RING RING: I love when people from other places visit me, just so I can get out from behind these strip-malled eyes to see what I like about living here. But it's getting to be a bit of a hard sell. A recent phone call:
"Of course, the Grand Canyon will be open if you come. I mean really. The government doesn't shut down every day; that was just the annual budget torture we go through so we can torment tourists. Besides, our governor, Fife Symington, who won't suggest we give more money to education or teen pregnancy, was more than willing to spend an untold amount of money to bring in the National Guard to keep the canyon open. Our state funding for medicines for HIV victims is running out, and our state ranks 47th in education spending, but you can bank on Fife sending out the troops to make a point for states' rights.
"No, it was never really closed. You can't take a needle and thread and sew the thing up. Symington? Oh, you heard about the bankruptcy thing? No, the state isn't going bankrupt, it's just a little problem he's having personally. His wife is bailing him out. Come to think of it, maybe that's why he called out the National Guard, kind of a look-how-strong-I-am-honey thing.
"Don't bring your own bottled water, you're only coming across the country. It's called CAP, but don't worry about it, we're not going to drink the stuff for at least five years. You heard our groundwater is contaminated? Stop reading that environmental shit and read that nice issue of Arizona Highways I sent you. Fine, bring your portable water purifier.
"Homicide rate? Who told you about that? Yeah, there have been a few. Okay, a record number. Sixty-two. I said 62. Sixty-two homicides in the city this year. No, I haven't read the paper today.
"So when are you coming?
"It is not one large casino here. I swear, I haven't even been myself. No we're not overrun by mafia types. Hey, I did see Joe Bonnano the other day in his bathrobe. You're right, I am easily amused. If you come, I promise I'll give you my special tour with the Bonanno drive-by on it. That's the one where we go for a special picnic in the river bed. No, in the river, not on the river. It's sandy. Never mind, you have to see the river to believe it. Gee, I hope there isn't a flash flood when you're here. Only kidding.
"Yeah, we still have the futon and it's as uncomfortable as ever, but it's good for you.
"You don't like Mexican food? How do you know? How about hiking into the desert, taking your clothes off and lying on a rock the whole day with the sun baking on your east coast white skin?
"Can you really get a ticket that soon?
"Great, I'll pick you up Wednesday. Leave the raincoat home."
'Tis the season, warriors. Just remember what they say about dead fish and company after three days--or was that two?
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