Depression Quest – The Lapse Podcast Features ME!

 

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The Lapse is produced by Kyle Gest, a Vancouver based creative powerhouse. His podcast was a best-of-2014 award winner, and their latest episode features my story Depression Quest – Prescription Ketamine, Divorcing a Dutch Model, and Suicidal Tendencies.

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In it, I give an account of some interesting things that happened in my life that I don’t talk about with many people. Not because I am too shy, but because some things are hard for people who care about you to talk about. Perhaps, sharing my experiences with strangers is good therapy?

If you would like to listen, head over to The Lapse’s website, or click here to find it on iTunes.

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Official Book Launch at Four Winds Brewing

Book Reading and Beer Tasting

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Come join me for the official book launch of Five Weeks in the Amazon this Thursday Dec. 11 at Four Winds Brewing Co.

Time: 7-8pm

Location: #4-7355 72nd st., Delta, British Columbia V4G 1L5

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Four Winds Brewing Company joined the burgeoning BC craft beer scene and opened their doors to a public thirsty for new local offerings on June 1, 2013. Owned, operated and built from the ground up by the Mills family and friends, we are inspired by the Four Winds in gathering flavours from around the world to create our unique West Coast and European style’s. We take great pleasure in the application of new world innovations while staying true to old world techniques. Motivated by the limitless potential of beer, as well as the great brewers who came before us. We aim to craft bold beers with character, depth and balance.

Situated just off the banks of the Fraser river in Delta BC,  our brewery is geared towards bottle and draft production while our tasting room provides a unique and welcoming atmosphere for craft beer enthusiasts and newcomers alike.   In addition to our tasting room,  our beers can be found in bars, restaurants and private liquor stores across greater Vancouver and Victoria.

Five Weeks in the Amazon

 A backpacker’s journey: life in the rainforest, Ayahuasca, and a Peruvian shaman’s ancient diet 

Five Weeks in the Amazon - Ebook Cover

Who Are The Best Self-Publishing Partners For An Indie Author? Dean Bradshaw

Cover Photographer – Dean Bradshaw

If a picture says a thousand words, then photographer Dean Bradshaw’s career is an epic novel. Originally from Australia, he fly to Los Angeles with a Biology degree and the dream of becoming one of the world’s top photographers.

beatthechefv2In a market saturated with talent, Dean’s eye for idiosyncratic subjects has become fused with his post production skills. He created a niche in the commercial photography market, and brands like American Express, National Geographic and Wrangler have all sought his unique photograph art.

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The thing I had in common with Dean when we first met was we were both foreigners that were living in California. Until you have ever actually lived in another country it is hard to fully understand what it’s like. Dean shared this understanding with me, and when he learned how much passion I had for coaching pro skateboarders he approached me and asked if he could shoot a feature on me for website witnessthis.com, (which is where I got the headshot I use everywhere, thanks Dean & Dersu).

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A few months after I got back from spending Five Weeks in the Amazon, Dean and his beautiful wife Catherine went to Peru to spend a week with the same shaman. So not only was he able to provide great imagery for my cover, he knows better than anyone the power of the jungle, the psychotropic jungle medication Ayahuasca, and of course got to meet Otillia, mi espiritu madre.

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Like I mentioned before, we all know the saying, “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”, but the one thing it doesn’t apply to at all is books. We all judge books by their cover, so having Dean give me the images I used for the final cover design is awesome! Thanks Dean!

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Want to see Five Weeks in the Amazon?

CLICK HERE

A Couple of Video’s from when I was a Sponsored Skateboarder (warning graphic content)

Sean Hayes Skate Part - Red Dragon Skateboard Party

When you’re filming a part for a skateboard video you push yourself so far, both mentally and physically, that getting hurt is pretty common. I was never the best skateboarder, but I sure as hell fell in love with it, and I haven’t quit since.

The first half of this video is a short part I had in the Red Dragon video “Skateboard Party”. The second half is from the “bail section” later in the video (and shows why my first half was so short). Warning, it’s a little graphic and I say bad words.

I was trying to shoot a photo for the cover of a magazine. I ended up in the hospital with 2 broken ribs and compound fracture in my foot that required surgery, two metal plates and 12 screws. Like all young, strong athletes should, I healed my body and six months later went back to try the same trick. This time I planned to conquer it. I wish could say I landed it, but I didn’t. I had the exact same fall and broke the same two ribs, cut the same part of my eyebrow, but luckily I didn’t break my foot again, I only tore the left MCL on my knee.

While it’s the only trick I regret not landing, I’m glad I had the balls to go back and try it again. Even though it may have beaten me in the end, I was able to walk away knowing I tried my best.

Who Are The Best Self-Publishing Partners For An Indie Author? Rory Doyle

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Cover Designer – Rory Doyle

‘You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ Everyone has heard this saying, but it doesn’t mean as much when you are publishing your own book. People will judge its cover. A large part of my selling, or not selling, will come from the initial judgment people have the instant they first see the cover. This is why I knew I needed to find someone to create something that will jump off the bookshelves. If you want to be the first to see it when it comes out, click here.

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Just like I know Ryan Krusac is going to make me an awesome hand-made fountain pen, there’s no one I trust more than Rory Doyle to make an awesome cover design. A friend for over a decade, as a teenager I only knew him as a skateboarder. It was only in the last few years that his talent started being noticed on a global level, and it make sense that he had always been an artist with a passion for graffiti and drawing. He knew from the beginning of his career that if an artist combines their fine art ability with a set of digital skills, they will be much more valuable. Doyle did just that and has not only taught digital design courses, but he’s also been employed as a 3D artist making video games EA Sports.

Doyle - CoversWhen it comes finding inspiration

Doyle says you’re more likely to find him thumbing through an old collection of vinyl records than trolling online. As for preparing for a project (like designing my book cover), he likes to research areas related to the theme, or vision of the project. That way his finished work contains an informed understanding, which began in the creative process, and concludes in high-level concepts. For Doyle, the Vancouver art scene is unique because of the amount of talent, and the variety of styles that it is made of. He believes growing up in the Pacific Northwest has been a big influence his work, and he enjoys living where the he can ride a skateboard in the summer, and a snowboard in the winter.

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Prohibition Beer

Prohibition Brewing Company makes craft beer in Vancouver, B.C. They approached Doyle with the idea to create a brand image that spoke to the prohibition era. What made their idea stand out to was that the art he created would be screened right on the bottle. Limited to four colors Doyle incorporated the bottle itself into the outlining and shadows.

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In a town filled with cowboys, the Commonwealth Bar & Stage in Calgary, Alberta stands out. They commissioned Rory to hand shape and paint huge slabs of oak in a series he named “Lethal Toxins”

 Chronic Taco

Chronic TacoEverybody loves Chronic Taco. Their niche in the mexi-fusion restaurant market couldn’t have more fitting illustrations their Las Vegas storefront. There is a fusion in the art itself and Doyle hit the nail on the head on this one!

I can tell Sean is extremely passionate about this project.  I want to make sure I help visualize that passion through to the cover and compound it with the ability the Amazon has to draw you in. I look forward to the challenge of finding the best way to do that.

In Rory’s words

“I can tell Sean is extremely passionate about this project; that’s what I want to bring to life through the cover. The Amazon has a natural ability to draw you in and I look forward to finding the best way convey that through my design”

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be grateful if you’d click one the buttons below and share it right now.  Or click here to get an exclusive deal when my book Five Weeks in the Amazon comes out.

The Shadows Want Me – An illustrated Poem

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I wanted to do something special with this poem.  I wrote it over a decade ago, when I was living in my parents garage.  There were no electric lights, but I didn’t mind, I’ve always loved the way candles light up a room.  On many stormy nights I watched the shadows, which to me seemed like they were playing in the corners of darkness.

A few months ago I reconnected with Ben Speichart, an old friend from high school.  I’d seen some of his illustrations online and I asked  after I had seen some of his illustrations online.  I contacted him to see if he wanted to collaborate, my idea was to put his artwork together with my words.

Click on the photos below to see the finished project and hit the share button to help me out!

 

The Wait – A Short Story from Colombia

 

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“Excuse me, will this bus ever be coming?”  The man looked at her, but how should she have any idea?  She sat here almost every day wondering the same thing.

“I guess it will get here when it gets here, sir.” her voice was low and she was uninterested in starting a conversation with this man.

“I was told I should be here at noon” he looked at the other people with concern on his face, “Is that the correct time?”  He wondered how they could be so laid back all the time.

She turned to him and said, “Sometimes the engine gets too hot coming over the pass and they must wait until later in the day when it cools down.  Then they can come down without them brakes getting too hot.”

“Yes, but will it be much longer? I have a flight to catch.”

“I really can’t say sir, there is never any way to know and so we must wait.”

“Thank you, and I am sorry to bother you, it’s just that I have been told my son is sick and I must return home immediately.”  When he said this his brow furrowed into deep lines and his worry was intense.  She thought to herself that he looked like he was wishing the bus would come as much as anyone she’d ever seen.

“I am sorry sir, things are just very slow here.  The bus will come, it always does, but I cannot say when.  And I wish your son well; having a sick child is always quite frightening.”

“Thank you and yes; yes, it is indeed, and I am aware that things are very slow here.” His voice wavered slightly, “that’s the reason I came here, to be honest.”

I was honored to be welcomed and taken in like family and when the brother of a good friend passed away this was his last dance before being laid to rest.
They rocked his tiny coffin, his last dance before being laid to rest.

It was a waste of time to talk to this man and she knew it, but she asked him anyway, “And where are you from sir?”  The breeze was pleasant today and strong enough to keep the temperature right on the edge of where she liked it.  This man surely was strange to be here at a time like this.  She wondered what he would have been like before, in the good days.

“He is damned sick,” he said, “It’s happened before with him; they say I must come immediately.”  Preoccupied by the heat, he didn’t notice the breeze.  It wasn’t much but it blew small gusts from the west.  The man sat hanging his head.

“The bus will come sir; you mustn’t worry, it is just that things are slow here.”

“I know” He said, his head hanging even lower, “that’s part of the reason I came.”

He never expected when he was younger that this is how it would end.  Although he knew it wasn’t truly the end, he just felt closer to the end now than when he was younger.  Now he could hear the sound of the clock, counting the seconds in his race against time.

“He will get better I am sure; the last time they said it might happen again, but I pray he is in good hands.  Perhaps Marie-Angel or his sister Olivia have found where they took him.  I just need to get on this damned bus.”

“I understand sir, but it’s hot right now and maybe that bus is waiting till the suns drops down past the other side, then it can come through the pass with no problem; it is an old bus.”  She shook her head slowly when she said this to him, she was staring straight ahead now looking up the pass.  Didn’t this man know anything?

She turned back to him one last time; in her mind it all made sense.  “It happens mostly after the big rains, when it gets real hot, most times after lunch, but now it should come any time; won’t rain for a couple months I guess.  You will get to the airport for the night flight; will that work for you? The night flight?”

“Yes, the night flight will be fine, as long as this damn bus ever shows up.”

“It’ll come like I told ya.  Did ya happen to know they used to bet on it?”

“Bet one what?” He raised his head slightly.

“The time the bus was gonna come in.”

“Who would bet?”

“We all would, but the men on the platform ran the bets.” She nodded towards a few of the guys leaning against the wall who had their shirts up above their bellies to stay cool.  He hadn’t seen them but she knew they would all try to hire on as a porter when the tourists came in, if there were any left.  “Them boys and us would all wager on what time the bus was coming in, but now of course we all stopped.”

“What made you stop?” The man picked his nose, the dry air always made his nose itchy.  He was sitting with his head raised.

“A lady they all say was a witch cursed the bus one day and it crashed coming down the pass and everyone on it died.”

“That is a horrendous tragedy, I am sorry for any losses you had.” He looked towards her now.

“Yes, so if you don’t mind I hope you can understand why I would not like to talk about what time the bus comes anymore.”

“Yes, yes; I am very sorry to bother you, I only worry about my son, they didn’t tell me much over the wire.”

“The bus will come sir, things are just slow here.”  She looked away.  What a waste of energy to talk to this man, and at a time like this?  There was nothing to do but wait.

Day is done, gone the sun

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Day is done, gone the sun

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With Love, The Bar Staff… – A Short Story from Colombia

“Can I please get an Aguila?” he said this politely, but he knew things were different after last night.  She looked up at him from her phone.  She was damned pretty he thought.  Like so many girls he had known before, her eyes held the truth and most of her beauty.

Of course things would be different now.  They were always different situations in situations like this, and her eyes looked sad and maybe a little angry.  Her beauty could not hide, but the truth he’d seen last night was protected by her absent gaze.

“Here,” she placed the beer on the warped and worn wooden bar in front of him.

Como estas?” he smiled, trying his best to speak her native tongue politely.

Tu es loco!” there it was, the truth and beauty became bright in her eyes now.

“No….” He grinned and said sarcastically.  “Yo todo normal…”  He laughed when he said it because they both knew he wasn’t normal, and maybe she liked crazy guys.  So he asked, with a more serious tone, “Ti gusta loco chicos?”

“No se.” Her eyes flashed away and then she flashed away, spinning on one heel towards the sink behind her.  He had seen it in her eyes though, it was quick, but she’d been thinking about him too.  It made him happy when her eyes softened.

Just then the Australian couple with dreadlocks walked into the bar and sat down on the stool next to him and the .  “Dos Mojitos, poor fave-vor” said the big, tanned Australian guy.

Turning to the man sitting next to him at the bar he said, “Oi mate, how ya going? Ya shoulda seen all these cunts out in the water today.  Mate, I tell ya it was outrageous.  One of the poms that’s staying here, he went and puked right in his mask 5m down and all these fish started coming up and eating it.  Mate, I’m telling ya it was the best shit I’ve seen in a long time.”

“It was rank” his girlfriend added, “the guy said he was eating pizza and drinking rum and coke last night, it was mess!”  She would have been a lot more attractive without the dreadlocks but her face was beautiful and you could tell she knew it.  They both smelled the same, it was a clean smell.

One of the things the man loved about the bar his beer was sitting on, was how it turned into an ongoing organic art piece as the night continued.  The cold glass beer bottles would sweat and water would drip down over the soggy label onto the wooden bar.

It would create circles on the bar that varied in size, depending on how fast you drank your beer.  The circles would be a light grayish color on the dark-stained bar.  If you sat in the same seat and drank enough beers, over time, they would join together and create circular designs which only make sense at the time, and were always gone in the morning.

The man looked up at her making the drinks.  He liked the way the bartender looked from behind.  Thinking back to last night he remembered how soft her skin had been and he wanted to touch it again.  Those legs, the color of cafe’ con leche; her calves ascending toward the back of her thighs and then disappearing into the shadows of her short dress, and her light summer dress which blew flirtatiously in the wind.

She was mulling the mint leaves and lemon syrup and her hair looked pretty, she was freshly showered and wore a tight braid.  He hoped when she turned around things would get better but the Australian turned to the man at the bar and said “Oi mate, we saw you and ol’ miss here having a toss in the hammock last night!  Good on ya, fine piece of tail for a place like this.”

“Andy shut up.” His girlfriend punched his huge shoulder with her tiny hand.  Australians were never conservative when they drink, were they?, the man thought.  The bartender looked pissed off.  “Would you like to pay cash or should I put these on your room?” she asked this as she slammed the drinks down hard, causing one of the mint leaves to fall off the edge of the glass onto the bar.

“Oh you can go ahead and chuck ‘em on the room, and don’t worry sweet-stuff, your secret’s safe with us, I was just taking the piss out of ol’ mate here.”  All the hippies the man at the bar had ever known smelled like patchouli oil and body odor but the two Australians always smelled like the ocean and nature and they never smelled dirty even though they both had dreadlocks.

The bartender didn’t look at any of them, she got red in the face and turned around quickly and busied herself by cleaning up after making the drinks.  Embarrassed and angry and this damn Australian wasn’t helping anybody out, the man at the bar thought, and tried to change the subject by asking for another beer.  “Una mas Aguila?”

Pulling open the door of the fridge, frosty air poured out into the warm Caribbean night.  She grabbed an icy cold, sweating beer, and placed it in the center of the water circles stamped in the bar in front of him.  She did all of this without looking at him but he couldn’t stand it.

Gracias mi amor,” He said smoothly and with a confident voice.

Her eyes flicked up and in an instant her truth and beauty were there.  Her cheeks were flushed when she looked into his eyes.  The thing he never could have known was that she desired him as much, if not more, than he desired her.  That was what made her so angry.  He was just a boy and she had let herself get too drunk.

“Con mucho gusto,” she said with a mix of confidence and humility.  His heart melted and he fell in love with her all over again when she said this.  It reminded him of the bedroom last night and the thankfulness she had expressed in her soft Spanish voice.  He wished he could make her thankful again right now.  She was so distant and he wanted to see her truth and beauty.

Their eyes were still locked, like they had been last night, well before at least.  Before it all went to hell.  It had started when he opened his bedroom door as she walked past it after coming downstairs from the bar.  She looked up at him with a look of yearning and then fell into his arms and without a word they had their first kiss.  Her tongue and her lips were as soft as anything he had ever touched, but there wasn’t time to think about that now.

“How’s about some tequila’s darlin’?” The Aussi guy said, with so much volume and force they both turned to look at him.

“Do you want the good stuff or the shit?” With her Latin accent it sounded so cute even though she was angry.

“Get us the good stuff and throw it on my tab and you two cunts have one with us, will ya?!.”

The bartender shrugged.  The man at the bar looked over at him and then back at the bartender and shrugged as well.

“Ok then,” she said half cheerfully, it was just business and there was no truth or beauty in her eyes when she lined up the four shots and cut the slices of lime.

So that’s what is going on, the man at the bar thought to himself, he had a flash and remembered the prices of the expensive tequila and he thought about how fresh and clean the hippies always were, even with their dreadlocks, and he decided at that moment they weren’t real hippies.  It was all an act, they were fake-hippies.  Fancy Australian fake-hippies.

Salud” the bartender tipped her head to them and then tipped it backward, downing hers before any of them had picked theirs up.

“Here’s to you two lovebirds!” the Aussie guy always seemed to shout when he spoke and he winked at the bartender and raised his glass.

“Andy shut your trap, ya dick!” his girlfriend tried to punch him, but this time he leaned backwards on his stool and her fist swung past his chest and missed him completely.  The force of her punch sent her tumbling off her stool and into his lap and her tequila shot spilled onto both of them.  Unfazed, the Aussie guy raised his shot glass a little higher and looked at the man at the bar and said with a slightly cocked head, “Cheers mate!” they crunched their glasses and a little spilled out of both.

When the man at the bar tilted his head back the last thing he saw was the big grin of the guy with dreadlocks, his wet shirt, his girlfriend trying to climb back up from his lap, and on the other side of the bar was the furious stare of the bartender.  That image of her face confused him, which confused his stomach and in the seconds afterword, he tried to ride the crashing wave of nausea without succumbing to its strength.

“You’re a dick, Andy!” his girlfriend leaned over and shouted from the barstool she had returned to.

“Oh, you love me sweetie, you know it…” His grin had the qualities of both puppy and child which made him seem like one of those guys who would be impossible to get angry at.

“You’re an asshole; he’s an asshole, right?” his girlfriend turned towards the bartender and slumped both elbows down heavily in front of her on the bar.  The bartender wasn’t going to say anything to confirm her accusations, he was an asshole, but she was an asshole too, they were both assholes and it was her own fault she had fallen out of her chair.

“I’m going to bed Andy, why don’t you stay here with the people you LOVE sooooo much.  I’ll be in bed, you’re such a jerk.”

“Oh relax will ya? Don’t get your titties tied.  Sit down, you’re all right.” She was standing now and had been about to walk away but instead moved closer to him.

“Have another drink; you’ll be fine.”  He reached over and touched her when he said this.  Pulling her closer with one hand, he slid a dreadlock behind her ear with his free hand and then leaned forward to kiss her gently on the cheek.

The bartender looked away.  Love was weird she thought, it made you do the weirdest things and she turned her head back and forth slowly.  His girlfriend reached her tiny hand up into his massive pile of matted hair and pulled the fake-hippie guy toward her so she could whisper something in his ear.

“Well kids, that’s it for us!” he shot up straight and quickly finished the last sips of both their drinks.  When he stood up from his stool he was surprisingly bigger than his girlfriend.  He bent down and grabbed her around the waist and straightened his legs to stand up and when he was standing he swung her around and placed her bent over on his right shoulder.

“Old lady told me she wants to watch some porn and get kinky tonight so don’t bother coming to find us for a few hours!” He shouted this back towards them and they didn’t know it at the time but that was the last words either of them ever heard that fake-hippie guy say.

His girlfriend was still shouting as he carried her across the bar and down the stairs, “You’re such an asshole Andy, put me down, I AM NOT having SEX with YOU tonight you pig, and you sure as hell ain’t getting kinky, you can’t say that type of shit, ANDY, put me down….”  But he had already carried her down the stairs and out of the bar and they were gone.

The bartender looked at him, the man at the bar who was really a boy.  Alone with him she had no one else to be angry at.  She stared her icy stare at him, even though she liked him.  She leaned onto the bar and he leaned onto the bar and he smiled even though she didn’t.  Her hardness softened as she stared at him, and into him, and he realized he was close enough to kiss her if he wanted to, so he did.

“Stop it!” She slapped him and recoiled, “Why the hell did you do that?”  When she said this the truth and beauty was there, though now it was a rage of truth and a blaze of beauty and it was all of her.  She splashed the ice out of the cups from the finished mojitos and then walked out from behind the bar towards him.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything, I just thought…” His voice trailed off, she looked angry.

“You’re a real asshole” she slapped him hard across the face and it stung.

Tranquilo, princessa.” He stood up over her and grabbed both of her wrists before she could slap him again.  “It’s all good.”  His voice was calm and he pulled down on her wrists and it brought them closer together and then she stood up on her toes and kissed him gently on the lips.

“I really liked last night,” She said this as she was taking a half step backward to look up at him in the innocent way all women do to a man they admire.

“Me too.” He smiled at her and she couldn’t help herself.  Her arms were around his neck just like when he had opened the door last night and before either of them had time to think she kissed him with a real and true kiss and he felt it in his whole body.

He grabbed the small of her back and pulled her towards him kissing her deeply.  They bumped into the bar and then turned and they were still kissing and then they bumped into a stool and it fell over.  She pulled his hair a little to pull him away and said, “No, I can’t, I won’t… You’re just a boy.”

“Why?” Was she crying, he wondered?

“I can’t, OK; I just can’t.”

“OK, OK, relax…OK?” She was crying and he felt awkward.  Woman are the queerest things he thought as she broke away and he saw now that she had big wet tears in her eyes.

“You don’t understand; you’re just a boy; boys never understand.”

“But…” and then there was no one for him to talk to.  She ran across the room after her last statement and he heard her feet hit each of the 12 stairs and the sound of her flip-flops as she ran down the hall and her door opening and shutting quickly.

“Women!” he said to no one and reached down to pick up the barstool they had knocked over.  Afterwards he walked around behind the bar to grab a beer from the fridge.  Digging in his pocket he found the correct change and left it on top of the register for whenever she came back.

He stood in the place where she had stood all night and drank his beer quickly.  In this heat you only had approximately 12 minutes to finish your beer before it got warm and too flat to enjoy.  He opened a new beer and set it on top of his old circles on the bar and stood there waiting for the bartender to return.

Another girl and her friend came up the stairs and into the bar, they were nice girls but they weren’t the type that would understand his condition.  He sold them a beer and put the money on the register and then told them he had to go.  At this point he didn’t have time to explain anything.

Walking past them he went downstairs to find the bartender.  When he got to the bartender’s room she wasn’t there.  She didn’t come back to the hostel that night and he left in the morning for home and they never saw each other again.