Wednesday, September 22

I just got off the bus and I'm in the desert. Mojave. California. Looking for my best friend in the whole world, Mr. Happy Puppet Head, who's seemingly gone crazy with Magic Violin-Power.

There's nothing in every direction except joshua trees and dirt and maybe some lizards. My cape billows in the wind. I love it when it does that.

I'm listening. I hear nothing but the wind.

I see a lot of smoke in the distance. Westward. I begin walking that way.

After several hours, the small bit of smoke I saw becomes an enormous plume. And I begin to hear what i was listening for:

Jazz. Smoothe. Played really, reallly loud.

More hours of walking. My feet hurt. These rubber boots I wear simply aren't designed for long desert treks. I should look into getting some that are.

Soon I see my destination--an enormous concrete compound with smoke billowing out of the top. The jazz gets louder and louder as I approach. It is nearing dusk, and the enormous fire burning within the compound flickers through the barred windows.

Finally, I'm standing in front of the enormous structure, maybe five stories high, flat grey walls, barred windows, large wooden double doors. If I were an invading army, I'd have an impossible time getting in.

I knock on said wooden door. No one answers. I notice a big metal door-knocker, about twice the size of me. I brace my feet and lift up with all my strength, let it go, and it booms against the wood, shaking the air around me. I wait. No one answers. As loud as that was, I can't imagine they can hear anything in there over the impossibly loud saxophones and synthesizers blaring from within.

I lift the knocker again, sending it crashing against the door, but still no one answers.

I sit and wait. He's got to come out eventually. And I'm very patient.

The sun sets and soon it's completely dark. All I can see are the vast number of stars above me and the flickering shaddows of the party from inside.

After what seems like forever, the door opens. I stand up real quick from where I was leaning against the compound. It's Mr. Happy Puppet Head. He's with a woman and he's yelling and laughing over the music. She looks like she's in her forties, a little heavy, and clearly not having a good time. I recognize her, too. She hosts one of those daytime talk shows for women. She's really famous.

Mr. Happy Puppet Head throws up on her red sweater. She seems so tired and upset already that she doesn't make a big deal of it. He swoons around and collapses on the desert floor. He vommits again, missing her this time, but just barely. He moans loudly and passes out. The woman looks quickly around before running off into the desert night. She is soon out of sight.

Standing above my best friend as he lies unconsious in a pool of his own vommit, I nudge him with my foot. He doesn't wake up. I lift him up in my arms and carry him inside the compound.

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