Meanwhile in the Citadel…
Me: Howard! Happy Birthday.
HPL: Thank you. What is that you’re holding? And why is it on fire?
Me: It’s a cupcake and that’s a candle. Jesus, you’ve been dead long time and you are still one of the most sheltered people I know. It’s chocolate.
HPL: I hate chocolate.
Zevon: That’s no surprise at all.
Me: Warren! I thought you were in heaven!
Zevon: Got bored. I needed to break something. Everybody smiles and is so fucking polite and well-dressed and condescending…it was like a constant A&R meeting. I left. Hi.
Me: Welcome back. Did you know it was Howard’s birthday?
Zevon: Yeah, because he’s been reading everything on Facebook about him for the last week telling us everybody thinks he’s a racist creep.
HPL: I am not a racist. I a student of the species and…
Me: Whoah. I’m just going to stop you right there.
Me: Because nothing that could follow will contradict anything bad said about you. BTW, where’s Edgar?
HPL: (low) On a date with Miss Dickinson.
Zevon: Your ex?
HPL: Yes, they are attending a poetry slam together somewhere in the more fashionable rings of Hell. They have new material, they said.
Me: How do you feel about that?
HPL: Mutual enablers, I say. They’ll spend eternity shooting each other up with drugs and scribbling insipid little sonnets about one another. They’ve already had Leonard Bruce and that other obnoxious Jew…
HPL: …that “Ginsberg” fellow…I am not a fan of Mr. Poe’s decidedly progressive friends and ideas. We are no longer chess mates, he and I.
Me: Who do you play with now?
HPL: Every so often this somber, sleepy-eyed minion of Dagon stops in for a drink and plays with me while nursing a drink. We don’t speak, but he grunts a lot, especially when I make a move he does not like. We’ve never finished a match before he finishes his drink, so I don’t know that’s really … a thing.
Me: I honestly expected this place to be a lot busier.
Zevon: Did you see the big, bright, purple nightclub on the hill?
Me: Yeah. Prince, right?
Zevon: And everybody else. Douglas is there now. He’s playing with Vanity, Bowie and Lemmie and Natalie Cole and… fuck, man…half the people who died so far this year. Otis, Glen, Ric, Kantner, Bain… You put that up in a marquee and that’s why Rickman and everyone else is sitting around listening to the All Night Angels Band play. George Martin is on the boards for it. Live Aid? Woodstock? We Are the Afterworld? What the fuck were they? This is like the fucking Musical Rapture, man.
Me: So who’s here to celebrate with Howard?
HPL: Well, there was this lovely fellow – a Ronnie Corbett – but turns out he thought he was at the writer’s club. Did you know we had a writer’s club?
Zevon: Dude, I’m not even a writer and I know there’s a Writer’s Club.
HPL: Must be an oversight. Perhaps I will visit them and weigh in on whatever pedantic discussion they’re having.
Me: Sure! Get out. Do things.
Zevon: Yeah. That’ll be great. Meanwhile, I’m heading over the Purple Church, Jay. Want to join me?
Me: Hey, why not.