Paul lounged back onto the faux leopard settee and stared intently at the stone grey sea. He lifted a glass of ‘Grey Goose’ to his lips, a tad too quickly, and clumsily clinked his front tooth.
As nature’s horizon started to sulk in her winter coat, he departed her company and began to imagine an altogether different sky. A celestial ocean of the arcane, exotic and sometimes plain bloody odd that Paul and Andrew knew had the uncanny ability to propel them to that most elusive of destinations – the present. Whenever they had donned their backpacks and hit tropical climes before they’d both been struck by the same notion, that through the unknown, the unknown known can become known.
Or something like that!
Paul suffered from a penchant to write too deep at times, he knew ‘a change is as good as a rest’ would have sufficed. Well, almost.
The familiar, however comforting, can always become, over-familiar.
Often, thought Paul, it is better to be blown along on an unknown current of peaks and troughs, gliding the occasional thermal if lucky. Soaring like an eagle. Rather than fermenting in the familiar like a flightless DoDo – going nowhere – we all know what happened to them!
And that would never dodo!
As of yet, he knew not where – only when they would be going.
The past year had continued to gather interest since Paul and Andrew had returned from their great adventure in India in May. Andrew had given up smoking, so most of this interesting period had been conducted in the manner of the cult classic ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?’.
Paul playing the part of the long-suffering Blanche Darnell far too well, revelling, ‘Crawfordesque’ in his highly theatrical martyrdom.
Whilst Andrew, reeled dramatically from ‘Kitchen Sink’ to drink, stealing the show with his smoke-free performance of the role played by the splendidly deranged Bette Davis!
Jane Hudson had nothing on Baby Jane Kennedy sans Marlboro!
It was during this unsympathetic, cinematic state of affairs that the ‘The Lola Boys’ made a professional jaunt to Ireland and to Norway.
The Irish, of course, took it all in their stride. Taking the ‘Burton and Taylor’ style to be part of the craic! Paul and Andrew adored them. They’d discovered a second home on ‘The Emerald Isle’. A place where even the woman in ‘Boots – The Chemist’ came straight out of James Joyce. Everywhere was poetry. And everybody drank. Or at least knew someone who did!
The boys then took their ‘B Movie’ to Oslo! And the Norwegians? Well, they ploughed on like true vikings -literally! Too blind drunk to notice that Paul and Andrew were spitting crossbows at one another! Yet equally charming in a more Norsey kinda way. Paul considered them a marvellous race of ravers. Party hard – then clean up your own vomit!
The next day there was not a sign of the ‘rape and pillage’ that had occurred the previous night.
The same couldn’t be said for one particular morning following a ‘Lola Boys’ performance on the Isle Of Man, where the evidence of the naughty, the night before, was still well and truly evident. The result of one over zealous middle-aged woman dropping to her knees and attempting to felate Paul through his leatherette whilst singing the number ’I Will Survive’!
Paul was singing the number, the kneeling woman was mouthing an altogether different figure!
Paul swore he could still see molar marks along his ‘mic stand’ the following day.
But he survived.
And always did.
Indeed, he thought about the many times when he and Andrew both got groped before, after and during a ‘Lola Boys’ show.
At times it seemed that Harvey Weinstein was one of the few people who didn’t have his hands all over their talent!
Being ‘woman handled’ was no less unappealing.
Paul had known early on, from the serious teachings of Ms Mae West, that it was always better to be looked over than overlooked. He just wasn’t sure over-grabbed was part of the bargain! Worryingly, he knew he’d never complain! After all – he held the real power – really. Didn’t he? Not like the poor showfolk who were forced to succumb to Harvey’s despicable ploys.
Paul considered Mr Weinstein to be a prick of the first order, though doubted that particular part of the ex-producer’s anatomy would also get the same accolade. He was well aware any alcoholic-fuelled, over-enthusiastic mauling that went on during ‘The Lola Boys’ experience was just that. Not something sinister.
But it was still bloody painful!
It reminded him of an experience he ‘d had in Phuket, whilst playing ‘Connect Four’ with a lady boy in a shady bar in Patpong. Chancing her luck, the tricksy temptress had moved her hand into his lap during a particularly close round and had then squeezed his left testicle very firmly thinking she’d made a connection. Paul had explained very firmly, through watering eyes, that was certainly not what he had come in to connect for !
Paul bashes his tooth again with the same glass of vodka, bringing him out of his ribald reverie and back to his daydreaming on the fake leopard.
He notices the sky has now shed her winter clothes and there is brilliant sunshine glinting from a cerulean sea.
Frailty thy name is weather! He thinks pretentiously.
T’was the inclement state after all that had sent him into his thoughts of Bangkok and Hanoi, of Jakarta and Saigon. Of Pyongyang !
Although he knew he would never convince Andrew of the latter.
Not without a rocket up his arse! Then again…
For now, Paul thinks it is good just to bask in the late Andalusian sun. A true bonus for an Englishman in November.
Andrew lights up a cigarette as Paul turns his face skyward to feel the warm orange glow, the tobacco smoke taking him back to a dodgy alley in Dehli mid – March!
His mind begins to drift imperceptibly, broadening his own inner horizons once again.
He picks up his oversized ‘Times Atlas Of The World’ and flicks the pages randomly. The giant book falls over onto plate 19, that of North East Asia.
Bathed in a tangerine sunlight Andrew looks over and smiles. Paul thinks his partner looks particularly handsome this evening. Youthful. Energetic. Just ripe for a rucksack.
Pyongyang it is then, he smiles back at Andrew mischievously……