Wednesday, October 31, 2007

At the Hotel in Sydney!

Alright mates, I'm all checked in to the Harold Holt Surf-Inn and Lodge, and I got to tell you, the clerk bugged me from the second I walked into the place. He's this real scrawny guy in actual prescription aviators, and he had his nose buried in this little novelty-size Bible when I pulled on up to the counter.

RAY: Whoah, dude! Tiny Bible you got there!

CLERK: Excuse me? I think it's a perfectly fine size for a Bible.

RAY: Oh, sorry. I thought you were gonna come back at me with somethin' like, "It ain't the size of the Bible, it's the way you apply its lessons." I mean, I put that one on a tee for you, dude.

CLERK: [reluctantly sets down Bible] Are you checking in, then?

RAY: Hey, your name tag says Harold! You the guy this place is named after?

HAROLD: It's a coincidence.

RAY: Must bug you, all these folks comin' in askin' if you're Harold Holt, huh?

HAROLD: No one in Australia would ever think that I am Harold Holt. They chalk it up to coincidence and then typically get on with checking in.

RAY: I get you, I get you. [Unsuccessfully fishes around for ID and credit cards.] Huh, can't find anything. I called from the airport?

HAROLD: ID and credit card, please.

RAY: Yeah, uh, I can't find that stuff. [Offers handshake] Gentleman's bond?

HAROLD: It is not my job to tell you this, but those things appear to be tucked beneath the arm of your glasses.

RAY: [feels] Oh! Dang. I must have done that. Here you go.

HAROLD: [picks up the cards resentfully, using just the tips of two fingers] You'll be staying for our toast breakfast, I take it? It's highly suggested.

RAY: Yeah, uh, about that. No.

HAROLD: Toast breakfast is served from seven AM until noon. Please bring your identification.

RAY: You know, you're the first guy I've met in Australia who never says "mate." Even Hoshi was sayin' mate, and the dude's from Honshu.

HAROLD: Here is your room key. You're in 29b, up the stairs, overlooking the beach, as you requested.

RAY: Okay, then! [Pause] I'll just carry these bags myself?

HAROLD: Unless you'd like to revisit the lobby every time you need a clean shirt or socks, that is probably the wisest course of action.

Clearly I didn't like the guy too much, and I was pretty sure he didn't like me, so why was he tryin' to keep me around for toast breakfast so bad? Anyhow, I set up my room the way I like it, with all the clothes put in the drawers, the toiletries fanned out all nice on the bathroom counter, and the pen layin' crosswise on the writin' pad on the desk. Classes up a hotel room to act like a traveler of yore, you dig?

Next thing I knew I woke up on the floor and it was sixteen hours later — nine in the damn morning! Man, jet lag hit me like a beast! I felt great, havin' slept so hard, and realized that I did NOT want to sit in the hotel room until noon just to avoid the toast breakfast. "To hell with it," I thought to myself, "I'll just say no thanks. People do that all the time." I spruced up for a walk around town, dabbed some Obsession on my wrists, and headed through the lobby. Harold leaned out of a doorway and waved me over.

HAROLD: You're just in time for our toast breakfast. Come, come.

RAY: Oh, man. Dang. Forgot my identification, dude. Tomorrow, for sure.

HAROLD: It's alright, I remember you. Come, come.

RAY: Oh, jeez. Uh, okay. Cut me off if I start in with the sea shanties, will you?

I went into the little dining-type room and sat down. There wasn't any food out, and there was just one big grumpy-lookin' guy hunched over with his back to me (I don't know how I could tell his mood, but it seemed obvious). I could hear him crunching away, so I sat and waited. Harold came in pretty quick with a big plate of dry toast, maybe sixteen pieces, and set it down in front of me.

RAY: Wow, that's a lot of toast. I usually just have two pieces. You got any main dishes?

HAROLD: We sell a very special product for your toast here. Have you looked over by the fireplace?

RAY: [Looks] Huh! A little pyramid of three small jars that ain't got no labels! If I'd known THAT was gonna be there, I'd have looked sooner!

HAROLD: It is a sustainable, single-origin, organic, artisan, Marmite-type product. I collect and package it myself.

RAY: Marmite-type product?

HAROLD: Sixteen dollars eighty. You'll be amazed. It's a revolution that's going to set the toast world on its ear. My particular product's name is Marmold. As in, Harold's Marmite-type Product.

RAY: [thinks to self] Well, I'm gonna be here for a week, I basically have to buy this idiot's stuff. [Aloud] Okay, put a few of 'em on my tab.

HAROLD: You won't be disappointed. [Unscrews one for me] Just spread this on your toast, and ring the bell when you're out of either. [Leaves.]

RAY: [Sniffs contents of jar] Whoah, who peeled out on a bottle of soy sauce!

GRUMPY MAN: This stuff is bleedin' ambrosia. Don't knock it or I'll tin your cock, I will.

Okay, so now I got three jars of Marmold sittin' in my room. Maybe after my walk around town I'll see if I can chuck 'em as far as the ocean. I'm headin' out now for some steaks and Fosters and probably gonna set up shop on the beach after I make some friends.