Oh Brother.

When I was eighteen, during the summer after I finished school, I spent about ten days in Bali - I had an aunt and uncle living there then, and my cousin was visiting at the same time.

This is him by the way:

My mother thought he was gay for a long time, but he isn't. I wish he was. His nauseating interactions with his girlfriend are all over my facebook page (this is the mildest form):

Anyway, now that I've made fun of that, back to Bali.

We were at the beach one morning, and my cousin - let's call him Hippopiggiepippo (HPP) and he will know why - was, for once, in the sea with me. He'd been avoiding it strenuously, because he was worried about getting a tan which, incidentally, during that time, was probably my only sole purpose in life.

I was a little further out, floating on my back, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face, when suddenly he started yelling. Really yelling, really loudly.

"What's wrong?" I asked, swimming towards him.

He didn't answer, he just kept yelling, and the tone of his voice got higher and higher, until it changed to a steady piercing shriek.

"My foot! My foot! Something's happened to my foot!"

"Jeez," I said disgustedly, once we'd ascertained it wasn't bleeding. "You probably stepped on a shell or something."


"Man up,"

He threw me a look of contempt and hobbled off somewhere. Superbly unconcerned, I lay myself out on a deck chair, sipping on a mojito, watching the steaming sand and gleaming sea in front of me.

Suddenly an Indonesian woman came up to me.

"You are Trisha?"

"Yes," I said, rolling my eyes, knowing what this was about.

"Come, come with me." She seemed agitated.

As I followed her, very reluctantly, I thought to myself what a twerp HPP was. One little bruise on his foot, and he'd raised a hue and cry (and what a cry).

She led me, as I expected, to the beach hospital. It was a single room, roughly made of sweet smelling bamboo and wood, with palm fronds framing the entrance. My cousin was on a cot, groaning, and he was surrounded by a bunch of women. One of them, to my surprise, was hitting his foot with a stone.

"Er," I said, by way of greeting.

They looked up at me and started pointing frantically to him and then his foot and then to the sea. The trouble was they didn't know any English, and though HPP knows a bit of Indonesian, he couldn't understand what they were saying. Not that he was bothering to listen to them.

"EEEAAAAAHHHHHH!" He yelled, as the lady who was hitting his foot banged on it particularly viciously. I was tempted to ask them to let me give it a go: it would give her a rest, and it would give me great pleasure and satisfaction, but I restrained myself.

Eventually they stopped.

"Can you figure out what they're saying?" I asked him.

He whimpered.

One word seemed to be repeated more often than the others: ulaar.

"I think whatever it was is an ulaar," he said to me. "I don't know what that is."

"Maybe it's a jellyfish?"

After he deigned to remove himself from the cot, we thanked the ladies and went home.

"Why are you back so early?" said my aunt, when she saw us.

"Something's wrong with your son's foot," I said grumpily. "He made me come home."

"What is it?"

"They said at the beach that it's an ulaar, whatever that is."

The two of us decided to check an Indonesian - English dictionary.

"Ulaar, ulaar, ulaar," we muttered, flipping the pages.

Sea snake, it said.

"Oh shit," we said.

The End.

PS: HPP was alright in the end. My aunt whisked him away to the hospital and he spent the night having the poison drained out of his foot. Incidentally, we have reason to believe that he was bitten by a sea urchin and a snake at the same time.

Also, three months later, while in the sea, he got bitten by a snake (or was it a sea urchin?) again.

I know, right? Even I was rendered speechless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your cousin won't like this, but I enjoyed this one very much.

And thanks for giving me one more reason to stay out of the sea - to add to the 500 or so that Moby Dick has already given me.