#55 – At Cape Town again

Van der Merwe walked up to the bearded, white-haired stranger, held out his hand and smiled. “Mr. Travis,
I’m Salomon van der Merwe.”
“Ian Travis.”
Jamie waited for a flicker of recognition, a sign that Van der Merwe found something familiar about him.
There was nothing. But then, why should there be? Jamie thought. There was nothing left of that naive,
idealistic, eighteen-year-old boy he had been. Smit obsequiously led the two men to a corner table.
As soon as they were seated, Van der Merwe said, “I understand you’re looking for some investments in
Klipdrift, Mr. Travis.”
“I might be able to be of some service. One has to be careful. There are many immoral people around.”
Jamie looked at him and said, “I’m sure there are.”
It was unreal, sitting there carrying on a polite conversation with the man who had cheated him out of a
fortune and then tried to murder him. His hatred for Van der Merwe had consumed him for the last year, his
thirst for vengeance was all that had sustained him, kept him alive. And now Van der Merwe was about to
feel that vengeance.
“If you don’t mind my asking, Mr. Travis, how much money were you planning on investing?”
“Oh, around a hundred thousand pounds to begin with,” Jamie said carelessly. He watched Van der Merwe
wet his lips. “Then perhaps three or four hundred thousand more.”
“Er—you should be able to do very well with that, very well, indeed. With the right guidance, of course,” he
added quickly. “Do you have any idea what you might want to invest in?”
“I thought I’d look around and see what opportunities there were.”
“That’s very wise of you.” Van der Merwe nodded sagely. “Perhaps you would like to come to dinner tonight
and we can discuss it? My daughter’s an excellent cook. It would be an honor to have you.”
Jamie smiled. “I’d enjoy that, Mr. van der Merwe.” You have no idea how much I’d enjoy that, he thought.
It had started.
The journey from the diamond fields of Namib to Cape Town had been uneventful. Jamie and Banda had
hiked inland to a small village where a doctor treated Jamie’s arm, and they had gotten a lift on a wagon
bound for Cape Town. It was a long, difficult ride, but they were oblivious to the discomfort. At Cape Town,
Jamie checked into the ornate Royal Hotel on Plein Street—”Patronized by HRH, the Duke of Edinburgh”—
and was escorted to the Royal Suite.
“I want you to send up the best barber in town,” Jamie told the manager. “Then I want a tailor and a
bootmaker up here.”
“At once, sir,” the manager said.
It’s wonderful what money can do, Jamie thought.
The bath in the Royal Suite was heaven. Jamie lay back in the hot water, soaking the tiredness out of his
body, thinking back over the past incredible weeks. Had it been only weeks since he and Banda had built
that raft? It seemed like years. Jamie thought about the raft sailing them to the Sperrgebiet, and the sharks,
and the demon waves and the reefs tearing the raft to pieces. The sea mis and the crawling over the land
mines, and the huge dog on top of him … The eerie, muffled cries that would ring in his ears forever Kruger
… Brent… Kruger … Brent…


Copyright © 1982 by Sheldon Literary Trust

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