“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking” – Steve McCroskey, Airplane.
I’m the first to arrive at Marcus’s condominium in Rio that overlooks the entire complex, including tiny lagoons that I’m told by Marcus’s secretary Lisa, has crocodiles. Tiny ones. “I have to go move the car,” says Lisa. “Are you ok with dogs?” I’m ok with dogs, but I don’t know what to do with this emaciated rack of ribs staring at me apologetically on the balcony. Lisa leaves and of course the dog takes a whizz, eyeballing me. It finishes, scooches its paws through the piss before collapsing to the ground like an Imperial Walker with it’s feet tied. Lisa returns and cleans up the whizz.
The place sleeps four, three rooms, a shower in each. It’s littered with decadence, a lavish circular ceramic table with a revolving centre, a bottle of crystal skull vodka on the sideboard, a 50″ plasma in the lounge, a spray pump bidet by each toilet. Marcos is graceful and kind. I clog up the shitter within ten minutes and he returns within the hour to fix it. Marcos even filled the fridge with grapes, juice and beer. Immediate promotion to my Christmas card list.
Over the road we eat dry salmon and I have my first beer in a week. I had to take a week off because of my teeth. I can’t handle toothache and a hangover. I can barely handle a hangover these days. Thank god we got my teeth bandaged up before flying out, I’ll need more root canal work when I’m back, but for now they’ve settled and the reasons for abstinence now seem redundant. I could drink myself to death out here. I have the balcony for it. Back at the hotel I crack open another beer and take it to bed. Annie comes out of the shower, takes one look at me clutching a beer, my gut sprayed across the bed. Her look said – “We have to be up early, you haven’t slept for 36 hours, this is not a good idea.” I got up, replaced the beer in the fridge, went to bed, dreamt of crocodiles.