Day 10: Meet Jonas day!

Jonas and I have met before.

I was in Stockholm a few years ago, on business. My flight out of ARN was delayed, so I had several hours to kill in the terminal – and I headed, naturally, to the nearest bar. I was on my third gin & tonic when someone sat down on the stool next to me and ordered a vodka.

We sat next to each other for several long minutes, drinking in silence, before he turned to me and said: “The name’s Jonas Jansson. I’m a professional adventurer.”

I stared at him for a moment, trying to decide how to proceed, before I asked him what that entailed.

“I got into it a few years ago, when some guys paid me – and not very much – to do a bunch of random shit, one stupid thing a day, every day, for a whole year, for some book they’d written. I got arrested a few times, lost my girlfriend, ended up estranged from my family – and I was hooked. I’ve been doing freelance adventure work ever since.”

I asked how the money was, thinking, of course, that this was all a joke.

“It’s surprisingly good,” he answered. “Care for another drink?” he asked, finishing his and waving over the bartender. “Keep ’em coming,” he said to the man, handing over a small wad of large bills.

We sat in silence another few moments before he spoke again.

“If I threw my drink in your face, what would you do?”

“I’d probably break your nose,” I answered, somewhat confused, and feeling the gin.

“Good,” he said – and, without hesitating, threw his tumbler of vodka into my face.

What happened next is somewhat disorganized in my mind. I must have taken a moment to wipe the vodka out of my eyes and swear a bit before throwing myself at him, but all I remember is tackling him. There was a bit of scuffling on the floor before we ended up on our feet, with a bar table between us. I hesitated, I think, because he then threw a ketchup bottle at me, and I charged him again. He grinned at me as he ran out of the bar – he made it past a Starbucks and a newsstand before I collided with him, landing hard on top of him as we hit the floor.

I got in a few punches to his ribs before he threw me off. We were quite similar in build – tall, lanky, built like runners and not boxers – but he’d had less to drink than I had, which gave him an advantage. He hit me hard in the face as we stood up, before I’d quite gotten my balance, and I was down again.

I think the fight went on for several more minutes before security arrived, though it’s all a blur. I had a terrible, pounding headache by the time the airport police had booked me and thrown me into a cell – I still think that there was more in my last cocktail than Tanqueray, tonic, and lime. I must have slept in the cell, because it was the next day when they finally let me leave – as though nothing had happened, no charges filed, no fines, no stern looks even – but I still had the worst hangover of my life. The trip back to the States was a nightmare, and the headache stuck with me the whole time.

I never saw Jonas again.

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