“Heaven California” / Memorable Fancies #4999

[“You can check out any time you want, / But you can never leave.” – Hotel California]

       I checked out, paid with a credit card I hoped wouldn’t bounce. The desk clerk said, “Just a minute, sir,” did something on his computer. Then he looked at me.

        “Your credit card has expired, sir” he said. “You’ll have to remain here until you can pay your bill. Do you have any cash? Do you have anything saleable? A jacket, perhaps, a tie that isn’t too stained?”

       I said I had nothing.

       He said, “Then you’ll have to stay here until you can pay.”

       And I said, “and you’ll keep charging me day after day, so my bill will keep growing?”

       And he said, “Exactly, sir. But don’t worry, everyone else here is in the same situation. They’ll be down at 5 for drinks. I think you’ll like them. I hope so, anyway, because you’ll see them at 5 o’clock.

       Forever. Sir.”

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[Casa Madrona, Sausalito, 1959-1960: Its small troubles, its great and immortal Heaven]

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