In this story from our archives (issue 5), Andre van Wyk finds love and lust in a bar called Providence.

 

Sometimes you don’t know you’re obsessed with something till it smacks you right in the face. Like you never even knew about it, had never thought about it or even seen it, never knew it existed. The way I never knew I liked Latina girls until I saw Salma Hayek walk down the street in Desperado and realised that my ultimate fantasy might just be to become a rivulet of sweat, if it meant I could slither my way down that slope of caramel cleavage.

Sometimes you don’t know you’re obsessed with something until the right version of that something comes along, or it doesn’t fit with what’s cool, what’s hip. As a metalhead youth, I hated rap till I heard Snoop and Dr Dre low-riding through Compton sipping on gin and juice. I went out and bought a bottle of Tanqueray right then and there.

Sometimes you don’t know you’re obsessed with something until you try it. You might have seen it, heard about it, thought about it, but until you do it, you have no idea. Like avocados. As a kid there was no way you could convince me to eat something that looked like green whipped instant pudding. And then I tried it and proceeded to spend my teens living off avo on toast… Eight slices at a time.

 

Bumphead parrotfish are my Low-Riding Avocado Salma Hayek.

The propeller on a bumphead parrotfish from Providence

The propeller on a bumphead parrotfish from Providence. Photo Tarquin Millington-Drake

Thirty-seven trips round the sun prepare you for some things in life. Depending on how deeply you indulge, some are more prepared than others. I’ve indulged myself rather enthusiastically in my 37 round trips. I’ve seen some things, I’ve heard some things, I’ve danced round the fire, eaten the fruit and vomited in the car park (and in the bar). Along the way some fish were caught, some pretty decent ones too, some that I was even a little bit obsessed with, but those obsessions were long courtships. Like that first high school crush: you knew you were hooked, her skirt was just that little bit shorter than the others, an almost imperceptible inch, but you knew. You wrote letters, you talked, you held hands, you eased your way into that infatuation and you kinda knew it was coming.

A bumphead parrotfish from Providence. Photo Tarquin Millington-Drake

A bumphead parrotfish from Providence. Photo Tarquin Millington-Drake

My Low-Riding Avocado Salma Hayek was not so gentle. Of course I’d seen the pictures and videos. I’d talked to fishermen and guides who had caught them. I’d even tied and bought flies from others better at it, specifically for bumpies. Standing on the seam of a middle-of-nowhere flat, thigh deep in the warm Indian Ocean, I watched a score of shovel-sized aquamarine tails waving at me less than 20 yards away and realised that my Low-Riding Latina Avocado obsession had just run up and delivered a running fuck slap to the side of my head.

 

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