Thursday, January 03, 2013

Grim Reaper v My Sister

My two years younger sister Bridget should have popped her clogs and given the bucket a thorough kicking well before her teens. I can only hazard a guess that her Yorkshire genes (world renowned for being tighter than Scot or Jew genes), thought that if they came into this world for free, on no account were they departing without a fight.

Bridget was physically not suited for Central Africa and all it entails. In Rhodesia we were brought up from the age of five to be tough and excel in sports and be fit and strong. Unfortunately Bridget could only be considered a bit of a Spazsticus rather than a Spartacus. She did learn to swim, although if it hadn’t been for the rope the teacher tied around her, she would still be lying at the bottom of the pool to this day.

No matter what sport it was - she was useless. The lack of eye and hand coordination extended right down to her feet. She did excel in fraud though and as a teenager mysteriously seemed to always being excused from the compulsory two afternoons sweating buckets at hockey, tennis, athletics etc because she was always ‘not well’, with the note signed by her mother. Not that my step-mom Katherine, ever knew about this.

But it was not only sport that was bad for my sister’s health. They didn’t call Africa the ‘Whiteman’s grave’ for fun but because all sorts of nasty diseases could be picked up and many thousands of brave, land thieving pioneers paid the ultimate price of shitting and vomiting to death (the easy way), or if you want to depart seriously hard core by going berserk and snapping your own spine in your death throes - rabies was up there in the top 10. I remember at junior school being showed a short film of this bearded bloke strapped to a bed and frothing out the mouth and generally going quite mental and it put us all off patting any friendly jackals that came our way.

Unfortunately for my family the nasty things always seemed to visit my sister either just before we were supposed to go on our Xmas holidays or bang in the middle of them. Mmm…let me recall.

Paradise Island. Just off the coast of Mozambique. Maybe she is five. Paradise without hot water and very little food but luckily a tiny clinic with loads of syringes full of anti-biotics pumped into her arse because all of a sudden tonsillitis took hold. You could hear her screams as far as Vilanculos.

Then the next year. The old man decides it would be a great idea to DRIVE from Salisbury to Lake Nyasa. Hah-hah - what a fucking nightmare that was. But Bridget does us proud and promptly gets malaria. Luckily there is a small clinic with loads of syringes full of whatever and her screams could be heard as far as Lilongwe. Well, the Grim Reaper wasn’t having that and the recovering fair skinned redhead was left to rest on the beach and within seconds suffered sunstroke but luckily the clinic still had more syringes and her screams could be heard as far away as Salisbury.

Undeterred, a year later, death tries another plan. Just before we were due to go to the Chimanimani mountains, she turns into a Chinese woman! Amazing. One minute she is a natural born, ghost type colour, and next thing you know she is yellower than the proverbial canary that chirps “I smell gas!’ and promptly falls off its perch. But riddled with yellow fever (jaundice) this canary refuses to die.

And then, was it the next year, I can’t remember, as she picked up more exotic germs, parasites and viruses that even Katherine’s favourite textbook ‘The Reader’s Digest Guide to what can kill you in Africa’, couldn’t keep up. I only got jealous once. I reckon she was 13 and me was due some serious end of the year exams. As usual I hadn’t done jack shit and would fail and subsequently be beaten once again to death.

Then, in a stroke of amazing luck, our little brother Michael contracted measles! I am not sure where he got that from but he was quarantined and Bridget and I were banned from his presence. I took every opportunity to sneak into his bedroom hoping to get the dreaded illness and sister, being a bit of a lazy arse, also had the same idea. Well, Michael only had a teeny weenie dose and a few little tiny spots. I caught nothing. Bridget caught the lot. So huge were her red spots I thought she had turned into a Native American! She stayed in bed, I failed and was subsequently beaten once again to death.

I am sure there were more strange exotic things she caught. She never got bilharzias because she didn’t like swimming in rivers and dams. I did…and didn’t…sigh. In fact the harder I tried to catch something the harder I failed. Even now (touch wood) with my lifestyle I should have dropped dead years ago.

Bad luck always plagued Bridget. Not just from the inside but also from the outside. I tried to kill her off with various extreme sports designed for the pre-teens such as parachuting from the garden wall, but she always survived. But the funniest thing I recall was when she must have been about seven.

It was a Sunday outing. The family went to some small park near the railway line that divided Salisbury between the white have and have nots. It wasn’t much of a kid’s playground but they had a roundabout thingy and a slide. The place was pretty deserted. There was one bloke with his little boy and a rather large Alsatian. So, messing around, whatever, the bloke puts his little boy on the roundabout. Bridget gets on too. The bloke starts to spin the thing. Shrieks of enjoyment from his son but the shrieks from my sister could be heard as far away as Johannesburg…because

You see, as the spinning got faster and faster, little sister, hanging on to the bars for dear life, was slowly being pushed by the centrifugal force to the extreme edges. Now at the same time, the fucking dog decides that the screaming boy is obviously in some kind of danger and is running around like a lunatic, getting totally dizzy, barking its head off and trying to stop the spinning thing by bighting at the ‘hold on’ bars. Realising that wasn’t working, the deranged animal locks onto a soft target – Bridget’s bum.

I will never forget this image, god help me, did I laugh? The dog has her bum in its teeth - it tries to brake the roundabout by digging in its haunches whilst growling like a rabid jackal, Bridget is howling worse than a wolf on LSD, the dog is having its arse burnt to a crisp as it is dragged around the tarmac surround and I only stop screaming with hysterical laughter when my beloved father drops me to the ground with a well aimed smack to my left ear.

Ah, once the canaries finally dissipated from my humming head, Bridget, (now rescued), is soothed and prompted to cheer her self up by going on the slide. Ah, but the Grim Reaper wants revenge. So she climbs up. Stands there and starts yowling with fear. She won’t go down the slide nor reverse down the steps. I am sulking because my head hurts otherwise I could have sorted the problem out by simply pushing the silly hysterical bint down it.

So the old man decides he goes up and holding Bridget between his thighs - fires down like a rocket. Sadly, the dumb ass had forgotten about using feet for breaks and at the end of the slide shoots off at an alarming rate. Forced not to crush Bridget, he uses his palms and knees on all fours to come to a halt. I took evil satisfaction of his pain. Still, bit harsh hey. What looked liked just a bit of removed skin turned out by the next day to be fractured knee caps. HE went on the sick for two weeks and I went back to school! It was impossible for me to get written off.

Well, my sister is still alive. Doing okay actually, even if the tight tart never bothered to buy my book. I sent her a copy but she gabbled some excuse that it never turned up. Oh well, £20 down the drain. But, amazingly, of all careers she could have taken, she decided to become an expert in…Tropical Diseases.

1 comment:

May Garcia said...

Well, once again I enjoyed very much your writing...feeling a bit sorry fr your wonder she is not very inclined to read your book.
What a devil you were!!!
Thank you for this great post..and best for 2013!!