Monthly Archives: May 2019

Tim Walker’s Vietnam XXXXI

Alright, first, let’s clear up the awkwardness. To all you clever buggers out there, thank you, I am quite aware that the Roman Numeral for 40, 41 and so on, would ordinarily require the use of Roman Numeral ‘L‘ – 50 – which is all fine and accurate but, the issue, I have tried this convention in the past – see, Fustigators – and it just became awkward. Example given, ‘Fustigator XL’ – without ‘XXXIX’ coming before it giving it context, honestly, who the hell knows that ‘XL’ is 40 and not just something quite large? In other words, if somebody is perusing the Your Daily Dose of Profundity site and decides they want to locate, from the ‘Search’ box, say, instalment number 42 – XLII – (which they very well might do because it’s going to be awesome), if they’re regular folk, by which I mean not Roman history fanatics,  honestly, what are they likely to do? Seriously, and this is not a dig at the intelligence of my readers this is reality, given the modern-day proclivity to use numerical numbers rather than Roman ones, most people, let’s be fair, are a touch uncertain of what comes after, say, XXXVIII; indeed, most people would probably, logically, think, ‘Shit, right, if number 39 was XXXIX’ (as it realistically is), ‘then 40 must be XXXX and 41 must be XXXXI, thus 42 will obviously be XXXXII’, which does make for good logic, but it would be erroneous logic nonetheless. (In Roman reality, 40 is ‘XL’ – 10 before 50; thus 41 is ‘XLI’, and 42 is obviously ‘XLII’.) Therefore, I have made the management call and, given there should be only three or four more instalments before the gripping (still 100% reality) conclusion, I am more than comfortable flouting legitimate Roman Numerals for the benefit of our modern-day ease of comprehension.

Hm. After that sizable first paragraph, let’s make the second one tiny. Alright. Done. Good work, team.

Anyway, back in the good old Arsehole of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, District 1, while everyone was glad to see Stu’s plans for English Teacher grandeur back on track and no one was really giving a damn about my almost-conflict with the man named Gary-Garrick-Derek, when I considered it, I was somewhat disconcerted by Stu’s initial words upon our reunion – I still smelt the booze on his breath and felt his whiskers against my neck as he’d drawled something along the lines of, ‘…thought they might’ve killed ya.’

Now, I understand that in Vietnam, particularly after dark, if one is not constantly on-guard, in fact anyone is susceptible to being mortally injured by another, but Stu had used the pronoun ‘they’, and he had said it with such ominous vehemence – ‘they’ – as though whomever had occupied Stu’s time on that most worrisome of nights, was the same group, or were perhaps affiliated with that same group, of people who he’d thought may have been responsible for my demise. As I said, disconcerting, particularly as it was now accepted up and down Bui Vien that I, the bespectacled Englishman with the multitude of hats, could be found frequently roaming these darkened streets, seeking out scenes of interest or unrest – of course, unbeknown to the scene-makers, all with the projected intention of documenting the aforementioned scenarios upon my return to New Zealand – alone, unguarded and ultimately, at this late stage in my tour, fair to say, with a sense of confidence, or even, as some might have noted, moxie (interesting point, first time ever writing that word; in fact same goes for ‘bespectacled’). It occurred to me as a sudden revelation, however, that even after spending 20-something days canvassing this fetid environment, I still really had no right to be brazen; indeed, in no way should I have been so damned bold. I mean, other than my own basic knowledge of self-defence, I was unprotected. Against multiple assailants I was entirely vulnerable.

At this point I had no real idea why anyone on these crooked streets should want to harm me anyway, although I did suppose that ‘third night on Bui Vien’ unpleasantness may have caused some perceived ‘loss of face’ to various face-holders, and I was now well aware how seriously Asians – namely Vietnamese Asians – tended to respond to people causing depletion of said face; aware furthermore I was just how long they might retain a grudge brought about by this act of so-called face-stripping.

I probably should have been more concerned than I was because ultimately, I didn’t give a toss; these Viet street-youth were largely piss-ants – if that was in fact who was going to be targeting me – they were small, they were weak and, at this time, I felt they scarcely warranted my upset.

Therefore, I wasn’t, upset.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Washer Back Mann

Photography by Te Gunner-Gitcher


Tim Walker’s Vietnam XXXX

That well-dressed, paunch-harbouring, self-satisfied, cigar-smoking Yank had been largely forgotten throughout the Stu fiasco, although I could usually sense him a few metres behind me, pompously puffing away on his cigar.

After a small ‘welcome home’ ceremony for the beloved one, Stu disappeared up to his room to sleep…

It mightn’t have been my business but, so determined I was to ensure nothing disastrous should befall my new best friend, Stu, I took the initiative regardless; the night of his return, and before I had watched him clamber drunkenly up the hotel steps to his room, I had checked with the man himself then confirmed via his electronic recording device (because let’s be fair, at that point in the night I was struggling to believe a word that came out of Stu’s mouth), and was able to clarify that the date/time of his first ‘English Teacher’ interview was still over a full day in the future. I then relayed this day/time to Lieu at the desk, requesting ‘If Stu was not out of bed by a day/time several hours before the aforementioned day/time, please, afford him a rigorous wake-up call’.

…“Hey Tee-im…?” I heard from behind me. I didn’t turn immediately; I knew exactly who it was, and I just needed a moment to choke down the lump of abhorrence that was forcing its way up my oesophagus. I didn’t like the way he looked, I didn’t like the way he sounded, I didn’t like the way his shirt pulled tight over his belly when he sat back and smugly chewed on the tip of his fat cigar. Add to that, I didn’t like his demeanour, I didn’t like his aura, I didn’t like his accent, I probably didn’t like the way he smelled, I didn’t like his haircut and I guess, ultimately, I didn’t like this guy’s face.

“Teim,” he called again. I could just visualise him resting complacently on his chair, leaning back with all the self-satisfaction of a preening pussycat, speaking effortlessly and without exerting a muscle because nothing was worth this guy’s time or effort; making no attempt to engage anything but his self-indulgent Yankie-doodle voice-box…

Against my better judgement I half-turned and gave my addresser a nod.

…“Good to see your friend back safe, ay?” he asked.

I gave an affirming flick of the eyebrows and half-smile in response.

He smiled broadly and moved his arms in what appeared to be a languid ‘come hither’ gesture, “Come on, sit, I’ll buy you a drink.”

I had to do it, had to find out for sure if this was the creep supposedly hacking Facebook accounts, casting scurrilous aspersions and making juvenile threats, all in the supposed quest to ensure he was successful in wedding a Vietnamese woman half his age; I needed to know if this was, after all, the infamous, ‘Gary’. With adrenaline pulsating throughout my body I slowly stood, then even more slowly pushed in my timber chair, hearing it scrape across the timber deck (the height of irreverence in Vietnamese etiquette; I needed him to know that I didn’t give a damn about proper behaviour), lifted my fruity/bourbony concoction, turned back from the road and made my way towards the Loan’s café counter, beside where the Yankie-doodle arse-wipe poser was relaxing with all the grace of a sunbathing manatee. I placed my drink on his table and took a chair, offering my hand, “Tim.”

“Yeah, hey Tim,” he clasped my hand in an expectedly pithy grip, “Loan told me your name before, says you’re a real good guy.”

I cringed at his pronunciation of the Vietnamese name ‘Loan’; just as any Westerner would articulate the word ‘loan’ – Lown as opposed to her actual name, Luhn – nevertheless, I smiled and nodded, “Yes, Luhn, is a good woman.” I then hesitated, cursing my anxious disposition, “So, when you’re at home, what do they call you?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry Tim, right,” he leaned forward, unintentionally I’m sure, exemplifying his smarmy grin. “My name’s Gar –” he began; I froze, but then, instead of adding the ‘ee’ sound as I had expected would come next, he enunciated what, to my ears, was “– rick.”

I leaned forward, casually sipped my drink, consciously trying to outwardly calm myself, and looked askance at the man; inwardly trying frantically to decipher the dual syllable sound that I had just heard. After two enduring seconds I conceded, “I’m sorry, I think I missed that, did you say, ‘Garrick’?”

He just smiled at me, that same, intentionally endearing but realistically off-putting, grin, and, in what were probably supposed to be passively-aggressively patronising words, assured me, “Sure, no, no, it’s my accent, I’m Canadian … Sorry Tim, no, I said my name’s, Garrick.”

Seriously? I thought. Is this guy messing with me? I’d said, ‘Garrick’, then he’d said ‘No, no, it’s Garrick’. Is he trying to screw with my brain here? ‘Garrick’ versus ‘Garrick’ – where is the disparity? More interminable moments passed, then it came to me; probably it was a mildly nasally voice coupled with a presumed sloppy palate mingled with a thick North American accent – idiot, it wasn’t ‘Garrick’ it was ‘Derek’.

“So, Derek,” I said, backing myself, putting it out there (to which he smiled and nodded, indicating my gamble had payed), “what brings you to Vietnam?”

“Me?” he looked surprised at the question, “Why, Tim, I live in Vietnam.”

“Oh, wow … Do you live in Ho Chi Minh City, then?”

“Yep, sure do,” he confirmed (as, with an overwhelming sense of speculation cum paranoia I screened his accent, almost certain that what I was hearing was in fact little more than an overcooked US accent), “I work at the Casino … Have you been?”

“Huh, no,” I said without raising my eyes.

“Sure, not a gambler.”

“Oh no,” I laughed, “I most certainly am a gambler, it’s just that, on Bui Vien, I’m finding that, basically, every night’s a gamble and, typically, I can’t afford to gamble every night.”

Derek chuckled, “Sure, I hear you there, Tim … So, are you winning?”

“No shit no,” I replied without even needing to consider.

“Yep, that sounds like Ho Chi Minh, alright – you should come to the Casino, try your luck there…?”

Yeah, the frustrating thing about this supposed ‘Derek’ – who had supposedly taken a Vietnamese wife some years earlier, whom had supposedly blessed him with a brood of Vietnamese children – was that, once I got past all his perceived negative points (including that ghastly Canadian accent, ay), he was actually quite a likeable bloke.

In fact, I had further drinks with ‘Derek’, indeed, ‘Derek’ introduced me to his (stunning) wife and their four (gorgeous) Canadian-Vietnamese children; so now my paranoid theory about Derek being Gary was collapsing around me and I felt as though I was going to drown amid the rubble of its destruction…

Skip to the present. I am currently aware that the man named Gary Cooper, the 50+-year-old man who was evidently more appealing to the 26-year-old Lin Aug than I was, operates a menswear chain out of the US (his large fiscal package undoubtedly the reason Lin’s Viet father – who was in fact several months younger than Gary himself – gave them his apparent blessing to wed), and appears to make frequent trips to and around the Asian continent (go ahead, I did, find the creep on Facebook, send him an ‘embarrassed’ emoji, if you like); then Derek, the man I met out front of the Yen Trang while my brain was spinning from being perpetually bludgeoned with buttloads of duplicity then further cudgelled with, and finally asphyxiated in, the leftover bucketfuls of shit, reportedly, worked Casino surveillance and, despite my initial assessments, probably deserved every iota of happiness that his life, and wife, in Ho Chi Minh City was affording him.

…I recall seeing Stu, some days later, looking a veritable picture of health, bounding down the hotel steps, presumably on the way to his interview, departing from our lives without so much as a wave, a hug, or kiss, or even a peck on the cheek and a gentle ‘I love you’; I wondered if he’d been able to get out of bed on time or if Lieu had had to deliver him his wakeup call.

No question, I was ready to go home (although in fairness, I recall thinking that very thing by the end of week one). I was a wreck but the worst thing, I felt as though Vietnam had beaten me again.

Mind you, what I did not realise is that the glorious Vy (current tour, first night) was set to reappear and even Mai (2017 and 18 tours), would make a strange kind of, belated, if you like, final effort for me (which, now I hear myself say it, sounds more bizarre than the moment itself).

Only a few days to go and, where I feel as though things are naturally, finally, winding down for a steady transition to the end, my God, if I only knew the shitstorm that was brewing over the Vietnam horizon.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Ana Spected

Photography by D Lights



Tim Walker’s Vietnam XXXIX

Shortly before that all-important ’24 Hours Missing’ stage, seemingly under his own volition, Stu had returned to us; still worrying me though was the genuine concern I’d seen in his eyes when he spoke of fearing for my safety.

“Dude,” ignoring his drunken ramblings I commenced my interrogation, “where have you been – where did you go?”

I watched Stu’s eyes widen in recollection, watched the big stupid smile grow bigger and stupider, before refocusing and looking at me, “When?” he asked with a puff of air, like I was playing some silly game with him.

“Last night man … We were ready to go, you ducked back inside to grab your fucking jandals, and that was it, you never came back out … So what happened – where’d ya go man?”

Again, Stu put on his thinking face. I awaited explanation. Stu stared at me as though waiting for me to speak. I nodded, prompting him. Stu snapped back to his thinking face.

“Stu,” after an enduring silence I decided this was going to take more than basic interrogation techniques; I needed to lead the witness. “Last night, Crazy Girls…”

Stu nodded, an even larger grin forming on his face, as recollection seemingly returned.

“…You remember, we were at Crazy Girls, yeah? But then we left…”

I watched Stu’s face, taken by stupor as, looking now to the sky with glazed eyes and a wide grin, he seemed to slowly mouth the words ‘crazy girls’.

“…Rather, I left, Stu, but you didn’t leave, you went back in for your fucking jandals, then you didn’t come back out – remember?”

Stu was nodding rhythmically; I was unsure if it was agreement or if there was a song in his head.

I glanced down at the pitcher of local beer clenched in his fist, from which he periodically swigged, and which was periodically sloshing onto his legs as he knelt at my side. “Have you been drinking since then – since last night?”

Stu smiled and slowly nodded.

“So where’d ya go, where’d ya sleep, man – have you slept at all?”

Again, Stu became vacant; I gradually came to realise that I was witnessing a veritable shell of a man who, across the last 24 hours, had not stopped imbibing alcohol, much less taken a few moments to lie down.

Suddenly I had a sickening thought. “Stu, check your wallet.”

Stu did as he was told, maintaining eye contact as he reached around to his back pocket. I heard the button ‘pop’ (a fastened back pocket is the only kind of back pocket that one should ever use to hold a wallet in Vietnam); I breathed relief as I sighted the palm-sized leather envelope. Still though I felt bile in my throat. “How much money’s left, bud?”

Stu very slowly, gingerly, as if he was snooping in his little sister’s diary, pawed through the various folds, the pouches of his wallet. I watched his eyes again widen then, with fingers of one hand splaying the divisions of inner material, above my table he speechlessly inverted and shook the wallet. Three crumpled tens and a twenty dong note fell out (they never bother with the small stuff).

I nodded knowingly, “How much should be there – how much did you have yesterday?”

Stu’s typically swarthy façade turned pale; he looked horrified as if just now realising what must have happened.

“It’s cool man, that kind of shit happens here – your cards are still there though, yeah?”

Once more, Stu checked; he came up nodding, yeah.

For the first time since Stu’s disappearance I felt light-hearted; thankfully, it seemed, Stu was not about to become another victim of the Curse of Vietnam. Mind you, I still had a lot more interrogation to do before I was letting the man away tonight. “So how much money were you carrying, bud – how much did they get?”

Just like that Stu was sober (more sober, anyway). “At the airport,” I couldn’t even tell what accent he was currently employing, such was the meek nature of his speech, “I converted ten thousand rand…”

I recall being shocked; in fact utterly aghast – 10,000? According to my hasty arithmetic, 10,000NZD would have been around 150.000.000VND; enough to buy a new car in Vietnam. I calmed myself though, knowing the rand was worth somewhat less than the dollar, and tried desperately to recall the NZD/South African Rand (yeah, I couldn’t even remember their damned currency code, and no, thank you, it is not ‘SAR’, in fact, as I recalled at the time, SAR was reserved for the Saudi Arabian Riyal) exchange rate; generally, similarly to international capital cities, international currency codes along with the approximate exchange rates they represent is something that I pride myself on knowing by heart (evidently, South Africa’s currency code is ZAR and it turns out there are currently, approximately 9.5ZAR in 1NZD). Alas in this case, at this time, consoling a dejected Stu, with that particular line of recollection not forthcoming, it was all I could do to downplay his obvious sense of violation…

Skip forward to the present. Having spent a great deal of time considering the aforementioned chain of events, I would like to offer my best theory on what happened that night. Here it is: Stu was spotted, by me, on multiple occasions throughout the night, in discussions with a rather large, somewhat ill-favoured, woman who, apparently, had some indirect affiliation with Crazy Girls bar; I believe she was an ‘errand lady’ or something. I never pushed Stu at the time regarding the content of these conversations, suffice to say the (clearly English speaking) woman in question appeared delighted to have such a charming gentleman taking the time to speak with her. Now, whether Stu did or whether Stu did not, at the height of his inebriation, deliberately organise an after-hours tryst with one or more disreputable ladies, is incidental. The reality, as I believe it to have happened, is that when Stu went back into that bar to ‘collect his jandals’, his mind had become distracted, his plans diverted by lingering female staff members then, suggestable as (anyone could appreciate) he already was, this level of intoxication was then likely heightened/prolonged through whatever toxin these crazy girls had at their disposal at the time – alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, crack cocaine, meth, or it might have been any number of colourful pills I would always see floating around on tabletops in that bar. They will then have done exactly what those crazy girls in Crazy Girls bar are paid to do – they will have entertained the hell out of our poor Stu. The thing though about entertainment, particularly entertainment in Vietnam, it seldom comes free; thus while he sat in an entertained stupor those licentious ladies will have been steadily depleting his wallet – not stealing strictly, simply charging a(n exorbitant) fee for services rendered – until his wallet was bare, of all but 50 dong. I didn’t ask at the time, but Stu would soon have discovered just how much the possible trips to ‘ATM!’ (positioned conveniently about 12 metres from the Crazy Girls doorway) cost him, because an empty wallet, to those girls, means nothing. When it comes to extortion of White men, Vietnamese woman are merciless.

…Depending on how much money he spent that night of his own freewill, given that 10,000ZAR is tantamount to somewhere in the vicinity of 16.000.000VND, fair to say Stu was taken for more than ten but less than fifteen million dong; to put this in perspective, the boots that I had made in Hoi An in 2017, my ‘Vietnam boots’, cost 1.400.000VND.

In other words, effectively, Stu lost ten pairs of exquisitely hand-crafted, Vietnamese leather boots that night; judging by his post-warzone appearance though, he had one hell of a time doing it so I guess, it could have been worse.

Fair to say most men have a blowout during their first week in Ho Chi Minh City.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Vienna Meece

Photography by Viola A Shurn



Tim Walker’s Vietnam XXXVIII

I wandered home from Crazy Girls bar that night, alone, confused; what had happened to Stu? In fairness anything might have happened to Stu; highly intoxicated, first-time-in-Vietnam, solo traveller Stu, and while I wasn’t worried per se – reckon the man could talk his way of any situation – it was certainly odd.

As it happened, a few days after that ordeal Noobie emerged from her den up the dark end of Bui Vien and afforded me a visit at the Yen Trang hotel (in reality I think her conscience was eating at the inside of her brain); I was stationed outside Loan’s Café at the time, contentedly sipping a glass of café sua da, when she showed up. Deciding it might be nice for Noobie and me to have lunch together, and although I was aware her preference is pizza, in buying a greasy meal of ‘Hamburger and Fries’ from Loan’s Café, I really thought I was doing the next best thing; she nevertheless grumbled and moaned her way through much of it, clearly pining for her squalid upstairs shared-living quarters also the dankness of the Crazy Girls bar and obviously not wanting to be there in the daylight much less the open air, additionally complaining of a sore stomach throughout…

I was asking around, but nobody had seen Stu; of course, everybody remembered Stu – that amazing British/South African dude whose dreamy smile and radiated warmth appeared to have touched the hearts of all involved (women were smitten and guys had man-crushes) – they just could not seem to explain his disappearance. At this point, while I was still not willing to concede ‘worry’, upon having made it out unscathed to then witness your buddy dash back inside a seedy bar, to fetch their footwear which they have inexplicably removed and left therein, then not return, if nothing else did elicit a decided sense of bemusement. That afternoon I sat in my usual afternoon spot and, as I usually do from my afternoon spot, I pondered.

…Noobie’s stomach pains were worrying; she had assured me they weren’t the usual bought of womanly pains and in fact they’d been a feature of almost all our time together. Evidently alcohol aggravated the discomfort which, given her profession, made it particularly worrying (I didn’t say anything at the time but shooting around my brain were the terms ‘ulcer’, ‘cyst’, ‘tumour’, ‘stomach cancer’ among others) therefore, being the gentleman I am, I had insisted that whenever I bought us drinks at her bar, she was to make mine the regulation Johnny Walker Black Label but I wanted hers to be Coke, or ginger ale, or something of a similar hue that she could pass off as alcohol but which was not going to aggravate her stomach pains like alcohol did…

Since checking into the Yen Trang and becoming a regular patron of Loan’s Café, as well as perceiving passers-by in their daily activities, using my limited grasp of basic Vietnamese, (also some English depending who was the target audience) I had been passing the days in a concerted effort to drum up custom for the incipient business that was Loan’s Café; before Stu arrived I had been relying on a charming demeanour and mispronounced vowels to win over tourists and locals respectively – then imagine my delight to have at my disposal a bona fide advertising guy. That was it, I was now officially concerned for Stu’s wellbeing.

…In fact the masterful deception of a bargirl drinking soft drink and passing it off as liquor (in order to satisfy the ‘bargirl’ expectation) is not a concept for which I can take credit; as I’m sure is documented in one of this year’s earlier instalments, given that it’s the bargirls who work the floor and it is also the bargirls who work the bar, the duplicity of ‘false drink representation’ was a scam to which I fell victim during my first week frequenting Crazy Girls; if a lady feels she is becoming perilously inebriated while her mark is not, instead of pouring a round of, for example, vodka for her and the aforementioned male, she’ll make his a vodka and hers a tonic water or similar, invariably still charging ‘220’ (the price of two alcoholic drinks) for the service.

Evening had descended upon Bui Vien and still the people were bereft of Stu. Several hours earlier Loan from the cafe had asked me if I knew of Stu’s whereabouts then later Lieu from reception had asked me the very same thing; his room at the Yen Trang was still ‘occupied’ yet he was not there.

Stu had come to Vietnam, following a career in advertising, as an insanely youthful 45-year-old man (in fact upon meeting for the first time, the question had come up of our respective ages, where he had – at the time, of course, drunkenly – responded, ‘Guess how old I am then’. I had said, ‘I dunno, let’s say, what, 35…?’. Then regarding his attempt at my age, ‘Hm, your look, your overall presence, hm, I reckon you sound, oh, reckon you’d be, say, 45…?’ Suffice to say we were both surprised; more-so to find that the correct ages had been guessed, they were just around the wrong way), where Stu was intending to secure employment as an English Teacher for Vietnamese students.

In Vietnam ‘English Teachers’ are very well paid, reportedly, even by Western standards. I believe Stu had lined up a number of interviews over the coming days and I was becoming concerned (I suppose like every good fleeting acquaintance ought) that should he not resurface soon he might end up like so many other Western-Vietnamese hopefuls; come to Vietnam on a one-way ticket, ready to shirk the old life of obligation, keen to live it up amid a world of heat and beauty, excited to throw off the shackles of oppression and just cut loose – only to blow out in the first few days, to become disorientated by flashy lights and seductive aromas, to grow infatuated with so much smooth skin and batting eyelids, enamoured by promises of unimaginable delights and to be cajoled into wilfully giving away everything, then be forced to abjectly retreat, with nothing, and to mope home just a few weeks’ later on a friend’s credit card, bewildered, penniless and dejected, yet another victim of the insidious ‘Curse of Vietnam’.

I was determined to not let the same fate befall Stu; it seemed like he was genuinely keen to make a go of this ‘English Teacher’ racquet and he was, after all, ‘such an amazing guy’. At this point, relaxing out front of Loan’s Café as I was, in the semi-darkness with a fruit concoction pleasantly spiked with a double measure of Beam, I am not ashamed to admit, I was very concerned about Stu.

That was when I heard it, the unmistakable South African timbre – momentarily I forgot whether this meant he was drunk or sober – so glancing to my left, to the backpackers’ hostel, which appeared little more than a threshold for scantily clad European women – often giggling and usually trailed by a horde of eager men – to emerge and disappear, along with the seating out front of this threshold, there he was.

Engaged in one of his fabled ‘heart-to-heart sales pitches’ Stu had employed his typically stooped posture leaned over a table, placing himself awkwardly up on one shoulder to ensure eye-contact with his audience, positioned ostensibly at the ‘behest of his client’, and looking as though he was attempting to convince this (presumably English-speaking) tourist of something rather complicated. From my position not ten metres behind Stu (admittedly, feeling massive relief), in full view of the adjacent seating arrangement but technically at a different establishment, in a loud voice I called, simply, “Stu you wanker.”

I watched his ears prick up, watched him slowly turn; the grin, the animated expression on his face telling me that yes, he was still very much the drunkard. Standing now at full height Stu threw his arms in the air as if in celebration, “Tim you cunt!” he yelled with similar volume to my own then, dismissing his prospective client, slowly jogged the short distance between us. He stopped half a metre from where I sat and took a knee by my side, his mouth agape in a wide smile; I turned, grinning and nodding slowly, gazing upon the droopy-eyed, swaying specimen before me. With that, unexpectedly, Stu lurched forward, throwing his arms around my shoulders, stuffing his whiskery face into my neck. A moment later he pulled back, “Oh Tim mate,” slobber speckled my left cheek as he enunciated in his South African tone, “it’s so good to see you … I thought they might have killed ya.”



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Stuart Reet-Urn

Photography by Con Fusan