It’s late June 2014 and I’ve just returned from the sea, my wet shorts hang above a lone candle in the centre of the tent, replacing the usual scents of magnesium, matches, piss and rancid butter with the stink of salted seas. Too humid in here to light my secondary candle, the match-heads are just flying off the wood and pinging off the walls. I did it. Great stuff. But now my tent not only contains two burning candles but two hundred match-heads… And the butane tanks of course.
Hard, drying and hot candle wax is splashed across the floor, mostly to fill in the holes that the bastard ants make use of to plunder the butter (table spread actually) but also to entomb the many bastard ants who are then trapped in the killing field when I seal the exits shut. Poring hot wax on ants is fun in a terrible guilty, Caligula, Damon, devil child kinda way. I make new candles with all the wax from the floor that isn’t barring doors to the soil, but it contains so many dead insects that the flame never stops guttering as the heavy bodies of the green electric ants are dragged into the vortex of wax and up along the burning wick. These candles get pinched out ten minutes before I sleep as for ten minutes after the candle goes out the Mosquitos outside drone in a furious outrage that their midnight sun has gone in. There are so many Mosquitos, it’s like a mouse constantly screaming every time a torch goes off or the candle flickers or my leg casts a shadow over the tent wall. There’s a fat black widow spinning in the tent window.
In the middle is the aforementioned dryer, one hook and a candle or two, used for swimming trunks, or if it’s monsooning really bad (it often is), my sleeping bag gets hung up to steam while I wait patiently. In one corner is the flammables and reading material and some empty and some full bottles that I piss in (the Mosquitos in the creek where I’m camped do their best so I really can leave the tent after it rains, I get bitten so bad I feel faint from blood loss) in another corner are stacked the perishables, food and beer, in another my feet and then my little square of a head in the last corner. That’s my tent. I hope you forgive me for painting this picture but I’ve spent… No more than five nights, in the last two months not sleeping in this smelly little tent. She is my world at the minute, therefore it is another state to
Someone’s just called me. Just called my phone… I don’t know the number, they didn’t say anything. This is very interesting, to me, very interesting because… Nobody has called me in at least eight months. I forgot this was a phone, I genuinely forgot it could give and take calls. I can’t call ten back as I have no credit. I’m getting distracted. I’ll be asleep in a minute, spent the whole day swimming and try not to nap after eating two tins of cold ravioli.
I just saw a sea eagle.
Never mind… I’m writing this because I’m going to throw my $40 Tent away at the end of the month, she has too many holes in the floor and her sides, the outer layer has rotted pretty bad from the humidity and it’s all crusted in a fine veneer of batshit. It’s had its day. I got my monies worth and my tent got to see snowstorms for the first time and was so excited she decided to let all the snow and hail in to play with me while I was sleeping. She’s seen slow dawns over nuclear wasteland, fumbled drunken midnight set-ups on desolate Tasmanian beaches, she’s spent more days strapped between the backpack and the backpack lid then she’s spent bungee-cabled onto my friend’s bicycle, but it’s better to walk with a 3kg tent on your your back then try to pedal up a hill with 3kg on the back wheel, providing serious front wheel lift. People have left gifts in her for me, weighed down her corners when I lost my pegs, helped me set her up when I was feeling lazy. She had an old moustachioed Italian opal miner knock on her door looking for me which is a statement that stands on its own. She’s only admitted one guest (which is actually pretty remarkable as my tent does smell like figs, death and lemon-juice bile) and even though the guest was gorgeous it still felt wrong sharing my two-pole home. Her home (my tent) has been the gardens of houses for sale, land for sale, national parks and world heritage sites for sale (fuck you Abbott government), under mountains, on one of the “top ten most beautiful beaches on Earth”, in a public park, in a rainforest, behind a pub when I was too drunk to walk (woke up to find I hadn’t put the outer-layer on top and I’d managed to put two tent pegs actually through both layers of the tent and out through the floor into the ground). She stayed behind a hostel for a week and was so appalled at the hard ground and scared by the cyclone that she told me to leave without paying. She’s made state television and once a small black cat crept in and slept with me while I was in a morning haze, wondering what there is to do in Christchurch. The tent, unfortunately, has had a dead baby possum inside her and probably retains a few of the maggots though she’s been microwaved and X-rayed at customs and quarantine so many times they’re probably now super-maggots with lasers for eyes and a raging hunger for baby flesh, and I really don’t want to be responsible for introducing that to England. So she stays.
If anyone that reads this wants her along with a sleeping bag that stinks of my piss… She’ll be in the jungle. Pegged and lonely and waiting my return.
*sound of brushing teeth