This is something I wrote when I was 15 or 16. This would have been around 1989 so possibly it was inspired by watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s kind of in the tradition of works by Percy Fawcett, Eric Newby and Gerald Durrell. It’s just a piece of daft adventure tall tale telling.
I chanced one year upon a perplexed clan of chaps in the jungles of Peru while searching for the lost city of Xhtlchtl. One of the fellows accosted me and inquired if I possessed some rolling tobacco. Being educated in the ways of these people, I performed the “I have no tobacco” dance and squawked boisterously whilst flapping my arms. I recall the man fetching a hefty stick and battering me about the kneecaps. I spent nine months in hospital, and haven’t been back since.
Another quest of mine that springs to mind was in the year of 1984: my famous Everest pilgrimage. I had spent twelve weeks devising that journey. My goal was to make it to the pinnacle, unaccompanied, in merely one day. I clothed myself in runner fashion, complete with spiked shoes, and intended to dash to the zenith.
This mission ended, unfortunately, in disaster. I collapsed simply inches from the summit due to a lack of oxygen. I could have made it, but my brain ruled my heart and said ‘relinquish it, or he’ll perish’. When queried about why I was found at the base of the mountain suffering from hypothermia I illustrated to the sizable gaggle of journalists that I had slithered all the way to the bottom, following all the smooth divisions that I had discovered on the way up, and that I had retired into a condition of suspended animation to conserve energy. Surprisingly, they didn’t believe me and my account didn’t get mentioned anywhere. Only the New York Post craved to print it, but I didn’t want to get a bad name.
My earliest campaign was to locate a lost city in Egypt which was supposedly the home of the earliest micro computer. Of course, I went alone – I don’t trust anybody – but this sadly means I have no verification of the incredible sites I discovered. I had been searching for numerous days when unanticipatedly there it was: the lost city, and the original micro computer. Mysteriously, the shots I took of the city didn’t develop properly, and the photographs of the computer were, it was claimed, pictures of a Commdore PET that had been obtained from a periodical. I have never been so offended, I can tell you, and I took my photos and incinerated them.
My penultimate trek, before the ill-fated Peru trip, was to the outback of Australia, a golden expanse of opportunity and the place I now live. I was on the treasure trail. My friend, who had just returned from a vacation there, revealed he had found a myriad of opals and, for a thousand pounds, he would disclose to me where more were to be found. I was dubious, for the opals had been cut, but he explained that ancient Aboriginal dynasties must have fashioned and then hidden them. Without hesitation I paid him and set off, the knowledge stored in my intellect.
When I arrived the vista he had recounted was nowhere to be found. A quick telephone call, and his reassurance that the terrain had been redeveloped to gratify the natives, later and I was excavating. After two hours and no opals, I was overwhelmed when I came across a lump of pure gold. It was eight feet by four feet by six feet, and it took me three whole days of non-stop shovelling to uncover it fully. I know what you are thinking – why did I not sell this vast amount of gold and retire? Unfortunately, I am not a moneyed man because the gold was pilfered by a tiding of magpies who coveted it like a divine being. Utilising their razor sharp claws they cleaved nuggets from the lump and fled to a nest several miles away.
My favourite showdown with the unexperienced came in 1981 when four confidants and I voyaged through time in a machine I had designed. It was a lacklustre winter day, not too chilly, and we actually travelled thirty minutes into the future. When we emerged from the capsule, our watches all displayed 2pm, and we had gone into the capsule at 1:30pm. One friend pointed out that I had been ‘muddling around inside’ for thirty minutes, and that we hadn’t travelled in time at all. I instantaneously quietened him by rationalising that time lapsing inside the machine did not actually pass outside the machine, and that although we had, undisputedly, spent thirty minutes inside, to emerge outside thirty minutes later we had to have travelled in time, otherwise we would have generated a displacement in the space/time continuum and decimated the entire macrocosm. When asked to demonstrate the machine again I resolved that I would love to, but the uranium rod used to power the machine was spent, and I couldn’t acquire another one easily. They were enigmatically dissatisfied with my rejoinder.
Possibly my most incredulous journey was in 1979 when I decided to become the first man to reach the South Pole unaccompanied, without food or water, wearing just shorts and T-shirt, in four days. The cachinnation at the press conference was uncalled for, as were the statements that I would never make it, but I was determined to prove them wrong. I set out on the ninth day of July. It was resentfully brassy, but I knew I could make it. The next thing I recollect was waking up in a medical centre in Williamstown, in Victoria. Apparently, I had been found as far away from the pole as possible whilst still being in Antarctica, but I knew in my soul that I must have made it there and then come back to make it less complicated for the rescue party (which I irrefutably didn’t need but there was no stopping them) to find me.
Although I am nowadays residing happily in Australia I have no doubts that conceivably one day, when the call of the unknown entices me once again, I will go on another jaunt into the unfamiliar. Until then I can only dream of the incredible sights I have already observed. Let me leave you with one last prevarication, that of my journey to the core of the globe.
I set out on a sunny day in 1982. The plan was to commence digging in my back garden just as the World Cup began, reach the earth’s centre half-way through the tournament, and emerge just as the final was concluding. All was progressing well until disaster struck. Simply millimetres from my confrontation with kismet, I struck a pipe which must have been laid by some super intelligent breed many, many years ago. Water sprayed everywhere, and before long I was back on the surface of the earth, the torpidly draining pool beside me being the only evidence of my journey. Haplessly, all the water must have induced the mud and dirt I had dug out to slip back into the aperture because when the journalists I called had arrived there was a cavity just four feet deep.
Until the next time, farewell.
Professor Lügner is currently serving a fourteen year penal institution sentence for burglary, an incrimination he passionately refutes. He maintains he merely borrowed five million dollars from a bank vault, at night, with no-one around, using dynamite, for speculative functions.
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