As one could imagine about someone who writes every day, I like to spend a certain amount of my life with no actual connection to reality. I find it just works better with my line of thinking.
My favorite fantasies include a mixture of what could conceivably happen with what could never. In other words, in my head, it is possible for me to rescue Elvis Presley from drowning while waterskiing.
I actually find that my best daydreaming is done in that nebulous time between awake and asleep. I love that region, by the way. It’s like a tiny little vacation.
My favorite late-night fantasy, the one I’ve been lulling myself to sleep with lately, involves my having become a highly respected clarinet player, swinging, Benny-Goodman style, with a 40-piece band behind me. Gene Krupa is our steady drummer and a helluva guy if you can keep him off the sauce. Billie Holiday sometimes joins us for a song or two, rising from the table she keeps up front when she knows we’re in town. She plays a hot game of craps and most of the band owes her money.
We play all the hottest spots. Our crowds are hep cats who show up late and host outrageous after-bar parties. My best friends are L’il Jack, Midge, and Paulie, people who wear vintage clothing and pull short, unfiltered cigarettes from mother-of-pearl cases. Paulie and Midge have been together since forever, but Li’l Jack plays the field. He’s such a hoot.
I am known as a generous soul, and I am forever being approached by people who had been mean to me in high school and now want to apologize.
They are always profuse with their regrets: “Pearl, we had no idea! Please forgive us for not having recognized your coolness sooner!”
If my difficult childhood has taught me anything, it’s how to be humble in the face of groveling; and I have the bartender send their table a round of drinks, on my tab, just to show them that there are no hard feelings. This sometimes leads to misunderstandings, though, and my now-fans try to get closer than I am comfortable with. ‘Hey, Pearl, I love your shoes. So where’s the band going after?’
When I have to make it clear to them, no offense intended, that they just don’t fit into the crowd I hang with, they are always a little saddened. There are the inevitable tears as the truth of my words sink in; and I am forced to reflect, once again, on the responsibility that my genius carries.
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