Pioneer of the Madrid Botanical Gardens

We sat in the park drinking port wine and eating cheap cheese out of a loose package. Next to the park there was a high brick wall with an even higher cast iron fence atop it.

Moved with curiosity, I decided to go in search of the entrance. Hank and Will followed, we circled the perimeter and eventually found the gate.


“Neat,” I say, satisfied. A sign on the wall read: 3 EURO ENTRY.

“Does anyone want to pay three Euro to see a garden?” I asked

Will shook his head. Hank walked off. We followed. He settled next to a strip of wall guarded by a sleeping homeless man. I sat down next to the man and lit a cigarette

Hank and Will leaned against the wall of the botanical gardens.

While I was trying to translate what is written on the much-loved disposable cup beside the homeless man, Hank was sporting a very self-amused smile.

Then, without warning, he leapt onto the brick wall, held the cast iron fence with one hand, and flung himself into the thicket of trees below.

Will looked at me and shrugged. I said a quiet good bye and good luck to my sleeping homeless man and went to stand next to Will.

The street was full of people, but no one noticed Hank ‘s cat-like break in. Maybe because no one has ever felt it was worthwhile to break into a place which cost only three euro to enter.

“We have to now?” asked Will.

“I suppose so.”

We waited and watched. The herd did not thin. After five minutes Will was rearing to go.

“NOW” He said suddenly.

We both climbed up at the same time. I clipped my ankle on the cast iron but got one leg over. Will was taller and quicker but we managed to smash our heads into each other anyways.


“Ah! shit”

We tumbled over and dropped the remaining seven feet with a thud. We hung out on the ground waiting for the sirens to sound.

“I think we did it” Will said, getting up and brushing himself off. I pulled myself up after him, groaning.

“Yeah, sure.”

We moved further into the garden with a feeling of accomplishment and paranoia.

“If we get arrested for breaking in to a damn garden I am going to… hang myself– or something,” I informed him.

“We could just run.”

“I don’t run.” I said, lighting a cigarette.

“That’s a stupid rule.”

“It’s not a rule, it’s a handicap.”

“Your legs work fine.”

“It’s not my legs, it’s my spirit, its lazy.”

“So…you’d rather get arrested?”

“I’d rather get arrested with dignity.”

“Fair enough.”

Eventually we found Hank sitting next to a fountain at the center of the gardens smoking a cigarette and drinking from a hip-flask-sized-bottle of port wine.

“You guys made it?”




I took a swig and tried to hand it back but Hank had already replaced it with a fresh bottle so I sat next to him and polished off the one he gave me.

“That felt good,” Hank said, sighing.

“Breaking in here?”


“I suppose, not much pay-off.”

“That makes it all the better.”

“How so?”

“Well… it’s not always a matter of how difficult something is, it’s about the fact that not many people have done it…for whatever reason.”

“I guess.”

“No really– PICKLE-FART!” He yelled, loud and suddenly.

“What the hell was that for?” I asked him.

“Think about it.”

I thought about it.

“Thought about it.”


“And what the hell was that for?”

“How many people have yelled PICKLE-FART in the middle of the Madrid Botanical Gardens?”

“Not many?”

“If any.”


“So, now I know how it feels to be the first man to do something. The first man to send an Email! The first man to shoot a gun, the first to fly, to fry and egg, to sail the seven seas! Throw a spear! The first man to set foot on the moon!–”

He stood up, took a long drag of his cigarette, and killed the port-wine.

“PICKLE-FART!” He cried.

Then, sat back down with a smile. A Spanish looking couple strolling their baby across the way jumped a little and scurried off into a safer part of the garden. Hank laughed to himself then turned to me.

“The first to yell pickle-fart in the Madrid Botanical Gardens…”



3 replies to “Pioneer of the Madrid Botanical Gardens

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