The charcoal maker

This man smiled constantly. When you drove up. When you shook his hand. When you talked. When he talked. When he explained that the man hadn’t paid him in two months. When he explained that the man hadn’t paid any of them (there were maybe ten in the group) in two months. He makes charcoal for a living in kilns like the one you see way back on the right. His group hauls cut-down trees a few hundred meters to the kilns and then bake them down into black chunks for barbecues, or braais as they call them in South Africa.

He smiled when you showed him his photo or when you showed him a photo of his friends. Big, crack-toothed grins. When you take his photo, he stands rigid and completely still, and the color runs.
The charcoal maker

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