THE TEXT

The Life of Henry Fuckit
(1950 - 2015)

 

65   Henry commits adultery

On Saturday afternoon he committed adultery with the café owner's wife. In his defence he could say it wasn't premeditated. No, it was accidental, a fateful collision of incidents. In the morning he had alighted at Cape Town station and walked through the busy streets. As he passed the Commercial Union Building he shuddered with revulsion at the memory of his brief Insurance career, now more than seven years into the past but still painfully present in his psyche. On Greenmarket Square a preacher was shouting an important message:

"God will judge you, every one of you, according to your ways. Repent and turn yourselves from your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin."

He strutted up and down, stopped abruptly, stretched out his arm and pointed an accusing finger at Henry as he passed by.

"Repent!" he screamed. "Ye drunkards and fornicators, repent! Your ways are an abomination to the Lord. Repent!"

Instead of heeding the maniac's advice Henry showed him his fist, thumb protruding between first two fingers, and walked on up Berg Street to the library.

On the second floor he spent some three hours browsing through the shelves of the Art section. First he refreshed his memory by going to his old favourites, and then he began looking at unfamiliar artists in the hope of discovering some new genius. The time went quickly and it was past one when he emerged from the building and stepped into the harsh sunlight. After so much colour and intensity the emptying city had an over-exposed look to it, making him feel in need of succour.

At the City Hall Hotel bar he drank two cold beers. No, he drank three beers, because one beer is thirst-quenching, two beers you feel nice and mellow, and three beers you're beginning to think recklessly and creatively.

The pleasant effect of three beers was wearing off by the time he reached Kalk Bay station so he went straight to the Majestic bar and had another two frosties. He also ate two cold fish cakes with lashings of tomato sauce and then went to the gentlemen's convenience and pissed a bucket of wonderful relief before making his way down the road to the Olympia Residentia. At Basil's Corner Café he went in to buy a pint of milk and a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits. As anyone knows, even someone of the meanest intelligence, the visual arts appeal to the senses. They tend to arouse the emotions, especially when they deal with the human form in an explicitly frank fashion. In the library Henry had encountered two new artists: Philip Pearlstein and HR Giger. Most striking among the former artist's work was a large-scale piece of realism featuring two nudes. The seated female was Caucasian and in her early forties. Straight dark hair to her shoulders, high cheekbones, slightly puffy about the eyes. Heavy drooping breasts, some cellulite about the midriff and thighs. Standing next to her, leaning against the wall, a negro in his late twenties. Lean and athletic he was turned towards the woman and she was eyeing his circumcised cock with an interesting mixture of curiosity and indifference. This was youthful desire tempered by the experience of age. HR Giger, the other artist, was quite clearly a worshipper of the god Priapus. He was obsessed with penile erections and depicted them en masse, as in 'Landscape', half hidden behind a waterfall, as in 'Cataract', or as beautifully obscene, high magnification, action close-ups, as in 'Erotomechanics'.

Thus, when Henry entered the café, he was not only under the influence of alcohol. He was so sensually aroused that the sight of Basil's wife handling English cucumbers had a compelling effect on him, and he reacted with impulsive indiscretion. Standing very close beside her, brushing against her as she packed fresh produce onto the racks, he picked up one of the cucumbers and weighed it in his left hand. Then he held the long, well-formed, fleshy fruit jutting away from him and began to caress its smooth cylindrical length with his right hand.

She stood very still, transfixed like Lot's wife gazing on the expressly forbidden. He turned slowly until the tip nudged her arm and the spell was broken. She looked up at him, her face flushed with colour, her eyes wide, her lips parted, and whispered urgently, "Come to the back."

In the farthest corner of the shop, partly hidden from view by islands of shelving, was a door leading out into a service alley. He was vaguely aware of dustbins, the smell of refuse and Jeye's Fluid, the side street at the end of the alley. He grabbed her and found her mouth, her breasts, her buttocks. Her passion seemed as eager as his, but she pulled away and motioned towards the storeroom door across the way.

Under the electric bulb stood a deal table bearing a grocer's scale, measuring scoop and box of paper bags. On the floor were jute sacks of flour, meal, sugar and rice. The windowless walls were lined with shelves stacked with boxes and boxes of dry goods. She was soon bent forward across the table, resting on her elbows and forearms, and being mounted by the rampant Satyr. Grunts, groans and gasps mingled with cries, moans and sighs until, all too soon, the deed was done. Another nail in his coffin.

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