Time’s up and Section 68 cogitates
On the way home Vernon admitted to himself he hadn’t heard the voice of Africa calling after all. It was just some kind of neurosis. Or, perhaps, he had merely been seduced by the wanderlust that had flirted with him after his mid-life crisis had led to some flattering encounters with exotic single women. Maybe it was just jealousy that others were returning from Africa with stories to tell combined with the growing media fanfare about the abolition of slavery. He doubted that King Solomon, or whatever his name was really, had suffered from self-doubt in the same way. From the sound of Ecclesiastes the king-with-a-quest had seen what he’d wanted and taken it.
It had been a long Wednesday, another Black Wednesday even, and Vernon fell into bed exhausted after feeding Chucky the cat and gnawing on a pitta and peanut-butter snack washed down with a strong cup of tea. In an odd way there was some comfort in realising that he’d been spared the presumptuous blunder of trying to rescue Africa single-handedly the way Wittgenstein had attempted to bequeath his blistering intellect to the rustic Austrian village of Trattenbach. Vernon was no more a missionary than Wittgenstein had been a primary school teacher. Probably the only thing he shared with Wittgenstein was the capacity for delusion. ‘Never mind’ he told Chucky sadly as he set the alarm on his bedside clock; ‘at least I’ve still got you.’
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