Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Queensland On My Mind

Alright, so as soon as I could make out that the grumpy guy who I hit with the Marmold bottle had taken off, I skedaddled from Sydney. Locked my hotel door, avoided Harold, and rented an Enzo to scoot me on up to Queensland. Bought some Dinkie Dots and Gatorade at a “petrol,” set my sights on Cunnamulla, and let ‘er rip.

Once I passed the border into Queensland I felt like stoppin’ for some proper steak and potatoes, but there wasn’t a lot goin’ on. I pulled into a pretty rural petrol station (the Enzo eats gas like you wouldn’t believe) and started at the pump. This younger dude in overalls and no shirt sat on the porch dippin’ what looked like a chicken thigh bone into a baggie that had somethin’ like soft aspic in it (aspic is that sort of clear chicken Jell-O that happens around a roast chicken carcass if you put it on a plate in the fridge overnight). He’d suck the aspic off the bone and dip it again, starin’ at me the whole time. Hell of uncomfortable, and I could swear I heard a didgeridoo playin’ “Dueling Banjos.” I pumped exactly twenty bucks, tucked that much cash into the handle, and zoomed off.

The next problem came when I got to Bodge Cranny Township, a little one-dog map dot maybe an hour outside ‘a Charleville. The guys runnin’ the outdated pump were gassed to the nines, sittin’ around in lawn chairs on the asphalt, and just givin’ me decades of sass. One guy even said it was likely that I was an idiot, based on my shoes and head, but on reflection he was definitely in his cups and meant nothing by it.

I finally topped off the Enzo, but I was outta cash, so I had to mix with them to pay. The main attendant, this dude with a sleeveless Chevron oxford under his overalls, spat and waved me into the office. To be cool, I bought a pack of smokes and a sixer of somethin’ called “XXXX.” I guess it’s dumb that they have beer with more X’s than Japanese porn, but maybe that makes them think that they’re having an incredible amount of fun. The dude let me off after just a couple more insults and I screeched away. I saw some of the smoke from my tires go into the nose of their dog, so I hope the dog got sick from that.

From here I’m headed to Barcaldine, which is a place on the map. I’ll check in with you soon, if I can. Things feel weird up here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Problem at the Hotel.

Man, you ain't gonna believe this. Remember those jars of Marmold, the artisan Marmite I got talked into buying last time? Well, after I bought 'em and put 'em in my room, I strutted around in town for a while, but it was kind of quiet, so I went back to the hotel to chill with a gimlet and gaze over the beach until everyone got off work.

Like I said, I had made a contest with myself to see if I could chuck the jars all the way to the water, which is about thirty yards from my balcony. I set my gimlet on the railing, wound up, and let the first one fly.

Pretty close -- it hit the sand about five yards shy of the foam line and sent up a nice little plume of fine-grained sand. It was kind of beautiful, in a way -- like the sort of thing a National Geographic photographer would shoot with an ultra-fast exposure: a corona of sand rising up in an amazing pattern as the shiny brown jar, in perfect focus, touches down.

The second jar landed about the same distance, so I did a couple push-ups (bad idea - hella tomato sauce burnin' in the throat) before goin' for the third and final throw. For some reason, I really wanted this one to hit the water -- I guess it was my own small way of conquerin' Australia. I leaned hard into the third pitch, visualized it landin' in the surf, and let 'er rip.

I guess there was a little ledge in the sand that I couldn't see, because as soon as I let go, the grumpy guy from the toast room stood up from nowhere, shirtless, and yawned. My screamin' jar of Marmold smacked right into the side of his body, between the love handle and the armpit, and I could hear the slap all the way from the balcony. Damn did it look like it stung. Before I could figure out what was happening, he turned, fixed his eyes on me, sneered, and started to walk real slow and angry back toward the hotel. I had to think quick.

I ran into town and ducked into a bar, where I ordered a beer real quick and sat in a bathroom stall with my feet on the seat. Unbelievably, the toast dude stormed in and started knockin' open the door to each can. I was trapped.

When he kicked my door and it didn't open he yelled, "CORR! MUST BE BROKEN!" and continued on down the line, kicking the rest of the doors. I nipped on my beer for a while (in my hurry, I had ordered Export Gold, which is horrible) and then eventually poured it directly into the loo, savin' my body the trouble.

It's totally bad that I already have an enemy in Australia, but it's a big place. Maybe tomorrow I'll rent a Caddie and go to Queensland -- since it's their northeast, it's probably more sophisticated, like our New England and Boston and all that. The dude I hit with the jar probably wouldn't go to a place like that.