Friday, 4 October 2019
Reading time 2 minute 58 seconds
See you later Alligator – Bill Haley
Being homeless was not my proudest moment in life but becoming a Care Bear was going to fix everything.
I was 18 and after 6 months of travelling I ended up in Spain with my last few quid and a travelling companion. He was a comedian and a singer. He’d stolen a chunk of cash from his mates and was on the run which is not exciting in any way, shape or form.
We’d been in a few scrapes together, lived on a speedboat and travelled a coastline, got drunk with the 80’s band Trans Vision Vamp and even met a genuine angel dressed in white who gave us some food one night.
We were so young and cocky and we thought we knew it all.
One night while sleeping on a rubbish tip in Benidorm we finally admitted to each other that we may not be as smart as we first believed. There are worse places to be homeless and Spain was warm and as rubbish tips go ours was fairly classy.
We’d spend the nights going from disco to disco stealing people’s drinks. It’s easier to pass out on a pile of rubbish when you’re drunk. It’s even easier if your very very drunk.
One day we finally met the right people who were lining us up some regular work. We were going to get paid dressing up as Care Bears and having our photos taken with tourists. The interview was is in a bar named Crocs.
I was more excited about that job than any I’ve had before or since. We nailed the job interview, mainly because we were available, cheap and could start once the costumes were ready.
I asked the owner of the bar why it was named Crocs. I discovered it was because of the alligator that lived in a glassed off area in the corner. Surely it should have been called Allis or Gators but he wasn’t’ a friendly looking chap to have that conversation with which I guess you could work out by the fact he kept an Alligator in his wrongly named bar.
I wandered over to take a look at the reptile and asked the bar owner if he was pulling my leg as there was nothing to be seen. He popped over for a gander and shouted the words that still haunt me. “It’s escaped. Again.”
I wondered how big this future handbag was and from the corner of my eye I found out. It was two feet long, the scariest thing I’d ever seen and it was quick. It ran towards me and like the man I wasn’t, I let out a scream. If there was a glass of blood my howl would have curdled it.
I jumped up on bar stool. I wasn’t the only one who watched Tom and Jerry cartoons as a child as looking around the room the 5 other patrons had followed my lead.
We looked at each other in terror. We were standing with our heads closer to the ceiling than is comfortable, petrified while a pre historic creature ran about the place looking for freedom.
I’d like to say that we wrestled the creature like Jonny Weissmuller and returned it to its clearly faulty designated area. We didn’t. We stayed standing on the bar stools until the bar owners wife returned. This woman had the courage of a lion because she walked in, looked at us, laughed, saw the killer creature and just threw her coat over its head, scooped it up and put it back in its home.
I never did become a care bare. The costume was too big for me. I ended up working for a drag queen in a restaurant then coming home once I had enough money.
I still shudder at the sight of Alligators, Crocodiles and ceilings
Picture: Me trying to overcome my fear