A high backhand smash from Olivia Cameron at the net. It was misdirected and fell well inside the baseline of the court opposite – easily recovered with a lob by their opponents. But Gambon was already at their own baseline and he put the return away with a cross-court forehand drive that seemed to arrive before it had started out. Muted applause, a little polite clapping from a few spectators – but this was only the first round after all. The umpire called game set and match and Charlie Gambon and Olivia went up to the net to shake hands with the pair that they had so robustly eliminated from the Club’s mixed doubles championship.
In the tradition, thanking him, they both tapped their rackets on the umpire’s knee – Charlie bouncing his racket off his kneecap with sufficient force to cause the man’s leg to reflex. He rose visibly up off his high chair thinking, as a smirking Charlie Gambon left the court, “Bastard! I’ll remember you for that!”
The winning contestants collapsed into the canvass chairs on their side of the net, each swallowing copious quantities of iced lemonade from their thermos flasks.
Gone was Olivia’s recent resentment of Charlie Gambon: They had taken the first step towards winning the tournament. Her eyes were alight with her admiration for him, her smile glowing. With a tingle of pleasure she thought what a good team they made. As a mere slip of a woman she was no ‘also ran’; but here was Charlie, truly a sporting Adonis. From the corner of her eye she watched him rubbing the perspiration from his legs and arms: Such a magnificent specimen of masculinity.
Charlie was, she knew, not only an accomplished tennis player but he was also a boxer, a champion at his weight in the South African Police boxing club, where they said his signature punch was a lightening right cross. Olivia didn’t know what a lightening right cross was or even the weight at which Charlie boxed. She didn’t really approve of boxing: It was, she thought, rather uncouth. Still, that didn’t stop her from mentally undressing him, dreaming that she was stripping off the white tennis shorts and Fred Perry shirt and then, as she slipped some boxing shorts over him, trying not to be blatant as she brushed her hand across his cock – a cock that was, it was whispered, the most magnificent specimen of its kind in all Pretoria, pressing as close against it as she could whilst she tied up his gloves.
It was much more fun than dressing up the cut-out cardboard dolls that she played with as a child; and she just longed to eat him, starting with the cock first, and working up from there.
“You were unstoppable,” she told him, her admiration evident in her every syllable.
“Chicken feed,” Charlie pronounced with misplaced modesty. “But we had better do some work on that backhand smash of yours before we play our next round. It’s wildly inaccurate – and frankly, if you can’t do better then you’d do better to call for me to get around the back of the ball instead of putting it back straight at the opponents’ feet.”
She felt chastened. True, Charlie moved around the court like a jack-in-the-box. Now he was at the net; and now he was at the base line – beyond the base line even, stretching across the court, long wide and low, retrieving wide forehand returns and side-lining them over the net and into the furthest corner of the opposite court. Now, she was beginning to feel an uncontainable longing to have Charlie Gambon stretching long wide and low over her.
They picked up their rackets and bags and exited off court to the cool of the clubhouse.
“Before or after?” Gambon asked; and for a wild moment she dreamed that he was asking her if she would like him to fuck her before they went to shower or afterwards.
She could easily have said ‘both’, but Charlie explained, “Would you like to cool off with a drink first or shall we go and change now and settle down for a drink or two after that?”
In the event they parted to take their showers; and the soothing hot water running down over her and the scented soap suds she was massaging over herself did little to quell her lust for him. Not knowing how obscure the frosted glass on the front of the shower cubicle might be, she had to turn her back on it so that the two other ladies in the changing room couldn’t see her satiating an irresistible urge to masturbate…
As he came into the bar, Charlie saw her sitting on a bar stool, her long legs crossed, showing an abundance of bronzed thigh. He saw that she was waiting for Joseph to finish mixing her cocktail that was not inappropriately called an ‘Orgasm’. He knew exactly how it should be made: Old joke – they always said it should be done on your b-a-c-k, that was with Bailey’s, Amaretto, Cream and Kahlúa coffee; and Joseph was making her a pretty stiff one.
Coming to join her, Charlie was irritated to see that she was talking to Solly Goldstein. Solly was a Pretoria accountant; but he was not just an accountant – the little man was a frantically successful accountant who looked after the affairs of any number of wealthy farmers around Pretoria, both real farmers as well as those who just played at it for tax reasons. His clientele stretched as far afield as the border with Botswana.
Solly was a pretty good tennis player, too; and apart from the fact that he was a Jew, Charlie didn’t object too much to him. Still, he could have done without him trying to chat Olivia up – especially when she seemed to have the hots for the Inspector right now.
Leaning against the bar, Charlie intercepted the salver with the chit that the barman had handed Olivia to sign. He crossed out her account number, adding a double scotch and soda for himself, and substituted his own account number for hers before signing it. Then Solly grabbed the chit from off the salver, crossing out both account numbers and both signatures, writing his own account number and adding another scotch and soda for himself, signing it. Charlie didn’t know why that irritated him; and now Solly irritated him even more by telling Olivia, “Don’t ever allow a policeman to stand you a drink… You’ll find the ticket he signs is really a parking ticket with your vehicle number written on it.”
He imagined he was being funny but Charlie knew that the man was drunk.
He gave Solly a cold look; but the Jew, taking a generous pull on his whisky, went on: “Did you hear the one about the policeman who walked into a bar carrying a duck under his arm?”
Olivia obliged by admitting that she hadn’t, and Charlie just yawned. Solly went on: “Seeing him come in, a drunk in the bar asked, ‘Say, what are you doing coming in to the bar with a pig?’ ‘That’s not a pig, man!’ the policeman explained condescendingly, ‘That’s a duck.’
“So the drunk replied, ‘Sir, I wasn’t talking to you – it was talking to the duck.’ ”
Charlie groaned and Olivia gave him a despairing look, taking the opportunity to squeeze the inspector’s knee as Solly explained: “You see, the drunk was not talking to the policeman. He was talking to the duck about the policeman – the pig, you see.”
Over Solly’s head, they exchanged glances and rolled their eyes ceiling-wards. Then Charlie set up another round of drinks before Olivia one set up. Charlie, who had been brooding whilst he racked his brains to find a good anti-Jew joke, suddenly asked: “Say, Solly, have you heard the one about the Jew who asked God to lend him a penny?”
“I hate jokes about Jews,” Solly said forcibly, “But go on if you must.”
Charlie told them: “A Finkler walked to the top of a hill to talk to God. He asked, ‘God, what’s a million years to you?’ God said ‘A million years is just a minute to me.’ Then the Finkler asked: ‘Well then, God, what’s a million dollars to you?’ – and God said, ‘It’s just a penny.’ So the Finkler asked God: ‘God, can you spare me a penny?’ ”
Taking a long draft from his heavily iced whiskey and soda, Charlie Gambon concluded: “So God replied: ‘Sure, Finkler... just wait a minute.’ ”
It wasn’t even funny but Olivia clapped rapturously. Solly, who had ordered another scotch for himself, said, “I told you I don’t like Jewish jokes. Why does everybody have to take the piss out of Jews?”
“Why do they then, Solly?” Gambon asked. “Is this another one of your jokes?”
“No, it’s not joke,” Solly retorted, now getting angry. The veins around his nose and cheeks were diffused by quite a lot of whisky. “I’m just asking you, why does everybody always have to always tell jokes against Jews?”
Gambon retorted, “Well why do you have to go telling everybody jokes about policemen?” He was getting quite heated himself.
“That’s different,” Solly said emphatically. “The fact is that all policemen are pigs. You’re a pig: You’re a racist, anti-Semitic pig!” He poked a stubby finger close to Gambon’s face, who countered by saying: “Oh, shut up, you Yiddish fool, you stupid little Jew.”
Olivia wondered if Solly wouldn’t take offence at that, but he was clearly far too pissed. Taking a large slurp from his glass and slurring his words, he said, “And you shut up too, you stupid Piggy Poo.”
Pleased with that he repeated: “Piggy Poo!” Then he thought of a new twist:
“Piggy Poo, who hates a Jew!” he chanted.
Olivia put her head in her hands. This was becoming stupid. Things were getting quite out of hand: They were both drunk and being very childish.
That was when Charlie landed his signature right cross into the middle of Solly’s face.
To his credit Solly somehow withstood the full weight of the punch although with both hands he was holding grimly on to the rail around the edge of the bar. Then he let go with one hand and chucked the remainder of his whiskey into Charlie’s face.
After that everything got a bit confused: Joseph came round the bar with a dishcloth with which to wipe the inspector dry. Olivia remembered the manager being called; but by the time he arrived both Solly and Charlie had stepped outside and there were the sounds of a fight taking place…
It didn’t last long: Charlie came back inside dusting himself down and someone appeared to have called the police because they arrived, led by Gambon’s second in command, Willi Hagel. Hagel watched dispassionately as Solly Goldstein was carried back in. Solly hadn’t actually recovered consciousness so a doctor had to be called. After a time the accountant was revived. He had a broken nose, a broken jaw and three of his teeth were lost, presumed missing in action, somewhere in the dark outside.
Olivia said, “That was a little unnecessary Charlie.” And then softening she asked anxiously, “Won’t you be in the shtuck big time for hitting a civilian?”
Gambon laughed. “I can’t see a problem,” he told her. “The police will only take statements from people who either know me or are afraid of me. They will all testify that it was him who assaulted me and that it was I who was the innocent party.”
He looked assured, certain that he would be proved right. Dog, Olivia thought, doesn’t eat dog – certainly not in the South African Police. She watched as Willi Hagel’s men took Solly away, charging him with being drunk in a public place and causing an affray.
Gambon ordered another round of drinks and Olivia, indicating a comfortable looking sofa behind an empty table in an alcove said, “Let’s take our drinks over there. I don’t feel we are too popular at the bar right now.”
When they sat, he returned to tennis and asked her, “Now about putting some work in on your backhand smash: I don’t suppose you’re available to come down for some practice tomorrow?”
“Oh, I’m staying at the Club tonight, anyway,” Olivia said, her heart leaping. “So I’m available all day – and all night too, if it comes to that.” That didn’t seem such a risky thing to say considering Charlie now had one hand up her skirt and was trying to slip his fingers under the elastic of her knickers.
“Good girl,” Charlie told her, giving her a wink and laughing. “Let’s down these and go upstairs for a good night’s rest so that we can be fresh for some more practice in the morning.”
She led him up to her room and locked the door behind them. Gambon went straight over to the bed, simply letting his clothes drop onto the floor. Then he climbed in whilst he watched Olivia undress. Liking order, Olivia folded her clothes up one by one, setting them down neatly on the chair beside the bed. With only her panties left to take off and fold up, she didn’t have time to step out of them before she was being pulled into the bed…
He was every bit as good in bed as everyone said – even if his ejaculations were some what urgent and without any consideration for her needs. But he had an amazing ability to fire off again not, even giving her the time to feel her disappointment that she hadn’t beaten him to the draw the first time. She had caught up with him on the third time; and now it seemed that it was about to happen again when there was a knock on the door.
“Shit,” Gambon said, rolling on his back and indicating that it should be she who should go to the door and investigate the intrusion.
Olivia slipped on a dressing gown and opened the door to a boy holding out an envelope that was addressed to Inspector Gambon. Taking it and locking the door again, she stopped a few paces short of his reach, letting her dressing gown fall to the floor so that she stood before him provocatively naked, handing him the note. He fumbled as he opened it, with his eyes still feasting on her. Then began to read…
“Jesus Christ!” Gambon said, sitting up as straight as his own erection. “They’ve just broken into Modderbee and it appears that there’s been a bloody great gunfight inside the prison compound!”