Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Guest

The party was well underway when the guest arrived at the second floor apartment. He arrived alone, as he always did, but he was grateful for the invitation and the chance to relax with good friends. The other guests, some there with their wives and others with their girlfriends, were helping themselves to the well stocked bar. He opened a can of Budweiser and began to mingle.

The host proudly demonstrated his “magic television” which turned itself on whenever he rattled his keys. He said that the first time it happened was during another party when someone dropped a glass on the tile floor and the TV clicked on all by itself. He’d spent hours experimenting with other noise sources to find one that might also work and the jingling key ring did the trick. The guest supposed it was less expensive than replacing broken glasses, but also thought that it would be simpler to just click the remote.

Someone turned on the stereo. It was an imposing behemoth from the Navy Exchange that fairly rattled the walls. The guests began singing loudly along with the music, mostly stuff from the sixties. Two guys in the room started voicing over the music in the style of Wolfman Jack (bringing you the BIG sound from the BIG town). They weren’t very good but nobody noticed and the other guests cheered them on.

The volume of both stereo and singers increased as the evening wore on and the guest wondered how the neighbors felt about it. He was a bit older than most of the other guests and thought about how he would react if he was one of the neighbors. He decided that he probably wouldn’t handle it well, especially if the partiers were guests in his country.

As the party continued into the night, he decided it was time to slip quietly out the door, catch a taxi and maybe drop by the Club 63 stag bar for a beer before calling it a night. He walked down the stairs, went outside and started up the street to find a cab.

As he walked under the balcony of the apartment where the party was being held, he felt what he first thought were rain drops. Only it wasn’t raining. One of the partiers had decided to relieve himself off the balcony onto the street below.

The guest jumped back under the balcony, out of the line of fire, until the phantom reliever stumbled back into the apartment. He considered going back upstairs but decided to forget about it and hailed a cab. After cranking down both of the backseat windows, he decided to forgo the stag bar and asked the driver to take him straight home…as quickly as possible.

After a long, hot shower (with lots of soap), the guest decided that he’d probably not be attending any more parties until his return to the States. He considered burning his clothes but decided to just have them washed the next day instead. He never mentioned the incident to anyone.

He didn’t realize that throughout his life, this night would be one of the first things he recalled whenever he thought about his fifteen months in Taipei.

Needless to say, he’d have preferred most anything else.

1 comment:

George said...

We all have such stories but maybe not similar to this one for sure. Mine are from 65-66 and some I would not want to share. But for a young guy of 19 - 20 I was a bit shocked at some of the things I saw since I was a good upstanding young lad. Now I am older guy somewhat obsessed by some of those good and bad memories. But it surely does help to look back and remember them.