Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

Peruvian stand-off

In an earlier post (El Stake-out) I evoked widespread scepticism amongst the writing community by suggesting that a nefarious cadre of elderly Peruvians were at large and up to no good in the Royal county of Berkshire.

Well get ready to apologise people cos I’ve got absolutely no evident for a second incident!

Quick recap: Four Peruvians in fully lacy regalia – I bump into them freakin everywhere – The 6th sense: I see red people – followed them / they followed me – presume other people can see them too, but this is yet to be verified. I may turn out to have died at the beginning (spoiler alert)…and you’re all caught up…

For weeks now it’s been quiet – Not even un peepo pequeño, but on Tuesday morning…

…Hills meadow, the scraggy bit next to the car park, a lone man walking along a solitary path at dusk, late for his train, flustered, handsome etc. He looks up…and blocking his path…the four Peruvians (the two women at least – the man are waaay back). They see him. There are devilish smiles of recognition. The punishment for having arbitrarily stalked them one afternoon will be swift and severe. Its too late to run; too late to take a photo (conveniently). He later pens an exact drawing of the ordeal and hazards a guess at their names (Big Mike levitated apparently).

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In his head he hears David Attenborough narrating: ‘The Berkshire man is bigger, but at 39 he’s well past his prime. The lighter, nimbler predators can sense that he’s disorientated. They wait to see if he’ll do something douchey like fall into the canal or start crying…’

A few years back I narrowly avoided  a head on collision with an ice-cream van in Sri Lanka. Later I envisaged my father reading the eulogy and choking back grief in order to savour the immortal line: He died a clown’s death. Given the choice however between ice-cream and South American smack-down I’m going with the former. Either way I’m winning the Darwin Awards that year, but everything’s relative.

What to do?

Think dammit. Your cover’s well and truly blown. You need to reach your extraction point. Where is it? You don’t have one. You are, after all, an IT consultant… I wonder if there are men who died simply from watching too many Steven Seagal movies…I tell you what – don’t think!

Big Mike’s looking tasty – all four feet of him. I’m reckoning that if push comes to shove I can probably drop kick him into a bush, but then the women’ll be all over me like stink.

How to appease them? The only Spanish I know fluently is the phrase ‘Lo siento para mi esposa’ (I apologise for my wife) and, though useful as a general statement, is of no practical application here!

But wait, a woman is coming and she’s pushing a pram. I’m going to avoid a massacre by invoking operation human-shield. The Berkshire man is past them, onto the train, still debonair etc.

But now I’m having to get up 20 minutes earlier every morning to go the long way round the park, and Google’s been no help. Typed in “some sort of tracking device (or blow dart) that fits into a panpipe” – Nothing.

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Sri Lankan Trilogy

Nick’s flight would be arriving in the morning which gave me sixteen hours to kill in the capital. Having flagged down a tuk-tuk (scooter crossed with a pram) I went exploring and quickly found myself in the bustling market district of Pettah. Stopping for a nano second I was immediately accosted by a wiry individual who offered to take my picture.

‘Oh, no thank you,’ I replied. ‘My camera is in the hotel.’

‘We go back to your hotel. I take your picture. You buy me beer.’

‘I don’t want a beer.’

‘I want one.’

‘Well buy one.’

‘No. You buy. I take your picture.’

‘You didn’t take my picture!’

‘Not my fault you forgot your camera.’

‘I didn’t forget my camera. Go away.’

‘NO, YOU BUY ME BEER!’

It took a full out sprint to lose him; weaving between the stalls and disgruntled custodians. The street ended and ahead of me the Indian Ocean stretched out. On the beach a halal barbecue was in full swing. I ordered something called Beef Kottah and was seated at a plastic table next to a chubby gentleman crammed into a misshapen suit. He said hello and handed me a business card that stated he was Mohammed Ali, a spice merchant from Mumbai.

‘I am here on a conference,’ he continued. ‘You give me your phone number. I give you a real good deal on spice.’

‘I don’t tend to buy my spice in bulk so it’s probably not worth your while.’

‘You give me your number anyway?’

‘What are the smallest units you sell in?’

‘Five kilogram bags.’

‘See, I’m never gonna use that much spice.’

‘You never know.’

‘No, I’m pretty sure. Take it easy Mohammed.’

‘If you’re not going to give me your number, give me back my business card.’

I returned to the hotel and found its bar brimming with Brits (over en masse for the cricket). A particularly inebriated Wolverhamptonite greeted me with the immortal words: ‘Won’t you join me in a sorrow-drowning drink. I’ve just been on a disastrous date – hired a helicoptor and an accordian player to impress a local girl, but the accordian couldn’t be heard over the rotary blades – total write-off.’

He took great offence at the suggestion that he was telling porkies and followed up with how, having been declared bankrupt, he couldn’t get incapacity benefit for a (faked) bad back, so had caught a ferry to Belgium and, on the return trip, thrown his passport in the sea and pretended to be Croation so as to seek asylum in the UK.

‘My real name is Mark,’ he stated. ‘I can’t tell you my assumed name.’

‘Shouldn’t that be the other way around?’

‘What?’

‘Shouldn’t you be keeping your real name a secret?’

‘What an earth are you talking about?’

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