I know you’ve all been hungering for a Slice of Pink – as well as interested in seeing a new post from Uncle Sid – and since I’m already running the risk of having my commission here at DBWA retired for lack of material provided, I thought I’d better step up and write down.
It was just getting cold – real, wintry cold and I was hung over to beat all hell. Two days’ of cocktails and cocaine and Modafinil and sleeping pills and not very much else other than dice-games and yelling and grand bullshit plans. I knew it was time to go but I dared not call yet – I returned to my duct-taped duffel bag, peering and my whole brain filling with painful sweat and demanding of myself that I remember everything – at least not forget something I couldn’t replace upon landing.
Passport – check. Supplements to keep the tortured organs alive – copy that. Pants. Fuck. Pants – I need pants to travel. At least a pair.
On like this it goes and the texts from The Swami and The Fat One start ramping up the "where are you"s and it’s just ridiculous now. I never puke. Never. So I knew I couldn’t count on that to clean out some torture-space inside. I let everything rattle and soak in the brine and my head didn’t even hurt so much as it kept filling up with gravy that would eventually coat the inside of my eyeballs. Sit down. Like I’m 80 goddamned years old – ‘rest a bit – this packing takes a lot out of a guy’. Prone to groans, sighs, and sickening belches. When the GI tract is punished enough with drugs, messages are sent out – like smoke signals for help.
But forward-fastly to the spray and the mist of Eleuthera’s tiny airstrip and here’s my brother, being helped down the stairs to his wheelchair by grinning black dudes and everyone’s atwitter and I realize that Count Z really didn’t make the flight and that’s it – the only one per day; the airport’s too small to land at in the dark. So tomorrow it is and at least my phone works though trying to wrestle the bags and the parents and Z’s travel change and fill out the customs/immigration forms is a lot, even for Big Pink – especially as I’m still only 30 hours out from the tail-end of my last decadent episode.
Still, life has only the one gear: Forward – and now it’s landing at Harbour Island, scooting over to the private club neighborhood that inexplicably will house a family of miscreants – friends of friends [of relatives] – the only way an unlikely band like Swami, Fat One, Pink, Z, and D-Man the Demon could ever shack up at a seaside house staring down at swimming-pool-clear waters and conch shells and Jesus I hate the sun. I can’t swim, I’m afraid of the outdoors and I start to dump sweat if the temp shoots above 70. Why the fuck did I come here?
My mother hands me a pair of swimming trunks, knowing full well I haven’t owned any since I was a teenager. I thank the Fat One for her thoughtfulness but also now cursing under my breath, knowing I’m out of operational excuses, at least, for not getting in the water.
Grouper grilling outside – by this time I’ve broken down and rented a second golf-cart for the low low island special price of $55/day – only slightly more than renting a Mustang from Hertz. I’m amazed by the servo/governor/two-gear/electric-accelerator-ignition setup of the yellow buggy – but not nearly as much as I am amazed and revolted and still intrigued and yet distressed by Sunshine, the man who rents these things out. He’s a monster; chocolate-colored man with a grand smile and fat-guy lisp and you want to hug him except he has a shaved head which is fine and probably would suit his body-type really well except it appears that he has no skull-cap – his whiskered scalp appears to be conforming, in wide, fatty wrinkles, to the shape of a brain. Winding worms of flesh are staring at me and I have to stare back but it kind of makes my gag impulse kick in but all the same I just want to look one more time, for the love of god, and your mind wants to make sense of things – that’s its whole job, in a way – so you keep glancing but there’s just not enough information and the looking makes me cringe a little. In any case, I had the cart so rolled back into town to buy a 4 oz bottle of olive oil for $9 – and sure the prices were crazy but the place is a real island and only three miles across – just a tiny thing and you’re gonna pay for it though Ed Bush, beleaguered in rain gear and definitely part of South Bar’s old guard warned me that booze would be twice as much and I suspected he was wrong and I was right. Alcohol is local-inflation-free; a machine too big and with huge margins [and too steeped in 'duty-free' competition] to be affected so I grabbed another grip of Goose because hell, it was Thanksgiving and even though I’d cooked the previous two nights, I felt I ought to contribute something.
Of course, no one drinks but SZ and I, so the relative generosity of this gesture is questionable at best yet I feel festive and there’s no grapes until tomorrow so I double up on popcorn – not as a replacement but knowing I’m a junkie and I love the groovy cardboard cans with pull-tab metal lids that it comes in for only $3.
And now it’s Vic-Hum after spinning wildly at Gusty’s crappy island bar with dirt-floor and cheese-head white tourons although I saw Z look longingly at a couple of 40-something Aussie women and I clinked my plastic cup, winking – "You’re due for a little ONJ action, old friend" – and we laugh and somehow I’m up and moonwalking in the dust, snapping my jacket open on cue, walking like a zombie as "Thriller" makes the air thick with promise and serves as a godsend break from that fucking ridiculous and unlistenable "island music" that Count Zook-ula and I determine, drunkenly, that is only created to be played for idiot white tourists and no locals ever listen to it.
I befriend Raymond, from Haiti, because we both love shoes and speak Spanish but mostly because we’re both tight as shit [already] and drunkenness polarizes humans – there’s only ever "I love you, Man" and throw-down time. Ambivalence seems to have no purchase in inebriation so I’m not surprised to find myself now as one of two Whiteys in a sea of islanders – yelling and yelling like I like to do, because no one will play dice with me.
We begged to be taken here to the ‘locals’ place and we’re too lit to see that most people don’t want us here but somehow there’s a Wyoming license plate behind the plank of a bar and they make us sign it as some sort of provenance – now it’s authentic; to real-deal Wyomingites and everything and as I sigh and snicker, the owner, a large caramel man leans in introducing himself as "Hitler" and then I can barely hold it in but I know it’s glad-hand time even as I stroll to the street, having found dice companions.
But no, no, no – no one will play. The good-looking guy with tiny braids and all-white track suit bellows a caution to me with a thick island accent:
"I don’ play dice wit you, mahn… you fucking mah-JI-shan!"
And I can’t decide if he means ‘rabbit-out-of-a-hat’ type magician or ‘white-devil’ type magician, but either way the dice game’s over before it’s begun and the word throughout the club is that Z is a cop – apparently a hunky, white, Miami-Vice-type cop – and I’m a magician and we can’t stop dancing and putting the hurt on a bottle of spirits and Jimmy the cab-man’s B.O. is strong enough that is soaks up into you even on the open-air dance-floor.
We laugh more and wear to hit Mexico City for NYE and then straight to Tokyo and as drunk as I am I know that the Japan part of this plan will never happen but I ride the dream and to make myself commit to this Leisure Class idea, I send texts out gloating about my Ano Nuevo in D.F. and then there’s no turning back and I have to buy the tickets. I thank myself for having the ego and idiocy and farsightedness to do this.
"You a fuckin’ gangsta, mahn!"
I look up to see a tense young face Mongoose-ing me and then all at once, an inch from mine.
"I ain’t no gangster."
"Bullshit! Bullshit, mahn. Look at yoah shoes! Yoah shoes are fucking WEH-pons!"
And looking down at my dangerously-pointed footwear with a shiny metal band on the edge and thinking that I haven’t seen so much as a pair of loafers here at Vic-Hum, I can see his angle. The whole thing starts to feel like some awfulness is about to happen and The Z is nowhere to be seen [they're never around when you need 'em] – "You a fucking gangsta, mahn!" it comes again, hot with rum in my face. I’m just tightened up enough to go for broke:
"I ain’t a gangster, pal," I smile disarmingly. "I’m a magician."