I don't know why, fights just break out around me. One minute I am on the dance floor at the wildly indigenous Surabaya Nite Club, and then there is some sort of altercation involving payment, and next thing I know I am crouched under the hand basin and there is literally an angry mob at the door. Latifah, the Surabaya's resident trans, is standing in the doorway, legs apart, arms locked in the frame, looking positively majestic, at least from where I am on the floor. She is protecting me, God knows why, I don't deserve it.
'I may look like a woman' she snarls. Honestly, I have never heard anyone actually snarl before. 'I may look like a woman but believe me I still have the strength of a man and I will use it'.
I regain consciousness underneath a sailor from Hull. Yeah, he sounds like the start of a bad limerick and it doesn't get any better. I can hear my friend involved in yet another altercation in the next room. I am babbling on and on about the Battle of Agincourt. I have somehow conceived the notion that if I just keep babbling random facts about medieval military history my friend won't get the kicking he is probably overdue for. It seems to be working. The sailor from Hull helps me with my clothes, leads me gently to my friend and thence to the door, all with a bemused look on his face, and I babble all the way.
My friend dives off a small bridge into a culvert. We are singing Iggy at the tops of our ragged voices. 'I shot myself up...' The Police arrive rather promptly. I didn't know it was illegal to jump into a culvert. Seems like a victimless crime to me. All he is is a bit wet and grazed. 'I refuse to be harassed by Police of lesser intellectual standing than myself', I announce sententiously. 'Well, that wouldn't be very difficult then, would it', says the officer sarcastically. I have no answer to that one. That wasn't supposed to happen. The last thing we need around here is witty cops.
In a car, somehow. We are getting a lift home, our dignity more or less intact. We sing Iggy at the tops of our ragged voices. 'I shot myself down...' Someone, not me I am afraid to say, has the presence of mind not to reveal where we are staying. We are dropped off a block away and with a bit of wandering and some more sterling imaginary accompaniment by Iggy we are home. *
*This account is highly fictionalised. Latifah** is real though. You don't get any more real than Latifah. Latifah, honey, you really did save my sorry little white ass and I wish you all the luck and love in the world.
** Not Her Real Name.