BOTTLE SERVICES': In Flight from Fantasies Gone to Seed
What do you people want from me? I’ve already ripped my soul off its hinges and waved it around these pages for public ridicule. And now you want to explore my fantasies too? The things I will do for a couple of free drinks.
I appreciate your kindness, but you all know I’m a wanted man. Mongolia, March 2018. Were they cops? Was I across the frontier? My passport was a joke—an elderly Albanian who looked nothing like me. I had been able to attend Paris Fashion Week, but it all went to shit that Tuesday. I was sitting courtside for the Viktor & Rolf show when my phone buzzed in the bad news. Do you have any idea how hard it is to constantly have someone that wants to do you harm? Before the applause, before the champagne and the exhalations, I was out the side door and headed for the station.
Mexico. That is my fantasy. That and the dog scratching on the glass door. Is it really a dog? I hear the scratching but can’t turn around to check. If it isn’t a dog, is it a sommelier with a bottle of bubbly? Why is he or she scratching at the door instead of knocking? Why don’t they just try the handle? It isn’t locked.
It’s a dog. The neighbor’s dog. Arabella. I let her in and give her a piece of prosciutto and she is now my most loyal subject. Maybe I will take her to Mexico with me. Is that a crime? She obviously prefers me to her current owner whose name I cannot remember. Will he miss her? Will he paper the phone poles with her picture beneath LOST DOG $1000 REWARD?
I imagine we will both be happier sitting on the terrace at Vinacola Torres Alegre y Familia. I can sip on the ethereal Cru Garage Nebbiolo and Arabella can chase the many cats that litter the fields. Afterwards we can go to Finca Altozano and eat Borrego washed down with more of the Valle’s best. Maybe a Madera 5 blend. None for the dog—she has to drive. I learn to tell that joke in Spanish, but it never gets a laugh.
Arabella finally misses her owner and I call and negotiate a drop off, pocket my $1000 and head to Jalisco. Agave beckons, and it is a sweet sweet song.
When I woke up, she was wiping the sweat off my forehead. They hit me hard. I never got across the Kazakhstan border into Mongolia, but I had one new friend. Instead of gold coins, I had sown 200 tiny bottles of Vago Tobala Mezcal into the lining of my suit. I assumed the girl’s father had a taste for Oaxaca’s finest, but I am, of course, an idiot. She had done a semester in Mexico City and traveled down to the palenques and it was she who was my savior. Over a few weeks we spoke in our broken Spanish, a few words at a time as she removed one precious bottle after another. She got me to western Kazakhstan and if I smiled enough and didn’t run out of booze, I might be able to convince her to help me cross the border into Russia. Then I could get a train to Finland and throw myself onto the tender mercies of a US Embassy.
She cut me loose on the fifteenth. We drove in silence to the edge of a stand of birch trees. She pointed the direction I was to go. I ran as far and fast as I could. No one shot at me, so I assumed I was in the clear. I traded her my last 5 Mezcals for 20,000 Rubles, a shit deal, but I was in no condition to bargain. While waiting for the bus to Moscow, I ran across a group of itinerant workers who offered me their last sip of vodka. Being a generous soul, I let them lead me to a shop where I bought several more bottles, as the bus was still a few hours from arriving.
In retrospect, having enough money for two liters of vodka and a bus ticket to Moscow, all of 10 euros, should have made me a target in this godforsaken shithole by the border, but I never saw it coming.
Now I’m in a hospital with a broken clavicle, orbital and fibula. My money is gone and there is no way to contact the embassy. The doctors are worse than the homeless guys on the streets.They come for me in the middle of the night.The last thing I remember is a large syringe spurting something evil.
I awake on a rubber raft right off the coast of Puerto Escondido. I’m missing a kidney and a cornea, but if I keep paddling I can hit the beach for happy hour.
Okay guys, there’s your damn column. It is, as you know, total bullshit, but
besides that it also falls short of the word count. I sense this makes you sad, but I have run into some trouble. I have been involved in this cyber currency mining operation for a few months. All was well until last week when Serge (remember him from the party in Belize?) got shot out in front of our office. It was a warning, I assume. They didn’t kill him, but he’ll walk with a limp forever. It was probably those pricks from Cal Tech. Serge had figured a way into their mainframe and we were using all of that delicious computational power to get rich. They shut us down as soon as they figured it out, and although we covered our tracks exquisitely, Serge’s blown out knee suggests we fell short.
Loving my legs as I do I headed north and am currently helping with the harvest at Inniskillin across the border from Niagara. They make maybe the world’s finest ice wine, which is why I’m out rummaging through the vineyard with snow up to my ass trying to bring in the grapes before the birds get to them.
Don’t want to leave too large of an electronic footprint. Those Beavers may seem like nerds, but they are a vicious lot, capable of unspeakable cruelty. Anyway, send the check to Mario, he’ll know how to get it to me.
Written by Bill DiDonna