A few minutes later I woke up in the Doors movie. We were in a park across the street from the hotel, there was a Native American “Pow-Wow” going on according to the signs. Thumping drums echoed off the buildings a mile away. Chanting and singing. Drum skins taking a beating. Concession stands selling bracelets and stones and crystals, lemonade and hot dogs. A tall man in a wolf-skin and a smoking lantern walked the perimeter of the “sacred circle”. Barefoot hippies climbed the trees and danced around all 1967, beads bouncing off breasts in summer dresses. After a few minutes the drums stopped and someone grabbed a microphone:
“Alright everyone thanks for coming,” the calm voice announced, “I want any couple who wants to be in the dance contest to line up outside the sacred circle.” His voice was dry, too close to the mic he sounded more like a camp counselor than a shaman and it snapped me out of the Summer of Love.
Later on Jimi said to me:
“We don't get no summer of love. We're all at work, or looking for work. Everything costs too much. Can't have fun while you're thinking about your bank account rolling back to zero.”
Which was true. But we were at a bar and I had cash and was entertaining a mild buzz in an unknown city, and even Jimi and his cosmic blues weren't going to bring me down.
Cobain tried that shit the first night we were in town.
He was paranoid. He was always paranoid.
“No one is on your side. No one is on my side. I'm not on your side. I want to be but I'm not.”
“Alright that's enough out of you,” Morrison yelled. He was drunk and so was I. “We're here for a wedding not to listen to you ramble on about how uncomfortable you are in social situations.”
“Oh leave him alone,” I started."It's fine," Cobain got up to slink outside for a smoke.
Then we talked about getting a room in Atlantic City, just for old times sake. It seemed like a good idea on a Monday night. Weekday rates were cheap, it would be just us and the elderly slot players.
Morrison came up with the plan:
“We'll sit at the slots all night and get our drinks comped. If we win anything we'll go to a bar and cover the tab with it.”
It sounded like a good plan, but no one came around to take our order. Jimi quickly got restless and went to the poker table.
“Fuck it man, I'm going for it.”
An hour later I was back in the room.
The weather had picked up and from 20 floors up I watched the ocean pound the boardwalk while rain sprayed against the window.
Atlantic City was a bad idea.
Luckily we ended up back at the Biltmore, in the restaurant bar downstairs. Everyone was tired. It was a long day and things were closing up.
“Last Call!” the lights flickered.
“I'm not sure you want to hear this, but I have absolutely no intention of going to bed right now,” I said to anyone who wanted to listen.
“No, I'm up for going somewhere, but where? We don't really know this town,” Morrison answered.
We went through the park. The Pow-Wow was over. Everything was over.
A dark pub on the corner invited us in and we sat in a booth.
“I'm tired,” Jimi said.
“Go back to the hotel, we're probably only staying for one anyway.”
“That's not what I mean. I'm just tired. We got old fast.”
“You got old fast,” Morrison slurred, “I've always been old.”
“I'm not sure I want to do this shit anymore. Going out, sitting in a bar waiting for something weird to happen.”
Everyone was quiet for a moment, acknowledging that Jimi was just slinging some drunken honestly, drenched in melodrama.
“Well what the hell else is there to do?” Morrison answered, peeling the label off his bottle.
“I don't know. I guess that's the problem.”
Then the fire alarm went off.
There was no visible fire, and everyone looked at each other as if someone was a member of the fire department and would tell us all not to worry it was just a malfunction but no one was qualified enough to make such a statement.
We slipped through the door, if for no other reason than the alarm was terribly loud. We walked back towards the hotel, and found the diner truck still taking requests.
We ordered and took our sandwiches over to the steps of city hall.
Two tuna melts and a cheeseburger.
We'll regret this in the morning.
“I don't think this is tuna,” I said.
“I don't think this is bread,” Morrison answered.
I rolled over onto a hangover that morning. I never remember to shut the shades after a long night of drinking and I always pay for it with light piercing into my beer-beaten brain the next day. A vague headache.
My neck hurts.
If I can just sleep for another 20 or so hours I should be fine.
But there are things to do.
Michael Keaton Batman was fighting Jack Nicholson Joker in the stereo of three tv's. The Door in between is Open.
Sir Paul is there in a fluffy, white bathrobe pacing.
Into one room around the corners then into the next room
He has a suite which lends itself to such things.
“What are you doing here, are you dead?” I groan.
“No. I'm getting married,” he answered.
Later, after the whirl-flash of fancy clothes and blue and red lights we're back down at the bar.
Dresses exchanged for jeans or sweats.
I'm not sure I know who any of these people are.
There's music but I'm not sure what it is.
It's probably on someone's I-pod.
On their “Awesome Songs” playlist.
This buzzing could be someone's favorite song.
Their Wedding Song.
But not tonight.
Everything is over tonight.
Couple of flashes of weather puddle up the streets and sidewalks and stain the park with mud.
The bar closes, again right on time.
“You guys can hang out for a bit and finish up if you want,” they say.
“You want another one?” I ask Morrison.
“Nah, I don't think so,” he slurs back.
“We can't sell you guys any more,” the bartender interrupts.
“That's fine because we don't want another one,” Morrison shoots back.
He puts his head on the bar.
“It would be too bad if I don't remember any of this.”
It wasn't long before I found myself back at the kitchen table. It was late.
The sun was coming up.
The coffee started brewing.
Everything was finally quiet.