It’s 1992, the location is the south Gulf islands in
My days off were spent exploring the neighbouring Gulf Islands with my girlfriend. Hitchhiking never scared us. We were both still young and dumb I suppose, but also there was something about these small islands that instilled in both her and I a sense of security. And we had rules, well at least one, which we stuck to religiously: never get in the back seat of a car with only two doors.
But that day on
When a car finally arrived we were so grateful that we didn’t think twice about crawling into the back seat. It wasn’t until the car took off that we noticed that the driver, a big burly dude, was drinking vodka straight from the bottle. In the passenger seat his equally burly and intoxicated friend turned around and, with a leer, checked us out with his hand casually resting on the shotgun, which we now saw lay between the two front seats. “My name is Charlie”, he said, “Charlie Manson”.
What can you do in a situation like that? With the car all over the road, and “Charlie” drunkenly ogling us, we whispered to each other in Dutch (it's useful to have a back-up language in these types of situations), frantically trying to come up with an escape plan. Finally we announced that we had to use the little girl’s room. After a few grumbles Charlie let us out, and we just legged it into the bushes. They shouted after us, but we were like two gazelles, darting this way and that, running for our lives. After a while, with no bullets ricocheting amongst the trees, we decided they had given up, or even more likely, forgotten all about us. We just threw ourselves down on the forest floor, laughing hysterically.
That summer later became known as the summer of many ridiculous adventures. That was also the summer when my girlfriend first encouraged me to write my memoirs and entitle them “My life as a wimp” after realising that I had a tendency to crumble in a crisis (in fact, I crumbled even when there was no crisis). I’m still working on these memoirs now, 15 years later, because unfortunately I am no braver now than I was at 23.