Gladiator – “AT MY SIGNAL… UNLEASH HELL!”
One of the great movie lines, by none other than the amazing Russell Crowe. It’s memorable, it’s powerful, but when you’ve been drinking with the boys all day and you deliver it to Rusty himself… not so much.
I was with five mates on Geoff’s old, mid-sized yacht, anchored at Woolloomooloo. We were staying the night on the boat, so the six of us had been drinking irresponsibly all day.
My buddy Tony and I are MASSIVE Rusty fans. We’ve watched Gladiator many times, quoted it often and regularly dreamed of being the Gladiator. You can imagine our excitement upon learning on social media that Rusty himself had been sighted partying on an enormous cruiser, just off Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel, 200m away!
We could see his cruiser! Rusty!
Geoff – “Cool Hand (my self-ascribed poker call-sign) we’ve been drinking heavily since midday, it’s now 11:00pm. We’re all maggotted! It would be insane for me to drive anywhere, especially through that throng of mega-boats. It’s pitch black!”
Me – “But it’s Rusty! You know how many Gladiator quotes Tony and I know. He’ll love us. What’s the worst that could happen?”
Geoff – “Ok I’m in!”
There we were, motoring slowly through all the multi-million dollar boats, with a legless captain, drunk crew, on our way to pull up next to the Gladiator. Ooh yeah!
We weren’t crazy. We positioned two blokes at the front, to signal if there was anything coming up Geoff had to avoid. I stood on the side of the yacht and waited until we were close enough to possibly spot Rusty.
I was getting nervous. I could actually see my idol standing with a group of beautiful people at the back of the enormous cruiser (our yacht was not huge, so we lacked a bit of nautical cred).
As we neared, Tone and I had already planned which line I would throw first.
MY NAME IS MAXIMUS DECIMUS MERIDIUS, COMMANDER OF THE ARMIES OF THE NORTH.
I could see Rusty clearly, when our two spotters started to get a little agitated.
Mike (at the front of our boat) – “GEOFF, THERE’S A MOORED DINGHY STRAIGHT AHEAD. VEER TO PORT.”
Geoff, driving from the back of the yacht, did not react.
Col – “GEOFF! YOU’RE GOING TO HIT A DINGHY IF YOU DON’T GO TO PORT SIDE!!” They were waving their hands around frantically. Geoff plowed on ahead, unmoved.
Being in the middle of the boat, I could hear Captain Geoff was saying something. Inebriated as I was, I knew this was probably spotter-essential information.
Me – “QUIET SPOTTERS! GEOFF’S SAYING SOMETHING.”
I WOULD WALK FIVE HUNDRED MILES AND I... Oh no, he was singing.
We were so close to Rusty now, he was staring straight at us.
Me (dropping my voice a couple of octaves) – “MY NAME IS MAXIMUS DE-”
We went straight over the dinghy and the mooring and our yacht slammed to a sudden, noisy halt. With a yell, my bourbon and I went flying. I landed on my side with a thud, nearly went overboard and was only saved by that annoying knee-high wire that runs around the boat.
We all picked ourselves up. I gave Rusty a thumbs-up to signify I was ok and we all made our way to the back of the boat.
Col – “WHAT THE F#CK GEOFF??”
Geoff – “Sorry (with a chuckle), too drunk to react.”
We realised Rusty was still standing there watching us.
Tony – “AND I WILL HAVE MY VENGEANCE IN THIS LIFE OR THE NEXT!”
I gave Tony a nicely-selected-and-presented-quote, nod.
Geoff picked up the closest knife from the table and dived overboard.
Keep in mind, it was the middle of the night, the current was strong, we were in Sydney Harbour and he’s as full as a Hornswood train. I assumed Geoff was going to be taken by some sea-predator (who would have thought himself pretty lucky with a beer-infused late-night meal), drown or be run over by Rusty’s cruiser which had its engine running.
Tony – “MY NAME IS GLADIATOR.” Rusty was still standing there watching us. He did not react.
Me – “Tone, you have to drop a couple of octaves.”
Matt – “Geoff took the cheese knife.”
I hurriedly leaned over the side.
Me – “WHAT WE DO IN LIFE, ECHOES AN ETERNITY.” I put a concerted effort into that line, it was one of the biggies. Despite my drinking, I was pretty sure I sounded Gladiatorial.
After a while we started to get a little concerned for Geoff. The water was black as pitch and we could not see him.
Tony – “AT MY SIGNAL, UNLEASH HELL!” Still no reaction from Rusty, but he kept on looking at us.
Me – “Nice tone… Tone.” Tony and I high-fived.
With a loud TWANG sound and a jerking motion, we knew Geoff had cut us free. It was a relief for about thirty seconds, until we realised we were drifting rapidly towards Rusty’s cruiser. Geoff was still somewhere in the water. We started to panic a little. We didn’t know how to drop the motorized anchor chain, nor start the engine.
Tony – “WHATEVER COMES OUT OF THESE GATES, WE’VE GOT A BETTER CHANCE OF SURVIVAL IF WE WORK TOGETHER.” Due to our panic, he didn’t deliver that line with anywhere near the passion it deserved.
Suddenly Geoff materialized, sopping wet with our cheese knife between his teeth. We cheered, he started the engine and slammed the boat into reverse. We eventually came to a halt, about three metres from making the front page of the Daily Telegraph.
I knew I only had one final chance to impress Rusty, in hope of him leaning over the side and saying, hey lads, you’re pretty passionate with those quotes. Why don’t I join you?
Me – “STRENGTH AND HONOUR.” I put my fist over my heart.
Rusty leaned over the side. We all rushed to hear him.
Rusty – “You guys are f#cking idiots.” He walked off. His voice sounded different.
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