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Carnival Nightmare

Updated on April 11, 2011
Carnival Nightmare
Carnival Nightmare | Source

I wakened at 5:27 a.m. local Rio de Janeiro time, March 13th, 2011, face down on the sticky gritty asphalt of a small lane off Avenida Vieira Souto, just a few blocks from the famous beach of Ipanema. The first thing I realized was that my actual capacity for consumption and processing of the volatile but very tasty caipirinha — that popular national cocktail of Brazil — was probably far less than I had earlier in the weekend estimated. Wow! What a cluster of concurrent headaches of varying types and sizes!

As my vision slowly stabilized, I was able to make out the pair of spike-heeled lacquered pumps that were positioned equidistant each side of my throbbing head. I raised my wobbling cranium and fluttering eyes to the Carnival nightmare before me.

What exactly had I gotten myself into?

I clambered painfully to my feet, as this scary vision of a creature prattled at me solicitously in Portuguese. As best I could determine via my limited linguistic aptitude, Estefania had befriended me some 31 hours earlier, during our parade romp through the favela’s many contorted alleyways with several thousands of other Lenten revelers. Becoming my accomplice and companion through the successive Latin pub-crawl, she remained still, standing watch over my supine stupefied carcass until the Rio dawn.

I struggled to comprehend details — ANY details! — of my recent past.

Only to learn perhaps the worst detail of all: Estefania was actually former Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Stefan Sorderbergh, and we were now engaged.


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