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Thursday, November 28, 2002   |    Fiction

The White Stripes at the Hotel Yorba

by Steve Finbow

10 a.m. — The Hotel Yorba.

Personal Assistant:    Hello, operator.
Receptionist:    Hello. Hotel Yorba—reception.
P.A.:    Yes, I would like to book a room for Meg and Jack of the White Stripes.
Receptionist:    Oh, the popular beat combo—of course. What kind of room would they like?
P.A.:    Er … A double. No, a twin. No, singles. Er … A little room.
Receptionist:    May I suggest a suite with two bedrooms?
P.A.:    Yes, that would be good.
Receptionist:    Do they have any special requirements?
P.A.:    Er, yes. Let me get the list. O.K.
Receptionist:    We will try our hardest to accommodate them.
P.A.:    O.K. First: a ball and biscuit, a blue orchid, little acorns, aluminum, apple blossom, screwdriver, and a little bird.
Receptionist:    That should be no problem. Anything else?
P.A.:    Er, yes, Jack would like a white moon, red rain, black math, white blood cells, and jumble, jumble.
Receptionist:    Hmmm … Passive manipulation, methinks. As ugly as I seem, and I don’t want to offend in every way, I fear I’m wasting my time contemplating these requests.
P.A.:    I just don’t know what to do with myself if I can’t get you to agree to them.
Receptionist:    I’m finding it harder to be a gentleman. Does Meg have any weird demands?
P.A.:    Er … one more cup of coffee because sugar never tasted so good.
Receptionist:    I think I smell a rat.

That night—The Hotel Yorba.

Jack and Meg: same suite, different rooms.

Jack:               Look, let me tell you why I want separate rooms.
Receptionist:    You’ve got her in your pocket.
Jack:               I’m lonely but I ain’t that lonely yet. Now, Mary, for god’s sake!
Meg:               When I hear my name … What’s going on, John?
Jack:               Sister, do you know my name? You’re pretty good looking but I want to be the boy, the same boy you’ve always known. I fell in love with a girl.
Meg:               It’s true that we love one another. Can’t I be a boy’s best friend? We’re going to be friends. I can’t wait. Let’s build a home. I can learn. Why can’t you be nicer to me?
Jack:               You just take, take, take. (Aside:) Forever for her is over for me. Were you expecting a union forever?
Meg:               I’m bound to pack it up. I’ll become a little ghost.
Jack:               Do. That’s the denial twist. I suppose I’ll have to call the nurse, and you’ll get the St. James Infirmary blues, but, girl, you have no faith in medicine.
Meg:               I’ll be covered with dead leaves and the dirty ground in the cold, cold night; the air near my fingers will be icy and I’ll send you a death letter.
Jack:               That’s my doorbell.
Meg:               Truth doesn’t make a noise I’ve got the instinct blues.
Jack:               Stop breaking down, you elephant. You need to hypnotize me before I do what you want.
Meg:               Touch me, Jack.
Jack:               No. That’s the hardest button to button.
Meg:               I fought piranhas without this protector.
Jack:               Yeah? You and whose seven nation army?
Meg:               Me, Jimmy the Exploder, and Suzy Lee.
Jack:               Oh, the big three who killed my baby.
Receptionist:    Oi! There’s no home for you here.

Steve Finbow lives in London. His fiction, essays, short plays, poetry, and stuff is in, or will soon be in, 3am Magazine, The Beat, Big Bridge, Dicey Brown, The Edward Society, Eyeshot, The Guardian, InkPot, Locus Novus, McSweeney’s, Pindeldyboz, Tattoo Highway, Thieves Jargon, Tin Lustre Mobile, Über, Word For/Word Word Riot, Xtant, and Zacatecas. He writes the bi-weekly cultural column Pond Scum for Me Three and is a writer with Quarantine Theatre Company. He is currently writing a novel and is slso a pilot with Porcine Airlines.