Perhaps you read last month about the motorcycle trip my pal Tom and I took around Ecuador early this summer. One stop, toward the end of that trip, was in the rain forest, where we took it easy the night before a hard day of riding.
"You haven't heard a steady rain," I wrote in my journal the morning we left, "until you've heard it rain in the Amazon jungle. Our only hope is to ride out of it before we are soaked, which would make today's cold crossing over the Andes miserable, if not dangerous. You're not supposed to hurtle through the air at 60 mph. at 15,000 feet soaking wet."
We were already getting wet, and steaming hot inside our motorcycle gear, as we packed our panniers and prepared to ride out … when we realized that we ought to check to see whether our modest food and liquor bill was paid. Fuck it, we agreed—let them take it out of the deposit we gave to the rental company. With a day's treacherous riding ahead, we felt we truly did have enough to worry about. (And we were right. Tom hit a dog about two hours later, crashing and breaking three ribs.)
In any case, we forgot about the whole thing, until we received this plaintive email a week or so ago:
dear sir tom and david
I send this email with the purpose of letting you know that your bill in Arrayan and Piedra Hosteria is still not canceled, it seems that a small confusion occurred, the [rental] company only covered lodging expenses, the food had to be canceled by the clients (you with your companion) please help me with the cancellation of this value as soon as possible.
I await your prompt reply
I wrote her back:
Thanks for sending this. I am mortified.
Señor Gillespie was to pay this bill the morning we left, but he woke early, slipped out of our room and rode off into the cloud forest without me.
No one has heard from him since. A dog was reported missing in those same mountains that morning, and it is believed Señor Gillespie may have eaten it for breakfast.
As you can see from our attached bill, Señor Gillespe has a great appetite. [Click to see whole pic.]
Of all the items on this list, I had only one of the two cupas de vino, which I believe Señor Gillespie laced with a benzodiazepine to make me sleep through his escape.
And so obviously I cannot be asked to pay this bill.
If Señor Gillespie turns up, I will ask him to pay the bill. (I know how to talk to him.)
But if you see him, you should avoid eye contact and call the authorities immediately. And I don’t mean the policia. I mean the army.
Of course I didn't send that. And of course we'll pay. But you don't want to hear that.