Leaving behind a grey, cold and rainy Nordic Noir-scene, I arrived in Paris on a sunny spring day in April. The sun was shining, the chestnut trees were in bloom, the birds were chirping. I was thirsty after an early morning flight, a bus ride and a walk with my trolley on tow. I stopped at a small convenience store next to my hotel and looked at the tempting beverages. My eyes met a most luxurious-looking bottle of grape juice. Made on Merlot grapes, the sweet kind. I bought the big bottle and out on the street, greedily opened it and took a big swig. Sweet, cold, refreshing, delicious.

I dropped off my bags and took a stroll about town. I had a few hours before my meeting, so I sat on a bench with a book and enjoyed life. Before you knew it, the bottle was empty. I ate lunch in a lovely little café in Montmartre and took in the sights and sounds of the City of Lights (AKA “the City of Complex Carbohydrates”!)

Next day, I had the morning to myself before my first meeting. Oh, Paris in April. I bought still-warm morsels of heavenly layers of butter and flaky loveliness at the local boulangerie, sat on a bench with my coffee and enjoyed the sun’s warm and tender caress on my face. I passed the most wonderful store and caught a glimpse of just the jacket I had been looking for. I entered and smiled at the lovely French shop girls; so beautiful, so chic, so ‘jenesaisquois’.

In the midst of pure loveliness, I felt the early signs that a pit stop might be needed in the foreseeable future. Innocent and without a clue what was about to befall me, I dillydallied slowly about, admiring the beautiful clothes, having a simply blessed day.

Like a freak rumbling of thunder on a clear, blue-skied day, I stopped in my tracks, as my bowels released a Code Red warning gurgle. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me that… Aren’t grapes related to plums? First-cousins like a redneck wedding? Like drinking liquid raisins might be drinking… PRUNE JUICE?? A whole greedy liter of it?

Another rumble in the jungle, a long one, indicating T minus 1. I had about one minute to find a toilet. With a majestic stiff upper lip and a robotic clenched walk, I asked a shop girl for a customer restroom. “Desole”, she said and shrugged like those rude, cold French bitches have a habit of doing. Like a dog getting ready for a nap, I walked three times in a circle, stopped, clenched and exhaled slowly. The thought of leaving the store to locate a place with a publicly available restroom – it was impossible.

New shop girl! “I am very, VERY ill (TRÉS, TRÉS MALADE) and I need a toilet right now!” This was no time for playing coy. No place for beating around the bush.

She shot me a quick elevator glance, turned on her heel while barking: “Follow me!”. Like two psycotic runaway circus horses we race-walked to the other end of the store – she in an important trot, me in a retarded tolt. Aaaand the employee restroom was… OCCUPIED! Now, I have no way of knowing this, but I suggest the person who invented tap dance might have been involved in a grape juice situation…

Finally someone came out of there, and I moonwalked in. It was a gross employee’s crapper with cardboard boxes stacked and a big pile of hangers in the corner – but to me, it was the Versailles.

As I sat on the throne of bliss, a triumphant, joyous, dry airhorn fanfare left me. The implication changed swiftly and without notice. It went from happy puppy-bark to a feline, hissing pillar of boiling lava. It shot out of me with an intensity that almost made me levitate. I rolled like a pebble in the surf while the peristaltic waves crashed around me.

By now, I guess it’s too late to say I’ll spare you the details but I will just say it went on for a while. Time and space seemed to have dissolved.

I don’t think that restroom will ever be referred to as a “Lady’s room” again.

Weak with effort, I finally left the scene. My hair was wet, my face pale with a slimy hue of sweat and my legs were trembling. I could just muster the energy to walk slowly over to the bench where all the husbands were sitting, waiting for their shopping wives. I dumped myself there like a sack of potatoes and sat there. I didn’t talk to anyone, just starred glass-eyed into space.

Years ago, I laughed SO hard at that scene in the movie Sideways, when the guy yells: ”I am NOT drinking any Merlot”.

I now understand what he meant.



One Response to The Grape Juice Cleanse

  1. Wabbit says:

    Grape juice just lost all its charms with me.

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