The Anonymous Diaries of a Sozzled Scribbler
As transcribed by DMETRI KAKMI
Now that Prince Andrew has stepped down from Official Duties he has time to see me more often.
As it happens we were taking lunch at the Savage Club, an exclusive gentlemen’s retreat in the heart of Melbourne, when a gruff man by the name of Camilla Parker Bowles joined us and apropos of nothing announced that from now on he is non-binary and wishes to be addressed as They or Them, a grammatical anomaly which would make Doctor Johnson’s head spin like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist.
Knowing his Royal Highness as I do, I could see his interest was piqued. After all it is not every day one encounters ones brother’s second wife in a newly reconstituted masculine state, though it must be said Camilla always had more testicular frontage than anyone at the Palace, except perhaps for the Queen Mother.
Prince Andrew allowed Camilla to go on.
‘I don’t want to be associated with toxic masculinity anymore,’ They quoth, as though a William Peter Blatty-esque Legion spoke through Them in a polyphonous cacophony. ‘From now on I’m non-binary, of no ethnicity, and of no color whatsoever. My new name is Quanella Kendis. If you don’t acknowledge me as such you are adding to my already oppressed oppression.’
Silence emanated like incense from His Royal Highness. Only the sound of knifes and forks on fine bone china dominated the lofty room.
‘You know of course,’ said I, looking up from a rather dry baked potato, ‘that Them is a horror movie, as indeed is They. Are you a giant radioactive ant perhaps? Or maybe you only come out after dark to frighten people?’
Quanella was not amused.
‘Why don’t you call yourself It instead?’ added I and instantly thought better of it. ‘But then that too is a horror movie. And of course there’s the hirsute Cousin It in the Addams Family. Oh, dear, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. All the Its are taken. Maybe you can be a tit?’
Quanella glared at me with such rancid hatred that I feared my repast would be ruined by an attack on my person. In any case, before things got too ugly, They were forcibly ejected by security because They contravened the club’s sacred stratagem by not being a man.
Out They went, declaring that They will vilify us online and destroy our respective careers via the power of the Tweet. For surely there sat white privilege, Quanella screamed, amid the spoils of imperialist colonialism.
When They were well and truly vamoose, Prince Andrew gazed up from a sirloin steak and asked Ranjeet, the Indian waiter, to peel him an alfalfa sprout, and I asked Wayan, the Balinese boy, to fan me with a palm frond.
‘Imperialist colonialism indeed!’ said the Prince.
‘What piffle,’ echoed I.
Duties performed, the staff made themselves invisible. And that is precisely the moment Prince Andrew looked at me with a spark in his eye.
‘So,’ said he. ‘Camilla is a three in one.’
‘Indeed,’ I chortled, cutting into my chicken.
‘My good friend Epstein would know how to put all of Their personas to good use, what?’
‘Epstein is not supposed to be your friend any more, your Royal Highness,’ I reminded him sotto voce.
‘Oh yes,’ quoth he unabashed. ‘I say, I hear he is doing rather well here in Australia.’
‘He’s supposed to be dead,’ I hedged ever so gently.
‘Hiding out in Canberra and being called Clancy Lachlan for the rest of your life is a kind of death.’
How we laughed.
At that moment, an elderly man in a showy Italian suit was escorted to a nearby table.
‘Who’s that?’ asked the His Royal Highness, quaffing a Chateau Margaux 1787.
‘Keating,’ I said.
‘Who?’ the Prince said rather too loudly.
‘Ex prime minister, the father of the millionaires who doesn’t know how she ended up in a photo with Epstein.’
Further merriment ensued.
‘Ah, the good old days,’ said Prince Andrew, ‘when men were nary bi let alone non-bi-nary and women kept their mouths shut for a healthy sum.’
‘Indeed,’ I added. ‘Nowadays they take the moolah and talk to Oprah. They sell their story to the tabloids and play the victim, when they knew what they were getting into all along. Sly devils!’
‘I blame feminism and money.’
And because I know the prankish play of the Prince’s mind so well, I added: ‘The former pulled the Persian rug out from under our feet and the latter taught the masses that any travail can be borne so long as it is crowned with monetary compensation.’
‘Prostitution by another name,’ Prince Andrew finished.
We drank to a Great Truth.
‘Shall we depart?’ said the Prince, rising to his well-shod feet.
‘By all means, Your Royal Highness.’
I also rose from the table, even though I had barely eaten. That awful Quanella person had caused the acid to rise in my stomach.
‘You don’t mind paying,’ said the Prince, striding out with the half empty bottle of Chateau Margaux. ‘My cards appear to be elsewhere.’
‘Of course, Your Royal Highness.’
Even as I dug deep into my pockets, Prince Andrew stepped into the waiting Daimler and glided out to Collins Street, leaving me to navigate my way home on a tram. A fine fellow if ever there was one to round off a perfectly marvelous day.
Until next we meet. Cheerio!
The Sozzled Scribbler was born in the shadow of the Erechtheion in Athens, Greece, to an Egyptian street walker and a Greek bear wrestler. Of no fixed abode, he has subsisted in Istanbul, Rome, London, New Orleans and is currently hiding out in Melbourne. He partakes of four bottles of Bombay gin and four packets of Dunhill cigarettes a day.
His mortified amanuensis, Dmetri Kakmi, is a writer and editor. The fictionalised memoir Mother Land was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia. He edited the children’s anthology When We Were Young. His new book The Door and other Uncanny Tales will be released in May 2020.