The sun forced it’s way through the slate grey sky mottling the almost hallowed ground for just a brief second as the modest coffin made it’s way to it’s final resting place. Two Spanish council workers hoisted the box unceremoniously onto a scruffy mechanical lift and Peter Nette made his final ascent.
Andrew and Paul felt lost.
Peter had been their good mate for over a decade and his sudden departure had left them reeling! As his tomb was sealed, by way of a dodgy glue gun and a sheet of something unidentifiable, Paul separated from Andrew and turned far away.
The silence was fittingly deathly.
To Paul the banality of the moment was overwhelming. The ordinariness of non-existence confounded him. He stood unsteadily and wondered morbidly,
‘Is this it? Is this what it comes to?’
Stuck, literally, into an anonymous wall with a half used tube of ‘No Nails’! Charming. It was far too mundane for a man who could never have been described as that.
Paul screamed silently towards the distant mountains. Edvard Munch would have been proud. Were he not dead too!
He scoured the part of himself he thought he knew for an explanation.
He wanted the great all-knowing universe to tell him why the older ‘brother’ he and Andrew had found, and eventually loved, had left them.
The hills had no answer.
Yet Paul found their purple majesty and benign stillness comforting, even as his salty tears dripped embarrassingly from his chin. His face stung with a profound lachrymosity. He felt as though he’d just taken a quick dip in The Dead Sea. He was sticky and saline, and not in a fun way! He clumsily wiped his eyes, and focused again on the reliable landscape. That miraculous stuff that was ancient. He knew that there was always a perspective to be gained from nature.
Even during the most unnatural of times .
Paul had always had the ability to lose himself entirely in the hills, as well as his heels, and he suspected that now, it was time for him and his partner to do just that. Not that his handsome husband often clambered into stilettos. With a voice like his he didn’t need to. And besides, when he did drag up, Andrew looked like he should have a ‘Yorkie’ bar in one hand and a set of HGV keys in the other. He looked a right trucker!
But now wasn’t a time for performing. It was a time to pause their act for a moment.
To get lost!
Paul was sure he wasn’t the only person who felt the same.
He knew of quite a number of blinkered ex-pats, whose miniscule minds would doubtless shrink further with the disappearance of ‘The Lola Boys’. They would feel a touch safer in their small world. But those mindless types, those poor beings whose brains had already made an intellectual Brexit, didn’t bother him. Or his equitable husband. For Andrew, to Paul’s grudging admiration, had always had a marvellously healthy disrespect for those who were unhealthily disrespectful.
Whoever they happened to be.
During their theatrical years he had told many a celebrity, producer, and agent exactly where to go if any of them dare exhibit the type of behaviour which he considered ignorant. He had no care for their opinion of him. He knew himself far better than those people who could only live of the breath of others.
And now Paul, had finally, after far too many years, learnt that he wasn’t everybody’s cup of gin either. But he also knew he had never knowingly forced anyone to take a sip. Not unless they had wanted a taste!
And he was also gratefully aware that there were many more wonderful and open-minded folk living on the ‘Costa Del Crime’ who would miss him and Andrew very much. So it would be almost criminal to leave.
However their minds were made up.
Paul was quite certain he needed more Goa than boa! He was certain he had plucked his last cock feather for a while. And he had a more than sneaking suspicion that Andrew still had to discover what to do with his unique talent. So it really was the perfect moment for the ‘The Lola Boys’ interval – only without the overpriced beverages!
It was time for ‘The Lola Boys’ to quit the stage and head for the stagecoach! Not Doris Day’s ‘Deadwood Stage’. They were both weary of dead wood and did not want to drift onto that same beach themselves. Geographically for them it was all too easy, what with a plethora of sunny ‘Happy Hours’ for the not so sunny within staggering distance. Flying too close to the sun like a melancholic Daedalus and Icarus was not the curtain call Paul had in mind for Andrew or himself.
Instead, ‘The Boys’ had decided to head East. This time, quite, quite unexpectedly.
Tourists once more. Both accidental and occidental.
Paul was convinced that nothing soothed the wounded soul than an expedition with a dash of ‘Dr Livingstone’ on the itinerary. Andrew, he presumed, felt the same way. After all it had been his bright idea to go travelling in the first place.
Of course, that was after six pints.
Before sobriety laboriously kicked in, Paul had managed, far too capably, to book two terribly cheap tickets with ‘Swiss Air’. He’d once heard the alpine airline was unsurprisingly incredibly efficient, if a little boring! At least he was confident the chocolate would be good and that they’d almost definitely make the runway at the other end.
Always a plus!
He was also well aware that any flight with Andrew would be an assault course. The hefty nicotine chewing gum combined with a pint of ‘Bloody Mary’, that was de rigueur for Andrew at thirty thousand feet, often had a challenging effect. The flight crew never seemed to notice, but Paul was always over conscious that Dr Andrew Jekyll may have to give up his seat at any minute, and he may have to go hide!
But it was done.
He and his golden boy were heading for ‘The Golden Triangle’, oddly via the land of triangular chocolate and triangular trees. And of course, a load of old bankers. Switzerland. Zurich.(Ironically cos it was the cheapest route).
The boys were to ultimately make landfall in the now, not so bawdy, Bangkok. Then attempt to make their way northwards – through Laos, towards China! Paul knew it definitely wouldn’t be boring. Just like his ‘pretentious’ idol Dorothy Parker, he was sure that,
“The cure to boredom is curiosity”.
He also agreed with her wholeheartedly when she went on to complete her phrase with
“There is no cure for curiosity”.
He was also certain that his courageous husband had no idea what he had planned! But Andrew was nothing if not curious! And somewhat bullish! Especially when donning a ruck sack. For Andy had, yet again, made a cunning plan to give up the evil nicotine. Only this time whilst traversing third class across southeast Asia !
His most recent attempt at this feat had been in India, much to the chagrin of carriage ‘G’ on the 28 hour sleeper train from New Delhi to Old Helli, otherwise known as Chennai(or Madras in old currency).
Paul recalled with a whiff of apprehension that it had not been fun.
But he was more than ready, once again, to inhale deeply as Andrew did not.
God help both of them!
And all who happened to be in carriage ‘G’!
Paul knew it wouldn’t be easy for Andrew. After all, everyone appeared to smoke in the East – even the toddlers!
But he genuinely wished him strength to beat the evil weed! He was almost sure it was possible. In the wise words of another witty dead poet. ‘Carpe Diem‘.
Either that – or a seizure!
Their honorary ‘Lola Boy’, the charismatic man whose tragic demise began this short tale had also puffed like a battalion. And it was his exit stage left that had prompted their hasty dash from melancholia. Mr Peter Nette, may not have learnt Latin. With his humble beginnings, he had never been fortunate enough to be in that privileged poetic society. That elite clan familiar with Horace. He’d never been given such a leg up, despite his brilliant intellect.
But he certainly knew more than most how to seize the day.
And now ,’The Lola Boys’ felt more than ready to do the same. Before they seized up themselves.
They knew that they would never forget Peter. The classy, talented beach bum who had recognised their own special talent of getting classy bums to his special beach. But they knew that they probably should – at least for a moment. They needed to forget for a while in order to remember.
To remember all the good times! The naughty times. The wild times!
And who knows?
Perhaps one day do ‘The Time Warp’ again!
After all one must always ‘Carpe Diem’ whilst one is still able.