Bachelorhood is not exactly turning out to be the carnival of free love that some so-called friends led me to believe it was.
Ever since I sent Clive out to look for his mother – who I suspect is shacked up with a Puerto Rican logger on the dark side of the Amazon basin – the house has been devoid of anything remotely resembling a female. Even the girl cat has disappeared.
So when I woke up on Saturday morning to the realisation that nobody would be having casual sex with me for quite possibly the rest of my life, I decided that if town wasn’t going to blow me, then I would blow town.
Earlier in the week I received a desperate cry for help from an old friend in Windhoek.
Most of those who live in Windhoek issue desperate cries for help at one time or another, but it is generally safe to ignore them because people who voluntarily choose to live there are too mad to kill themselves. Suicide takes a measure of sanity, something I have yet to find in those parts.
Windhoek is not a capital city – it is a capital offence.
I spent some time there helping South Africa lose the war and never fully recovered. I am still shaking mica dust from my ears. I hope it is mica dust and not desiccated brain cells.
I have a morbid fear of travel agents. Actually, agents of any description, so I headed directly for the airport after packing my Namibian survival kit of snakebite antidote, hypodermic syringe, tourniquet, liver tablets and a cyanide capsule that has been in my family for generations.
The capsule has seen better days, what with having been sucked and spat out at least once by every patriarch down the line. Being of Italian stock, we Trovatos lack in the courage department but we make up for it in other ways which I won’t go into now.
I got to the airport fifteen minutes before a flight to Windhoek was due to leave. An efficient airline would have got me onto it. After all, I had money. All I needed was a ticket and an aisle seat to accommodate my extraordinarily long legs.
But, no. I had to contend with a man in a blue jacket, blue shirt, blue pants and probably blue shoes. It wouldn’t have surprised me to find out that he had also been a blue baby. You know the ones. They don’t get enough oxygen flowing to their brains at birth, thereby setting the stage for a long and fruitful career in the airline industry. So he sat there on his stupid blue bum mouthing incomprehensible inanities about regulations drawn up by other blue babies and so I missed the flight.
Luckily there was a later flight on another airline operated by non-blue people.
There were five of us on it. It was like chartering a 747. I felt a rush of exhilaration bordering on hysteria and began moving from row to row, stretching out and shouting for rounds of drinks like I was Richard Branson, until a stewardess with the face of a rejected donor organ ordered me to return to my designated seat or face being cut off from the bar.
When I landed at Windhoek International, an immigration official greeted me with the usual warm welcome reserved for white South African men. Filled with self-loathing, I fled for the arrivals hall where my friend wasn’t waiting for me.
I started walking.
When you come out of the airport there are two ways to go. Left leads to eternal damnation and right leads to Windhoek. It’s pretty much the same thing, really, except that in Windhoek the beers are colder.
Eventually I came across my friend. His Land Rover was half off the road and he was slumped over the steering wheel whimpering like a freshly whipped puppy.
I got in and demanded a beer. He handed one over immediately and we headed for the city that God made in anger. Or would have done if he hadn’t lost interest and made Mogadishu instead.
I spent the rest of the weekend with my mate spewing a curious mixture of catharsis and tequila all over me. His wife and kids had done a runner and he was struggling to find work. He had moved out of his luxury home and into a small railway house next to a shebeen and had begun drinking heavily and smoking more weed than is good for anyone.
Just before I left, I made him take his dog to the vet to have it put down. The hound was at least 200 years old in human terms and walked into things on the rare occasion that it staggered to its cancer-riddled feet.
Then I made him call his youngest daughter to tell her that he had killed her dog. It seemed like the right thing to do.
The flight back was ugly, the fuselage seething with Teutonic heavyweights who barked in a harsh guttural tongue.
I was seated next to a couple of pubescent German lesbians who pawed one another and shrieked and giggled from takeoff to landing. When the larger of the two filled out her customs form, I was alarmed to see that her name was J Christ. I am not making this up.
I returned just in time to switch on my television to see Comrade Doctor Snuki Zikalala performing an act of oral journalism on President Robert Mugabe. Neither of them seemed to reach a climax despite the unseemly amount of stroking going on.
I also had a garbled message from Ted telling me that the pope had died. Ted is one of those lapsed Catholics who live in perpetual guilt. This explained why he sounded more excited than devastated when he said it could take up to twenty days before a new pope was elected.
He wanted to know if, in this brief pope-free environment, he was allowed to have sex with a condom, get divorced, vote for a woman priest and have an abortion without burning in the fires of hell.
I am fairly certain Ted was violating some or other holy rule governing substance abuse, but I called him back nevertheless and told him that he could do whatever he pleased because the next pope was going to be Nigerian and the religious police were going to be far too busy trying to stem the flood of 419 letters from the Vatican to bother about small fry like him.
He seemed relieved.