On Sunday Brenda asked if she could take a picture of me. I agreed without a moment’s hesitation. Although I am not an exhibitionist by nature, I am one of those people who believe in flaunting their assets. And if there is one thing I have, it is assets in abundance.
Quickly stripping off, I went out into the garden and struck a number of exciting poses. The Greek man next door threatened to call the police.
I thought that was rich, coming from a man whose culture embraces a pantheon of drunken whore-mongering gods, two of whom spawned Priapus, an ugly little bastard possessed of an enormous penis who spent most of his life scaring the horses and wondering who his father was.
I flexed my thighs at the neighbour and said if he called the cops, I would transform myself into Pan and ravage his Alsatian dog with wild Hellenic abandon.
Then I pranced about all goat-like, willy a-flap in the southeaster, a sight that sent him scurrying indoors. And not a moment too soon, because I lost my balance and fell into the strelitzias.
Brenda recoiled like a startled mongoose when she saw me thrashing about naked in the shrubbery. Apparently she wanted to photograph me fully clothed. I couldn’t quite see the point of that and insisted on keeping my shirt off.
There is something noble about a well-toned male torso. Not so noble that I would want to wake up next to one, I hasten to add.
I put on my tough-yet-empathetic expression and prepared to be immortalised. Brenda told me to stop grimacing and suck my stomach in. I gave her the lazy eye and told her in no uncertain terms that I had no stomach to speak of. Then I inhaled deeply to enhance my rampant pectorals.
Tiny pinpricks of light erupted before my eyes and my chest emitted a high-pitched whining sound that caused Boris the cat to scramble for higher ground.
Brenda watched coldly as I wrestled with the possibility that my physique resembled not so much that of the Greek god Heracles as it did the Greek dog Cerberus.
“You’re fat,” she said.
I got up off my knees and adopted the Enraged Bull position. Brenda laughed harshly. I lowered my head and charged. Well, I would have charged had the sudden rush of blood to my head not incapacitated my legs.
I sat down unexpectedly and watched helplessly as my stomach unfolded like a terrible pink mudslide crushing millions of unsuspecting parasites and tiny defenceless mites who had set up home among my scraggly pubes.
Brenda averted her eyes and told me that my body mass index was higher than my IQ.
Struggling to my feet, I lost my centre of gravity and tried to grab hold of something that wasn’t there. “No more beer for you,” said Brenda.
“Fine,” I said. “Just help me inside and I won’t have any more today.”
She made a short, sharp sound that was part bark and part snort – a snark, I suppose – and said no more beer. Ever. From now on, it’s health foods.
I was deeply suspicious of her motives for wanting to keep me alive. This was virgin terrain and my instinct was to fight her with all the rotten teeth and splintered nails at my disposal.
But resistance was futile. Soon I was learning the difference between fruit and vegetables, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat and transsexual fat.
A few years ago I took some fatty acid in Barcelona and for six hours afterwards I was convinced my hands had swollen to ten times their normal size. It was no fun at all so I don’t mind not doing that again.
In the past I have avoided salads because they are very gay and Cape Town girls operate from the premise that all men are gay unless there is visible evidence to the contrary. For a long time I carried a T-bone steak in my jacket pocket that I would whip out and gnaw upon whenever a brazen hussy deigned to look my way. I can’t say it ever worked, but at least it kept the bandits at bay.
Brenda has now taken to bringing me plates of food clearly designed to render me impotent and get me writing poetry instead of reams of made-up filth.
“Tomatoes,” she says, “are good for you. Full of lycopene.”
That may be, but I have heard terrifying stories of what can happen if you mix lycopene with certain pharmaceuticals. Lycopene and heroin, for example, can cause tremendous harm to your health.
Brenda is also feeding me nuts because they are full of iron. I hate the word iron. It reminds me of a corporal who accused me of sleeping in my browns and then made me run around the parade ground with a big fat pig from Benoni on my back.
Eggs are on the list of banned substances. Not because they will clog my arteries, but because Brenda says if humans were oviparous instead of viviparous we wouldn’t like it one bit if a species much bigger than ours came along and turned our offspring into omelettes.
Liver I can have. Whoopee. I can hardly wait to get snout down in a plate full of internal organs that have filtrated all the toxins out of animals that died half-crazed with fear.
Ostrich is also okay, she says. Sure it is. Why don’t I just drive to Oudtshoorn and let one of those giant mutant birds sneeze avian flu right into my mouth?
And only this week federal authorities in America issued warnings that eating spinach, lettuce and bottled carrot juice from California’s Salinas Valley – the self-proclaimed “Salad Bowl to the World” – could lead to paralysis, respiratory failure and death. Charming.
Brenda doesn’t know it yet, but I have started a group called Vegephobes Anonymous. If you’re interested, let’s meat.