Diary of a Greeter

Leg 8 – Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Hey diary, how are you doing. What’s that smell, you ask? Well, for the first time in JB knows how long, it has nothing to do with animal by-products. A clean leg! It’s almost like my birthday. But only almost, as you’ll see.

I had just pulled out the last of the hair extensions and changed into something a little more, you know, pants-like, when BVM pulled me aside. “Give me your ankle. I’ve got a present for you.”

“Uh-uh. I just got my costume off; I don’t need any jewelry – what the hell is that?”

“Monitoring bracelet. They use them to keep track of felons serving under house arrest. We haven’t laid any charges against you – yet – but I think this might still come in handy.”

“A monitoring – what kind of an irresponsible goofball do you think I am?”
“Hey Phil! I need your eyebrow over here. There’s no way mine can pop high enough for this.”
He looked at me, then looked away. “Hey Phil! I need your eyebrow over here. There’s no way mine can pop high enough for this.”

“Come on, I promise I’ll stay with the crew. Besides, it’s not like I’m the one who took off with the helicopter last time…”

“Look, JB wanted to use something with electric shock, but I convinced him that this would do the job. You can co-operate, or I can go get the Tritronic 3000.”

I knew when I was beat. I let him hook me up, then went to hang out with the crew filming the eat-sleep-mingle. The racers were pretty mellow this time; the mud-dragging and elephant-walking seemed to have taken the fight out of them. They were sitting around and actually being civil to each other. Then Reichen cleared his throat and said he had an important announcement to make.

He started going on about how the race had brought him closer to these people, and how he felt that it was time to share something really important with them all about his relationship with Chip.

“Oh My Heche!” I said to myself, “He’s dumping the Chipster and going back in the closet!” I mean really, what else could be so damned momentous?

He went on, and on, and on, and suddenly I realized he was just coming out. Then he made a big deal of how he was married to Chip, and it was their anniversary. “Underwhelmed” doesn’t quite capture the spirit around the table. There was stunned silence alright, but it was more of the “I can’t believe he thinks we don’t know” variety.

The only exception was Chuck, whose silence was pretty much all stunned. He kept whispering to Millie, like he was trying to get her to explain what Reichen had just said. I wasn’t the only one to notice his confusion. Jon (no, not that Jon, the other one) picked up on it too. After they finished he pulled Chuck aside. I guess that with Tian and Jaree gone, he had all those hours he had previously devoted to stalking them free to make other people’s lives unpleasant.
Jon finally borrowed a couple of stuffed toys from a kid in the village and gave Chuck an explanatory, not to mention explicit, puppet show. I caught an eyeful and it sure scarred me for life.
They ended up talking for a good half hour or so. Chuck was totally mystified – I overheard him say things like “But they’re both men!” “So who’s the wife again?” and “Can they do that?” Jon finally borrowed a couple of stuffed toys from a kid in the village and gave Chuck an explanatory, not to mention explicit, puppet show. I caught an eyeful and it sure scarred me for life. I’ll never look at Winnie the Pooh and Piglet the same way again.

Chuck seemed a little disturbed. Of course, given that he kept his typical Easter Island face on, it was hard to tell for sure. He did give Chip and Reichen these furtive stares for the rest of the Pit Stop, but his expression could have been anything from distaste all the way to, oh I don’t know, lust.

Soon enough we were off again. The less said about my flight to Malaysia, the better. Let’s just say that while the electronic dog collar had been ruled out in my case, the dog box had not. “I’m sorry, pal, but we just couldn’t get one more seat,” said BVM as he shoved me inside and closed the door. “But don’t worry; they put these in a special heated and pressurized compartment. And you’ll have lots of company!”

Just before they wheeled me away, Phil bent over and looked inside. “I’ve got your in-flight snack too!” he said gleefully, opening the door a crack and throwing in a box of Milk-Bones.

Bastard.

Three flights and forty-seven Milk-Bones later I was in Kota Kinabalu. I tried to stretch the knots out of my back as we drove to the Cultural Village. I was also getting incredibly itchy. The deep mahogany tan-in-a-can I was still wearing was starting to raise hives. “Hey, quit scratching!” said BVM. “We need to take advantage of that colour as long as we can. Grab that loincloth and shield from the back of the van.”

When we arrived, the priestess looked less than impressed with me. “You know, my grandson is better warrior. Much more fierce looking. Not skinny like this one.”

“Maybe so, your priestessness, but the skinny one is on our payroll. And he looks good in a dress, too, so don’t get uppity – you can be replaced. I think even he can manage to wave a few palm fronds.”

Ahh, BVM – the soul of respect for all other cultures.

This stop was actually a lot of fun for me, mostly because I got to shove the racers around. I was even allowed to hit them with my shield if they were too slow. Or too fast. Or, as it turned out, any time I felt like it. And I felt like it a lot. Heh.
The priestess had explained to us that the blessing was intended to expel spirits of evil. Well, when she started brushing him down with the leaves, I swear his skin started to smoke.
I wasn’t just there to shepherd them to the priestess; I actually needed to keep a couple of them from taking off again. When the priestess started chanting, Millie looked at her as though her head had started to spin around and spout pea soup. You don’t see it on the tape, but I actually had to crouch down and hold her by the legs to keep her from running. Then there was Jon. (No, not that… oh fuck it. You figure it out.) The priestess had explained to us that the blessing was intended to expel spirits of evil. Well, when she started brushing him down with the leaves, I swear his skin started to smoke. I had to poke him in the back with a spear to keep him from flinching away. I think they edited out the smoke in post-production, but it was there. Spirits of evil indeed.

Once everyone had been blessed, (or, in at least one case, exorcised) I headed off to the Pit Stop to get ready for the greeting. “The feminine touch at the last stop was nice,” said BVM, “so we’ve decided to go for it again.” Then he showed me a picture. “Of course, you’ll probably have to shave your legs. And your arms. Not to mention your back…”

“No way, not again. You found a priestess, find yourself some hot Malaysian chick. I’m not taking a Nair bath for anyone.”

“Well, if you feel that strongly about it, I suppose we can give you another job.” We pulled up to the final Roadblock. “I ran into MB last night – he’s here scouting locations – and he gave me the idea for this one. Three traditional Malaysian weapons. My favourite is the spear. Of course we can’t have the racers running back and forth picking them up when they miss – and I expect they’ll miss a lot. But I guess that’s why we have you.”
“Let me get this straight – I can do drag again, or I can hang around the target area while a bunch of adrenaline-cranked, sleep-deprived, half-starved famewhores throw spears at me?”
“Let me get this straight – I can do drag again, or I can hang around the target area while a bunch of adrenaline-cranked, sleep-deprived, half-starved famewhores throw spears at me?”

“I think that sums it up nicely.”

Sigh. “I want at least a C-cup.”

Trust me, diary, it was the best choice. The casualty rate at the roadblock was extreme. Three seabirds were taken out in mid-flight by arrows. One spear-carrier got his foot stapled to the beach. One racer (*cough*Chuck*cough*) managed to hit a melon on his first try with the blowgun – unfortunately, it was being eaten at the time by a picnicking family a hundred yards away.

That family sure picked the wrong spot. Chip and Reichen were the first out of the roadblock, and they took off at a run. I braced myself for their charge to the mat, but then they swerved off into the woods, straight towards the picnic. “What the hell?” I said.

“Killer hunger,” said Phil, nodding sagely. “I’ve seen it before. Few people know this, but Ken and Gerard actually finished third last year because they made their driver stop at a Krispy Kreme on the way to the finish line.”

Clearly Jon and Al were a little more well-fed, or at least had better reserves, because they came straight for me. Chip and Reichen almost caught them – Chip shouting “Jon! Let’s do it together! I’ll share the watermelon!” – but they were too late. No cruise for you, boys, yet again. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, as it were.
He was throwing the spear by this time, and Millie was shouting “Stick it, Chuck! Stick it in! Is it in yet?” Man, that never gets old.
They headed off for the Pit Stop, Al pulling two arrows and three darts out of his backpack. (See, I told you it I made the right choice.) Phil and I sat down and had a beer while waiting for Chuck to finish the Roadblock. He was throwing the spear by this time, and Millie was shouting “Stick it, Chuck! Stick it in! Is it in yet?” Man, that never gets old.

They made it to the mat, finally, and did this weird sort of shake-no-wait-hug thing that I’m pretty sure they learned from Chip and Reichen. Not what I expected Chuck to take away from that relationship, I have to tell you.

Dave and Jeff were next. You know how it seems sometimes like the editors never show you the interesting stuff that a team does or says? Yeah, well, that assumes that there is anything interesting. David and whassyername, you are team number four. *Yawn* Next!

Finally, the moment I was waiting for. Anticipating. Jon and Kelly sauntered up to the mat in last place. From the oily gaze and leer as he checked me out, I could tell that the priestess’s little ritual had an effect that was at best temporary. Oh well, he’d be on the Sequesterville Trolley soon enough. I was so caught up in my glee that I almost missed it when Phil said “The good news is…”

The good news? The freaking good news? The Prince of Darkness stays in the race and that’s the good news? I turned to Phil, but before I could open my mouth he whispered “One word and you get the Tritronic collar next time, dog-boy.”

I turned away. Kelly was still giggling. “High-five, little lady!” I’ve got your high-five right here, Consort of Evil.

Oh well. There’s always the next leg. See you around, diary.