Upon hearing Chuck’s name, Chande raised her eyebrows and asked “do you write an awesome relationship blog?”
Chuck nodded in the affirmative.
Chande’s face suddenly flushed with colour (which was a good thing considering that her complexion resembled cold porridge only 1 minute before). “Oh my god, I read that blog religiously!”
Taking note of the sharp pain in his abdomen Chuck smiled and encouraged Chande to continue with her tale, before his sphincter erupted.
“oh, yes, ok, well I guess I should give you some background” said Chande.
Chuck started to employ some of his meditation tricks – focusing on his breathing in the hope that he could control his internal workings enough to get through Chande’s situation, dispense some key advice that would likely alter the course of her destiny AND make it to a toilet in time to lay some wolf bait.
Chande adjusted her woollen jumper and began, “This story starts about 20 months ago, when I met a cute blonde in a London club and we started dating. His name was Dan.” Chande’s eyes sparkled as she recalled her earliest interactions with Dan. “About two months later I had to leave for Sydney, but we got on so we stayed in touch. Eighteen months pass and we're still in touch, and I've booked a trip back to England and a side holiday to Morocco, to go surfing. I told him about the trip and after one of my mates pulled out, he agreed to come along.”
Chuck frowned, if Chande was a true Reality Bytes reader, she would have known that nothing other than a tasty shag was going to come out of this. If she was such a fan of Chuck’s work, how on earth was she sitting on the beach at the arse crack of dawn mulling over sinister solutions to her malaise?
Detecting Chuck’s line of thinking, Chande quickly responded, “Chuck, I was a bit wary of this, I hadn't seen the guy in 18 months, but I figured it's just going to be a fun week. I'm not up for anything more than a week-long fling, I'm not about to start a long-distance relationship with someone I dated for two months.”
Chuck breathed a sigh of relief which had the potentially disastorous effect of loosening his date hole and nearly ended this interaction in the most foul way. Chuck bit the side of his mouth and clamped his clacker shut in the nick of time. With eyes watering, Chuck motioned for Chande to continue.
“So we meet up in London before we go to Morocco and everything is cool. We still get on, and all is good and I really start looking forward to the week in the sun. We get to the airport, grab the flight and arrive at the Moroccan surf camp just after midnight. Straight to bed and up really early, for a day of surfing. We're surfing with a whole heap of people staying at the villa, and it's great, I'm loving it. The sun however is scorching and I'm under the umbrella when I'm not in the water. Dan, however, is lying in the sun going pinker and pinker….”
“Fucking geezers” said Chuck, not being able to help himself, “Are they not aware of the damaging effects of ultra violet radiation?”
“Yeah, a few people suggested to Dan that he get out of the sun to which he simply says "Nah man I just tan up..." On the way back to the villa, Dan starts acting oddly. Really oddly. Then we get into this very minor car accident and suddenly he's panicking.”
“Was he carrying a 20kg brick of marijuana in the trunk?” asked an inquisitive Chuck.
“Err, I don’t think so” responded Chande.
Chuck could feel his bowels percolating and knew he had to speed up this process. “Please go on” he encouraged Chande.
“By the time we get back to the villa he's having a full on panic attack. He is talking rubbish about being confused, not able to think straight and thinking he's going to die if he stays in Morocco.”
“Ok, so maybe he wasn’t trafficking dope, but it sure sounds like he was smoking his fair share of it,” blurted Chuck.
“Yeah, we’d smoked some hash but it was the night before, surely it wouldn’t be having this effect the next day?” said Chande.
Realizing that he was focusing more on his bowel movements than the finer points of this story, Chuck nodded in agreement and attempted to dial in his concentration. “Please continue”
“Then, out of nowhere, he announces he is leaving Morocco. He says he simply has to get out of the country, he just can't stay. He calls his family to get them to book him the next flight out of the country, which is from Marrakech - not the airport we flew into - and it’s a four hour cab drive away. He’s in the cab at 1am....23 hours after he arrived in the country...leaving me by myself in a foreign country with strangers that I've only just met.”
“He had heat stroke” Chuck said, suddenly infused with clarity.
“How did you know that?” asked Chande.
“Chuck’s been around, my dear. Heat stroke presents with a core temp of 40 °C and often results in confusion and lack of sweating. Your boy spent all day cooking himself in the sun while surfing and then went mental – it was a fairly simple diagnosis” Chuck shrugged.
“WOW, you’re the best,” gushed Chande.
Chuck was now violently biting down on the coffee stirrer that he had picked up earlier that morning to try to dull the pain throbbing through his gut. Sweat was gushing down his butt crack and the muscles in his thigh were beginning to spasm. Knowing that a steaming log was no more than 30 minutes away, Chuck signaled with his hands for Chande to continue and asked “So how did you feel and respond?”
“Well, I was pretty thrown by this. I should mention that I decided that I would stay, and that since he was leaving, and my phone wasn't working, I was keeping his phone in case I needed to call someone. In which case I actually did - I panicked and called my parents and then my sister because I didn't know what to do...stay? Get on the next plane? Also, after getting two phone calls from me - they also called me a couple of times to check that I was okay and still alive. I kept telling them I was all-good but they being parents and all wanted to know that I was safe after being left in a foreign country by myself.
“In the middle of the week, I get a phone call from Dan. He's been to a doctor who told him that actually he had sunstroke (Chande gazed admiringly at Chuck). Of course it all makes sense in hindsight...delirium is actually a symptom of sunstroke!! But to be fair, I can't help but think it's his own damn fault...lying in the sun for three hours and drinking no water. He practically deserved it. I have a great time by the way, and thank god for the group of Scottish guys and girls that were hanging out at the villa, my holiday would have been totally ruined if it weren't for them.”
Chuck was now under considerable physical duress and was finding it difficult to be his usual congenial self. Chande providing her holiday snap shot story made Chuck feel like he was watching an episode of Getaway. “I’m, glad you ended up having a great trip” Chuck responded, his voice now operating at a higher octave as he fought his internal fecal demon.
Sensing that Chuck was keen to cut to the chase, Chande continued, “Oh, yes, anyway I get back to London and give him his phone, and he is so awkward with me it is unreal. Can't even take five minutes for a cup of coffee. I'm a bit annoyed but I figure he's too embarrassed. So I say nothing. I get back to Australia and get a couple of emails from him and then I get a really odd email asking if I made a couple of calls on his phone to Australia. I read the email again and start to sense he is hinting at me to pay for them. Part of me says "Ignore and don't even think about offering" and the other part of me thinks "Surely he doesn't mean that. Offer and give him the chance to refuse, like he should".
Chuck’s meditation breathing techniques had now failed him and he was sucking in short sharp breaths like a woman about to give birth. His body was covered in a sheen of sweat and his intestines felt like a cement mixer was operating inside them. To make the situation worse, Mrs Long had made her patented Indian Vindaloo the night before.
Tune in Friday to see if Chuck can prevent his sphincter from rupturing before helping Chande.