Challenge: The Bizarre Bazaar

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Words || Nathaniel Keesing

I’m a pretty good read of other people, so whenever someone says they’re “kooky”, “weird” or “totes random”, I know it’s a surefire sign that they’re actually pretty vanilla. In saying that, I do like to think I’m a unique flower at times. I always try to think outside of the box for the challenge, but being asked to come up with something completely bizarre this issue had me absolutely stumped. You can’t force creativity, at least that was my excuse when it was days before we were due to go to print and I hadn’t done anything yet. I am a firm believer in ‘due date is do date’, but the messages piling in from other editors asking where my challenge is was getting too much for me. It was all too much, so what to do when everything is collapsing all around you? Ignore everything and splurge in some retail therapy of course!

I asked the Grapey boss to send me some money for the ‘challenge’. It was a lie. I was planning on draining them dry before making a run for it. Could this be the new challenge? Creating a new identity after completely destroy my reputation? There was only one place to buy a new persona, the largest bazaar in Sydney, Paddy’s Markets.

Years ago, as a child, I came to Paddy’s Markets and gawked in amazement at the sprawling maze or stalls. As a Gosford kid, I had rarely ever seen that many people in one location, let alone that many stalls in one place. I had gone with my high school bully and her friends, who were mean to me, but also one of the few people who would hang out with me. It was a very confusing time in my life. Going with more money than I could count (20 dollars. The education in Gosford wasn’t great), I was in awe at all the oddities and useless junk that I felt compelled to buy. Unfortunately, the bully squad were less enthused and decided to go upstairs to the retail stores barely 10 minutes in. We made the Tolkien-esque journey getting here, only to end up shopping at Cotton On? I was not happy Jan.

Fast forward to a decade later, I finally revisit this fabled market of my childhood and it’s just as magical as ever. It’s as if eBay actually existed as a place you can visit, full of useless junk that you won’t ever look at again once you’ve taken it home. It was amazing. There were clothes that no self-respecting person would actually wear in public, Samurai swords for our inner neckbeards, and kangaroo jerky for those sick twisted fuckers who never watched Skippy. There was a massive fruit and veg market that smelt incredibly fresh. I felt healthy just smelling the air in there.

It was like the souvenir shop at Disneyworld, choice beyond imagining, with only a few things you’d actually care to buy. Unfortunately for all its charm, there were a few villains roaming these holy lands. I shall call them by their secret ancient name, the masseuse. They heckled me every time I walked past them, sometimes reaching out to drag me into the depths of their domain. What made it worse was that Paddy’s is like a maze, and I would get disoriented and lost, having to walk past these stalls several times to escape. I had to spend my money before they could get their hands on it.

Let’s admit it, Grapeshot is pretty gay. The only way to hide my purchases was to buy the gayest things possible. Here’s my haul:

Gay Blade – A rainbow knife, the only known weapon against the patriarchy.

Gay Fan – A rainbow fan literally as large as my torso, and I’m a pretty tall guy.

G(ay)-String – A g-string with a dog head to hold your willy. The googly eyes look deep into your soul while you’re getting freaky.

Gay Butt – I like to think I’m pretty juicy as it is, but with this padding, I am now thicc af.

GAY FLAMING SWORD! – Exactly what it says.

Total cost: Who cares, Grapeshot is paying for it, not me.

They’ll probably kick me out of the team once they realise I wasted their money, but hopefully I can charge a flight to Morocco on the Grapey credit card and visit their bazaars long before then.

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