It was 19th century Prague, according to the closed circuit T.V. in my lavish, Bauhaus hotel. The shop-lined balustrade had gingerbread house filigree. It was 25 degrees. An elegant beauty in black velvet entered a cavernous octagonal suite. The gas-lit hallway walls were egg-nog, the carpets yellow with brick-red arabesques. I descended 20 flights of carved mahogany stairs, to a parking garage. I poked my head out the leaden door to see Nevada City in an Uranus-like blizzard. I took the hand-cranked elevator back to the 21st floor. I’d asked the chanteuse for my cognac and fruitcake wedge. Dozens of diners had since entered her room, their chatter as undecipherable as theatre murmurs. The Burgermeister types, with Van Dykes and grouse hunting hats, sat at oaken candle-lit tables. I was served Marie Callendar’s chicken potpie soup (dolled up with tarragon, butter, cream and chardonnay), from a gilded silver tureen. After several bowls, I was bidden to a 4-poster bed for a massage, with blood orange and white pepper body butter. As I lay on my stomach, I belched up vomit.
I awoke in my present day Paradise lodgings, my esophagus burning. I began a regimen of prilosec, and had to urinate from an enlarged prostate. It was 3 A.M. Santa Claus Vs. The Martians was on the television. The volume oscillator in the TV was broken; the levels jumped wildly. (Frantic car commercials and the voice of KNVN’s Rob Blair usually set it off). I had to watch silent, unauthorized channel screens, while waiting for the volume to diminish. I had UPS tape over the speaker, so the sound came from the back of the console.
I ate a brownie laced with virgin shake and dead bug bits (that, as it turned out, were actually semi-sweet chocolate chips). On CNN, a mushroom-haired, male Carol Burnett-faced tween, who’d just massacred twenty 6 year olds. (The theorists claimed he was a patsy, and it had something to do with a pedophile ring at the highest government levels. An elite squadron carried out the attack. The eyewitness accounts were doctored by the media). I had to turn to infomercials about lypo-suction pills, suction pumps, organic Viagra, free real estate, free cures, free grants and subsidies, vacuum cleaners as sophisticated as the ‘God-Particle’ reactor in Grenoble, France, and sacroiliac tables that turned one upside down.
When I turned to the SyFy channel, I saw myself walking down a Temple of Doom designed neon and Day-Glo Chinatown (either in Vancouver or Adelaide). It was a rainy night, but everyone was on bikes. A girl I once knew was on a Stingray (the reader can envision either the 60’s punk bike or the marine creature). She beseeched me to move to this colonial style Asian/Aussie town, and forsake my townhouse hovel on the hill. My larder and yard sale effluvium was keeping me from a life of uncomfortable adventure and comradery, not unlike the Hobbit.
I awoke in Chico, in the Senator Hotel. I wandered into a gutted Duffy’s, with sawdust and sheetrock. At a round table sat friends, strangers, and Alec Baldwin (who seemed to know me)! Over the bandsaws and guffaws, I asked if I could join the crew. The conservative strangers said, “NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Like the Facebook posts on KNVN about AR-15 bans. Alec asked me to raise my shattered left arm (I could only extend it straight out). Next, the right arm; It seemed a sobriety test. “I live right next door… I could walk to work”, I pleaded. “DAAANNNN???? Have you even beeeeen to bed yet?” Alec chided. “I just woke up! I go to bed at 9 and lead a structured conservative life now!”