Grand Hotel

Was at an empty bar in Palm Springs off season once and the bartender was saying how out there you had to know how to make all the old style cocktails, so I got drunk on Louisiana Flips. Just like Lionel Barrymore in Grand Hotel. And like Lionel Barrymore, I fell down. Ouch. But man, those Louisiana Flips…they were wonderful things, some kind of yellowish concoction if I remember right,  and you could down ’em like creme soda. I haven’t dast another since….besides, my wife told me I began quoting the movie to the bewildered bartender. I vant to be alone, I said. So she left.

I followed her a flip or two (or maybe three) later. Our room was a quick few steps across a parking lot that became positively oceanic on the walk–if you can call it that–back. But I did well, I thought, tacking a little to port, to starboard…it wasn’t till the elevator door opened and I fell like a redwood that there was a problem. Surprised the hell out of me, how that elevator door opened to nothing but space. A fall is a long drop for a tall man. Several feet of air to plunge through and the floors are always hard and unforgiving.  Gravity is merciless, Isaac Newton a vile little man.  There were no witnesses, though, save a swollen, angry knee.

Palm Springs, ya know, people come, people go, nothing ever happens. Except I fell down. It was worth it, though. I got to be Lionel Barrymore. Maybe next time I’ll be John Barrymore and not pay my hotel bill.

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