The Snows of Kilimanjaro was the perfect distraction from Old Black Maggie. It was like reminiscing with an old friend about his adventures in Africa. Gary thought of the character, Harry, in the book as Beez.
Soon the presence of Old Black Maggie was a distant memory. Meeting Beez appeared to be the perfect antidote. Yet, the thought of returning to hang out at Russell’s Market and the possibility of crossing paths with Old Black Maggie seemed too risky to tempt.
A peculiar event happened while Gary was downtown just after reading The Snows of Kilimanjaro. A group of children stood a short distance from Old Black Maggie teasing and chanting at her. A lady dressed business-like scolded the children.
Old Black Maggie looked passed them and directly at Gary. Gary eased out of her sight by changing directions and walking down a cross street. As soon as he was out of her sight he ran.
He ran for a block. He heard a cute beep of a foreign automobile horn. Gary looked over his shoulder. It was Beez in the Austin-Healy.
He pulled over to the curb. Gary slowed to a fast walk.
“You okay?” Beez said from his Austin-Healy with the top down.
“Yeah,” Gary puffed, “Ole Black Maggie.”
“Get in,” Beez waved and leaned over to open the car door.
Gary slid into the passenger’s seat and Beez sped away.
“You look nervous,” Beez said.
Gary told him what happened.
“I know just what to do to take your mind off things,” Beez said. “Let’s just take a short ride. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure,” Gary said nervously.
“Where would you like to go?” Beez said.
“Mount Kilimanjaro,” Gary said.
Beez smiled. “I’ve been afraid before. I know what to do.”