The Hotel that Michael Hutchence Died In ~ Joseph Ridgwell

April 1, 2008

It was a tough time, a time when desperate men do desperate things. Blondie was working in Shakespeare’s pies on the main drag, but I was off work with a broken arm. As a casual hospital employee I wasn’t entitled to any sick pay, and as an illegal immigrant I wasn’t entitled to any welfare either, so I was dead broke.
      Luckily I was still able to eat. A perk of Blondie’s job was that he got to take home leftover pies. At the end of each shift he returned to the flat dragging a bin liner’s worth of assorted pies and pastries behind him.  I’d jump up and stick my good arm inside and grab a pie, or a croissant or a sausage roll, or something. So although broke I wasn’t starving, in fact I was putting on weight.
     One night Blondie came home without the bin liner. I was sitting in an armchair nursing a longneck of Toohey’s and feeling peckish, despite the fact I’d been living off stale pies for over a week,
‘Where’s the bag, I’m Lee Marvin?’ I asked.
Blondie marched to the fridge, grabbed a cold one, and collapsed into an armchair opposite,
‘I got the tin tack.’
I felt a small panic well up inside me. Did this mean no more free pies?
‘What for?’
Blondie flipped open the beer cap with the use of his teeth and took a large swig, ‘Foul and abusive language.’
‘Huh?’
‘These drunk pricks come in don’t they? You know rich Aussie types, pissed as. And well, I was tired and they were annoying. And when one of the cunts starts mocking my accent I told him to fuck off.’
‘And the boss heard ya?’
‘Jinxed or what? The freak was standing right behind me, nightmare scenario.’
‘Shit, now we ain’t got a breadwinner in the house.’
‘I know, what the fuck we ganna do?’
      Strangely, for the last few days, I’d been thinking about just such an eventuality, and what with my broken arm and everything,
‘You know I heard an interesting convo on the bus the other day.’
‘Tell me everything,’ said Blondie.
‘Ok, it’s a long, long shot, but before you find another job, I think it’s worth a try.’
Blondie was confused, ‘Whaddya mean? Before I find another job?’
I raised my broken arm in silent protest.
‘Ok, ok, but stop talking in riddles?’
       I stood up and grabbed another cold one from the fridge,
‘Listen, it could be total bollocks or an urban myth, but the other day when I was coming back from Shark bay…’
At the mention of Shark bay Blondie’s ears pricked up and he cut me short,
‘Can’t work, but can go to the beach…’
‘Shut up and pay attention. There were these two young Scottish geezers on the bus.’
‘Yeah?’
‘Yeah, they got on at Double Bay and I overheard everything.’
‘And?’
‘This is the interesting bit. They were talking about the Ritz Carlton hotel and rich Jewish women.’
‘What the fuck?’
‘According to them they’d just met two milfs in the hotel. It was all pre-arranged.’
Again Blondie was confused, ‘Huh?’
‘I’m talking gigolo action comrade, getting paid for sex!’
Blondie spurted a mouthful of beer onto the carpet, ‘Are you serious?’
‘Totally, these guys were genuine. And they were just ordinary looking geezers, nowhere near as handsome as me.’
‘Or me?’ Asked Blondie.
I gave Blondie an odd look and then continued, ‘Apparently the hotel is a well known pick up joint for bored socialites looking for some toy boy action. All we’ve got to do is go into the bar and wait for a wealthy divorcee or bored wife to walk in, and give us the sign.’
‘What sort of sign?’
‘Fuck knows, but there’s always a sign in situations like these.’
‘Shit, it sounds like something out of Midnight Cowboy!’
I leaned over and clinked my bottle against Blondie’s, ‘Might as well get drunk to celebrate our new venture a?’
Blondie winked, ‘Fucking A!’

I awoke the next day, sometime after noon, with a raging hangover. Blondie was still asleep, crashed out on the living room floor in the recovery position. As I stepped over his prostrate body to get to the toilet, the urban myth of meeting rich Jewish older sorts floated through my bleary head. Maybe it was true, I thought as I took a healthy beer shit. Who knows? It could be. Double Bay was only a short bus ride away and I reckoned there was no harm in trying.
    After wiping and flushing I returned to the living room and gave Blondie a swift kick in the gut, ‘Come on, get up, we’re going to Double Bay to hook up with some loaded socialites!’
Blondie jumped up with a start, ‘Now ya talking!’
        We left the flat and stepped out into the bright yellow light of a perfect Sydney day, weather wise. I turned to Blondie, 
‘Right let’s hit Double Bay, find the hotel, and ave a few hairs of the dog.’
Blondie smiled from ear to ear, ‘Then wait to be chatted up by sexy, mega loaded, old Jewish birds!’
‘Bring it on!’
       By the time we got to Double Bay the sun was beating down with an unusual ferocity. Being both hung over and broke we were jittery, and as everyone knows hotels drinks are expensive. I decided the best ploy was to pick up a six pack from the nearest bottle shop and drink it to calm our nerves.
     Once we had the booze we retreated to a park and sat on a bench. As we sat there, drinking in the burning sun, I had a rare moment of clarity. What the fuck was I playing at? Imagining I could walk into a five star hotel and pick up a wealthy lady who would then pay me to have sex with her. Was I off my nut? As the doubts came thick and fast I told myself to think positive.
     Once the six-pack had been taken care of we brought another, and by the time we rolled up to the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton we were both boozy,
‘Did you know this is the hotel where Michael Hutchence topped himself?’
Blondie stepped inside a giant revolving door, ‘Who?’
I waited for him to reappear, which he duly did, ‘Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS. The geezer who inexplicably dumped Helena Christensen for that old minger Paula Yates!’ ‘Yeah, I remember. Geezer must ave lost it!’
‘Maybe the Yates had a magic vagina.’
   This time we stepped inside the revolving doors together,
‘Magic vagina or no magic vagina, there’s no way I’d swap a Danish super model for Geldof’s sloppy seconds.’
There wasn’t much I could say to that because Hutchence’s wonky decision defied all logic,
‘Let’s hit the bar and try to act normal.’
    We walked into an empty bar, not a rich Jewess in sight or any women for that matter. Not that we were sure what a rich Jewess looked like, maybe a cross between Sophia Loren and the older bird in the Graduate?
     When we tried to order drinks, we didn’t get very far. I don’t think the tee-shirts and thongs helped much, or the broken arm, or our boozy demeanours. Within seconds four serious looking hotel staff approached,
     ‘Excuse me gentlemen, but are you residents?’ The smarmiest looking of the uniformed quartet demanded.
‘Residents?’ Queried Blondie.
I stepped in to sort matters, ‘Yes, we’re in suite 270,’ I mumbled.
The smarmy fuck flashed his colleagues a knowing smile,
‘I’m sorry sir, but there is no room 270, I’m afraid I must ask you to leave.
    Outside we stood on the exposed pavement and wondered what to do next,
Blondie began grumbling, ‘Weren’t any Jewish birds in there anyway.’
‘Maybe they only go on certain days,’ I wondered allowed.
Blondie shrugged his shoulders and licked his lips, ‘Could do with another beer.’

‘Yeah so could I. Back to the Cross then?’
‘Let’s go.’

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One Response to “The Hotel that Michael Hutchence Died In ~ Joseph Ridgwell”

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