Sunday, July 17, 2011
Day 19. The Contipi Tour
A stark contrast to the black woodlands encroaching us (and the blacker night hovering upon it), we carved our way along a luminous gravel path, guided by our mysterious and fated bus broads, as if skipping down an evil Yellow Brick Road.
Weariness was casting its claws at our tethers. We had begun to wonder if a house of respite and replenishment would fling itself upon us, or if perhaps we would be sleeping in a ditch after all.
Taking our aims away from dozing in the sleek and shaven arms of the bus babes was a necessity, for our thoughts were filthy, and our clothes were appropriately matching. We were figuring ourselves a lower chance of this than of finding a clean bookie in Bulgaria.
Quiet chatter shared between us, the duo of two-o, about bunking in the basement of the bus babes’ abode, was beginning to ring like a nefarious ploy.
We took it in better judgement to never pop the topic, and find our slumbers out under the still moon, like cattle, like drifters, where noone could question our motives bar the mosquitoes, police and pigeons.
To their due credit however, the femininas were saying nary a word to lead us thinking otherwise: they had stuck around, acting as our fair tour takers, and were in all fact trying to steer us away from spending the night sleeping by a muddy brook or badland in the lovely salt-water spa town of Druskininkai.
Well, kind of away.
“My father owns the town campground. You won’t find a cheaper place to stay in whole Lithuania,” spoke the grandly glandulared Ginta.
We hummed, hoo-haad and hawed.
It wouldn’t be cheaper than lying facedown sprawled over an anthill by the lake, and after having to forego our dinner due to the forking of bribe at the bus station, we were wary of any unneeded purchases.
“Come on, you’ll love it!” Ginta’s bouys bounded against her chin as her mouth wobbled in unison. She had drummed the point home with fair words, a bounce and a giggle.
“Alright then, let’s take it,” we agreed, though still glanced hesitantly at each other in fantasy of clean linen in the bus bunnies’ basement.
It was only the first hours out of civilisation, and already we were beginning to dilapidate into shoeless, mangy wolfmen under the moon’s pale tug.
Well, maybe wolfmen was an overstep.
But at least into ragged poodles.
Poodles without oodles of whiskey to help in our friskiness, without hopes and without beds, and simply trailing along behind the spherical lanterns connected to multiple items of Inga and Ginta as our beacons.
Anyway, we had decided to brave our money-spending option, and we wanted the details.
“So, where are these caravans anyhow?” Tripvan grumbled.
Ginta’s shelf shook from glee.
“There is no caravan! I said cheapest in Lithuania, not the pope’s palace!”
Okay, so what are we looking at here. Bunks? Dugouts? Ditches? Tents? Teepees?
The eyes of our guiding squaws lit up.
Out of the black, Tripvan’s countenance began to alter. He seemed to stir and glow. The gravel pathway was growing ever slimmer. Yellow beads twinkled from the forest, starlight against tree sap, or…eyes?
Beating his naked feet against the ground, Tripvan suddenly started to undertake what appeared to be some kind of whiskey rain dance: as if the amber alcohol would come flooding from the sky in recognition.
Dancing and howling underneath the pines, he succeeded, if only for a brief second to let the cider slide, as I pissed unseen on his sneakers.
“Teepees ay? Well, lead on squaws, lead on!”
We tumbled onwards, deeper into the magnitude of precarious pines. Their carnivorous canopy was circling us, embracing us, forgetting us in our microscopic humanness. A cacophony of crickets, frogs and march-flies frolicked about on their business.
Perhaps it was the animals which brought it on, but out of my mouth flung a wild barbarian war shriek- and pain pulsed through my bloodstream. My bare heel had been shredded by a wayward flint.
As I assessed the injury and looked up, I realised- the enveloping madness, the same which is always on the edge of my breath, the same I was constantly anticipating, had finally reached us.
Things had turned. I glanced once more at the arrowhead, to judge its reality, then surveyed the situation. Yep, things had turned.
Conga drums were beating ferocious fast patterns out in the foggy distance. Incantations and the bleating of bog-men had erupted in place of the crickets’ cheerful chirrups by the gloomy water’s edge.
Seeking reassurance that this was merely a fantasy, a delusion, I grappled at Tripvan’s shoulder, and swung him around.
But Tripvan was no more.
Chief Rotting Liver peered out from a blood-drained scowl.
“But wha--?” I was paralytic in petrification.
The Chief clapped his hands together, and as if from prompt, began to duck and sway in a spasm of tribal fever.
The dark-featured West Aust Alien had reverted to an incarnation of millennia past- kitted up in all the headware of an ancient American Indian.
And the squaws, wrapped now in the skins of boars and bathed in chicken fat (some kind of food fondler’s fantasy), were rotating creepily around him.
“Hee-a-hoya-hee-a-hoya…” The creepy rhythm rocked out of their mouths as the Chief shook with electricity, a horrid white against the empty forest black behind him.
He hurled his arms skywards, as if in surrender to its vastness, and a thunderclap jarred the nation askew.
“Haha, we’ve made it!” Cheered Tripvan, as the Chief faded into the shadows of his mind’s-eye. I wiped my brow in wonderment and fatigue.
But the cockerel crowed at the correct time- indeed, triangular silhouettes zig-zagged upon our horizon.
“Teepees??” we cackled on like a couple of burning Indians.
Our helpful squaws too had reverted to their normally well-formed physiques, and took about squirreling up all the arrangements with Ginta’s father.
A quick splash of words on her pater- he stood as a classic of modern sculpting and evolution. From his nostrils bloomed a brown bouquet of a hairpiece, and on his body was strapped a fluorescent lithograph of aging sportsman Andre Agassi, pre-baldness.
So, after a few minutes easily spent staring at him and his movements, all the hairy details were sorted.
“Do we need keys?” Tripvan inquired in apparent dementia.
The squaws tee-heed as we closed in on our teepees.
“No, no keys. But I hope you brought something warm.”
No, we didn’t bring anything, but perhaps if you just stuck around…
Somehow the squaws managed to vaporise, and our colourful enemies of igloos appeared before us.
I peeked inside the flap of the nearest one of the two, which would be our homes for the duration of Druskininkai.
All the lay within it was a feeble wooden bedframe on a layer of moulding soil. The pestering zing of mozzies quickly brought its presence into ours. Oy.
The suitcases beneath my eyelids began to pack with weight. The realisation had kicked in: the night ahead would be arduous.
I removed myself from out of the plastic pantheon, and turned to check opinions with Tripvan.
“Hey, do you reckon we’ll live the night through?” I grappled upon his shoulder.
Chief Rotting Liver spun round: fresh blood tainting the perfection of his hideous, ghostly grin.
He passed on his American-Indian greeting call, answering my question in the same, shiftless syllable.