(Still finishing up our meal at Alice's Restaurant)
And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacre, with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all the phenome... - and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, did you ever go to court?"
And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W .... NOW kid!!"
And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage." He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?" And I said, Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said:
you-gotta-say", and talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there, and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:
"KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?"
But Thanksgiving 2002 was a work-related absence and excusable and as has been told: an effort was made to observe the ritual pieties. Thanksgiving 2004 was a flat-out refusal to do any such thing, with the actual meal of Thursday being whatever the airline choose to serve to the handful of us passengers on the flight. The formal meal on Friday was at Milano's, an Italian restaurant in Dublin, and a fine, upscale swanky joint it was too. Too excited to do anything as mundane as eat, I think I managed a few bites of an artichoke and pesto pizza for one. At Milano's I was joined by a few of the other Horslips fans that I had befriended online in the course of the last two years. Some of them had traveled as far as from Cork and from Ballymena. Others were from Dublin. A few sent text messages in. To lend a certain weight to the thing -- to show the husband that my earlier boasts of a 'launch party' had some basis -- there was even a delegation from Horslips themselves. The evening unfolding with one of the community meeting us at the Baggot Street hotel where we were staying. I was given a bottle of Baileys, a package of Barry's Tea and, most prized and soon to hit the seasonal turntable, a copy of Happy Surfin' Santa, the story behind which has been related in this blog previously. Then we walked to the nearby pub where the rest of the party was gathering for pre-dinner drinks. And so with the rush of introductions and explanations, my husband and I were quickly embraced by a general mood of warm hospitality tempered, perhaps, with more than a little touch of curiosity from our hosts.
Then one of the band arrived and delivered an opening line that still reverberates in household travel lore: "This place stinks of businessmen's farts!"
Indeed, it did seem that the interiors of Irish pubs had changed subtly since one of my earlier visits and I became aware that the now banned cigarette smoke had performed its one forlorn beneficial function as a mask of other smells usually encountered where the monied and well-fed gather. My husband shot me a quizzical look. I smiled back in brave re-assurance. Still, as it stands, the remark was the closest thing to a Thanksgiving prayer we could come by on that year.