I spent most of my weekend visiting Dunkel and his girlfriend in Esbjerg. It was a weekend full of binge drinking and unpredictable twists and turns.. Twists and turns which began pretty much from the get-go.
I’d gotten up pretty early on Saturday morning as I’d promised to help Dunkel move a few things around. See, Dunkel has this strange habit of changing his fish tank every few months or something like that. But, I mean, I exhibit some pretty weird behavior myself when it comes to hobbies, so who am I to play the judge? Either way, his current setup was a monster of a 750 liter (that’s roughly 200 gallons to you Yanks) tank with double reinforced glass and a metal frame weighing in at somewhere around the 400 pound area.. Or that was our guesstimate anyways..
In a surprisingly reasonable and responsible moment, Dunkel had come to the conclusion that this tank might be a little too big for his new living room and as such decided to trade it in with a smaller tank and some cash with some guy named Frank. This was to happen on Saturday and since I had plans to pop over anyways, Dunkel enlisted my help for what he referred to as “a bit of light moving about and redecorating.” – The deal was that, since my back is pretty well fucked off after years of abuse and a long week of cleaning out the archives at work and disposing of very heavy bags of old documents, I’d be doing no heavy lifting and as such the plan was to get the buyer to enlist some of his friends to do the lifting..
Need I mention that absolutely nothing went according to plan? Long story short, the situation that faced me when I arrived in Esbjerg was that of Dunkel and Marianne’s place looking a total mess, several heavy boxes full of fish, stones, gravel, accessories and what have you staring at us along with the 750 liter, 400 pound aquarium of doom.. As for the army of people to help us move the aquarium? Well, Frank arrived about ten minutes later with a bloke of my general proportions who took one look at the situation and went on to mutter something quite indecipherable probably involving the words “holy” and “fuckballs”. Frank, on the other hand, seemed strangely chipper about the situation, acting as if this couldn’t possibly be that big of a deal and that one extra set of hands was certainly more than enough. To this Dunkel and I just gestured at the tank at hand and made him have one go at lifting just one corner.. A task which seemed to dampen his spirits quite a bit.
But that was the setup at hand. unable to enlist more helping hands, we sighed, drew the sign of the cross across our chests and set off.. There’s really no point in describing the two hour trip through Purgatory and/or Hell that ensued other than making a few wonderful blondes very upset, so let’s not go there and just say that it was a long uphill battle of quite the irresponsible variety and involved a lot of cussing, yelling, screaming, testosterone and quite a few tears from a bunch of fully grown men.. Blood and sweat, too, most likely! It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fun at all, but we managed, eventually, to get the bloody thing out of Dunkel’s house, onto a trailer, ten kilometers down the road, off the fucking trailer (through the cunning use of enlisting innocent passerbys to act as counterweights to prevent the thing from falling on us), into Franks living room and up unto its new resting place.. After which Frank offered us a beer for our efforts and I cussed out God almighty for possibly existing and, if so, possibly hating me.
After gathering ourselves for a few minutes, Dunkel and I then set off back towards Dunkel’s, where we then faced the fun of redecorating his entire living room, carrying in the new tank courtesy of Frank (a surprisingly manageable task for two men after what we had just been through), setting up the tank and cleaning up the mess created in the process.. Interesting times.. Good times.. Made a lot better by the presence of several luxury beers we’d bought for ourselves as a reward on the way back.. Well, as they say, time flies when you’re having fun – or getting drunk – and after a few hours we had things under control to a point where I could get started on an improvised dinner while Dunkel took care of the last few minor adjustments to the new setup.
We, Dunkel, Marianne and I then had a fine dinner of a pork tenderloin stew-like concoction I’d cooked up with whatever was available in the kitchen and a fine (i.e. cheap) bottle of Lambrusco that we somehow figured should go along with it.. That is to say that Marianne wanted no part in our little wine adventure so we ended up splitting the bottle between the two of us in the course of like twenty minutes.. Not such a wise idea in retrospect and neither were the numerous luxury brews that were sampled in quick succession brought on by curiosity, excitement and a general wish to dull the pain that were brewing in our backsides.
I pretty quickly got the feeling that things were getting slightly out of control and had my fears confirmed when, not much later, we found ourself doing a beer chug challenge to the sound of The Casualties’ “Unknown Soldier”, something we’ve done of times before, though never with full pints of Belgian 8% ABV Tripels. And I’m also reasonably sure we’ve never filmed and published the results on the internet before.. But apparently that’s how we roll after a long day of fucking ourselves up and getting overly exhausted.. More madness undoubtably ensued but of that I mainly remember the trouble of getting Dunkel’s fish from their temporary habitats and into the new tank – a task made inherently difficult by the fact that we were sporting a blood alcohol level of close to clinically dead (or at the very least very intoxicated). Highlights from this endeavor involves me getting pissed at having very little luck with the net and instead just lunging my hands into one of the temporary basins in the kitchen, grabbing a fish, carrying it into the living room and dropping it into the tank.. Only to be informed that I was very lucky I didn’t end up in severe pain and/or bleeding as the critter I’d grabbed was not only a very aggressive little son of a bitch but also pointy teethed and full of spikes to boot.. To this day we’re still unsure if I was lucky or maybe just too intoxicated to notice anything.. At any rate, I learned my lesson and used the net from then on. And I think there may have been an issue of putting one particular fishie who couldn’t seem to adapt to his new surroundings out of his misery because I remember carrying a fish to the bathroom going “why is he squirming in my hands, we just took his head off? This is creepy” and I don’t think that’s the kind of thing I’d just make up.
It’s entirely more than likely that the moving of the fish to their new habitat was celebrated with more alcohol, but I really don’t remember.. What I do remember is waking up the next morning around 8 AM on the couch going “Where am I? What happened? Where is everybody? I have to pee!” And that, apparently, was just the beginning of things..