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“Pour me another splash, will you, dear?”

Bubbles leans over and slowly fills her mother’s glass. Looking up, she awaits a “when” signal, but her mother is looking away, her eyes unfocused, lost in thought. Filling the glass, Bubbles sets the bottle down and leans back. Carole, blinking, returns from her reverie. Bringing the glass to her lips, she takes a measured sip. A serious look crosses her face. Straightening up, she smoothes the legs of her pressed jeans, tugs at the sleeves of her blouse, adjusts her pearls and settles back. With a little sigh, she begins.

“So, how did I come to call you Agharta? No, it wasn’t the silly subterranean city that inspired it. It was the music. He played it—your father—the night we . . . were together. I found it mysterious, challenging, and uncompromising. I asked him, ‘What is this music?’ He picked up a pen and scratched Agharta on a scrap of paper. I woke in the morning, knowing that our moment together had been nothing more than an impulsive act on my part. I knew I meant nothing to him, and, after the fact, I knew he meant even less to me. When I left, I thought that scrap of paper was all I would have from our moment together. Little did I know then I would take with me something much more miraculous.”

Carole smiles and reaching out, touches her daughter’s hand gently.

“So, when I began to give thought to a name for my child, I remembered that music: mysterious, challenging and uncompromising. Qualities I hoped, if it were to be a girl, she would possess. Agharta. It sounded regal. I was pretty idealistic at the time. It didn’t occur to me that it might not suit a little baby girl.”

Sitting with her long legs tucked up to her chest, Bubbles looks at her mother quizzically. She isn’t sure what she’s feeling. Her mother’s story had satisfied her curiosity superficially, but there was so much more she needed to know . . .

“So that’s the big mysterious story, huh, Mother?”

“Well, I never meant it to be mysterious, Bubbles. You, know I’m not much for dwelling in the past.”

Bubbles starts to chuckle.

“It was Grandad who started calling me Bubbles, right?”

“Yes, your grandfather was such a patient, kind man. He never tried to challenge me if he disagreed with whatever I was doing. He knew Agharta wasn’t the right fit for his beautiful baby granddaughter. He always found a way to make his point gently.”

Bubbles leans in close to her mother and whispers,

“You gotta swear you will never reveal to ANYONE why Grandad called me Bubbles, right, Mother?”

“Agreed.”

Bubbles gets up slowly and a little wobbly. She comes around the table and gives her mother a hug and a soggy kiss on the cheek.

“Well, Mother, I’m tired and a bit drunk. Just an eensy-weensy bit. I’m going to bed.”

“Me too, dear. I’m coming along in just a moment.”

“Mom?”

“Yes, dear?”

“You OK?”

“Oh, yes. I’m fine. Now you head up and I’ll be right along. There’s towels in the hall closet, and you’ll find . . .”

“I know, I know, I’ll find it. G’night. Thanks. Love you.”

“Love you, too. ‘Night.”

Bubbles heads into the house while Carole lingers in the deck chair gazing up into the night sky. It must be quite late. She rubs her face and takes a deep breathe. Trying to focus her eyes she realizes just how drunk she is.

"Tomorrow,” she thinks, “it’s car shopping. Something sensible. Honda, Toyota . . ."

She closes her eyes, and her mind drifts to . . . that night. Against her will, all the details of that night begin to replay in her mind: Going to the club to see his band, staking out a spot by the bandstand. Trying desperately to get him to notice her, without looking at him, of course. Hanging around after the show, watching the band pack up. Chatting with the drummer. His invitation, “Would she like to come to a party later?” The inward thrill and the feigned indifference as she responds, “Yeah, why not?” The nerve-wracking drive alone to the band’s old farmhouse. Pushing through the noise and confusion of the party, meandering from room to room, until, there he stands, surrounded by admirers, so impossibly tall, so aloof, with those heavily lidded eyes. Casually, she sidles up to him, only to freeze up, tongue-tied, totally intimidated by his presence. Despite all the alcohol, she can’t get up the nerve to speak. Eventually, the party starts to break up. Only a few die-hards remain. She’s standing in the hall smoking God-knows-what with some guy talking about his life in a solar-powered chicken coop, when suddenly, he squeezes by her and goes up the stairs. She realizes it’s now or never. Quickly and stealthily she follows him, leaving chicken coop guy talking to the air. Reaching the top of the stairs, it’s quite dark. She pauses a moment as her eyes adjust. Cautiously she makes her way down the dark hallway. At the end, light appears from a door left ajar. Slowly she pushes the door open revealing another stairway. Music can be heard from above. With her heart pounding and her hands shaking, she creeps up the stairs. At the top is an attic room, with Indian tapestries hanging from the rafters. Amber light shines dimly from an old lamp covered by a silk scarf. Velvet pillows are scattered everywhere. As she turns, her breath catches in her throat. There, in the shadows, in all his naked glory, he sits, regarding her with a bemused expression. He stands and approaches her, and she begins to stammer. He puts his finger to her lips shushing her. Then, gently he guides her to the bed. As if hypnotized, she disrobes and falls into his arms. She remembers his smell. And the music . . .

 


Bubbles Meets the Prince of Darkness
International Assholes' Day
Bubbles Runs the Voodoo Down
Bubbles Takes a Magic Carpet Ride
Big Brown lets Bubbles Down
Bubbles, Baked and Fried
Bubbles, Biff and Binny
Bubbles and the 99 cent Epiphany
Bubbles' Trip To See the Doctor
The Doctor and the Prince of Darkness Meet Again
The Doctor and the Naked Glory
More Troubles for Bubbles
What a Lame Vacation
Cristo Redentor
In Careless Act, 17 Drown, 3 Survive.

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