“I’ve just got back from Transylvania!”
This was a lie. I had bought a new suitcase and now I was pulling it home. When a friend stops me to ask, “what’s with the luggage?”, I am unable able to resist concocting a flight of fancy.
“Yeah, Transylvania! It’s a beautiful town but you should see the bat problem they have there. Flapping about and getting in your hair. It’s a Chiroptophobe’s nightmare.”
The addition of the proper word for the fear of bats drives the lie home like a stake through a vampire’s heart.
“Wow,” says my friend, “I had no idea.”
She really didn’t.
Next up, I meet local celebrity Jon Ransom. He’s wearing a big floppy cap made of yellow vinyl. In this cap, Jon reminds me of an old Vic Reeves character called Tom Fun. I let this pass.
He says “Where have you been? You owe me a call!”
In truth, I do not owe Jon a call: Jon owes me one. Jon took a lot of ecstasy in the early nineties and it has monkeyed around with his memory and attention span so I overlook this. Instead I gesture at the suitcase and say, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ve been out of town. I had a gig in Geneva!”
“A gig in Geneva? I didn’t know you could speak Swiss.”
He was on unusual good form today. I wouldn’t be able to divert his attention by pointing at an invisible bee like I normally would.
“I don’t,” I say truthfully, “I’ve devised a mime. Works in any language. I’ll show you some time.”
He seems happy with this and continues on his way. As do I.
Finally, I see Dennis, the guy who rents the office unit next to mine. He is standing by his parked car on the other side of the road, gesturing for me to go over and speak to him. Just for fun, I want to see if I can make him come to me instead so I gesture at the empty suitcase and pull a helpless “what can you do?” face. He acquiesces and crosses the road to talk to me instead.
“Are you coming or going?” He asks, referring to the suitcase.
“Coming!” I say brightly, refreshed from the holiday I didn’t take in the Bahamas, “I just got back from the Bahamas! They have giant coconut crabs there. They live in palm trees and eat people’s garbage. They’re basically a public service.”
“The Bahamas? I thought coconut crabs were in Hawaii?”
“Oh, maybe they have them there too but they have them in the Bahamas for sure. Biiiiiiig muddafudders.” I extend my arms as if to say “this big!”. Dennis looks sceptical but shakes it off and tells me about a party he’s having next week if I’d like to go.
“I guess I could go,” I say, “But I don’t want to. I can’t be bothered with parties any more. I could make an excuse but I don’t want to lie to you, Dennis.”
My nerve is huge.
When I get home I realise that the suitcase has a bright red sash about it, displaying the word “Sale”. Several cardboard price tags rattle from the handle.
My next holiday will be in Hell and I’ll deserve it.