I'm lying on a beach, crusted with heat and sand, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. There's an outrageous pain in my skull.
I can't remember a thing.
I'm naked. The man lying next to me is also naked. But I have sunglasses on so I sneak a look at him. He’s snoozing, slack-jawed, a dribble of saliva sliding down his cheek. A fly lands on his blond moustache and crawls into his mouth. He ejects the intruder with a tongue coated in pale peach fuzz. Who has the longest tongue? I compare our bodies, mine burnt pink like cherry fairy floss. Ah yes, he’s my brother; his name is Gideon. My name? Hmmm. I’m wearing a bracelet: 45932. So what happened to the other 45,931? My toenails are unpainted and yellowed, like my fingernails. My hands aren't old but there are lines. The deepest are on my wrists, filled with red; I lick them, expecting the metallic taste of blood, but it’s only ink. My neurons fire and I get a flash of lights, of dancing, of falling. I prop myself up onto my elbows and take a look around. The beach is full of men. All naked. Some wear hats, others have covered their noses with pink zinc. The colour complements their cheeks. I remember Gideon's love of cricket and iced Boston Buns with desiccated coconut. What am I doing here? A group nearby barbecue sausages and steaks, one wears an apron. Fat splatters I guess. There's a sign staked into the sand by their Esky: it says ‘Gay BBQ’. How did they know the cows were gay? That joke is stale – I must’ve been here before.
Two men with swinging genitalia approach. I name them Red and Brown. No prizes for working that out. I nudge Gideon; he snorts and glares.
It's coming back to me now, the party last night. There I am dancing wildly; there I am slamming emerald absinthe; there I am smoking crack cocaine. There I go, climbing the scaffolding; there's me falling, falling into the arms of a swaying, sweaty crowd. And here I am on the beach, scalded and prone among a pack of naked poofs. I laugh until I hear I’m hoarse.
On the other side of the bay the sun is setting, vermillion. Tiny suited men riding seahorses drop from the clouds above me. They’ve got beach umbrellas to slow their fall. One bites me and I slap and squash him. Soon the mosquitos will be out.
Red and Brown are here now. I roll to my side and discover a bottle of hot, flat Passiona dug deep into the sand. I take a swig slyly, trying hard not to be seen looking at their hairy, sandy …
Knee caps. Ha, did I mention I'm a joker? Perhaps not a good one.
Then Red says, Time to be getting you home.
Oh yeah, I say. Where’s home?
And Brown says, Rehab, darling, rehab.