“Antelope Required,” announced the notice board in the local Laundromat. That got me intrigued. Why would anyone want an antelope on the Gold Coast of Australia? A zoo owner perhaps, or a nomadic homesick African, or maybe an uninspired artist needing a change from sagging 50 year olds offering themselves as nude models? My mind cartwheeled with pleasure at all the possibilities. But really, who would need an antelope?
Suddenly I realised – I did! I had been plodding along like a giant Galapagos tortoise carrying a heavy burden on my back for far too long, still lost in time and space after my divorce three years earlier. Getting up every day, stumbling into the office in a haze of grey, three shots of caffeine before I could bring myself to turn on the computer, clacking on the keys all day long managing other people’s money, while mine steadily trickled away. No, that was not living. I needed an antelope. I needed a fast-moving something to grab onto and drag me out of my post divorce stupor. An antelope would do. I could grab its tail as it flashed past and let it bump me out of the debris of shattered home and life that I was lost in. My epiphany made it clear: the time for wallowing in self pity and dreams of revenge was over. Yes I needed an antelope. But then again what was an antelope anyway, and why would somebody want one at the beach?
I went to consult the wisdom of the internet. Wikipedia told me an antelope was “an even-toed ungulate species.” Oh yes that cleared it up completely. Of course someone needed an ungulate at the beach. Everyone must have an ungulate to go with their bucket and spade, preferably in a colour to match their designer beach towel. Maybe even his and hers ungulates. That could be the next big trend at Broadbeach: designer antelopes to match your shoes and handbag, or better yet, the antelopes could be made into your shoes and handbag. I continued reading.
Wikipedia then explained that there are no antelopes in Australasia, so I thought that might be a good reason for someone wanting one. Some antelopes have “spectacular leaping and evasive skills”, however, knowing the other wild life in Surfers Paradise, someone probably wanted the antelope for the fabled aphrodisiac quality of the males ground up horns. Yes that must be it.
Now that I understood the practical uses for an antelope, I decided to delve into my Animal Spirit Guides book to determine the deeper spiritual significance of requiring one. “Call on antelope when you feel blocked or stymied in your efforts and need to take action in order to get things moving,” the book said. Well that certainly applied to me. Calling on antelope might help me work up the courage to finally quit being a morosely moribund masochistic accounts manager, and follow my passion of becoming a writer. I made a decision to have a serious and life-transforming chat with antelope later in the day. None of this “calling on antelope” business for me, I was going to leap on its back whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ until the poor creature dragged me out of my stagnation from sheer unmitigated terror. I could tell it was going to be a deeply spiritual experience.
I began to wonder if there was another divorced woman on the coast who needed assistance dragging herself out of a lacklustre job and life; maybe that was why she put up the notice on the Laundromat board requesting an antelope. Or better yet, maybe it was a recently divorced male who liked to grind up animal horns to use as an aphrodisiac. Viagra seemed like an easier alternative but after three years of divorce any man looked promising. This definitely required further investigation.
I decided to go back to the Laundromat the next day and see who required an antelope and what their phone number might be.
I woke next morning to the sound of antelope calling. Actually, it was the sound of my noisy neighbours in one of their wild and strange lovemaking sessions, but close enough. I went into my office, switched on my laptop, and watched a YouTube video of antelope with their graceful forms running, leaping, dancing, and reaching speeds of 85km per hour – I wanted some of that. My maximum speed on a good day, like any giant tortoise, was less than 2km per hour.
The YouTube video was entitled Rhythmic Pace – Antelope – Live or Die and it hit me that ever since my divorce I had been slowly dying, becoming more grey and lifeless with each passing day. I had heard the call of the antelope. Now it was time to grab its tail and run. I walked into the office, in a green haze not a grey one, refused the coffee machine’s loving overtures, turned on my computer, typed up my resignation, handed it to my boss, who I suddenly realised looked like a very stern silverback gorilla – definitely not an antelope – and walked out the door, free at last. Next stop a Zumba dance class – time for some rhythmic pace and Latin passion. I leapt and I danced, I was far from graceful, didn’t reach speeds of 85km per hour, but I was certainly shaking my booty with passion and pace. By the end of the class I felt exhausted but exhilarated. What fun! Then it was time to meet my destiny at the Laundromat.
When I got there, I leapt towards the notice board, hoping to find the sign I was looking for. Yes, there it was. “Antelope Required. If you have one please contact Ben on 0600 456 789.” A mischievous grin spread across my face and I started dialling. A warm, tall, playful voice answered the phone.
“Oh hi Ben, I believe you are looking for an antelope. Yes, I definitely have exactly what you’re looking for.”