No safe harbour for Gigaba – a flashback

Here’s a letter I wrote to the man of the moment two-and-a-half years ago after Ajay Gupta gave him the home affairs ministry.

………………………………….

Dear Comrade Malusi Gigaba, Honourable Upstanding Member, Minister of Affairs, Fighter of Tourism, Epitome of Sartorial Elegance.

Congratulations on your spectacular cinematic debut, even though it was very short. Needless to say, that’s the only thing about your appearance that was short. A week ago, critics were calling for your head and saying you should be bloody well hung. Then your video came out. That shut them up.

I had no intention of viewing your scandalous ménage à un, but a so-called friend mailed it, unbidden, to me. I am pleased to say that I never watched it. Not because I have Tanzanian tendencies when it comes to homoerotic flights of fancy, but because I find the male member an unsightly brute at the best of times. In my opinion, the best of times are when he is sound asleep, curled up like an infant pangolin. Besides which, should I ever desire to see a willy, I only need remove my trousers and look in a mirror. Or, if there is no mirror and the urge takes me, the glass frontage of, say, Mr Price at my local mall. For instance.

Unfortunately, my eyes did fall upon the frozen first image of the video. And even though I refrained from pressing play, it was enough. Having been led to believe that alcohol damages one’s short-term memory, I have been drinking heavily ever since. Not least to forget my inadequacies. My Sir Lancelot is a pale imitation. More pale than imitation, I am sorry to say. Do you have a name for that combat-ready heat-seeking missile? If not, might I suggest Mubi Dick?

Anyway. That is quite enough of that.

Of more pressing concern is your imminent political demise. By demise, I obviously mean promotion. It is a venerable ANC tradition to reward its most shameless and irredeemably exposed cadres with new career opportunities, usually in the diplomatic corps.

You appear to have upset some powerful people, my friend. I am obviously not referring to me or the other 57 million South Africans. We have no power. Well, we do, but we don’t really know what to do with it because we are saturated with either ignorance, apathy or alcohol. Oftentimes, all three. The unholy trinity.

No, I am talking about shadowy organisations like the Oppenheimer Cartel. These upper class thugs trade openly in diamonds while the rest of us go to jail if we so much as attempt to trade the last of our uncut emeralds for beer.

When you were in charge of public enterprises, you handed Eskom, Transnet and Denel to the Gupta Cartel. These Indians, they are not even dangerous men. My advice is that you do not mess with Don Nicky ‘Fireblade’ Oppenheimer. If he wants his own airport, give it to him. Give him whatever he wants. He is white and rich. History has shown that this an unbeatable combination.

Why on earth has Public Protector Busisiwe ‘Zuma Is Innocent’ Mkhwebane turned against you in the aviation matter? This is a woman who was trained to defend her comrades at all costs, and yet she has chosen to run with the fox and hunt with the hounds. Quite frankly, I don’t know if you are the fox or the hound. It’s a British expression. Nobody ever knows what they mean. It’s why we murdered them at Isandlwana.

Apparently a parliamentary portfolio committee has come up with a draft report saying you should be criminally investigated on suspicion of having been captured by the Guptas. This is outrageous. If the Guptas had indeed captured you, surely you would right now be tied up in a fur-lined dungeon in downtown Dubai while Atul the Dominator disciplined you with an ivory-handled camelhair whip. Instead, here you are, wandering about of your own free willy in the finest of suits, conducting government business, shaking hands, kissing babies, issuing denials and, in your evenings, remaking classics like Onan the Barbarian.

Somebody has poisoned our water supply with cynicism because nobody believes a word you say, but I drink beer, not water, so I believe you when you say there is an orchestrated campaign to ruin your career and prevent you from becoming president. To be hounded and condemned by much of the executive, a fair portion of the legislature, every level of the judiciary and virtually every man, woman and child in the country is the very definition of an orchestrated campaign.

I don’t know how they think they can get away with it.

Your response to this campaign of evil was sublime. “I am going to consult my lawyers in terms of how I am going to respond to this.” Even the most hardened of conspirators will tremble at the thought of your imminent consultations.

It is truly tragic when you consider that none of this would be happening if Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma hadn’t been pipped at the post by Squirrel Ramaphosa. The man is a menace. Where does he think he is? Sweden? This is Africa, for heaven’s sake. A continent where every silver lining has a cloud, every dog its day and every cart its rotten apples. In flagrant contravention of tradition, Squirrel is giving every indication of being one of those aberrant leaders who think that upsetting apple carts is a good idea.

Is it true that you are refusing to resign? Of course it is. I would expect nothing less. To the barricades! No Retreat, No Surrender is not just a movie. It is the story of your life. You are the black Jean-Claude Van Damme of our time. All you need is better lighting. And maybe a plausible script.

You said you are “surrounded by militant comrades” who will defend you. I do hope you are referring to more than just the avocado-shaped Andile Mngxitama and his drunk, shouty friends.

If not, you might want to consider a Plan B. You are, after all, the Minister of Home Affairs. You get to decide who is a South African and who isn’t. Who may stay and who should leave. Do you see what I am saying? All you need do is declare your enemies persona non grata. Get a courier to take a letter over to the Union Buildings first thing in the morning, letting the president know that his citizenship has been revoked. Include an air ticket to Cairo. Economy class, obviously. The man should suffer at least once in his life.

Should you consider my advice sound and good, I hereby register myself as an enemy forthwith and request immediate deportation to a country with warm weather, cheap beer, good surf and plenty of sloths.

A darkies’ guide to whiteys

White South Africans, much like white sharks, are one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet. They have a reputation for unpredictable behaviour and non-Caucasians are often afraid to venture into their territory for fear of being attacked.

Some, however, are merely inquisitive and will circle warily before racing off in their Range Rover. Others, perhaps sensing their way of life is under threat, might go on the offensive. A lot of the time, though, this will be nothing more serious than a mock charge. Stand your ground and they will more often than not back off.

White people, particularly alpha males, are easily enraged. They have been bumped from their slot at the top of the food chain and are struggling to adapt to their new position.

In many instances, they can be calmed down with offers of raw meat and brandy. There is nothing a white South African likes more than a chunk of charred cow and a bottle of cheap liquor. If he has just eaten and is already drunk, he might show no interest in your offer. This is when he is at his most dangerous.

The best way to ward off an attack, verbal or physical, is to threaten him with charges of racism. He will retreat faster than Khulubuse Zuma confronted with a salad.

When the EFF says whites need to come to the party or their land will be confiscated, they are forgetting one thing. White people don’t just rock up at a party. They need an invitation. They also need directions. And even then, they are going to want to know who else will be there. I think if the EFF had to put white people on the guest list and tell them there would be snacks, spare girls, a free shooter at the door and a DJ playing hits from the 80s, they would almost certainly come to the party. Unless it was raining, in which case they wouldn’t.

We already have a fairly good idea of what white people don’t like. In the interests of fostering better race relations, let’s take a look at some of the things they do like.

Queues

White people like nothing more than an orderly queue. There are two rules governing the queue: no eye contact and no talking. Do not be alarmed if you are standing somewhere with your hands in your pockets idly wondering what to do with your day and white people spontaneously begin forming a line behind you. They will be too polite to ask if you are in the queue and will happily stand there for hours waiting for some of whatever it is they think you are waiting for.

Hiking/jogging/cycling

Even though every white person owns at least three cars, a boat and a private plane, they rarely use them for transport, preferring instead to get something they call exercise. If you see a white person running, do not assume he has been hijacked. Your offer of a lift to the police station will be misconstrued and things could end badly.

4x4s

Now that sjambokking the staff is frowned upon, white people have to get their jollies elsewhere. Riding roughshod over the environment has become the new urban aphrodisiac. White people also enjoy taking their 4×4 to the carwash, even though the trophy wife has only ever used it to drop her Aryan offspring at the private school on the corner. Don’t bother asking for a lift. There is never room because the back seat is for the Borzois. You would be missing the point if you mentioned that the dogs aren’t even in the car.

Sea views

White people have such a yearning for sea views you could be forgiven for thinking that if some of them were a bit brighter, they could be related to dolphins. But with burglaries and rates and taxes on the increase, second homes at the coast are becoming, much like the South African passport, a crushing liability.

Classical music

Apart from sausages, Vienna – the home of classical music – has little in common with Africa. White people are drawn to classical music for two reasons. It places them above the middle class – who spend their evenings listening not so much to the sound of Mozart as they do to the sound of gunshots and screaming – and it places them under no pressure to get up and dance.

Horse riding

Although horses are useful only for transporting marijuana out of Lesotho, many white families keep racehorses as a means of getting to the nearest airport in a hurry when the EFF take over the country and nationalise all private vehicles. In white culture, a pony for the youngest daughter is often a traditional gift. If you encounter a lady of the manor astride her mount down a leafy lane in, say, Noordhoek, doff your cap and fall to one knee. As they pass, you may want to whisper: “Neigh, my bru.” Unlike dogs, horses owned by white people have a fine sense of humour.

Wine

Wine was invented by white people for white people. They have much in common – both can be petulant, bitter and easily spoiled. And the cheap, nasty ones always worsen with age. If you find yourself at a wine-tasting on a farm in Franschhoek and a foreigner mistakes you for the sommelier, you might say: “I would recommend the Augusto Pinochet, madam.” Alternatively, you might want to say: “Go fuck yourself, madam.” Your call.

Complaining

We live in a country run by a government that makes it exceptionally difficult for those who don’t wish to complain. Over the past 20-odd years, complaining has developed into a lifestyle. White people love complaining almost as much as they love rugby and Woolworths. If you find yourself pinned down by a complainer, don’t be reckless and say something like, “So what are you doing to change the situation?” Rather smile, nod and back away slowly.

Weather

You might think they would be used to it by now, but white people spend much of their time talking about it. Being born in Africa with European genes plays havoc with their internal barometers. Deeply conflicted, they complain endlessly about the heat, the cold, the wet and the dry.

Pets

Because their families are frequently dysfunctional, white people collect cats and dogs and treat them as if they were the fruit of their own loins. Many white people even train their dogs not to attack strangers, but to rather sit at the table and eat with a spoon. Cats don’t care much for table manners, let alone white people, and they may well be the downfall of this great nation. If a white person’s dog goes for you in the street, tell him the animal has character and he might pay your medical bills.

Schedules

The only reason World War II was a success was because Germany invaded Poland on schedule. One of the reasons an African country has never tried to colonise the world is because most people don’t have watches and it would be impossible to coordinate anything. White people grow restless when things don’t happen on time, such as government programmes to house, educate and employ millions of people who might otherwise start blaming white people.

Minimalism

When Robert Browning wrote the immortal lines, “Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged” in his poem Andrea del Sarto, he wasn’t to know that 150 years later, pseudo-Italian architects with Arabian catamites and coke-encrusted nostrils would use it as a haute monde design philosophy. If you visit a white person’s home and they have very little in it, compliment them on their interesting use of space. If they say they have nothing because they’re poor, you should leave.

Antiques

White people like old things more than they like old people. They spend a fortune putting their parents in old age homes and then spend a bigger fortune putting old stuff in their houses. They think that having a 17th Century Parisian douche bag on a pedestal would be more rewarding than a father who can’t remember his name. If white people visit your home and take an interest in your furniture, tell them the chairs were carved by Taharka, King of Kush. They will probably think this is a drug reference and try to buy weed from you. Add on 25% and give them whatever they want.

Eating out

White people go to restaurants even when they have food in the house. This is because an entire generation of white mothers failed to teach their daughters to cook. The daughters don’t see this as a failure. They see it as a step towards the total emancipation of women. Really, darling? You won’t cook and you want to be free? Fine. See ya. Have a nice life. Hello, Mr Delivery?

KKK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Durban Poison still available

The bastard pandemic interrupted distribution of my latest book, Durban Poison, but copies can still be ordered from bookshops and online through sites like Loot. Nice try, Covid-19.

Check out some reviews:

Book Review: Durban Poison

 

New from Ben Trovato – Durban Poison: A Collection of Vitriol and Wit

‘Durban Poison: A Collection of Vitriol and Wit’ by Ben Trovato is the funniest book I’ve read all year

Durban Poison is a marvellously toxic read

Read of the Week

An interview with the author:

https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/i-aim-for-100-words-per-beer-ben-trovato-talks-new-book-36052829

Durban Poison is available from:

https://www.loot.co.za/search?cat=qb&terms=Durban+Poison

https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/durban-poison-1

https://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/product/9781928420668

 

Time to keelhaul the buccaneers

It’s hard enough to sell books without Internet pirates filching your stuff.

I discovered this was happening when I came across “Jack” asking his band of brigands where he could get a copy of my latest book, Durban Poison. Without having to pay, obviously.

The site’s address is:  http://e.bodyflex-kurs.ru/128

Click on the link and it takes you to:   https://en.usenet.nl  …. which seems to be a streaming/torrent type site where scumbags go to steal other people’s work. How my book ended up there in the first place is a mystery.

Fuck these digital shoplifters.

  • Member
    • January 16, 2020 02:00 PM
    Hey there! Durban poison : a collection of vitriol and wit searched all the web couldn’t find anywhere.
  • yurikuzncaffeine

    Senior Member
    Here is the link, was searching for this myself for a long time, found only on this fileshare.
    caffeine

    Junior Member
    Thanks guys, looked for this long time too.

Pulp non-fiction – A murder story

In the perilous world of publishing, there is something called ‘sales or return’. It works like this. Bookshops will order so many copies of a new title. If those get sold, they might order more.

Unsold copies are eventually returned to the publisher who, in turn, gives the author the opportunity to buy the stock at a discount. The author declines the offer because he believes there is still life in his book and also because he is broke and he vows to never write again. The result is that hundreds, sometimes thousands, of copies get destroyed. Pulped is the term they use.

My new book, Durban Poison, was released in November. Normally, bookshops will return unsold stock over a period of months. However, a non-normal situation has arisen. My publisher, MFBooksJHB, is dissolving her imprint and ending her contract with Jacana Media on 31st January.

Today, Jacana issued a trade announcement directed at booksellers.

“In order to manage the inventory, we will need to have all the below-listed titles returned to (the distributors) Booksite by no later than 25 February 2020. No returns will be accepted thereafter.”

At the end of the list of forty books, the killer. “No orders for these titles will be processed after 31 January 2020.”

So. Quite a few anxious authors out there. Melinda has indicated that she will consider buying some – but not all – of the remaining stock of Durban Poison in the hope of selling it on.

After 25 February, hundreds of copies of Durban Poison will be loaded into a van and taken off to the knacker’s yard. This doesn’t have to happen. It’s in your hands.

Books that make people laugh shouldn’t have to die.

Hate this life? Try a second one.

Does anyone remember Second Life? Is it even still a thing? I was rummaging about in the archives when I came across a piece I wrote for the Sunday Times twelve years ago. It appeared on Christmas Day.

………………..

Christmas is a time for miracles. Before the week is out, we will look back, shake our heads in wonder and say: “It’s a miracle we survived.” Personally, I am not prepared to chance it. Taking crime, taxi drivers and the aberrant nature of my family into account, the odds of not surviving are disproportionately high. I don’t have enough money to flee the country. I do, however, have plenty of time. Time which I intend spending with my new friends in my new life. My Second Life.

The godlets at Linden Labs must have taken a lot longer than six days to create this world. It’s far more complicated than the one I’m living in at the moment. I am told that once I have explored this vast digital continent teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity, I might even find a perfect piece of land on which to build my dream house. This is wonderful news. In my first life, I can barely afford the rent.

Then I discover something that sets alarm bells ringing. Millions of US dollars flow through Second Life each month. Although the virtual currency is called the Linden dollar, it can be converted to genuine American money at LindeX, the SL Linden Dollar exchange. Excuse me? I will have to spend real money? On stuff that doesn’t actually exist? This feels wrong. Very wrong. Drowning my gut instinct with a shot of whisky, I cross myself and take the plunge.

The SL website opens on a digital babe wearing a bikini top, short skirt and giant black and white wings. She is standing on the edge of a forest. Cute. Damn cute. I want to find her and take her to a Christmas party immediately.

The only thing that scares me is Second Life’s logo. It’s some sort of eye with Mayan overtones. I find it disturbing. It reminds me of the eye above the pyramid on the US dollar bill which, as everyone knows, is a secret symbol of the Illuminati.

A registration form asks me to choose a Second Life name. I am disappointed to find that I can choose only my first name. The second I must source from a variety of options. Not a good sign. Overtones of Big Brother. Hints of Stalinism. Why is my right to freedom of choice being trampled on before I have even joined their world? They also want my real birth date ‘for my own protection’ and a genuine email address. Sweat trickles down my spine.

Surnames range from Adamczyk to Zhangsun, with a whole bunch of Boomhauers, Gigamons and Obolenskys in between. You can’t be a Smith but you can be a Skinstad. Jones is out but how about Jaxxon? Or Tigerpaw? Or Demonia? Why can’t I just be me, Ben Trovato? Sadly, no Trovatos are allowed in Second Life. The closest I can come is Benjamin Trenchcoat. But it is not to be. Not only is the name unavailable, but my first name is not available with any of the surnames on the list. This means there are countless Bens waiting out there for me. It’s a depressing thought.

Then, finally, a name nobody has thought of. Joumase Troglodite. Far from perfect. I’ll probably spend most of my time spelling it to the girls that I meet. But what the hell. If I have anything in Second Life, I have time. It’s not like I’m going to get old and die. Oh, no. None of that mortality nonsense for me. I don’t care what happens to me in my first life because I will remain eternally young and virile in this brave, new world. Whoops. Get a grip.

Now I must select my doppelganger. I have 12 avatars to choose from, none of whom look remotely like me. I’m assured that I will be able to change my appearance at any time. This is good, because I choose to be some sort of half-rabbit, half-rat and I know that even the girls in Second Life would balk at opening up to a snaggle-toothed rodent.

Another form has just popped up. It wants my real name. Maybe I should legally change my name to Joumase Troglodite. That would fox them. They also want to know what country I come from. Things are bound to go horribly wrong. Why would I make it easier for them to track me down? I put Sierra Leone.

Then, instead of being plunged into a brightly coloured utopian paradise, I am encouraged to Upgrade to Premium Now! What’s this? For $6 a month, I can get land on which to build, display my creations, entertain or run my own business. In return, I will receive a one-time grant of L$1250 (that’s Linden dollars) plus a weekly allowance of L$300.

My sphincter tightens reflexively. I am sorely tempted to Skip This Step, but I hesitate. I have been in strange places with no money before and I know how ugly things can turn. I tell myself that this is not Guatemala. This is a place that doesn’t exist anywhere outside my imagination. Somehow, this makes it all the more terrifying.

Without my weekly allowance, I’ll be just another random rodent slouching down the street with nothing to do and nowhere to go. It will be a very bleak Christmas.

A payment form flashes up. Well, that’s my cover blown. I fill in my credit card details and submit. Not Authorized. No reasons given. Maybe it’s because I have provided them with two different real names. I skip back a couple of steps. Punch in my real name. Switch Sierra Leone for South Africa. I still get rejected. Already in trouble and I haven’t even tried to sell someone a fake Rolex. What kind of dysfunctional world is this where you have to tell the truth at all times?

It’s no good. I close down and start all over again, feeling increasingly like a refugee trying to get a permit to live in South Africa.

I try once again to upgrade from basic to premium, this time choosing the $9.95/month option.

Something seems to have worked. I’m told that my next bill is due on January 8, 2008. Although my account reflects a zero balance in both Linden and US dollars, I am allowed to buy 512 square metres of land. With what? Where’s my one-time grant? My weekly allowance? Where’s my vast digital continent teeming with people? I’m going to find a way to bust into this cursed world. And once I’m in, I’m going to rob a bank or mug someone. They leave me with no choice.

It takes 15 minutes to download Second Life. And there it is. Wow. I am not alone. There are 49 610 people logged in right now. At 9pm on a Saturday night. How terribly sad.

Up pops a Critical Message. Residents must treat each other with respect and ‘refrain from any hate activity which slurs a real-word individual or real-world community’. There are Behavioural Guidelines. Contravention of the Big Six will result in suspension or expulsion from the Second Life community. They don’t tell you what the Big Six are, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

As if by magic, I appear on Orientation Island where I will learn to move, communicate and modify my behaviour. A bit like a cross between a high-tech kindergarten and a reformatory.

Half a dozen avatars drift about looking just as lost and confused as me. Our names hover above our heads, making anonymity impossible. I feel exposed. Someone called Ahmadeno Camel gives me the lazy eye and saunters past. Then I walk into a rather plain-looking avatar going by the name of Esme Alsop. What’s the point of going into SL and then giving yourself a name that reminds people of the ugly girl who works upstairs in accounts? She stands there looking at me for a while. Great. That’s all I need. Cornered by Esme Alsop telling me about her operation while the other avatars fornicate and carouse all around me. I turn and walk away.

I am no longer the rodent I was when I started this tomfoolery. I am now a handsome young avatar in jeans and a black shirt. Rather nice, if you ask me. A girl with long black hair and a French-sounding name moves away before I can get close enough to talk to her. That’s the French for you.

Talking is done through a stereo headset and microphone or by typing in your comments. Conversations appear on the screen, making typing errors seem like some sort of speech defect.

I turn around to find the sublimely named Satine Odriscoll watching me. “Hey babe,” I type. “Wanna grab some egg nog?” She stares at me in silence. No response. What’s the matter with this girl?

Have you lost your hands?” I type. Still nothing. “Are you a mute?” I add. Suddenly she runs off. In tears, probably. Why do I feel so bad? That’s not even me. It’s just some stupid avatar. But part of him is me. Don’t we share a consciousness? Oh God. I feel an existential crisis coming on. Or is it metaphysical? Isn’t this meant to be fun? Why am I thinking so much?

One of the tutorials on Orientation Island involves going to the library and fetching a torch. I want a beer, not a torch. Anyway, I do as they ask and I am pleased to see that it is a torch of the flaming variety, not one of those dainty plastic orange numbers which would have made me look a bit LGBTQI.

Uh, oh. Someone called Samehabo Kanto has snuck up behind me and is clearly ogling my bum. What does she want? Why doesn’t she say something? What if it’s not even a girl? I’m not turning around. In my confusion, I somehow manage to attach three or four flaming torches to different parts of my anatomy. Everyone avoids me after that. I can almost hear them whispering, “Here comes that Torchboy freak. Run!

Bored with the tutorials, I inadvertently take off my pants. Luckily I have on a pair of white undies. This will almost certainly make my intentions a little clearer. I look around for someone to chat to, but I find myself all alone. Oh my God! Those aren’t undies! That’s my bum! I’m naked! And here comes Joss Ninetails! Don’t panic. Play it cool. Joss glances at me and carries on walking as if she comes across naked men in the street all the time. Maybe she’s from San Francisco.

Impatient to move on, I give the tutorials a miss and walk down a road that takes me to Help Island. I feel my spirits sink. Where is Christmas Party Island? Rum ‘n Coke Island? Hot Monkey Sex Island?

Then I have some sort of fit. My head shakes violently back and forth. Am I sick? How will I ever find a doctor? Fortunately the shaking stops after a while and I wander off. I walk and walk and walk and see nobody at all. Great. Lost my way. Lost my pants. But look – I can fly! I soar over the sea and back across the island looking for parties to gatecrash.

When I finally land, Disco Randt comes up to me and asks me why my pants are off. I shrug (there is a long list of gestures, including laughing and smoking) and type, “you should know – you took them off.” Disco replies, “yeah right” and hurries away without a backward glance. My first conversation! I am so excited that I have to sit down for a bit.

Help Island is proving to be no help at all. I need to teleport to the mainland where everyone is having fun. But I can’t find the teleporter. I begin to suspect one needs a degree from MIT to work it all out.

I come across a billboard warning Residents not to ‘grief’ one another. Griefing can range from shooting, bombing and pushing, to more subtle forms of intimidation. There are guns and bombs on the island? Where? I must get some at once! Girls are impressed by weapons. Okay, some are terrified, but mostly they are impressed and they will fight among themselves to chat with me. But it’s no good. I can’t find out where to get the bombs and guns. Everybody I ask walks away from me. Some of them even run.

Hello, what’s this? Someone with the unfortunate name of Bogdan Pausch drives past me and parks at the edge of a shimmering technicolour mountain. He gets out of the car and I hurry over. “Give me your car or I will shoot you,” I type. Bogdan gives a tinny laugh. No fear. Nothing. How does he know I’m not armed? Bogdan wouldn’t last a day on the streets of Johannesburg. I try to force my way into his car, but it doesn’t work. Bogdan laughs again.

I spot Joss Ninetails and chase after her. I ask her if she can help me get to the mainland. She types, ‘Hi Joumase. Follow me’. I go weak at my virtual knees and start walking after her but I’m momentarily distracted by Creij Sciarri. She has a magnificent pair of wings on her back. When I turn around, Ninetails has disappeared. Damn! She was my last chance of getting off this cursed island.

I fly out over the ocean and once I am far enough from the coast, I press the ‘stop flying’ button in the hope of putting a swift and painless end to my second life. No such luck. I just kind of float there for a bit, then fly back to the island. At least in the real world I can kill myself.

I need help getting off Help Island,” I type to no-one in particular.

Somehow I manage to teleport myself somewhere. Probably to another part of Help Island. A group of people are standing about chatting. Great. Maybe they know the way out. But from what I can pick up, they know very little about anything at all. For a moment, I think I have landed in a section reserved for retards suffering from Tourette’s. They have mouths like sewers and say LOL in every sentence. They also ignore me completely.

I am bitterly disappointed to discover that Second Life is infested with the same half-witted imbeciles who inhabit the real world. There must be reasonably smart people somewhere in this godforsaken world. But where?

Disconsolately shambling along a path leading to nowhere, I come across another enormous billboard. It features a resident with some sort of No Entry sign over his crotch. The message is: “Please Don’t Walk Around Naked.”

Nearby, a knot of people are gathered. I wander over to eavesdrop on the conversation but I can’t understand a word. It looks like Spanish. This is meant to be Second Life, not Vida Segundo.

Feliz navidad,” I write, my avatars’ hands making little typing movements. The lads stop chatting and turn to look at me. “Donde esta las senoritas?” I ask. One of them fires a burst of what looks like Catalan at me. Then they take turns laughing and walk off. “Bloody foreigners,” I type quickly, but it is too late. They are already out of range.

It’s 2am in Cape Town – 4am Second Life time. I go to bed, naked. When I wake up on Sunday morning, I find that Second Life has taken over my brain. I can think of nothing else. This can’t be good.

Dumping reality in a crumpled heap on the bathroom floor, I fire up the Acer with fresh enthusiasm. Today, I’ll buy a house. Today, I’ll find a Christmas party. Today, I’ll … hang on. Where’s my money? I’ve paid $9.95 and there’s still nothing in my account.

I have no idea where I am. Cuwynne Deerhunter walks up to me. She is well-dressed and neatly groomed. I’m glad that I have my pants on. Without wasting a moment, I type: “I am hungry. Please can I have some money to buy a loaf of bread? And maybe a house.” She calls me a loser and stalks off.

With nothing better to do, I drop by the offices of Uthango, the first South African not-for-profit company to open virtual offices in SL, to see if someone there could lend me money. Apart from me, the place is empty. Then again, it is a Sunday. I suppose they are all at home slaughtering cows or polishing their Ferraris or whatever it is that black diamonds get up to over weekends.

I teleport somewhere else and when I materialise I find that I have gone all limp. I am standing motionless, chin slumped on my chest. “Come along, off we go,” I shout, stabbing at the arrow keys. Something is wrong. In brackets behind my name is the word (Away). Away where? It’s as if something stole my brain while I was being teleported. Inexplicably, I am still able to remove my pants. I whip them off in the hope that someone will notice and come to my rescue. But nothing. I stand there for ages, rooted to the spot. To the casual observer, it must appear as if I am intently studying my willy.

Joumase Troglodite has gone away. Where or why, I cannot say. There is nothing for it but for me to go away, too. I think I’ll go to the pub on the corner where the girls are friendly and the beers are cold. Spending Christmas in the real world might not be so bad, after all.

Buy buy baby

Hark, the Christmas tills do ring. The season of giving, taking, looting, stabbing and shooting is almost upon us. The Little Drummer Boy has already driven me from at least two malls.

All you can do is laugh. You have to, otherwise you’ll cry. This is where my new book is useful.

As you know, if you’ve been paying attention, Durban Poison is available in proper bookshops like Exclusive Books and Wordsworth. Other shops might have it, too. If they don’t, burn them to the ground.

If you want your copy scribbled in, you’ll have to buy it right here on this site. Just click on the Contraband link. You wouldn’t be the first. In fact, I’m on my way to the Post Office right now to despatch the first bunch of orders. I have even provided photographic evidence in case you think I’m lying.

Stock is limited, as is my enthusiasm for continuing to pay for packaging, postage and driving to the Post Office.

Contraband

‘Durban Poison: A Collection of Vitriol and Wit’ by Ben Trovato is the funniest book I’ve read all year

Get your Durban Poison here!

I promised that my new book would be available on my website and, lo, it has come to pass. Praise be.

I’m happy to devalue your copy by scribbling something in it. If you want it inscribed to someone other than yourself, supply the name in the box marked Order Notes.

There is limited stock available. Seriously. I am not just saying that to sell more books. I’m not like the others. Also, given the reputation of the Post Office, early orders are advisable unless you want to get it in time for Christmas 2020.

PDFs of my other titles are also available. Just click on Contraband.

Contraband

 

 

 

 

Boks, beer and a brand new book

Right. It’s the day after the big win and I know how you are feeling. But you’re in luck. I happen to have the perfect cure for a crushing hangover. It’s my new book, Durban Poison, and it will help tremendously in the recovery process. Laugh or die. The choice is yours.

Published by former smasher of drugs and crasher of Ferraris, Melinda Ferguson, the book has been selected by Exclusive Books for inclusion on The List. It’s also available in other bookshops and online. And as an ebook.

In the next few days you will be able to order a copy right here on this site. If you like, I’ll devalue yours by scribbling something in it. I might even get around to posting it. Coming on top of the Bok win, this really is the cherry on the koek.

What a time to be alive.

 

Durban Poison PR

https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/i-aim-for-100-words-per-beer-ben-trovato-talks-new-book-36052829