Tommy D and I rode into Paris with heat beating through the car’s windshield. On sweat we streamed to our destination. The catalyst for the jaunt was a rendezvous with the LA crew. Carlos NiÃ±o, Dwight Trible, Lil Sci, Gaby, and Andres were in town to perform at le Triptyque. With a few hours to pass before the show we stashed our bags at the hotel and hit the town. No agenda pressed us in a set path so we wound through the summer streets taking in whatever lay in our path. Cafe, cafe, shop, streetlight, candy wrapper, pigeons, cafe, cafe, cafe, and people. People of every shape, size, smell, color, personality and gender hustled and bustled about. With flowing robes, turbans, silk shoes, rapid-fire speech, hearty laughs, smiles, and shouts Parisians shined. They are a swirling blend of diversity buzzing through the most beautiful city.
With the sun on our path Tommy and I cruised about, taking in glances of beautiful women and wafts of freshly baked baguettes. We cafe hopped catching flashes of the Tour de France between beverages. In the evening Carlos and crew blew up the dancefloor with explosive sneak peeks of the future roots revolution resonating from Los Angeles. It was wonderful to see such excited reactions to music thatâ€™s so close to the heart of the dublab collective. After the show we wandered around town and eventually landed back at the hotel for a twinkle or two of sleep.
We arose late our second day in Paris. Upon flinging open the impenetrable hotel curtains we discovered a brilliant landscape. With haste we hopped on the metro and zipped to Montmartre in search of sustenance. This came in the form of pastis partnered with icy water. Sip sip sip, skip to the next spot, sip sip sip and on again. The weekend had become a marathon of mellow sidewalk sitting. It was at our third stop when in the midst of a sentence slightly slurred by a fifth anis based aperitif that !!! CRACK !!! All exploded. Bombs had just gone off across London but these atrocities had eased to the back of our optimistic minds as we strolled this metropolis with ease. Egads! We were now amongst the same sinister mayhem. My god how many casualties could there be? As the smoke cleared I touched my torso to make sure it was still intact. The sulfur stung my nostrils and I glanced up to discover a bearded face just inches from my own. “Bonjour beastie!” came a call through the haze, and then it began.
The smoke dissipated and we now saw before our eyes the full figure of the formerly floating bearded face. He looked like a cross between Jimi Hendrix, a salty sea captain, and an owl. Striped pants nearly reached his nipples (thankfully these were covered by a ruffled tuxedo shirt) above which were pinned various medals commemorating vague valor. Had he really rescued a family of geese from enemy submarines? Was he the most accurate meteorologist in Mali? Could he pull a train with his teeth? My puzzled, wandering wonderings were snapped short by another explosive blast. Fear ripped through my world and again this STRANGEr chirped, “Bonjour beastly beasties!” He then grabbed our arms and tugged us into his far out orbit. With another flash of fire and smoke Tommy D and I were no longer lounging on a Paris sidewalk. We had somehow been teleported. Teleported? Telepor-huh? Was it the heat? The pastis? A bump on the head? Nope, reality all too obviously vibrated through the unbelievable moment.
We were suddenly back in the car heading to Paris. Everything was just as it had been a day earlier with one exception. As we zoomed along the roadway of the past in present tense our quizzical minds spied a note taped to the windshield. Tommy hesitantly grabbed the paper and peeled it open. Written on the back of a pack of firecrackers we read, “Enjoy! It’s only a bit of smoke.” As we went through the hours we had already traversed everything occurred exactly as it had before with one exception, we kept the prophetic glimmer in our minds, “Enjoy! It’s only a bit of smoke.” We approached the explosive future with calm. Then again, !!! CRACK !!! but this time we leaped into the air with jubilant shouts. Once the smoke cleared we didnâ€™t see Weirdo Beardo but instead a cheering populace. Everyone clapped and cried, “Viva la France!” We soon discovered it was French Independence Day and our earlier fears of exploding terror were now non-existent. The celebration commenced with flowing champagne and kept going. Our night of action packed partying was right on thanks to the strange encounter with a time traveling man. Now I understand the point of the episode. We must take life in brave stride without a sense of worry. When life explodes explode with it. Jump full force into the fire. If it’s truly a bitter bang youâ€™ll find out soon enough but if it’s a benign blast your fun will start on the mark, so stay open and go for it!
(from summer 2005)