As I walked towards A Touch of Madness for another hung-over session of carrying tables, sweeping floors, microwaving peri-peri and pouring tequila to crazed alcoholics, there was a je-ne-sais-quoi somewhat awkward about this day. No sign of the usual plane reactor wind which traditionally blew skirts up and hats off. Rather a warm soothing temperature under a deep-blue summer sky. Observatory's homeless droogs and crystal meth addicts behaved as a herd of wild animals would seconds before an earthquake. I sensed a peculiar vibe as they agitated their ravaged limbs around me and spat an incalculable amount of nonsense. They weren't necessarily asking for money, which is highly atypical. Besides they knew that I hardly ever gave them any, except for an occasional basket of wedges and lit cigarette. Also there were quite many of them, which is also unusual at a time of day (12AM) when they are traditionally passed out in some filthy dead end.
Alex walked in shortly after I opened the place up. Decades ago, Red-Wine-Englishman Alex was a diplomat, he worked in Greece as a spokesperson for the Lebanese consul, and in Israel in the BoBotswana Republic's diplomatic mission. Nowadays he is a red-nosed intellectual who happens to be very fond of our house red wine. Alex was one of the first customers I served when I started working at Touch of Madness. It was the only time I ever asked him what he wanted to drink. He speaks Greek and Latin and quotes Clemenceau. "The United States miraculously went from Barbarism to Degeneracy without the usual transition of Civilization", says he in a grin.
Anyways, Alex walked in earlier than usual and ordered a snack platter to go with his glass of red. What's peculiar is that he was remarkably tipsy… Sober enough to reach for the feta cubes and cucumber I served him at the bar, but very chatty just like the freaks outside. After a common enquiry about the political situation in Lebanon ("Dear Consul, have you a President yet?") today's topic was the Hittite civilization (near-eastern tribe 2000 B.C., pronounced "hit-tight"). British accent: "You do realize, Anthony that you are probably a Hittite yourself?? In fact I shall henceforth call you…'My Hittite'". Alex wouldn't usually address me so casually in the presence of other customers. On an ordinary day he would quietly read the newspapers or one of his decomposing books while slowly enjoying a glass of our cheapest red. But today he got carried away to the extent of telling me more about his relationship with our common friend Maayan, the Israeli left-wing pacifist alcoholic lesbian. It appears Maayan has a collection of Lesbian soft-porn images, all of them neatly cut out and delivered in sealed envelopes by Alex himself! Hilarious when you know the man, although the homosexual parties he gives at his place now and then are very much talked about in Obs.
Hence the first oddity was Alex's strongly energized loquacity. But worse was to come… In fact as he was telling me about his ability to decipher cuneiform script, a fairly odd couple walked in and ordered two double Jameson's on the rocks (nothing unusual so far but wait for it). While en soi early afternoon whisky enthusiasts were an everyday type of customer at A Touch of Madness, a 40 year-old coloured guy (coloured in South Africa meaning Afrikaans-speaking dudes with partly white descent) walking in with a pimpled redhead teenager and ordering 4 rounds of double whiskies, 2 rounds of tequila shooters, 2 double rum and orange, another round of whisky and a shot of Frangelico on crushed ice, with no food whatsoever, at 2PM, was preoccupying. Lisa (the owner) complained about the guy's eccentricity. She only tolerated quirk from the mentally disabled and this guy seemed to be more or less sane. Nevertheless, he was fully satisfied with service and said that I was to replace Richard (the head barman) on his throne of glory, which obviously earned him my most insincere sympathy. But anyways, hours went by and they were getting increasingly goosed (Canadian slang for drunk)... In a vain effort to enunciate, pimple-face gave me the Finger every time I cynically hinted at them being so outrageously smashed. Coloured-skinny-dude ceremoniously ordered additional rounds (Afrikaner accent): "Much respect my bru!!! May we have a Retrospective Therapy please man?!"
They were sitting in the courtyard, an outside area by the kitchen, and by 4PM I was behind the bar talking to Alex when Lisa came to me with a vague expression of shock on her face. Out came the story: skinny-bru was going down on pimple-face in the courtyard (!). Lisa used an unheard-of expression but when I looked at her with my stupid I-don't-get-it face, she made it very clear: "He's giving his girlfriend a fucking blowjob!".
Outrage! Felony! This was highly improper in Observatory's most respected trade. I immediately decided on an action plan, which was to courteously invite them to get their horny asses off the premises. But compared to Richard, Lisa was rather tolerant, and since there were no customers in the adjacent ballroom, she asked me to bring them their drinks and kindly ask for them to 'calm down or get a room'. Hence I quickly poured a couple of double Havana clubs with lemon and orange and went straight to the courtyard only to find nobody was there! I left the drinks on their drenched wooden table and went back to Lisa's office. "Look behind the kitchen" she said, without taking her eyes off the computer screen. When I got there and took a peak from one of the backyard windows I was, as you can understand, tremendously shocked and amused by the sight of skinny-moustachioed-fellow with his pants down, going in-out in-out on his oh-so-ugly better half. You should've seen him go! Agitated as he was, all shaking and bouncing about her rear wagon… While determined to put an end to this disgrace I couldn't help the perversity of enjoying the situation, so I walked back to the office for orders, which were surprisingly to let the lovebirds finish each other off and do the talking afterwards. Five minutes later I walked back into the courtyard; pimple-face was sitting face down on the table with a filthy little grin on her red orgasmic face, while coloured-boy was yet to catch his breath. Alex joked that were this intercourse to bear fruits, the resulting creature should be called Anthony...
To make it short, the charming couple eventually ordered another few drinks, got all up-and-running again and next thing you know they were at it for a second time! This time it was in the ladies' room and since dinnertime customers were starting to come in, I was forced to brutally interrupt their lovemaking. In a very masculine fashion I banged on the door and asked them to come out at once and leave the house... "Bye chief!" he said as they walked out all sweaty and sticky like.
Those odd events were more than enough entertainment for Alex, who in turn got up, said to me 'goodbye lizard' in Latin – which was the closest he could get to 'see you later alligator' – and made his way towards whatever amusement the New Moon might bring.