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The Great Panther Race

January 20, 2012

The Great Panther Race was held every year. The start-line was in Mornington, and it finished in town. The most difficult stretch was through Mornington Park. I wanted to race the black panther when he came past (which he did every 45 minutes or so). I decided to take a different route to everybody else, and I announced it to everybody. People thought it was risky, but when the time came to race the phantom-like panther, even the panther thought it was an interesting choice. The panther won, obviously, but the crowd respected my efforts afterward.

I said that I would meet Jeff in the Octagon at 5:30, then we would both meet Shinako at the airport at 6. It was already 5:40, the London bus system in Mexico was complicated, and I was still looking for my locker.

I had put my red pack into a locker, but I couldn’t remember which street-corner the lockers were on. I found a set of lockers. I didn’t know if they were the right ones. I didn’t even know which locker was mine. I took a guess. The man who had rented the locker I was trying to open came to pick up his things. I explained to Mr Grump my situation. He said to try the one with the lock placed the wrong way around, and walked off with his box.

There was a half open locker next to the wrong-way-around-lock one. I opened it. My things were inside. I had thrown the lock in with my jacket and pack. I was lucky they weren’t stolen.

I took my things and walked in the direction that I thought the Octagon was in.

The pizza that I had bought and forgotten about had a cheese-cake crust, plenty of vegetables, and a potato top. I didn’t know that it had tiny sausages on it when I bought it. I realized that I couldn’t take it on the plane, and said so.

“You can take anything you want,” said Gwilym, “It’s Japan. They don’t check.”

“Still,” I said.

I broke the pizza into vague slices with my hands. Some Germans were passing by. I asked them if they would like some pizza.

“Do we have to eat it here?” one of them asked.

“No,” I told him, “You can do what you like.”

They stayed. The bigger of the two complained that they were changing the manufacturer of Guacamole at the airport.

“They have replaced their own homemade recipe with El Paso guac,” he said. “The airport  guacamole was an institution, and much beloved. El Paso is just corporate schmuck.”

Guacamole dripped on my head from a hole in the veranda ceiling. I was covered in guacamole, then hot cheese.

“I really must be in Mexico,” I laughed.

Kate came past and wanted a photograph. “Wait, wait, wait,” she said, “I need to get a photo.” And she did.

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