The Legend of the Green Bread
I was leaning against a boulder on Uluwatu beach, watching disco lights and reggae music dance across hanging vegetation and out over the waves. Suddenly a hobbling little goblin of a man crawled out of the shadows.
“Hey mate,” I said. “How ya feelin?”
“Aw Ben,” he said in his thickly Australian accent. “Is that you?”
And it was fucking Sammy.
“Aw shit dude, I just threw up,” he said cheerily.
“Wow, really? Great.”
“Bri did too.”
I followed him back to the spot I’d left not two minutes ago. Sammy was stumbling a bit but Bri was twirling on her heels, not sure which way was down.
“We’re goin’ back to the hotel mate!” Sammy said, trying to support Bri by the arm on top of his intoxicated sways. “Neither of you are going anywhere,” I said, then sighed, “without me.”
A few hours earlier, Sammy and I had checked into our hotel room, which included aircon and a pool but no potable water. That left only one thing worth drinking.
“Let’s hit the bar and get some Bintangs!” was Sammy’s warcry. We asked around to see if anyone wanted to join and Bri volunteered. When we finally got ourselves seated and thirsts satiated, one thing was damned obvious. Sammy and I were both pining for this neat, dark-haired, longlegged and literary Kiwi girl. But only one of us was good at conversation and familiar with booze and parties.
I felt a bit dejected, but I also felt like I didn’t want to compete with someone who was turning out to be one of my best mates. I decided to hit the beach.
After descending a stupid number of winding, stonecarved steps down to the sand, I did my usual thing and tried to find things the average party-goer might miss. I crawled around rocky boulders, cringed as some lads got uncomfortably close to a venomous seasnake, flirted around a bit (they all had boyfriends), and of course, subtly kept tabs on my new besty and erstwhile bae.
It came time to head back to the boulders and relieve myself of two or three Bintangs when I was met with my spiritbrother’s beautifully drunken entrance. He and Bri had had more than just two or three Bintangs. A lot more. So I jostled and hustled and planted my feet to get them up those godforsaken stairs, and as they stumbled back into the hotel, I quickly swung into a mini-mart and grabbed a jar of chocolate peanut spread and a perfectly cubed loaf of presliced green bread.
When I found both of them back in the room Sammy and I were sharing, he stared back at me wide-eyed and totally entranced. “Brew. It’s fuckin’ beautiful,” he said, devouring the mysteriously coloured wheatsquares and delectable chocolatey spread. “Look Bri, brid! Green brid!” he said in that parody of a Kiwi accent we’d developed specifically to use when Bri was around. Bri was a bit beyond saying anything that wasn’t strictly necessary, but the look on her face of sweet relief said more than words ever could.
“But,” Sammy asked, turning to me, “how the FUCK did you KNOW! Bri and I were just fantasising about buying this stuff like, four hours ago!”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Some things are just meant to be, I guess.”
After a few more minutes in heaven, Sammy started to radiate. “Brew,” he said, “It’s all so clear to me now. I’m green bread. You’re green bread. Don’t you SEE? EVERYTHING IS GREEN BREAD.”
And then he and my erstwhile crush fell asleep in eachothers’ arms, though sick as all hell for it, while I lay in bed feeling at the same time dejected and relieved that I was there to get them home safe.
But hey. That’s life. It appears one way and becomes the other. We strive for an outcome and it dissolves like sand. We push and life pulls, we pull and life pushes. We coast by on weird synchronicity. Later that night, I sat alone on the beach smoking a cigarette, letting the artificial relaxation of the tobacco pool and drive me into the sound of the water. At that moment, while I smoked myself into the sea and lay greedily feasting on the sensations of sand through my hands and waves against my ears that Sammy was right.
You. Me. Love. Life.
Everything we know is really just a strange coincidence involving a jar of chocolate peanut spread and, most importantly, a loaf of green bread.
Cover by Fabrice Dussol