My reading was Friday night.
Shall I tell you about the toast at the 331 beforehand, describe the clinking of bottles, the sound of my nervous laughter?
Shall I tell you about the stories I sold that night for $1 apiece, the posted sign proclaiming “Help Pearl get to India! Just $1! Recession Friendly!”
Shall I tell you that my friend Paula drove in from Wisconsin – with a terrible cold – to surprise me?
Shall I tell you that my friend Shannon, a professional comedian, gave up a precious Friday night and was in the audience?
Shall I tell you that the other reader, Anya Achtenberg, uses words that change the color of the room, that send you inward and then return you, changed?
Or how about the laughter, the fact that the crowd loved Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys), that it was the fastest 30 minutes of my life and that I was flushed and happy at the end?
Let’s talk about teamwork, shall we?
Immediately following the reading – but before we went to the Spring – Amy, Vin, James, Becky, Barb and her husband (why can’t I remember his name?), Paula, and I stood outside, saying our goodbyes.
And that’s when we discovered that Paula had locked her keys in her car.
Paula. From Wisconsin. My oldest friend in the world, the one who drove well over an hour without telling me just to see the look on my face, the one who came despite a cold that got worse as the night went on.
My membership to AAA, the people I normally rely on to get me and my friends out of such jams, had lapsed in January in a pathetic attempt to cut costs.
There was time spent with a wire coat hanger, angling for the lock; time doing the obvious such as checking the doors, hip-checking the trunk, testing the tensile strength of the windows.
So while the men went at the locks, the windows, circled the car hoping for a previously un-noticed portal, I called AAA, who, having taken my Master Card number, graciously reinstated me on the spot and promised to send someone.
I won’t say who had the beer in his trunk, but the wait promised to be amusing.
It was shortly after I hung up, however, that Vin got the car open.
Remember Vin? Vin, the Man with the Golden Wrench, is also, apparently, the Thinker Outside of the Box.
How did he open Paula’s ’98 Saturn?
Using the keys to his ’94 Jeep.
“It was on a whim, wasn’t it?” he said later, “and as with so many things – and you can ask my wife! – it’s all in the waggle.”
I canceled the AAA service, and Paula hugged me, slipping $30 in my hand. “The drinks are on me,” she whispered.
And yes, Paula, they certainly were.
It was a great night, but now I have to run. Liza Bean’s popularity has gotten back to her, and she’s been on the phone all morning. Apparently she’s in negotiations with a major studio for a suspense/thriller with a working title of “The Cat Always Rings Twice”.
She’s promised to mention me in her memoirs.
11 hours ago