It was a dark and stormy night … This is how horrible fairy tales begin. This is how this story begins. Except that fairies don’t have tails and this is a simple story.
After that dark and stormy night – – – in this tale – – – our extraordinarily charming and attractive young man awoke. A prince among men. He was well educated and insatiably curious. He wondered how much fun he could have with his clothes on. But how? Zip-lining? Pottery? Scuba-diving? Folding fitted sheets? Skydiving? Gardening?
The storms notwithstanding, he had rested well and found himself in need of exercise. Henceforth I will call him Peter, for that is not merely a name which I like, it is, quite coincidentally, the truth. Peter’s working hours and time were flexible. This morning he had a late appointment and there was ample time for a game of squash. He called Mary, the secretary of the Community Sports Club. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent, for there are none. Mary was game for a game, so to speak. So much fun, and exercise, and with clothes on.
Peter donned his little white shorts with skinny legs protruding, his faded white T-shirt, short white socks, which emphasised his rather funny legs, and his old-fashioned takkies. Off he went to the courts for a game against Mary. This happened frequently. It was always a great contest – sometimes in the afternoon and mostly at random times when both Mary and Peter were available. Always, Peter in his little white shorts, white T-shirt, white socks and white takkies. Not the most attractive clothes, but clothes nonetheless, and Peter was always ready for fun. That is all that Mary had ever seen of our hero.
As it happens in fairy tales, time passed and Peter became Mayor of the town. Mary, as the secretary of the Sports Club, invited the First Citizen to present the trophies and awards at the Junior Soccer annual prize-giving. Peter arrived in a neatly tailored light grey suit which hid those skinny legs and knobbly knees. The magnificent 3 kg solid gold Mayoral Chain was draped over his shoulders. His wife, as always impeccably dressed with great flair in bright colours and adorned with her Mayoress’s chain, was at his side. A few paces behind strode the burly bodyguard. The entrance to the club was through large glass French doors. The sun was setting and beaming brightly down the long dark passage at the end of which stood Mary. She was accompanied by a welcoming committee of perhaps 30 mothers and dozens of excited kids. Most of the fathers were at home watching rugby, as happens in fairy tales. Perhaps they didn’t want to compete with the dashing good looks, ebullient personality and piercing blue eyes of the mayor!
Mary leaned forward and to her left, with eyes squinting. She swayed to her right struggling to see who was approaching. She raised her hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the bright sunbeams, unable to identify this trio. As the mayoral couple came closer, Mary suddenly recognised the Mayor and simply blurted, ‘Oh Peter, it’s you. I never recognised you with your clothes on’.
How much fun can you have with your clothes on? A lot … with mild embarrassment. A true story, rather than a fairy tale, the veracity of which can be confirmed.
Thanks to Alexis Grewan for editing this article