Palolem's Silent Noise thwarted the midnight noise curfew by implementing a silent disco, or headphone party.
I awoke, vomited an intestine, and staggered twenty steps to Residensea's restaurant to join the heavy drinkers and demonic drunks that comprised our impending scooter gang: four Brits, two Aussies, two South Africans, and my solitary American self.
In America, four dollars could buy you some thread. In India, four dollars fetches a prostitute. Or a day-long scooter rental.
The saffron sun seared and the Indian jungle barreled by as we caravanned from Arambol in north Goa to Old Goa. We laced through pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and cars on the spiraling streets. I almost hit a cow.
We toured colonial Portugese architecture in the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the chapel of St. Xavier, and the Se Cathedral. Outside St. Francis' church, a street peddler sold karma sutra books and cigarettes.
Our excursion terminated at a spice plantation. Ambrosial saffron, ginger, nutmeg and coriander violated our nostrils. The tour guide dribbled water down our backs.
Seven minutes into the return ride, the wind cuddled my face and the sun's rays stroked my shoulders. Harmonious nature echoed in my ears, enveloping me in bucolic song. That ended as rapidly as my spell as a religious guidance counselor. I believe in God as much as I do in cyclopses. A sound similar to fingernails scraping a blackboard combined with a baby shriek volleyed my eardrums. My scooter shuttered like a vibrator.
I perverted street-side and stopped. Two of our scooter gang pitched past me. The inferno of an exhaust pipe had cracked off and drug on the ground. After a scooter-gang-options-conference, we tied one of the Brit's shirts around the damaged goods, hoisting the exhaust pipe from the ground. Tarzan, the South African, offered to drive it back if I would take his girlfriend on the rear of his scooter. This was a good idea. If good meant ghastly. My track record with motorized mechanisms was as successful as the Vietnam War.
Normal people (Americans) drive on the right side of the street. Indians, under British rule from 1765-1947, drive on the left side of the street. I, Einstein, turned onto the right-hand side. Tarzan's girlfriend Jane sumo-wrestler-death-gripped me and I swung to avoid oncoming cars and cows. We careened towards a motorbike carrying a nine-month-old baby and it's father. He skewed to his left, I slue to mine, and we were on the correct side of the street again.
The scooter gang progressed down the highway when a car drove by, rolled down the window, and howled like a Satan-possessed being, "Your friend crashed! Your friend crashed!"
We arrested progress on the side of the freeway. The female Brit cried. A few of the males doubled back. Eight minutes later, Tarzan arrived, the scooter sputtering and stammering like a drunken whore.
A water truck had exuded a stream, Tarzan drove over a white painted speed bump, the water-slicked paint projected the scooter out from under him, he stoned his body off the bike and landed on his feet. The scooter's paint job and a sprained Tarzan ankle were the only casualties.
After negotiation with the owner, us saying he rented us a death trap, he saying we crashed it, Tarzan and I split the bill: two dollars each.
After traveling together for three days, Rob Awesome bequeathed the two Brits and myself with nicknames. One of the Brits was MK Ultra, the other, Polly. I was ComeBag. The combined ethanol of his Kiwi accent and booze pronounced it Comeback in my infantile Jesus mind.
It wasn't until we met fifteen other travelers at our Residensea Guesthouse and Rob Awesome introduced me as ComeBag that I caught the pronunciation like Bill Clinton snags STD's.
One day I floated in the ocean's fluid matter when Rob Awesome's voice accosted me across a soccer field-sized expanse of sea.
"Can you catch?"
"Of course I can catch. Can you throw?"
"I am a powerful man. You're a woman. You sure you can catch?"
Upon my repeated assurances, he rocket-launched a black object at me from the shore. It tore ten feet over my head before hurtling into the ocean with the speed of a black man bolting from the cops carrying a television.
I waited for the ball to surface. Rob Awesome scuttled through the waves and asked me where his camera was.
"I don't know. On the shore? Is this like let's guess locations? I'm only good at this game if I'm detecting male body parts."
"No no no. I threw my camera at you!"
"You threw your camera into an ocean? I thought you threw a ball."
"I thought you said you could catch!"
The waterproof and shockproof camera was not waterproof and shockproof after being hurtled three hundred and sixty feet through the air, pulverizing the ocean's face, and settling on the sand-shrouded floor for fifteen minutes. Shocking.
When Rob Awesome departed the bamboo beach hut we shared, he left me one knuckle duster, a bottle of whiskey, and male deodorant.
Mumbai: Day One: The city was on a beer drought and served no alcohol.
Mumbai: Day Two: Bollywood, and we were told by a restaurant as well as by a bar that playing card games in public is illegal.
Mumbai: Day Three: We left.
By our arrival in Goa, the Kiwi was on his second Bolivian Marching Powder binge in sixty hours. He hadn't slept in forty hours.
As he referred to himself as Rob Awesome, he decreed that the day necessitated getting Rob Awesome in henna across his deltoids.
The Brits migrated to a restaurant for beer and lunch. I read and supervised the henna headway. Rob Awesome lay on his stomach, arms at his sides, while an Indian man administered the henna. Rob Awesome compelled me to cater cigarettes to his mouth. I commanded inhale, he inhaled. The Indian man's eyes told me he thought this as mystifying as my dad motorboating a transvestite in a restaurant on my twenty-first birthday. Henna Man finished. Rob Awesome's body gyrated with gorilla snores. I woke him up.
"Hey, I'm heading up to the restaurant. You want anything?"
"Sweet. I'll get right on that. Don't roll over though, alright?"
"Right. Just don't roll over. You hear me? DO NOT ROLL OVER. The henna won't be dry for another twenty minutes."
"Yep, exactly. Just don't roll over. You CANNOT roll over. You'll ruin the henna."
I returned thirty minutes later with the Brits.
Rob Awesome had rolled over.
After I had a cerebral aneurysm from being a Bollywood extra, the Brit and I stood on a Mumbai street corner with five hundred extra rupees in our pockets. Five hundred rupees equates $10.70. In the US I could get a meal at McDonald's. In India, $10.70 paid over five nights accommodation.
While we discussed where to eat dinner, the other Brit joined us and the Kiwi's ejaculations from down the street drumbeat our ears. He stammered up to us, stuttered some words as bizarre as birthing two daughters in China, bucked his bag around my neck, and swung into the street. He had the brain capacity of one who had just teetered out of a goat orgy. He disappeared. We shrugged and went to a Chinese restaurant with some other travelers.
The two Brits and I returned to Seashore Guesthouse at four o'clock in the morning after going to a club that looked like a cross between a Japanese tea garden and a Vegas nightclub. Seashore Guesthouse is on the fourth floor of a five-story building. The Kiwi's sandals sprawled on the second floor landing. We found him in our guesthouse in the room he shared with the Brit from Manchester.
The next morning, he awoke Manchester with a credit card corner of coke in one hand and the remainder of my Old Monk rum bottle in the other. His mad cow eyes and four-foot-long dreadlocks were as nonsensical as nipples spouting vodka. Manchester responded correspondingly. He beamed love and tenderness, sniffed and sucked. Manchester and the Kiwi then woke me and the other Brit up and we whirled to Leopold's restaurant for some beer.
The Kiwi recounted his night over a cigarette and a beer pitcher at ten in the morning. Bagpiper Whiskey caused his coarse memory, but he recalled purchasing two grams of coke from a street drug dealer. He had never tried coke in his life. Fueled by Special Olympics in a bottle, coke seemed a good idea.
Hours later the Kiwi returned to our guesthouse. He walked up the stairs but couldn't find the hotel entrance. The different levels with varying hotels, shops and signs confused him. He wobbled outside and noticed scaffolding near the building. His six-foot-four-inch body with four-foot-long dreadlocks monkey-maneuvered up the scaffolding until he was outside our floor. He assaulted the window with his fist. A man we had slurred to earlier while waiting for the Bollywood jeep opened the window. Asshole refused to let the Kiwi inside, telling him that there was a gap and it was too dangerous. Kiwi coerced a window open and tumbled into the worker's sleeping room.
"Sorry mate. I'm just sorry. Sorry love," he apologized to a two hundred pound woman sleeping on a broom.
The Kiwi's body pinball-machined the hallway. It took him seven minutes to open his door. He lay in bed for twenty-five minutes, soaked in silence and eyes as wide as a prostitute's legs. A European girl screamed at him, "For God's sake, keep it down!"
"I've been fucking silent for twenty minutes, Bitch!" he related in Leopold's restaurant, permeated with families and young children consuming breakfast.
"You daft cunt!" Manchester exclaimed. "You were probably still making noise."