Shuffleshuffleshuffle. The beast leaves Dropkick’s and enters the murky Durban night. The haze which descends on Durban Central during summer settles on everyone’s skin. It is less humidity and more a thick grease which coats the atoms of air. You don’t breathe, you chew.
The creature’s many heads turn this way and that as it contemplates its next move.
“She basically described Schrodingers Nob. You know that?”
“Ugh… enough. Okay, where to next lads, we can either go up or down?”
“I need to rest.”
“You have been sitting for the last hour.”
“Yes, but only on my bum.”
The beast heaves down the hill towards the next bar. It has decided that it needs to go somewhere classy. A place where the drinks have umbrella’s in them. That is the universal unit of measurement of classiness. The problem is the closest classy joint by its own definition is all the way at the bottom of the road. It has to navigate a street crossing and the fact that four of its ten legs are slowly becoming paralyzed.
There is also “The Dark Place”.
At the four way stop in Florida Road is an area where the street lighting becomes non-existent. There is a basketball court and a fence covered in padlocks alla Le Pont Des Arts. Under no circumstances are you to park your car here unless you really like speaking with the police and your insurer.
We are in the processing of shuffling through this terrifying place when out of the shadows appears a man in a lilac tracksuit. His skin reluctantly clings to his body. Beneath the oversized ensemble, four inarticulate limbs buffet the polyester. His eyes, if they are indeed windows to his soul, tell the world that this is someone who has escaped Tartarus on several occasions by eating his way out.
“Evening.” He says, “Can I interest you gentlemen in some Weed? Uppers? Downers? Coke? Lavender?”
This last suggestion completely throws us off guard. However, after much discussion the following logic-argument for selling Lavender flowers with drugs is made:
- Drugs make everything a sensory experience
- It stands to reason that while on drugs, you would seek nice sensory experiences. This would include smells.
- Lavender smells nice.
The image conjured by this is the following: parents would be able to tell if their children are on drugs not by the fact that they have started eating sofa-sponge or running a frog fighting ring; but that their room is full of lavender car-fresheners. At no point did any of us think that “Lavender” was the street name for anything other than Lavandula Spica. We wondered if it was common for drug dealers to have sideline businesses selling flowers. Perhaps Weird-Eyed-Mark with the fanny pack in Origin was also packing seasonal Bromeliads and Peace Lilly’s?
We arrive at Cubana and are intercepted by two American exchange students that I met at varsity. Both are incredibly pretty ladies. Our pronunciation of “Cubana”, which is typically Durban (Koobhanah) is corrected to “Quebanya”. Las cosas que haría para echar un polvo…
We sit at a booth and order a round of drinks. There are cocktails, whiskey’s and beers involved. One of the heads is still staring at the menu. It has become transfixed by the dazzle of neon lettering. In its defense the menu was designed by a Japanese pop group. The five-headed entity is held in captivity by the conversation with the two girls. One of the girl’s states that the drinks are taking long. As the head that has been hypnotized by the colorful menu starts to nod off, another with far too much energy goes hunting for the waiter. The order was not that difficult surely? Why have we been waiting for thirty minutes for drinks to arrive? There is a hubhub of discontentment at the table. The really energetic head has not returned from its quest to find the waiter and query our order. After a few tense minutes, one of the girls pipes up with the earth-shattering:
“Hey… Isn’t that your friend?”
Behind the bar of this elite venue (with the largest bouncers in the whole road) the energetic head is spotted. With great stealth, it is in the process of pouring our own drinks order. Through guile, cunning and sheer brass-ballness, he arrives at our table with a tray comprising of our drinks. The girls are staring in rapturous awe. The four heads watch its brother rejoin them with their mouths open.
“I can’t believe you did that.”
“What? I couldn’t find our waiter?”
“But you disappeared?”
“Yeah, I went to the loo.”
Everybody quickly put their drinks down. One of the heads turns to the girls:
“I am sorry, he is like a gremlin: he comes with rules.”
Eventually it became clear that none of the five heads were making progress with the pretty ladies. Given our state it was easy to see why. The verbal dexterity to chat up women had left long ago. It was replaced by an ability to speak with inanimate objects and the dead. Even the dead cant understand what we are saying. It is at this point that we decide the most sensible thing to do is to rally with some dancing.
A round of Jäger-Bombs will do the trick.
Who the hell invented the Jäger-Bomb? What drunken frat boy decided that Jägermeister needed a pastry-shell of caffeine and hutzpah? Not satisfied by drinking the equivalent of a German intestinal steam-clean, someone went and added a drink which makes 15-year-old’s fight each other over Pokémon cards. I believe their place in hell is reserved next to the sodomites, murderers and people who leave frozen food on top of sweets in the till que.
Now devoid of pretty-lady-company, the beast stared up the hill. Energized but even less coordinated, it realized that to get to Absolut (where the dancing would happen), it had to march against gravity. Four of its ten legs protested. One of its heads became lost in the miasma of its own thinning consciousness. The creature as a whole chugged forward.
What could go wrong?