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Samuel Deguara is seventeen years old and seven feet and four inches tall (or two metres and nineteen centimetres). He is a member of the Maltese national basketball team, which last week competed in the Activcity Euro C Basketball Championships in Edinburgh. Curiously, when one encounters Samuel Deguara, the first thing that one notices are his size 23 trainers – one of which could furnish a splendid hat for the average person – and only secondly do the eyes climb his legs – for quite some time – until finally arriving at the snow-capped peak of his great head. Deguara is not particularly distinguished amongst giants – the world’s tallest known man is a Ukrainian veterinarian who has reached eight feet and five inches. At dinner, Deguara does not take any more than his team-mates, but perhaps this is merely for show and back in his bedroom he feasts upon plate after plate of pasta. He looks perpetually clumsy and uncomfortable when traipsing around in that great body, like a man wearing several coats on a summer’s day. In common with other very tall people whom I have encountered, he is mild-mannered in temperament. I am not certain if this is an innate quality of giants, or whether Deguara is merely being pragmatic. Perhaps he has learned that the sight of a giant cheerfully throwing his weight about unnerves people. He probably regards us as we look upon children, and consequentially behaves with care around the little people.

He is surely hung like a horse and his girlfriend must always have a smile upon her face. If she were my size and they were naked together – and he turned unexpectedly – then he would slap her in the face with his penis, and probably knock out half her teeth in doing so. Perhaps there is little humour to these matters. Deguara would no doubt severely injure somebody if he attempted to have sexual intercourse with them, and even if his member was disproportionately small in relation to the rest of his body, then congress with the giant would remain a delicate task. If he got too carried away, then after his passions had been sated, he may discover that he had left his partner hyperventilating and with crushed ribs. One only hopes that at some stage in his life, fate presents him with either an equally gigantic woman or somebody with the necessary fetish.

Oh Samuel Deguara, if I befriended you, could I ever suspend my dread? The only time in my life when I have ever had a nightmare – rather than dreams which merely end abruptly and disagreeably – was when I was a child, and I can still remember part of the terror. In the nightmare, a giant chases me through my house (illogically, because of course he would not fit) and I awake as I am tearing up the stairs and he has just arrived at their foot. Today, informed by the insights of Freud, I recognise the uniquely deep and full terror I had of the giant as symbolising that of castration. In the dream, I am running to my bedroom because that is where one flees when the castrating father is on the rampage. The old memory of the scene on the stairs flits briefly around my head like a moth as I observe Deguara. I vaguely want to be chased by an incandescent Deguara, through some rooms and up some stairs, because I am psychologically no longer four years old, and I anticipate that when returned to the Oedipal moment, I may now have the power to talk my way out of it.

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