Diary of a Greeter

Leg 11 – Moobooloo

Maboolaloo—

Booloomooloo—

Fuck this.

Leg 11 – Brisbane, Australia

You must be getting pretty bored, diary. After all, there are only so many ways I can write “Evil triumphs. AGAIN.” Sigh.

After the last leg, I figured that I needed to do two things, pronto: get the hell away from the racers before they made me as their taxi-driver-cum-one-man-invasion-force, and get a good stiff drink. Followed by another twenty or so. By happy coincidence, I was able to accomplish both of these at once, courtesy of the bar at the Hotel Koreana. Dave and Jeff`s cheers of relief were still echoing around the palace while I was on my way out the gate, shedding love beads and fake beard all the way.
I still couldn’t speak a word of Korean, but I have found over the years a grunt and a dead-eyed stare are universal shorthand for “Pour me a scotch.
I still couldn’t speak a word of Korean, but I have found over the years a grunt and a dead-eyed stare are universal shorthand for “Pour me a scotch. And keep them coming until either the bar or my brain shuts down for good.” While I had been finding JB’s race schedule, with its emphasis on early morning departures, to be a little wearing, I was pleased this time to note that, by starting in the afternoon, I had the prospect of hours and hours of blissful drinking ahead of me, uninterrupted by such petty concerns as closing time. I hadn’t tied one on since Venice, and I decided that I wasn’t just going to fall off the wagon; I was going to hijack for a few laps around the Coliseum, Ben-Hur style.

Mission accomplished. Twelve hours later I was the handsomest, smartest, most bulletproof man in Korea. And I could speak the language too! All of which came in handy when I recognized my old friend the cab driver – the real cab driver – walk into the bar.

“Woohoo! Buddy! Great to see you. Thanks for the wheels, by they way. I mean, they really came in handy. Sorry about the bullet holes, but I figured you didn’t have air conditioning so it’s probably for the best. Here, let me buy you a drink.”

Alright, it may not have come out exactly like that. There was probably a bit more swearing. And slurring. And half of it was in Korean, I think. Or maybe Italian – I get flashbacks some times. Anyway, the point was that I was feeling happy to see him.

Much happier, as it turns out, than he was to see me. “You!” he hissed. By the sound of it, his English was no better than my Korean.

His tae kwon do, however, was another story. Fortunately, hotel barstools are notoriously flimsy. And if I have demonstrated nothing else on this race, I have proven that I have a near bottomless capacity to absorb physical punishment. What can I say; it’s a gift.

Thanks to the quick reactions of the bouncers, I didn’t have to see just much I could take. He only got in three or four kicks to my head before five of them surrounded us. Interesting but little known fact: all the tae kwon do in the world won’t help you against a three-hundred pound bouncer with a taser. Of course, they were beyond caring who was beating up on whom, so I got juiced too. Then they just frog-marched us out the door.

I was figuring it was time to get going anyway, but my new best friend was having none of it. He wasn’t about to let a little thing like electrocution keep him from kicking my ass some more. Of course, not having my years of practice, he was barely able to stand up, but I have to give him credit for trying. I just kind of shuffled out of his way, until I bumped into someone standing at the curb.

“Hey!”

My blood congealed at the sound of that voice. Him. His mistress. Here.

He glanced at me in disgust and then turned away. Glory be! This was my chance to stop them! I reached out… one little push into the street and…

…and, with the catlike reflexes of the truly evil, he pulled her away. The alcohol, electricity, and mortal terror swirling through me took their toll and I fell to the ground, watching helplessly as they climbed into their cab and drove away. I had failed.
On the plus side, I was that much closer to the gutter when the nausea hit. And then sweet, sweet, unconsciousness.
On the plus side, I was that much closer to the gutter when the nausea hit. And then sweet, sweet, unconsciousness.

A boot to the ribs and a bucket of cold water to the face alerted me to the fact that BVM had once again tracked me down. “Get up, you lazy sack. We’ve got a plane to catch.”

By the time we got to the airport, the fog had rolled in. “Well,” said BVM with a smirk, “we may as well make the most of the delay. Go see the make up crew; they’ll be expecting you. Oh, and don’t forget these. You’ll be needing them”

He threw something straight at my face. I reached up and caught it. It was round, and pliable, and rubbery, and…

“…about a C-cup, I think. That’s the way you like them, right?”

The bright side, such as it is, was that successive applications of self-tanning crèmes, skin dyes, and spirit glue had pretty much stripped my body of all hair. The make up crew seem quite relieved that they weren’t going to have to wax my back. “Wow this is great! We only have to do this little bit down here.”

“Whereaaaaiiigggggh!”

“All done! And don’t you look pretty.”

Bastard.

“I don’t see what you’re complaining about,” said BVM as we boarded the plane. “You look fabulous. I bet you haven’t had this many men hitting on you since-“

“-since the Pit Stop, you prick. Why do I have to do this now, anyway?”

“Well, you’ve done such good work so far, and you are so expendable to us, that we’re going to need you at another Fast Forward. You can swim, right?”

“Well, no, not very well.”

“Oh. Okay. That’ll just make it more realistic.”

Realistic?

Several hours later, I had an odd sense of déjà vu. “You can swim, right?”asked the strapping Australian lifeguard, as he explained the situation to me. “After all, if these fellows aren’t professionals, it could take them a while to pull you out of the water.”

“She can swim well enough for this,” interrupted BVM. “Now then, are there any hazards she should be aware of.”

The lifeguard scratched his head. “’Struth, mate, it’s hard to say. We haven’t had a shark attack in a couple of months, and it’s not really jellyfish season, but you never know. Anyway,”he cackled, “we’re already rescuing you, right?”

Right. Bastard.

The only plus side to my situation was the fact that my, ahem, enhancements were actually a little bit buoyant. That, plus my madd dogg paddling skillz, was enough to keep my head above the waves, and most of the salt water out of my mouth. The water was pretty warm too. I was starting to relax and enjoy myself – an increasingly unfamiliar sensation – when who should arrive but my two Knights of the Surf.

“Dude! Over there!”

“Where?”
Oh. No. I was going to be rescued by the only guys left in the race who might actually get lost on their way back to the beach.
Oh. No. I was going to be rescued by the only guys left in the race who might actually get lost on their way back to the beach.

Eventually - after getting side-tracked in an attempt to rescue two pieces of driftwood, a starfish, and one of their own surfboards – they got to me. David wasted no time in copping a feel as he attempted to heave me up onto his board. “Dude, chick’s heavy!” he grunted.

Well, fuck you too pal. I’m just big-boned, okay?

While I am sure the editors will make it all look exciting, the rescue itself was pretty tedious. After the fourth or fifth repetition of get felt up - get shoved onto a surfboard - roll off - swallow half the Pacific Ocean – regurgitate half the Pacific Ocean - repeat, I kind of lost track. They finally managed to hold me on the board, by the simple tactic of laying me on my belly and then having one of them lay on top of my legs.

This, of course, put his face in a rather, um, dangerous position. Perhaps I should not have had that kimchi burrito on the flight out of Seoul? Suffice to say that I was not the only one gagging and choking by the time we got back to the beach.

The dudes were pretty happy to be finished, and dashed off to their car. “Thanks! You’re a great victim!”

Thanks. Let’s just say this race has given me lots of practice.

I puked up the last cup or two of sea water and headed back to our car. BVM was kicked back, eating a sandwich and reading the paper.“Uh, they’re on their way to the Pit Stop now. Shouldn’t we get going so I can greet them?”

“Don’t get your thong in a knot, sweetie. Those guys could get lost between the bathroom door and the crapper. We’ve got lots of time.”

I’ll say this about BVM; he may be the world’s biggest prick, but he knows racing. Sure enough, I had time for lunch, a bit of hair restyling, a pedicure, and a nap before we had to leave for the Pit Stop. And we still beat the dudes in by half an hour.
Phil awarded them a vacation to Mexico, and then had to spend ten minutes explaining where that was.
They arrived, eventually, with their standard woo-hooing, hugging, and hand-slapping. Phil awarded them a vacation to Mexico, and then had to spend ten minutes explaining where that was.

“Dude, you mean, like, south of the USA? Isn’t that where Canada is?”

“No, Canada is north-“

“You’re kidding, dude. Alaska is north! I though Mexico was west?”

“Well, sort of, actually it’s southwest.”

“So which is it dude – south, or west?”

Phil sighed, and beckoned a PA to lead them over to the buffet table.

Chip and Reichen were next. They were pretty thrilled to hear Phil say “You’re the second team to arrive.” Then came the axe, in the form of a thirty-five minute penalty for driving to the Pit Stop instead of walking. (I tell you, between the Dudes’ directional dyslexia and these guys and their functional illiteracy, I’m starting to wonder if this is actually The Amazing Special Olympics.) Anyhow, I’m pretty sure that if you slow the tape down, you’d be able to see the full transition of facial expressions:

“Yayyy!”

“Huh?”

“D’oh!”

“Crap.”

It ended with them looking like they got caught with thair hands in the cookie jar. (Not Kelly’s, mind you. They don’t swing that way.)

Speaking of Kelly, she, her cookie, and her Dark Lord and Master came slithering up to the mat next. One of the PA’s told me that Jon had done some roadblock involving walking through a shark tank. I gather the sharks gave him a wide berth. They were happy to hear that they were the third to arrived, and even happier to hear that, because of Chip and Reichen’s failure to understand that the verb “to walk” sort of eliminates any possible use of the noun “automobile”, they were actually in second place. Ahh, Schadenfreude, my old friend, how I’ve missed you.

Things were pretty tense around the mat now. Chip was circling warily, checking his watch and constantly pestering Phil. “Is it thirty-five minutes yet? I’m pretty sure it’s thirty-five. My watch says it’s thirty-five.”

“It’s seventeen, Chip.”

“Oh… is it thirty-five now?”

“Eighteen.”

“Oh… is it-“
Meanwhile, three PAs were required to escort Reichen back to the buffet table after they caught him outing in the parking lot throwing all the Amazing signs and flags in the trash.
“SHUT UP!”

Meanwhile, three PAs were required to escort Reichen back to the buffet table after they caught him outing in the parking lot throwing all the Amazing signs and flags in the trash. He actually put up his own sign at the bottom of the stairs, reading “No Pit Stopp Heer!”

Eventually, finally, the clowns appeared, Jon barrelling and bellowing his way to the mat as always. Phil, always one for torturing the racers, put them through the full roller-coaster ride. After breaking the news that they were the last team to arrive, he held out a slender reed of hope by describing Reichen and Chip’s penalty. I have to say, the man is a genius when it comes to suspense. He held his pause just long enough to allow joy and relief to fully blossom in the Clowns before bringing down the hammer. “Unfortunately…”

Man. I could actually hear Al’s heart breaking.

So this is the home stretch, diary. Three teams to go. One who can’t drive straight, one who can’t read straight, and one whom I refuse to believe actually is straight. One of these teams is going to get a million bucks? I am so totally in the wrong line of work.

See you around, diary.