We saw in Part 1 of The Journey to The Magic Castle that some pilgrimages are more like quests. We ended Part 2 with my friend Tim and I waiting to be picked up on Hollywood Boulevard (perhaps, given the context, I should rephrase that) by Tim’s dad. As we waited, we encountered a woman who attracted our attention. And in Tim’s case, he paid her just a bit too much attention…
The woman, still tottering on her heels, became aware of Tim’s stares. Immediately, like a wild animal whose cage has been breached, she lunged out toward him crying, “I’m gonna kick yo’ butt, d’you know why?” (Okay, she didn’t actually say “butt” but I’m keeping this a G-rated blog).
Now “lunge” and “five-inch heels” make for an interesting combination. Add to that her condition: her heels weren’t the only things that were high. I wasn’t sure if it was alcohol, drugs or perhaps her own private supply of “Mystic Smoke” inhaled from a plastic bag, but she wasn’t as focused, shall we say, as she could have been.
In a glazed sort of way, yet still clearly agitated, she pursued Tim round and round a light post that initially stood between them. He didn’t know what to do other than to stay as far away as he could without losing our coveted spot on the corner as we awaited the imminent – or so we hoped – arrival of Tim’s dad.
As she orbited the pole, she developed a sliding rhythm to her teetering shuffle. I half expected her at any moment to cry out, “Sanctuary, sanctuary” and turn to the nearest church bell tower. She, however, remained committed to her prey and continued her ring-around-the-rosie dance with Tim to the tune of “I’m gonna kick yo’ butt, d’you know why?”
In any other place, this would have been a spectacle. In Hollywood, no one paid the least attention.
Well, except for me, of course. I did my best to fade into one of those stars imbedded in the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard. Courage and loyalty to my friend were not my stellar traits that day.
Instead, as I stood apart from the chase, somewhat aghast, somewhat fascinated like a bystander at a train wreck, several thoughts dog-piled in my head:
- I hope Tim’s dad gets here, like right NOW.
- Nice wig.
- I’m pretty sure that yes, in fact, we do know why.
- Yikes! What if she comes after me next?
But no worries on the last point. She either tired of the pursuit or became distracted by something else. Or perhaps, she had had more exercise in those shoes than she was used to. After one last half-hearted, “I’m gonna kick yo’ butt, d’you know why?” she peeled off and muttered her way down the street.
When Tim’s dad arrived a few minutes later, we jumped into the car and it wasn’t until we were on our way and he asked, “So how did it go?” that we finally allowed ourselves to laugh at what could have been a dicey situation.
In relaying the incident to Tim’s dad, we realized that on this day we had something far more valuable than some cool new magic tricks or even our sighting of The Magic Castle.
We had a story.
A story of how Tim was almost killed by a prostitute in Hollywood (oh yes, it got even more dramatic with each telling). A story that became part of that journey to The Magic Castle, making the process of getting there as meaningful as the destination.
And we had a story that for two teenage boys from the suburbs was as good as gold when we got home and shared it with our friends.
What more can you ask for from a trip merely an hour from home but a world away in terms of our daily experience?