Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles - The Shiny Airstream Is Visible From Space!

The Shiny Airstream Is Visible From Space!

The latest from the Airstream:

Today Bell stumbled out to the Airstream and mumbled something unintelligible. That's not necessarily news, mind you, but after I got him to repeat himself about 20 times I finally figured out that he was saying he needed a Ouija board partner, so I followed him into the double-wide, just to humor him.

As we walked in, I could smell burned bacon and see a skillet buried under a pile of baking soda (Bell uses it to put out the fires), a sure sign that Arty had been cooking. He had the Ouija board set up on the card/dinner table, with a few candles burning around it. The candles made me a bit nervous, since he has never been too handy with fire.

"MJB!, I need to contact the spirit world right away...there's important things a'brewing, I tell ya, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna be caught short when the shit hits the fan!" I nodded and sat down on one of the plastic five gallon pickle buckets that Bell had stolen from a Las Vegas Burger King to use as chairs. "Now I need to know if yer any good at this MJB. You know how to work the Ouija board? Huh, do ya?"

"Yeah," I said, "I know how it works. But Arty, tell me something...I've heard you say on your show that you are spooked by Ouija boards because you had a bad experience with one once. It was so bad apparently, that you can't even talk about it. What's that all about?"

Bell slumped down on his pickle bucket and stared at the yellowing linoleum for a long time. Finally he raised his head slightly and croaked, "MJB, I'll tell ya what happened with the Ouija board, but you gotta promise me you'll never divulge what I'm about to say to another living soul..."

"Sure Arty, I promise."

"Well, it was a dark and stormy night...really! It was! Anyway, I was in the barracks at Fort Olatunjimuck, shooting the breeze with some of the fellas, and the next thing you know, Billiam Cutcheon pulls out this Ouija board. I had never seen one before, so I offered to help him contact the spirit world with it. Well, the fellas turned down the lights and Billiam showed me how to put my fingers on that doohickey, and we just set there for the longest time. But then you know what? The god damn thing started to move! I swear to you MJB, I wasn't pushing it at all! Well, by now my hearts just a'racing, and Billiam says in a really low, scary voice, 'Spirit world...I call on you to answer all my questions...I call on you to answer my questions regarding my good friend and comrade Art Bell...' Well, when he said my name I nearly shit my pants! I was scared enough as it was, and now he was bringing me into this spirit world without even asking me if I wanted to go, which I can tell you, I didn't!"

I stifled a yawn and nodded again. It doesn't take much to encourage Bell's story telling, and I knew from experience that I'd have to let this one run its course.

"Well, Billiam's eyes rolled up into his head and he says, 'Spirits...please tell me...will Art Bell be safe and secure during his time here in the Army?' And then the doohickey started moving again! MJB, I cain't explain it, the thing just moved on it's own! It moved around in a circle for a minute, then it stopped right over the word 'no!' I couldn't believe it! I let out a little scream and Billiam shushed me and said, 'Spirit world...are you saying that some form of misfortune will befall my close personal friend Art Bell during his time in the military?' And the doohickey slid around and around and stopped on the word 'yes!' Well, I'm not proud to say this MJB, but at that very moment I did almost lose control of my own bodily functions. I was scared, I tell you!

I told Billiam that I wanted to stop, but his eyes just rolled up into his head again and he said, 'Spirit world, tell me, what does fate have in store for my brother in arms?' My hands was shakin' as the doohickey moved, and the guys called out the letters as it stopped on each one: 'S...E...C...R...E...T...S...P...Y...W...A...V...E...S' Secret spy waves?! I said, Jesus Christ, no! Not secret spy waves! But the doohickey kept moving! It wasn't finished! 'U...N...I...T...E...D...N...A...T...I...O...N...S' Well MJB, I have to admit, when I seen the Ouija board spell out 'United Nations' I just fainted dead away. When I came to, I was alone, and none of the other fellas ever mentioned that fateful incident again. But I tell you, it's haunted me ever since."

Bell put his head in his hands and began to weep. He slipped off his bucket and fell to the dirty floor, where he lay for quite a while, rolled up in the fetal position, bawling and wetting his pants. Eventually he passed out, and I got up to go back out to the Airstream and finish signing Bell's name to all those Avery labels for the autographed books. We never did do the Ouija board.

(The persons and events in the above are fictitious, and no similarities to any crackpot, paranoid, alarmist radio show hosts are inferred or implied.)

mjp
12/9/95

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