ONCE THE SHOW GETS STARTED IT'S BOUND TO BE A SIGHT TO SEE
Here's what I do when I'm alone: I pull the silver screen down from my ceiling--I have silver screens throughout my estate, but the one in the great hallway, the one that pulls down from the mosaic ceiling, that's the one I like best. There's no seating--it is a hallway, after all--just a long tunnel of portraits of famous people throughout history, none of whom I know, all of whom have penciled-in mustaches under their noses, which has seriously decreased their market value, but it was a fun party.
At the end of the great hallway is a beautiful window. It's cut glass, like those famously beautiful cut glass bowls you can get in the countryside in Ireland, but my windows are windows, not bowls. The windows open out. They have latches. They rattle when the wind blows, so I keep them open.
On my silver screen: my fantasies. Not the lurid ones. The ones I tell myself in order to round out the life experiences, the narrative I construct to put some sort of cohesive structure on what is otherwise a confusing mess. The fantasies are grounded in reality only so far as there is truth in a single gesture or a simple smile. After that, everything else is constructed: You smiled at me so clearly you're so consumed with passion for me, you'd change your life to accommodate all that furious lust. That unreturned phone call? You were in the Amazon, this close to finding the rare flower that, when mixed with ocean water and lavender, will activate a potion that will simultaneously cure cancer and continuously fill power vacuums in fragile governments with clear-thinking, peaceful humans. Plus, there's no cell reception in the Amazon because AT&T owns the air.
On this particular day, I pull down my silver screen in my great hallway and as I'm about to ring the bell so Horace the Butler can bring me some popcorn not buttered, my fantasies start projecting on the silver screen. And then the screen starts melting. And then the fantasies start rearranging themselves into Reality, which really sucks. And now that smile is just a smile, that unreturned call switches its status to forgotten, the Amazon is the pink section on a two-dimensional map. The smell of fantasy burning into reality is like burning rubber in cotton-ball humidity. Interestingly, the air tastes like copper. Blood tastes like copper. Probably not a coincidence, I think.
I run down the great hallway, picking up speed so I can make the jump, and once I'm at the opened cut glass windows, I launch into the air. I superman through the row of trees just outside the windows. The squirrels look at me like they've see it all before. They have. This is a frequent party trick of mine. Because I'm known for Gatsby-like parties, I'm always looking for The Next Fun Thing, because after champagne and the monkey and the dolphins in the pool, what else entices the fickle to attend?
It's usually after I clear the first row of trees that I fall to my almost-death, and the squirrels are aware of this, so they reach their paws inside the window--their paws extend like Inspector Gadget's limbs--and when they reach the now-abandoned bowl of popcorn, they latch on and pull and voila! There they are in the trees, munching popcorn, watching the movie of my almost-death.
Ha! Ha! Joke's on them! This is not some random, impetuous action I flew into because I have too much time on my hands and too easy access to hallucinogenic drugs. This is A Mission. I am officially Running Away and I am highly motivated.
From behind me, coming out of the now-burning silver screen, I can hear the yelps and gasps and ebbs and flows of all the conversations I've ever had. I hear the crinkle of the screen's edges burning. There's the sound of mocking laughter from the squirrels. I like my fantasies because in reality, I'm kinda a loser.
I stretch out and flying is like swimming, but without the arm strokes and the weird pattern of breathing. And no water, obviously. So maybe not really like swimming. Below me is the rose garden. Now the corn maze. Now the shrub maze with the Robinson Crusoe tree house. I am disastrously rich.
I crash into the peak of one of the many houses on my property. This hurts. I have a scar across the middle of my forehead and sometimes when I crash into the peak of one of the many houses on my estate's property, the scar snaps open and herds of doves fly out of my forehead. As I'm clinging to the roof (New shingles! Took care of that before winter! Conscientious homeowner!), as my fingers are clearly slipping, as I hear the squirrels' mocking laughter, as I'm just about to sigh thankfully that my scar is locked tight today, it suddenly bursts open, and there are the herds of doves, flying out of my head and into the sky.
"A herd of doves? It's not a herd."
I have to look around to locate the voice. This is difficult because I'm dangling off the roof with only four fingers for contact. Good thing I got that Spiderman sticky glue at ToysRUs the other day. That stuff was worth $5.50!
The dove prances from my shoulder to the peak of the roof, where my fingers continue to slip. I've always thought it'd be kinda fun to dangle from a Ferris wheel. If I survive this, I'm totally building a Ferris wheel in the north quadrant of the estate.
"A doodle," I say.
"A doodle of doves? Are you kidding?"
"It's made up."
"So that's the problem. Quit making shit up."
"I don't think we need to use profanity." You'll note, Alert Power Love Reader, that as I'm aging I am also maturing. "Fuck that," the dove says. He perches on the peak of the roof and extends a wing. I grab it and he pulls me up next to him. "The laughter will disappear in a few weeks. It's all in your head anyway."
I hear a kaboom! and then watch as a blossom of orange fire bursts out my cut glass windows. My face feels like a giant hairdryer just exploded on it. "I implanted telepathic chips in my pinkies for occasions like this," I tell the dove. "It's my emergency back-up plan. I think what solution I want implemented and the chip sends the orders to the house. Sprinkler system. Flour on an oven fire. Blankets on a burning suit. Air raid siren. Tornado warning." "Let it burn," the dove says. So I do.