Hatin' on the Peekster
Ben Peek and I first met in an underground VC bar in Da Nang in '67. He was running cigarettes, as I recall, Cambodian knock-offs of some weird Chinese brand, Lucky Ferret, maybe. I was -- well, never mind what I was doing. Let's just say it involved 1,100 pounds of axle grease and a pair of Ukrainian twins with legs all the way up and back down the other side. A man's got to live, right?
Well, anyway, Peek had a case of samples with him, and was passing them out to the black pajama crowd. Those boys were unimpressed. You had to be a real nail eater to be a VC in Da Nang in those days, what with the old Legion Etrangere types still hanging around with their piano wire loops of ears and shit, looking for trouble under every barstool. One of the VC decides it's funny to stick a ciggy in each of Peek's ears and light them off, as a kind of public service maybe.
Ben Peek goes crazy, starts in on some kind of Australian kung fu, I think they call it Oz Boz or something, but it looks more like a grand mal seizure at a cricket match. The VC, they don't know whether to kill him or die laughing. Bar tender pulls out a South African riot shotgun and sues for peace the hard way, but he hits one of my axle grease vats, spraying Tati and Mati with enough black crap to keep them in Jolson's backup singers for a month. I went after Peek with a shiv made from an old Esso can and four grams of industrial diamond abrasive, but the Oz Boz was too damned much.
I've hated the man ever since. With a passion. A loathing for him and all things Australian that extends to Yahoo Serious and Vegemite, even. We've crossed paths half a dozen times, most recently during the Moldavan Yam Incident, and he's just poison on melba toast. If you hate Ben Peek too (and you should), here's the manual...
Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, written by Ben Peek, illustrated by Anna Brown, and a cover by Andrew Macrae. Buy it from Amazon, buy it from Wheatland Press.