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Ray’s Golden Lion in Richland, Wash. Don’t these fools know that Richland is famous for developing atomic materials used in Robert J. Oppenheimer’s Manhattan Project? As an American, I feel that it is my duty to familiarize myself with all-things-Oppie. Thus, I traveled to Richland at the behest of an enterprising all-ages promoter to see what was what. Some observations, in classic French vignette form:
1. The promoter is a chemist.
“What do you do when not booking all-ages musical events?” I asked the promoter.
“I de-rad atomic material,” she said.
“Oh,” I said.
“Materials used to develop Fat Man and Little Boy were made in Richland,” she explained. “I de-radiate these materials and turn them into glass. The process is environmentally-friendly.”
“Excellent!” I exclaimed. “Atomic material becomes Coca-Cola bottles!”
“Of course not, silly!” she exclaimed. “The glass we produce is not consumer-grade!”
2. The stage manager is a small, tough blonde girl. (I)
“I’m the stage manager,” said a small, tough blonde girl. Her estimated age? Fifteen years. Her estimated weight? Ninety pounds.
“Ah,” I said. “Is there a sound check this evening?”
“Yes,” she said. “Right before you play.”
“Ah,” I said. “You must mean that there is a ‘line check.’ Not a ‘sound check.'”
“No, goddammit,” sighed the small girl. She lit a cigarette. “There is a fucking sound check. There is just not the type of sound check to which you are accustomed.”
3. The owner (see above) of Emerald of Siam loves to cook—-and talk.
“We opened the first Thai restaurant in Richland,” said the owner. “1983.”
“Ah,” I began. “Perhaps it was—-“
“Oh!” exclaimed the owner. “It was so difficult! People thought ‘Thai’ meant ‘from Taiwan!'”
“Ah!” I began. “Well, your food is really won—-“
“Thai cuisine is a very healthy cuisine!” exclaimed the owner. “You are vegetarian?”
“Why, yes,” I began. “I find that—-“
“Yes, a wonderful cuisine,” concluded the owner. “We came here from the Washington, D.C. area.”
“Ah!” I began. “I myself am—-“
“Yes, the Washington, D.C. area,” continued the owner. “My husband was working for the government out there, then we ended up here. I have a daughter. She has two beautiful babies. She is a jazz pianist!”
“Ah!” I began. “Jazz—-“
“Yes, a wonderful music,” said the owner. “My daughter come and play music every week for customers. Excellent musician. She reads notes, reads everything. She took lessons. You take lessons?”
“Well,” I began. “I find that—-“
“Yes,” said the owner. “My daughter take lessons. But she is a problem. She does not always want to play! She wants to talk! She talks all the time! All the time talk talk talk!”
4. The stage manager is a small, tough, blonde girl. (II)
The young girl looked at her cell phone. “One o’clock in the morning,” she commented. “Time for me to get stoned.”
“Ah,” I said. The young girl opened her cell phone. A picture of Bob Marley adorned the communication device.
“Bob Fucking Marley,” said the young girl.
“Inded, that is Mr. Bob Fucking Marley,” I said. “As you are a marijuana enthusiast, the choice is appropriate.”
“Yep,” she said. She lit a cigarette. “One o’clock.” She exhaled. “This here Rastafari is getting stoned.”