Four of us

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Four of us, Short stories, starts & writing

Part III

It was at Varlaam that Toy had the bright-spark moment. The wind whipped in and around our group-hug, snuffing ignition attempt after ignition attempt and Nik wasted a dozen matches trying to get the joint lit. Obscenities muttered all round.
Then Toy suddenly piped up.
“Why not break the end off one of those matches and stick it in the business end of that number and strike the bloody thing on the matchbox? That’ll light it, I’d say.”
Nik was immediately on the same wave length, nodding furiously. “Yeah! Yeah! Oh! Yes!”
Marijuana, sulphurous toxins and ill-gotten vodka became the staple for the next God-knows-how-long.
Nik’s stinking bag of tricks seemed like some bottomless Mary Poppins carpet-bag of shitty-tasting, freeze-dried, dusty, headache inducing mind-fuzz. The occasional bottle of roadside hooch Nik scored from the shifty sons of peasant farmers, bartered for a joint or two. The vodka stolen from poor, unsuspecting shopkeepers seemed to do nothing but ease the worry of dying from moonshine induced ethanol poisoning or hypothermia. Never mind the risk of ploughing headlong into some fully laden potato or beet transport or decimating some poor bastard’s family in some drug and alcohol crazed traffic explosion.

Roadside hooch

We were just four fucked up, headstrong fuckwits from the West trying to find something. Anything. The Great Eastern European Dream? Yeah, right! Some perverted version of the American Dream? All those bastards in the U.S. had apparently been living The Dream since the year dot and it was all just wasted pop-culture excess. Nothing but Coca Cola, McDonald’s, MTV and a ruthless, Right Wing capitalist aristocracy and the brain-dead masses just sitting on there arses, lapping it up. Part of the reason the four of us had left home and headed to Europe in the first place – to get away from the nauseatingly mundane nature of The West. But wasn’t The West – and all that it stood for – part of what the people were aspiring to when they downed tools and took to the streets in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia? Reagan’s Cold War propaganda and later Springsteen’s rock’n’roll rallying cry at the concert in Berlin adding fuel to the fire before the Germans tore down The Wall? Didn’t they all strive to bring about the downfall of their respective Communist overlords because they were longing for social democracy, a decent crack at the market economy and because Hollywood made it all look so appealing?

Ich bin nicht für oder gegen eine regierung. Ich bin gekommen um Rock'n'Roll

So who the hell were we to think we were ever going to find anything of substance here in the crumbled detritus of the Eastern Bloc? Especially in some rat-arsed backwater shit-hole country town in the arsehole-of-Fuck-knows-where, Eastern Romania.
Just four little, hepped-up Kerouac wannabe’s in a clapped out shit-box Lada on some road that lead to Soviet Russian God-knows-where. Smoking sulphur and dust in the freezing wind and snow. Dodging Honecker’s Stasi and then Ceaușescu’s Securitate and all of the protesting factory and mine workers and militant student revolutionaries, just riding the bow wave of  freedom and solidarity as it crashed it’s way to Moscow.
We were the ignorant child-kings of the world and it was so much fun!
“We really shoulda taken tha’ Dacia from tha’ man in Galati. This fumes. Killing me!” muttered Chagas. “Bocó de mola!”
“Give the man a break, will you. The Dacia was clearly some kind of swindle”, I say.
“Carbon monoxide is only a little bit toxic anyway, Cha”, shouted Nik.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

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