I just found out that Whinkla returned from Asia over a month ago! Why he didn’t call, or come by and pick up the packages he had mailed, before yesterday, I have no idea. He was quite excited and blurted out dozens of intriguing hints about his unbelievable adventures. “They’ll make you think ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ was nothing more than a collection of articles from the Wall Street Journal,” he said.
We talked and shared a bottle of 1974 Charles Krug, Lot F-1 Cabernet and he eventually thanked me for taking care of the numerous boxes and envelopes he had sent from various parts of the world. Then, as he was about to leave he said he simply had to tell me about something that had happened on his drive home from Dallas, Texas. He sat down again and related how he’d flown in a vintage Harlow PJC-5 from a dirt runway in Bejiaoxiang, a small village outside Ya’an in Sichuan province, to Hong Kong, then on to Tokyo, and then to Dalles. “There,” he said, “I decided to rent a car and drive back to Kleadrap . . . to reacquainted myself with the great beating heart of the American west after six months abroad.” I thought I was going to have to open a second bottle, perhaps a pre 1980 Reserve Beringer, or was that a ‘third’ bottle? but instead Whinkla stood up and took a sheaf of wrinkled papers from his briefcase and handed it to me. “Make for a good bedtime read,” he said.
I accepted the wad of paper he handed me as if I was accepting the holy grail and he pulled a large net bag from an inside pocket in his jacket and began to stuff in the packages I had accumulated over the past few months. “I’ll try to get back next weekend, if you think you’ll be home,” he said, “and I promise you hours, perhaps days, of unbelievable entertainment.” “I’ll be here,” I said, and helped him carry the unweildly bag to his bicycle. I watched for a polite time as he wobbled down the road and then went back inside where I opened a second bottle of wine, or was that a ‘third’?
An hour or so later I was comfortable, and comfortably in bed, and after adjusting the bedside lamp unfurled Whinkla’s bundle of papers. The first thing I noticed was that the arrogant S.O.B had opened with something in what I suppose is Chinese. I respect that he speaks, at last count, fourteen languages, but I still wince whenever I encounter words and phrases I don’t understand. Like when I read Pound or Joyce. At least Burton was discrete with his esoteric verbal knowledge.
Well, rather than paraphrase Whinkla I’ll simply retype his document, though I have had to excise more than a third of it for even I wasn’t all that interested in the colour of the crone’s teeth or toenails, or the exact texture of the molding of the bathroom lintel in the Gaudi bathroom.
Next post will be the words of Whinkla without introduction or explanation.