Mogan, Gran Canaria, 1976. We were poor, not dirt farmer poor you understand. I’m not Clarence Carter, the rains hadn’t washed the crops away, my mom wasn’t called Lucille and she wouldn’t have been able to afford the bus fare into town even if she was. No, we were poor spear-fishermen, living in a van and I was beginning to feel a little like Patches as the fish had become as elusive as his crops. Just before Christmas we landed a twenty seven pound Monkfish, sadly the Spaniards of Gran Canaria didn’t eat Monkfish, but the local cats seemed to enjoy it.
New Years Eve approached and I guess I looked glum. I was eighteen, I required food, alcohol and female company – I wasn’t particularly concerned which order I got them – but I wasn’t getting any. The Master had planned a surprise, he told me he had salted away a little money and on New Years Eve we were going to the local bar. ‘Food,’ he said, ‘would have to be Tapas,’ (they were free in those days) but we could have a drink and if I could manage a smile we may even attract some female company – Hurrah.
The night arrived and after a good wash in the sea (maybe that’s why the fish left?) We set out for a New Years Eve to remember. Everyone in Jose’s Bar greeted us with their usual gusto, which was to generally ignore us. In the past there had been an issue with myself, a girl and her father and I guess you could say a little unpleasantness with some American campers when ‘Mudguts’ and I had caused what the local Guardia described as a riot (over reactionaries – tut) We were determined to enjoy ourselves and soon everyone loosened up, there was talk of the fish, how the weather was possibly going to blow up in January and eye contact with a senorita. The master gave me one of those looks (you know the one, it says. “Stop it!!) when her beau glared at me. By quarter to twelve I was excited and looked forward to toasting the New Year with our friends. At this point they all disappeared. I mean everyone, even the barman. There was a dog, I guess he was Spanish, but he looked as happy as we did, we waited for half an hour and when no one returned? We finished our drinks and headed back to the van. To this day I still don’t know where everyone went 🙂
Happy New Year everyone I hope it brings us much joy and literary success (yeah I know this isn’t literature, but I’m happy) See you on the other side 🙂