In my part of the country, the coldest day of the year fell on Women’s Day. I will refrain from drawing any inferences.
Being sensitive to gender issues, I thought it might be a good idea to help Brenda thaw out by staging our own suburban Olympic Games.
I rang up Ted for some ideas and straight away he said we should give Gina a call. He described her as a fiery redhead who apparently does Greek, which fitted in perfectly with the whole Athens thing.
When I asked Ted if she could speak English, he said he wasn’t sure but the advert said she was “a totally inhabited lady”. Brenda also has that lived-in manner about her, so I told Ted to invite her to join us.
The boy, Clive, volunteered to make a replica of the Parthenon using bricks from the back wall of the police station down the road. Okay, that’s not strictly true. He never volunteered. I told him I would burn his favourite skirt and make him listen to Leonard Cohen if he didn’t cooperate.
While the brat was busy, I nipped out to buy the ingredients for a typical Greek lunch. When I got back, Brenda shouted at me and said there was no room in the fridge for 15 litres of ouzo and a small tin of olives.
Because it was Women’s Day, I let her go off at me for longer than usual before coming at her with the sharp end of the broom.
Using some sort of Tai Chi manoeuver, which I had never seen before, she brushed the weapon aside and was about to sink her teeth into my face when Ted arrived with Gina. She looked more lower Sea Point than upper Plaka.
Clive said his Parthenon would never be ready in time for the opening ceremony, which I thought was an authentically Greek touch, so I gave him a bottle of ouzo and sent him to his room.
Gina checked her watch and said her rate was R500 per hour or part thereof. There had obviously been some sort of misunderstanding, so Ted took her to the spare bedroom to fully explain the significance of Women’s Day.
Ten minutes later I heard the front door slam and Ted returned alone. He was having some difficulty walking and refused the offer of a chair. This was just as well because there is no time to sit when the Fish Hoek Olympics are underway.
The first event was an ouzo-drinking competition. It was declared a draw because nobody gave any indication they would stop. Ever.
The second event was golf. Brenda snorted like a sick animal and said golf was not an Olympic sport. I tried to correct her but she parried effortlessly and replied with a thrust to the solar pexus that left me winded.
Since it was Women’s Day, I resisted the temptation to launch a counter-attack and instead took Ted out on to my verandah overlooking False Bay.
By a stroke of good fortune, three medium-sized southern right whales were lolling about within range of my tungsten steel driver. Ted got seven points for hitting two of them, but I took gold by getting a hole-in-one.
Ted tried to argue, claiming that a whale’s blowhole was smaller than a golf ball and that a hole-in-one was technically impossible. I called him a lying dog and the mood turned ugly.
Demanding that I take a drug test, Ted ordered me to urinate into a cup. I was still sorting out my aim when the newly-wed Jehovah’s Witness couple from across the road came over to complain about the noise. I thought we were under terrorist attack and grabbed Brenda from behind. Using her as a human shield, I worked my way towards the kitchen where the machete is kept.
With an overpowering stench of aniseed pouring from his mouth, Ted announced that the archery event was about to begin. He lunged for my loaded speargun and, in the true pagan spirit of the Olympics, advanced on the Jehovah’s Witnesses but then went and disqualified himself by shooting before they had a chance to run.
The rules of this event were clear – the target must be moving at all times. As it happened, Ted missed by a few centimetres. By the time I had released Brenda and reloaded, the happy couple was safely home scanning back copies of The Watchtower to check if what they had just encountered marked the beginning of the end of the present system of world government.
I doubt that it did, but it certainly marked the beginning of the end of my friendship with Ted. The booze-addled heretic decided that the only thing missing was an Olympic flame, so he set fire to Brenda’s collector’s edition of Soldier of Fortune magazine and ran through the house shouting in fluent gibberish.
Once the smoke had cleared and the cat had been extinguished, Brenda cracked a fresh bottle of ouzo and said she had an idea for a new event. Despite being severely incapacitated, Ted and I rounded as one.
We reminded her that, for thousands of years, women had not been allowed to participate in the Olympics. Athletic training takes up a tremendous amount of time and the Greeks understood better than most that if women were allowed to take part, somewhere there would be men going without food or sex.
However, Ted and I agreed that as it was Women’s Day, we would make a special exception and allow Brenda to compete in the Striving for a Non-Sexist Society event.
For her to win, she had to convince us in thirty seconds why she should not go to the kitchen and make a round of toasted bacon and peanut butter sandwiches.
It was close, but she had to make do with bronze. Ted took silver and passed out. I’m still waiting for my medal.
And my sandwich.