I don’t understand why it is that I like waiting rooms. Maybe it’s because we’re not expected to do anything in them. Maybe it has something to do with the story that was told to me by a guy who did twenty-five years for killing his wife in a jealous rage. He became a busker when he got out of jail, and when I stumbled back from the bar one night, drunk on tequila, he waved me over and played me a song by Jimmy Buffett. I’m not good with syllabic stress, so I’ve never been sure if Buffett is pronounced buh–fey, or buhf-it, as in to strike with the hand or fist. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.
Did you know that Jimmy Buffet(t) writes books? He’s written thirty books and they’re mostly about ships, high seas and pirates. I bet great flocks of flamingos paint the skies of his novels hot pink. Of course, I can’t say for sure if great flocks of flamingos paint the skies of his novels hot pink, because I’ve yet to read him. It just seems to me like something he might do. This isn’t because flamingos are tropical clichés that signify Jimmy’s own clichédness. I don’t think he’s cliché at all. I mean, how many other rock stars have managed to pull off the regular guy thing? I bet he’s far from a regular guy, though. In fact, I’m convinced that he’s a visitor from another world. I feel like he retreats to the gated sanctuary of his villa at the end of his tours and there, in a tiki-themed grotto full of gimcracks he sheds his regular guy skin. Literally. He emerges from his regular guy skin and stands tall, glistening in the sun: a Lovecraftian beast of Polynesian motifs. Perhaps he looks a lot like Cthulhu with a margarita in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other. This, of course, would explain the great flocks of flamingos that paint the skies of his novels hot pink. They’re such creepy birds. I wonder what planet they’re from. How they became clichés, I’ll never know.
“Cheeseburger in paradise. Heaven on earth with an onion slice. Not too particular, not too precise. I’m just a cheeseburger in paradise,” sang the busker, before putting down his guitar and telling me the story of his friend, who had died and found himself in a waiting room, sitting beside some other dude. I guess the busker’s friend asked the other dude how long he had been waiting for, but he didn’t know. He only knew that the busker’s friend was not supposed to be waiting in that room at that time, so he said as much, at which point the busker’s friend found himself back on the pavement, lying beside a crumpled-up car, staring into the purposeful eyes of a paramedic.
That was the end of the story, and as I contemplated the historical transgressions of the busker’s hands, he picked his guitar back up and played me a slightly sinister version of Margaritaville.