Walking back along La Rambla at 2 am, I’m greeted by a fresh dressed man with neatly trimmed white hair and beard, who looks to be about 60 years old.
“Hola senor!” He calls out to me.
“Hola!” I respond in kind.
“What is your name young man?” He asks me with a thick accent.
“Corey. What is yours?”
“My name is Antonio, but people call me Teddy. Where are you from Senor?”
“Ah Australia! I love Australians!”
“Where are you from.” I ask.
“Italy my friend, but I wander around the lands, and now, I’m in Barcelona!”
“What are you doing here?” I ask as we walk together down the street. Teddy walks with a wide open smile and joyous stride.
“Well you know, I am the King of Barcelona! So I walk a little here, i walk a little there, and I live my friend, I live.”
“True! The King of Barcelona!” I say in awe, bowing to the King, “And what do you think of this city of yours?”
“Barcelona? Fark man, it is crazy! Crazy, but magic, a beautiful city!”
“Si! I think the same thing too! Crazy, but magic!”
Walking side by side up La Rambla, we pass a closed shopfront where a six pack of beers that I did not see, but Teddy did, that are stashed deftly underneath.
Teddy skips over and scoops them up, “Sorry Pakistani!” He says laughing and referring to the guys who swindle beers on the street but who are currently absent, “But I am the King of Barcelona, and since you are not here and no one truly owns anything, I take your beer and I share them with my friend Corey here, the prince of Barcelona!”
Teddy stashes the beers in his trolley that he wheels behind him between a rolled up piece of bamboo screening and a picture of Spock from Star Trek. We hear movement behind us and turn around to find 5 Pakastani guys squaring up to us and demanding back there beers.
“Ahhh look, Pakastani, no offence senor,” Teddy says, making his hands dance with true Italian flare. Weaving his spell of words he separates two of the cans from their plastic encasing before the Pakistani fellas can see, and hands the rest of the beers back to them.
“I see the cevesa, and I think that they are lost, so I find them and i give them a new home.” He says to them grinning.
The Pakistanis take the beers roughly and walk away cursing over their shoulders. Teddy giggles and opens up his trolley to show me the two beers he had deftly plucked off before handing them back. “One for me, and one for you, no? The King and the Prince of Barcelona, will share a cevesa together tonight!”
“Teddy! You are a magician man!” I say, clapping him on the shoulder.
“Eh, everything I have, you see?” He says pointing at his trolley and fresh clothing. “All of this I find for free. Every day I have new pair of shoes and a pair of shoes for each of my friends. Every day I find new pants and new jacket, but I only take the clothing that looks good on me. Barcelona has everything that anyone could ever want, for free! And I am the King of Barcelona!”
(Before jumping to conclusions, Teddy does not steal anything from anyone in the traditional sense, he either finds things as he goes or they are given to him. He looks at material objects in a way that reminds me of the Indigenous people the world over, that material things cannot be owned by anyone, that they are owned by the Great Mother Earth, and that by finding and sharing these things that he pulls along in his trolley, Teddy is simply ‘transmuting energy’ from one place to the other.)
The way that Teddy moves is something that you have to see with your own eyes, he truly is the King of Barcelona, because he says so.
We sit down together, crack open our beers, and I teach him to say “Cheers Mate!”. We sit in the el centres de Catalunya and talk about the world together. Teddy asks me if I’m hungry and pulls out a fresh Tuna sandwich that he had found earlier on today. He splits it in half and shares it with me.
“You see?” He says laughing, “Anything you want, you can have it my friend.”
After we finish our feast of Tuna sandwich, he then pulls out some figs, strawberries, and cookies.
“See? We eat like the King and Prince of Barcelona! All of this my friend, is free, you just have to believe it to be true.”
Last but not least he pulls out a pouch from his pocket and opens it up to show me a clump of marijuana and tobacco.
“Some guy, he come up to me today and ask me if I would like this. So I say, yeah, why not.”
I laugh, “Yeah Teddy! You my brother, are my hero.” I say to him.
“I am a father to all my friend, for I, am the King of Barcelona, and you are the Prince. You see, this city is magic, you and me meeting tonight, is pure destiny.”
He hands the pouch over to me and I roll us a royal joint. We smoke it together in gratitude as the King and Prince of Barcelona, owning the night, and talking with each other about all of the pleasures to be found in the world for free.
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