Mon, 30 Mar 2020
I am an inveterate liar but you can believe this – you can believe this.
In the jungle you live in perpetual fear and motion. Everything you want to eat wants to eat you. You are never dry, fuck, you quickly forget what dry is. There is no night or day, just endless green canopy and the deafening cacophony of seething evolution. The jungle is my birth, my funeral, my Alcatraz.
Before I was abandoned here I was a cameraman. I still had my camera with me on the morning I woke up to find that the comments I made the night before about the wife of the chief guide; the ones that even I thought might be a little too near to the knuckle, were. For the first two days of walking in circles I brought/ dragged the camera with me and recorded a light-hearted account of my experiences; getting stung about 100 times by very large bees or very small birds; being hunted by something that smelled like a dead horse until I climbed up a poisonous tree, contracting what feels like herpes after trying to eat a bright blue frog, that sort of thing. I will get an agent and she will sell this film to Netflix when I get out of here. I will retire and buy myself a four-wheeler and live in the mountains of Colorado, somewhere like Ouray or Grand Lake. I will ski – I hate skiing but I will ski.
Then on day three I realised. This film will not end well for me. They will find my body, one day in the future with my camera and they will call my ex wife and ex children and they will get an agent and Netflix will pay them enough money to live in Colorado. So I threw the camera in a lake – no skiing for them the bastards.
The jungle can be beautiful. After it has rained, a billion tiny trickles of sunlight pierce the canopy, illustrating the wingtips of fornicating insects with threshing glittersticks. Everywhere jaws, including mine are agape, devouring every ounce of warmth as if it were a desperate first kiss in a bus shelter. It can be beautiful but you are punished for it.
On the fourth day I stopped walking in circles because I stopped walking altogether. Just as I slumped onto my haunches, head in my hands, the geostationary satellite over Okinawa blinked on and my telephone sparked into life. I fumbled it out of my pocket and realised I had no-one to call. So I called them.
Linda – wearing her exhausted monotone like a medal ‘why are you calling?’
‘To say goodbye to the kids.’
Linda ‘You already did that.’
‘I am in a jungle, I have no food, I am going to die. I haven’t done that sort of goodbye.’
A pause – the sound of reluctant children.
Daughter and son in unison (3 and 4) ‘hello’
‘Daddy has called because. Because I love you. I wanted you to know.’
Son ‘Are you coming to see us?’
‘No, but I wanted.’
Silence. Then static. Then. Just the noise of the jungle. An orchestra in my head. A lullaby. A full stop.