Sunday, December 13, 2009

Moroccan Spices

Being a keen outdoors man, Chuck often finds himself in weird and wonderful places at odd hours. Whether it be running with the bulls in Pamplona, hanging off the Muir Wall at El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, filming survival videos in tropical jungles or base jumping off high rises in Asia, Chuck is constantly pushing the boundaries. So it is with these adventures in mind that Chuck decided to head to Bondi beach at dawn to catch waves when the Great Whites feed. The sun was just considering it’s rise, sending out stray streams of pink and yellow into the morning sky as Chuck began his complex set of stretching and limbering exercises to ensure that he was ready for maximal shredding the minute he hit the water.

Once every fibre in Chucks lean muscular body was limber and loose, he tugged on the chord of his wet suit, said a brief Buddhist prayer in order to awaken his inherent inner capacities of strength, compassion and wisdom, picked up his custom hand-made surfboard and set off toward the surf. The morning air was crisp and full of potential and Chuck dipped his foot into the cool Pacific Ocean. Stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery, Chuck’s attention was captured by a forlorn soul slumped on the sand in the distance.

Chuck used these morning adventures for a number of reasons. 1) To challenge himself, 2) to spike the adrenal glands and 3) to clear the mind of the daily challenges he faces on this very blog. Continually dishing sound advice and support takes its toll on the strongest minds. Perhaps many moons ago when Chuck was less responsible and more impetuous he would have ignored the figure on the beach and headed for the breaking waves, but as a conscientious man with a sense of purpose, Chuck could not ignore the despair and sadness that this individual was giving off and knew that he had to lend a hand.

Chuck removed his wetsuit and stowed his $14,000 surfboard on the way to an early opening cafĂ©. Grabbing two extra hot skinny flat whites and a sachet or two of sugar, Chuck headed back to the beach, looking to offer a shoulder. The darkened spirit was in the place that Chuck had last seen them. Walking in a non-confrontational manner, Chuck quickly realized that the figure was a lady, a damsel potentially in distress. Chuck approached cautiously, after all, this person was unfamiliar to Chuck and although she was giving off all sorts of non verbal SOS’s, Chuck couldn’t be sure that she wasn’t just some methamphetamine junkie on the come down, ready to roll some good Samaritan for his loose change so that she could get her next fix.

Offering the hot cup of brew, Chuck said good morning to the young lady. Somewhat startled by the unexpected company (which was odd, since the beach was empty and Chuck had approached from at least 50 metres without making any effort to quiet his approach). The young lady lifted her forehead off her arms that were spread across her raised knees and looked at Chuck. Chuck was taken aback by her appearance. This attractive lady had been ravished by stress, worry, lack of sleep and sand blasting from sitting on the beach all night as the wind whipped in off the ocean. The young lady reached for the gift of coffee and took a long pull on the contents of the cup. As she eagerly gulped, Chuck decided not to offer the sugar sachet, assuming that she was sweet enough. The young lady gestured for Chuck to pull up some space next to her, and never being one to disappoint, Chuck obliged. The adventurer and the troubled soul spent the next 20 minutes sitting in silence, staring at the spectacular surf drinking their coffees.

As the morning began to warm up, Chuck felt a certain urge and knew that it was time to make a move.  Removing the lid of his take away coffee cup, Chuck downed the last of his coffee and smiled at the young lady. As Chuck was lowering his cup and preparing to act, the young lady reached over and grabbed Chuck by his right forearm, “please stay a little longer” she asked. Chuck grimaced; his stomach was churning and his butt crack was beginning to sweat, it was time for his morning constitutional.

Taking a deep breath, Chuck focused on clenching his sphincter and looked at the young lady, hoping like hell that she would start talking which at least would serve as a distraction to the mounting pressure in Chuck’s bowels. Chuck starting grabbing the beach sand with his toes and using that pressure to temper the uprising in his small intestine.

The young lady cleared her obviously dry throat, pushed her long brown hair behind her ear in order to give her a clear sight line to Chuck and introduced herself as Chande (there is meant to be an accent over the e but Chuck doesn’t have the technological capacity to figure out how to do it – anyway, its pronounced Shan day). Chuck offered a reassuring smile, which could be easily construed as somewhat strained considering how quickly the urge to poop was coming on.

Reading the situation, Chuck maintained his silence, staring out to the surf, trying not to think about his Royal Dalton and luscious toilet paper waiting at home.

“Thank you so much for the coffee” said Chande “I really needed it. Actually, I really needed the company”

“You’re welcome,” responded Chuck, sweat imperceptibly forming on his forehead.

Chande continued, “I didn’t think I would see anyone out here this early, I was feeling lonely and horrible and I was having dark thoughts, and even when the sun started to come up I was still miserable. And then you showed up with the best coffee that I’ve ever had and I started to feel traces of being alive again. Are you a guardian angel?”

Chuck ran his hands over his face (cleverly removing the beads of sweat) and turned to face Chande. “No, I’m no guardian angel Chande, I’m just a guy who sensed a troubled soul and thought to lend a hand”.

“Well, its much appreciated and much needed” smiled Chande, “I haven’t really had anyone to talk to about things”.

Chuck’s stomach growled and he coughed, “Chande, if you need to talk, you have someone here who is willing and able to listen”.

“I don’t even know your name” said Chande.

“It’s Chuck, Chuck Long,” said Chuck as he glanced at his wrist, regretting that he hadn’t put his watch back on. How on earth would he track how long past his constitutional he was and thus how close to breaking point? Chuck would have to fall back on his sailing days and use the sun as a clock. Subtly checking the sun’s location, Chuck calculated that he was now 7 minutes past dump time, he’d likely have 45 minutes to hold onto this puppy before all hell breaks loose and he gave Chande a big steaming reason to kill herself.

Continued on Wednesday….


  1. Great bricks of detail. I look forward to finding out how you deal with this troubled soul.

  2. Has Chuck been to creative writing lessons?

  3. I was just about to ask the same question! Surely chucks literary prowess has come from some professional coaching of sort?

  4. I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing information that is actually helpful. Find the recipe for Moroccan Spices Blend and other ginger recipes at Aromatic Spices.