One morning several days, weeks, or months ago, as I was lying in bed recovering from the strain of having to brush my teeth and fetch a mug of coffee from the nearby bungalow restaurant, an idea occurred to me. Funny how ideas seem to occur at odd moments, though I'm not complaining, because usually they don't occur at all. If you find yourself waking up on a beautiful tropical beach along the Gulf of Siam, what's there to think about? The brain is an organ of convoluted nerve tissue that is generally better off for being undisturbed by the irritating bramble of ideas. Nevertheless, occasionally, one may crop up that's worth tending.
The idea of that moment concerned the establishment of a local newspaper to chronicle the course of events, such as they are, that constitute the fabric of life, such as it is, here on Maenam Beach. After all, we get very little media attention. There are no New York Times correspondents, BBC reporters, or Time journalists here. We're not important enough for those people. It's true, there's no war going on here, no riots, serial killers, or professional sports. And as for the weather, sometimes it rains, but mostly it doesn't. So, life is simple--although that doesn't mean it's completely devoid of circumstance. To prove this, we need a newspaper. Even a fool knows that without the media nothing matters, nothing counts.
A number of names for this newspaper were considered. The Beach-Bum Rag, The Paradise Tribune, The Timeless Telegraph, and The Maenam Sun. Upon reviewing these prospects within the counsel of my own thoughts, it was decided, at least for the moment, to call our newspaper The Daily Pageant. The name may be changed without notice, other than to myself, but as long as it remains the only newspaper on the beach, and as long as I remain the only person reading it, this shouldn't be a major problem.
The basic format of the paper consists of news, sports, and weather. In my capacity as publisher; senior editor; associate editor; copy editor; managing director; sales manager; foreign, domestic, and sports correspondent; and--in case there's a movie in this somewhere--best boy and key grip, I would like to submit a few excerpts from the first edition of The Daily Pageant for your perusal. So, ease into the silken folds of your favorite hammock, nestle a kitten between your loins, torch a joint, and prepare to enjoy The Daily Pageant of life on Maenam Bay.
Let's begin with a great headline-grabbing story:
DRIP DROP BOTTLE SHATTERS
Several hours past dawn this morning, a near tragic accident occurred in Bungalow #3 at Maenam Villas. The resident foreigner knocked over a glass bottle of Drip Drop drinking water while attempting to get out of bed. Apparently, the bottle had been placed beside the bed prior to the resident retiring last night. That in itself is not an uncommon practice, as many people enjoy a sip of two of Drip Drop after waking up and before getting out of bed in the morning. In this case, the said foreigner had forgotten where he'd placed the said bottle and had failed to open his eyes before sweeping open his mosquito net. Whether this ill-conceived maneuver was due to a false sense of security or just a consequence of plain stupidity has yet to be determined, and will probably remain unknown to the general public. The foreigner has admitted, however, that it was not the bottle's fault, and therefore has declined the assistance of an attorney. Permtrup, the company that bottles Drip Drop, has not been reached for comment.
In any case, aside from the irreparable damage sustained by the bottle, the accident did not result in casualties. The foreigner was clever enough to avoid stepping on the jagged shards of glass, and so escaped without injury. Had he not been so fortunate, walking would, no doubt, have become a painful ordeal, and as they say, "a man who walks in pain cannot fully enjoy a banana pancake."
Our reporter on the scene indicated that the accident had been cleared away and that only a shallow puddle of wasted Drip Drop remained. That was expected to evaporate by mid-afternoon.
SPORTS NEWS: DARTS
Several people were engaged in tossing darts at a dartboard in the bungalow restaurant yesterday. No competition seemed evident as the dart throwers played by themselves. It is known, however, that some people, while playing alone, will design their own contest. One may, for instance, set the goal of sticking a dart in each numbered section of the board in sequential order. This can take some time, but you can't lose unless you quit. Some people are stricter with themselves than others, but everyone who plays seems to enjoy the sport. Yesterday's darters were no exception. There were no fights or abusive language, and no injuries. One German boy is alleged to have played non-stop for three hours, and--at one point--scored four consecutive strikes on the bull's eye. Unfortunately, the talented Teuton wandered off before we could interview him.
And, now, for one of our most popular features:
The sun rose yesterday morning approximately around dawn, and set itself as usual behind a hillside of palm and coconut trees. The latter movement occurred shortly before nightfall. The day itself was bright and breezy, cheerful and very hot--like my gal back home. (Well, not really, but that's none of your business.) Our staff meteorologists counted 27 passing cloud formations consisting of 84 individual clouds, all of the fluffy white variety. At dusk the clouds were yellow and pastel pink.