Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
I had just seen David Attenborough off at the airport – as one does – and was in a hurry to meet Audrey Hepburn, when I bumped into Fast Eddie. By the desperate look on his roguish face I sensed problems. Despite my insistence that I was in a rush to meet the Ms Hepburn he pleaded a few moments of my time. We repaired to the airport bar.
Apart from a couple seated at a corner table, we were the only people in the place. Fast Eddie, regardless of my obvious need to be getting along, ordered a second round of drinks. This was back in the eighties and the barman at the old Quito airport made a powerfully mean Bloody Mary and I was well know enough to get credit there. Eddie rambled on about having problems with some young lady’s father. I recall it was something to do with her claiming to be pregnant. But I was not giving him my full attention.
Now Fast Eddie, was infamous in our Ecuadorian ex-pat community for the speed with which he could bed a young lady. On one famed instance and from the balcony of his first floor flat overlooking the Parque de Carolina, he hailed a female who was jogging the perimeter of the said park. In less than five minutes he convinced her there were more enjoyable ways of exercising and she, swayed by such disarming suavity, abandoned the circuit, crossed the street and popped upstairs to learn more.
Prior to running into Eddie I had just said goodbye to David Attenborough and his crew, who I had had the pleasure of helping during the filming of a sequence for the documentary, Life on Earth. My concern now was that I would be late for the one chance in my life to speak to a real live Goddess. Perhaps you can understand, there was I, flush with artificial self importance; the last thing I wanted to do was concentrate on was Eddie’s latest predicament.
While Eddie was waffling on, I had been distractedly looking over his shoulder at the couple in the far corner. The man appeared nervous, repeatedly checking his wristwatch and snatching nervous glances in the direction of the entrance door. As if in an attempt to console him, the woman was leaning across the table and stroking his face. I tried being firm with Eddie. His troubles could wait my sympathies but Quito’s Mayor and his honoured gueast would not. I attempted to interrupt him, explaining that as president of the foreign press association, I was to meet Audrey Hepburn during her visit to Ecuador in her role of UNICEF ‘s roving ambassador.
It did not work. Eddie’s thought his troubles were of more important than my frivolous mingling with the internationally famous. His long-winded account was going over my head when my attention was diverted to a large, irate looking woman who erupted through the doorway. On spotting the pair of love birds in the far corner, she charged across the room and started a verbal and physical assault on the pair. Listening to her almost incoherent Spanish curses, threats and other reproaches, I gathered the man – “un bastardo and un hijo de puta” – had left both her and their two children for this puta and were attempting to fly off together into the sunset.
The ill-fated rascal, after taking some pretty hard knocks from the enraged woman’s handbag, lost his temper, ceased defending himself and went on the attack. Julio, the barman, intelligently ignored the family dispute but Eddie – a would-be Latin gentleman –on turning only to see the man hitting the woman, rushed over to give el bastardo a hands on lesson in good manners. A few blows were exchanged until, sadly for him, both the supposedly wronged woman, el bastardo and la puta turned on poor Eddie.
You may ask where I stood in this fracas? Well I can tell you. I and the barman remained at the bar. You see, I’ve been in a few altercations in my time and cannot deny enjoying some of them – but one province I never trespass in, is a matrimonial squabble. Another reason for me to stay off the battlefield was a vision of Audrey Hepburn opening the following day’s newspaper and reading the headline, “International Press President Punches Puta! ”
All I wanted to get to the Town Hall and meet the Hepburn. I knew nothing and cared less about the outcome of the unhappy drama of the ménage à trios and my friend taking part in front of me. Fortunately, for me unfortunately, two female police officers arrived to separate the protagonists, the trio wanted to press GBH charges against Eddie. To save him landing in jail, I was obliged to vouch for his good character and this further delayed me. In the end, the prolonged negotiations to keep him at liberty made me too late for my one and only chance to meet the Goddess.
Was it not dreadful enough, my day and hence my dream had been ruined? No it apparently was not. Eventually escaping the airport together, Fast Eddie was in high spirits and. I asked him how, unlike myself, he could be so cheerful after all the commotion. He had the damned nerve to inform me he had arranged a date with one of the female, police officers for that very same evening.
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