I should have a special place where I keep my ski gear. I always need them at short notice, but as usual ended up rushing round like a lunatic, grabbing a boot here, a glove there. Found my ski hat in a box marked â€˜Food Processorâ€™ â€“ what idiot left it there? â€“ hardly had time to finish my Brandy Alexander, before speeding off to Piedmont, to the resort of Sauze d’Oulx, to fetch the wonderful David Monk to his eternal rest. Credit to Mr Monk, the hard work was all his. Wisely, he had spent the evening inebriating himself, for without the courage and inspiration that alcohol imparts, who knows if he would have stumbled so happily upon the means with which to end himself.
As it was, I arrived in plenty of time, found a good spot to watch, idly made myself a snowball, and savoured the crisp mountain air. If I were mortal, rather than an unholy sempiternal vortex of blinding chaos, I would love for my last breath to be as pure and cool as this. Ah well, you get what kicks you can.
It had just gone half past midnight when my moment came. A leap, a whoop, a holler, a â€œwhoa!â€, a thudâ€¦ and from me, a gasp of unimaginable delight. Mr David Monk of Hertfordshire, whose fortunate soul I still keep in my jacket pocket to dandle with, a souvenir of a happy night, died where he fell: at the bottom of a beginnersâ€™ ski-slope. He whacked his head on a metal post, and that was that. He should, of course, have been saved by the protective matting that surrounded the post, except that â€“ with wondrous foresight â€“ heâ€™d just removed that section of protective matting, dragged it up the slope, and ridden it headfirst down like a toboggan. For a moment, as his friends screamed and tumbled towards him, I was lost in admiration, and could do nothing but applaud. â€œWell done, Sir!â€ I exclaimed, as I slid and crunched through the snow to join the pack. I leant amongst them, sucked his psyche out through his nose (as sometimes I do if Iâ€™m feeling â€˜old schoolâ€™) and we were off. Last orders at Cicciâ€™s. I had a flavoured vodka. Vanilla and peach, I think it was.
I showed him the newspaper the next day, and he managed a chuckle. “He hit the post at exactly the spot where the crash mat had been stripped from,” said a spokesman for the Alpine rescue service. â€œIt was an act of suicide.â€ Suicide by plastic mat. Too many tobogganing deaths are run of the mill neck snaps. Hats off to David Monk for freshening the pot.
Death at work: