There is, of course, a fine chalked line between brilliant and nutty-as-a-fruitcake. We all approach that line from different directions. I sauntered through old Tom Foolery`s back paddocks and found myself there, gazing across the chalk dust but unable to take that last decisive step to brilliance. Far more people approach it at speed from the other direction – by first being a genius then realizing there is nowhere else to go. A year ago I was contacted by a university we shall call “#$$%&’= and invited to speak to its students about the jolly life of a writer. Having declined with great haste, I was told that an influential figure at the university (whom we shall call Jim) was a great fan of my books and would be thrilled to receive a personal email from me. I wrote in the guise of an Eastern European prospective mail-order bride, hoping it might show him what a mistake it would have been to shut me in a room with a load of young people. To my horror he wrote back in kind, making enquiries about the dowry and my breast size. Thus began one of my rare successful relationships. Over the year I got to see his live fried chicken and Coke taste test, learn how to cheat at final exams and discover through e-DNA testing that I was Jim`s long lost love child. So it was with trepidation that we decided to add one more dimension to our relationship by meeting for lunch in DC. The venue was Cafe Milano, so famously Italian that the hide of Pavarotti was pasted to the ceiling above our table. Fearing that there would be no place for Ray, me and Margaret took a spare chair from home. The surley waiters didn`t see the funny side. Jim did. Jim and his lovely partner, Ann saw our chair and raised it with a stuffed donkey. I thought it was a gift and proceeded to put it in my back pack. Jim and Ann were as appalled as Margaret would have been if they`d attempted to stuff Ray in their handbag. Siesta the donkey was, of course, a lunch guest.
So began our meal overlooking the deleted chalk line. Between them, Jim and Ann have more degrees than Celsius.They advise God. Great minds travel to earth for their counsel. So it`s only to be expected that this couple should travel internationally with a suitcase full of Beanie Babies. It`s no surprise that when Bill Clinton once reached out to shake Jim`s hand he should instead be snapped in a photograph with a pink koala in his mitt. And who else would arrive in Delhi with 47 monkeys in their luggage? Margaret, Ray and myself have never been so outclassed at lunacy. Our chair gag looked lame. We knew then we would never be granted even temporary visas for the far side. I wrote to Jim and thanked him for the funniest lunch we could remember. But he was at breakfast with the Pope. I did however get this reply from Siesta.
Hi, hi! It’s me, Siesta the donkey. I roused myself from a sound sleep to go meet this writing chappy. He seemed a little confused; sometimes, thinking he was actually in Spain or something, but my humans said this was what happened when famous writers are hauled fro and to all over the world to greet their adoring fans. And I wasn’t sure he was a *real* writer because he didn’t seem to drink half enough to get into the kind of stupor you’d have to be in to spend all that time writing a book and everything. But my major human, Ann’s her name, she thought he was just fine and she was really glad to hear that Dr. Siri is coming back soon. We went right home and looked him up on the Internet to make sure that he has a ticket to come and see us the minute he’s released. (I guess that means he’s been in prison again.) Anyway, hi hi, this is me, Siesta the donkey, very proud to have my own guest paragraph in this nice blog! Thank you, Mr. Writing Chappy. (??-ed)
Parents of America. Your children are in safe hands. What finer way to end this series of Awesome Vacation blobs? Thanks for reading them. I`m on my way back to obscurity so perhaps you`d all be so kind as to remember me once a year the way you do Jesus. Sayonara.