“A Town Called Disdain”, Episode Fifty-Seven: Daphne expands her beautiful fine mind
Larry Winchester now returns us to the quaint Quonset hut of thebrujoPaco, to which our heroes have gone to partake of the ancient and sacred peyote ceremony.
(Go here for our preceding exciting episode. Bewildered newcomers may click hereto return to the beginning.)
A night in early September, 1969, on a Native American reservation a dozen miles away from a town called Disdain...
To combat the dehydration from all the vomiting Paco had served room-temperature Tang in Archie & Veronica jelly glasses. Everyone except Daphne had had to go outside and throw up at least once. Daphne hadn’t felt sick at all, but she was beginning to get just the teeniest bit bored. Paco had been quite monotonously chanting now for what seemed like ages, and with no end in sight.
The only interior light came from the TV set, which Paco had left on with the sound off, and everyone sat on the floor in a circle near the middle of the one large room that comprised Paco’s little corrugated steel house.
The floor was covered with Indian throw-rugs from the Juarez factory, and the hut was actually quite cozy with its piles of folded-up blankets and overflowing milk-crates of Indian artifacts, its smokestained tapestries covering the walls, and its comforting smell of tobacco and marijuana, whiskey and wool. Paco had opened the windows and drawn open his curtains, in order, so he said, to let in the great spirit of the universe or some such. The night air was cool, so everyone had kept their coats on. Paco, oblivious to the elements, still wore only his t-shirt and boxer shorts, and he chanted just blithely away:
“Hey ya heya, hey ya heya, hey ya heya,” et cetera, et cetera andadwhat one only hoped would not beinfinitum.
And, oh, yes, by the way it’s true she was buzzed, definitely buzzed and getting more so by the second. But if only something would happen besides this endless tortuous chanting.
Couldn’t everyone see that they were wasting precious moments of their lives in this monotony?
TheSchaefer Award Theatrewas just coming on and the movie wasOn the Waterfront.
Well, good, she could always watch the movie if nothing else.
Paco’s throat felt a little tender after all that Chinese whiskey* he’d drunk the last few days, and besides, he felt like watchingOn the Waterfront, which he hadn’t seen in years.
“One of you sing now,” he said.
Oh, God, thought Daphne. India redux.**
“Don’t look at me,” she said.
“Lady Who Dances don’t have to sing,” said Paco.
“Well, hallelujah,” said Daphne. “You’re my kind of medicine man, Paco.”
“’Ere,” said Derek, “no offense, Chief, but why don’t Lady Who Dances gotta sing?”
Paco fixed Derek with his bestbrujostare, but to give the English kid his due, he didn’t seem fazed none too much.
“I mean, you know, why the fuck not, that’s all I wanta know, Chief. Just curious.”
“Lady Who Dances don’t have to sing because she is a song,” said Paco.
Derek let this sink in for a moment. He stared at Paco for a couple more moments, just to make sure the geezer wasn’t taking the piss. Then he stared at the lovely Daphne for a moment, two moments, and a long soul-stirring third.
Turning back to Paco he said:
“All right, Chief. I’ll buy that.”
“You sing, English man.”
“All right, Chief. Don’t mind if I do.”
Dick and Harvey and Enid all breathed a sigh of relief. Not that they were that anxious to hear Derek sing. They just didn’t want to have to sing themselves.
Derek reached over to the couch where he had laid his guitar and brought it down. It was a maple ‘63 Gibson Hummingbird with a Cherry Sunburst finish and a Mr. Natural decal.
“What should I sing, Chief? I mean, like do I gotta sing an Indian kinda song. You know, the old hey-ya hey-ya bit?”
“No. Sing your kinda song. Peyotito wanta hear song from your heart.”
Derek turned a tuning key and plucked a string.
“’Ere’s a little like preview from a new concept album I’m workin’ on. The other blokes in the band think it’s a bollocksy idea so I’m ‘opin’ to put it out as me first solo album. I’m gonna call the albumClassics Illustrated."
Daphne tapped Dick’s arm and made a gesture as if she were bringing a cigarette to her mouth and taking a puff. Dick reached into his inside pea coat pocket and took out his case.
“The concept is,” said Derek, “a whole album full o’ songs inspired by the great works o’ world literature. Like I got one called “Me Name is “Amlet, An’ I Don’t Know What the Fuck to Do”. Got another one based on Dostoyevsky’sThe Idiot, called “Call Me Prince Myshkin, Call Me the Fuckin’ Idiot”. And so on.Bleak ‘Ouse, by Charles Dickens:
The world is a Bleak ‘ouse a fuckin’ Bleak ‘Ouse oh ya know it’s just a Bleak ‘Ouse --
he sang, trillingly.
“And I got another Dickens one in there, fromGreat Expectations:
Miss ‘Avisham, Miss ‘Avisham -- Miss ‘Avisham, in your tattered wedding gown what lays upon the dusty ground, dear Miss ‘Avisham, might I ‘ave a bite of your weddin’ cake tonight?