I Held the Reigns (Still Do)

When I was in high school, I was a foreign exchange student from American who was traded for three Africans, because I had shop class in high school, and they  needed someone to help them build a village.  At least that’s what it said on the brochure.

I need the extra credit to graduate. so I signed up, and during the summer, I left for Johannesburg from the Metro Detroit. And when I arrived 19 hours later in Johannesburg, or ( J-Town) as I liked to call it. I opened the plane door and it was like I never left.

It was only supposed to be a 6  hour flight, but the pilot got drunk,and we got lost several times, then he “emergency” landed on top of the village we were supposed to save.

Underneath the carnage I could still hear the sounds of the survivors crying out,  so being well-versed in first-aid, I grabbed the plane megaphone, and started yelling instructions:

Shut the “Fuck-Up, You Ignorant Savages decent People trying to sleep up here.

And that was to the people still on the plane!!!

I did not know that Africa’s EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM was done on 55 gallon oil-cans. That was not on the brochure. But after a 19 hour flight, so you would have been a little agitated too.

As all the other passengers who jumped down onto  the life raft, and walked past, none of them would talk to me, I could only them whispering, in quiet conversations. The last person was an old man who pointed me to the train,  Jones Town, my final destination. He turned to me as if to say,

“Hurry boy, it’s waiting there just for you”

I didn’t have anything with me to eat or drink, except for my Kool-Aid. And nobody was going to take that little piece of Americana from me, that’s something a hundred men on board that plane could never do.

When I arrived at the village, I settled in and the next day they told me their plans, what they were going to build, and how they wanted to become civilized like America. Minus the gunshots.

First they wanted to build a hospital, and then a library, maybe a school, and finally a White Castle.










They didn’t have any blue-prints, so they drew stick figures in the dirt.

Everyday the plans changed a little bit.

I thought the buildings were too close together, but they didn’t want to hear it.

I said, “Look your not going to have enough room between buildings for even two cars.

Go away White Devil, “We have it all worked out, but thank you very much now.”

I guess, No one likes being told what to do.

My job was to fetch the water down by the river, the Serengeti, and I did that once every hour.

One day, as I tried to fill the two buckets attached to a 2×4, I had to bend over at the river bank, because it was shallow, and when I did this baby elephant named Ba bar, who was like the the village idiot, I mean village mascot, would charge me and knock me into the water every-time.

This would become a daily ritual.










And then the other natives who was present would start laughing like it was a big joke.

I became Babar’s Bitch!!!

I hated that elephant, everyone thought he was cute. but I thought he was a racist. Because he only fucked with me, and I was the only white person.

So one day, after work I hid in the bushes with my 2×4, removed the buckets and eventually I saw Babar come down by the river looking for me, when he was close enough to the river bank I snuck out and smacked in the ass with that 2×4 and knocked him in the water.

See how he liked it.

He ran away crying into the brush. So, I picked up my buckets and filled them with water, and made my way back to the town square. By this time, the rest of the workers had everything “roughed out,” and the wooden skeleton for both side of each of the building were semi-erected. It was a sight to behold.

All of sudden there this horrible sound behind me, the sound of trees were being knocked down, and at the edge of the clearing there was Babar…. with his Mama. Everyone scrambled like cock-roaches. You really know who your friends are…

And that’s when that bull elephant charged. I guess this type of thing had happened before to the last four of five exchange students, so everyone already had their hiding places pre-set.

Not me I ran in the opposite direction, right thru the town square.

Because that mama elephant, meant to stomp me to death, and I ran thru the narrow space in between the buildings, that she knocked down chasing me. They still blame me for that bullshit. I was the one that told them that them that those building was too narrow to begin with.

Damn Fools!!!!

She chased me all way back to the dock, where there was a sea plane waiting, it just so happened to be connecting with a charter back to the Unites States.

On that plane, I met a man who a musician, and I told him what happened.

I said if the Africans just had some reigns on that elephant, like they do in India I might have had a chance to stop her, Maybe if I only could have jumped up on top of her…








He said my story was fantastic and that it had to be “recorded” for posterity, I just nodded, because I didn’t know what the word meant -still don’t !!!

Then he told me he wanted to start a band called “Down the Rabbit Hole…” or the “Wizard of Oz’s” or some other fucking bullshit name, one of them even bought a hat, like “The Mad Hatter” from “Alice in Wonderland” and sometimes he stills wears it on tour –even to this day.





I told him that the “The Wizards of Oz’s” was the stupidest name for a group I ever heard of. You can’t name yourself after an established Cinematic  Masterpiece,  Why don’t you just call yourself “I don’t think were in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Oh he liked that name.

I suggested that he use a one or maybe two letter word like “Cher, Madonna, Kiss, Elvis, Aerosmith, Sting, Tupac, Biggie.”

Granted this was back in the day, but still…

Well about a year later I heard that man had started his band after-all, and they named themselves Toto, after the dog.

Toto is circled in Red. I don’t know who the other actor is.

At least they got it down to one word, I thought to myself.

And they recorded that song “Africa”  based on my experiences, and it became a huge hit all over the world.”

Some of the lyrics are listed below:

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I held the reigns down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had…
(Lyrics by “David Paich” and the Wizard of Oz’s”)


The only thing he changed was the word reign, and he spelled it “rain” instead. It was his pathetic attempt to make my story his own, the same way Donald Trump stole “We all bleed red.”

August 22, 2016

On the night of August 22, 2016 in an attempt to appeal to the black Democrats, Donald Trump now famously said, “What have you got to lose???”

Here he is a billionaire, a man who has access to the best writers in the world, and that was the best that he could come up with???

How about the Election, I thought to myself, and then I tweeted him immediately, If you want to make your appeal more Universal say, to the Black Man,

“No matter our skin color, We all bleed red,

Then say to the working poor, the white who live paycheck to paycheck,

No matter how how rich or poor, “We all die broke.”

“We all bleed red and we all die broke.” -Rath


What could be cooler than a president begging the poor for their vote???

Fucking Nothing!!!

After he won the election President Trump said.

We all bleed the same red blood of the American Patriots, trying to make my statement his own, but if you think it thru that doesn’t even make sense.

Patriots as defined, were the original 13 colonies who fought against England to establish the United States, as its own Country. Almost every President up until Lincoln was a slave owner. The blacks were never patriots, because they were brought here after the American Revolution, so now you have a president who makes a statement about America, and ignorant of its own history.

Donald Trump, Real Estate Mogul, Billionaire, Cultured, a man who has had the best of everything, stealing from me, a man who has nothing. Never had nothing, and will have.


I feel sorry for him…

Anyways back to Africa, because that’s where it all began.

That last line from those lyrics of the song, were particular haunting for me.

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had…

and that last lyric really meant something to me, that village; still in ruins, because of that Mad Elephant, is sitting on top of the old Jones-towns Compound, a.k.a (Flavor Aid Reconditioning Centers).

There were two reconditioning centers, one was painted red, and the other was painted “Grape” but neither flavor would ever rise again. The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, as so many things have over the years.
And like Trump, I never got so much as a thank you card from the Wizard of Oz’s… (a.k.a Toto’s)








I felt like he drove that sword on the cover straight thru my heart.

Unlike Trump, I felt this guy knew better and that really hurt.



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