2008-02-11 00:00

Well there’s this ou in Hilton, you see, and he writes saying he’s a jolly good Christian so he’s turning the other cheek, but he puts a sort of fatwah on me, seems to have buddies in Israel, because he points out that Israelis don’t turn the other cheek, but take an eye for an eye et cetera, and I shouldn’t be surprised if one of these days a whole squad of them should suddenly appear and blow me to bits. My pen too. And what he’s so inflamed about is that I wrote irreverent stuff about Job. You know, the bloke in the Bible. But the law says one can’t libel somebody who’s dead, and anyway it’s such a daft piece of scripture any sane judge would acquit me in the name of simple sanity if Job were still alive. But I thought hard about it, because what the Israelis are best at is blowing people to bits, hey, and you don’t have to be a biblical blasphemist to get your whack, it might be just an ordinary old bin bag Gaza granny who voted incorrectly in a democratic election and they would blow her to bits. Her pen too. So I decided not to write the piece I had in mind this week, all about how Jesus was a zombie, and how if Thomas A. Edison had been around in Roman times the Christian emblem would be the electric chair instead of the cross.

Of course the other ou from Komatipoort is still around though he’s fallen silent these last few months, Gott sei dank. He was terribly cross, wrote saying he was a fourth dan black belt martial artist and he could crush coconuts with his hands and he would silently appear in Durbs one night and do that to my skull as I slept and dice me up prenty small Japanese style in retribution for my writing about a childhood sausage dog called Jesus because he was so meek. I mean come on, I was only reporting biographical history. But I thought about it and made an effigy of pillows under my bedclothes with a floor mop for a head and slept in a hammock in the garage for a bit. Well, he’s still out there somewhere. So is the Muslim ou who sent me a list of horrible ways to die for people who called a dog which ate golf balls Mammut. I wrote to him explaining that the dog in question was a German Shepherd and Mammut is the German word for a mammoth, and included a photocopy of a page in an English-German dictionary in proof. Never mind, said he, he’d got used to hating me and quite liked it and anyway there were plenty of decent Muslim souls out there who didn’t have English-German dictionaries.

So I’ll write now about a certain hen we had, name of Norma. Lest I fall into the same dangerous disrepute as that English school teacher in Somalia, I think it was, who got hands cuffed, brain scruted, organs X-rayed, fanny photographed, found in appropriate good health for getting stoned to death and beheaded because her pupils called their teddy bear Mohammed. Well, then, Norma was a very placid white cuddly type of fowl; she would calmly walk through the house, from back yard where other riff-raff poultry had their being to the front garden where all the fat nunus were, and casually call in along the way at the kitchen and clean up the cats’ bowls and scraps on the floor. It was an open airy cool kind of house for Durban, and minimally furnished: the middle room had just a big dining table in it and six chairs, and big pictures on the walls, and a piano. The piano was placed diagonally in a corner for best resonance.

Joe was but nine, and man was he in love with his violin teacher called Cynthia, who was 29 and really quite delightful. Come to think of it, I was 49 and a bit in love with her myself, in a manner of speaking. She would dash off on her violin a chosen passage then sit at the piano and play the accompaniment for Joe on his. And one day she decided it was time for the Real Thing, the Big One, and Joe should have a piece from the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Itself. Bracing up, she let fly one of those honderd-perdekrag, 10-finger vertical chords of ol’ Earwig with her foot on the loud pedal, and a horrid 100-decibel hen-scream arose from within the pianoforte, dreadful clappings and slamming about, and Norma leaped forth from round the back with staring eyes and a trail of loose feathers and disappeared. Joe and I looked inside amongst the piano’s innards, and shame, she’d settled on a couple of eggs in a nice feathery fluffy nest, just starting an innocent first family. But she never came back in the house.

Nor did Cynthia. I think she found it all a bit too vulgar.

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