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Drug-Addicted, Travelling Teacher: Interesting?

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Initial post: Sep 23, 2012 11:04:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 25, 2012 7:36:45 AM PDT
shaneman says:
Hello guys,

I have been encouraged over the years to write my memoirs and have only just begun to do so, though I am unsure if they would be interesting or sufficiently well-written enough to attract interest. I'd like to quickly run my life by you to garner your opinions.

In 2001 I went AWOL from the British Army after being caught dealing drugs to the troops. I left for Ibiza, Spain where I worked selling ecstasy and working in timeshare, as a bit of conman basically. I met a girl here and fell in love.

We left Ibiza and worked in Portugal, The Cayman Islands and The Canary Islands over the next year and-a-half. We broke up and I went travelling around South East Asia. In Asia, I really started taking a lot of drugs and after travelling for six months, I began teaching English. I taught in China, Cambodia, Ethiopia, while also working back in timeshare at times in Cyprus and Thailand (where I survived the tsunami of 2004).

I really saw an underbelly of teaching and participated in it; drugs, prostitution, violence in the evenings and teaching little kids during the day. I went on to teach in Mexico, Peru and Brazil where I currently reside, I now own my own school.

In my time, I've known teachers having sex with transsexuals and smoking meth amphetamine, a friend of mine in Cambodia used to inject ketamine into his leg as he sat in front of a class of seven year-old children, he would think at the time he was flying through the universe.

I have written the first chapter, I would love your opinions. Among my concerns, is that the reader would not like a character such as me, who has done so many bad things, despite my guilt and repentance. Could that be true? Please give any and all criticism, I would really appreciate it.

First Chapter: Leaving

I cast my eyes around the room, there was no one in, eight lockers and eight beds lay unguarded for me to do what I wanted. I went straight for my bed space first, so I wouldn't get in trouble if I was caught. I ripped down all my pornographic pictures of elderly and obese women; I took my CDs from their cases and smashed all the CD boxes. Trooper Richards had left his locker open behind me; I took his Ralph Lauren shirt and stuffed it in my bag. I began tipping all the beds over, smashing picture frames and ripping down posters.
And then, stepping over mattresses and broken glass, I stood before Trooper Cooper's locker. As I snapped the padlock off the big brown wooden locker and opened it up, I stepped back. My lips twisted to the side as I looked over all his worldly possessions. His Gameboy, his dress shirts, his books, they were all fine to steal or destroy but my eyes narrowed on the one thing that could never be replaced, the one thing he would ache for into old age. The water-painting of Charlie, the horse he sat upon as he guarded the Queen of England was balanced on his shelf. Trooper Cooper loved Charlie dearly, so much so, that his grandfather had painted a portrait of the horse as a final leaving present, as he lay in the hospice dying. I put the Gameboy in my pocket, as well as the cash that lay in his locker, and then picked up the portrait and eyed it against the sunlight from the window. It looked pretty amateurish but what could you expect from a dying man? I twisted my wrists and let a slow rip decapitate the horse. I dropped the pieces to the floor and pushed the bar to the fire exit and was gone. Trooper Cooper had it coming to him.
Things started spiralling further out of control from there. I was snorting ecstasy before driving the tanks and armoured vehicles; I was stealing at every opportunity; belts of ammunition, a tank shell, grenades. I had begun selling ecstasy to the troops; I had only just started when I was caught. We were deployed in Wales during the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001. I would go out to the clubs in Cardiff, selling and taking ecstasy until 6am and then I'd drive the Corporal Sergeant around the Welsh countryside. My teeth clenched so hard they'd squeak and my eyes would pinball from one thing to the next as I sat next to this big, intimidating 20-year veteran, trying to look normal. It was pretty obvious I was ****ed up.

I was sent back to England, awaiting an official investigation. I knew as soon as the military police opened an investigation, people would come forward and tell them I was dealing. I was facing two years military prison and another two civilian. I wasn't going to do it and I prepared to leave the country, but first I had to get out of the barracks.

I convinced another guy to come with me, a guy called Johno. Jonno was a typical army lad and would have fitted the profile market researchers drew up for FHM and Maxim in the nineties. He liked a drink and the girls and would alert them to his interest with an "Oi! Oi! Savaloy!" Johno only felt comfortable referring to women's genitalia as `fur burgers' or `beef curtains'. He walked as if he carried two invisible carpets under his arms. He'd walk down streets like he'd just won them in a bet, his head cocked to the side, his mouth falling and closing with chewing gum, pulling his cigarette quickly from his mouth as he smoked. His head was always bobbing from side to side and he'd flick his eyes to everyone in the street with a frown and a sneer. Johno only greeted friends with `alright ****head' and only disagreed with `****, off ya cant". Johno was the perfect recruit to win friends in the British Army, and he did, but he wasn't my friend.

We couldn't risk leaving the barracks with our backpacks, it would look too suspicious. Johno went first and signed out of the guard room and I gave it five minutes and then threw the backpacks over the wall lined with barbed wire. I walked to the guardroom, a small reception with green floors and old wooden panels, it smelt of dust and floor wax. I signed out and I was free.

We walked down to the train station, Johno spitting along the way with a sharp snap of his neck. I was exhilarated on the train to the airport; Johno was fidgeting, distracted and short-tempered.

As the lighted dimmed and the plane descended over the island I had read about for so long I was full of wonder at what adventure awaited me, what life was now taking shape. I put my chair forward, rested my head against the headrest and closed my eyes. I had no idea what was to happen to me and I loved it.

Waiting at the turnstile for my luggage at Ibiza Airport, I reached into my daypack for my money, I couldn't find it. I clawed the bag open, emptying everything out on the floor; it was gone. I ran to a flight stewardess and followed her back onto the plane, looking over her shoulder for her to move quicker; I made my way down the aisle, propelling myself, grabbing every headrest on my way. My hands passed over the seats and into the pockets behind the seats, pulling out sick backs and ****ty magazines. I stood on the armrest, scrabbling in the overhead luggage compartment. It was gone.

Back in the airport, sitting on the turnstile, Johno said "oh well, guess you'll have to go home then". I called my brother that night, I was crying. I told him everything that had happened and he sent me money.

The next couple of weeks were spent walking around San Antonio, the party place of Ibiza, looking for work. `San An' as it was known, was the party capital, and the `West End' of San An was where it was really notorious; people ****ing in the streets, free shots all night, people doing lines off the bars. But when we got out of the taxi it was raining and gloomy. We looked around and every bar and restaurant was boarded up. The whitewashed buildings and narrow streets were bleak, empty and wet. It was only May first; we might've just ****ed up and arrived too early.

Whereas I would get up to look for work, early every morning, Johno had suddenly taken a carefree approach and didn't bother looking for work at all. I found it odd that he was suddenly so relaxed, but one morning I had some luck. On the promenade, I saw a young girl asking people if they spoke English and thought she might need help, "I'm English, can I help?" I said. She told me she was working in something called `timeshare' and looking for couples not single people. I asked her if there was any work and she directed me to a young woman smoking a cigarette in a cafe.

I sat down in a cafe with a skinny young brunette in her mid-twenties wearing a big pair of Gucci shades. When she spoke I noticed she was from England, she spoke quickly, she told me her name was Nicola and she was the `Street Captain'. She sat at a table, drinking coffee, looking at me behind falling brown locks of hair, her lips pursed, like she'd just done something bad and wanted to tell me.
"Do you know what timeshare is?" she said tapping her cigarette in the ashtray.
"Uhhhm.. No" I said, looking up to the sky as if I'd heard something like it.
"What we basically do, is go out looking for couples who might be the type of people to buy a share of a hotel apartment. If they want to buy, they give the hotel several thousand pounds and they have an apartment they can use for two weeks, every year for the rest of their life".
I thought it was a brilliant idea and nodded enthusiastically.
"You've got to be good at talking to people" she continued "It's all commission-based, there is no basic salary. Have you done sales before?" she flicked her cigarette on the floor. I wondered why she hadn't put it the ashtray.
"No, but I can talk to people" I said
"Ok, well we're based in Santa Eulalia, on the other side of the island. We can pick you up tomorrow.
That night Johno went out drinking and by morning he still hadn't returned to the room that we shared together. I concluded it was her who had stolen my money and rooted through his things. I took his passport, four-hundred pounds in cash and his army ID. I put the money in my pocket and threw the rest in the bin. I wondered down to the beach, killing time, and waiting until 3 O'clock when Nicola would pick me up.
And then I saw Johno, walking towards me dragging his hand across his face, his face was red and his eyes were watery and bloodshot.
"Shane, where's my money?" he shouted "Where are all my things from the room?" he said, his voice starting to break, his hand scratching the back of his neck.
"I don't know, you left the room unlocked and took the key with you. I had to leave" I said
"Oh no, mate! I left my wallet in a taxi on the way back, I've got no money left" he said, his voice going high.
"I don't know mate, I guess you'll just have to go home" I said. I heard a car horn beep, it was Nicola waving me over.
I got in the car and gave him a smile and a wink as we pulled away. That was the last I ever saw of Johno.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2012 8:35:09 AM PDT
You sound like a real scumbag, but I would like to read more. :) I didn't understand the part where you "concluded it was her (Nicola?) who had stolen my money and rooted through his things". Are you talking about the money stolen from your daypack on the plane? Please clarify that portion, it has me stumped.

Posted on Oct 4, 2012 6:40:58 AM PDT
shaneman says:
Thank you, I think.. I will clear that up, I appreciate the criticism. Any more advice from anyone else?
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Discussion in:  Memoir forum
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Initial post:  Sep 23, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 4, 2012

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