I'm one of those distressed youths I guess. 18, living in the sprawl that is Auckland, New Zealand. Lacking any real motivation ect. ect., my life right now is essentially an ongoing escape from undrunkenness whenever I can afford it. I am a man with an admittedly shocking palette; cheap beer (a box of 15 "Flames" will set you back $17 USD here), Woodstock, and even *shudder* Smirnoff Ice if I'm in dire need to coma out in a ditch, thanks to our countries blessed binge drinking culture...but hey, I'm getting off point. I'm supposed to tell you how mean my night was right? Hell, why did I even bother laying down an exposition...
Anyway, here's the situation. Its Tuesday night and I'm chilling at a mates house watching some old episodes of Tales from the Crypt. As you may well know, we find ourselves in the chinese year of the Dragon (badass), so our city celebrates with the Chinese Lantern Festival for a week a year. It has been my tradition to get so amazingly drunk at this festival every year that a night of hijinks and general shenanigans is always, always to be expected, no exceptions. I lost my drunk-ginity to the Lantern Festival when I was 14 years old on a quarter Smirnoff mixed into some raspberry schweppes I brought from Burger King. Oh so classy I hear you saying, well...there's a night that not even I want to go into detail about. Last night though, I slapped 45 bucks in my friend Clems hand and sent him off to the liquor store to buy some Jameson. Tonight, we would drink like kings (for a student on social welfare), sitting atop our mighty loft and knocking back shots before hailing our coachman to take us into the city for, as he called it, "an oriental extravaganza".
You can imagine my dismay when he came back with a bottle of "Teachers Highland Cream". "Bro, what?" I could only manage to blurt as I looked down at the meagre bottle. "Sorry man, they didn't have Jameson". His apology was insincere, and the crypt-keeper cackled demonically in the background.
Of course, liquor is liquor to me. I hadn't got what I had wanted but once we were into the bottle proper I realized that. Another mate, the combustible "T" came over and we managed to drain that bad boy to a half in about 20 odd minutes before Clems brother drove us into the city. By the time we were in the city proper I was well and truly "on the buzz". I had left my social inhibitors (along with my I.D...and cigarettes) in the car and the nights festivities were about to begin. We made haste to the local graveyard and promptly finished the bottle, belligerently mumbling to the dead like the drunken testosterone-filled badasses we were before heading over to the park.
It's only when I'm mashed that I truly appreciate this city. The trees of Albert Park drifted in the warm night wind, and there were some seriously mean lanterns there. Of course, I cant remember much detail..just take my word it was some beautiful stuff. Oh and there was a ton, a ton of people there attending the festivities. Just how I liked it, whiskey in my blood and on the prowl for some adventure...I slunk around the masses, my yellow wolf-eyes glowing for any hot babe in the crowd. Yes, that's how I decided I would kick things off.
I ended up sweet talking some honeys on a park bench. We all know how easy this is when inebriated, and these young wimmin were thoroughly soused themselves. I hussled a pash and a couple of smokes and darted back into the crowd, not even looking back over my shoulder. A hunter is always focused on the quarry that lies ahead. It was at this time I noticed my friends had sort of disappeared, but meh...the night was young and I still had a good mate flowing through my bloodstream anyway.
I slunk around for a bit, listening to some chinese reggae at the bandstand (it sounded trippy) and scabbing some more cigarettes off my hapless targets; walking up with warm smiles and an open palm. "Excuse me mate?" I asked a young gent sitting with his lady in his lap. "I'm fiending some nicotine, you know how it is. Any chance you could help a young man down on his luck?". Of course, I probably sounded more like "Gimmeyerfeckincigsmate", but regardless he gave me two menthols and I guess I was grateful.
I believe it was at this stage the night got truly interesting, for there, lying discreetly under a particularly cool giant lantern of a dude riding a dragon was...whiskey? I almost couldn't believe it myself. I felt like Captain Haddock in "The Crab with the Golden Claws" (or was it the land of black gold?), seeing things in a thirst-fuelled mirage. My disbelief almost kept me from walking over to that lantern and inspecting...but I am by nature a curious and impulsive soul, and to my delight I knelt down and picked up a bottle of Jameson 12 year reserve.
It felt like I was holding my firstborn in my arms. I opened that beast up and sniffed to make sure someone hadn't pissed in it. Sure enough, whiskey, and quarter filled. I took a sip and it tasted like sex. I could only close my eyes and lift my head to the night sky. I felt like howling, but instead I ushered a polite thank you to John Jameson and all his sons and took another hit.
At that moment it all came crashing down. Well actually nah...sorry, pretty much lied there. It was about 20 minutes of walking and drinking and stealing some kebabs from the foodstalls before the fleuro-yellow vests of Auckland's finest brought me back to the real world. There were three of them shunting their way towards me in the crowd. A big Maori dude, and two mean-looking white guys. I already knew what they wanted, they wanted my Jameson. The CBD is a liquor ban area you see, but they would see me dead before I handed over what was left of my alcohol to them. I suddenly felt like a wolf again.
I probably snarled and took a dump in the bush as all canines do before I finally turned on my heels and ran in the opposite direction. The 5-0 gave chase and I couldn't care less. This is what I wanted, the thrill and adventure of the Lantern Festival. Selfish I know, but I was enjoying myself and I'm sure the cops were too. I darted in and out of clusters of people, "Stop that man!" they yelled. I laughed, they would never catch me! I was, at that moment, the dashing rogue...stealing the hearts of women and the kebabs of hard-working respectable men. I jumped a rock and tore through a bush and started gassing it down towards Queen street. Some woman tried to trip me up, I yelled some foul language in her face as I tore past. The police were a little behind me but nontheless putting up a solid pursuit.
The path leading down to the main street from the park is a steep one but I ran down that thing at 50k. The sauce was my spinach and I was invincible...or so I thought until I tripped on a tree root and fell face down into solid pavement. It was the small window of oppurtunity the pigs needed, they hauled my bleeding ass off the ground and put me in bracelets. Luckily, I had finished my bottle by then. "Well played gentlemen" or "gettouttermefeckinfacepig" I said, knowing that the gig was up. I was put in the back of the van and dropped off at castle street police station to be processed (but only after having a lengthy and philosophical discussion regarding the complexities of being young with a man in a similiar situation in the back of the paddywagon). They made me take off my docs and jacket, I swore I wasn't carrying any weapons and I think they knew I was harmless enough because they gave me a warning and sent me off with my belt and cash in a plastic bag. Another fine denizen of the city at night sympathized with my ordeal outside and gave me 3 Marlboro reds, bless the drunk and happy!
I walked down to queen street and just as I did I saw my two dear friends Clem and T drinking out front of Danny Dolan's. We sat there and drank beer as the fireworks went off from the Sky Tower, smoked, and talked general drunken nonsense. The sun began to rise and as it did the Lanterns died down for another year, but I was content. 4 years and still maintaining that strong sense of tradition, and next year? Hell, I better not even remember next years Lantern Festival.