Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls …
"For whom the bell tolls? Why, dear sir, it tolls for thee." This is
what I am told as I disembark from my small twin-propeller plane in Agua Del
Piedro, Spain. It is here that I have arrived for the sole purpose of finding a
brief respite from the pressures of my daily life. Alongside me are Cuban Bob,
my allegiant manservant, and Ralph, my houseboy. Yet as soon as I get off the
plane, I realize that there is no place on Earth, on this wonderful blue-green
planet, that I can be truly alone. The people of Agua Del Piedro had been alerted to my pending arrival somehow and they waited at their meager airport
with wine, cheese and women. The band that had been hastily assembled played
selected pieces from Gordon
Lightfoot. A humble yet proud looking man approached me as I reached
the bottom step.
"Please, Wolinetz, address our people. We get so few visitors. Your arrival was predicted by the swelling of the bull’s testicles."
"What is your name, señor?"
"I am Juan Epstein," he replied with zeal.
"Juan Epstein, your words have moved me," I told this spokesman, "I will address your unwashed masses, as if they were my own."
He kissed my hand repeatedly, "Oh, thank you, Wolinetz, thank you."
I asked Cuban Bob to get the bags and had Ralph carry me piggyback to the makeshift podium that had been set up. The band pIayed "If You Could Read My Mind," and I spoke briefly yet eloquently.
"People of Agua Del Piedro, thank you for your warm and glorious reception. As a citizen of the world, I am proud to come to your beautiful village to take a but a brief sojourn from my hectic life, perhaps to impregnate some of your young women as well."
A mighty cheer arose from the crowd, led by a small boy who identified himself by wearing a T-shirt that said, "Fuck the Cows."
"I am reminded now of something that my ex-wife, Natalie Wood, once told me. ‘Wolinetz,’ she said, ‘I am unworthy of you. Each night, before we make sweet, passionate love for 5 to 6 hours, I thank the heavens that you were delivered to me.’ This is true. I mean no offense to Natalie Wood. Natalie Wood is a dear friend of mine. In the West Side Story days of the early 1960s, Natalie Wood and I would take off for Monte Carlo at a moment’s notice. There we would dine with Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. The Prince was a randy fellow and told dirty joke after dirty joke. We’d spend the evening playing strip poker. As I am an expert poker player, it was usually the good Prince who wound up completely nude, with but a well-placed sock. Natalie Wood and I would dine at a Medieval Times restaurant. What can I say? The woman loved to eat with her hands. I digress. Good people of Agua Del Piedro, thank you for your hospitality. I’ll be sure to write of you favorably. Ralph, take me away."
With that, Ralph removed me from the throng of cheering Spaniards. I knew then that the people of Agua Del Piedro had embraced me, and I them.