The Mission Statement
‘The sort of things you tell your mates over a beer, funny stuff, exciting stuff, stuff that gets better the more you tell it.‘The sort of things you tell your mates over a beer, funny stuff, exciting stuff, stuff that gets better the more you tell it.’
And the winning entry will star Steven Segal playing yourself, assuming I suppose that the protagonist in a script about you is yourself.
Buenos Aires Stage Fright: Uncut & Uncensored!
So I’m in Buenos Aires, the capital of cool where folk wear sunglasses in nightclubs and wouldn’t dare invite ridicule of venturing out before midnight.
And in the social arena Argentineans are tough.
CUT TO: A chic Bodega bar rammed with youth and exuberance warming up for a night of clubbing and I’m getting battered like a football in a scrum of locals at the bar.
And I’m doing rough on account of my broken foot.
I wish I could say I broke it against someone’s face…
CUT TO: A military check point on a muddy high mountain trail in the cloud forests of Southern Columbia. I’m a conspicuous gringo in a line of locals stood against an ancient bus held together by faith while dour border guards rigorously inspect our documents and luggage. Suddenly, all shit breaks loose when the guards beat down a young man with wife and child. A militia of freedom fighters materialise from the dense wall of forest with an eruption of automatic fire. I see the nearest guard nervously about to release a clip into my fellow passengers and snap a roundhouse into his face.
Like cracking the chops of Columbia’s national army in support of the left-wing guerrilla groups.
CUT TO: Same setting on a sinuous mountain road. Contrary to before the military are all smiles, exchanging pleasantries and cigarettes as they perfunctorily inspect the bus. A few metres on at the nominal guerrilla border post FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) soldiers brutishly manhandle the other passengers and me, tear irreverently into our belongings and holler instructions at us.
But during my travels in Southern Columbia the military were polite and genial while the guerrillas behaved with captious and mulish intent.
And after I bribed my way into Ecuador I heard the ELN (National Liberation Army) kidnapped a group of tourists at Ciudad Perdida. and held them for 101 days.
CUT TO: Sifting between armed guerrillas and sullen circles of backpackers mutely sat amongst overgrown Inca ruins we settle on a weathered English tourist who bends to the ear of his neighbour and whispers, ‘Man I wish Steven Segal was here.’
I actually broke my foot three weeks before on Isla de Pascua
CUT TO: The iconic Moai, monolithic stone statues blankly staring out over the endless Pacific Ocean – Boo!
I think I was inadvertently cursed like the Brady Bunch in Hawaii the day before when an English and Dutch backpacker I was travelling with were castigated by a local for climbing on the Moai, where some locals believe the spirits of their ancestors reside. The next day, climbing over a steep rib of volcanic rock on a beach near Hanga Roa the rock ledge snapped and I fell the sort of distance that turns your brain into slow motion. I landed on my feet dressed in flip flops, which shattered my heel bone.
CUT TO: X-ray image of a fracture violently splitting my heal bone like on a CSI rerun.
However, I didn’t know at the time it was broken. All I knew was I couldn’t walk on it. It took 2km of hopping back to town, a connecting flight through Santiago to Rio, where I imbibed medicinal cervezas and got crutches so I could limp along Ipanema beach, a brief stop at Iguaçu falls before an English speaking doctor in BA confirmed my suspicions.
Relief was like beer o’clock when I found a hostel with an international troubadour of likeminded and righteous travellers already staying there. And I was quickly assimilated into their tribe.
CUT TO: The troubadour is Facebook tagged piling into two taxis parked abreast like we’re the Beatles in Hard Day’s Night – The London lads; Rory & Marc, Sydneysiders; BellyMel & Juliagoolia, Spanish Eddie, Irish Hazel and finally three-peg Me.
And it was after little deliberation and persuasion that I finally agreed to go head out with the guys to a nightclub in Palermo on a sedate Tuesday night.
After all booze was one of my best friends and most reliable wingmen. And like all good friends I appreciated our strong and mercurial relationship.
CUT TO: I’m sat in a cavernous subterranean eastern bloc bar with long jars of pivá coupled to luminescent green shot glasses.
I’ve sunk beers with the absinthe fairy,
CUT TO: While asleep I roll off a metal bench and wake in fright in the turbulent Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof.
And woken up in Frankfurt.
I’ve had the time of my life at house parties, while maintaining some modicum of dignity.
CUT TO: I approach my mate who’s standing amidst the post-havoc remnants of a house party looking forlornly at his feet.
‘It was a fucking full bottle.’
An empty bottle of Créme de Menthe lies discarded on the lounge room floor. I put my arm around my mate to console him.
‘What sort of sick fuck drinks a whole bottle of Creme de Menthe anyway?’
He looks up at me and the bright green bottle ring stamped around my lips.
I even once briefly considered beer was the cause for me forgetting the entire English language
CUT TO: I peal myself off a dull carpeted graveyard of tin cans below a coffee table while a rafter of boys and two girls perched on a long couch natter away in some unspeakable alien brogue.
Until I realised I’d woken up in a room full of Welsh speaking people.
Beer has also helped introduce me to some of the most beguiling and beautiful women I’d ever meet.
- Beneath old city ramparts, coveted by a swollen moon and sloughing sea, a summer-holiday girl drags me and my beer down onto the cold pebble shore.
- Sat at a busy bar with an uptown girl we lean into one another for a momentary moment.
- I wake up delirious and confused in a face-full of knotted hair, roll over to get my bearings and look out over a foreign ocean of terracotta rooftops. Under my nose I spot a uniform name tag ‘Clair,’ on the window sill and mouth the words ‘Thank you,’ to the Gods in the heavens above the stained ceiling.
- Immured by bodies laden in mud at a local music festival, the gemstone and leather girl next to me turns and grabs my beer, suck down a mouthful, then plants me with a big, wet, dirty kiss.
- In a darkened hostel dorm room resembling military barracks, the backpacker girl I’ve wanted all night pulls me and my beer through the halo of an open toilet door.
- A winter-wonderland girl with a beer runs alongside a train platform as I depart on an outbound carriage, holding everything unspoken that makes me believe in fate and second chances.
- I serenade a flower-hair girl by bamboo campfire light who is caught between amusement and fright at my performance.
- On the bottom bunk of a hostel bed, a sleepy-arm girl covers herself and me in covers.
- I sit alone downing a beer in an airport departure lounge, watching endless couples falling back into and out of love.
I was glad the club that night wasn’t busy.
CUT TO: A flaccid dance floor with Facebook tags hovering above Marc, Eddie, Hazel, BellyMel, Juliagoolia all jumping about like idiots.
I knew I was damn near lucky not have broken any other bones, and with the addition of beer I decided on a prudent seat at the bar and sunk cervezas with Rory.
So far I’d already found out travelling alone with a debilitating injury is a humbling experience.
CUT TO: I’m barely detectable, quivering with the weight of my body on one leg at the back of a long queue at airport security. My balance forsakes me. Up by the metal detectors, security officers witness a strange occurrence as a limpid body falls deftly out of line like felled timber.
You have to accept your fate. You must embrace gravity, rather than resist it and learn there’s a right way, and wrong way to fall.
CUT TO: I hop over the lip of a wet shower with my good foot that slips on the tiles like cartoon ice and my body slams back into the shower cubicle.
It was better once I got crutches.
CUT TO: Hovering on the second top tier of a public stair case in the BA underground I lose balance and tumble down the stairs in hyperbolic fashion that made the seventies cool.
But they created new and more embarrassing hazards.
CUT TO: Limping along a busy sidewalk in central BA one of my crutches slips in a puddle. I wisely acquiesce, guided by my butt to falling down into a muddied wet pool of water and create an extra obstacle for peevish locals to circumvent without consideration.
Yet none of this compared or prepared me for when I relented to go the toilet just before last orders.
Did I notice the rather noxious breed of hair and leather hovering outside the unisex toilet? Fuck yeah! Disability had heightened my instinct to that of a household insect.
But did I expect to walk into the toilet and have a tawdry Latino girl cling filmed in irradiated fabric with a forest of black hair lock the door behind us? Fuck no.
An immediate correlation with the man, I’ll politely call Pimp, waiting just outside was apparent. But I had no time to consider this because my pants were already pulled down to my ankles with my dick swimming in the stale feculent air.
I was trapped. And I’d never felt so violated and helpless.
While standing with crutches I physically couldn’t pull my pants back up. Even if I could so I could walk away, I didn’t have the ability or dexterity to manoeuvre in the small space around the girl to escape. And whilst experiencing the indignity of the abused I also desperately wished I hadn’t refrained from taking a piss for so long because even my manhood looked full of reproach with a deerection. It was representing like I was underdressed on a frigid morning. And I don’t care what any woman does for a crust, in their company it’s not a cool look.
Adding to my deep embarrassment and in spite of my burning bladder I could feel the stage fright take hold. The more I strained the further my warm piss crawled back up into my kidney’s until eventually I said,
‘Umm, I don’t think I can go while you’re in here,’
There must have been no real element of coercion or persuasion in what I said to make her leave because she replied,
‘That’s okay – I need to go anyway.’
I impotently shuffled aside as she pulled down her panties and struck piss against porcelain with the force of a cow relieving itself on a rock.
‘Hold my hand.’ She extended it like there was something emotional attached to the experience of going to the toilet that she needed to share.
I held her hand.
‘Let’s wash,’ she announced when she finished and helped me over the basin. She gestured with her hands she wanted to light fire with sticks and added, ‘We need to wash everywhere.’ And I knew it wasn’t an issue of hygiene or fire.
‘But I’m not dirty,’ I replied and managed to use the basin for support and pull my pants back up and escape. Outside the cubicle I still expected to bust it up with the hirsute dude in leather simply because time was spent coalescing in a shitter with his property.
Possibly it was my look of defilement or perhaps Argentinean pimps possess an ethic which covers the disabled because he let me silently limp past.
The bar was packing down by the time I returned. The rest of the troubadour was sat at the bar drinking. I sat back next to Rory who was cowled over the bar sipping a beer like a pro. Trauma must have been written all over my face.
‘Shit man-what happened to you?’
‘I’ll tell you, but fuck I need a beer first and the bar’s closed.’
Rory leaned back with a lean smile and revealed half a dozen beers the bar top between the gang that must have bought with a degree of premeditation on last orders. Rory slung me one,
‘So what shit did you get yourself into this time?’
When Carlton Dry rejected the abridged 3,500 spaceless-character version, they stated;
‘Your story was cool but because you had stuff in it that’s on the resitricted list we couldn’t publish it. This doesn’t mean you can’t get rid of that and resubmit it – you should’
I presume this is a list similar to their restricted list. Whether I’d have to purchase of another slab of Carlton Dry for resubmission (I’m going to take a wild guess and say, Yes) I never discovered because they quickly emailed me back again saying,
‘Good new amigo your story has been approved.’
Only they didn’t tell me that they had gone and got rid of all that resitricted stuff themselves.
The Argentinean prostitute? The Pimp? The sh#t word? The discriminatory depiction of Columbia’s left-wing guerrilla groups? You ask.
They deleted possibly the slight solitary gag remaining in my script after I butchered it into 3,500 spaceless characters,
she pulled down her panties & hit piss against porcelain with the force of a cow relieving itself on a rock
And to rub it in they removed the climax in the toilet cubicle when the senorita tries to wash my penis in the basin so the story makes no fucking sense at all.
You can judge for yourself here, where remarkably my entry still exists.
Thanks a fucking lot Carlton Dry – you almost made me consider the thought of not liking beer for a short while.