XI: Near-Death Experience

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Fuck me! I have been genuinely unnerv’d, the closest I’ve come to death since a certain pasta I cook’d in Brighton a couple of years back. It all began when I headed down to the wee townlet of Wandoor for a bit of solitude. One morning, I bought a ticket for Jolly Buoy, a tiny island open to visitors for a few hours each day. We got there & sure enough it was paradise; jungle, white sands & shallow coral flush with lushly colour’d fish – thro’ my snorkel mask there appear’d an em’rald phantasie kingdom. So I had a couple of reefers & did a spot of writing whilst tucking into my pack’d lunch (major munchies) in a quiet, shady corner of the beach. After a while I went to check on when the boats would leave & to my horror found they had fuck’d off! I was completely alone on a deserted island with no sign of a boat anywhere – the boats might have come back in the morning, but after taking stock found I only had one third of a liter of water & half a samosa (vegetarian).

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Across the waters fishing boats were hugging the mainland but they could not here my shouts over the sounds of the engines which chugg’d over the waves, then faded with the boats into the distance. So I was shipwrecked – & without a reality TV camera crew in sight! So, after stripping off naked I check’d out my possibilities. On one side of me was the ocean’s expanse (next stop Antarctica) & on the other, various islands of the archipelago. The closest one seem’d to be about a mile away, from where smoke seemed to be rising from the jungle… people! After two abortive attempts at swimming (not stoned enough) I tried to make a raft, which duly sank. Fish kept flying out of the water reminding me I was in tropical waters & I remember’d that someone had seen a four foot shark two days ago not far from here. After another spliff I thought fuck it, it’ll be an adventure & began to swim. After 15 minutes of easy breaststroke I look’d back & realised the current was sweeping me out to sea! Panic kick’d in & I turn’d round for Jolly Buoy, but the current was really strong. For the first time in my life I was dependent on my own strength to save my skin. I swam & swam & swam, my life flashing before my eyes – no more black pudding from Burnley market, no more Hollyoaks, nor more peachy lady bottoms! Fortunately, after a full-on heave of effort my feet touch’d solid & I collapsed in the sand, listening to my thumping heartbeat in a state of shock…

  thump…. thump… thump… thump… thump… thump…thump…chug….chug…chug-chug-chug…

Another fisherboat!

This time I shouted as loud as I could & waved frantically & almost piss’d myself when I saw them turn for the island. I quickly dress’d & greeted them passionately – they were very curious about me – & soon we were chugging out across the waters. I quickly skinn’d up & pass’d a spliff round my three new shipmates & lay back in the boat to watch the magnificent sunset – a sunset I was lucky to see! At their astonished village I gave a geezer 60 rupees to drive me on the back of his bike to my hotel where I order’d a huge feast. Apparently I was lucky not to have reach’d the island I was swimming to (with the smoke), as there was a good chance they might have eaten me!

A guy from the Forestry commission came to see me this morning & they will be taking action against the boat owner, despite my protestations as to the otherwise. I figured if their chief witness (me) had fuck’d off the captain couldn’t get into trouble so I scarper’d back to the capital. I catch the boat to Calcutta on Saturday so I’m gonna hole up in a hotel for a couple of days away from the world – it’s too fuckin’ dangerous, man!

Port Blair
7/03/2002

P.S. Top tip – if u are ever stuck on a desert island you must wave a piece of material to signify you have been stranded (internationally understood).

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