Two Fridays ago I am stepping off the bus after a trip to my dentist and I am greeted by the West Eastern Blenman Elm Dental Benefits coordinator, Geoffrey Cragmont. Yes, Cragmont that cheap bastard! I figure I am in big trouble, because it is rare he requires paperwork so soon after a routine cleaning. He launches right into interrogation mode, wanting to know what took me so long. I explain, “I missed the Tepotzlan-Mexico City Express, so it took me forty-six hours to make it home instead of the usual thirty-six.”
“Okay. Be more careful next time. Grab your things. We were supposed to meet Nebraska hours ago.”
“Nebraska, what is it!?”
“Horowitz won’t be going to California after all. Are you afraid of flying?”
Then I do what any grown man who has been on a Mexican bus drinking Fanta orange soda for two days straight only to find out he is a candidate for immediate transport to Houseboy Cheer Camp without even so much as the opportunity to go home first would do – I wet my pants.
Nebraska is, of course, the moniker of the man responsible for clearing domestic employees of the WEBEHOS and its affiliates for travel to award ceremonies, professional seminars, war zones, and summer camps. While he usually comes to Tucson (from where I do not know) a scant few times a year to meet with candidates and determine eligibility before replying via the courier pidgeons he so foxily nabs from Ferdy Tang’s coop, at my interview the only question he asks is, “Do you like Gary Numan?” When I answer, “Do I ever!” he tells me to get into his car and he drives me to the Pima Air & Space Museum. There, lit from behind with green laser beams and standing in front of a P-40 World War II fighter plane, Gary Numan (in leather) greets me with his signature phrase, “Where to, Tiger?”
Nebraska tells him where to go and three hours later I am under the rainbow-patterned spandex canopy in the makeshift Houseboy Cheer Camp reception area at the Mark Leno Volcano Visitors Center. I take a sip from the complimentary Kong Thong Tiki brand coconut flavored soy drink that comes with so many others in my welcome satchel and I feel, well, for lack of a better word friends, electric.
I also realize that in what seems like virtually no time at all, I have successfully achieved the mindset of the local houseboys, many of whom have been charged with greeting us out-of-towners. Which is to say, I can think of nothing save for who I will soon be bunking with.
to be continued…