Andreas Saigan.

“Whiskey? Vodka?”, asked the old lady who’s selling the alcohol. “Whizkey, Lima (five)!” my friend Mike answered. He and I were given the task to buy the alcohol drinks for our friend Charlie who’s having a birthday party in a Hotel near to Malioboro street in Yogyakarta. So there we were in a warung (little shop in Indonesia) having an “illegal” transaction while wearing our high school Uniform. The old lady gave us 5 bottles of whizkeys in a plastic bag that weighed more than a Kilo each and off we were to go back to to the hotel. We walked through small alleys of Malioboro, the pavement was filled with mud and we felt like we were somewhere in India. It took 10 minutes for us to go back, and we were soaking wet from the pouring rain of November.

“Where’s the alcohol?” that was Charlie greetings as soon as we arrived. He didn’t care that our shoes were dripping mud all over the carpets. “Five bottles! Bravo! Now we can Tango!”, he said after looking at the black plastic bags in our hands. He took it and gave it to Victor who apparently was all neat and clean, ready for tonight party. Victor took the whizkey away and placed it alongside all the snacks and foods on the desk while Charlie was back busy setting up the sound on the DJ set. “So what should we do with these wet clothes??”, Mike was a bit grumpy to see that both of them didn’t care about our sacrifice. “Go to the room, you can use some of my t-shirts. I put them on the drawer” said Victor.

Yes, that’s Victor alright, he’s like our Papa. Always prepared for everything. Perfectionist, calm, and a person who you could rely on. While Mike and I were more of the class sleepers. We pretty much came from Zulu, where no one understood us, specially the girls. But hey, at least we’re always around whenever there’s a party or gigs going on. And Charlie, he’s always acting as an Alpha male, the leader of our group. His dream is to win the Oscar, obsessed ever since he was selected as the main actor in a “Romeo and Juliette” play when we were in the 1st grade. He’s got Indo-American blood which gives him that Yankee mixed Indonesian look that makes the Indonesian women scream their lungs out. He’s the “chick magnet” of the school, and one thing we’re expecting about Charlie’s party is the girls.

So there it goes, the party started as soon the sun went down. Echo on the empty room of the hotel have changed to chattering and screams as the clock turned to 8. At first we know all the guests that came but all of them bring someone else’s who bring along someone else’s. The next thing we know the Hotel room was turned to a Delta of people we don’t know and the alcohol didn’t help us to become ignorant or focussing on rapping our dancing shoes. I though it was just me and Mike, but then I saw Charlie, who’s supposed to be the rock star of tonight’s party was also looking lost among the crowds in the Hotel room. Most of the guests knew him, but I wasn’t sure if he knew them well, at least not as his friends. Charlie’s face was like Michael Jordan playing chess. Totally uncomfortable. Whilst on the other hand, Victor was totally out of control, hanging around groups of school girls like he had X-ray vision to see through what the girls were wearing under their clothes.
Charlie then came to me and said “Dude, this is like the whole Quebec in one room! I don’t want this shit!” What the hell!? I would never have thought Charlie, the school idol, the most famous guy in the school, the chick magnet, would feel uncomfortable at his own birthday party. “Dude, let’s get the hell out of here. Drag Victor and Mike, I’ll wait you on the lobby!” And so I did, it was an easy task for Mike, but I don’t know if it was the same for Victor. He was in heaven, five girls from our school were surrounding him. It was an anomaly for an unpopular guy, especially for Victor. One of them was Sierra, the girl who Victor had a crush on since the 1st grade. So I grabbed them both and dragged them out of the room.

I managed to convinced Sierra to keep her voice down and follow us, and Victor had no complaints, as long Sierra was with us. So the four of us went out to the lobby and Charlie was already there waiting for us. “Dude, this is totally unexpected. I don’t want to spend my birthday with a full room of people I don’t know. So, let’s just hang out at the beach! Good friends, good time, good drinks,” Charlie said to us while pointing at a full bottle of whizkey.

“Hell yeah, let’s go!”, Mike said to him immediately. We went to the parking lot and got into Charlie’s new ride. A brand new VW Golf that his parents gave to him for his birthday. It was smooth and fast, Pearl Jam songs played on the car stereo. We were drinking and driving. The thought of us breaking the law pumped our adrenaline as Charlie was enjoyed the speed of his car – 140 km/h. in less than 30 minutes, there we were, in southern part of Yogyakarta, the beach of Parang Tritis.

A bright full moon, thousands of stars, the soft sands, and most of all the sound of the waves as they greeted the earth, were a blessing of nature to us. “Sexy… Now this is what I really wanted for my birthday…” Surprise surprise. I just saw the other side of Charlie, the guy who normally choose to do the Foxtrot to disco music had chosen to ignore his own party. But I understood it pretty well. It was a special day for him and it meant a lot to him. He didn’t need the glamorous things, at least not today. He wanted to make the perfect party, to please his friends and to get away from his family problems but then he realised he didn’t need any of that, all he needed were good friends who cared.

So there we were, with a small campfire burning from the small branches we gathered from the surroundings. The five of us drank from the same bottle of whizkey. Exchanging stories, laughter and smiles until the dark grew tired of us and changed shift with the lights. “Thanks guys, this is the best birthday party I could ever have” Charlie said while raising the whizkey bottle giving a salute to us. The last thing I remembered was the heat of the sun disturbing my sleep, and Charlie, still asleep on the sand with a bottle of whizkey beside him. I took the bottle and drank the last zip of it. “Happy birthday my dear friend… cheers!”.

Bio ~ Andreas Saigan.
Andreas is an engineer turned artist and activist working in Indonesia, he is the founder of LivePatch a citizen art initiative. Andreas quickly falls asleep when he drinks Whiskey