Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles - Up Late In The Airstream

Up Late In The Airstream

Wow, things were really hopping today here in the old Airstream.

First of all, Bell came in this morning (without knocking, I might add), dumped a package of Avery #2375 labels onto the table and said, "MJB, I need you to write 'Art Bell' on each one of these labels. The second hundred books are here, and I need 'em autographed right away."
What could I do? Bell's the boss, so I picked up the pen and said, "You go ahead and sign one so I can copy your signature."
"I ain't got time to sign a label!" he said, "Don't you know my Morse code club is meeting at Hooters in twenty minutes? And you know how slow that donkey is..."
I nodded. It is indeed a slow donkey.
"Anyway," he continued, "The bohunks that shell out $28.95 for this thing wouldn't know my signature from a bean burrito. Now get going!"

Bell stormed out of the trailer and headed for the donkey. I could hear him calling to his wife, "Sukey! Sukey! Fetch the god damn donkey saddle, I'm a'riding out of here!" Mrs. Bell ran out of the mobile home with the donkey saddle on her back. It's very heavy and she was struggling beneath its weight. "For christ's sake Sukey, you sure as hell took your time. Now git back in there and fill me up a Thermos with some Boone's Farm, I got business to attend to!" She turned to run back toward the house, but Bell screamed, "Wait one god damned minute! You git back here and make a proper departure!"
Mrs. Bell returned and bowed toward Bell, saying, "Begging your permission to leave, oh brilliant master of all he surveys..."
"That's more like it," he growled, now fetch the hootch, or no Absolutely Fresh Flowers for your birthday!"

Unfortunately for Bell and the Pahrump Society of the Secret Code, Nixon the donkey didn't much feel like going anywhere. Bell whipped the beast and dug into its sides with his special donkey spurs, but it wouldn't budge. He jumped off the donkey, kicked dirt in its face, cursed, spat, and sat down under the old rusty windmill and chugged down the thermos of Boone's Farm wine.

When he woke up around two in the afternoon, he was badly sunburned, hung over and in a foul mood. "MJB! MJB! where are you? You sure as hell better have those fucking labels autographed!" I'd signed the second hundred labels in about ten minutes, and had been hard at work at my usual job of begging radio stations not to drop Bell's show. He barged into the Airstream, tripped over a heavy box of his books (they weigh two pounds each, you know), and fell face first into the cast iron wood stove. I dragged his unconscious carcass into the mobile home and handed him over to Mrs. Bell. "Oh no! not again!" she gasped, as I ambled back out to the Airstream to finish my important work.

mjp
11/19/95

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