The Mosquito Coast – Looking For A River

mosquito coast bookI take nothing at face value, I am proud of finding things out for myself. Don’t believe me? Tell me anything and I won’t believe it, not at first. Tell me that my shoes are black…ha! I’m not wearing any. But if I was wearing black shoes and you told me that I was, I wouldn’t believe you until I looked down and proved it, not even if I had just looked down at them five seconds earlier.

I’m not a contrarian. I’m a skeptic, a brilliant one. Once my mother told me it was time to go to bed and I asked her to show me the proof. She menacingly showed me the paddle of her canoe and I had to bow to her logic. But I asked her, defiant and proud.

Now then–

Oh yes, I was quite enjoying Paul Theroux’s book The Mosquito Coast when I came across a disturbing line: there are no straight rivers. But I’d never seen a river at all, crooked or straight. I thought I had better find out.

Sleep isn’t so easy to come by under this bridge, believe you me. One time I said a friend could share a bit of ground with me. After he was asleep a cockroach ran across his face and he stood up so quickly that he banged his head on a rusted, low-hanging pipe. This wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but earlier that very day he had given his last drink of water to a stray dog. The dog drank the water and then bit him before it ran off.

This upset him and now he had a headache as well. I don’t mess with stray dogs, and now that I’ve read most of Mosquito Coast I’m not sure I trust ice anymore either.

I had scraped together some money at my job, so I hailed a taxi cab and asked the driver to take me to the nearest river. He nodded and said, “Yeah ok!” but his accent was unfamiliar, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when he stopped in front of a nightclub called The Shiver, which was made of solid ice!

It was more ice than I had ever seen. I thought it was a very dumb idea for a club, but I suppose there are always new lows. I had a friend once who told me about a nightclub called Won Won. That’s the sound that Japanese dogs make when they bark. To get in past the velvet rope you had to say “won won!” to the security man.

If he thought there was enough pep in your yap, you got in. I’m not sure what happens inside the club. My friend was not peppy enough.

I refused to pay the cab driver because my money fell out of my pocket, down a drain, and I didn’t want to go get it. There are nastier things in the sewers than you think. I read a lot.

I ran out of the cab and tried to run into the club, but a giant of a man picked me up and threw me onto the sidewalk. I crawled over to his shoe and tried to get him to listen, but he said the only river he knew of was down in the sewer.

I have another friend who told me he knows a bush pilot. If I can find him soon I am going to ask him to fly me down to take a look at the Amazon. He said it’s very curvy, like a snake. That should do the trick.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ll finish Paul Theroux’s book after all. You can tell a lot about a person from their author photo, and his glasses are far too round.

I did like it that Han Solo played him in the movie though.



17 thoughts on “The Mosquito Coast – Looking For A River

  1. Contrarianism, for the pure sake of contrarianism, is no way to go through life. But a healthy dose of skepticism can serve you well, particularly when reading authors’ missives regarding rivers. Herman Hesse, for example, contends that one can never step in the same river twice (the preposterousness of which I have proven by doing just so on countless occasions).

    Was his name Ralph, by chance, the giant of a man, at The Shiver, not the Won Won, or the bush pilot? Just curious.

    I had a friend that questioned once, as we crested a hill, on a road trip, whether one could really be certain that life, matter, substance existed beyond the next curve in the road, beyond our immediate perception. Is that cynicism, skepticism, or Philosophy 101?

  2. Geographic: Last time I checked you were straddling the abyss between duh boulevard and buffoon avenue.

    Mental: see above and add disheveled and probably smelling of old fruit.

  3. Yes, yes, you have me pegged.

    (you know that saying about stone throwing and glass houses? My hat is off to anyone that could live under a bridge and accuse someone else of being disheveled. Now that’s what I call moxie)

  4. Well that’s the only way to go. I saw our friend Mr. Ford in Morning Glory. Not bad. He’s from the old school, back when actors were actors, and not just models that got greedy.

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