Stephen Braunias takes a look at the secret diary of David Bain in May Contain Facts.
We walked to the mall, and Joe said, "What do you want for Christmas?"
I said, "Uh - if I think about it, you know, then what I think is, and this depends on issues such as whether they might be subject to availability, and so forth, and putting to one side any objections that people have, because it's actually none of their business, then I suppose at the end of the day, you know, what I want is everything."
He said, "Let's see if they've got it."
We went to a counter. There were two men standing on either side of a woman who was peeling a coconut with her bare hands.
She said, "What d'you want, four-eyes?"
One of the men smiled, and said, "Let's just give it to this fine young man."
The woman said, "But you don't know anything about him. You've only just met him."
The other man didn't smile at all.
Joe said, "I'm sick of waiting. Hand it over."
The woman said, "Fill out these forms and we'll think about it."
We drove to the mall, and Joe said, "What did you get up to last night?"
I said, "Um - I don't know the precise details, other than I was at home, you know, inside a house, under a roof, and for a while I was awake and then, I don't know when this happened exactly, but I fell asleep, and before that, the image that keeps coming back to me is that I sat on the couch and watched TV."
The woman and the two men were behind their counter.
Joe handed over the forms, and said, "Here. Now give us everything."
The smiling man said, "Certainly. Would you like that gift-wrapped?"
The woman said to him, "You're an idiot. Worse, you're Canadian."
He clenched his little fists and began to say something, but she put her hand over his mouth.
She said to me and Joe, "We'll get back to you."
Joe drove through the front doors of the mall, and said, "Watch you don't cut yourself on the broken glass."
I'd forgotten to wear shoes, and limped to the counter. The nice Canadian stomped his little feet and was about to open his mouth to say something, but the woman put a sock in it.
I didn't see the other man until he said, "You're bleeding".
I said, "Um - I'm surprised you say that, you know, because you haven't conducted a proper inquiry, you're leaping to conclusions, you know, and it's actually just as likely that these red or ochre-coloured pools at my feet might be tomato sauce."
He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. I could tell what he was thinking. It was written all over his face. The woman wrote on it in lipstick, GET LOST.
Joe said, "We'll get back to you."
"Told you we'd get back to you," said Joe, as we landed on top of the counter after crashing through the ceiling of the mall in our parachutes.
It was bedlam at the mall. The media showed up in force. The smiling Canadian got the sock out of his mouth and screamed for hours. The woman shouted at passersby that he was mentally ill. The other man shouted, "What she said!"
Joe told me all about it over the phone. I went to Christchurch. He said, "How do you feel about being back in the South Island?"
I said, "Calm."
» Stephen Braunias is an award-winning writer and author of four books.
- The Southland Times
What do you want in a five star hotel?Related story: (See story)