Saturday, January 2, 2016

the last book I ever read (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, excerpt eleven)

from Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan:

My fever alternated with chills. A headache was constant. I was taking chloroquine, a popular malaria prophylaxis, unaware that it was useless against many local strains of the disease. Indonesian villagers often asked for pills without specifying what kind. Vitamins, aspirin, antibiotics—there seemed to be a general faith in pills. At first I thought the requests might be for sick relatives or friends, or for stockpiling against illness, but then I saw perfectly healthy-looking people pop whatever was handed over, no questions asked. It would have been funny if it weren’t so ominous. Now that I was sick, people left me alone. Babies wailed. I listlessly read a collection of Donald Barthelme stories. Lines stuck in my head. “Call up Bomba the Jungle Boy? Get his input?” Boney M’s execrable, inescapable “Rivers of Babylon” wheezed from a village teenager’s tape deck.

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