Warnings in April 2006

I had tons of stuff to do, and there were only two days left to do them, but I was a little tired and my head was spinning from a day of drinking green tea. You wonder why some taxi drivers navigate the way they do? They’re on the tea. That old Nescafe jar attached to the divider is filled with the stuff. Drink green tea for a whole day without much food and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s why I look somewhat fit but am always on edge. Tea is just like the booze. Great for a few cups, but maddening after oceans of it. Call me excessive. At least I don’t smoke anymore. Late nights don’t count. Back to the story. A colleague of mine and I decided to get a bite to eat, and we started off to this hole in the wall—you literally walk in through a hole in the wall. I’ll tell you that I was really pleased with myself. Me, the old timer, showing the new guy one of my favorite small and relatively unknown places to eat. The dude making the bread even nodded his head at me with familiarity. I ordered up with authority, and in no time we were surrounding a plate of chicken and potatoes swimming in hot sauce. The thing was as big as an hors d’oeuvre platter. Not ready to offend anyone in the kitchen for not finishing, we dove in and didn’t stop. It was enough for four, but damn good. Had I a wheelchair, the way back to the office would have been much easier.

I finally got back and it was time to work—time to finish this beast. Then something started going wrong. My stomach felt like the beast. I tried a little more tea to no avail. Coffee didn’t work. I laid down on the office floor and even went across the street to get a can of beer. Had a UFO landed on my chopsticks and sent out its troops? Nothing was working. I was supposed to be the man with Teflon in my pipes. I had eaten street food for years and the last time I’d had any problems I had hair down to my shoulders and none on my shoulders. I SMSed my friend to see how bad he was and to my horror, he was fine. I shook and shivered all the way home, leaving my work behind. Twenty minutes later, and unfortunately my large intestines decided to explode up rather than down. I blew my nose of the remainder and that was that. This month, like Arnold Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter, I warn that when you least expect it, expect it because we didn’t.

You see, we had been pushing these little places for months and we only got the odd one in a thousand to do an ad. In February and March, we even had a few of our biggest beneficiaries decide not to renew their contracts. We had personally spent more money there than they had given us for ads. Shows you how magnetic I am. It was like trying to solve some riddle written on a black sign with black marker at midnight. Then one day, unexpectedly, we got a call from a guy who said he had been watching us for months. A few days later, we signed a big contract. We don’t have any money personally, but at least we don’t have to fear the demise of the mag anymore. And we got it from where we least expected it. Dinner anyone?

By Tim Hoerle