Delivering The Last Rites Of Passage

My deviant offspring Clive turns 17 in a few days time.

This must have triggered something in his so-called brain because he has begun misbehaving to an alarming degree. 


The brat has always given me trouble.

When he was born we all thought he was a girl, but it turned out that he had tucked his willy between his legs like one of those drag queen abominations.

Once the nurse had wiped the blood and gore from his puny little body and handed him to me, I gave him a good smack and warned him never to impersonate a woman again. The nurse snatched him back and smacked him harder. We passed him back and forth, smacking and laughing, until Brenda sprang from her bed and intercepted him.

I thought she wanted to join in the game, but all she did was snarl and bark and rub his stupid red bottom as if that would help him grow up to be a real man capable of playing a blood sport and fiddling his taxes. I should have married the nurse.

I knew there was something different about Clive from the moment he failed his apgar test. The nurse told me he had the lowest score of any baby she had ever seen, including those born from vodka fiends and estate agents.

The apgar test works much like basketball in that the infant is awarded two points for every score. Clive cracked the heart rate, thanks to the healthy beating. He lost one point for breathing because he screamed solidly for three minutes without once drawing breath. When it came to muscle tone, I was appalled to discover that the runt couldn’t even arm wrestle me even though I was using my little finger on my left hand. No points there. None for colour either. He was suspiciously dark. I demanded they bring me another baby. A whiter one.

I can’t even remember ever having had sex with Brenda, let alone impregnating her.

Just as I was about to storm the nursery to acquire a replacement, they performed the final test on him – stimulation. Clive reacted so well to stimulation the sister had to put a screen around him and ask people to go back to their beds. That’s when I knew he was mine.

I overheard a doctor use the word “priapism”. Brenda panicked but I restrained her with a headlock and reassured her this was a good thing.

That was the first and last time I was convinced I had a son and not a daughter. Years of mollycoddling, eating sandwiches with their crusts cut off and piano lessons with a priest who played Santa Claus at the mall every December sapped the poor bastard of the one drop of testosterone he was born with.

He showed no interest in killing animals, taunting lesbians, abusing the hired help or any of the other things that make South African men what they are today. Instead, he developed a penchant for camouflage skirts and began hanging around his mother in the kitchen learning how to bake gay little tarts while swinging his girly hips to Brenda’s favourite Abba album.

At the age of 16 his voice had still not broken. Unfortunately, Brenda got wind of my plans to sneak into his bedroom one night and give his testicles a healthy Catholic tug. She threatened to have me jailed, a prospect that made my sphincter tighten and my resolve weaken.

All of this changed in the last week. With the approach of his 17th birthday, Clive appears to have become possessed by some sort of incubus.

On Friday evening he sidled up to me in a crab-like fashion and asked if he could accompany me to the shop. I go to the shop every Friday evening for milk and bread. If we haven’t run out, I wait until Brenda isn’t looking and pour the milk down the sink and give the bread to the dog. Brenda caught me out when she found 30 or 40 loaves of bread festering behind the garage. Apparently the dog died a few years ago. Someone could have told me.

I wasn’t all that keen on Clive embarrassing me at my local shop, but I said he could come if he stole R100 from his mother’s purse. He was back in a flash, thrusting two fifties into my hand. This is the same boy who would press the panic button whenever I forced him to watch wrestling instead of that mindless violence on the Discovery Channel.

The shop was thick with smoke and full of shouting men and squealing women. Clive grabbed my arm and said: “We must call the fire brigade!” I took him by the throat and guided him to a stool. “First we have to steady our nerves,” I said. “Then we’ll call the fire brigade.”

A shopkeeper with a 36D chest gave him the lazy eye and asked what he wanted. “Milk, please,” he said. I laughed and cuffed him playfully across the head. “He means a milk stout,” I said, helping him off the floor.

By the end of the evening, Clive’s voice had broken and he was sucking shooters out of the barmaid’s belly button.

“I think I like girls, dad,” he growled, launching himself into what looked like Christmas at Teazers.

It turns out that he also likes cigarettes, tequila and stealing the car when my back is turned. I won’t even get into the skillful lies, artful deception and condoms in the sock drawer.

I am mystified as to how a callow teenage virgin turns overnight into a capricious, hedonistic slut. Brenda is devastated and blames me for being the country’s worst role model for the youth.

“Worse even than Jacob Zuma?” I asked.

That shut her up.

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