The Pope in Africa

A reader has asked me to comment on Pope Benny’s recent visit to Africa. I admit I’ve been avoiding the subject for fear of stirring ill-will among my human cousins. Rancour is an emotion that should be kept a safe distance from the bosom. I certainly wasn’t one of those who hooted and heckled the high pontiff when he announced his opposition to condoms. To my way of thinking, a man’s sexual habits are his own private affair. If Benny is happy for his todger to take a dip without a life jacket, who am I to interfere? The nuns who visit him are surely capable of asking to see the results of his latest STD check-up before accepting his blessing.

A pair of American women staying at the safari guesthouse told me they would be joining a feminist protest against the Pope and his reactionary views. They showed me a box of custom-made condoms, each with a picture of Benny’s head on it. After inflating them like balloons at a papal rally, their intention was to burst them shouting “Pop the Pope!”

“My dear ladies!” I exclaimed. “Blowing and popping is not even recognised as an insult in Africa. People would assume you were celebrating someone’s birthday. In this part of the world, humans express strong feelings either by dancing or throwing spears. Since you lack javelin expertise, I suggest you shake your bottoms disdainfully at the Pope during his sermon.”

“What shall we do with the condoms?” they asked.

It was a fair question. Leaving them in the box would have been a waste of good rubber.

“Why not insert peeled bananas inside them before your protest?” I suggested. “You could hold one in either hand and crush them in your fists at a climactic point in the dance. The symbolism would be obvious to everyone. Benny would have to double his dosage of Viagra after seeing that.”

They seemed satisfied with my advice and gave me a book to read called Postmodernism and Gender Relations in Feminist Theory. I promised to study it carefully.

Far more troubling to me was the Pope’s
insidious attempt to convert witches to Roman Catholicism. The witch doctor is a friendly neighbourhood apothecary in Africa. Some are nefarious frauds and impostors, but to condemn an entire profession because of a few bad apples isn’t playing fair. How would Benny like it if I said all Catholic priests were pederasts?

I had very good relations with the English witch community back in my circus days. Nowadays they are all good witches, the bad ones having been burned a long time ago. I would describe those I knew as boisterous ladies with an aptitude for handicrafts, herbal medicine and naked outdoor dancing. It would be no exaggeration to say that we got on like a house on fire. Convinced that I was some sort of hairy wizard, they invited me to one of their outdoor dances. I went there purely as an observer, of course. Gorillas do not boogie with naked women.

On returning to the circus, my friend Smacker Ramrod, the circus vet, asked me where I had been. I immediately told him of the wondrous spectacle I had witnessed.

“I bet most of them were hairy old lesbians,” he sniffed.

He was obviously jealous

“They were not, Smacker,” I replied haughtily. “And since you have attempted to demean them, I would point out that: (a) there is nothing wrong with being hairy; (b) the elderly do not participate in such events, which might be injurious to their heath; and (c) you are the last person who should use the word “lesbian” in a derogatory sense given your own taste in erotic entertainment.”

He graciously withdrew his remark and I promised to introduce him to the foxier witches in my acquaintance.

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