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« BACK | HOME » ABOUT » THE SPIRIT SPEAKS » ROTHBURY - CRUCIBLE OF ASPARAGUS PART 1

ROTHBURY - CRUCIBLE OF ASPARAGUS PART 1

We're on our way to Oceania County, Michigan. A sign on the border say's 'Welcome to the Asparagus capital of the World'. I'm zoning out to the spectacle of the lush New-England countryside, when Walshie, our tour manager, says he wants a word.

'In about ten minutes we're going to pull into Walmart. Here's $100 dollars. Get yourself some new clothes, and a can of deodorant. You're starting to smell and its making you unpopular.'

There's no use denying it. I've been in the same shirt and trousers for the last four days, and water has been a stranger to me. The Spirit has many strange and subtle powers, but sadly a scrupulous sense of personal hygiene is not one of them. At primary school, they called me 'Fleabag'. This puts me at a social disadvantage, especially in America, where the beauty regime is so draconian that some people get groomed out of existence.

Despite my new shoes, my feet are a disaster area. They might be the basis fora PHD thesis by a maverick chiropodist. Barefoot I hop across boiling tarmac and thru the holy portals of Walmart.
Walmart's an aircraft hanger full of cheap shit you really need. It’s shocking to discover that in America everything is half the cost, and most people have twice as much cash. A pint is like, £1.50, and even the most indigent crack-whores live in three story houses with a garage and central heating. That’s partly because there's more money. Also, America is massive; there's more room. In fact it’s so big, that most of America is empty. This building is large enough to host the Nuremberg rally, but the only people in the place are me and a couple of old ladies...How do they make their money? Especially when the goods are so reasonably priced, goddamit! I can get a black sleeveless shirt, a pair of strides, socks, shades, fags and gum and get change out of a fifty dollar bill. It's a shoppers' paradise!

I stagger around in a shoeless consumerist reverie until I’m escorted off the premises by a bespectacled mom 'for my own safety'.   

                  *

Before we go onsite, Walshie cajoles me into having a shower. I meekly comply. A promoter's lackey drives me to the hotel, which I'm amazed to discover is a palatial ersatz-log cabin, a sort of Wacky Wild-West themed Kubla Kahn. I pick up a token for the showers, and head past a swimming pool, which is like something out of Finding Nemo; elaborate water slides, exquisite ornamental whirlpools and robot mermaids offering breast-relief (Possibly).

The showers are in an empty and alarmingly open-plan locker-room with no doors; as I scrub my filthy, puny body I can't shake the feeling that this feels like the start of particularly nasty gay porn movie. What if someone absent-mindedly left the gym fire-exit open and 7 oiled-up American body-builders on steroids wondered in and then...oh dear. In the attempt to shave I have lacerated my face.

I look like a Cenobite's breakfast. Larry and Devlin, waiting for me at reception, amused by my mangled boat-race. Dejected, I sit down on an imitation rock formation. Devlin pisses her pants laughing while Larry grins at me from a Disney-cartoon rocking chair.  It suits him. Be careful in that thing mate, you might never get up again...  
                                                             
(c) Orlando Harrison 2008