A plague on the House of Sword

As the world now knows, journalist Jamal Kashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. He was there to obtain a marriage license. It reminded me of a letter I wrote to Saudi Arabia almost three years ago to the day in connection with another incident perpetrated by this charming nation.

 

Dear Saudi Arabia,

Congratulations on your decision to kill the Shiite boy who goes by the name Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. Teenagers are dreadful at the best of times, what with their sighing and eye-rolling and endless demands for human rights and justice. If I had my way they would all be put to death.

I suppose I shouldn’t call him a boy. He is, after all, 20 years old. However, he was still a teenager when he committed the dastardly crimes for which he must die. Apparently he participated in the Arab Spring protests in 2012. Is that right? My kid once participated in a school play and by the end of it I wanted to slaughter the entire cast and most of the audience, so I know how you feel.

I gather you are breaking with tradition and not beheading the lad. Well done. Beheading is too good for some people. Crucifixion is the only language this generation understands. Well, that and textese and SMSish. Hang on. I’m getting conflicting information here. Some reports say you’re going to behead him and then crucify him. I don’t want to sound like a liberal, but isn’t that quite literally overkill? I apologise. You obviously know what you’re doing.

I’m a bit worried, though. Crucifixion can lead to new religions forming and nobody, least of all you, wants that happening. Yes, I’m talking about a certain Mr J Christ of Bethlehem. If the Romans had let him off with a light whipping and a warning, Christianity would probably not exist today. And even if it did, their symbol certainly wouldn’t be a cross. I’m just saying be careful, that’s all.

Your own media, which never gets anything wrong under pain of death – in my country that’s just an expression – said you wanted to string up the body after the beheading as a warning to others. I may be out of line here, but would the average Saudi be shocked at the sight of just one body? From what I’ve heard, one can barely move in Riyadh for the corpses of people executed for jaywalking or littering. That’s just the men. Apparently the countryside is littered with the bodies of female radicals who were caught driving, watching television or talking to men who weren’t their brothers.

Wouldn’t it be more effective to round up everyone who participated in the Arab Spring and crucify the lot of them? You could do a thousand a day for three months. If the United Nations starts gnashing its gums, tell them it’s none of their damn business what you do. Tell them it’s population control. If they threaten to pass a resolution, threaten to fire nuclear missiles into New York. You do have nukes, right? You’d better have, or even Israel could whip your ass.

I hear France has also asked you to call off the execution. France! That’s a laugh. After the terrible things they did in the Congo. No, wait. That was the Belgians. Same thing. If they want a united Europe, then all of Europe must take collective responsibility for all the horror.

At least you don’t have to worry about Britain putting the boot in. Their prime minister is too busy doing damage control after it emerged that he stuck his honourable member into a dead pig when he was younger. Also, they really want to land that £6m contract to provide prison expertise to your country. To be honest, I’m surprised you still bother with prisons. Decapitation is so much more cost-effective in the long run. I hope you’re not going soft on us.

By the way, congratulations on being chosen to head up the UN human rights council. This couldn’t have come at a better time for you. It doesn’t matter how much the limp-wristed dolphin-kissers wave their yoga mats and rattle their daisy chains, the fact remains that the US State Department has welcomed it, as do all right-wing, I beg your pardon, right-thinking members of the global community.

By the way, you might want to get the plasterers in. I hear there are some nasty cracks developing in the House of Saud. The last thing you want to do is let the light in.

Application for the position of IT Chief Officer: SA Revenue Service

Dear Sir/Madam,

I greet you as Sir/Madam because I do no know if you are a Sir or a Madam or even a Sir as well as a Madam, like Caitlyn Jenner. I am simply covering all bases, as you would expect from your future head of Information Technology.

To be honest, working for SARS was never really part of my life plan. Not that I have one. But if I did, I doubt it would involve working for the taxman. Not that I have anything in principle against taking from the poor and giving to the rich. It’s just that I am not very good at numbers.

I only decided to come and work for you after watching an interview with your current boss of IT, Mmamathe Makhekhe-Mokhuane. It was patently clear that MMM or, to simplify it, M³, is one of those rare people who pretend to know less than they actually do. Whether it’s a self-defence mechanism or a tactic to lull the enemy (journalists, commissions of inquiry etc) into a false sense of security, she has absolutely mastered it.

After watching M³ being interviewed on SABC, I am certain that I know more about IT than she does. For instance, I know how to copy and paste, use a cellphone and replace the paper in a Xerox machine. Can she do that? Exactly. What really attracted me to the position, though, was the news that M³ earned just under R3-million for a month short of a year’s work. I use the word ‘work’ loosely.

I am sure you are reluctant to get rid of one of SARS’ most promising employees. Quite frankly, I don’t know what she has been promising but I can promise you that my promises will be bigger and better. For instance, M³ attended four out of fourteen management meetings in the last few months. I promise to attend none.

Like her, I also know how to handle tough questions, whether they be from reporters or the head of a commission of inquiry. For example, when the Nugent Commission asked what she meant when referring to people who had been at SARS for years, she replied: “The Drakensberg Boys Choir was established in 1967. If you are a girl, the establishment doesn’t allow you to go there. It is 2018 but the Drakensberg remains a boys choir … and they sing quite well.”

This is a very good answer, but I could have done better. If I was in her position and someone asked me about, say, the state of IT infrastructure at SARS, I would have said, “In order to find out if a female giraffe is ready to mate, a male will use his head and rub her backside until she pees. He then drinks the urine to find out if she’s in heat.” Take that, Judge Nugent! Game over.

Is it true that your organisation’s IT infrastructure has been neglected for four-and-a-half years? That’s nothing. My ex-wife ignored my unwieldy priapism for a full seven years. I am very familiar with neglect and with that salary I am prepared to ignore pretty much everything.

M³ also told the commission that the revenue service would need R2-billion “to keep the lights on” in her division. This is a dangerously conservative estimate. When I get the job, I will need at least R3-billion for experts to come up with a comprehensive schematic diagram identifying the location of what I imagine are countless light switches. Then another R1-billion for light bulbs and R4-billion for sundries.

M³ said her division had identified depreciated assets that were “running through God’s grace”. Once I am in charge, I will fix everything right away so that God can get back to doing the stuff he really enjoys, like helping Israel bomb Gaza and spreading cancer among children.

During my term of employment, I will obviously require protection from yourself. This means you may not ever fire me. Or even talk to me.

Yours in IT,

Comrade Benjamin “Komputah” Trovato

 

Scam the Scammers

From: Hyundai Cars Company <info@hyundai.net>

To: bentrovato@mweb.com

Subject: You have won the Hyundai Company Award Funds

This is to inform you that you have been awarded 850,000.00 Pounds from Hyundai Cars Company. This Promotion Award is to raise the profile of Hyundai Cars across the world. (contact project manager) Name: Mr Jfferson Andrews. Phone # : +44703193 5671.

Send your name, country, city, age, occupation, pssition, home phone, moblie, email address to Mr. Jfferson Andrews for the processing of your award funds.

Congratulations!

 

From: Ben Trovato

Dear Jfferson,

What an interesting name. Is it Welsh? Never mind. I cannot believe that I have won so much money! How did you know that I drive a Hyundai? Is my name on a global register of Hyundai owners? My Elantra and I have been together for 10 years and we are still deeply in love. I have converted the spacious boot into a mobile office and entertainment centre which makes me the envy of all my friends except for those who laugh at me for driving a Hyundai. They say the only thing Koreans know how to make is stir-fried sausage dog but they are jealous.

I hope I do not have to go to Korea to get my money. Flying terrifies me. So do the Koreans. I would prefer it if you put the cash directly into my account.

Once again, thank you for this fantastic award. I promise that I will drive my Hyundai until I die, which could be quite soon unless I get the brakes fixed. Please hurry with the money.

PS. What is a moblie?

 

From: Hyundai Cars Company

Dear Award Winner

We have received your informations and you have been cleard for payment. We have sent your informations to our affliate bank for the transfer of your funds which is £850.000.00 GBP.

You are now required to contact our bank whom are responsible for the transfer of your promo funds to your bank account. The Hyundai Cars Company do believe that your funds will be put into good use for community development. This award is also sponsor by the Bill Gate Foundation.

Processing Director Hyundai Company Promotion.

Mr. Jefferson Andrews

 

From: Ben Trovato

Mr Andrews,

I am thrilled to hear from you again because I was beginning to think this was some kind of cruel trick. Are you sure this award is genuine? I do not wish to look foolish. Especially not in the eyes of Bill Gate.

You say I must use my money for community development? This worries me. It would take more than 850 000 pounds to develop my community and quite frankly I need the money more than my white trash neighbours. What do you mean by this?

 

From: Hyundai Cars Company

Dear Award Winner

What we mean in the word for community development it means that you should help the homeless and the less privilege in your locality as well as yourself. You have won the funds and it is yours to do what ever you like with the money but also please help the needy with the funds.

Mr. Jefferson Andrews

 

From: Ben Trovato

Listen here, Andrews.

I do not wish to help the homeless and the needy. They are terrible people. It is I, not them, who suffers the indignity of driving a 1998 Hyundai. Would it be acceptable if I used some of my money to pay a homeless man to kill my wife? I promise I will buy a new Hyundai with whatever is left over.

 

From: Hyundai Cars Company

We have accepted you use the award funds for your personal issues. You can now go ahead and contact the bank.

Congratulations once again!

Mr. Jefferson Andrews

 

From: Ben Trovato

Andrews,

I had an epiphany in my bed last night. When I told my wife, she said there was no way in hell she was going to clean it up. I told her that god came to me in a dream (he was Nigerian, oddly enough) and he told me to get rid of the Hyundai. He said it was the Devil’s car, so this morning I am going to set it alight and push it over a cliff. Does this mean I no longer qualify for the award?

PS.  I also told her that the Hyundai Corporation had given me permission to have her murdered. Please send me 800 000 dollars so I can pay the homeless assassin.

More works of a staggering genius now available

I have been inundated with requests – mostly from Mrs V Stopforth of Glenashley – to make more of my books available to agoraphobics, prisoners, quadriplegics and anyone else who has difficulty getting to a library or bookshop. Not that you’re likely to find any of my books at either.

I am therefore delighted to report that two more titles on my increasingly irrelevant backlist are now available as downloads on this very site. Stirred Not Shaken is the third book in my trilogy of letters in which … if I have to explain, you’re probably not going to buy it. The other title is Hits & Missives, a collection culled from the trilogy itself.

You can find them under the Contraband link at the top. On the right. Above the PayFast and PayPal links where … oh, you haven’t seen those either? Apparently not.

You’re going to have to hurry, though. In an unprecedented surge of apathy, my site almost crashed today when millions of people failed to visit it.

No wonder Jesus hated bankers

I just got a call from Nebraska from a woman who works for PayPal. She had heard I was having trouble linking my bank account and wanted to help. You’d think it would be easy linking a PayPal account to your bank account, wouldn’t you? After all, it’s a globally recognised payment gateway and, thanks to apartheid, Oscar Pistorius and Jacob Zuma, quite a lot of people have heard of South Africa.

But it’s not easy. Inexplicably, you first have to create an online profile with First National Bank, which isn’t my bank and, after this, never will be.

In theory, once your accounts have been validated by both PayPal and FNB, it’s a simple matter of linking them. Thing is, FNB keeps telling me that “some errors have occurred”. It would ruin the game were they to tell me what these errors were. Instead, they give me a clue. “E-100 mammoth.otp.PrepareOTPNavigator returned false with a success code.” Success is written in capital letters to fool me into thinking I have somehow succeeded.

The Nebraska woman asked me to hold on while she contacted someone at FNB. From Nebraska? At 4.55pm? My heart sank. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a little while she kept me on hold. The next voice I heard was straight outta Manenberg. She led me through the same steps I’d been following for the last two days. I knew exactly what was going to happen the moment I pressed Confirm. I recited the error message to her, which, judging by her reaction, she’d never heard before. After an awkward lull in the conversation while I sobbed quietly, she said she was transferring me to online banking, cut me off and went for a drink in the parking lot.

If my friend in Nebraska really wanted to help me, she’d invite me to come and live with her. I would cook and clean and go fishing for bears (it’s best to put a whole salmon on your hook) if she promised that I would never again have to deal with FNB. Or Telkom.

There is some urgency to this matter. My international fans have been extraordinarily generous and I need to access my $58 as soon as I can.

Bill Gates Takes A Terrible Tumble

Dear Bill Gates,

Please accept my heartfelt condolences. The news must have come as a terrible shock and my prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. Nobody deserves to wake up in the morning and discover that their world is crashing down around them before they have even had a chance to dip in to a simple breakfast of grilled Coelacanth drizzled with ambrosia.

When I saw the headline, “Gates No Longer World’s Richest Man!” I wept at the injustice of it all. How are the children bearing up? It can’t be easy for them. On Tuesday little Phoebe, Jenny and Rory are the most popular kids in school and by Wednesday, bam,they’re wearing oil-stained rags and mugging pre-schoolers for their lunch money.

You once said that when you die you don’t want to leave your children the burden of tremendous wealth and that’s why you would only bequeath them $10 million each. Please let them know that if they ever run short they can call on me any time. What’s mine will always be theirs. And I hope there is no reason to think the reverse doesn’t apply.

Melinda must be taking it hardest of all, what with people coming up to her in the street and saying cruel things like, “Aren’t you married to that loser who is no longer the richest man in the world?”

A word of advice, Bill. Keep her close. Even though money might be tight, buy her shiny baubles and fresh flowers now and again. Not garage flowers. She is nine years younger than you and I expect her eye will begin wandering now that you are on the skids. You don’t want to be fending off packs of salivating divorce lawyers.

But let’s get back to what is really important here – the imposter who has usurped your richly-deserved title that you have held for so many years. Jeff Bezos? Who does this interloper think he is? And what the hell is Amazon besides a glorified courier service?

Did you learn nothing from 2008 when Warren Buffet briefly knocked you off your perch? And what the hell kind of name is Buffet, anyway? It’s not even a name – it’s a cheap method of feeding large numbers of people without having to hire waiters.

Also, Buffet made his money through selling ice cream and razorblades to diabetics and manic depressives. You at least gave us computers. For god’s sake, don’t let him overtake you again. Second place is okay, but if you drop to third it’s all over, my friend.

Quite frankly I’m not surprised you got bumped from the top spot. You make hardly any money at all these days because everything is pirated. Millions of computers get sold each year in China alone and you don’t see a blue cent. A few years ago you spoke at the University of Washington and said, “As long as they are going to steal (software), we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Meth dealers use a similar strategy when targeting primary schools in the Western Cape.

Then again, you’re probably going broke because you resigned from Microsoft four years ago. What were you thinking? Middle-aged white men like you and me need to hang on to our jobs. Actually, I got fired the other day. We’re in the same boat now.

I believe you deleted your Facebook account because nobody wants to be your friend any more. Screw them, Bill. If they don’t want to know you because you’re down to your last $95 billion, they were never real friends in the first place.

Let me know if you need a loan.

 

An Open Letter to US Supreme Court Nominee Brett ‘Handsy’ Kavanaugh

Dear Brett,

Congratulations on giving those uppity Democrats a damn good tongue-lashing at the Nuremberg trials. The only difference between then and now is that the Nazis were guilty. Well, not all Nazis.

Do you mind if I call you Brett? We have so much in common that I feel as if we’re old friends. Okay, so I’m not American. Or a member of the legal fraternity. Nor, much to my regret, did I ever sexually molest anyone when I was younger. I suppose there’s still time. Unfortunately my parents brought me up the old-fashioned way and I missed out bigly at school when it came to extracurricular activities of a rapey nature.

In a way, you were a pioneer in your field. Go Delta Kappa Epsilon! It was only years later that Donald Trump released his bestselling guide to dating, “Just Grab ’em by the Pussy.” For all I know he heard about your teenage exploits and, knowing Donald, tried to claim all the credit.

Then again, you did tell the Judiciary Committee’s hearing that you were still a virgin well into your mid-forties or something. What happened? Did you give up trying to ‘force your wors’ after that sporting incident with Dr Christine Whatshername ended inconclusively or did you simply struggle to find a girl who couldn’t fight you off. I beg your pardon. I mean resist your natural charm and boyish good looks.

My mother wanted to call me Brett but my father wouldn’t have it on the grounds that the other kids would call me Brett & Butter and throw stones at me. Has this ever happened to you? Of course it hasn’t. You don’t strike me as someone who would ever allow himself to get stoned. Motherless drunk, certainly, but never stoned.

I think you acquitted yourself very well at the hearing, considering that it was essentially an ambush laid by the enemy. You were like a modern-day General Custer getting jumped by the Arapaho. That hearing was your personal Little Bighorn.

I was astonished when Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar – I like to think of her as Little Bigmouth – asked if there had been times when you couldn’t remember things that had happened while you were drinking. The fact that you didn’t answer is proof enough for me that you are a man who tells the truth. Obviously you wouldn’t be able to remember something now that you couldn’t remember then. Who remembers their blackouts? Certainly not me.

I do, however, think your performance could have been improved in some areas. For a start, you shouldn’t have admitted to not being perfect. You are a white man. Where I come from, that alone makes you pretty damn perfect.

I don’t know who your acting coach was, but he should’ve told you that sobbing is better than sniffing. You went too big on the sniffing and came across more as a novice coke fiend than an innocent victim of a political assassination. And the bits where you did the wobbly chin routine were almost always the wrong bits. Who gets emotional over a calendar? Or a recollection of lifting weights at Squee’s house? Play the victim card by all means, but don’t get weird.

You were at school in Maryland when this all went down, right? So, in 1649 the Maryland General Assembly passed a law enshrining the principle of toleration. Christine seems not to have got the memo. If you can’t tolerate a bit of fratboy fondling you shouldn’t live in Maryland. Granted, the law did relate to religion, but without sex there would be no religion. I don’t even know what that means. I am drinking as I write this and I can always deny writing it tomorrow. Not that I suffer from blackouts, your honour. I can easily find a lawyer to diagnose me as suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff’s psychosis. It’s a type of amnesia caused by alcohol abuse. Not that I have ever abused alcohol.

The Maryland state motto is fatti maschii, parole femine, which literally means ‘Manly deeds; Womanly Words’. If there was any justice in this world, that would be all the defence you’d need. You committed a manly deed and … okay, this is where it gets tricky. You put your hand over her mouth, denying her the right to utter womanly words. Not that women have any business using unpatriotic words like ‘no’ and ‘stop’.

You went to an elite Jesuit school. There’s another defence right there. Jesus almost certainly got up to some pretty wild shit during the eighteen years that nobody can account for. They are known as his ‘lost years’. Sounds like a blackout to me. It’s a good thing he didn’t have the equivalent of Mark Judge in his posse or there might have been a whole book of the Bible devoted to the exploits of Jayzus O’Christ.

By the way, you did a magnificent job of throwing Mark under the bus. He was your cheerleader while you were trying to show Christine Thingy your sensitive side and is in pole position to wreck your career. What else could you do but tell the hearing that for most of his life Mark was an irredeemable alcoholic basket case who couldn’t even get it together to kill himself and is unlikely to remember last weekend. You’re a good friend, Brett. Nobody could rely on his testimony after that and I’m sure he wants to thank you in person.

Clinton-loving liberals say you told lies. That your year book reference to a devil’s triangle isn’t a drinking game, as you claimed, but rather a different game altogether involving two men and a woman. Which is not to say that drinking wasn’t also involved. Out here in South Africa, a devil’s triangle involves two satanists and a goat.

They also say your year book reference to “boofing” wasn’t, as you said, a reference to flatulence but instead has to do with inserting alcohol or drugs into your rectum. Did you not wonder why your friends kept nipping off to the bathroom for a quick fart? Were you sad that they never invited you?

And what’s going on with these other two women who have jumped onto the molestation bandwagon? Deborah Ramirez seems not to have appreciated you flapping your willy in her face while playing a drinking game at Yale. Wasn’t that the point of the game? Isn’t that, in fact, one of the perks of going to Yale? Deborah says that as a Catholic she felt ashamed and humiliated. Nonsense. Catholicism and willies go together like Donald and Ivana. Also, she’s a registered Democrat and, worse, half Puerto Rican. These people lie about everything from body counts to whatever.

Then there’s Julie Swetnick. She says she saw you at a bunch of house parties drinking heavily and exhibiting “physically aggressive behaviour towards girls, including attempting to remove girls’ clothing to expose private body parts”. Fair play to you, Brett. If nothing else, this at least proves you have stayed true to your Republican roots.

You were almost there, buddy. Your seat on the Supreme Court bench was yours. Now this. It’s so unfair. No wonder you got emotional. As for that Jeff Snowflake, the less said the better. What the hell kind of conservative worries about the way women are treated? Doesn’t he know that the moment you’re on the Supreme Court you are going to vote against anything that smells remotely of womanly issues? No more abortions. No more lesbians. No more voting.

Thank god for beer.

Pay Me, Pal

Did I mention that nearly a million people from 186 countries have read my columns in the last six or seven years?

Many of them have been begging for an opportunity to contribute to my fun-raising campaign, which previously they couldn’t do because PayFast won’t let them. “Give us PayPal!” they cried.

Being a firm believer in giving the people want they want, I have now made it possible for the international community to join the countless  South Africans who have subscribed or donated to the cause. I say countless because it would be too depressing to count them.

So if you are earning pounds, dollars or euros and wish to join an elite group of people who appreciate that laughs don’t always come cheap, there is a PayPal button especially for you.

Gracias. Obrigado. Merci. Terima kasih. Shukran. Do jeh. Dankie (for the South Africans living abroad)

 

The subscriber you have dialled has detonated

I got a message from MTN today letting me know that I was due for a phone upgrade. My eyes filled with tears. It has taken me two years to work out a fraction of my current phone’s functions. Why why would I want to get another, infinitely more complex phone? Because it’s free? It’s not really.

It will lock me into another vicious cycle of shameless information superhighway robbery and exact a terrible physical and mental toll as I discover that I’ve thrown away the manual with the wrapping and will have to spend another two years cursing and weeping and stabbing at stupid little buttons and swiping a poorly lit screen.

I can take the upgrade or cancel my contract. Or I can kill myself. If I choose option three, then I might as well do it properly by strapping a kilogram of Semtex to my chest and running into my local MTN branch shouting incomprehensible slogans in the hope that one or other of the gods will send me to a place where there are no cellphones, no taxis and nobody in a yellow bib telling me where to park.

But a security guard would stop me before I could detonate. He would tell me to take a seat, not that there are any, and wait for the next available consultant. He would point out that there is a queue of people waiting to blow themselves up and that I should just be patient.

The staff at my local branch appear to be borderline retarded. I may be doing the mentally afflicted an enormous disservice, here. For that, I apologise. But I am not exaggerating when I say that their preferred method of communication is a form of grunting last heard in the Paleolithic era.

Cellphone shop staff are second only to the police when it comes to not giving a blind rat’s arse about someone who needs help or advice. The police at least make an effort to appear interested, even if they do lapse into a vegetative state halfway through taking your statement. Most of the time they can be revived with a chicken pie.

I am on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and something called Google+ mostly by accident and almost entirely against my better judgment. I am a huge fan of social media simply because it is so utterly anti-social. Let us all interact through our portable devices instead of our physical bodies. It’s far safer and infinitely less messy. No more gaping head wounds, no more unwanted pregnancies.

What a time to be alive. Or dead.