The Philosopher Red Stimulates my Reptilian Core

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

Great…I finally get home, and I have had to make a strategic move back to the Ghost Hotel.  I’ve heard rumors of three gringos in town, very white-toned skin, wearing dark blue pants, serious expressions, and asking questions – which is bad form in a community of refugees from the “real” world – too many with too much to lose from answering questions.  Then, there’s that terrifying AA of American Airlines on the patch sewed onto the breast of the trio’s equally dark blue jackets.  I think this has something to do with my outburst in O’Hare after being delayed three times, missing a connection, and being re-routed to Chicago where thunderstorms had us grounded for three hours.  Look…I really had nothing to do with the disappearance of that snaggly woman at the Missed Flights/Distressed Passenger counter.

Any Way…I thought I could sit this out in peace here with the Philosopher Red at the Ghost Hotel, but he wasn’t around, only a dozen or so empty Impeial beer bottles and a messy pile of clippings from magazines to even suggest he had been here in the last month or so since I’ve been gone.  The clippings of word combinations were a bit disturbing, since I lean toward gallows humor and conspiracy theories.  Here’s what I found:

Sometimes, coming home can be a battle in itself.

TE ESPARA (you wait, in Spanish)

Black Magic


Stay Comfortable, Stay Connected

No more business as usual

Donde estan los ninos?  (Where are your children, in Spanish)

Robotic revolution

Heroes among us

Prefiere sus reuniones cara a cara a las 7:30 (you want to meet face-to-face at 7:30, in Spanish) with the “7” inked out, and a “9” scribbled above it.

Brilliance.  Proximity.  It’s all Here


A Costa Rica Wilson

While sifting through this debris I noticed a few marks on the fence Red and I put up to discourage any outside examination of our life in the Ghost Hotel.

Lifting a candle up to the marks I found this.  Wilson…  Yes, Wilson in Costa Rica.

I was getting the fear.

The more optimistic types – those who don’t know the history of the Philosopher Red – might take these clippings for an exercise in found poetry…the image for an innocent blot left after a day of painting – but I do know his history.

Now, I’m not sure about anything any longer, but the purpose for these clippings, and the paint blot?

I’ve  watched enough television cop shows to know the beginning of a ransom note, or a warning to the Rude Red Dude’s perceived enemies when I see one.


pilsen girl

pilsen girl (Photo credit: w rollins)

A young surf bum on a stool at a beach club bar (or, an apparently young surf bum) with an Australian  accent, leaned into me and whispered, “They hijacked an Imperial truck two days ago,” to me while I was yelling – I mean asking – the local Pilsen Girl why the only cold beer they had was Pilsen.

Imperial is the “Beer of Costa Rica” as the advertising says.

Just then the local miriachi band started playing Hotel California for the 137th time since I’ve been here, but there were no tourists paying them, and the singer was  staring directly at me.  The rest of the musicians were looking at their instruments, the ground, the palm trees, anywhere but at me.  Something in that Reptilian core of my brain began to itch…the fight or flight center which has always served me well.

The Aussie beach bum slipped me a local magazine called The Howler, opened it to the editor’s page, and said, “I’d read this if I were you.”  He left immediately, without finishing his Pilsen.  I did too.

It seems that some researchers have been snooping around, trying to connect the way children learn language with the way baby birds learn to make bird calls.  One of their bodies was found in the estuary of Las Baulus National Park, the favorite dumping ground for Nicaraguan and Columbian – I’ve got to go.  I’ll explain later, when I can…if I can.



Philosopher Red Proposes War on Mississippi, Elvis, and Blogistan

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

So I wake up on the cold, unforgiving concrete floor of the Ghost Hotel this morning, again, to a scream of rage, again.  The Philosopher Red was shaking me violently, the gargling, guttural sounds of a gut-shot animal rising in his throat.

“Have you seen this,” he said…way too loud for my throbbing head.  He helped me up off the floor and forced me over to my laptop computer.  He pointed at the screen.  “Read that !”

I read what was on the screen.  It was a page with a story I had pulled up the night before, not expecting the Philosopher Red to be searching through my search history, or even be interested in the news of the day.  The story was about the ricin-laced letters some nut job from Mississippi had sent President Barack Obama, some senator named Wycker, from somewhere, and a Justice Court judge in Mississippi.  A copy of the letters was prominently displayed.

No one wanted to listen to me before.

There are still ‘Missing Pieces’

Maybe I have your attention now

Even if that means someone must die

This must stop.

To see a wrong and not expose it,

Is to become a silent partner to its continuance

I am KC and I approve this message.

“What kind of people are we if we let these kinds of attacks go unanswered?” Red raged.  “We got to teach these terrorists a lesson – blow them all to hell,” he said, slamming one fisted hand into the palm of another.

“Like that’s going to scare him,” I said, looking to see if Red had left me any coffee in the pot, “The guy’s from Mississippi.”

“I’d say a couple of drone strikes would do them some good,” Red growled.  “And if a couple of surgical strikes don’t straighten them up, we’ll send in the Marines…or the Navy SEALS…then blow them all to hell…hell, I tell you…HELL !”

The Philosopher Red was working himself into a self-righteous rage, which is never very pretty.  I tried to calm him.  I told him that the letter-sender was a nut job, an Elvis impersonator.

09 TN State Fair #174: Elvis Impersonator

09 TN State Fair #174: Elvis Impersonator (Photo credit: (aka Brent))

“Another Elvis follower,” Red said.  “The last Elvis impersonator I saw looked like Saddam Hussein.  We got to start taking these kind of troublemakers out.  How do these people spread this crap around,” he nearly screamed, pointing at the computer screen.  I told him the suspect, a Kevin Curtis, was a blogger…a frustrated writer.

“A what?  A Blogger?  Who let’s these people in our country?” Red raged.  “We ought to send his ass back to Blogistan where he belongs.  Don’t these damn A-rabs get CNN in Blogistan…just what about Shock and Awe don’t they understand?  They just don’t get it ’til they’re swinging from the end of a rope.”

His outraged threats echoed through the empty concrete chambers and hallways of the Ghost Hotel.

“You could have left me some coffee,” I said, tossing some grounds into the pot…cowboy coffee again.  This was starting to seem like one of those Philosopher Red type of days.


The Philosopher Red Consoles Pluto

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

If there’s one thing that really gets under my skin it’s a whiney, petty god that sits around bitching all the time.  There are enough of them already.  The Philosopher Red knows this, but I come home to the Ghost Hotel last night and he’s got Pluto, the Roman god of the Underworld, and his snippy, primp of a wife Persephone, and another woman, out on the balcony chowing down on his psychedelic Black Ant Dip and sipping cocktails.  They were deep in conversation when I passed them, and oblivious of me.

“My planet,” Pluto said.  “How could they down-grade my planet, re-class it to dwarf status?  It’s a number now – 1343…something, something, Pluto.”

“They got a lot of nerve,” Persephone added.  “And now humans are sending some satellite called New Horizons to stick their noses where they don’t belong.  We’ve got workers there right now, cleaning up the place…landscaping…re-paving the road to Hades…and -”

“They’re going to have a time of it,” Pluto said.  “Cerberus is friendly when we get visitors, wagging his tail…but when anybody tries to leave the land of the dead, he turns as vicious as…he’ll devour them.  They should have read the small print.”

“That’s all he ever talks about…him and his three-headed dog,” the female voice said.  “Does he do anything when humans hold contests to name our moons?  And then one of your new gods, a William Shatner, wins, naming one of our moons Vulcan, after a pet of his, Spock or something…if we needed his help naming our moons we would have asked for it.”

“I guess you have to expect that sort of thing,” The Philosopher Red said, then a sigh.  “When you dwell in the dark, when you fear no mortal, when all succumb as they transform in states of agony…despair…having violated universal law.  I can sympathize with Shatner’s drive to name some small part of the fearsome mystery, to go where no man has – blah, blah, blah.”

“It’s not all that bad,” Pluto replied, defensively.  “The UnderWorld is not “hot as Hades” like the hell depicted by Christian tradition.  It’s a pastoral landscape, I think.  There are rivers – one, the River Lethe, or “Oblivion” – alongside which the most recent life can be forgotten.  The Elysian Fields, or the Fields of Asphodel…who could ask for better?”

“And New Horizons…all the remodeling…” The Philosopher Red said.  “I wonder if NASA knows who they’re getting into?”

“When have humans known what they’re getting into?”…a female voice said, an older-sounding voice…regal, almost.  “My Pluto has had so many names…Clymenus, notorious, The Hospitable One, Plydegmon, the Receiver of Many Guests, Plouton, the Rich One, and humans were afraid to invoke his real name.  Now they call his Kingdom a dwarf planet, and they -”

“I guess they’ll find out what they’ve done…down-sizing you to dwarf status,” the Philosopher Red said.  “They’ll be begging for mercy at your gates.  They’ll be -”

“It’s not like that,” Pluto said.  “Just ask Venetia here.”

Venetia?  I got up and walked to the doorway leading to the balcony.  Persephone was slumped back in a chair…eyes glazed over, another victim of The Philosopher Red’s psychedelic Black Ant Dip and probably too much alcohol.  An elderly woman with poor-fitting spectacles was sitting between Pluto and the Philosopher Red.  She was spectral…a ghost.

“Venetia?” the Philosopher Red said, echoing my inner question.

“The wonderful Venetia,” Pluto said with a grand sweep of his open hand, indicating the woman.


Pluto in rotation. Gif-animation

Pluto in rotation. Gif-animation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I had some respect…even then, at age eleven, I knew the weight of actions and the importance of names,” the spectral old woman said.  “I lived near Oxford, England, and was eating breakfast with my grandfather in the spring of 1930 when I heard about this new planet.  Astronomers were arguing over names.  I suggested the name Pluto, in honor of this great man,” she said, nodding her head towards Pluto.  “My grandfather had a friend, an astronomy professor who was part of the team trying to rig up a cosmic map.  They took my suggestion of Pluto and adopted it unanimously…first vote…unanimously !”

“And now look at what these heathens have done,” The Philosopher Red said.  “Another part of my childhood taken from me…no more nine planets…no more cute little Pluto…now just a number assigned to a so-called ice ball.”  He shook his head and swirled his cocktail. “I know my faith in science is not what it used to be…if you can’t count on your favorite planet, what can you count on?”


Persephone woke out of her intoxicated funk.  “And all the remodeling.  Do you know what’s it’s costing us to clean the Underworld up before that imbecilic space mission gets there and starts taking pictures?  Plenty, let me tell you…” She sagged back into the sagging material of her chair.  “Plenteeeee…we’re here to turn Venetia loose on them again.  I sense some earthly down-sizing in the futue of some of these so-called Astronomers.”




Dharma-Zen painting…red cloak          Dharma-Zen painting   red cloak            Dharma-Zen painting   red cloak

Abraham Lincoln: Advice from the Ghost Hotel

So, here I am, crashed out in the Ghost Hotel, the empty shell of some developer’s dream, and the walls are beginning to glow whiter…the straight edges of doorways and windows are starting to waver like sinuous dancers.  I should never let the Philosopher Red cook…or at least, eat what he cooks.  I go to the concrete chunk and wood scrap pile we call the kitchen and look at the recipe he used.

1 bunch of spinach, chopped

1 1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 package vegetable soup mix

3 green onions, chopped

1 cup roasted chapulin (or other insects)

Squeeze spinach until dry.  Combine ingredients.  Refrigerate two hours.  Serve in hollowed bread.  Scoop using crackers of vegetables.

Now, Chapulin is a Spanish slang word for grasshopper, or a young thief or troublemaker.  A bag lying on the counter has a few of the large black ants which The Philosopher Red has discovered cause a slightly hallucinatory effect when dried and eaten.  He becomes a troublemaker when so intoxicated…I regress into my self – past the area where the Rude Red Dude rules.  A Chapulin, indeed.

A Lincoln penny on ground

I walk out onto our rubble of a patio, and find, of all things, an American penny.  The wind sounds like the hum of an audience waiting to be entertained.  “A much better image had he, before the weight of wisdom and responsibility brought him to un-sightly ends,” I pronounce in the best tragedian voice I can muster.  I would have flopped in Shakespeare’s Globe.  The wind seems like muffled applause.  These ants do the job.  Note to self: never eat anything The Philosopher Red –

“My father taught me to work, but not to love it,” came a deep-chested voice, world-weary and monotone.  “I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh — anything but work.”

“A talking penny,” I mumbled.  This was beginning to take on a religious feel…projecting words on to idols, although the smallest American idol – but one any Televangelist would worship.

“Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances,” the voice replied.

“But they all look so good while doing so much disservice to their faithful,” I said, feeling a bit silly talking to a penny, but so alone in the Ghost Hotel it didn’t matter.  And look at Lincoln’s image…not the skeletal mug of his photos during the war years, but the grand features of a born entertainer, a teller of stories, maybe.

“When a young man in Illinois I was riding through a wood and met a woman, also on horseback, who stopped and said; ‘Well for land sake you are the homeliest man I ever saw.’ ‘Yes, madam, but I can’t help it,’ I replied.  ‘No, I suppose not,’ she observed, ‘but you could stay at home.'”  The Lincoln voice sounded playful.

“Might have been a good idea, in your case,” I said to the image on the penny.  “Too late to learn from history though, or advice from friends.”

“All I have learned, I learned from books,” the voice answered.  “My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”

“Well, you know,” I started, thinking I might as well play along with my distorted senses.  “America hasn’t not done so well since people like you…last president raised in the Age of Reason, left before telling us how to clean the mess up.”

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it.  Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their Constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it…”

Now this fantastic voice seemed to be rising to the occasion…a little bit of good old stump oratory…some frontier wisdom.  I sat down.  The effects of eating these black ants might last a while.

“…America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

“I hope you wrote some of this down,” I said, flipping the penny aimlessly. “This common little copper disc reminds me of common people.  They serve a purpose for a while, but in the end   they’re expendable.”

“The Lord prefers common-looking people.  That is why he made so many of them,” the voice said, a light-hearted air starting to become apparent.  “And writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, is the great invention of  this world…enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.”

English: John Wilkes Booth.

English: John Wilkes Booth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Plain and not honest is too harsh a style,” a new voice echoed through the concrete walls of the Ghost Hotel.  I looked at a darkened corner where it seemed to have originated from, then back at the penny now lying head up in my palm.  I must have looked a bit baffled.

“That is the corner where presidential assassins seem to congregate,” the Lincoln voice said.  “That Booth – always quoting from Shakespeare…Richard the third.  A beast of a man when ignored.”

“No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.  But I know none, and therefore am no beast,” the assassin’s voice rang out.  A voice trained for the theater…projection.  Looking into the corner I see the spectral shapes of several people.  I look to the penny.

“John Wilkes Booth…but I suppose you knew that,” the Lincoln voice said.  “And…Giteau, Czolgosz, Oswald – claims to fame, presidential assassins.”

“Sin, death, and hell have set their marks on him, and all their ministers attend him,” Booth’s voice boomed.

There were more than four spectral bodies in the corner.  A female voice began muttering, as if talking to herself:

“Am I sorry I tried?  Yes, and no.  Yes, because it accomplished little except to throw away the rest of my life.  And, no, I’m not sorry I tried, because at the time it seemed a correct expression of my anger…my thoughts of -”

I looked to the penny for an explanation.

Sandra Good, and her cohort Squeaky Fromme,” the Lincoln voice said.  “I hear they tried to assassinate a President Ford, and the joke around here is that he was stumbling down stairs and slipping on wet streets so often he was more of a danger to himself than these attempted assassins were…the management allows their failed company to mix with the successful, for reasons – ”

“Dispute not with her: she is a lunatic,” chimed the Booth voice.  Does he know anything except lines from Shakespeare?

I could hear a squeaky voice arguing with the surer voice of Sandra Good.  “Chapman, shut up…” they said in unison.

“This has to be harder on you than hallucinating on black ants,” I said to Lincoln’s profile on the penny.

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on,” it replied.

“Good advice,” I said, looking in at The Philosopher Red rifling through my shirt pockets…probably looking for more ant money, “Very good advice.”


The Philosopher Red…Employed?

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

So, on my way back to the Ghost Hotel this morning I met two tourists, I think…I hope they were passing through.  They were both whiter than the average tourist, and wearing black, which must have been murder in this heat.  Young wizards, I thought.  Just what this town needs.  They handed me a flyer advertising a spiritual retreat, and there, among several small pictures along the bottom…was a equally small picture of  the Philosopher Red with the title staff following his name.

He was in the Ghost Hotel, splayed out on my bed, when I entered our cavernous flop.

“Tell me you didn’t get a job at this joint…” I said, letting the flyer drop onto the bed next to him.  I was imagining the hubble-bubble toil and trouble being brewed up for me.

“Custodial staff, for now,” he said, ignoring the flyer, “but they have an adjunct medium position opening up in a month.”  He handed me a full-color, glossy brochure from a stack on the floor next to my candle.

I was right…trouble.  El Rancho de Los Milagros, right there on top.  It means something like Miracle Ranch in English.  Maxie Kahn’s wife, Miss Shari, runs the place.  Miss Shari and the El Rancho had both earned “colorful” reputations among locals, and in a small town, “colorful” is not always a good way to be thought of or described.  What comes to mind?

The first thing I noticed on the brochure was the photo of Maxie and Miss Shari, arms awkwardly intertwined, standing before a condo along the El Rancho de Los Milagros golf course.  Opening the flaps of the brochure…advertisement…advertisement and advertisements, mostly for somewhat related businesses…mostly known Kahn-owned operations.  There was a section for first-time visitors, listing gate fees based upon daily, weekly, and seasonal rates – parking included.  How magnanimous. Home and condominium prices were also listed, providing a buyer was approved by a board of directors, whoever they were, and became a member of the El Rancho de Los Milagros Assembly, whatever that entailed.  It didn’t sound like a healthy mix to me, but what could I –

El Rancho Rides Again!

El Rancho Rides Again! (Photo credit: Miss Shari)

“El Rancho de Los Milagros is the oldest community of spiritualists in Cost Rica,” Red began reading from another brochure.  “It’s a community of like-minded believers connected by the premise that the human soul has a continuous existence.  Our licensed and bonded spiritualists share a common belief  that it is possible to communicate, aided by their mediation and guidance, with the spirits of those who have passed from the physical world into the next.  They also offer property management seminars…” the Philosopher Red added, as if such an attraction would concern me…a guy who squats in a Ghost Hotel.

“I even signed you up for part-time and on-call work,” the Philosopher Red went on.  “I’ve vouched for you, said you’d…strive to provide an encouraging atmosphere for mediums and guests to talk about and experience the process of spirit communication.”

He was reading straight off a brochure, and the veins in the temples of my head were beginning to throb.

“It’s going to be great,” he said, oblivious to me rubbing my clenched fists into my eye sockets.  “It’ll be regular work…they’ve promised me staff openings at the Healing Creek, the Inspiration Stump, and the Waves of Woe Grieving Cove.”

“We’re screwed,” I said, looking further into the text of the brochure.   The special events planned by the Medium League of Los Milagros were notorious around Tamarindo…something to be avoided.  Sometimes they had Bingo, other times, karaoke, and –

“Forty dollars,” I said, pointing at the bottom of the brochure where “suggested donations” were listed for specific services, events, and souvenier spoons available to members and non-members, residents and aliens. “Someone’s going to give you forty dollars an hour to commune with them on the Inspiration Stump…or wail with them at the Waves of Woe Grieving Cove?”

The Philosopher Red was saying something to me, but I was reading, and re-reading, the final line…the one with the asterisk…the discaimer…

*Price and quality are not necessarily related.

“They’ve also got their own police force and volunteer fire department,” the Rude Red Dude was saying, as if some sense of safety were an issue.

This set me to thinking about how a psychic police force would work,,,a police department with nothing but psychics and seers and prognosticators.  I thought about squads of police rushing to the anticipated scene of a crime…cornering…beating…cuffing a perpetrator, before the crime was even committed.  A psychic court?  Does anyone need show up?  A psychic jail?  Hmmm…

This led to the consideration of how a volunteer psychic fire department would operate.  Did they need to be called if there were a fire?  Were they allowed to stop a fire before it started?  Or, did they have to wait, with hoses and tools at the ready, for the fire to start?  This could be amusing for a while…and, it had been a while since the Philosopher Red had prophesied anything, at least from what I remember.  He has been through some changes since he was last expected to do anything esoteric or cosmic, or even responsible.

Some days…I just feel like a guy about to be…

Señor de los Milagros

Señor de los Milagros (Photo credit: chosicarelax)

The Philosopher Red Takes on a Sufi Ghost

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

The Philosopher Red was up early this morning and out looking for work.  Good for him.  I went out all day taking pictures, keeping up with the local happenings with Big Wave Billy as he gave lessons to  two Slovakians without an ounce of balance between them.  I’ve never seen two people so defeated…at odds with their bodies, and I felt they could be me, or I could be they…although wonderous happenings were in the works.  I just didn’t know it until later that night.

I heard the Philosopher Red come in.  He was talking in a severe way with himself, and he’s not a person to be interrupted when he’s arguing with himself.  He made a hell of a noise, the clinking of glass, the popping of the cork, a distinct gurgling, and then all was silent.Soon he was talking to himself again, but this time his voice seemed to change from his usual growling complaints to a slow, melodic drone, followed by his raspy and world-weary voice.


I crept over to the doorway separating our living spaces to hear more clearly.  If he was going to go over the edge again, I wanted to be one step ahead of the Rude Red Dude.  He was complaining about the image he had created around Tamarindo, and how he would never be able to find a job, and how dangerous he felt it was squatting in the Ghost Hotel.  A deep, calm and dignified voice replied:


“Forget safety.  Live where you fear to live.  Destroy your reputation.  Be notorious.”


“Easy for you to say,” I heard Red reply.  “Living out here on the edge of nothingness is driving me nuts.”


“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on the door,” the deep, calm voice replied, “It opens.  I’ve been knocking from the inside.”


“But I hear things…you’re just some guy from a book,” the Philosopher Red whined, “I’m talking about my reputation here.”


“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others,” the calm voice replied.  “Unfold your own myths.”


“Stooooooop,” Red said, raising his voice until it echoed through the empty concrete caverns of the Ghost Hotel.


“Raise your words, not voice.  It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”


“Whoooa,” the Philosopher Red taunted.  I heard the distinctive pop of a cork from a wine bottle.  “I thought you were going into some god thing, bringing in reinforcements, or something.”


“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”


“Sure, easy for you to say…you’re a fragment of my imagination.”


“Sit, be still, and listen, because you’re drunk and we’re at the edge of the roof.”


I looked through the door.  All I could see was the red-robed back of the Philosopher Red sitting on an unfinished ledge of a concrete balcony.  He held a wine bottle in one hand, and an open book with an ornate, oriental design in the other.  I considered trying to pull him in to safety.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi gathers Sufi mystics.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi gathers Sufi mystics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone,” the calm, resonate voice said.

There was no other person in the room.

The Philosopher Red took his bottle of wine and poured a small stream of the red liquid on the open pages.

“There, what’s your god have to say about that?”

“Knock, and He’ll open the door…Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun…Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens…Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”

“Sounds wonderful,” the Rude Red Dude said, then taking a long draw off his wine bottle.  “This is all…”

“But listen to me.  For one moment quit being sad.  Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”

The Philosopher Red took another drink off his wine bottle, then poured a good draught over the pages of the book he was holding open, and turned the page.

“Don’t you have some place to be?” Red asked…a sarcastic tone.  “Some other souls to save?”

“My soul is from  elsewhere, I’m sure of that,” the resonant voice answered, “And I intend to end up there.”

“Yeah,” Red said.  “Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my monkey,” he sang, not sounding a bit like Paul McCartney.

“Be like melting snow – wash yourself of yourself,” the calm, deep voice said, assuring.

“…like melting snow…wash myself of yourself…”  The Philosopher Red slurred, putting the book down on the ledge of the balcony and taking a long drink, finishing the wine bottle. “I’m either going to throw up, or pass out…it’s a toss-up.”

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you,” a disemboweled, resonant voice intoned.  “Don’t go back to sleep.”

I watched as The Philosopher Red slid clumsily from the balcony, lie down on my bed, and roll over on his back.

“The breeze has secrets to tell me,” he slurred.  “I can’t go…to…slee…”

And he was out cold.

I picked the book up and looked it over.  A poetry book…the name on the cover –  Jalaladdin Rumi.

I slept the light sleep of a dancer that night…spinning, white-clad whirling dervishes twirling their way around and around the stage floor of my dim dream



The Philosopher Red: A Popeless Night in the Ghost Hotel

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting-

達磨 Dharma-Zen Painting- (Photo credit: hira3)

Another night banished to the Ghost Hotel, hiding out from Maxie Kahn.

I’ve liberated electrical service from the bed and breakfast next door, and The Philosopher Red lies around all day watching television while I try to hustle us up a new place to live. I have inquired about the Rude Red Dude’s new listless lifestyle, which is very similar to his former listless lifestyle, but even more so.

Without taking his eyes off the television, he replies:”There’s a new Popelessness in the air, and I can’t seem to shake it.” As much as I prefer he get his red-robed rear end up and out of the Ghost Hotel, I decide that it’s better to be kind than right.

I take a walk to the local bookstore and find two films that might be appropriate for these trying times.  When I get back the Philosopher Red is wiping the salsa from his fingers onto my sheets.

I toss the DVDs on my bed for his consideration.

We Have a Pope (film)

We Have a Pope (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“How about “We Have a Pope.” I ask him.  “It’s an Italian comedy -”

“Appropriate, so far,” Red replies.

“…originally titled Habemus Papam, the Latin phrase used to announce the election of a new Pope.  Written by Nanni Moretti, directed by Nanni Moretti, and starring Nanni Moretti.”

“Sound wonderful,” the Rude Red Dude sighs, “Couldn’t get any one to join him in this work of genius?”

“Give it a chance,” I say.  “It’s about a Cardinal who is elected Pope against his wishes, and the therapist brought in by the Vatican to help him overcome his panic.  It played during the Cannes Film Festival in 2011,” I add, trying to instill some enthusiasm.

“Played where…Toledo…Des Moines…Caracas…the Vatican,” he says, followed by a snort.

“Jerzy Stuhr is in it too,” not knowing any Jerzy other than Kosinski, but hoping for the best.

“Euro-trash rejects,” the red-robed one replies.

I have to remember, The Philosopher Red is not a foreign film fan…he’s the only person I know who has fallen asleep watching Run Lola Run, and who could fall asleep watching that frenetic film?

My answer…I’m looking at him sprawled across my bed.

Cover of "The Pope of Greenwich Village"

Cover of The Pope of Greenwich Village

“How about an American film then,” I ask.  “I also got The Pope of Greenwich Village with Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Geraldine Page, and Burt Young.”

“This is what you bring me to assuage my Popelessness? And…”

“…and,” I go on, reading from the back of the DVD case, “Page won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for a two scene role, and -”

“Fitting,” The Philosopher Red replies.  “Popes sightings are rare these days.”

“The movie centers around Paulie, a schemer who -”

“Not a documentary,” the Rude Red Dude whines.  “Wasn’t there already a Pope Paulie, or did I miss a decade or two?”

Pope John Paul II,” I tell him.

“Pope John Paulie II,” he says.  “Wasn’t he the bass player in Led Zeppelin, or something.  How about cutting the crap and nominating Keith Richard for Pope…I’ll get behind that campaign. Does the Pope have to be alive?”  I wonder what kind of smoke would be coming from the Vatican chimney if Keith was elected Pope.

“It wouldn’t seem like it, sometimes,” I say, considering the options that would open up.  “How about that guy Bentham you’re always going on about…or Thomas Hobbes…he had the answer – don’t feed the poor…no more poor.”

“How dare you bring Jeremy Bentham into this mess.  The King of Utilitarianism?  He wouldn’t keep such company…anything else?

“…a schemer,” I carry on, reading from the DVD cover, “who finds himself out of work…criminal activity…no way to support his pregnant girlfriend…expensive tastes but not much money…”

“Sounds like reality television to me,” Red says, “Snookie in this farce?  Snookie…the first Pope from New Jersey…I like that.”

The Philosopher Red gets up, takes the DVD out of my hand, picks up the other one, and throws them both out of the broken window.

“I think the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars is on tonight,” he says.  “I’m not missing that for this pap.”

I’m satisfied if The Philosopher Red is satisfied.