Spoken to those two Russian women on that bridge in Paris. Who were they really and who did they actually work for? But, my goodness, they were gorgeous.
Move to Canberra.
Jumped off that ledge in Katherine Gorge. Potentially fatal, a ridiculous height. The feeling of relief at having gotten away with it as I surfaced was worth bottling.
Walked Kokoda Track with three broken ribs.
Eaten that meat and gravy roll cooked by that Russian widow in Tel Aviv. Two weeks later the bugs gestated into giardia and announced their arrival when I was in Chittagong. One day I will work out what it is about this experience that makes me appreciate third world dining.
As an ‘other ranker’ making up an officer’s uniform from odds and sods in an army disposals store and walking around impersonating an officer for a day and night. Fooled everyone including some of my mates – one who I found shoving a girl out the window since he though an officer had called a snap barracks inspection. But my heart was in my mouth the whole time – colleagues had helped me rehearse returning rather than initiating salutes. It’s all about delivery, and looking everyone in the eye as you do it.
Drunk that formaldehyde in that four quart jar in Beijing. It left me with the mother of all headaches but there would be no pickled eel story to tell if I hadn’t.
Bought that potassium nitrate from the chemist (he actually sold a jar of the stuff to us), the sulfur from the nursery, the charcoal from Mr Watt…
Lit that fuse.
Gone to Baghdad in the middle of General Petreus’ “surge” – his addition of 70,000 extra troops in order to finish what they had started in 2003. It worked, but it was messy. But I met some interesting people and came out in one piece.
Stolen stuff. Really interesting stuff.
Break Luciano’s nose on night one of boot camp. Made for an easier ten weeks though –he was looking for the fight after all.
Tried to walk across the border from Israel into Palestine. Not the happiest place on the planet. It was of course harder to get back into Israel.
Skip all those Year 12 classes and spend them down on the school rifle range instead. Yes, we used to have one of those. Somehow I had my own key. But I would sign for a rifle and help myself to as many rounds as I could stuff in my pockets and happily plink my study hours away.
Let my police dog loose on my NCO. He was a prat (No, the dog was outstanding). NCO, now face down and sans trousers, appreciated even less that I had left the dog unleashed, between his spread legs. What he didn’t know was that I had suggested the military police take their time coming to pick him up – they obliged and turned up thirty minutes later. NCO never pulled another night training exercise on me. I always played for real.
Eaten those 34 desserts in one sitting. It was still posted as a record in the kitchen a few years later when I went back and visited. I sat up that night feeling very green but refused to admit that to any of my colleagues.
Wander around Yemen by myself.
Handled that taipan.
Bashed that Asian with a bunch of roses. The roses looked a bit worse for wear by the time they got home. But it was strangely gratifying.
Agree to work for a guy who refused to tell me his real name – and even when he gave me another name a week later it was also a lie.
Drunk that red rum from the back blocks of Alabama, served up from under the counter by a barman who was a Morgan Freeman clone and who declared his undying love for Australians. It was a very formal Washington DC event, livened up shortly after by a rowdy Australian up the back. With some deer antlers on his head – eventually.
Agree to work for an mission/aid agency.
Try and find that hippo by the light of the moon. And I knew the stats were agin me! Still, it was worth a look even if he remained elusive.
Walked into that methadone clinic in certain US city “off limits” to whites. The cab driver (from South America) was terrified and did not stop his cab as he dropped me off, or wait for change. To get to the front door, as the cab screeched off up the road, I had to walk though as many as a dozen guys throwing punches at each other.
Agree to teach Chinese kids English. There is a seriously messed up village somewhere in Eastern Tibet!
Refuse to read Unit or Routine Standing Orders. There is nothing more tedious in the life of an officer. And if you don’t know there is a parade coming up you can’t very well be on it now can you?
Fired that rifle in the house.
Asked the Papua New Guinea locals for a dose of their betel nut. Fortunately they only gave up a reduced measure – even that removed any capacity to walk, spun the head right off its thread and had me salivating and hallucinating for longer than I expected. Actually, I had no idea what to expect!
Lie to my mother. But I like to think she sleeps better at night as a result.
Build that crossbow.
Use that canal as an exit/escape route. I couldn’t see a damn thing. It haunts me still.
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