The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 16
Down to shelled peanuts, a bag of oranges, a few “everything” bagels and water, my last few days in Joshua Tree National Monument went slowly, patiently, purposefully, at a secluded campsite at White Tank, a mile south of Belle. Ten bucks left for a Whopper Jr. Combo Meal at Burger King and gas back to L.A..
Direction, purpose, structure—missing elements since the rejection of my novel--were now back. The path was clear: find work, get a few grand together, sell the car, make it to Canada.
Late afternoon on Friday. Now somebody in a clean, white, late model Mercedes diesel wanted to talk to me. An oddly mismatched couple approached. The woman, who was extremely statuesque, elegantly dressed and carrying a tiny hound in her right hand… it almost seemed like the guy was her driver or butler or dresser as he reacted to a nearly invisible nod of her lovely head by suddenly stopping maybe 20 feet from where my tent was pitched, 30 feet from the wooden picnic table where I sat, reading. She walked to the opposite side of the table, lifted her rose colored shades, smiled and said: “I’m Sandy. This is ZouZou. And you are…”
Me: (Standing) Uh, Your Highness…
She threw her head back and roared with laughter. “Oh my God that’s the last thing in the world I expected you to say!”
Me: (Laughing with her) It was a gamble, but…
Sandy: Wait. Let me…
Feeling she somehow needed two free hands she walked back to her “boy,” gave him the dog, some instructions, then—still giggling, using her hands to dry tears—slid gracefully onto the bench facing me.
Sandy. OK. (Laughter still uncontained) And you are?
Sandy: So, what in the fuck are you doing out here?
Me: Lady, I was about to ask you the same thing.
Sandy: You go first Mr North Face beat up old Honda athlete looking man reading…
I turned the book so she could read the title. It was Lama Kazi Dawa Samdup’s translation of the Milarepa story: the Tibetan monk who reached full enlightenment in a single lifetime.
Sandy: (Studying the cover) …whatever the hell this is.
Me: I… suppose I didn’t know what I was doing here. Waiting for you, maybe?
Sandy: Possible. (Pause) Anything’s possible.
What WAS going on? First Rico and Steph, now Sandy—former model, former Pan Am stewardess, formerly married to a famous British thoroughbred racehorse owner and currently, (I should have guessed), Beverly Hills interior designer.
Sure. Of course.
Me: So, who’’s the dude?
Sandy: Oh, God…
She immediately crossed her forearms onto the table, threw her forehead onto her wrists and began laughing/crying all over again.
Before they departed mid Sunday morning she gave me a business card. “Call me,” she said. “The second you get back. Promise?”