The Most Recent Strange Peregrination of F. S. Whinkla
. . . being an honest recollection of events as they occurred on the last leg of his return journey to Kleadrap from Dallas, Texas after wandering several months in and around the Orient.
I drove west over broken asphalt into the arid foothills of the Rocky Mountains for at least fifteen minutes without passing even one metal, wood, or cardboard sign that indicated a bed and breakfast was anywhere nearby. Then, surprisingly, I topped a rise in the road and found myself in front of a large log building that might have been a hunting lodge flown in from the shores of Great Slave Lake, or the dream home of a defrocked Prairie School architect who had suddenly discovered the Yukon, or even an American version of a monastic Tibetan ashram.
I have to admit the building was impressive. There was even what looked like a Gothic stone turret on the northeast corner topped by a dome of glass or plastic that might have housed an astronomical observatory, and yet the structure seemed quite at home, even comfortable, nestled between two arms of rolling, low ochre hills that descended from a slightly higher henna-coloured ridge. In the distance a craggy, piebald mountain and attendant lesser peaks added a Chinese scroll-like feeling to the panorama framing the house.
I didn’t see any other vehicles so I parked in what looked like the front of the building and sat quietly for a minute or two. I think I was hoping to hear a voice, the mechanical sound of a tractor or the bark of a dog, the crowing of a rooster, but the only sound I heard was surrealistic silence. I turned off the ignition, got out of the Odyssey, and climbed a short flight of steps to what appeared to be the front door.
The wooden porch was wide; probably fifteen feet, and chairs of various size and design were gathered in several cliques, as if conversing amongst themselves. I noticed two tables had chessboard inlays, and one a stone or glass mosaic for ‘Go’.
I stood in front of the door and told myself I was being ridiculous, that it was too early to stop for the night and a good motel was probably less than an hour away. But Larry, I tell you, I felt compelled to knock on the door rather than return to my car.
I rapped lightly on the door. No answer. I knocked again, harder. Still no answer. I tried the handle and of course the door was unlocked, so I went inside.
to be continued