and appearance.
Grow a beard."
"I would always be running from the police. Come with me to Spain. There’s no
apartheid there. We’d be well off."
"You would. You’d have all those Spanish ladies dancing on your table. Then
where would I be? No, thanks. I’ve made up my mind. I’m staying here."
"Look at these diamonds," Deadwood said persuasively, "They could be yours.
You could live in a palace and drive a Silver Smoke. You need never work
again."
"I’ve made up my mind. I’m staying here," the woman said.
Hillary heard the door bang. There was no more conversation. What she had
heard amazed her. Deadwood’s access to Stuart’s money she already knew
about. His means of getting it could be the reason he expected to be in trouble
with the police. He was being blackmailed. What did he mean saying that his
time had run out? Who was the blackmailer? Who would be after him soon? He
was planning to leave the country in a small boat with ten million rands worth
of diamonds in a briefcase. An attractive young coloured woman was carrying
his baby. That was probably another reason he would be in trouble with the
police. She had probably danced for him. Presumably Leslie had acted as her
agent.
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118 | Chapter 19
Chapter 19
Salvation and Murder
Hillary continued to listen while reading her book. The door opened again. She
recognized the visitor’s voice immediately. It was Ken Roberts. She switched on
the tape recorder.
"I’ve got good news for you," Ken Roberts said, "Dr. Shrink’s passport has
been returned. The police are no longer interested in the case. One or two of
the patients may institute civil proceedings. If they do we can settle with them
out of court. We still have twenty million rands of Stuart’s money as well as
sixteen houses and twelve motor cars. Dr. Shrink has resigned. The rack therapy
has been closed down. It’s safe for you to return to Roodepoort."
"But what about the diamonds? Some of them are hot. I bought them from a
fence in Johannesburg. They were stolen from Lady Margo. The others are the
ones Stuart gave to the widows. I was planning to have them re-cut in Spain. I
want to get out while the going is good."
"I’ll get the diamonds re-cut for you. Then you can let your wife divorce you
and you’ll be able to marry Kate. I have it on good authority that the Mixed
marriages Act is about to be repealed. The British and American governments
are putting pressure on our government to repeal it. No more prosecutions will
be made."
"But what about Stuart? He will be free now. Won’t he make trouble? And
there is the blackmailer. He gave me until today to deliver Debbie Delightful’s
body. He said if I failed in that it would cost me my life."
"Stuart’s as soft as butter. He won’t make any trouble. If he does, I can handle
him," Roberts assured him.
"How can you be sure?"
"I’ve been twisting him around my little finger. I know the scriptures he
preaches, about forgiving and turning the other cheek. I’ll quote them back to
him. He’s the least of our problems."
"And the girl, Debbie Delightful?"
"Yes, she’s our biggest problem. I’ve had her investigated. Her real name is
Hillary Keating. You will remember her. We met her in Pietermaritzburg that
night, when we were with Bert Richards. She has been deceiving you in her
disguise as Debbie Delightful. She is very dangerous. She attended an elite girls’
school in Standerton. To be accepted candidates need a certificate from a
magistrate. The girls have a very elite status. They are called the State President’s
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daughters. They are trained in martial arts and the use of firearms. They put a
lot of emphasis on sport and physical fitness. She did well in everything. In her
final year she was Head Girl and Victrix Ludorum. She was a crack shot with
rifle and revolver. She has a double black belt in kung fu and she eats Black Cat
peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.
"Her kung fu chop is so powerful she can smash armour with it. She was tops
in everything: running, swimming — you saw her swim — hockey, tennis, self
defence.
"Mary Shrink tried to break her on the rack. Usually one thousand newtons is
fatal. She took two thousand and only increased one centimetre in height. She
went without food and water for three days and it did not affect her in the least.
She didn’t even plead for water when she was released.
"Yesterday, she followed you to Cape Town. This morning she poked her nose
in at the shop, asking dangerous questions about the cars. I sent the knife men
after her. Now they’ve quit. They say she plays too rough. And they were Cape
Town’s best.
"There’s one thing that puzzles me about her. I can’t make out who she is
working for. The State President tried to recruit her for the NIS, the National
Intelligence Service. She declined. I’m not sure that wasn’t just a cover up. She
may actually be working for them, or even the CID."
"She was sentenced to death by you know who," Deadwood said. "She is still at
large and being very troublesome. I’m blamed. I was made responsible for
eliminating her. I was threatened with exposure if I do not deliver her body by
midnight tonight. That’s another reason I should leave the country tonight."
"I’ve taken care of that too. I’ve had the deadline extended by two days. Leave it
to me. I’ll come with a plan at lunch time tomorrow."
"What do you propose to do?" Deadwood asked.
"I’ll think of something."
Ken Roberts left. He promised to return at lunch time the next day. Hillary
laughed. "Double black belt, smashes armour. What nonsense! I wonder where
Ken Roberts got his information?"
Hillary decided she would have dinner at the Moonscape. Then she would have
the pleasure of watching either Lucy or Odille dance. It was Odille who was on
that evening. Halfway through her act she doubled up in pain. The manager
apologized for her not being able to complete her performance. Hillary came to
the rescue. She offered to do the act in place of her sister. The manager and the
audience were pleased. After completing her act she went backstage to see how
Odille was doing. They had called the doctor who had given her something for
her stomach cramp. She was feeling better. Hillary did not tell her about her
eavesdropping.
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The next day Hillary waited impatiently for lunch time. She was eager to hear
about Ken Roberts’ plan to put her in her grave. Ken arrived early. It was
obvious he was keen to tell Deadwood the details of his plan. "I’ve hired a good
hit man," he began. "He will do the job tonight. He will pose as a doctor and
use a cyanide syringe. It’s quick. She will only have pain for a few seconds and
then it will be over for her."
"I don’t like murder," said Deadwood with a shudder in his voice. "Couldn’t I
persuade her to come with me to Spain? You could fake her death."
"That won’t work. She is unlikely to agree and you would have to tell her about
your plan. Then we would be worse off than ever. No, there’s only one way,
distasteful as it is."
"I don’t like it. I’d rather hand myself over to the police."
"Then we would both have to serve long terms in jail. No, there’s only one way.
Nobody likes murder but sometimes it’s expedient. Give me your bible, I’ll
show you."
There was a short delay. Then Roberts continued, "All things are lawful unto
me, but not all things are expedient.
"That’s I Corinthians, Chapter 6, verse 12. You see all things are lawful for us
Christians. It’s only a question of expediency. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s
expedient in this case.
"I still don’t like it. Is there no other way?"
"No our orders are to have her eliminated. Her body must be put in a large
suitcase and taken to Johannesburg as accompanied baggage. You are to go
alone from the airport to you know where. There you will open the suitcase in
the presence of the Red Disa who will check that it is the correct body. Then
the suitcase with the body will be taken to the abandoned mine shaft and
thrown down. That way no one will ever find it. No body, no murder charge."
"I don’t like it. I’d rather go through with my plan."
"Your plan is too dangerous. The coastal patrols will intercept you and search
your vessel. Even if they don’t you will have to contend with the rough seas for
which the Cape is notorious. It is not called the Cape of Storms for nothing.
You have never even taken a boat out on a lake. How do you possibly think you
will manage on the Atlantic Ocean.?
"No, forget about your plan. It won’t work. You might as well give yourself up
to the police. At least they might be able to protect you from the Red Disa. If
you fail, and the Red Disa gets you it’s your body that will go down the mine
shaft. As far as the Red Disa is concerned, it is either her or you. If you don’t
get her, he’ll get you."
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"You’ve convinced me that I should hand myself over to the police and confess
everything."
"Don’t be silly. You won’t enjoy it in jail. Now listen to me. You know you can
trust me. How often have I got you out of jams in the past? Think of it this way.
We will be sending her to be with the Lord. Think of it as a good deed. She will
be more comfortable there. You will be helping her in her quest. Don’t you
remember that night in Pietermaritzburg? She said her car was given to her by
Towly. We know that Towly stands for The One Who Loves You. You know
as well as I do that Jesus is the One who loves her. She is looking for Towly.
We will help her in her quest."
"Put that way, I like it a lot better. But what if she’s not a Christian? She might
end up in Hell. I could never forgive myself."
"We can make sure she goes to be with the Lord," Ken Roberts said.
"How can we do that?"
"I’m surprised you have to ask. You’ve been doing it every Sunday for the last
thirty years. ‘If you were to die tonight, where would your soul spend eternity?
Don’t you want to accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour? Is there one
tonight?’ We’ll get you up to look like the real thing, white hair and beard. You
can knock on her door, preach the word and get her saved."
"Is that possible? She’s a stripper and a prostitute. Do you think it is still
possible to save her?" Deadwood asked in a skeptical tone. "Of course,"
Roberts said, reassuringly, "God can save anyone. Don’t you believe what you
preach?"
"I’d like to pray about it," Deadwood said.
"You do that while I make you up for your part."
Hillary continued listening. The conversation was most interesting. She heard
Ken Roberts ask Deadwood what the Lord had said in answer to his prayer.
Deadwood replied that the Lord had said it was a good idea. They must get her
saved and send her to Him before she had time to be tempted into sin again.
That is the only way to get a stripper saved.
"You look like a real man of God. She will never recognize you. Go now and
get her saved," she heard Ken Roberts say.
It was not long before Hillary heard a knock at her door. She opened it to see
an old man with white hair, a beard and a stick. He had a stoop and carried a
bible in his right hand. She had been expecting him. Ken Roberts had done
quite a good job. Leslie’s artist would have done it better.
"If you were to die tonight, where would your soul spend eternity?" he asked.
She had been expecting that too. "I haven’t thought about that," she replied.
122 | Chapter 19
"Where would it?"
"Unless you give your heart and soul to the Lord Jesus today, you will land up
in Hell," he replied.
She looked shocked. "Oh, I would hate that," she said. "Won’t you come in and
tell me how I can give my heart and soul to the Lord Jesus?"
He came in. She asked if he would like tea. She ordered tea for two from room
service.
He opened his bible and read her a few warnings. Then he asked her to say after
him, "Dear Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for my sins. I ask you to forgive me. I now
repent and follow You. I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the
dead and I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord."
He read her Romans, Chapter 10, verses 9 and 10 and told her that "Jesus is
Lord" is the confession that results in salvation.
"What if I fall into temptation and resume strip dancing?" she asked
"That won’t happen. It’s impossible now. You will go to heaven like a good girl.
You will be with the Lord. Enjoy yourself there."
She thanked him for saving her from Hell. He finished his tea and left. When
she saw him enter his room again she listened to what he would say to Ken
Roberts.
"How did it go?"
"Just perfect. She was very cooperative. Now that she is saved we can safely
dispatch her."
"There are a few things we have to do first," Ken Roberts said. "The hit man
will need a key to her room. This is what we’ll do: When she goes out, you’ll go
to the counter and ask for your key. You will give your room number as 312,
that’s her room number. I’ll wait in the elevator with a cake of soap. I’ll make an
impression of the key. You will return the key while I take the soap to a
locksmith friend of mine. Tonight while she’s asleep the hit man will use our
key to enter her room. It will only take a minute. Being asleep, she won’t feel a
thing."
Hillary was glad she had bought the eavesdropping device. It was expensive but
it was money well spent. She was at peace now that she was saved. Now she
knew who Towly was. He was the One who loved her. He had given His life for
her. He was her Saviour. She was looking forward to going to be with Him. It
was kind of Roberts and Deadwood to be so considerate. Towly would know
the identity of the Red Disa and what to do with him.
She had learned some amazing facts. Deadwood was clearly not the Red Disa.
He was being blackmailed by someone, presumably the Red Disa. It seemed the
Chapter 19 | 123
identity of the Red Disa was not known to Ken Roberts or Deadwood. He was
their enemy as well as hers.
She had some urgent shopping to do. She wanted to look her best for Towly.
The Golden Acre was her destination. The shops there were so nice. After
doing her shopping she went to the beach and collected some large pebbles. On
returning to her room she received a phone call from the manager of the
Moonscape. He told her that Odille was indisposed and had returned to
Johannesburg. Lucy was on that night but he wanted her to take Odille’s place
in future. Hillary apologized. She had a previous engagement which involved a
long journey to another place.
Before going to bed she read Psalm 91. She wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.
Perfect love casts out fear. Her love had been perfected. She even felt kindly
toward Deadwood and Roberts and the Red Disa, who had ordered her
execution.
At midnight Ken Roberts parked his car outside the hotel. He wasn’t using the
green Turbo Cornish. That would have been too conspicuous. It was the black
Cadenza that Deadwood had hired at the airport. He kept the engine running. A
smartly dressed man got out of the car and entered the hotel. He carried a
doctor’s bag and a large suitcase. The hall porter took his suitcase from him and
asked his room number. "Room 312," he answered.
The porter carried his case to that room. At the door the smartly dressed man
thanked the porter and took the case from him. He explained that his wife
would probably be asleep and he did not want to put the light on or make a
noise that might wake her. The porter left.
With his unsteady hand the smartly dressed man unlocked the door. The top hit
men can do their job sober but they charge a lot more than the R10 000 that
Ken Roberts had offered this one. It had been explained to him that his victim-
to-be would be extremely dangerous if awake. It was essential for him to make
sure she was asleep before entering. He listened carefully. There was no sound.
The light was out. He opened the door a crack and peered in. She didn’t stir. He
opened it a little wider. Still she did not stir. He entered. She seemed to be in a
deep sleep. He tiptoed over to the bedside.
He opened his doctor’s bag and took out the syringe. He was shaking. He knew
he would be no match for her if she woke up. He was shaking violently.
Anxious to get it over as quickly as possible, he pulled back the bedclothes from
her neck. Still she did not stir. He stabbed it hard into her neck where he judged
her jugular to be. There was a faint sigh and then silence. He emptied the
syringe. It contained enough to kill a dozen elephants. She couldn’t possibly
survive. He put the syringe back in his bag. Then he uncovered her arm and felt
her pulse. "Good," he said, "Dead already, quite dead." He breathed a sigh of
relief.
124 | Chapter 19
Wishing her eternal happiness and asking her forgiveness, he rolled her body
out of the bed into the large suitcase. He had to fold her body double to get it
in. He locked the suitcase and carried it out of the room. In his drunken state he
struggled. It was heavy. He locked the door. His slow erratic course eventually
got him to the elevator. When the elevator car arrived there was a waiter in it. It
was obvious to him that here was a guest who had imbibed too much. Such
incidents were common at that hotel. He took the suitcase from him. He
presumed he was on his way to board the late night flight to Johannesburg. He
helped him all the way to the waiting car and put his heavy suitcase in the boot.
The hit man gave the waiter a tip and then got into the back seat of the car.
Ken Roberts drove the hit man to his home and gave him the balance of the
R10 000. He had insisted on a deposit before he would do the job. When Ken
Roberts returned to the hotel he went straight to Deadwood’s room to inform
him of the success of their mission. Her body was in the suitcase in the boot of
the car. Later in the day he would be able to deliver it to the Red Disa and
recover the videos that the latter was threatening to use to expose him. They
opened a bottle of champagne and decided to send a fax to the Red Disa.
"Prime objective accomplished," it read. "Suitcase will be delivered today as per
your instructions."
Ken Roberts put his name on his own suitcase and that of Deadwood.
Deadwood’s name he put on the suitcase in the boot of the Cadenza.
Deadwood was not feeling well. He was having feelings of remorse. He ate only
a little of his breakfast. He was feeling shaky and it showed.
At the airport they had two cups of coffee each before joining the check-in
queue. When they reached the counter Deadwood was unable to lift his suitcase
off the trolley. Ken gave him a hand. The attendant remarked that their baggage
was very much overweight. They paid the excess baggage charge. The attendant
had to get someone to help her transfer the suitcase to the conveyer belt.
As they turned to go, Ken Roberts noticed a girl at the back of the queue. If her
body had not been in Deadwood’s case, he would have taken her to be Hillary.
The worst of it was that she appeared to be waving at someone at the head of
the queue. He looked to see who was responding to her wave. He could see no
one. He hurried Deadwood off to the lounge.
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126 | Chapter 20
Chapter 20
Bodies and Ghosts
Ken Roberts said nothing to Deadwood about the girl who looked like Hillary.
Deadwood was already in a bad way. He wanted to spare him any further
worries. The flight to Johannesburg was uneventful. After the plane had landed
Deadwood rose from his seat. As he stood in the aisle, someone tapped him on
the shoulder. "Hi, Rev," she said. Deadwood looked round to see a girl who
looked just like Hillary. She did not wait for him to return her greeting. He
collapsed in the aisle.
Ken Roberts massaged his heart. A concerned air hostess gave him mouth-to-
mouth. He said something very softly. The air hostess was kneeling beside him.
She heard what he said. "He is saying something about seeing a ghost," she said.
"It’s all right," Ken said. "He is speaking in tongues. He has just been baptized
in the Holy Spirit. Only God can understand him."
"No, he has just repeated that he has seen a ghost," the air hostess said.
"That proves he has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. That’s the seventh gift of
the Holy Spirit: the discerning of ghosts," Ken Roberts assured her.
"Shall I call an ambulance?" she asked.
"No thanks. He’ll be all right in a minute."
Deadwood recovered enough to walk. Ken Roberts helped him into the arrivals
lounge. He suggested they have a meal before they collected their baggage. He
did not want to risk having Deadwood see Hillary’s ghost again. By the time
they finished their meal the other passengers would have collected their baggage
and left the airport.
When they had finished their meal they went to the carousel to collect their
baggage. As Ken had hoped, all the other passengers had left. There were only
three bags circulating on the conveyor belt. They recovered their bags, put them
on a trolley and started walking towards the car park. Deadwood expressed
surprise at how much weight his bag had lost. He had been able to lift it off the
conveyor belt unassisted. He told Ken that he was afraid the authorities had
discovered the contents of his bag and removed them; either that, or she had
been raised from the dead. He remembered what had happened to him at Loch
Athlone.
He was so insistent that Ken agreed that they would go to the gents’ cloakroom,
lock themselves in, and open the case. To their surprise the key did not fit.
Chapter 20 | 127
Then Ken noticed that the label had another name on it. Someone had
mistaken Deadwood’s case for his own.
They went to the help desk. Someone had just phoned to tell of his mistake and
was on his way to exchange cases. The two men breathed a sigh of relief. When
the man arrived he said to them, "Your case is terribly heavy. What have you
got in it?"
Ken Roberts thought quickly. "It’s full of books," he said, "My companion here
is a pastor. He’s got a lot of bibles and concordances and things." Deadwood
was still worried. His life would be at stake if he arrived with the wrong suitcase
or if the body had been stolen. He wanted to make sure her body was still in the
case. Again they went to the gents’ cloakroom and locked themselves in a
cubicle. Deadwood unlocked the case. He was relieved when the key fitted. He
raised the lid a little. An arm popped out. He shuddered as he pushed it back
and closed the lid. It was cold and clammy. "I’ll be glad when this is all over," he
said to Ken.
Deadwood’s instructions were to come alone at a certain time. He was to open
the suitcase in front of the Red Disa. After the body had been positively
identified as that of the victim, the suitcase would be closed, taken to an
abandoned mine shaft and dropped down it. Then the videos that were being
used to blackmail him would be given to him and he would no longer be
blackmailed.
Ken Roberts helped him get the suitcase into the car. Deadwood set out alone
to meet the Red Disa at the appointed place. When he arrived he got one of the
servants to help him carry the suitcase. The Red Disa was at the table, in the
chairman’s seat, a henchman on either side. He wore a black track suit with a
black hood over his head. Deadwood and his helper placed the suitcase on the
table in front of the Red Disa.
"Good," the Red Disa said, "You will get your promised reward. This is what
we have all been waiting for. At last that meddlesome girl is out of the way."
128 | Chapter 20
Chapter 21 | 129
Chapter 21
To the Rescue
After arriving at the airport, the girl who looked like Hillary took her car and
raced into town. She ran up the stairs and barged into the office. Leslie was
startled by her sudden appearance. There was a visitor in a chair at the side of
his desk. She ignored the visitor.
"Your game’s up," she said. "I know who you are and what you’ve been doing."
Leslie looked even more surprised. "Who I am, and what I’ve been doing?
Indeed, I’m sure you know. I am your agent aren’t I?"
"You’re more than that. You’re the Red Disa and you’ve been blackmailing the
Reverend Deadwood. And you’ve been trying to have me murdered. I know all
about Kate, how you got her to dance for Deadwood and get pregnant by him
and how you’ve been using videos to blackmail him."
"So you’ve exposed my little game, have you? Sherlock Holmes would be proud
of you. Who else have you told? Leslie picked up the phone, "This is the Red
Disa. Send in two men with guns," he ordered.
"It’s no use," Hillary said, " I’m a double black belt at kung fu. I know how to
handle gunmen."
Two men entered with rifles. They looked most unprofessional, like they had
never handled firearms before. They were about to give them to Leslie. "Don’t
give them to me," he said, "Point them at her."
The men pointed the rifles at Hillary. Like greased lightning she kicked the rifle
out of one man’s hand. It broke in two and the pieces went flying. The man
uttered a cry of pain and nursed his hand. The second man received a kung fu
chop. He lay on the floor unconscious.
"Pretty good," said Leslie. "If you weren’t so rough you could have had the part.
We’re auditioning for someone to play the part of Purdy in ‘The Avengers,’ but
as it is you’ve injured your fellow actors."
Hillary took the rifle from the unconscious man. She pointed it at Leslie. He
raised his hands high above his head. She tried to cock the rifle. Realizing it was
a toy, she threw it away.
"Now call the police, " she commanded. Leslie picked up the phone. "Send in a
policeman," he said.
In came a man dressed as a policeman.
130 | Chapter 21
"Impressive! I’m impressed. Your kung fu is better that your driving. Aren’t you
going to say ‘Hello’ to me?"
In her anger she had ignored Leslie’s visitor. As he spoke she turned to look at
him. It was Graham Grant, against whom she had diced on Town Hill. "I
suppose you’re in this with Leslie," she said.
"No, I’ve just come from Port Elizabeth," Graham said. "I don’t know what has
been happening. It sounds fascinating. Leslie the Red Disa, blackmail and
murder? Tell me all about it."
"He hired a hit man to murder me in Cape Town," she said.
"How naughty of you, Leslie. Was this all part of "The Avengers" production?"
"No, it was for real."
"Impossible! I’ve known Leslie for a long time. He must have been doing this
for one of his productions."
"Here’s your policeman," Leslie said, "What do you want him to do?"
She was beginning to realize that she was making a fool of herself. There was
something about Graham that reminded her of someone. Who was it?"
She looked at Graham trying to remember who it was he reminded her of. He
was smiling. She looked at Leslie. He had a quizzical smile on his face. Then the
penny dropped.
"Leslie, you beast!" she said.
"Why? If you could be Lady de Rothschild, why couldn’t Graham be Prince
Andrew?"
"Because he took me in. He took advantage of me, that’s why."
"Come now, you’re not going to stop loving me just because I’m not the real
Prince Andrew?"
"I hate you!" she said with feeling. "Policeman, arrest that man."
He put the toy handcuffs on Graham.
Hillary took out the magnifying glass she had bought in Cape Town. She
examined the handwriting on the notes she had received from the Red Disa.
She took out a greeting card from her handbag and examined it with the glass.
"What a fool I’ve been. I should have known all along. My God, I hope I’m not
too late!"
She left as suddenly as she had arrived. She drove at full speed to Deadwood
Castle. She prayed she would be in time. The gate was locked. She was over in a
trice. She opened the door. On the table in front of Deadwood’s chair was the
open suitcase. Arms and legs stuck out in all directions. Out of the corner of
Chapter 21 | 131
her eye she saw a figure in black slip out of the door. The glass doors to the
patio were open. On the patio sat Deadwood tied to a chair. Blackhench stood
with his right arm raised. Butcher had torn open Deadwood’s shirt. he was
indicating to Blackhench the position of the main artery from the heart.
She was running at full speed. Could she possibly make it? Blackhench’s arm
was already on its way down. It seemed impossible. She was too late. Thoughts
of Jonty Rhodes went through her mind. She dived. Would she get the bails off
before Blackhench made his ground? It seemed like ages but in fact it was only
milliseconds. Her hands closed around the syringe. So great was her momentum
that all four landed in the pool.
She wasn’t sure whether the syringe had entered Deadwood’s chest. He was in
the pool tied to a chair, head down. She righted the chair. Mercifully, he was still
breathing. Blackhench and Butcher were struggling to get out of the pool.
Neither could swim very well.
She pushed the chair along as she swam. As she reached the side Blackhench
pushed her away. She grabbed his hand and pulled him in. She pushed his head
under and held it there. He struggled. She held his head under until she thought
he was drowning. Then she let go. He struggled for breath and then struggled to
get out. While he was struggling she got Deadwood out. As she was doing so
she failed to see Butcher coming. He hit her with a chair, knocking her out cold.
When she came to she was bound hand and foot. Deadwood was bound in the
same way. The two men carried her to the garage and put her in the boot of a
car. They closed the lid and locked it. She heard them walk back into the house.
Shortly afterwards she heard them coming back. She presumed they were
carrying Deadwood. It seemed they put him on the back seat. Then the car
started up and began to move. A few minutes later it stopped and the engine
was switched off. The boot lid opened and the men took her out and carried
her. She saw they were at a disused mine shaft. It had a tall barbed wire fence
around it with warning signs in four languages. The men had cut a hole in the
fence. They carried her through the gap and put her down right at the edge of
the shaft collar. She could see a considerable way into the shaft. It looked dark
and miserable.
Butcher took a syringe from his pocket. He broke open a glass phial. There was
a smell of bitter almonds. She watched as Butcher slowly filled the syringe with
the contents of the phial. When it was full he bent over to inject the contents
into her jugular. She felt the needle touch her neck. She pulled away and fell
into the shaft. Desperately she clutched at the concrete collar. Her hands were
tied. Momentarily she hung there. Then her fingers slipped off the concrete. She
was falling. It became dark around her. The air had a foul smell. It was rushing
past her with ever increasing speed. She felt it was all over. This was the end.
132 | Chapter 21
Her life passed before her. She saw herself fighting with her sister, breaking
plates over her head. She saw the scar on her sister’s forehead that had been
made by one of the plates. She saw her mother’s regret at the loss of crockery.
How she wished she had controlled her temper and not been so violent. Then
she remembered what Deadwood had taught her the time he had visited her in
a disguise at the Cape Moon Hotel: that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as
Lord, you shall be saved. "Jesus is Lord," she shouted at the top of her voice.
She hoped that would get her into heaven. There was a loud noise. The earth
seemed to be shaking. Suddenly she hit water. That was a familiar experience.
She often dived off the high board. The water was warm. It smelt foul. She was
choking. She hadn’t been prepared for a swim and hadn’t held her breath. That
sensation of falling had stopped. Strangely, it felt like she was rising. She
surfaced. Thank God, she could breathe again. To her amazement, she saw the
walls of the shaft moving swiftly downwards. She was rising. It was getting
lighter. Then the full light of day. She was rolling over the ground. Grabbing at
the grass she came to rest. There was water all around her. It was now flowing
in the opposite direction. She could hardly believe her eyes. She was on the
surface some distance from the shaft. The earth was trembling. The water was
flowing slowly back into the shaft. Someone was screaming for help. It was
Blackhench. He was desperately holding on to Butcher who had been washed
into the shaft. He was sliding slowly toward the edge. She rushed as best as she
could with her feet tied and grabbed him with both hands. Her hands were still
tied so she had to use both hands. "Confess that Jesus is Lord," she shouted to
the two men. They both shouted that confession. She hooked her legs around a
small shrub. With all her strength she pulled Blackhench on to firmer ground.
The water was receding, the ground becoming firmer. They pulled Butcher to
safety. Blackhench cut her bonds. Butcher expressed his thanks and apologized.
Blackhench also apologized.
Deadwood was still in the car with his hands and feet tied. He was surprised to
see them return with Hillary, and her unbound at that. They cut his bonds and
apologized. He asked what happened. Butcher told him that Hillary had fallen
into the shaft. At the same time there was an earth tremor caused by a major
subsidence in the mine. They had stopped pumping water in that part of the
mine and it was flooded. The subsidence caused water to be pushed up the
shaft. That had washed Hillary out again.
Deadwood mentioned that it was Thursday, the day of their midweek prayer
meeting. It was due to start in a few minutes. He suggested they all attend and
give thanks for their deliverance. They drove straight there.
Chapter 21 | 133
134 | Chapter 22
Chapter 22
Endless Vacation
Pastor Deadwood went on to the platform with his wet suit clinging to him. It
was his best suit, all dripping wet from his ordeal in the swimming pool. His
three companions who had entered with him were all drenched to the skin.
Hillary took a seat in the middle row. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Deadwood
entered and sat one seat away from her. She looked at Hillary with distaste.
Then she said, "My dear, you’re all wet. And your hair is such a mess. And, if
you don’t mind my saying so, you smell dreadful. What on earth have you been
doing?"
"Swimming in an abandoned mine shaft," Hillary replied.
"Isn’t that very dangerous?"
"Yes, normally, but, no — not if you know the confession that results in
salvation."
Hillary was surprised to see Stuart there. With him were Glenda, Felicity and
Heather. Dr. de Villiers was there too. As the meeting was about to begin, a lady
entered. She wore a brown costume, a brown hat with a veil and brown shoes.
Her hair was short, straight and black, her face wrinkled. In her right hand was a
walking stick and in her left hand a brown briefcase. She walked slowly, like an
elderly lady. She took a seat on the aisle near the back.
As usual the meeting began with spirited chorus singing. This continued for a
long time. It was followed by prayers, scripture readings and testimonies. While
testimonies were being given, the lady in brown who had been sitting near the
back came to the front. She switched on the large screen video machine. She
started to address the congregation. "I have some Christian videos here that are
particularly relevant to this church. You will get a blessing from them," she
began.
This was the moment Hillary was waiting for. She had some unfinished
business. When she had entered Deadwood Castle in such a hurry she had seen
out of the corner of her eye a dark figure slip out of the door and disappear.
"Give me the car keys," she said to Blackhench, "I’ll be back shortly."
Blackhench, who had driven the car, gave her the keys.
The lady in brown opened her briefcase and took out a video tape. As she did
so Hillary snatched it from her and put it back in the briefcase. Then she
grabbed the briefcase and started to run up the aisle. The lady in brown
shouted, "Stop her! Stop thief!" A deacon at the entrance tried to stop her with
a rugby tackle. She had no difficulty in evading him.
Chapter 22 | 135
She drove to the mine shaft. There she entered through the gap her captors had
made in the fence. She emptied the contents of the briefcase into the shaft.
Then she went back to the church.
The lady in brown was back in her seat, weeping. A few people were trying to
comfort her. Hillary gave the empty briefcase back to the lady in brown. The
meeting was over. Only a few stragglers remained.
"What was that all about?" Deadwood asked.
"Come to the vestry and I’ll show you," Hillary said.
The lady in brown tried to run away. Hillary grabbed her arm and twisted it
behind her back. She forced her into the vestry. She called Stuart, Butcher and
Blackhench to join them. When the door was closed, Hillary tore off the hat,
wig and makeup of the lady in brown. To everyone’s amazement (except
Hillary’s), the old lady was suddenly transformed into a beautiful young girl with
long blonde hair and smooth pink cheeks.
"Gentlemen," Hillary said, "Meet the Red Disa."
"Odille!" Deadwood gasped in amazement.
Odille turned to Hillary. "I hate you," she said, "I’ve always hated you. You
were always Mommy’s little pet. You always had the best and I had to make do
with the left- overs. You were always the clever one and I was the dunce. You
stole my toys and you broke Mommy’s plates on my head." She pointed to the
scar on her forehead. "You had the best schooling and I had the worst. You
were always the pretty one and I was the ugly sister. You even stole my
boyfriends."
Odille broke down and wept. "I hate you, I hate myself, I hate Mommy, I hate
everybody. I hate everything!" she shouted.
"That’s good," Stuart said. "You sound like you’re ready to become the Lord
Jesus’ disciple. He quoted Luke, Chapter 14, verse 26:
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and
children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my
disciple.
"That’s what I’m going to do," Deadwood said. "I’m going to become the
Lord’s disciple. I hate myself. I hate my wife. I hate the things I’ve done. I’m
going to return the diamonds to their rightful owners. I’m going to return all the
houses and cars to the widows. Then I’m going to the Transkei to minister to
the poor. I’m sorry, Stuart, I’ve wronged you. I hope you will forgive me. I’ll be
lucky if I’m not sent to jail."
"There’s nothing to forgive. I love you, Pastor. When you go to the Transkei,
you go with the Lord’s blessing and mine. Go well! Don’t worry about the
136 | Chapter 22
houses and cars. They’re yours. I’ve replaced those given up by the widows,"
Stuart said.
"I also hate myself and what I’ve been doing. I also want to be the Lord’s
disciple. I’ll go with you, Pastor," Blackhench said.
"Me too. Count me in," Butcher said.
"Cheer up, Odille," Stuart said, "You may come with me. We will go into all the
world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Our first stop will be the
Victoria Falls. Preaching the gospel is like a vacation. We’ll have an endless
vacation like the RCI motto says. I will be a father to you. From now on you
will have the best."
Stuart put his arms around Odille and embraced her. She stopped crying and
kissed him. "There are two things I don’t understand," he said. "The first is why
Hillary wouldn’t let you show your videos. The second is, Why is everybody so
wet?"
"To answer your second question first, we had an afternoon swim in an
abandoned mine shaft," Hillary said. "About Odille’s videos, she was using
them to blackmail the pastor. When Deadwood Castle came into the hands of
the church the elders had a celebration there. They hired Odille to dance for
them. Afterwards the pastor took her to bed with him. Unknown to him she
had hired our friends here, Mr. Butcher and Mr. Blackhench, to install secret
video cameras to record the events. She was under age. Therefore the pastor
could be charged with rape. Moreover she found out about his cheating the
widows out of their houses and cars. She threatened him with exposure if he did
not do what she wanted. She hired Mr. Butcher and Mr. Blackhench to make
sure he toed her line. She demanded large sums of money from him so that he
was forced to sell the houses and cars. He used Ken Roberts as his salesman.
"She hated me so much she wanted him to organize my murder so that it could
not be detected. Mr. Butcher worked in the gold extraction plant of a gold
mine. He came up with the idea of giving me cyanide and then dropping my
body down an abandoned mine shaft. That would have been the perfect
murder. "Odille gave the pastor a time limit. She offered to give him the tapes
after my dead body had been disposed of in the required manner. If he failed to
do that in the time stipulated she would expose him. He failed. She was going to
expose him at tonight’s meeting.
"The pastor did not like the idea of murdering me. He did all he could to try
and spare me while seeming to comply with my sister’s orders. That is why he
sent me those notes signed, ‘Towly.’ He knew I’d solve his problem sooner or
later."
"What puzzles me," Deadwood said, " Is how you managed to deceive the hit
man with a life size inflatable doll."
Chapter 22 | 137
"I eavesdropped at your window and heard of your plan to hire a hit man. Then
I went shopping at the Golden Acre where I bought the inflatable doll. I bought
the de luxe version with self-sealing rubber. I slit it down the back, stuffed it
with blankets and pebbles, and then sealed the slit with packaging tape. Then I
placed it under the bedclothes. After that I packed my bag and left the hotel by
a side entrance. Then I reentered by the main entrance and checked in under
the name Debbie Delightful. They put me in room 517 where I spent a
comfortable night. In the morning I checked out first as Debbie Delightful and
then as Hillary Keating.
"I was under the impression at that stage that Leslie Granger was the Red Disa.
From my eavesdropping I heard that someone was blackmailing the pastor with
videos. Leslie had filmed our performances at Loch Athlone with a black cloth
over his head so that he could not be recognized. Naturally I came to the
conclusion that he had made a habit of that and that he was the blackmailer."
"Well, I’m amazed," Deadwood said.
Hillary thought how beautiful Odille looked. She was at the airport to say
farewell to her sister who was thrilled by the idea of going into all the world.
She could not help feeling a little envious.
Stuart was there with Felicity and Heather. He was taking them with him.
Hillary felt left out. Not yet sixteen, Odille had been the Red Disa. What an
adventure she had given them! How fortunate it had ended so well. It could
easily have been otherwise.
Hillary watched as they boarded the Air Zimbabwe Boeing. She saw the name
on the side of the aircraft, Flame Lily. What a splendid name for the conveyance
of the Red Disa from the "City of Flowers."
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she watched the Flame Lily lift its nose above
the northern horizon and slowly disappear into the blue sky. Forsaken, she
wondered if she would ever see her sister again.
THE END