After the good news from Hartmann, I did what all good backpackers do on Friday nights in strange and foreign lands. I went headed to the pub. A guy staying in the hostel called Nathan gave me a lift to the Brickyard and there I met a bunch of Canadians and Americans with which to celebrate my good news.
I woke up this morning, well, this afternoon, in the spare room of a couple I had been drinking with, and after thanking them profusely (and eating their bagels), I headed back to the backpackers to get everything all sorted for tomorrow’s big excursion. Saturday 14 April 2012 was a big day for us scousers, as not only was Everton playing Liverpool at Wembley for the FA Cup Final, the Grand National horse race was also being held at Aintree. Intending to watch both of these events on the telly, I headed over to the Bottom’s Up bar, took my place at the bar and ordered a Taiwan Beer and a hamburger.
The match started well, but then went downhill from there, with Liverpool winning 2-1 over Everton (my team). I fared better in the Grand National, winning the pub sweepstake and a miniature of decent whiskey for my troubles. Given the time difference, it was now rapidly approaching the midnight hour. I was toying with the idea of going back to the backpackers, getting an early night and all that jazz, but then a couple of German guys invited me to join them going to a nearby club. That club turned out to be a strip club and being a fine upstanding member of the church, I opted to go someplace else (and it wasn’t because it was too expensive, oh no).
So we went to some downstairs dive with a dancefloor, crammed with revellers and cheap drinks. I was busy dancing the night away when a chap came up to me and said that I looked just like Graham off that TV show. I explained that I was Graham from that TV show (secretly hoping he didn’t mean Graham Norton) and soon I was posing for drunken photos and pulling funny faces for the family album with this guy and his mates.
At some point one of the guys behind me took my hat off my head, presumably for a photo. But instead of giving it back like a normal decent human being, the absolute f—er walked out of the pub with it on his head. By the time I realised he’d done a runner with my novelty iconic headgear, it was too late. Security footage revealed that the gobshite did indeed walk out wearing another man’s hat (a deviant as well as a common criminal) but by now he was probably miles away. The bar manager apologised, it wasn’t his fault, but by-jingo, I think you could see the steam shooting out of my ears.
My up-to-this-point fairly upbeat demeanour took a swift nose dive. With my hair now exceptionally trim since King Neptune had his wicked way with me, and my hairline noticeably receding, I need my hat now more than ever, especially considering the next three weeks will be spent on a ship traversing equatorial waters – and my complexion is firmly on the whiter side of pale.
And so thus it was that on the 1,200th day of The Odyssey Expedition, after 3 years, 3 months and 14 days on the road, after 195 countries, 17 territories and countless nights on the lash – from Buenos Aires to Beijing, from Dubai to Dar Es Salaam, from Jerusalem to Jakarka, from Tehran to Tarawa… somebody finally stole my stupid, smelly, dog-eared, moth-eaten, good-for-nothin’ hat. And I loved that hat.
The good news is this: that hat is cursed. I had a special hex put on it by the cannibal king of a South Pacific island (which shall remain nameless) by the light of the blood-red eclipse.
By the combined power of Lapitan ancestral spirits, King Neptune, Ahura Mazda, Hanuman the monkey god, Amun-Ra and Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I Hereby Declare That Whosoever Wears or Possesses THE HAT (apart from me, I’m vaccinated) Will Suffer Like No Human Being Has Ever Suffered Before!!
THE HAT will not only ensure that this wretched tea-leaf laments his thieving ways by giving him a smelly head, dandruff, lice and premature baldness (that’s my personal contribution), but will also strike down this akubra bandit with impotence, gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, chlamydia, scrofula, Alzheimer’s disease, yellow fever, the bubonic plague, repetitive strain injury, elephantitus, herpes, the human paplova virus, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, bird-flu, scoliosis, dengue fever, eczema, smallpox, rabies, jaundice, gangrene, measles, mumps and rubella, Parkinson’s, giardiasis, Spanish flu, a pulmonary oedema, trypanosomiasis, diphtheria, lupus, tinnitus, legionnaire’s disease, rift valley fever, genital warts, Asperger’s syndrome, tape-worm, altitude sickness, myxamatosis, conjunctivitis, onchocerciasis, Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, F and J, syphilis, foot and mouth disease, cholera, deep-vein thrombosis, haemorrhoids, swine-flu, athlete’s foot, polio, bovine spongiform encephalitis, gross obesity, anaemic dysentery, psoriasis, typhoid, leukaemia, Huntington’s, malaria, arthritis, sunburn, sunstroke, a real stroke, schistosomiasis, multiple sclerosis, tinea, Japanese encephalitis, full blown Aids, tennis elbow, thrush, filariasis, ingrown toenails, meningococcal meningitis, the common cold and whatever that kid had in ‘Mask’. And that’s just on the first day.
THE HAT will give him constant ear-worms of David Hasslehoff’s greatest hits, it will make his genitals smell like Gregg’s pasties, it will make him fall for one-legged golddiggers, it will turn everything he eats into sand and everything he drinks into Dr Pepper, it will put a virus on his computer, filling it with kiddie porn and automatically sending it to PC World to be fixed, it will reprogram his iPod so that every song is either Celine Dion or Crazy Frog, it will make him fancy Camilla Parker-Bowles, it will make him walk funny, it will cause large tufts of hair to spontaneously spout out of his nostrils within 50 feet of a member of the opposite sex, it will make Noel Edmonds his best (and only) friend, it will lower his IQ sufficiently to make him vote Republican in the upcoming US presidential election, it will give him a seat that doesn’t recline on an overnight flight, it will ensure all his children are born with tiny penises (including the girls), it will make him find Russell Brand incredibly funny, it will make one of those tiny spiky Amazonian fish swim up his urethra while he’s having a wee, it will make him wear cardigans from Marks and Spencer, it will deny him entry to the pub, it will hide the remote control down the back of the sofa, it will call him every night at 3am offering them life insurance in an excruciatingly loud, nasal and high-pitched Indian accent, it will give him a tacky ugly wobbly tramp-stamp of a Chinese character that he thinks means ‘longevity’, but actually means ‘penis’, it will put sugar in the fuel tank of his car, it will cause him to wet himself on stage in front of the entire school, he’ll wake up wearing nothing but a Union Jack at the Celtic end, it will get every insane bomb-happy muslim in the world to declare a fatwa on him, it will re-programme his TV so every channel is Five, it will make sherbet fall out of his pants while he’s walking through Singapore customs, it will put a sharp stone in his shoe while he’s running for the last bus, it will summon his dead relatives to float around and tut disapprovingly every time he masturbates, it will transubstantiate any toilet paper that touches his nipsy into sandpaper dipped in extra-hot chilli sauce, it will make him believe that wearing socks and sandals is acceptable, it’ll give him a muffin-top, it’ll give him manboobs, it will do a secret poo in his bed under the duvet, it’ll make him go cross eyed, it’ll make his teeth fall out, it’ll make him fall into a Glastonbury portaloo, it’ll put polonium in his cocaine, it’ll get him sacked for abusing livestock, it’ll make what’s left of his hair turn ginger, it’ll make him jump up and down on Oprah’s couch, it’ll change his name to Keith (if it isn’t already), it’ll make him fart and follow through, it’ll make his boiler explode and his house burn down, it’ll replace his Facebook account with that of Gary Glitter’s, it’ll get Mel Gibson to abuse him and breath heavily down the phone, it’ll set the hillbilly psychos of the church of Scientology on him, it’ll eat his last piece of cheesecake, it’ll replace all his DVDs with ones by Tyler Perry, it’ll make him invest heavily in Marconi, Enron and Kodak, it’ll replace his cornflakes with scabs and he won’t notice until it’s too late, it’ll leave piss on his bus seat, it’ll get Freddie Kruger to haunt his dreams, it’ll get Freddie Mercury to haunt his bumhole, it’ll get David Cameron to give him a hug, it’ll change all his fonts to papyrus, it’ll wet his carpet and scatter cress seeds on it while he’s banged up in a Congolese jail cell for 6 days, it’ll stencil the word ‘TWAT’ in permanent marker across his head every night while he’s asleep, it’ll never give him a long piece in Tetris, it’ll make his girlfriend cheat on them with his dad, it’ll leave an anonymous tip-off leading the police to find Madeline McCann in his basement, it’ll put him in the incorrect aspect ratio, it’ll put him on the sex offenders register, it’ll snipe him on eBay, it’ll make his toenails fall off, it’ll slam the piano lid down on his fingers, it’ll swap his car for a Sinclair C5, it’ll make his chair collapse, it’ll make people point and laugh, it’ll infest his skin with parasitic wasps, it’ll compel him to make an arse of himself in front of the nation on X-Factor and it’ll make his willy shrivel up, turn blue and drop off.
After years of illness, torment, ostracism and ridicule, THE HAT will one day make him fall into a Calcutta cesspit and trap his hand under a boulder of rock hard poo, forcing him to cut his own arm off using a small blunt penknife in order to escape.
After making him crawl blind for through miles of foul-smelling excrement, THE HAT will flush him out over a hundred-foot cliff where he will be left dangling by his one good arm. THE HAT will then fill his underpants with itching powder. After a few days of unceasing agony and torment, the branch he is hanging onto will snap and he’ll be left quadraspazzed on a life-glug for 37 years. Unfortunately for this hapless hat thief, his nurse is a psychopath and takes sadistic pleasure in mixing sulphuric acid into his IV solution. And so the ratbag sonofabitch who stole my hat is left in excruciating pain, friendless, diseased, incontinent and destitute with acid running through his veins. For 37 years. THE HAT will sit and watch, grinning to itself – but the curse will not end there.
After 37 miserable years, the delirious hat thief will think that his mum has finally come to visit, but then realise too late that it’s not his mum: it’s that psychotic nurse who promptly covers his face with a pillow filled with of broken glass and used needles. She then cuts off his face and feeds it to the dogs. The subsequent lack of a face, the complete paralysis and apparent brain death causes the twat who stole my hat to be declared dead, which would have been a release, if only he were really dead, which of course he is not.
Although unable to scream or move a muscle, he can feel everything that is being done to him. His not-quite-dead cadaver will then be harvested by a short-sighted mortician who removes all of the hat bandit’s remaining teeth using the aforementioned blunt penknife from 37 years ago, now rusty. The mortician then drops the still-alive ‘corpse’ off to be abused by drunken medical students who are recreating The Human Centipede in the basement of their faculty using bodies of recently-deceased vagrants. After having his lips stitched to the rancid poo-pipe of a putrefying tramp, the thought of being buried alive seems no longer so bad, but instead the —-ing gob—– —-faced bastard —-headed —- who stole my f-ing hat will be handed over to the American military and dropped off the side of USS Carl Vinson into the pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the almighty Sarlacc, where they learn a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over 1000 years.
And, if I’m being perfectly honest, I think that’s letting him off lightly.