fatman Find the clues!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Formulaic Life

The day began like any other. That is to say- I was waiting for a ( insert friend/ debt collector/ police/ long-lost evil twin brother/ Ghost of Christmas Past/ insane stockbroker ) to go to ( lunch/ coffee/ brunch/ movie/ strippers/ watch an autopsy/ kidnap a clown) when ( chaos) happened. Sad to say, but life is a tad formulaic of late. Apart from an occasional tap dancer wanting a job there has been nothing exciting happening in the life of Yours Truly. Except that today was the day of the supposed eviction.

So, with the Fatman formula in mind my day began thus: I was waiting for ( Dr.Pollard- Cheese Scientist) to go to ( lunch) when ( I was attacked by a one-legged pigeon). It seems I can't wait for a friend without being attacked by some kind of a crippled animal these days. Maybe there's a voodoo curse on me. Maybe the 24-hour Alfred Hitchcock marathon was playing strange tricks on my mind. In any case when Pollard arrived and I whipped my head around to ask him if the one-legged pigeon was gone he patted my shoulder and reassured me that it was all o.k.

Me: I've been thinking about death lately.

Pollard: Are we still talking about that pigeon?

Me: We are talking about things that go beyond that. But, yes, let's not ignore the pigeon completely.

Pollard: ( after a while) I know how I want to be buried.

Me: Yeah? Getting yourself a plot? Cremation? Buried at sea?

Pollard: Better than all of that. I'm investing in all my money ( and possibly monies belonging to future generation of Pollards) to have my remains thrown out of a plane. Then, as I'm descending, I want to be blown to oblivion with a surface-to-air missile.

Me: Cool.

Pollard: It's been the same plan for over ten years.

It's good to talk to Pols.

(Eviction Day. I've since chatted to the Real Estate dudes and I think there may be room for negotiation)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mixes Well With Others

Piglet and I are running fifteen minutes late for a Mixology course that costs $250 a head. An easy walk has turned into a light jog as we make our way towards J.J.'s Bar & Grill at the Casino. Such a lovely, sunny day. It's usually one of those days that I'd spend gawking at pretty girls and running into things or finding a nice place in the city where I can have a coffee while I watch the world go by- people walking to and from work, old ladies spraying mace into a foreign person's eyes because they were startled, skateboarders jumping from high up platforms and breaking limbs, heads, spinal columns. 'Uh,' says Piglet, 'Bad news. I've just realised we're actually one hour and fifteen minutes late.' I glare at her. The light jog becomes a mad dash...

We burst into the bar and before we can mouth our excuses ( '....just crawled out of a train wreck. Thousands dead.', '....travelled through a time tunnel.', '....was all Piglet's fault I swear on my mother's eyes.') we are ushered to our seats amid the glares of impatient bar people. The grey haired bar 'Guru' who was running the show didn't seem to mind. The cheque has cleared already. All is good.

He then runs a pretty good cocktail/ mixology course. He briefly runs through ingredients that go into the various alcohol (juniper berries, coriander, eyes of newt, ground-up hedgehog, etc.) and things like the difference between bourbon and whisk(e)y so folks who don't know get a crash course before launching into a bit more of the history and best way to serve things, possible combinations and such. But I always find the useless trivia the best reason for turning up to these things. For instance; Did you know that Lars Olsson Smith (1836-1913), founder of Absolut vodka, got a tad peeved about strict spirit laws and declared a vodka war against the city of Stockholm and blew shit up? Neither did I until today.

The only problem I had with the Guru was that, like all proffesionals, this guy is extremely picky about what seems to me as pretty minor things. The knife isn't sharp enough, the lemon isn't the best, the ice is crappy. O.k.- now I know this guy is at the top of the profession but C'mon! It's ice. I hope that I never get snooty about something as pissy as ice when there are real problems in the world (ie. poverty, wars, diseases, etc.)

He then fields a few questions from the peanut gallery ( 'What's the difference between a Julep and a Smash?', 'Who was the first astronaut to drink a ginger/ zucchini martini during the descent to Earth?', 'How many postmen do you need to change a light bulb?') before he hints at the insanity inherent in late night workers. 'There was someone from Der Raum (a bar) who used a syringe to inject caviar in a cocktail,' he's saying to a room full of nodding heads. Caviar? Syringe? What the....? There are also bars out there that employ a full-time person to grill lemons. Yikes.

Make mine a beer,

(Two Days Before Eviction)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Will Dance For Food

Have you ever had one of these surreal phone calls that you instantly know in your heart was the sole reason that you got up that day? I'm bumming around the Amethyst Bar because of the free coffee when Amy the day girl receives The Call. After listening to the voice on the other end for some time she puts the receiver down and walks over. 'There's a guy on the phone wanting to know if we'd like to hire him as our resident tap dancer. Apparently he's tap danced in New York, Paris, etc.'

A few seconds pass.

'Come again?'

'There's a guy on the phone wanting to know if we'd like to hire him as our resident tap dancer. Apparently he's tap danced in New York, Paris, etc,' repeats Amy.

'What as? A drunk customer?' I ask. Amy shrugs. 'He called last week. I just forgot to tell you.'

'Because it's a weekly occurrence I suppose,' I reply.

I pick up the receiver. 'Hi.'
'So.....you're the tap dancer.'
Another pause.
'Your name is.....?'
'Got it. Hi the tap dancer.'

Hi then proceeds to tell me in his accented English ( Possibly a Thai accent. It seemed to be an accent that has said words like "Tom Yum Koong" many times) that he has been travelling around the world strutting his stuff. Would there be any work available?

I think it'd be wrong not to hire the guy. For a trial at least. 'Look Hi, it's an untapped market ( Oh, I get it. The guy who writes this blog is an idiot). But let me make a solemn promise to you that I will do my utmost to sell this idea to the owner. There will have to be a trial shift and believe me when I say this; I will invite everyone who I've ever met to join us that night.'

I hang up. An image of a Thai tap dancer fills my mind. He's in a pit, dancing to the sounds of a jazz band while the customers throw beer bottles and shout things like; 'It rubs the lotion on it's skin or it gets the hose again!' while Hi, bewildered by the cruelty of the patrons, will keep dancing and imagine he is somewhere far, far away.

Shake it like a Polaroid picture,

(Three Days Before Eviction)

Monday, September 19, 2005

For All You Lubbers Out There

Dwight ( Chris Williams): We're still missing the teenage love puppy and Steve the Pirate.
Owen ( Joel David Moore): Who's Steve the Pirate?
Dwight: The only guy on our team that dresses like a pirate!
Owen: There's a guy on our team dressed like a pirate?

from Dodgeball

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that all the troubles in the world stem from the lack of people who dress like pirates. There. It's said. And I stand by every word. Where was my frickin' pirate horde this year huh? What the HELL is wrong with you people. What a woeful turn out for this years' 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day'. Truly dismal. It was me and Free Beer sitting around in a nigh on empty bar. Oh, and Gus who had been unaware of the Pirate Day. Not that he'd ever join.

'Arrrrrr. I be feelin' mighty foolish.' grumbled Free Beer, a.k.a. Captain Morgan.
'I too lad,' says I.
'If you ask me you two look like a couple of idiots,' says Gus. Nobody asked him. Nobody had to.

To be honest I'd had to borrow Free Beer's pirate hat as I'd lent my pirate gear to my mum earlier this year. She came over to my house one day and was saying she had to go to a fancy dress party as a pirate and was wondering how she would manage that on such a short notice.

'Would you like to borrow my pirate costume mum?'
'You have a....pirate costume?' she asked. Then burst into tears. She refers to me as her Beautiful Mistake.

It's pre-t-t-t-y obvious that none of you have embraced the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I'm going to put a link to the site that clearly demonstrates that what the world really needs now is more pirates. Thanks Rorschach for the heads up.

The Worst Pirate You've Never Heard Of,

(Ten Days Before Eviction)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Homelessness, here I come

' There are some flatmates who never seem to have the money to pay their bills. There are other flatmates who will use your money to pay their bills. And there are those very special flatmates who will steal your money and leave town, still not having paid their bills.'
from John Birmingham's He Died with a Felafel in his Hand

Getting a 'Notice to Vacate' letter is always an ugly experience. It's on par with getting a whopping bill from a telecommunications giant months after you've left some premises. A bit worse maybe since you may soon join the ranks of the nation's homeless. You're suddenly staring down the 12-gauge barrel of sleeping on park benches.

I get the call early in the morning ( about 11:45). 'Guess how much money you guys owe us?' asks the chirpy Real Estate Chick.
'....er....zero dollars?' I reply groggily. 'Try $1,700'.


My brother from another mother.

Has screwed us big time.

I haven't actually seen hide nor what's-left-of-his-hair of him for about a month. He's recently graduated from always being late for a cafe job to a full-time "musician" ( fired from said jobs) and spends most of his time smoking pot and sitting on the couch at his girlfriend's house. And now I'm finding out that he's;
a) moving out and
b) leaving us little choice but to move out as well.

Just when I found us a housemate too. Tracking Micah down is going to be an absolute nightmare. He doesn't answer his phone. His girlfriend doesn't have a working telephone. Even if he did he skulks away from a $30 bill so this is a leviathan compared to that.

14 Days Before Eviction,

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Like a Bull in a Chinatown

The prospect of eating dumplings in a Chinese restaurant that has been forced to close 10 times in as many years is not that appealing....and yet here I sit opposite Megs waiting to order. She had been deliberately vague on the details of the hows and whys of the restaurant's many, many closures so I'm guessing things like; kitchen fires, rat infestations, a mild outbreak of the plague, discovery of child labour at the back, gang war, a renegade squid that managed to take some staff hostage, owners being jailed, shredded bits of surfer found in the shark fin soup, etc. that may have led to the annual closing of this unnamed restaurant.

______ Restaurant is one of the many eateries that grow down the alleyways in Melbourne's Chinatown. Apart from the fact that it doesn't have the usual row of ducks hanging at the front window to tempt in passersby it's pretty much like all the other cheap Chinese restaurants that litter the area (i.e., spelling errors on the battered menu, waiters who try to avoid you for as long as possible, endless cups of free tea). We risked, if not life and limb, maybe a mild bruising to get here as we nearly got run down by a bike courier who was going too fast down the narrow alleyway (which was about a bike courier in width) on the way. How he avoided us I'll never know.

It was good to see so many people braving the prospect of dysentery to enjoy a meal on a Tuesday afternoon. When the waitress eventually got to us we ordered. Megs ordered two different kinds of dumplings (the beef and the vegetable & pork) while I perused the menu. 'I like the look of number 86 on the menu ( how do you pronounce it in Cantonese?) the NOT AVAILABLE thank you.' The waitress sighed and then went to place the orders in the kitchen.

The meal is a celebration of sorts. Not one hour ago Megs and I had caught up at Southbank. We were discussing the upcoming International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) when talk moved to the subject of housemate Micah leaving the abode.

Me: Yaarrrrgg! We be gettin' rid of that scurvey dog Micah. He don't have enough booty to stay aboard the ship.
(Trans: Unfortunately Micah has to move out of the house because rent's a little steep for him at the moment.)
Megs: Yaaaarggg. That be fortuitous as I be looking to board a vessel not unlike yorn in these upcoming months.
(Trans: Really? What a freaky coincidence. I'm thinking about moving closer into the city and North Melbourne would be perfect.)
(Trans: Egad! Some silly fellow has accidentally spilled coffee all over my back! It burns, it burns!)

The meals arrive. I'm rather peckish. Not having to worry about the housemate thing is helping my apetite. Hey, you know what? It's not that bad at all!

Just add water,

Saturday, September 10, 2005

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

The last two weeks have been a fairly strange time for me. Having Nat track me down with her bounty hunter-like instincts after a nine year gap was obviously the strangest. But there had been others this fortnight. In a surreal, almost horror movie series of events I have been bumping into a whole string of women that I have slept with/ kissed/ had a crush on.

Tuesday last week kick started the parade of ex-girlfriends/ flings with Miranda who was waiting at the same tram stop as I was. We had met about two months ago at Will Chapman's going away party and she had no less than four other guys chasing after her that evening, buying her drinks, trying to out joke each other. Needless to say Yours Truly was Kavorka Personified and managed to get a smooch with the lovely Miranda shortly before she threw up. In my defence I would like to think the vomiting was linked to the copious amount of drinks that her other would-be suitors were buying for her all evening rather than my tongue work but it's hard to say for sure. As I am as dumb as a sack of hammers I'd forgotten to get her phone number and had tried a roundabout approach to get in contact with her via a mutual friend Ari.

No reply.

Typical. Housemate Darren told me he saw her at the supermarket not too long ago where they spent time in the biscuit aisle making fun of biscuits. 'Did she mention me at all?' I ask, a little too casually. 'No,' replied Darren, eyes not moving from the keyboard as he worked on his latest computer project. Back at the tram stop Miranda was a glacier of indifference.

That night Natalya dropped into the bar so Miranda was quickly forgotten. When I caught up with Nat at Degraves cafe the very next day there was a girl I had a crush on about four years ago sitting at the next table. She was trying to track down one of her ex-boyfriends and, since I still see him on a semi-regular basis, she gives me her phone number for me to give to him.

There were a few more nights when other girls I had blew it with came in. They have boyfriends now. Then a few days ago a woman I had a one night stand with is in the newspaper (name of publication withheld on the off chance someone might try to look it up for kicks) .The piece de resistance in this carnival of 'Never Stood a Chance' however is the Lesbian Girl from Neighbours who I had been praying night and day to come into the bar. And so she chose this week to drop in. Honestly she did. With a date.
'Et tu Lesbian Girl from Neighbours?' I say, jabbing an accusing finger at the direction of the lump of flesh that was her man,' Who the hell is THAT guy? Was our love that fleeting that you would leave me for another? Is there no chance of us rekindling our passion?'
'What....what are you talking about? I've been to this bar something like a total of three times in my life. Who are you?'

It has seriously been a police lineup of lost loves, Aphrodite's macabre sense of humour being drenched on the Fatman in these last fourteen days. If revenge, like oysters or gazpacho soup, is a dish best served cold then this fortnight...er.....still f-cking sucks.

I...don't exactly know where I was going with that.

Everything but the Girl,

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hooray for Boobies!

'I used to be a Buddhist but then I took up drinking.'
-the hip cat Heinz Simpson

'What did the Buddhist monk say to the hot dog vendor? Make me One with Everything.'
-Old joke

It takes a certain kind of man to wake up hungover in Albury (around 300km North of this city and in another state) and think: 'Strippers' and then buy a plane ticket to Melbourne for that evening so he can gawk at naked ladies. Vinnie is that kind of man. We met about four years ago and bonded over stories of travel and tequila. Believe it or not Vinnie is one spiritual dude. He returns from pilgrimages to Nepal where he spends a lot of time in the company of fellow unshaven men, climbing perilously high mountains (with colourful names like; 'Sherpa's Graveyard') eating nothing but vegetables and curried yak only to return to civilisation, shave and thence go to a nudie bar for a private lap dance. S.Buddha thought that alcohol is a poison that clouds the inherent clarity of the mind but I honestly think people who embrace spirituality need to counterbalance their meditation time with alcohol, women, cigars and poker.

It's all One,

Monday, September 05, 2005

Temporarily Unavailable due to Chickens

(Darren has been downloading a stupid amount of'Robot Chicken' on the home computer so I have been forced to check my e-mails at e55, a grungy downstairs internet bar.)

Micah the absent housemate has told us he's thinking about moving out for good. I think that's probably for the best. Although Darren and I love his never-pays-rent-on-time, eats-all-your-food-and-leaves-a-mountain-of-dirty-dishes, leaves-for-a-fortnight-at-a-time-without-telling-you-where-or-why, constantly-borrowing-money-from-you ways I am pretty certain I may have eventually killed him. It's not that we don't get along. Far from it- it's just the fact that I always hate bringing up issues of bills/ rent and living with the lad, these things are always a problem. If he had been in charge of bills we would have one thing cut off after another until we were sitting in a dark house, cooking cockroaches and drinking rain water waiting for that inevitable day we got evicted.

Out with the old, In with the new,