Running From The Comrades

By the time you read this, I will be on the road somewhere between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

Yes, indeed. I am running in the Comrades Marathon. My first ever.

I found myself in the area quite by chance last week. Brenda lured me into the car with a handful of biltong and a bag of pills way past their sell-by date.

Come along, boy,” she urged. “We go walkies.”

I jumped into the back seat and lay there slobbering and panting until she slipped me a chunk of kudu and what looked like a distant relative of the amphetamine family.

We recently joked about my gradual withdrawal from the outside world, marked by disturbing symptoms of senile squalor syndrome. Okay, it wasn’t so much joking as it was Brenda standing in the doorway hissing and spitting like a wounded wolverine while I sank deeper into my nest of filth.

I had spent nine consecutive days in front of the television watching a drama that should have been slapped with an 18 age restriction, so brutal were the scenes of an artless freedom of expression, wearing little more than a trusting smile and a pretty frock, being dragged kicking and screaming from the 21st Century and bludgeoned to death in broad daylight right there in front of the children.

When a lynch mob marched on a house of art and threatened to hang freedom of expression from the nearest tree, I passed clean out. It was terrible. I awoke to find beer stains on the ceiling and broken glass in my forehead. The cat had locked itself into the drinks cabinet and Brenda was afraid to leave the kitchen.

I was deeply confused, even turning on my own kind at one point.

We are no better than the goddamn missionaries!” I shouted, weeing against the neighbour’s vibracrete wall.

We come out here uninvited and tell the natives to wear broeks or they will burn in hell and then we tell them to stop complaining when we portray them with their willies flapping in the breeze!”

The use of allegory, irony and political parody in art did not originate in Mapungubwe. It originated in ancient Greece. And look where that got them.

We white people are not here to instill an appreciation of modern art among the local populace. We are here to get laid, make money and enjoy a quality of life that has changed very little since 1994.

Apart from genocide, it’s the least we deserve.

But then Jackson Mthembu appears on the telly and my detestation of our white Eurocentric arrogance is immediately replaced by a pathological loathing for the man. Not the black man. Just that man.

This is a pity because I always believed that anyone who gets caught for drunken driving at eight o’clock on a Thursday morning must surely have some redeeming qualities. Apparently I was wrong.

When I saw comrade Jackson prancing about and chanting: “Don’t buy City Press, don’t buy!” I leapt to my feet and did a dance of my own. “Don’t lie ANC, don’t lie!”

Then I slipped on an empty beer bottle and came crashing down on Brenda’s imported coffee table. It’s made from solid Burmese teak and broke my fall as well as a non-essential bone in my wrist – a small price to pay in defence of everyone’s right to do whatever they damn well please.

The point at which Brenda decided I should have an outing came when the artist, the gallery and the newspaper folded like a weak hand of cards.

I lost control and tried to set fire to the lounge furniture.

Brenda stamped on the flames and said we were going to the Midlands Meander for a bit of a browse. I was less than pleased. Browsing is for dim-witted ungulates from the hinterland.

Once I was in the car, she fed me biltong and drugs to take my mind off the atrocity that had been committed against freedom of expression.

But there was to be no browsing. It was nothing but a cheap ruse to get me out of the house and into some kind of mental hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

Just relax,” she said. “I’m not having you committed.” I gave her the lazy eye. “Then why am I in a straitjacket?”

Anyway, it turned out alright. A doctor asked a bunch of questions and when we left I heard him telling his secretary to get the Australian embassy on the line.

I like to think he will be emigrating because racial tension in this country will only be defused once the white population has been reduced to a single red-faced octogenarian with a scruffy beard stripped to the waist and shaking his scrawny hips to a heavy reggae beat at a tropical beach bar on the upper north coast.

I was a bit cross with Brenda for tricking me so I told her I would make my own way back to Durban.

I went into training the moment she left. My carbo-loading programme almost got me arrested but when I told the cops I was an athlete, they accepted a R50 tip and left me alone.

It might be called the Comrades Marathon but that doesn’t mean I am going to hold back for the sake of good race relations and let a Zimbabwean win it again. Or worse, a Russian.

I reckon I can do it in under four hours. Like the future of white people, it’s downhill all the way.

 

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