Billy was one of a kind! He was my husbands' friend, and a constant visitor at our home.
My husband met him sometime in the early 70's. He wasn't like anyone we had ever known before! He was a 'showman' and ate razor blades and did fire eating, to entertain people. He was an extrovert, and laughed and joked with everyone.
He loved to tell the story, about how his father was his grandfather, and his brother was his uncle! Yes, I know; I was puzzled too, by that statement! The mystery was cleared up; when he told us that his grandfather had adopted him. (Phew... For a while, we had some very strange thoughts!)
One day, before I knew about his peculiar diet, he came to our house, asking if I had an old light bulb that had 'blown'. It so happened, that I did! (Strange; but true.) I handed it to him: he then proceeded to break it, then chew it up and swallow it. He washed the chewed glass down with a tumbler - full of water. I had never before witnessed anything like this. I am sure that my jaw dropped!
One evening, in summer, Billy was booked to put on a show. It was to be held at one of the halls at our local stadium in Randfontein. Billy's assistant had called in sick. The occasion was a 21st birthday celebration, and Billy didn't want to disappoint the people. He turned to me for help. He said that my height and build (5"3' -105 pound) was exactly what he needed. I hesitantly accepted the offer. When we were 'dressed', we looked like something out of "Aladdin". I was very self-conscious in my skimpy attire.
Never-the-less, I held up bottles and hessian for all to see, that there was no trickery involved. Billy rolled the bottles up in the thick hessian and proceeded to break them with a hammer. He then laid the hessian on the ground, unrolled it, and spread the glass over the surface. He lay on the ground, so that his back would cover the broken glass, giving a dramatic sigh (as if he were comfortable). He then asked me to stand on him. I gingerly placed one foot on his chest, then the other, on his stomach. (I think I was shaking!)
Well, needless to say, when I got off, and Billy stood up, he was unscathed. To the delight of our audience, Billy went on to eat razor blades and a piece of glass. He ended off the show by doing fire eating and flame throwing. (At a later date, he taught my husband and I, to do this 'trick'.)
During the time that my husband and Billy were friends, they developed a strong rapport.
The first time that my husband told me to "put on the kettle, Billy is on his way"; I took it as a joke. We didn't own a telephone at that stage, so, unless prior arrangements had been made, there was no way of knowing. Billy duly arrived a few minutes later! I soon learned that when my husband told me that Billy was on the way, Billy would arrive within minutes. They got to the stage, where they seemed to think the same thoughts, feel the same feelings, and know what the other was doing. (Not ALL the time, but most of the time.)
One day, as we were coming back from Krugersdorp, my husband suddenly said, "There is something wrong, with Billy!" I asked him "What?" but he could not say. We made a detour past Billy's flat, but the door was shut, nobody was home.
A short while after we arrived home, another friend of theirs', stopped by to tell us the tragic news. Billy was dead! Billy had been cleaning a rifle in his bedroom, when a shot rang out, shooting him through the head. The other friend speculated; was it an accident, or was it suicide? We were all in a state of shock!
That night, my husband got the answer! As we lay sleeping, my husband awoke to the feel of someone sitting down, on the foot of our bed. He says that he felt Billy's presence, and got a warm feeling of 'everything is okay'.
The next morning, my husband told me of Billy's visit in the night, and said with great assurance, "Billy didn't commit suicide!" I believe my husband.
Thank you for reading