There’s No Real Choice in Truth or Dare

A not terribly flattering photo to kick things off with

A not terribly flattering photo to kick things off with

It started innocently enough. I woke – hungover of course – to the sound of my older brother’s screaming one-year-old. It’s one of those special pains: being hungover, sleep-deprived and subjected to the most disastrous ear-trauma one can experience. But I took it all in my stride. ‘Twas my 25th birthday, anyway, and I wasn’t going to let anything get me down. I thanked the bro and his wife for their hospitality, jumped in the car and made a bee-line for Labrador – home.

Photos became more common as my clothes became more scarce

Photos became more common as my clothes became more scarce

Then it was time for coffee and a cigarette; no time for a nap, though I needed one desperately. Had to leave for Brisbane by 11.30am and was busy fielding birthday related phone calls and trying to organise the social festivities for the night. In the meantime there was the little matter of watching the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra in City Hall, with a girl possessive of beauty that I can only describe, at this moment, as obstinate. Was wonderful: sitting by her side in such a beautiful old building, listening to such haunting and mostly old, although there were some modern pieces, music. There’s just something about Brisbane: it’s like an older woman who’s aged impeccably, and acquired a character at once charming and thrilling. As all special things do, the concert ended and we strolled out, pleasantly surprised the threatened storm hadn’t eventuated and the only thing we were in danger of being soaked in on the way back to the car, was sweat. The drive home was . . . lonely.

Post-for sale sign kidnap

Post-for sale sign kidnap

Finally, a nap. I can’t remember sleeping but, apparently, according to Jorash, my quiet Indian housemate, I did indeed lay there on my back in my grey, very comfortable – and soon to be combusted – undies until about 7.40pm. I vaguely remembered J saying he wanted to buy me some beers so, after scratching myself a bit and wandering around groaning softly, I said to J, ‘Let’s make tracks for Dan Murphy’s’. Or something to that effect. They closed two-minutes after we walked in. It was like fate. I dropped J back at home so he could come to Katie’s place on his motorbike, and I headed there. In some respects, I really, really, should’ve stayed home and drunk beer, smoked cigarettes and listened to some Bach while reminiscing on the day so far. But no, the craziness was like a hungry beast lurking in the bushes: it simply had to pounce.

I became quite enamoured with the thing and its excellent naughty bits coverage

I became quite enamoured with the thing and its excellent naughty bits coverage

Hard to get the next six-hours or so into chronological order, but I’ll do my best. As I arrived at Katie’s house, so did her grandpa. He wished me happy birthday and we shook hands. His hand cracked when I shook it. Perhaps time to loosen the old grip? But anyway, I walked in through the side-gate, beer in hand, and started drinking with Tina, the beautiful redheaded German; Suzie, the also beautiful but usually absent German; Bob, the also also beautiful and male (hey, I know looks when I sees them, regardless of sex) German; J; and Katie’s grandpa – whom I’m sure was a dashing young man in his day. Suzie wasn’t drinking. She’d soon wish she was. It was nice to chat with them. It wasn’t a blast, you understand, as we’d just started and there were cultural and language barriers to overcome. But we told some stories and shot-the-shit and started to loosen up a bit.

I told the following story, as an aside:

Once went to Byron Bay on New Year’s Eve with my bro Mitch, my mate Ross and a couple of my bro’s friends. We got there at about 5am in order to beat the blockade they were erecting to keep vehicles out of the centre of town. The plan worked. Only problem: what to do all day ‘til midnight? The answer: start drinking early! Additional problem: I started swigging champagne at noon, and was found passed-out near the beach at around 9.30pm. Apparently I started taking swings at Ross and Mitch as they heaved me into the back of the van to sleep it off. Also apparently, my bro’s best mate had sex with his girlfriend in the back of the van while I slept beside them. Madness. I woke at 4am on new year’s and stumbled around in search of a toilet while mumbling, ‘Happy new year’s’, to other zombies of the morn’. The poor van didn’t survive unscathed. We at one point the previous afternoon and year had about 10 drunken people on top of the thing, for some reason. My father discovered the newly customised roof as he pulled out the driveway a few weeks later, after rain. A large amount of water cascaded down the windshield after being dislodged from puddles on the roof caused by the weight of a group of drunks.

The Germans seemed to enjoy that one.

When my other housemate Garret arrived with his girlfriend Sally, her housemate Jess and a friend of ours, John, who we met through someone we don’t talk to much anymore (long story), the drinking game started. This is where things started to get hazy. Besides drinking, the game involved truth-or-dare and, of course, all the truths or dares were directed at me, the birthday boy. When Sally pulled a truth or dare and aimed it squarely at me, I replied, ‘Truth’. The question, on a slip of paper, was ‘Do you have feelings for Tina?’ My answer wasn’t honestly a simple yes or no. Tina was only in the country for a few months, she was staying with, and was friends with, my friend Katie. Plus, my interest in her had more to do with my initial attraction to redheaded ladies than any kind of possible depth of emotional connection, under the circumstances. All of these factors complicated the situation, unfortunately. I asked Sally if the answer had to be yes/no, and she said, ‘Yeah, it’s a yes or no question.’
I took a swig of beer—probably—threw back my head and announced, ‘Yes!’ From that point on I became extremely shy with and mostly avoided Tina for the rest of the night.

On the move

On the move

I don’t know exactly why or when my clothes disappeared. I assume I responded ‘dare’ to another offering of truth or dare. Probably thinking it was the safer option. Either way, my pants, shirt and underwear melted away before I promptly took off down to the end of the street, with Sally following after me with a camera to ensure I ran all the way to the end (apparently part of the dare). I used some junk-mail to cover my front and rear for the return trip to the table. I was eventually told to remove a birthday card that took its turn covering my pride and joy, and sit at the table completely and utterly starkers. I think it’s around about this time that Katie appeared. I saw her dart in and out of the kitchen like an exotic but startled fish snatching a tasty morsel. I’d later find out she was upset at the news I had feelings for Tina. She found out pretty quickly. I think I wandered into the house twice in order to say hello and ask what the problem was. First time without pants; second time with them. Managed to get Katie out of the shower and give her a hug; it was my birthday after all, and she was one of my fondest friends.

Chillin' in a tree

Chillin’ in a tree

Time for another naked trip down the road. I found myself, spread eagle, face-up, lying in the T-intersection at the end of Katie’s cul-de-sac. Next thing I knew, everyone was outside with me (except Suzie, Gramps and J), and there was just random, drunken, nude stuff going on. The pictures all looked like your normal shots of a group of drunks, just with an inexplicably birthday-suited guy thrown in. I ended up ripping a for sale sign out of the ground, then set off down the main road with it. A couple of drunk, tattooed, skate-boarding guys came along and I must have suggested to them that it would be a good idea for them spank me with the sign, as I pressed myself up against a random car while everyone else looked on. I can’t remember much of it, but the pictures revealed they also used their skateboards to paddle my arse. At one point, the owner of the car peeked his head out of his front-gate to ask what the bloody hell was going on. I responded with something to the tune of, ‘I’m turning 25 today, and need to be punished.’ This seemed to leave him relatively speechless.

Drunk and naked on your birthday?  That's a paddlin'

Drunk and naked on your birthday?
That’s a paddlin’

The grand finale for the night, naturally, involved fire. This is where it gets real hazy; if it wasn’t for the video evidence, I wouldn’t remember a little bit of it. Pretty sure I’d put my pants on by this point, which is reassuring. Oh, I’d put my pants on, but minus my undies which were still on the floor. Bob the German decided he was going to light them on fire over Katie’s garden. They took a bit of effort to light, so John used some Johnny Walker – Green Label!!! – to try and more quickly flambé my delicates. I should’ve worn a pair I hadn’t washed in a couple of days. They probably would’ve gone up quicker. Anyway, they did catch alight eventually and, boy! Did they go up in flames! Bob dropped the undies, which were combusting as fast as Tom Cruise’s career after he jumped on Oprah’s couch, and they lay there smouldering for a surprisingly long time. I sat there and watched them until they stopped burning, saying, repeatedly, ‘This is kind of sad.’ Then Garret and Sally took me home to pass out.

On the move, again

On the move, again

The aftermath of the night was that Katie avoided me for a while, after coming ‘round my house for a debrief the following day. Also, Tina was reportedly ‘mortified’, which I found at once kind of funny but also mortifying. Suzie apparently walked around the house for days afterward shaking her head and saying, ‘Colin, Colin, Colin.’ But I knew beforehand that she was pretty conservative. Everyone else would simply never, quite, look at me exactly the same way again. Which I partly take as a compliment. All in all, ‘twas an awesome night. Garret said I’d never forget that night and, though there’s somewhat ironically much of it I can’t remember due to the alcohol and intoxicating freedom from clothes, he was right.

A relatively normal photo of me around the same period but very far away.  And wearing clothes

A relatively normal photo of me around the same period but very far away. And wearing clothes

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On Ya Bike – it’s Operation Takeback

Bikie gangs, as in the outlaw motorcycle type, are great. Agreed? No? A couple of yesses? But mostly no, right? Well, perhaps you’re misguided. Been consuming too much mainstream media, haven’t you? Tsk tsk. No, wait, don’t go. Stay, please. I’m going somewhere with this. Clarification: based on what bikie gangs have been up to lately according to the media, I don’t really like them. And nor might most people who keep honest jobs and grudgingly bleed taxes and the ever-proverbial cost of living through their work-worn fingernails. The bastards are basically a bunch of buttholes. Bikies, that is – and yes, also elements of the too dominant centre-right media. Take what happened at the Gold Coast’s swanky Broadbeach area the other day. Hypothetically, if I was a bit of a toff I might have been dining there with my effeminate male frenemies (erm, friends who are enemies, duh) during just another night in my narcissistic bubble of a life. Then, whammo! While taking a sip of an overpriced craft beer and smirking at Peter’s joke about the pitiful lower-class, a brawling group of large, smelly and blanket-tattooed men has gone sprawling across our table – fists a whirlin’. Poor Pete still hasn’t got the beer and blood stains out of his designer jeans. This actually happened. Not to me, but to some Broadbeach toffs and tourists a week or so back. Out, rageous – literally. As in they were out, and in a rage. C’mon, it wasn’t that bad. Aw you’re no fun.

Anyways, the city and state’s media and government quickly reacted to this incident – that basically amounted to a social sewer main bursting into and spilling through the country’s tourist capital – in order to protect the Coast’s flawless, cough, image from being further despoiled. In the days since, a crackdown creatively named Taskforce Takeback has been announced by the police, at the behest of politicians launching five-second sound-bite fire and brimstone from their ivory towers. They’ve been pulling over choppers, raiding bikie dens and generally cracking some rebel skull. Y’know, all that fun cop stuff. But I guess this is as good a point as any for me to explain why I said that bikie gangs are great. It’s because the guys the fuzz are hell-bent on destroying, assuming an absence of corruption, are not, actually, really, totally authentically, bikies. They’re what’s known as Nike Bikies – young, roided up, excessively tattooed thugs, gangsters and standover men who may never have actually ridden anything with two wheels in their likely to be short lives. Hence their distaste for bikin’ boots and love instead for expensive, child-slavery endorsing sneakers. Every Australian town and city has its problems with these guys, but it makes sense the festering pimple their sub-culture is should come to a throbbing whitehead at the Sunburnt Country’s own Sin City – which somewhat ironically is the actual name of an Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise nightclub probably owned and/or run by bikies.

Understand, I’m not the most pro-establishment guy myself. In fact I reckon this country while doing well economically right now is in danger in the long-term of becoming a right-wing, un-egalitarian, environmentally degraded nightmare. Not to mention cultural backwater. Yet I hope to be proven wrong in my old age. So I kinda sympathise with real bikies. As far as I know the whole outlaw bikie thing came about largely as a result of the Vietnam War. Blokes came back home from being shot at in ‘Nam only to be spat on by hypocritically militant anti-war protesters, and thought: ‘You know what? Fuck it. My government fucked me over, and now my countrymen and women couldn’t give a flying fuck that I put my life at risk to save them from the scourge of Communism.’ (I’d apologise for the language, but it’s unlikely most of these guys are above profanities.) So they grew epic beards, cut the sleeves off their leather jackets, got their mums to stitch a cool club emblem on the back and, most importantly, bought Harleys. Of course they also got inked, but not to the same excess as their young, dumb and full of (s)cum wannabes we’re lately seeing splashed across the news every morning and night. Even if I’m stereotyping with the former, then theirs is still a better cliché than those we’re terming ‘bikies’ these days. Check ‘em out: they probably have no real reason that wasn’t their own fault to rebel against the establishment, they don’t have beards and most of them are probably more likely to name their equally unfortunately dim-witted offspring ‘Harley’, than they are to purchase one. And those fucking head-to-toe tattoo jobs. I remember a while back seeing a Coast one on the news with a swastika on his neck. Please. Word to the wise: it used to just be deeply offensive to get a Nazi tattoo. Nowadays, it’s also in pretty bloody piss-poor taste.

So what do we need to do about this social fungus growing in our otherwise peaceful suburban utopias? Well, nothing, really. We pay the taxes; the cops take out the trash. At least that’s the way it’s s’posed to go. Ultimately while the social filth laps at our comparatively pious doorsteps you should generally understand that it’s not the real bikies we should blame. They aren’t all bad. In fact I recall that they sometimes do charitable things like mass – if often police shepherded – rides in support of such things as anti-child abuse campaigns. Yep, believe it or not, deep beneath the leather, scars, facial hair and glowering countenance of your average bikie dwells a heart of gold. And if you’re concerned they’re selling drugs to your children then, well, perhaps that’s more your fault for not keeping an eye on the brats than it is the poor maligned bikie’s for simply tryin’ to make a fringe-dwellin’ livin’. Then again, perhaps not. Only remember: just as not all Muslims are terrorists; not everyone who claims to be a bikie is authentic about it. More likely, they’re wannabes. Fringe-dwellers among fringe-dwellers. And when you’ve got a society that permits people who are mostly full of shit, with a pinch of evil, to run rampant; perhaps it’s not the fringe that people should be looking at when planning to “Takeback” their community, but the rotten apples at its core. In other words: it’s easy and sometimes right to blame the guy in the gutter; but dismiss blaming the guy who used your money to construct the gutter at your own peril.