The Insurance Guy

Things were changing in Longa. As in any army, rumours were rife. One was that Savimbi had hired his own mercenaries to “come and get us”. This led to long discussions of what we would do if we came up against fellow South Africans, which we might even have known personally. Some of the chaps were already going “Ops”, which wasn’t in our contract; we were hired as military advisors (anyone with half a brain knew that was bullshit; even back at the house I knew that they were not going to pay me that much money just to chase troops up and down!)

This led to even more discussions about what would happen if we got killed. I couldn’t believe these guys hadn’t put that into the equation when they were deciding to sign up. They all had dreams of a year “in” and then easy street. None of them believed me when I told them I wasn’t in it for the money. The money was a bonus; right then I really didn’t need it, as I had inherited enough to operate for quite a while. I was looking for adventure (I still seem to have this character defect).

Anyway, this led to discussions about life insurance. In the SADF if we were killed, our family would have got a pay-out of ten thousand Rand. My school friend Philippe got that amount when his brother was killed on the border, so I knew it was true. Executive Outcomes had no such agreement in our contract. More meetings and goings-on led to “The House” organizing an insurance broker to come out to see us. I can just imagine this twit being told: ‘There are a few hundred men that need insurance, but they are not in the country right now, would you mind meeting us at Lanseria and speaking with them?’ He must surely have been worried when he took a flight out in the wee hours, without the normal rigmarole of passport control and the like!

There we were, all in our mess, in cammos and heavily armed, and Kippie arrives in his collar and tie. Being a disciplined bunch, we listened to what he had to say about benefits and all that crap, and then asked a few pertinent questions of our own. Like, what happens if there is no body or death certificate? No payment, which is fair. Benefits if killed in combat? No benefits. What happens if we blow ourselves up like Wayne Ross-Smith? No benefits. By now, discipline is one thing, but this asshole was pushing his luck, and a few guys were getting a bit aggressive. The insurance guy, straight out of a posh suburb in Sandton, was shitting himself. Not the quick deal-of-a-lifetime he’d probably imagined. He very nervously told us what he could do for us. Basically he could cover us for a car accident! Did that piss the guys off?! We didn’t even have a car!

The Ops guys helped the poor bugger beat a hasty retreat all the way to Caba Ledo, and from there presumably back to Sandton. We never heard anything from him or his reputable company again.

Taken from the Short Story;

The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief I – Angola

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