The band at Ned Kelly’s finishes up at 1:30am. The ferry back to Peng Chau is at 3:00am, and you better be there because the next one isn’t until 7:00am. So this leaves over an hour to kill, and it is usually killed at Castro’s, which is around the corner and up a flight of stairs. The owner of Ned Kelly’s also own this fine watering hole as well. So the custom is to have a nightcap or two at Castro’s before the voyage home. Having a nightcap after an evening at Ned Kelly’s is about as necessary as trying to sell the latest software to a duck.
By now Franco was at the bouncing off the walls stage. Mind you, I had quite a few myself…quite a few. But I never seem to reach the stagger stage and I don’t slur when I speak. I may be spouting total nonsense but it is at least coherent. Getting my friend up the stairs took a bit of doing, so I climbed them a step behind in case falling clarinet players started raining down the steps. We entered the bar that had about a dozen folks in there, and Franco announced “Good Evening my friends! Today is my Birthday!” And the only thing I could think of was “Oh….shit!” Shot glasses were being loaded in front of us. Many in fact. Everyone loves Franco. Well-wishers were coming over to wish him well, as they tend to do. By now, Franco was at the stage that when he was speaking to someone, he had his arms around their shoulders and was face to face to them, telling them what a wonderful friend they were and how lucky he was to have them as a friend. He was poured a tumbler of some liquid that looked like what came out of a 1953 Buick I once bought that had sat for 30 years when I cleaned out the gas tank. Kinda smelled like that as well. He gulped, I gasped. It was getting time to get a taxi to get to the ferry. Then just before we went to leave, the owner sent over shots of Jagermeister. Yeah. We left.
Getting Franco down the steps was much harder than getting him up the steps, so I went first to give him something to lean on. We made it to the street somehow and discovered that it was now raining fairly hard. It’s a two block walk to the taxi stand, and Franco bounced off of every store along the way. I stayed on the outside to prevent him from landing in the street so he wouldn’t have to spend the next day removing tire marks from his clothing and body. To his credit, he didn’t fall. Finally we made it to the cab and Franco opened the back door and went in on all fours, he sat upright and went to sleep. The cab driver looked worried and asked where we were going. I said one of the very few Chinese words I somewhat knew that’s pronounced kinda like “Loco Mota”. Which is what the pier is called for the Star Ferry back to Peng Chau. I think the driver thought it best to get us there as fast as possible and literally flew the city like he was being chased.
We made it in time, soaking wet, and I entered the boat supporting a very drunk Italian clarinet player on my shoulder. I posted a few days ago a photo taken on the ferry, where they have bags to vomit in, should the need to do so comes up. I thought it would be a very wise choice to sit right there…just in case. He sat down and within a minute was sound asleep. About 15 minutes later he suddenly woke up and said to me, “Scott! Tell me something…” And the next 45 seconds or so were filled with words that could have passed for scat singing. I couldn’t understand a single one. He finished the question and added, “What do you think? Do you agree?” Hmmm. I took a chance. I came back with, “Hell yeah! Who wouldn’t?” Whew! Right answer. He broke out into a big smile, got me in another headlock hug and said, “You’re a good man!” And went back to sleep.
Time for a shower, got a boat to catch soon.