The Bruce Chronicles

I had a buddy once, named Bruce. Bruce is no longer with us. Long story, tragic (in a loose definition), self-inflicted to a point, yada yada.

He was a nice guy, a top professional, great at his job, was brilliant at chatting up hookers even if he didnt always follow through with a pick-up, and he was one of those rare expats who never left his conscience in the overhead lockers or his sense of proportion in the seat-back in front of him. He got up to wild things, sure, but he had the moral sense to feel bad about them afterwards. Mostly.

Even though he was in a different segment of the industry to me, Id still catch up with him at some of the larger meetings and exhibitions and he often regale me with an epiphany or two during the post-conference social events. Other times, he and I would be somewhere together randomly, lucky victims of the independently synchronous cogs of our revolving schedules.

As he was a lot braver in his expat action-adventures than I ever was (am!), not stupid but a tad more reckless (perhaps had a higher dopamine requirement than I do), his resulting stories were generally much more interesting than my marginally risqu tales of an innocent abroad, but he wrote in a lot more serious tone than I do. He took all the people in his life, including himself, seriously.

One of the great things he did was, unlike your humble and chronically lazy correspondent, write it all down. I never knew how much he had chronicled his life here in Asia until a small package arrived for me, post-marked from an AIDS hospice in Chiang Mai. It was a CD. Long story short, he'd sent me a back-up disk of his diary and all his semi-fictionalized (he'd write of himself in the 3rd person) accounts of many (all of them, for all I know) of his escapades.

There's a book in there for sure. A lot of work will be needed to put it together, and you might ask why he gave it to me, what he expected me to do with it. He'd put a Creative Commons license on this stuff in the disk, but it was never published on the web (or anywhere that I am aware of), so I guess can republish it if I like, in any form I like, so long as I tell everyone it's his and not mine.

One of his favorite books was a novel called About the Author, by John Colapinto. Id recommend you read it, to get the gist of Bruce's bequest. I'd recommend you read it anyway, it's a truly fantastic story - it's the reason I started blogging.

No doubt it's also why Bruce sent me the disk.

Perhaps it would be best to start a little interest rolling for the eventual publication and my anticipated fame and fortune with the following small tempter...

But first... The short epiphany below is an example of the much of short stuff that he had recorded. There also seems to be a detailed story about financial shenanigans in a bar in Wanchai in there, also some stuff on the tsunami - he wasn't there but, like me and most expats, knew people who were - and a brief bit on his experience in Bali (he nearly lost his foot in the Paddy's Bar explosion). I cant make head or tail (or tale for that matter) of the Wanchai stuff at this short notice, but I'll keep you informed. My first thought is try and put it all into some order, put my story aside as it is going nowhere slowly, and see if there enough in Bruce's chronicles to make a book. Maybe I'll publish it on the blog here (or on a special blog) a bit a time.

[I've named this post The Bruce Chronicles, after Svend Christiansen's excellent little book that I've linked to in the blogroll in my sidebar. (Oops, the link is busted!) This is just my little joke - it's not Bruce's idea - and I don't mean anything by it. I only hope that I can make Bruce's story into something anywhere near as good as Svend's efforts.]


Eden Club 2001

After the first frenetic few minutes had run their plot to a satisfactory climax, Bruce lies back as one of the lean-as-a-whippet whores wraps a shawl around her shoulders (the air-con is set to medium-fast freeze) and nestles into his exhausted armpit. She silently watches the porn DVD that has been playing as a background to the main events. A western man with a monstrously large penis is having sexual intercourse with a typically well-built western woman who keeps looking at the camera. The size of the man's penis doesn't seem to worry her.

"Large hole," says the whore.

Bruce looks up for a jaded second and the other whore pokes her head in from the shower, still with a mouthful of Listerine.

"Large whore?" he queries.

"Hole, large hole."

Bruce shrugs, mentally only. Pelvic floor injury, torn or avulsed levator ani muscle. Too many children, not enough prenatal care. Probably has urinary incontinence - markets herself as a "squirter."

As Bruce drifts into a post coital triste, the fascinated whore speaks quietly again. Almost to herself.

"I wonder, does she feel anything?"

Mega-penis man keeps pounding into the DVD actress without any apparent deleterious effect on her or, indeed, any advance in the narrative, plot or character development of the movie.

Bruce turns his eyes up to the ceiling mirror and sees the two whores, now both nuzzled under his arms.

"What an excellent question," he says and closes his eyes for five minutes.

Bruce Slattery, 2008.


More whenever. I am busy working this week. Next week I might do some work on Bruce's stuff, although I dreamt last night about how to complete one of my own half-started, 10% finished, short stories.

Details, said the dream, fluff up the lean, bleak and ironic dialogue with reams of diametrically opposed detail.

Good idea? Or just another dream?



Posted by: expat@large on Jul 10, 08 | 2:02 am | Profile


Yes I've heard about the Eden Club. I can read that kind of stuff all day myself...unfortunately the book-buying public seems to be somewhat more demanding. Vignettes just aren't enough. They want things like story, structure, locations that make them sweat, characters they can feel at home with....but you already knew that.

Posted by: Dick on Jul 10, 08 | 8:58 am

Fucking book-buying public... they piss me right off...

Posted by: expat@large on Jul 10, 08 | 10:48 am

And don't get me started on the fucking publishers....

Posted by: Dick on Jul 10, 08 | 11:02 am

Never self inflicted-no one should have to die from having sex. It is one of the cardinal unfair things about the universe that people do IMHO.

That said I think it would be a narrow market-too many people look down there noses at such things (before hitting the "Yes I'm over 18" button on a porn site).

Posted by: Skippy-san on Jul 10, 08 | 12:48 pm


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