Dave the Silent had arrived in an unaccustomed dark suit with refined tie prominent across the front of a sparkling white shirt, which immediately caught the attention of the Demented Irish Miner. “You didn’t have to dress up just because I was coming,” was his less than original bon mot.
The discomfort of the atmosphere was perhaps not lightened by the fact that the Demented Miner, Big Chris and the Incomprehensible Scot had lined up alongside the Dapper Silent One wearing identically beer-branded T-shirts – though the Miner’s was, perversely, black and the other two resplendent in red – and insisted on having their picture taken.
The Silent One slowly turned his silver-maned head, launched a glare worthy of any gargoyle adorning Notre Dame and silently handed over the order of service from the funeral he had just come from.
A man with a less impervious hide than the Demented Miner would at least have flinched in chagrin under the unflinching gaze of Dave the Silent, but he merely looked at the front page, turned it over, and handed it back. “I’ve brought kudu dry wors with me,” he said.
It might not quite have shielded the rest of the gathering, who had collected for a convivial few hours and the prospect of watching a South African side in action against a World XV at Newlands from their obvious discomfort, but the Demented One’s offering certainly took the edge off.
“It is a pity that the Lydenburg Farmer is up in Mpumalanga,” said the Arithmetically-Challenged Golfer, beating the Ferocious Fireman by a whisker to the bushveld delicacy – and in doing, ensuring himself the largest stick available. “He would have enjoyed the kudu wors, though I feel that he would be less than enthusiastic about a non-cap match, especially at Newlands.”
There was a general feeling among the gathering that the Arithmetically-Challenged One was the least qualified to speak for the eminent agriculturalist as he has long forsaken hunting – especially of kudu – and, despite an inbred distrust of anything bar the wines of the Western Cape, is of the firmly patriotic nature that he will always back a South African team against a bunch of uitlanders.
And while is was true that Bakkies Botha was to captain a World side liberally sprinkled with other South Africans, the Farmer’s regard for the opinions of the Arithmetically-Challenged One are perhaps best summed up in his noting that: “You look like someone who cheats at golf.”
It was an off-hand observation that stung the Arithmetically-Challenged One, the self-styled guru on all sporting matters, but somehow tickled the fancy of the rest of the assembly.
But, with a goodly portion of the Demented Miner’s provisions having disappeared, the game began. “The Boks are going to crush them,” was the Demented One’s considered opinion. The Arithmetically-Challenged One’s brown creased. “Not necessarily so,” was his take. “Just look at the players they have available.”
The Demented Miner snorted in derision and as half-time rolled around the South Africans went into the changeroom 22-10 up, he gathered the keys for his muscle bakkie and prepared to leave.
“I don’t have to watch any more,” he said. “They are going to put 40 points at least past them.” The biggest surprise of all is, the Demented One was right. “That’s a first,” said the Silent One … and he too was right.