Return of the Flip
This is what happened when Flip came to town and why everything tasted like wasabi for a while. This is the sort of thing that happens when I go drinking with Flip. Not necessarily with my taste buds being set firmly on 'wasabi' mode but you understand. Or maybe you don't...
I hadn't seen Flip in about a year. Before then he was a regular visitor to our house back when Micah was living with us since they both worked at the Blue Train cafe, which was like a commune for deadbeat hip hop freaks. You could always tell when Flip would visit since he was one of the loudest, clumsiest drunks with the most vulgar foot odours I have smelled in living memory. It is this foul, noxious stench that would seep from his feet and into the walls and carpet of the house for days. Tear inducing. Like exhuming a corpse this smell. Like having your sense of smell be attacked by sinister triangles, their angles all sharp and pointy. Our other housemate Darren hated him.
But it's hard to dislike Flip. For all his faults, which were plentiful, he's a pretty decent guy with a strict code of morals and ethics. He was just him. People would parody his mannerisms and the way he talked all the time because it's impossible to talk about Flip without using a liberal dose of Flipisms. To be honest I think Flip would even parody Flip, making a hyper-real version of himself.
Flip had been in Byron Bay (located in the north coast of New South Wales. A haven for sunburned surfers, hippies and others who want to relax and take soft drugs and have sex with kids who have just graduated from high school) for a year where he had worked as the head chef/ bar guy in one of the biggest bar/restaurants there. It was a fun yet unusual time there for him. He returned with a Canadian girlfriend, not much possessions (what he had accumulated over the year had been destroyed by the owner who was irate at his "sudden" departure) and a 32-year old brother that he never knew he had (long, long story).
He dropped into the Amethyst bar tanned and with a few extra tattoos on his arms. I was just finishing the rest of my beer thinking that it would be a perfect time for me to leave when I saw him walk in with a broad grin and all his worldly possessions (two backpacks and a skateboard). I remember thinking this was not going to bode well.
Beers. Shots of Jagermeister. Beers. Shots of Tuaca- an Italian caramel liqueur. Beers. Vodka. Cigars. Off to St. Jeromes. A long neck of Cooper's. Shots of Jagermeister with the staff. Closing time at St.Jeromes. Stagger stagger.
By the time we had reached e:55 and ordered our drinks it was quite clear that we were well and truly pissed. Why else would we have agreed to a wasabi pea eating competition? And why is English Paul here? Did I invite him? Did he just turn up out of thin air?
Unlike most other nights with Flip where we are manhandled by bar staff out of the premises or have to go for a light jog to avoid being savagely beaten by a rugby team visiting from country Victoria (Flip's tendency to mouth off to the wrong bunch of guys is almost legendary. He would come in some days to work sporting a hideous bruise that he'd receive while in a queue for a burger in a late night fast food joint. There is just something suicidally inherent in his nature that gravitates him towards the biggest, meanest, country bully in a venue. Guys who've grown up on farms where they've learnt how to slaughter cattle before they learn to ride bikes, use outdoor toilets and perform the occasional beheading of a snake with an axe) the night ends peacefully. I offer him the couch at our house to sleep on.
How Flip wound up in a complete stranger's bed is this...
After coming home and giving him blankets for the couch I asked him if he would like anything else. 'Mebbe a dvd or somefin'.' I grab him a copy of Starsky & Hutch. 'Now Flip, now Flip, now Flip,' I say, for I too was intoxicated, 'I'm givvin you a shleeping bag as well so ifyew get too cold jest use that as well.'
'Sleeping bag.' I point for emphasis. Flip cranks the volume of the tv up to maximum and promptly falls asleep.
...where Darren would find him five minutes later as he is violently awoken from a peaceful slumber to the deafening noise of Stasky & Hutch. Darren stumbles into the lounge room, sees all the lights on, sees the tv, sees Flip, Grrrr. Flip! Turns off the tv and goes back to bed.
Flip wakes up sometime later. His lips are blue. He is dying of hypothermia. His teeth are chattering uncontrollably. Blankets and sleeping bag forgotten he lunges down the corridor of the house in search of warmth. He needs to survive the night. He needs to eviscerate a Tauntaun and crawl inside its stomach cavity for warmth. Anything. In his drunken state he has forgotten that Micah has not lived with us for quite some time and enters a room now inhabited by Secondhand Bookstore Steve. Who has never met Flip.
Steve wakes up. There is a silhouette of a man near the door. A ghostly apparition? 'C-c-c-cold,' says the shadow, 'S-s-so cold.'
'Who are you?' asks a confused Steve.
The man doesn't answer.
'You have to leave here. Go to the couch.'
'C-c-couch cold. D-d-dying.'
The shadow comes closer, closer.....
'And you just let him sleep in the bed with you?'
'Well, he'd fallen asleep almost immediately and he was too heavy to move.' says Steve. We are having coffee in the afternoon surveying the damage that Flip has caused in a single night. ' I honestly thought he was a homeless guy who wandered in from the street. Man, the stench!'
Darren grumbles something.
'That didn't bother you? A hobo crawls into your bed. Could've been dangerous.'
For the next few days we'd find pleasant reminders of Flip's visit to our household. He broke a plate (Darren's), microwaved Darren's dumplings till they were shrivelled and inedible, ate all the dips in the fridge (also Darren's), found some Sayos crackers from god knows where and left them behind the couch (we didn't find that one for days) and left behind a pair of mud-encrusted socks in Steve's bed as a souvenir. a little token of his thanks.
With friends like these...