Time to Think HTML version

A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body
Three local businesses were competing to get the new French electrical goods franchise, so
after bending the agent’s ear on Thursday afternoon Francis invited him home for dinner, figuring it
could only help the fellow make the right decision. Mum was annoyed at having such short notice
to prepare a gourmet meal, but after shaking hands with the charming young god who introduced
himself as Loic, she was all smiles. We were expecting someone middle-aged, not a slim, perfectly
proportioned twenty-four year-old with olive complexion, heavy five-o’clock shadow, black eyes,
close-cropped black hair, wearing an elegant cream linen suit.
It was hot and Mum always needs peace to cook, so she suggested we went for a swim. Loic
was keen but had no togs. Francis explained that the pool was private and we always skinny dipped,
so if he didn’t mind… He didn’t and within a minute there was a heap of clothes on the patio and
we were padding bare arsed down the sandy path through the trees to a stream that flows through a
deep pool at the bottom of our property. There are loads of birds, the forest is fairly dense and Loic
kept raving about how perfect it was. The sight of the pool excited him so much he danced onto a
rock like a mythological faun shouting he was in Arcadia with the gods. He grabbed Francis and me
and we danced in a circle, holding hands and laughing like crazies. It would have been
embarrassing if an Australian had done it, but with his French accent and cute face, not to mention
his body, it was poetic and beautiful.
Loic looked even better naked than dressed; lean but attractively muscled with short black hairs
on his chest and legs. He's well tanned, all over so he was obviously used to skinny-dipping, and his
hair looks like a shiny black skullcap when it’s wet. Francis is thirty-four but looks younger than
Loic. No wrinkles or frowns and apart from dead straight blond hair that hangs over his eyes, he’s
hairless; hardly has to shave, has no armpit hair to speak of and smooth strong legs. We share the
bathroom between our bedrooms so I see him in the shower every day. All it takes is a couple of
strokes with a safety razor over his chin, under each armpit, and half dozen strokes over his pubes
to render his body so smooth and sleek you'd think he was prepubescent—if you didn’t look into his
pale blue eyes that seem to know your secrets.
People often make the mistake of thinking Francis is a pushover, but he’s a savage at heart and
takes no crap from anyone. We jog together now and again and take self-defence classes—the sort
that teaches you to maim your attacker leaving no one able or willing to seek revenge. A couple of
months ago some louts called him baby face and shoved him aside as we were walking back to the
car from the gym. He politely suggested they show some respect. They told him to make them. So
he did—smashed their kneecaps with the steel-capped shoes he had specially made to look like
casual loafers, knuckled them in the side of the head as they went down, then stomped on their
fingers and asked if they wanted more.
It’s odd. I’m the tall tough guy with broad shoulders, narrow waist and a mean look—Mum
says I'm the classic male type—but my instinct is to placate, or run away if that doesn’t work. In
this instance I was useless; just stood there watching while Francis put them out of commission.
I guess I should mention that Francis is my father. He married young and was eighteen when I
was born. I’ve never called him Dad or Daddy; he’s always been Francis. When he enrolled me at
school he was so sick of people saying he looked far too young to have a kid that he told them he
was my brother. Since then everyone, teachers and friends, continue to think he is. As a five year-
old I assumed that brother and father were the same thing.
My difficult birth gave Mum a nervous breakdown. The day she brought me home she handed
me to Francis and moved into the guest flat at the front of the house so she could shut herself away,
prepare her own meals, and wouldn’t have to share the bathroom. Francis looked after me and the
house for a couple of years as well as run his business. Mum’s sole contribution to my survival was
to express milk into a bottle so Francis could feed me. I slept in his bed till I was two, so he didn’t
have to get up to feed me, change nappies or calm my crying. I grew into a neurotic little prick and
although my bedroom was only a few metres from his and the doors were kept open, nightmares