By Michael Ampersant
Finally, folks, the third part of our true-true short story about the visit of Michael's friends from Australia. Go here for the previous part.
They would take the train to Monaco on the third day. Jason works as croupier in Sydney, he must have a look at the casino of Monte Carlo. I walk them down the hill to the local train station through the village center (chapel and post office). The train station is located in the Esterel park, outside our settlement. We walk past the Bellevedère, a cast-iron gazebo built on a rock above the tracks. The vista is a popular spot for midnight sex—at least that’s what I make of the fresh-used condoms on the ground I find here on many days. The thrill of public sex enhanced by splendid vistas, Josh muses.
“You come here yourself?” Jason asks.
“Not for sex.”
“How do you know about midnight, then?”
Opinions appear divided as to the train station itself, I’m making the case for 19th century utilitarian design. “Trayas,” I say, pointing at the blue name plate on the building, “Trayas means ‘three’ in Sanskrit.”
“Perhaps it means threesome,” Jason observes. They are off.
|The train station|
I forgot what Chang or I did during the day. Not much, I guess. Anyhow, Josh and Jason are finally back. The casino is too small, the minimal glass of wine is 14€, but they’ve seen Naomi Campbell. Yes, an exceedingly elongated black girl with big sunglasses and a big Vuitton bag strapped over her shoulder. Really? Yes, it was her, she also wore a fur cape and stiletto-boots emblazoned with thousands of real crystals. Mesmerizing, the crystals, blinding. She cat-walked past on her boots, she actually knew how to walk in those boots. She got into a Rolls-Royce. And, she looked like Naomi Campbell.
Dinner is pork chops today. Jason is a few inches away, as usual. How did you get to Australia, I ask him. He’s a boat refugee, on one of the last boats from Vietnam, in the late ‘80s. One hundred and eight people on an aging shallop on their way to the Philippines, at a fare of $3,000 per pop. You’ve seen this funny picture of the Kim the third of North Korea, taking off with a lot of generals in a decrepit sloop? It’s on the internet, the photo, the planking on the hull is rotting and the beloved leader waves to the crowd.
“That was like us, the planking,” Jason says. “The sea gets rough, the first hurricane of the season. The boat sways and bobs. There’s no food but nobody’s hungry. Nobody goes to the toilet, things just happen. We are getting low on water, except in the engine room where they have a leak. The crew fights the rising water with a chain of buckets. It’s the seventh day out at sea, we are getting nowhere. A Japanese freighter sails by, binoculars peek at us. We have no proper distress material, can’t signal our trouble in ways the Japanese would like to understand. We are sinking, the captain says. We ram the Japanese, he says, they must pick us up if there’s a collision. People pray to various gods, embrace, huddle. The captain heads for the freighter’s stern and misses narrowly. The Japanese sail on. Another ship has seen this, fortunately, a freighter from Panama. They are returning from the Olympics in Seoul, we learn later. They are on holiday and in a good mood. Three power boats appear around us, we’re hauled onto the boats and ask to climb rope ladders reaching up to the main deck. People are lifted up one by one and hosed down for lice or whatever. I’m still hanging in the ladder, look back over my shoulder, and see our shallop sink. Everybody survives. We’re taken to a refugee camp in Singapore. I end up in Australia.”
|Kim III and his sloop|
Chang doesn’t dial Porn FM tonight. Regrets are shared, we go to bed early.
We wake up late. The high wind is gone, the sky is still mistral-blue. We have breakfast. Jason’s iPhone does ping. “Scruff,” Jason says.
“Scruff?” Yes, better than Grindr and Jack’d, not to mention Craigslist or other dating sites. He answers the ping with his left thumb. Meetic is on line, the picture a bit blurred. Meetic is only 6.7 km away, in Mandelieu (this is as the crow flies, per car it would be twenty minutes). Meetic is young and hale on the iPhone display.
“Hi,” Jason chats.
“Veuve?” Meetic answers.
“Non,” says Jason---he knows a little French, Vietnam was once a French colony.
“Tu te polis le Chinois?”
“Je suis Vietnamien,” Jason texts. The chat dies down (we learn later from the internet that the Chinois-expression is French argot for masturbation).
“You use it a lot, Scruff?” I ask. Yeah, he likes it. Before you make an appointment, though, always make sure they’ll give you a valid cell-phone number, and check on the number. Sort of an insurance.
The sun radiates, we’ll take the pair for a walk up the Pic de l’Ours, the hill with the antenna. I explain a bit about the islands below in the bay, St. Marguerite and St. Honorat, named after fifth-century saints. Saints were rock stars in those days. Still are, Josh says, look at India. There’s a monastery on St. Honorat founded by the saint himself which has gone through many clerical hands and houses a silent order now, thirty monks that don’t speak but make fruits of the vine, rare and expensive stuff you can’t buy anywhere except on the internet. Monks, yes.
“Tell him the anecdote about your composer in Bangkok,” Chang suggests. World-famous composer travels to Thailand—this is back in the 50’s—and meets hot young monk in the streets of Bangkok. Monk takes him home (if that’s the word). Next morning, monk gets up and says: “Please stay, I’ll go out and beg rice for the two of us.”
|Partial view from the Pic de l'Ours, picture taken by Jason|
The Pic de l’Ours is 500 meters high and offers views across the entire Cote d’Azur, from the point where the southern-most ridge of the Alps dips into the Mediterranean, along the curvature of the horizon, past St. Tropez and the Iles d’Hyeres to the west, 100 km in each direction. The earth is round up here and the sky is always blue, you won’t climb up here otherwise. Today is a bit hazy and not ideal for pictures, so we undress and take pictures of own naked torsos for the next edition of Scruff. I later delete mine.
Jason tells good stories, Josh reminds him, so Jason tells about a trip back to Vietnam where they meet this guy who has them chauffeured through the jungle to a party, in limousines. They end up in the place from Apocalypse Now, the lost village, and everybody is gay. Then he tells about their visit to Berlin and the Kitkat club and how this guy follows him into the men’s room and shows up in the mirror of the wash basin and wraps his arms around his shoulders. The guy is quite handsome, so they take him to the hotel. Now what. The guy wants to fist-fuck. What? Yes, fist-fuck, didn’t you see the red band around his left wrist, that’s code for fist-fucking. We didn’t know. Okay, no fists then, whether normal fucking would be okay. Yes, sure. Guy fucks Jason (big dick), Josh holds Jason’s hand. So sweet.
I suggest the gay sauna in Nice, but Jason is not in the mood. Plus, we have to get up very early, they need to be at the airport at four in the morning. But we have a few minutes to look at their website, professional pictures of the pair taken in a Vietnamese studio, all black-and-white, skin, poses, embraces, formalized passion enhanced by light and shadow. They are very proud of it. They kiss. They kiss a lot, they celebrate each day.