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Such fun at St Clement’s the other night. As the winter solstice approaches – it’s the shortest day of the year tomorrow (and the longest night for those of amorous bent) – we of this group who gather in appreciation of the arts and the skills of the vintner hold a short-story competition.
This year the stories are especially short – 100 words, no more, no less. It’s a challenge.
Did I participate? Well, no. I was one of the judges. My fellow judge was colleague Carolyn Howie.
And what a pleasure it was to read the more than 100 entries; such a distillation of wit and writing skill.
Even better was hearing them read out loud by the writers. A fellow like Spyker Koekemoer (aka Pat Smythe) could bring the house down reading a Chappies bubblegum wrapper.
Overall winner was Durban artist Andrew Verster with a piece on the rescue of parents by the arrival of the nanny. Maritzburg attorney Alan Manning won a special award for quirkiness with his bit on the sailor who is having fun with a whore while his ship, the Waratah, sails without him.
Great stuff. But here’s a mystery. The author of one of the top 10 entries is not known. Pieter Scholtz, who organised the competition, made sure that the names of the authors were removed from the entries he sent us to evaluate.
But then his computer lost one of the stories. Carolyn was able to send it back to him – but, of course, she didn’t have the name of the author and nor do I. And we judged it one of the top 10. Hier’s nou ’n ding!
Here’s the story, titled Out Of Sight:
“The dark stormy rain clouds were congregating as he blindly struggled up the narrow rocky path dragging his load. Heaving a long, wheezing sigh, he stopped and shakily poured a tumbler of whisky. It splashed on to the muddy sodden earth and mingled with his dripping tears. Muttering a farewell toast, he nudged the load down the rocky ravine towards the icy, fast flowing river below. His stricken heart wept. He would never again feel her soft, warm furry body sprawled across his swollen arthritic limbs, or experience her worn padded paws on his face. She was his sight no more.”
The author should contact Pieter. Fifty of the stories will be published later this year and this will be one of them.
The Greeks (1)
TIMEO Danaos et dona ferentes – I fear the Greeks even when bearing gifts. That comes from the siege of Troy. However, reader Rupert Wait says there’s a new adage in the euro zone: “Beware of Greeks bearing drachmas.”
Yep. This one will run and run.
The Greeks (2)
MEANWHILE, more trauma in the ancient cradle of democracy. A Greek MP of the far right slapped a left-wing female politician in the face during a live TV debate and threw a glass of water at another.
Now he’s suing them for defamation. Ilias Kasidiaris, of the Golden Dawn party, says he was responding to Rena Dorou, of the Syriza party, throwing a newspaper at him.
“I did what millions of Greeks would have done – when you get hit in the face you have to defend yourself.”
Hmmm. Let us hope this was an isolated incident. I’ve always identified strongly with Greek culture. There’s nothing like the Zorba dance late at night and throwing plates at the walls in a restaurant (Though you should always check first that it actually is a Greek restaurant – Chinese and Portuguese restaurateurs lack a sense of humour).
But they mustn’t expect me to slap girls or throw glasses of water at them. I’ve old-fashioned ideas about this sort of thing. Besides, most of the girls I know have a strong right hook and training in ju jitsu.
I do hope they get this nonsense in Greece sorted out.
THE PATIENT has a painful leg. As the doctor examines him his stethoscope picks up a tiny voice coming from his knee: “Lend us a tenner! Lend us a tenner!” Moving further down he picks up another tiny voice from the ankle: “Lend us a tenner! Lend us a tenner!”
Doctor: “This is bad news. Your leg is broke in two places.”
I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly. – Michel de Montaigne