| Fiction, Print Issues

Søren Weeps Piña Colada

Acrylic on canvas

Helena Olufsen

We arrive in mojito-scented fogs and splay the contents of our suitcases across every bed, dresser, and chaise lounge. Our new home is a white sandstone palace with tall arch doorways, marble floors, and a twinkly infinity pool that spills into the rolling jungle. Tangled treetops stretch into the horizon, teased by a light mist.

We line up on the pool deck for the cameras. The guys roar, the girls woo. My glass is poured until it overflows, caipirinha spilling between my toes. One-pieces aren’t allowed, so the girls are all in bikinis: pink tops juggling back-injuring breasts, leopard thongs sliding over solarium tan-lines.

One of the producers opens his arms wide and says: “Welcome everyone to the time of your lives.” He’s middle-aged with a sheep-blonde beard and a straw sunhat. Rasmus, I call him, because that’s his name, but he winks and says: “Call me Razzer.”

For my introductory interview, Rasmus ‘Call Me Razzer’ sits me on a stool in a bright, air-conditioned room full of cameras. He smiles benignly. “Søren, right?” he says. “Would you like something to drink, Søren? Beer? Champagne? Piña colada?”

I sip my piña colada while the crew adjusts the lighting.  

Call Me Razzer sits before me, legs daintily crossed, hands leafing through a messy notebook. He smells like apricot and sun lotion. His curls are moulded in the shape of the sunhat he’s left in the window. It gives him a boyish, summerly air.

At his back is a bulletin board with headshots of all the guys and girls. I spot my own headshot, choke a smile at the big, goofy grin on my sunburned face, the slight squint in my eyes. Little notebook scraps have been pinned around my photo, carrying bits of information on me: my name, small town where I’m from, nineteen years old, aspiring model.

A crew member says: “Rolling,” and I turn my attention back to Call Me Razzer who looks up from his notebook. His eyes take a second to find mine. Then, he smiles.

I smile back.

Call Me Razzer leans forward, eyes sparkling. “So, man,” he says, “I’m dying to know: who is Søren?” I open my mouth but Call Me Razzer cuts me off: “Remember, please speak in full sentences. When I ask who’s Søren, don’t say: Just a chill guy down to fuck. Say: I’m just a chill guy down to fuck. You dig me?”

I nod, look into the camera, and say: “I’m just a chill guy down to fuck.”

Call Me Razzer smiles and asks if I’d like another piña colada.




Sesame-crusted fish fillets and cottage cheese are served on brass plates, sparkling wine and mint-flecked margaritas in crystal glasses. The fish cools while we ooh and ah for the orbiting cameras. The girls extend their smooth, bronzed legs and angle their shoulders to show off their generic butterfly tattoos. I lift my chin, cock my jaw, make sure they get my good side, the model side.

There’s a slip of paper under my plate: a dinner mission. It says to tongue-kiss my neighbour—a skinny blonde with a name like Nadja or Katja—every time the guy across from me downs a margarita, which is often. She abides, our tongues working hungrily on each other, like waves carving the foot of a mountain.

Ten margaritas in, the guy across from me rips off his shirt. He jumps onto the table—glasses singing, girls shrieking—and rides it like a surfboard. His steroid-pumped shoulders bulge at his ears like giant pink cauliflowers. His chest is so massive, it seems to encumber him, an awkward T-rex quality to his movements.

I sit back and watch with jealous repulsion. All cameras on him, his skin stretched over muscles about to pop, tendons to snap. I picture the posters for this show we’re filming, Steroid Boy front and centre, surfing a wave of cash and modelling contracts.

“Oh, fuck that,” I say under my breath.

Nadja, or maybe Katja, looks at me.

I grab my napkin and fold it to an airplane. Nadja or Katja gasps, as I hurl the napkin airplane at Steroid Boy’s gap-toothed face.


The girls shriek, the guys snort with laughter. I feel strangely proud. Steroid Boy lets out a furious roar and boulders down at me. Across the room, Call Me Razzer snaps his fingers at a nearby camera, which swivels in my direction, just as I spit wine in Steroid Boy’s eyes and run guffawing from the table, pulling along a squealing, giggling Nadja or Katja.  




Tequila sunrises for breakfast. I drink my headache into submission, shower in cold water with my back to the camera. Nadja, could be Katja, joins me and turns up the temperature. I kiss her neck in the steamy water, breathe in her honeydew shampoo. I try to cover the camera in the ceiling corner with her lace panties, but a crew member knocks on the door to say that’s not allowed.

“You seem to have taken a liking to her,” Call Me Razzer says during interview.

I shrug, grin. “She’s cool. Pretty.” I want to say more about her, something about her soft skin or honeydew hair, but I hold back, keep it simple, light, televisable. I empty my negroni, grimace at the bitter aftertaste. “Back home, I’d never stand a chance with her,” I add, truthfully.

Call Me Razzer smirks. “Oh, I don’t believe that for a second. Charming kid like you.”

I laugh. My voice echoes like music in the cool, bright room. I feel good, like I’m saying the right things, acting the right way. Call Me Razzer seems to enjoy me, maybe even favour me. “I don’t know,” I say. “But in here… it’s like a different world or something. Like the rules have changed.”

Call Me Razzer bobs his head, a bounce in his sheep-blonde curls. “You’re right about that,” he says. “The rules have changed.” He leans in. “That’s because there are no rules in here.” There’s a dark glint in his blue eyes, half promise, half dare. “In here, you can be whoever the fuck you want to be. Fuck whoever the fuck you want to fuck. You dig me?”

I nod.

Call Me Razzer smiles. “I knew you would. That’s why I got you a present.”

“Really? Thanks, man.” I look around for the present but Call Me Razzer laughs a clucking belly laugh.

“It’s not here yet. It’ll come tonight. At the Latin party. Packaged and all. I just want you to enjoy yourself, you know? No rules. Just be whoever the fuck Søren wants to be.”




Sombreros, fake moustaches, cowboy boot stilettos. Salsa music and body tequila. I lick salt from the nook of Nadja or Katja’s belly button, suck the juice from a lemon slice, and spit it at Steroid Boy.

The music stops and a papier-mâché cake, shaped like a human, rolls onto the dance floor. A new girl pops out of the cake in a burst of blue confetti: a slender redhead with the South American continent tattooed high on her thigh. Blue eye shadow, blue fingernails, blue fringe bikini. Her hair a sleek sheet of red mahogany waterfalling to her hips.

I’m not surprised that a human is inside the human-shaped cake, but I still scream and fall back on my chair for the cameras.

New Girl’s tongue is small and quick, her piercing a hard, lukewarm knob in the middle of it. Her plastic nails dig into my cheeks, as she delivers the ice cube from her mouth to mine in our introductory game of Pass the Ice. Her breasts are pale and pointy. They quiver like jelly, as we jump naked into the moonlit pool.

Water closes over my head, and—for the first time since we arrived at the palace—the world goes still.

I float, weightless. Hear my own heartbeat pounding in the water. Fast and heavy, like a war drum. Except there is no one to fight down here. Just me. My gut is tight, I realise. Maybe it’s been tight for a while. Maybe I don’t feel so good. Then, New Girl’s hands are on me, pulling me in for a kiss, and I lose myself in the solace of her mouth, the rum and chlorine on her tongue.




I wake up on a damp chaise lounge with my head on New Girl’s belly, my ear crumpled and aching against her distended bladder. Sun spills through the arch doorways. Muffled laughter blends with clinking porcelain and the snarky beat of an eighties pop song.

I feel nauseous.  

New Girls stabs a long, blue fingernail at the roof of my mouth, and I vomit into the poolside bushes for rolling cameras. My yellow, half-digested dinner hangs on the branches like tinsel. I stare at it, numb-legged, while New Girl supplies gigglish background noises, like gross and God, Søren.

At breakfast, Nadja or Katja refuses to look at me. I flick a curl of bacon at her cleavage to get her attention. She punches the table, like a boy, martinis jumping, and looks at me through the blonde strands of her hair, her eyes red and swollen. The cameras all turn to me. I laugh off my discomfort, swallow the sting of guilt.

Call Me Razzer relieves the tension by asking if anyone can do a handstand for a photoshoot by the pool. Steroid Boy says he can, so I say I can, too. We both topple over on the sandstone—blood fills the gaps between Steroid Boy’s teeth, my eyebrow splits—but we keep going.




Call Me Razzer hands me a gin and tonic, asks if I’m comfortable. He smells like apricot and trust. The crew fixes the lighting, does a soundcheck. The room is too bright, too wobbly. The soft lines of Call Me Razzer’s face vibrate at each other.

He asks me how that felt, to have Nadja or Katja so upset with me, but the way he asks is like a joke, a twinkle in his eye, like it’s a funny story, full of silly girls and their silly girl antics. I appreciate that. It makes me feel better. As if I’m the victim in all of this, the real hero of this show, my face front and centre on the poster.

Four gin and tonics into the interview, I fall off my stool. My brow springs back open, blood slicks my eyeball. Call Me Razzer pulls me to my feet and pats my shoulder. A crew member wipes the blood, and Call Me Razzer lends me his sunhat to wear low on my brow. He asks if I’m good to continue. I nod, and he looks proud. It fills me with a soft, sunny calm. He asks how it feels to have all these girls fighting over me—must feel good, huh? I’m surprised to realise that it does.




The pool flashes with disco lights. New Girl dances against me, then Nadja or Katja dances against me. I suck on one or the other’s neck, nip at an earlobe. Whisper sweet nothings into somebody’s hair, aiming my words at their microphone necklace. Behind the pounding techno beat, a headache drills at my brow. I sit on the pool stairs, water to my hips, while some girl grinds against my numb erection.




I come to in the sun. Alone.

The insides of my eyelids shine red. My face burns like hot coals.

It takes a beat for me to understand where I am. Not at home, wrapped in a sleep-sweaty blanket in the gloom of my dad’s basement, all dust mites and ennui, but here: hungover on a sun-warm deck chair at this crazy jungle palace, the land of whoever the fuck Søren wants to be.

I squint up at the clear, blue sky. The sun bears down on me like an accusation.

Head pounding, I sit up and rub my eyes. I haven’t seen the palace this early in the morning before. The pool is stagnant with dead bugs and plastic straws, wet potato chips cake the deck. The air is eerily still.

In my gut, that tight, anxious feeling from last night returns. 

Beyond the pool, the jungle crawls up the rolling hills. Tangled trees smother the horizon, liana-dressed branches grasp at the sky—a rampant green, kissed by the ghostly hint of mist.

For the first time, I notice the scent of the jungle, thick beneath the familiar reek of booze, chlorine, and sun lotion: an ancient scent, ripe and resiny and earthy, full of moist secrets and roots deep enough to split the bedrock.

It’s the scent of an alien world. The scent of no cameras, or modelling careers, or expectations to entertain. The scent of freedom.

Suddenly, I am overcome by an impulse to throw myself from the edge of the pool and into the wilderness.


I turn my head, so fast it makes me dizzy, and shade my eyes to see one of the crew members standing in the arch doorway of the palace. She looks at me with impatient eyes.

“Breakfast’s ready,” she says. “Come on. We’re about to play truth or dare.”

I swallow hard. “I don’t feel so good.”

“I can see that,” she says, not unkindly. “Come on. I’ll fix you a hair of the dog.”

I sway to my feet, temples throbbing, then glance back at the jungle. Lush, sunlit green, twinkly with mist. “What’s in the jungle?” I ask.


“The jungle,” I repeat.

“Nothing’s in the jungle, Søren,” she says irritably. “It’s just a jungle. Okay? Think of it as an exotic backdrop.”  

I look from the jungle to her and back to the jungle again. Just an exotic backdrop. Then, I follow her inside.




I cry for no reason during soundcheck. Call Me Razzer gives my shoulder a fatherly squeeze and hands me another mimosa. I think I love him.  

After the interview, he guides me to the door.

I pause on my way out. “I can smell the jungle,” I say.

“Who?” Call Me Razzer’s tone is absent.

I study him for a beat, try to read his relaxed expression, the easy curl of his lips.

“The jungle,” I say. “I can smell it. Dirt and plants and shit. I didn’t notice before, but it’s everywhere. Like something—I don’t know.”

“Does the smell bother you?” Call Me Razzer smiles, like there’s something funny.  

“No.” I shake my head. “I mean, maybe, but that’s not—”

“Cause if it does, I can have it removed.”

“No,” I say again, suddenly afraid what he might do. “Don’t do that. That’s not what I meant.”

“Okay, man.” Call Me Razzer grins and raises his hands in mock surrender. “Whatever you say. This is your show, you know. You’re the one calling the shots here. Just let me know.” He winks.

I stare at him, gut tight. “Right,” I say. “I will.”

“Good man.” Call Me Razzer pats my back so forcefully I almost throw up. “How about another mimosa?”




I’m on the moonlit deck, moving in a manner that might be called dancing, pushing against hot, sweaty bodies—leopard thongs and veiny biceps—barefoot on the sticky sandstone, when Nadja or Katja appears and hands me a beer.

I know I’m meant to chug it, so I do.

The guys hoot, the girls wail like sirens.

Nadja or Katja licks the spillover from my chest, then gags and plucks a curly chest hair from her tongue.

The other girls strike up a choir of ews and oh my Gods. New Girl squeals the loudest.

I force a grin, try to joke it off, but nobody laughs. I stagger a bit to the side, bumping into Steroid Boy who puffs up his own dolphin-smooth chest and says: “watch it, Chest Beard.”

Everybody laughs.

I feel the grin falter on my lips. My cheeks burn. Unsure what to do, I look across the deck for Call Me Razzer who’s standing by the bar, mouthing something at a camera. I try to signal for him to jump in and distract everyone with something dumb, like a photoshoot, or a new round of truth or dare, but he avoids my gaze, just keeps motioning at the cameras, directing them towards me, his gestures animated, his eyes sparkling the way they do it when he knows he’s on to something, something juicy, some good fucking TV.

My stomach sinks.

I stand alone in the shower and shave my chest. The bass of the party thrums in the bathroom walls. My vision is shaky, and my hands are uncooperative. The cosmopolitan in my hand mixes with shower water.    

Back outside, the night breeze scrapes against my hairless chest.

New Girl kisses me, dragging the hard bullet of her piercing along the roof of my mouth. She runs a possessive hand across my bare chest, her nails irking the delicate stubbles, and it feels like she’s scratching my internal organs.

“I love your chest like this,” she purrs. “You know another place I’d love like this?” She winks and bites a salsa-covered carrot stick in half.  

I sit alone on the toilet lid and shave my testicles. The razor slips and I hiss at the pain. The cut on my left testicle fills with an angry red colour. I picture my cum in New Girl’s eyelashes, streaked through with blood.

I return to the party. Go to the pool… dance… tongue-kiss New Girl… have a drink… pose for a picture… skinny dip… do a keg stand… throw up… wrestle Steroid Boy… twerk… do a shot… grope Nadja or Katja… take a shit… do a handstand and bust my lip… chug… get a blowjob… piss on Steroid Boy’s sandals… get chased… give chase… chug some more… cry… dry-hump New Girl in the pool house… cry… shave my asshole… cry… call my dad and leave a message saying I can’t feel anything… cry.

“Are you crying?”

I look up to see a skinny figure, backlit with disco lights, leaning over me on the deck chair. Soft, blonde hair kisses my wet cheeks. A sweet rush of honeydew. It’s Nadja. Or Katja. Suddenly, I have to know, need to know, want to die if I cannot know:

“Is your name Nadja or Katja?”

Her eyes are in shadows, unreadable, but her brow is slack. Her long, disco-lit hair flutters in the breeze, as she says: “That’s none of your business.”

She turns away, leaving a vacuum in the air above me.

“Wait,” I call after her. “Please. I’ll tell you my name.”

“Your name is Søren,” she says simply, as she walks away into the flashing lights. “Razzer told me our first day here.”  

The lights swallow her, and she is gone.

I sit in the deck chair for a long while, her words echoing numbly in my head:

Razzer told me.

The music quivers in the chair, my left testicle aches, the air rings with drunken squeals, and underneath it all is that ancient scent of jungle, thick and earthy.

Razzer told me.


Finally, I get up. I reel through the party and enter the palace, my bare feet slapping down the marble hallways. I reach the interview room and throw open the door.

“Rasmus,” I call out.

A handful of crew members are scattered around the cool, bright room. They all look up as I step inside.  

“Søren,” one of them says, a note of alarm.

I waddle past her, looking around at their blurry faces.

“Hey, buddy,” another says. “You can’t be in here.”

“Where is he?” I ask.


The window is open to the jungle: gnarly trees silhouetted against the moonlit sky, breathing in the silver mist. I look at the trees, forget to look where I’m going, bump into a camera tripod. My drink slips from my hand and shatters against the floor: blood-red splatters of sangria on the marble.

“Shit,” says one crew member, while another says: “Easy, man,” and yet another: “Honey, you need to leave.”

“I want to talk to Rasmus,” I say, to none of them in particular.

“How about I fix you a new drink?”

I snort incredulously. “Where is he?” I ask.

“Søren, there’s a lot of expensive shit in here.” 

I laugh out my frustration, do a full spin to face them all, one by one. “Can anyone—” I say, staggering barefoot around the sangria-stained shards “—tell me where the fuck he is?”

When I come full circle, Call Me Razzer is standing in the door. The straw sunhat is wry on his head, his sheep-blonde beard catches the ceiling light with a saintly sheen.

“Ah!” I throw open my arms. “Rasmus!”

There’s a moment’s surprise on his face, then he grins.  “Søren. Buddy. Call me Razzer.”

I don’t return his grin. “That’s not your name, though.”

Call Me Razzer blinks.  

“Oh, but that’s okay,” I continue, “because this is the land of whoever the fuck Rasmus wants to be, isn’t it?”

Call Me Razzer lets out a hearty laugh. “Sure, man. Whatever you say. I take it you’re enjoying the sangria?” He winks at a nearby crew member who shifts nervously.   

“Just like it’s the land of whoever the fuck Rasmus wants Søren to be,” I continue.

The smile stiffens on Call Me Razzer’s face.

He closes the distance between us, his curls bouncing slowly beneath the brim of his sunhat. “Is there a problem, Søren?”

My heart picks up its pace. “What do you think?”

“I think you’ve had a lot to drink.”  

“You’ve given me a lot to drink.”

Call Me Razzer’s face hardens, the smile vanishing completely.

My shoulders tense.

“Look,” he says. “I’m not sure what you’re implying. But if you’re saying that I’ve forced you to drink, let me be very clear that I don’t appreciate it.”

He holds my eyes with his, and I feel myself shrink under his gaze.

“You’re an adult, Søren. And as an adult, I expect you to set your own boundaries. If you’re not mature enough to do that, then you shouldn’t be here. Do I make myself clear?”

I feel the defiance drain from my body, my fists unclenching, shoulders drooping. A shameful smoulder takes its place. I pause, reluctantly, then give a small nod.

Call Me Razzer studies me for a while. Then, he sighs. “Look, Søren, I like you. I’ve liked you since day one. You’re someone I can work with, you know. You’ve got ambition. You want to model, yes?”

I hesitate.

“Yes?” He repeats.

“Yes,” I echo.

“Good.” Call Me Razzer nods. “I like that for you. I can help you with that.” He smiles, gives my shoulder a squeeze. “Tell you what. How about you go find that big muscle idiot—that big chunk of steroid meat, the one you hate—and stir some shit up? Huh? You stir some shit up, and I’ll make you fucking famous, okay, buddy?”

It’s a feeling like falling, although I’m standing very still and upright.

The sparkle is back in Call Me Razzer’s eyes.

I look to the window: a small square of jungle, enclosed in its sandstone frame. Just an exotic backdrop.

Ignoring the scent, I look back at Call Me Razzer. I nod.

Call Me Razzer grins and pats my cheek. “Good man,” he says.

I nod again.

Then, I exit the room. My feet hurt as I walk down the hallway, trailing red footprints in my wake. Outside, I find Steroid Boy in the flashing lights. He turns to face me, a big, goofy grin on his lips, and squints drunkenly at my feet.

“Shit,” he laughs. “What happened to you?”

“That’s none of your business,” I say.

Then, without ceremony, I punch him in his teeth.




Helena Olufsen is a Danish/Indian writer based in Copenhagen. Her work has appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Puerto del Sol, Harpur Palate, Writer’s Block Magazine, Neon Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Fiddlehead.

Artwork: “Ensomhet” by Kel Hudson

Acrylic on canvas

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