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Chapter III

So Mr K, realising that his train of thought had derailed and the buses didn't run that late, stopped by a small cafe on the Greek island of Poros and spilled his guts out to Henry Miller. When the proprietor brought over a second bottle of Bordeaux he became upset about the guts all over his newly-polished floor. So Mr K, not wanting to borrow Jean-Paul Sartre's existential vacuum cleaner, managed to get Shirley MacLaine's Hoover which, after vacuuming up the mess, turned into a pterodactyl and flew away. At that moment Gregory Peck entered the cafe with a dufflebag full of mockingbirds.

Chapter IV

Mr K offered Gregory Peck some of his souris au vin, but Gregory was in a hurry to get to the slingshot convention in Athens.

"These mockingbirds are apt to spoil!" he exclaimed, spilling the bottle of 1969 Chateau du Sphinquetre all over Henry Miller as he stood.

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry; let me buy you another bottle!"

"Oh no, that isn't necessary," Miller insisted. "What would life be if we could always count on having a bottle of 1969 Chateau du Sphinquetre? Your mockingbirds certainly aren't about to have any. Run along, run along! Don't be late!"

At that moment John Lennon walked in.

"God, I'm so tired," he muttered, plopping down beside Mr K. "I haven't slept a wink."

Chapter V

"My mind is on the blink," sighed John Lennon, cursing Sir Walter Raleigh. "What's this mockingbird excrement doing on my boot?"

"Garçon!" shouted Henry Miller. "A plate of raw oysters and some meatballs, s'il vous plaît."

"And another bottle of wine," Mr K added. "On me." The men raised their glasses in a toast.

"To all the mockingbirds in the world!" John Lennon chanted. "And to all the homeless manic-depressives, and to all the pink women I have tickled." Just then in walked Paul McCartney with a tall strangely familiar man just as the waiter was pouring a bottle of wine over Mr K's head.

"Let's drink to my brave face," suggested McCartney.

"My daughter asked me what a cuckoopint was," chuckled the other man as he let his crampons settle.

Chapter VI

The afternoon faded into dusk. The full-spectrum light from the halogen sun filtered through the bodies of dead gnats. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had stumbled off hours earlier in search of a Mr Whoozifatzi, leaving Mr K, Henry Miller, and the tall stranger to polish off two more bottles of wine before they were joined by Orson Welles.

"A bottle of Metaxa, waiter!" shouted Welles.

"Certainment, Monsieur!" replied the waiter as he brought a green bottle to the table.

"A bottle of Metaxa, waiter!" shouted Welles.

"Certainment, Monsieur!" replied the waiter as he brought a green bottle to the table.

"A bottle of Metaxa, waiter!" shouted Welles.

"Orson," Henry Miller interrupted. "We already have eight bottles of Metaxa here."

"Oh, I'm sorry," replied Welles. "I suffer from OCB, or Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour."

"Hey, so do I!" chimed in the stranger. "Did I tell you that I rock-climb? I climb rocks! I do it all the time! I'm sorry. I suffer from OCB."

Just then Mr K felt a fever coming on.

"Oh dear," he sighed. "I think I'm coming down with malaria."

Chapter VII

"Well, I must be off to climb Half Dome!" shouted the stranger, knocking over a few tables with his legs as he bid adieu to his new friends. "I must be off! My daughter likes beets!" Mr K, suffering from a mild case of malaria, stepped outside with the stranger for a breath of fresh air.

"I'll be back as soon as I find a good model for a sheep," he announced.

Henry Miller and Orson Welles opened another bottle of Metaxa.

"Shall we order some green cornbread?" suggested Henry Miller.

"A delightful idea!" replied Orson Welles. "Did you know that on the Amazon the natives wear bikinis made out of cornbread to stave off invasive fish when they bathe?"

"I've never found fish invasive," replied Henry Miller. "In fat, why don't we order some monkfish with the cornbread? I hear it's good for staving off fanatics."

"Superb idea!" said Orson Welles, raising his glass. "To life, love, nature, and simple ways." Just then in staggered Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Chapter VIII

"We're going to make our own wine!" shouted Tweedledee shrilly.

"I've just ordered the empty wine bottles," chimed in Tweedledum.

"How delightful," said Orson Welles. "What variety of grapes area you growing?"

"Grapes?" gasped Tweedledee. "Grapes? Did you plant some grapes?"

"Grapes?" echoed Tweedledum. "Why, of course not! But I did plant several acres of carnations, and they should be blooming any day now."

"You should really plant some grapes soon," advised Henry Miller, "so that you'll have fruit next spring. Then you can start making some fine wine."

"Oh, details, details!" scoffed Tweedledee. "Who needs grapes when we have plenty of wine bottles? You can grow grapes anywhere. What a silly fool!" And Tweedledee and Tweedledum waltzed out of the cafe, guffawing loudly.

Chapter IX

Mr K entered the cafe and sat down next to Orson Welles.

"Well, I guess I don't have malaria," he sighed with relief.

"How do you know for sure?" asked Henry Miller.

"Because I'd be dead by now if I did," replied Mr K. "May I have some of that delicious-looking piranha cojon salad?"

"Of course, of course," said Henry Miller. "Please, have all you want! You look like a drowning man. And have another glass of wine." The three friends sat sipping, dining, and contemplating for a few quiet moments. Suddenly their reverie was interrupted once again by Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

"Hey! We've decided we're going to make Scotch whisky, too!" shouted Tweedledee.

"Yes!" echoed Tweedledum. "We've got lots of labels all printed up."

"Wine and whisky, wine and whisky," the two sang loudly as they walked out the door.

Chapter X

Mr K was once again alone with Henry Miller and Orson Welles. They ordered a bottle of Calvados to celebrate. Just then in walked John Fante.

"My wife is going to have a baby any minute!" he exclaimed. "Quick! Quick! Give me a drink!" He sat down and quickly downed a glass of Calvados and then sat back, sighing. "A yardful of dirt and rats and Republicans sipping coffee," he muttered. "I wanted to invite Leon Trotsky and the guys over for champagne and bagels, but my wife insists on having her family over. I despite cucumbers! Give me another glass of that stuff."

"Maybe you should take a little trip," suggested Orson Welles, pouring another glass. "Go up to Seattle, or maybe Boston or France or New Zealand. How about a leisurely train ride across Scotland? Even a weekend in San Francisco would be something."

"I don't know," replied John Fante after a long pause. "I don't know if I remember how to relax. But I have become very adept at being tense."

Chapter XI

"It's a shame," sighed Henry Miller as the psychiatric hospital employees wheeled John Fante away. "Just because his wife couldn't give birth. It's terrible what society does to creative people."

"I agree," chimed in Orson Welles, decanting a fresh bottle of Calvados. "Society's institutions are designed to enslave one's mind and body. There is no room for free thinking or the basic celebration of life. And the rules of society's institutions are usually determined by fanatics who think that everyone else thinks and feels just as they do."

"Or if they don't, they should," added Mr K. "Pour me another glass, will you? I'm becoming depressed."

"We should just be happy that we're on a small island somewhere near Greece," offered Henry Miller. "We're not in the United States. We're not in the UK. We're characters in the story of life and we can choose whatever stage we wish to perform on. All we have to do is let our agent take ten percent."

Chapter XII

Suddenly the immigration authorities appeared at the door of the cafe.

"Mr Welles," announced one haughtily, "you are hereby being deported."

"Well, do anything to me, but don't dare to de-Calvados me!" thundered Orson Welles, strutting out the door defiantly, glass in hand. At the last minute he turned back and held his glass up towards his friends. "To life, sanity, and the pursuit of happiness!" he sang out before disappearing in the golden light of the lunar eclipse.

"Well, this calls for a change of plan," sighed Henry Miller. "Waiter! Bring us two pints of Orval Trappist Ale, please!"

"My!" gasped Mr K. "They seem to be dropping like flies! What's going to happen to us?"

"What could possibly happen to us?" replied Henry Miller. "Are we to be hauled away to concentration camps by neo-Nazis? Are we to be rushed to emergency hospital after plunging our heads in food processors? Are we to be laid off from aerospace companies? Come on, my good friend, the birds are singing, the crickets are chirping, we have our health, and Orval Trappist Ale is much cheaper here than at Vons Pavilions. Drink up!"

Chapter XIII

Henry Miller suddenly keeled over, grabbing his stomach.

"Oh!" he gasped. "Oh!"

"What's the matter"? asked Mr K frantically.

"Moths!" gasped Henry Miller. "Moths in the Orval! Two-headed moths! They're like two-faced women: they attack your intestintes with a vengeance!"

"Waiter!" screamed Mr K. "Please bring a plate of shiny bananas for my friend here. He's very ill!"

In the blink of an eye the waiter brought out a large plateful of shiny bananas, coarse bananas, and cherry tomatoes which looked like Italian tomatoes.

"Here, Mr Miller," offered the waiter. "Drink this yerba buena tea with your banana. It will neutralise the moth toxin while the banana stops the spasms." Henry Miller gulped the tea and crammed the entire banana in his mouth. As he was choking on his banana in strode a tall young red-headed man.

"M'name's Dove Linkhorn," announced the young man, "but folks back home jes call me Tex. You kin call me Tex, just as long as y'all don't go deportin' me." Henry Miller, who had nearly recovered by now, sat up and motioned to an empty seat.

"Sit down, Tex. Have a drink with us. Waiter, bring a bottle of champagne. Let's eat, drink, and be creative, for tomorrow we may be destitute."

Chapter XIV

The waiter started to clear off the table.

"Hey, what's this?" cried Henry Miller.

"I've got to close up," replied the waiter. "The writer's losing her computer, so I've got to close shop."

"Close shop?" cried Mr K. "Where am I to go? There's not another cafe on the entire isle of Poros!"

"Guess I'll be ridin' the rails back to N'Awlins," sighed Dove Linkhorn. "Glad I could enjoy a drink with y'all."

"Riding the rails?" gasped Mr K. "You can't ride a train across the ocean!"

"Oh, sure's ya kin," argued Dove Linkhorn. "We kin all create our own reality, 'specially if we're characters in a story. That's the advantage of bein' a storybook character. An' since I'm the most recent character in the writer's imagination, I probably knows this best."

"Well," sighed Henry Miller. "I suppose I'll go back to Paris and write an eternity of novels and stories. It's been most pleasant, gentlemen!"

As Henry Miller stood up to leave, Dove Linkhorn leaped up to follow him.

"Hey, Henry! Let's ride the rails to Paris!" The two men exited the cafe and the story, leaving Mr K alone to watch the waiter tear down the walls of the cafe.

"What shall I do? What shall I do?" Mr K fretted to himself. Suddenly he stood and downed the rest of his drink.

"I know! I'll change my name Mr Z! That's what I'll do!"

And he strode out of the dissolving cafe, whistling to himself.

© 1989 JC Mitchell

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