I approached my bus from Rishikesh to Manali, India with the apprehension I feel towards animals who don't enjoy sex. The past four Indian public transportation trips had encompassed proposals, gifts, singing, chair wars, and a boob grab.
Three male British voices reverberated through my cranium as I grappled with my bag to the ticket line. My backpacker's backpack has gained weight like Santa Claus since arriving in India. It now feels like I'm lugging around a Red Kangaroo. My apparition of a kangaroo riding on my back was interrupted by the British boys' conversation concerning diarrhea and requisite relief behind a house. Two of them ambled away to compare their respective excrement. The third introduced himself as "Corpse."
Corpse resembled a Middle-Eastern hippie. He donned a colorful Afghani hat, too-tight too-short black pants with kaleidoscopic embroidered strips, a hemp puce loose shirt and a bird feather earring in one ear. One of the other Brits returned. He had crinkly corn-colored hair, donkey ears and ocean eyes. He went to Oxford and his right thumbnail was as long as Cruella de Vil's. When I inquired what his parents thought of his drug thumb, he said they had no idea and their pleasure at the prospect would probably parallel Paris Hilton's parents' when her sex tape with a married man surfaced in their local video store.
Corpse, Oxford, and the other were meeting two friends in Manali. After an overnight bus ride with a schizophrenic and a crying baby, we felt as fastened as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson. When they invited me to go with them to the guesthouse their friends had already procured, I accepted. From the road we rambled and waded through countless marijuana plants stalking signs to Prince Guesthouse. My face collided with a ganja leaf and the smell swirled into my nostrils like red wine wafts at communion. We wobbled onto the guesthouse landing and were greeted by Joe, a Londoner I had randomly met weeks before at Jaipur, and their other friend, fondling a violin bong like it was his girlfriend's breast. I installed my bag onto the ground with the flourish of a sewer worker hauling feces as the guesthouse's owner consummated the hash and money transfer between he and his guests.
I knew then that I was probably going to be cemented in Manali like Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky affair was in the 1998 news.