Well, I did it again folks! Yes, once again I dipped into the seedy side of life and barely escaped. As is usually the case in these episodes, I was well into it before I realized what was about to come down. Best I explain ...
The scene: Tuesday, exactly one week ago, come to think of it. I was fiddling with a new computer program, and as is often the case, the fucking thing would not cooperate with me. User friendly my ass! I had just gotten through explaining to Derek the night before how much time and effort this program was going to save us, and here I was with the goddamn machine kicking me in the kidneys and proving me a liar once more. I turned off the bastard. I did still have that option, at least. My plan was to sneak up on it later and try again. It was 4:30 pm and close enough to Miller time to throw down a few before going one-on-one with the Apple again. I signed the office check-out roster and told Suzette I would return in about thirty minutes. Neither of us knew we would not experience mental, visual, or verbal contact again 'til Friday morning (a full 64 hours later). Yes, friends, it was a full-blown Krash Khronicle in the germination stage.
Getting to the Wildflower before five o'clock assured me a seat at Katrina's bar. I began with a Becks and sipped quitely, as proper and pristine as any of the Palm Beach crowd scattered around me. This was the Dr. Jeckle part of the adventure. Mr. Hyde was lurking in the shadows, warming up and on call. A tap on the shoulder. It was Tricia Smith, sister and sometimes opponent of Melon ...
'Trish, what a surprise!" (she's out of her normal territory.)
'Hi, Krash. I'm looking for a friend.' (I'm not sure I qualify.)
'Here, have a seat.'
'Uhh, thank's, but she might be upstairs." (I don't qualify.)
'OK. Come on back if you don't find her.'
I worked with both Tricia and Melon at Nic Hosking's office a couple of years back. Melon and I are friends but I'm not sure of Trish. She's kind of distant most of the time. As I reflect on this, she returns. Her friend has not arrived yet. I give Trish my seat, order drinks, and we do the smalltalk routine .... her friend arrives, and I order more drinks .... Time passes. Tricia and friend depart. No other Vanderpersons have come to the Wildflower this night. This means there will be no rescue should I send out a S.O.S. I begin to drift between bars (there are five of lem at this fine establishment). Later I begin to float, kinda like the helium balloons they have here on Wednesday nights.
I end up seated next to a lady in red (No, not a hooker. She just has a red dress on). She is plain of face, but God was having a good day when he fashoned her body. Her name is Pat. She is originally from Tennessee but now of New Jersey and on vacation. She is with a girlfriend. She is forty-five and recently widowed. With the help of Pat's girlfriend, I am half-way talking her into a good time. Pat is not into one-night stands, being a good girl from the fifties, but would I know of a place nearby where we could get something to eat at this late hour? I do (or so I think). I mention an I-hop's a few blocks away. An alarm bell rings in my brain. The source is my bladder. Seems there is a liquid waste problem there about to go critical mass. I excuse myself for a minute to off-load the Becks I've been accumulating all evening. I come out of the men's room at first relieved, then confused. What the fuck are all these lights on for? Aww shit, two AM. Pat is gone. I also realize (my mind having been cleared of the becks build-up) that there is not an I-hop's where I described one to be. It is a HoJo's. Oh well, nothing to do but head south.
Sometime during the twenty minute journey home, my brain snaps into the hideous Hyde mode. I find myself in the parking lot of the Dollhouse, a new topless joint in Pompano at the intersection of Federal Highway and Sample road. I am only five minutes from bed and board, but it is a threcherous journey west on Sample. Sample Road is the Devil's Highway. It literally crawls with deputies from the Broward County Sheriff's Department, and you MUST traverse it on the straight and narrow at night or risk apprehension. I am unconcerned, however, due to my anti-freeze content. I turn off the trusty rental car and check my cash flow. I have three dollars in paper and five plus in silver. This situation prompts a decision. I make the wrong one. Rather than go home, I decide to drive back to my bank in Boca in order to acost the all-night automatic teller for a C-note or more.
Somehow, I make it to Boca and back to the Dollhouse without detection. I am once again in the Dollhouse parking lot. It is three AM on this part of the planet. I enter the establishment, pay the cover charge and situate myself at the bar. This place is a large round building built to resemble the bridge of the starship Enterprise. It started life as a video game palace. I look around for Scotty and Kirk, but I see nothing but aliens. It is now a toppless but not bottomless place with male breakdancing between sets. The drink prices are bottomless. I have a good time regardless .... the lights come on .... It is four AM now, and I head for home.
I regain consciousness. It is 5:30 AM, and I am sitting at home, by my pool, keeping watch on the stars. I am eating microwave popcorn and experiencing mystic thoughts. Suddenly, or maybe gradually, a distant buzzing sound begins to intrude on my thoughts. JESUS, FUCKING CHRIST, IT'S TIME TO GET UP FOR WORK. I think fast (at least for the condition I'm in). I slink to my room, dragging all evidence of my passage behind me. The plan: a few hours of sleep, then on to the Vandermaze.
I slide into the Vander parking lot about one PM. On the way to Boca, I find myself following a beater of a car with a bumper sticker proclaiming 'WARNING! I BRAKE FOR HALLUCINATIONS'. I am not worried. I do too. I reasonably decide to hit the Wildflower for lunch before diving into the day's duties. I enter the Wildflower. This is not as easy as it sounds. The entrance to the Wildflower is via a revolving glass door, and the bleached bones of those who did not make it are scattered on either side. Having gained admittance, I make a bee-line for the upstairs bar, brain awhirl. Off to my right, close by, I hear 'KRASH!'. I damn near lose my balance. I turn to find my good friend Joe Butler seated approximately three feet away ...
"Krash. How are you buddy?' (Joe continues by introducing his friend)
'Krash, you look like you just got up.'
'Very astute of you Joe.'
'Yeh. Tell everybody about it, right?' is Joe's reply.
The conversation is short, and sweet and fun. Joe has been here before, and he knows all the signs. He can spot the danger signals, and he knows I am in for some wear and tear. We have been friends for a long time.
I make my way to 'heaven', an inside term for the upstairs bar. Lauren is working the bar, Mindy is working the floor, and Jamie is supervising. None of the group is hitting on all eight cylinders. I am in good company. We all have been hurt within the previous twelve hours. It is difficult not to have fun on the Gold Coast at night, and difficult not to suffer for it. I have a couple of Becks and wander down to the main bar.
I find Margaret and Pete behind the main bar, and I order another Becks. I decide to go to the office at precisely 4:30 for some obscure reason which escapes me now. I chat with some of the Wildflower regulars ... more drinks are ordered for myself and others ... I notice that Margaret has been missing for some time (it is midafternoon now). I look around and find Margaret behind Bobby's bar. I ponder this for five seconds or so (my attention span has shortened considerably by this point). I settle my tab with Pete and reestablish myself with Margaret. No sooner do I start guzzling another Becks (probably about my eighth or so), when Bobby relieves Margaret, and she returns to the main bar. I'm too winded to chase Margaret anymore and so I remain at Bobby's bar. This is an explosive situation. I think Bobby is more of a lunatic than I am. We trade banter and insults for awhile, and I eventally get into some of my alcohol-induced, out on the fringe, crazed and sometimes nonsensical monologues. I end up at 4:30 with Kent Tyler and friend on my right and a pair of Palm Beach dowagers on my left. These two ladies were beautiful in their time, and they still have the diamond studded rolex watches to prove it. Kent owns a steel fabricating company, and he does the structural framing for a number of the Vanderhomes we design. I am in the midst of a conversation with Kent when Bobby passes by with a derogatory remark. This causes me to respond with 'Yeh, but I'm the most intelligent fuck-up you'll ever meet!'. Bobby is at the other end of the bar by this time, and I am shouting. Somewhere in the back of my muddled brain is the vague feeling that this isn't exactly what I wanted to say. I quickly turn to the nearest of the dowagers and say 'I can be charming too, if the occasion requires it.' I grab her hand and kiss it before anyone can move. The glare from the rolex temporally blinds me, and it is several seconds before I recover. I launch into a rapid fire conversation with the two ladies. I buy them drinks. I wink, and tell ribald stories. Afterall, every promising young Architect can use a patron here and there.
I lose track of events .... I suddenly realize Kent Tyler has departed and Nic Hosking is now sitting beside me. We talk of the homes he designed and is building in the Sanctuary. Nic asks if Derek is in the office. I don't know. I haven't seen Derek since Monday. He and BC flew to Tampa on Tuesday morning. BC walks in with Gary Chriss at 5:30 or so and, they station themselves at Katrina's bar. I bounce over to them to inquire about the office in general and Derek in particular. Judging from the look on Bill's face, I am in worse shape than I suspected. BC informs me that Derek is in the office. I catapult through the revolving door on a mission to drag Derek back to the Wildflower. This later proves to be the smartest thing I do all day.
I find Derek and Dick at the all-hands-on table. This is a large table where several of the Vanderpersons can work on the same project at the same time. It is kinda the Vander-verson of King Arthur's Round Table. Dick greets me with a slight smile and apprehension. Dicky dosen't use mind-altering substances of any type and is somewhat at a loss tring to assess my present condition. Derek grins at me with that all-knowing trinkle in his eye.
'Hi Krasher, what's up?' (Derek)
'I don't know, but it's gettin' dark.'
'You just now coming to work?' (Dicky)
"No. It's too late for that. Nic Hosking is next door, and I just came over to tell Ploeger.' (I am keeping my words to a minimum. Half of them are not coming out right.)
"Oh he is? Sounds like a good time for a toddy.'
Derek gets right into a conversation with Nic, and I begin to pinball my way from one bar to another. I do not know it, but I will not last through happy hour without incident. I am pushing the limits of the envelope just a bit too much. I recall next to nothing from this point on, and most of what I write here has been relayed back to me by the other participants in this gruesome drama. Near the end of happy hour I find myself at the upstairs bar again with Pete Lipp and his son Scott. Pete leaves and I remain with Scott. Somehow I get into a verbal fight with the stranger next to me. I end up loudly calling him an ASSHOLE and simultaneously getting my feet tangled up in the legs of the stool next to me. On my way to the floor, my head smashes into the wall. I've never been bothered by bar falls overly much, but that five minutes I spend afterwards, scrambling around, in search of a door knob tends to be embarrassing. Margaret is just getting off duty, and I later find out that she was toying with the idea of having a cocktail or two with me before splitting. When she spies me on the floor, she thinks better of that kind of maddness and disapears in a cloud of dust.
I end up back downstairs with Derek and Isabelle, and eventally Ploeger takes mercy on me and gives me a ride home. During the ride I babble about the Authurian Legends and the need for one-day sabatticals. I ocassionally drool.
It slowly dawns on me that I am in bed. After a few more minutes I realize, much to my relief, that it is my bed. A little while later I try to move. HOLY FUCK, DOES THAT HURT! I can tell this will be a day of seeking sanctuary, purifing my violated body and preparing for my next quest. It takes some time, but I finally get into a position where I can see the alarm clock. 12:30 PM. The effort tires me, and I drift back into unconsciousness.
The doorbell rings. It is a little after three.
'Hello.' (Jim's african grey parrot speaking in his voice.) 'Hello?' (from outside.)
'Hello.' (the parrot.)
'Hello.' (the parrot again)
'Hello? Where are you?' (outside)
'Hold on. Just a minute.' (me)
'Hello.' (the parrot)
'SHUT THE FUCK UP, SKIPPER!' (me)
'What's going on here!' (the parrot)
I finally manage to get my pants on and hobble out to the door. Outside stands a rather large black girl in her early twenties. She immediately launches into a magazine sales pitch that is withering. She gains the offensive and verbally forces her way into the house. Even if I weren't in a near-death physical condition, I doubt I would be able to stand up under this assault. She can sense this. I must have a neon sign on my forehead 'EASY TOUCH' flashing on and off. I soon capitulate and order eighty-plus dollars worth of periodicals to get this outspoken African woman off my back. She must know my ancestors were probably Dutch slave traders, and I am going to pay for their sins if she has her way. I stagger back to the bedroom to get the money as she writes the order and tells of her childhood with fifteen brothers and sisters. Undoubtably, Steve Martin was one of them. It is her dream to become a pediatrician. I realize I am in posession of only three crumpled dollar bills, and that my checkbook is at the office in Boca. I inform her of the sad state of my finances. She is having none of it. Do I have any change? She will be happy to count coins. I do. I have an overflowing soup pot full of pennys, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, Canadian coins, assorted medallions and slugs. Only trouble is, the Goddamn thing must weigh over sixty pounds. I fall down more than once getting it out to the living room. Everytime I pick it up, my arms start quivering like bowstrings. The future Pediatrician goes for the quarters faster than the eye can follow. One of my newest fantasies is to have a beautiful woman jump on me the way this girl jumped on that soup pot. In less time than it takes to tell it, she had skimmed off forty-two dollars worth which was enough to satisfy the deposit requirements of our contract. She left thanking me profusely, grinning from ear-to-ear and assuring me I would receive my magazines. I closed the door, bolted it and sunk to the floor in misery. Off to my left, the parrot laughed insanely.
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Last updated: 8/3/96