Satire Fiction

My part in Elon Musk’s horrifying and tragic Everest catastrophe (Chapter Three)

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(Image by Dan Jensen)

Chapter 3

Heseltina and the News Limited Yeti

Read Chapter One: The Infiltration
Read Chapter Two: Elon Musk and Keith the saucy, Reuters fake llama
Read Chapter Four: The Horrifying Muskalamity at Base Camp One

*Also listen to the audio version of this article on Spotify HERE.


It is 1994. A bright-eyed and ineffably heroic David Donovan has, as a rookie freelance journalist, managed to infiltrate a vast and bizarre Elon Musk expedition to scale Mount Everest. To do this, he has successively adopted various cunning disguises, including a garrulous one-eyed sherpa called Murray, and Bonny the amiable and reliable pack mule. On the way, he has gotten rather too close to Musk and befriended a statuesque fake llama called Keith, from Reuters.

We pick up this gripping tale as the exhausted Musk caravanserai, 14 days out of Kathmandu and much diminished now by natural and, for the most part, unnatural attrition at last sights Base Camp One, its first objective on its epic quest to reach the Roof of the World.

IT WAS ONLY on the 14th day of the trek – though I recall it seemed so much longer – that we at last cast our weary eyes upon Base Camp One, below us on an unlikely plain, with Everest looming gargantuan and vaguely threatening behind it.

Elon Musk, by this time, had, according to his PA/nanny, taken to spending the early part of the day reciting Mother Goose songs he apparently recalled from his childhood in Upper Right White Transvaal. As few of us in the party were familiar with Musk’s guttural native tongue, Afrikaans, we were all obliged to take that under advisement.

It had been a long and tortuous 14-day trek since last we set our eyes upon Kathmandu. It would take a book – perhaps several weighty tomes, indeed – to properly describe the many adventures and even more frequent misadventures we suffered during that perilous and demanding slog into the Himalayas. Let me merely fill you in on a few of the key happenings, before we get to the ghoulish tragedy that we now know was grimly set to befall Elon Musk at Base Camp One.

As mentioned in Chapter Two, after a brief dalliance with Bonny the amiable and dependable pack mule in whose guise I had somehow infiltrated his unusual procession, Musk had become utterly enamoured by a svelte fake llama called Keith. Yet, while Elon did indeed coo Steely Dan ballads in Flemish to Keith, the highly decorated horse, llama and yak impersonator from Reuters, as he entwined his freakish and revolting distended, knobbly six-fingered hands through Keith’s polyester fake fur, this was far from the full story.

Musk, we were to discover, had a strange weakness for alcohol. In fact, it is probably pertinent to remark that he had a great many strange weaknesses, but his odd fondness for boysenberry schnapps was perhaps one of his most distracting and unusual peccadillos.

In short, while Musk would spend most mornings enthusiastically rubbing Keith the Reuter’s llama’s long and attractive fake neck, riding side-saddle and cooing 1970s super-band hits in a piercing falsetto in the native tongue of his then wife (and still cousin) Barbora, until the midday flügelhorn announced a brief stoppage to our relentless march. It was thus at lunch which Musk revealed a previously unknown aspect of his alleged personality.

Firstly, Musk was then, and for all I know, still, violently allergic to food. Consequently, he was forced to imbibe all his sustenance via a nasal drip that went all the way down to his trim, taut and oddly feminine stomach region. Apart from one substance, which was, we now know with the benefit of hindsight, to cause him such anguish, regret and nasty, rippy tearing pain, and a number of other ouchy boo-boos.

Musk would, every lunchtime, get Heseltina, his imposing 7’2” personal assistant and rather impersonal trainer (and also cousin), to pour a meticulously measured 30 millilitres of boysenberry schnapps into a sippy cup. Musk, we observed, appeared to have a strange and unusual physical reaction to schnapps, or perhaps just the fictitious berry varieties, because as soon as that fruity schnapps found its way down to his faintly girlish tummy, he proceeded to exhibit the following unexpected behaviour.

Firstly, Musk would quietly dismount from Keith, the attractive Reuters llama. Then he would proceed to sing The Teddy Bear’s Picnic in a peculiar and rather camp falsetto, all the while acting out the moves. Finally, as this novelty song reached its denouement, almost immediately after he sang, or to be more precise, screeched “because they’re tired little teddy bears”, Musk would, day after day, fall over on his back, wiggle his legs convulsively in the air like an upturned bug and then fall deeply unconscious.

His impersonal trainer Heseltina would then resignedly brusquely place Musk in a gaudy purple palanquin, especially arranged for this purpose and carry it up the trail, one-handed, like a gloomy Amazonian cocktail waitress.

When Musk fell into this state, the entire procession fell into a rapturous delirium of relief and satisfaction. For the record, the allegation Bonny tried to kick Elon into a 4,587-foot crevasse on day 12 has never been proven adequately, despite repeated litigation by Musk and his creepy lawyers. As the record, Musk vs Bonny (2002), shows, at the most my mule alter ego delivered a few well-placed kicks and stomps, without any proven intent to cause death falling.

Also notable was the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman if you will, that trailed our expedition. I personally observed this breathtakingly enormous creature descend with grim malice upon our bedraggled procession and take off with, mostly, pogo jumpers, to which this creature seemed to take particular objection. There were not many pogo jumpers left, of course, because pogo jumping is a necessarily fraught activity on narrow, rocky switchback mountain trails.

I asked my now firm friend and, as previously mentioned, best man at my first nuptials, Keith the pantomime llama, on around day 11 or 12, whether I should be concerned about that bloodthirsty pogo-hating snowman, but he was quick to allay my concerns.

“Nah, you slag,” said Keith in his charming Cockney drawl. “That Yeti is from News Limited. You got nothing to fucking worry about, unless you try to do some actual journalism. Now shut up, you piece of shit.”

I miss Keith so much. He had so much beauty inside.

DISCLAIMER: The above tale is completely untrue. Only some of the names remain the same to imperil the innocent.

COMING UP SOON ... THE EXCITING CONCLUSION! This is the third part of a four-part series. The final instalment will be published at noon, Friday, 30 June 2023. Read Chapter One HERE and Chapter Two HERE.

*This article is also available on audio here:

You can follow David G Donovan on Twitter @davrosz.

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