In December of 1998 I was given a choice to go to Tokyo, Japan to deliver a three week training course on the upcoming version of Internet Explorer, or Sydney, Australia to perform the same task. I chose Sydney, and my life has been the stranger for it.
At the time I was living in Dallas. This meant a flight over to Los Angeles followed by a 14 hour flight to Sydney. Back in those days most groups within Microsoft had a pretty reasonable policy for justifying flying business class. If the flight was over six hours long and you were expected to work within 24 hours of landing, you could book business class. At this point in my life I had made two overseas flights to Europe, both coach. All my domestic travel had been coach as well. Thus was I introduced to business class, or as I called it afterwards: 14-hour long blowjob class.
I exaggerate, but only slightly. The change from coach was immediate. Aboard a very nice Boeing 747, I was ushered to the top deck, shown my enormous seat, and handed some champagne. The seat converted to an almost flat space to sleep on and there was a good three feet of space all around me. The seat had a screen that displayed the current position along with a real time map. You could also watch TV or movies on it. There was power for my laptop, and the food was real food served on real plates with real silverware. There was even a wine list! A clown came out to cheer me up any time I felt down! The stewardesses were all Angelina Jolie! I saw God! He made me some pancakes!
Most of a day later I landed in Sydney. The approach from the coast was spectacular and I couldn’t wait to see the city. Being early December in the southern hemisphere, the weather was warm and balmy. I was bemused to see many a Santa Claus in shorts from the cab window as I made my way from Sydney proper out to North Ryde where the Microsoft office was located.
For the next couple of weeks I taught some of the most professional and customer centric Microsoft employees I had yet encountered. In almost all cases they spent serious time in class participation, provided product and training feedback, and were incredibly focused on providing the best experience for the product that they possibly could. I spent my days teaching polite and focused students. I spent my nights eating spectacular seafood and hitting the local bars in the area for the one-time novelty in my life of having hot girls actually fawning over my American accent as much as I was stricken by theirs.
Great story right?
The title promised bare ass spankings and we don’t have too much more to go to deliver.
During my time in paradise I became fairly close to the students, as I mentioned they were among some of the most professional and passionate employees I had had the pleasure of working with. At some point during my time there I got invited to the groups Christmas party. Apparently their local Halloween party had been canceled for whatever reason and they had chosen to do up their Christmas party as a costume party. I lacked a costume, but was assured that didn’t really matter as there would be masks aplenty at the event. Up until this point I had spent a lot of time in Sydney meeting various Internet people unrelated to work that I knew from being on several different message boards. So each night had been a different low key affair involving dinner and drinks with couples or the stray person my age meeting up for beer. I had not been partying at all with the students. Perhaps it was some foreboding sense that as the teacher of the class that I should not fraternize too closely to the students until the class was over. More likely, nay certainly, it was prescience of situations where I would be exposed to the largest field of marijuana I had ever seen personally and one of my male student’s perfectly shaved genitals.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The night of the party opened with three of my handlers picking up at my hotel. These weren’t students, but employees assigned to make sure I got from point A to point B for the class. The idea was drinks and relaxing back at their place near the party. The party, it was described to me, was slightly unofficial given the anything goes nature of the costumes. Are you noting the words in italics?
We arrived at their shared house. I hopped out of the car still a little bemused by the driver’s side back seat being on the right and took in the place. It was nice, a large but older single story home in a spot near the industrial area of the city, where apparently the party was going to be. My lead handler stepped out of the car and led us to the side gate which he unlocked and let us through. We meandered down a small side path for a few feet before we hit the back yard and a small deck leading to the rear entrance of the house. I was preoccupied with merely following the path before we hit the deck and one of the handlers said, “What a view.”
I looked up and out and paused, pretty sure at what I was seeing but too much of a neophyte to truly process it. Imagine a camera in a movie, maybe it’s Hoosiers or Field of Dreams or Children of the Corn. The view pans up from the ground then slowly raises to reveal an epic farm crop that extends to the horizon. Except it was pot plants. Sticky bud as far as the eye could see. I wasn’t shocked so much as I was awed.
“Party starts in 2 hours. Let’s chill,” one of the handlers said.
They went inside while I stood for a second longer on the deck, figuring one napalm strike on this place and the contact high would easily reach Canberra. Not wanting to appear freaked I went inside and gratefully accepted a cold beer then freaked as the single largest bong I have ever seen was produced. As if suddenly realizing there was a foreigner in the room a handler, a stunning redhead girl, decided to check in.
“Oh hey are you cool?” she said, gesturing to GargantaBong, the Bong that all other bongs pray too.
“Oh yeah.” I said, then tried to deploy some slang, “Not my thing, but I’m 4:20 friendly”
They stared at me blankly, and at the culture cross collision of the situation I finally busted out laughing genially.
“I’m cool,” I said laughing again, “I’ll stick with beer”
The next hour was spent watching them conduct a bong based forest clearing experiment with a bag from the back yard while I drank all their beer. Seemed like a good trade, because by the time the hour was over we were all laughing so hard we nearly forgot there was a party with a fancy dinner to go to. We piled into the car, the driver baked beyond the dreams of avarice. The party location was a rented out warehouse in a Sydney industrial district, a warehouse known for being set aside for lavish parties. We arrived on time, all of us hungry with some hungrier than the hungriest of hungry munchies hungry people who are also hungry and want food.
“Fuck I’m starving,” the redhead opined as she got out of the car.
“You get between me and the food, and you’re breaky for the rest of us tomorrow,” the driver said, swaying ever so slightly.
Everyone except me broke into peals of laughter and stumbled on in. I watched and prepared to settle into yet another in a long string in my career of company parties that featured nice dinners, forced fun, and a boring speech or two. That was when I noticed the costumes.
“You need a mask,” the girl said at the door as my jaw hung loosely on its hinges.
“You shot who in the what now?” I said.
Culture collision again.
My accent gave me away as a non-Oz-ican and she took that look I had become so used to for a couple of weeks: “Could you say that again?” I was expecting her to say.
“A mask,” she said, “it’s a costume party, you need a mask.”
The night was blazing hot and I looked up to see how halogen orange the sky was with the bit of smog in the city against the lights. I was pretty sure I had just seen several of my students enter the party in full bondage gear. Contact high, I thought, you just watched three people in a small living room smoke the Yellowstone Natural Park through the Death Star of all bongs while you pounded back a six pack of beer.
“A mask you say. Sounds perfect,” I offered after a focusing breath and the realization that it was all relaxing downhill from here. I was just weirded out, that’s all. Surely this was going to be the standard Microsoft thing.
In retrospect, the inside of that party was like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut except with less clothes and less sex. Within seconds one of my best students approached me with his girlfriend. He was wearing a kilt, and nothing else. She was in all vinyl and carrying a whip. I reached for the nearest tray of booze as he casually chatted me up about how I was enjoying Australia. Seconds later I swear to the flying spaghetti monster the multi pierced airplane porn reading chick from my trip to Bismarck walked up in all her tattooed splendor.
“Oh my god,” She said, “I love your kilt!” This was directed at my student who of course was appropriately accepting of the compliment. “You’re not wearing anything under, right?” she said.
No. No. No, I thought.
“Of course not,” he said, lifting his kilt to reveal a generous dollop of perfectly shorn genitalia.”
“Neither am I!” replied the girl, lifting up her skirt to reveal her everything to everyone.
I’m pretty sure they high fived in that moment but the memory burned into my skull is of the site director walking by with a paddle and seeing my student’s girlfriends whip. While I was still processing the shaven Adam and Eve bits of the past 120 seconds, the high level individual involved in our core business of Australia took the whip and proceeded, with glee, to bare ass spank my male kilted student.
Everyone had a grand time.
I spent the rest of the evening holding my badge in the air waiting for someone from Microsoft Human Resources to collect it and let me know they were terribly sorry but I had to be let go due to this party.
I woke up the next morning in my hotel room. My throat was a bit raw from some ill advised cigarette smoking at the end (hey, I thought I was dead anyway.) There were enough photos to prove I wasn’t crazy, but we all agreed what happens on the other side of the Earth has to have mathematical proof.
Dear the Microsoft Australia Office: I’ve not been invited back. What do I gotta do?