Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Life Of Pies

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been devouring books like my old hamster. And finally got around to reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. You know, the one about the boy on the boat with the tiger. Well, I didn't like it, but can't quite put my finger on as to why. I wondered whether this was mainly because I was so detached from the central idea of being shipwrecked with a dangerous beast that it failed to resonate on any level.

So I thought I'd give it a go.

My budget really couldn't cover the lifeboat or the emergency supplies, so I decided to roll two of the plotpoints into one and made the raft out of biscuits. And tigers were out of the question, so I stole the Wife's cat - an arsey beast at the best of times. Nothing phases nor pleases the big hairy behemoth. His name is Blue, by the way, and is so damn furry that you can't tell which end is which. Blue is basically a moody draught-excluder with legs.

Our journey began once I'd designated one side of the local paddling pond India, and the other Canada. Hopefully, if I didn't drift into any shipping lanes, or children paddling, I would be at the other side in under three minutes. Marvellous! I had more than enough supplies for that. I just hoped that Richard Parker (this was Blue's part. The tiger in the book is called Richard Parker) wouldn't attack me. So, with him curled up at one end, me at the other with ne'er anything but a Jackie Collins between us, we set sail from one side of the Arboretum pond to the other.

It was quite warm out there, in the middle of that ocean. I heard that the most common death was by exposure in these circumstances. It could send you mad. I mean, I was sure I could hear an ice-cream truck for a good portion of my journey - in fact, if I turned my head to the left, I'm sure I could see one at the side of the pool. Damn these hallucinations! The sun was just murder. If only I'd been shipwrecked with a large sun-hat instead of an indifferent cat, things would have been very different.

Time passed, and I think I may have fell asleep. Actually, I didn't but nothing else was happening, so I had to pad out the story.

I sighed and reread the survival manual I'd brought. I'd read it at least a thousand times by the time my journey had ended, but then I never could get enough of The National Enquirer.

"No, Richard Parker! Don't attack me!" I cried to Blue, hoping to distil some drama into our crossing, blowing my whistle. He looked at me through half-closed eyes, startled by the sudden noise. Then went back to sleep. I think I was safe from him for the time being.

I was feeling hungry and thirsty and missing Girls Aloud. A whole seven minutes had gone by according to my watch. An age. I couldn't even recall what the dance moves to Love Machine went like and started sobbing. A precious waste of water. How, over the seven minutes of my journey, would I come to regret that waste of water. But not only that, but it stained my fabulous suede life-jacket I'd brought along. Dejectedly, I fired a flare off into the sky. Again, budget was tight so I just threw some bell-bottom jeans and yelled 'Whooosh!'

There was always something to do on the raft to keep you busy - knots to tie, paddling kids to push out of the way of our historic voyage. I came to love that raft made of biscuits. I'd decided to make it entirely out of pink wafers, before you ask. They float.

I lay back and remembered what goes into pink wafers. Anything that garish in colour can't be in eyesight of any organic produce. What exactly can give it that fabulous hue?

Well. I discovered. They puree cheerleaders.

The perky ones.

"What are you doing with my cat?" asked the Wife from Canada. I shrugged - seven minutes without talking, food or water had left me speechless. I was practically half-conscious as he lifted me out of the lake and tutted. Blue just hopped off and vanished into the bushes. I would like to say I'd never seen him again, but he was back about half-hour later, staring at people until they got him his food.

The Wife looked at the raft and asked what the dickens I'd been doing on a raft made of biscuits with a docile cat.

Well, he'd never believe me if I told him.

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