Peter Clarke (1929 - )
Knight in Shining Armour

mixed media
50 x 35cm

An adult relative pumped the idea into his little head. When ever he was
asked he would reply, "I want to be a knight in shining armour when I grow up."
Coming from a small child's mouth it sounded absolutely cute. His pretentious mother said it sounded
so romantic. His father, basically a slob, said, "Sounds fucking daft to me. But then, it's to be
expected. He takes after his mother's side of the family. They've always got their noses in books
or heads up in the clouds."
As a youngster he helped shoppers carry bags loaded with groceries. He assisted old ladies across
heavily trafficked streets & rescued cats stranded up in trees.
When he completed his schooling he became involved in welfare work in a charity organization.
He was always going off to one or the other NGO meeting in Pretoria or somewhere. He was always
on the go. 'A real do-gooder,' his father would scoff. But in actual fact he was proud of his
Sometimes the knight-in-shining armour's telephone rang at 2:30 & 3 in the morning. "I'm
terribly sorry to bother you at this hour," the voice at the other end of the line would say, "but so-&-so's
had an asthma attack & we need to get her to the hospital." Or else it would be, "Man, I'm
stranded at a party at so-&-so's pad. Can you give me a lift home, ple-ase, ou pal?" He was
always having to go to the rescue & help out somebody.
But as he became older he found the demands on his time & energy more & more taxing.
He wished people wouldn't bother him any old time. He even placed a notice in the yellow pages
emphasizing 'available only during office hours.' This did not make any great difference
& so he decided to retire & emigrate to Canada or some place far away.

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.