I'll never understand what old Ernest Hemingwright saw in this place.

For starters, never demand to be served roast suckling pig in a restaurant called Senor Goldberg's Kosher Café. After picking myself up off the sidewalk and clearing the lox and cream cheese that the chef had so rudely inserted into my nostrils, I continued my tour of this famous and ancient land. That's when I noticed something else was not quite right here.

See, when your old pal TUA hits a foreign port, he does his homework. So when I got to Spain, I was pretty darned disappointed to see not one single bull running loose in the streets! Where was the chaos, the panic, the crowds of screaming spectators laying bets on the next unlucky hombre to get his ass gored by an el toro (that's Spanish for "bull") run amok?

Something had to be done, and TUA was just the man to do it. I found out where the nearest stockyard was and flagged me down an el taxi (that's Spanish for "taxi") and hauled ass over there.

After all, I figured the lack of running beef on the hoof was simply an oversight and that the el senor (Spanish for "senior") in charge of turning loose the bulls was sick that day, or maybe overslept during his el siesta ("drunken stupor"), or perhaps it was a rotation deal and somebody forgot their turn.

You would think the folks in this burg would appreciate an alert visitor who notices when something is amiss and takes pains to remedy the situation. But noooooo…

After finding the stockyards and opening the gates, I was set upon by the local el rancheros ("guys who will beat the living shit out of you for messing with their animals"), who took considerable umbrage to my liberating their livestock. When I tried to bluff my way out of it by claiming that I was good friends with both Julio and Enrique Iglesias, they just turned the molestation up another notch.

And that wasn't the worst of it. Then they turned me over to the El Guardia Civila ("cops who think the LAPD is a bunch of bleeding-heart liberal pussies"), to whom I demanded the arrest of my tormentors, but I must have gotten the words wrong. The taxi driver had told me that whenever I needed the police, I should just run up to a guy in uniform and yell "el puerco!", and they would immediately respond.

They responded, all right.

Now due to several misunderstandings in the past, your old pal TUA is no stranger to a beating, but the painful humiliations imposed upon my person in this instance made a KKK lynching look like a Quaker meeting during a James Taylor concert while he's doing an encore of "Shower the People." By the time the ordeal was complete I was bleeding from every possible orifice, both natural and man-made, when they dumped me on the street…right in the path of the stampeding herd.

Pretty darned unsporting, if you ask me. I was gored so many times that now my body whistles when I walk into the wind. Meanwhile, the carnage was piling up in the streets, the gutters running red with the blood of townsfolk and tourists alike. You would think these people would be used to it by now, but they all acted as if enraged cattle running rampant and terrorizing the populace was some kind of aberration! Has European society deteriorated this badly?

As for your old pal TUA, by this time I closely resembled something akin to a placenta that had been run through a Cuisinart when I was mercilessly dragged by my heels back to my ship by an angry mob of painfully perforated Spaniards who attempted to throw me onto the deck. Unfortunately, said deck is like fifty feet or so above the pier and I bounced painfully off the hull and into the water, where the seagulls began pecking at me like so much kitchen waste jettisoned from the bilge...which was exactly what I was covered in as I had failed to swim fast enough to get out of the line of fire, so to speak. By the time the duty mate fished me out with the Jacob's cradle I was literally oozing through the rungs.

On the bright side, at least I didn't have to post bail. I'll say this for the Spanish justice system, it's certainly efficient. Not like those guys in Scotland who took offense when I extolled the virtues of bourbon and tried to mate me with a Shetland pony. But that's another story…

So now I've been confined to quarters, no big deal as the stewards want my hide for bleeding all over their freshly-waxed passageways. They'll have to wait their turn.

This is your old pal TUA, signing off so I can go empty my colostomy bag before the cup runneth over, if you get my drift. Adios, amigos ("ouch").

For more of Bill Klein, visit www.BillKleinOnline.com.


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