Now that Christmas is behind us and we have had our fill of the body and blood of Christ and no longer feel beholden to preach peace and goodwill to all and sundry, we can return to being the people we really are. Tightfisted. Churlish. Full of rage. And this is the way it should be.
What kind of a world would it be if we all walked around with blissful smiles on our happy, shiny faces, openly tolerating other people’s children and randomly patting puppies? I’ll tell you. It would be a terrible world. We would love ourselves to death and smother one another with good manners.
“Thank you, but no. After you.”
“No, really, I insist, after you.”
“Absolutely not. After you.”
The Polite Police would have to monitor doorways to prevent the bodies from piling up.
Meanwhile, the orcs and Uruk-hais of the hinterland have managed to turn every coastal town into Mordor-by-the-sea. Locals, too sensitive to deal with anything less refined than money, have rented out their homes for R5 000 a day and fled to parts unknown.
Smart people don’t go on holiday at this time of year. They stay inside their homes, barricade the doors and keep well away from the windows. That was my plan. Make one trip to the shops to pick up nine cases of beer, five bottles of tequila, three chickens and a block of cheese. That’s all one needs to survive the ‘festive’ season.
However, the bad yellow-eyed woman insisted I take her somewhere. I suggested the train station.
Holidays are for the damned. And by the damned, I mean people with bestial bosses who begrinchingly allow them 15 days leave a year. A cruel and inhumane system designed to keep us in chains until we’re too old and afraid to fight back.
Still and all. The word ‘holiday’ does have a beguiling ring to it, especially when it comes from the mouth of a woman. Don’t get me wrong. Terrible words can come from the mouths of women, but ‘holiday’ is not one of them.
So I’m in a village midway between Durban and Cape Town. Looking at the potholes, it’s probably in the Eastern Cape. I don’t pay much attention to borders and boundaries.
Slaloming between the 4x4s and Venter trailers on the N2, I saw a turnoff to a place called Karatara. I liked the sound of it. Karatara. It evoked images of mist-shrouded waterfalls and unicorns rampant. A place of mystery and magic. The bad yellow-eyed woman scoffed at my fantasy. She said Karatara was known for nothing more mystical than being home to the country’s largest in-bred population. Fantastic. Mutants and unicorns. Even more reason to check it out.
We went from blazing sunshine to overcast and drizzling in the space of twenty minutes. The higher we climbed, the darker it got. We followed a rusted sign down a rutted track and there, looming out of the gloom, was Karatara. This didn’t feel at all like unicorn country. The houses, not so much pre-RDP as post-apocalypse, squatted sullenly on large, overgrown plots. Now and then a lace curtain twitched, suggesting sentient beings lurked within.
Up ahead we saw a man making his way down the road. He walked as if his legs were trying something new with every step. I slowed down and told the bad yellow-eyed woman to roll down her window and enquire as to the whereabouts of the town’s saloon. As I drew level, he turned and thrust his giant misshapen head towards us. His teeth, shards of tombstones, jutted from his oversized jaw. His bulging eyes stared in opposite directions as if they wanted nothing to do with one another and he babbled in a tongue known only to himself. Spittle flew from his smashed mouth. The bad yellow-eyed woman recoiled and tried to wind her window up with such violence that the handle broke.
“Drive! For God’s sake, drive!” I like to think that the moment we were out of sight, he turned into a handsome centaur and went off to make beautiful love to a girl unicorn beneath an arc of glittering rainbows.
When we reached the village which was to be home for as long as we could tolerate the sound of jetskis, screaming children and Neil Diamond, we deemed it prudent to repair to the local bar and assess the strength of the enemy. Near us was a table of what I took to be estate agents. They were drunk and loud and speaking English, a language I was to hear less and less as the village filled up with the heavyset servants of Sauron.
It wasn’t long before they insisted we join them. I don’t know why. Perhaps they sensed we were considering buying property in the area. Over millions of years, estate agents have developed receptors as sensitive as the great white shark’s ampullae of Lorenzini. Blood and money. We all need it to survive. Sharks, though, are more charitable than estate agents in that they only charge some of us an arm and a leg for the use of their home.
I must have been Mickey Finned because I woke up 24 hours later in a strange bed with my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth with what tasted like cannabis oil. Or what I imagine cannabis oil would taste like. The bad yellow-eyed woman had an even hazier recollection of events, although her tongue seemed to be in better shape than mine.
In our weakened state, we allowed ourselves to be bullied into looking at a few “choice properties”. They’re called that because given a choice between living in one of them or killing yourself, you’d reach for the razor blades without a second thought.
Burgundy carpets? Nice try. I know red wine stains when I see them. Cheap wine, too. I can see the green poking through in patches. Then there are the lavender and puce his-and-hers bathrooms and the gold chintz curtains and lime brocade pelmets blocking the sea views. And the signed Hansie Cronje cricket bats marking the entrance to Pa se Kroeg and its murderous collection of buck heads.
“Will you be buying before you leave?” one agent demanded to know. I laughed, thinking she was joking. “Sure,” I said. “I’ve got R3-million in a plastic bag in my boot. I’ll fetch it.” She stood there waiting for me to go to my car.
Another tracked us down and banged on our hotel room at the crack of dawn wanting to know if we’d found anything yet. I was half-naked, quarter-drunk and in no mood for conversation. She only left once it became clear that staying would have put her personal safety at risk.
The sensible thing to do would be to get into the car and point its snout in the direction of home. The bad yellow-eyed woman says we can’t go yet because she doesn’t want to miss something called Snotkop performing at the Dronk Dolfyn. She’s clearly taking the wrong medication.
Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
Operating under cover of darkness, thanks to those godless incompetents at Eskom, I knocked over the Weber after staging a one-man protest braai. The bad yellow-eyed woman woke me up several hours later. She was shouting at me about the carpet. I thought I was back in Angola and brought her down with a textbook scissor kick. Okay, that part isn’t exactly true. I pulled the duvet over my head and lay there whimpering.
She reached in and took me by the ears, dragging my head within striking distance. She pointed my face at the carpet. I thought she was going to rub my nose in it, like you do with a naughty puppy.
“What the hell is that?” she barked.
“I can’t see anything,” I said. Being half-blind with alcohol poisoning I could barely see the floor, let alone what was on it. That was when she rubbed my nose in it. It came up black.
“Do the rest of me,” I said. “I’ll qualify for a government tender in no time at all.”
She demanded to know why I had tracked soot across the carpet. “It wasn’t me,” I said. She got me into a half nelson and gave me a misguided tour of the house. The tracks led from my side of the bed to the fridge and then to the overturned braai. The tracks between the fridge and the braai looked like the aftermath of the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.
Later that evening a friend came around and made unhelpful jokes about my carbon footprint. Once everyone except the bad yellow-eyed woman and I had stopped laughing, he put on his serious face and started talking about climate change. It’s this kind of conversation that turns normal people into narcoleptics and I tried to change the subject but he was having none of it.
“Did you know,” he said, causing me to yawn so violently that I almost dislocated my jaw, “that Gisele Bundchen is the UN’s advocate for environmental awareness?” That stopped me in my tracks. The same Gisele who had scorching monkey sex with Leonardo DiCaprio for three steamy years? This Brazilian babe is way hotter than global warming could ever be. She would have exploded by now if she didn’t have some German in her.
He said we were making a terrible mistake by relying so heavily on coal for our energy. I couldn’t have agreed more. My carbon footprints wouldn’t have been all over the house if someone had bothered to invent a Weber that could cook two chops and a bunch of boerewors using a picture of the sun and two wind chimes instead of 10kg of Glomor Anthracite Large Nuts that don’t even burn properly anyway.
I felt a build-up of greenhouse gases and went outside to deflate. The ozone layer looked just fine from where I stood. He followed me out and said we owed it to our children to stop burning fossil fuels. I laughed. The only things that stand a chance of surviving a planetary meltdown are Durban’s cockroaches and Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
Besides, the last fossil I burnt was the spine of a baby brontosaurus dug up by my dog dug outside Langebaan. I may as well have built the fire out of wet asbestos. I won’t braai with fossils again in a hurry, I can tell you that much.
I told the assembly of two that the government must have a plan to deal with climate change, even if it does involve Blade Nzimande condemning it as white patriarchal class-related conspiracy and Julius Malema demanding that the racist climate must adapt, not us.
The bad yellow-eyed woman laughed, but on closer inspection I saw she was choking on a piece of lemon. My so-called friend began giving her the Heimlich Manoeuvre and I had to step in and separate them after it went on for too long and started appearing inappropriate.
With another filthy cold front sweeping into the Cape, I fetched some of the woman’s aerosols and sprayed the atmosphere in the hope of raising the Earth’s temperature. I don’t care if the South Pole melts. I grew up in Durban and I need to be warm.
Tips on cutting emissions:
- Walk, cycle or take public transport. Carry a 9mm pistol made from compressed cannabis (R99 from GanjaGuns R Us).
- Install energy-saving light bulbs and buy reading glasses made from twigs and shards of discarded beer bottles.
- Place a blanket around your geyser. At night, put it to sleep by stroking its thermostat and singing to it. Anything by Cat Stevens works a treat.
- Hang your clothes outside instead of using the dryer. Buy an eco-friendly Rottweiler to watch the line.
- Eat genetically modified foods. This may not work if you plan on starting a family as two-headed children are known to be voracious eaters.
- Steal other people’s stuff.