Dear Friends

DF 61 - Strange Kinda Mitzi, a polite enquiry

Chicago

September 2017

Dear Friends,

Someone asked me what I was jabbering about on this tour, each night at the end of Strange Kinda Woman.

It is a true story, with parochial variations, depending upon the weather and my teeth, which sometimes chew my brain, when I'm peckish or recovering from laundry shrinkage.

Early this morning I was giving a swim in the local river/lake/pond or stream-of-consciousness, when there, emerging from the mist was…I couldn't believe it; had to rub my eyes, lost forward motion and promptly sank. Gasping for air as I resurfaced the road (I've written to the council many times about those potholes), I checked, and yes…two moves to matey, inescapable!!

Of all people, there she was, in a mohawk canoe. A mohawk canoe has a turny-uppy bit facing backwards at the front (the bow) and a similar shape, facing forwards, at the back, which - as all sailors know - is called the stern; seriously. A mohawk canoe is much easier to sink than, say, an Indian or a kayak…due to the open gun decks. And, it goes without saying...

But, there she was, in all her glory.

Standing with legs akimbo, astride the seat in the back bit (avoid tautology in September if possible; it's bad luck) stood Mitzi Dupree.

Always the smart one, she was using a cleverly long paddle to reach the water under the canoe, which could have been salt/fresh/brackish or fizzante, according to the location, in order to drive the canoe forward (obviously, and it's Tuesday so we're talking about Lake Michigan, next Friday it's Cincinnati and the Ohio River, or possibly the Little Miami, sadly also fresh, but you get the picture, yes?). Mitzi (we used to be on first name terms) ignored me completely, as I clambered aboard the vessel; I was below her eyeline, for reasons to be explained in Chapter 17.

Around Mitzi's neck was a silver moose on a leather lanyard. To be strictly accurate, the moose itself was dangling from the lanyard, which was in truth the only item around her neck. I'm not sure how she would have got the moose itself around her neck unless she slung the forelegs over one shoulder and the hind quarters/legs over the other, and that wouldn't be 'around' her neck would it (rhet)…more of a bovine pashmina. You wouldn't have seen the rest of it, dangling down her back, and that would have affected her posture, even though she was a very powerful woman, and with only the cloven hooves in view, it could just as well have been a massive silver goat. Anyway, just to be clear, the silver moose (extremely rare breed, on the 'endangered' list, could even have been the last one…end of an era!) was hanging pedantically and pendantically, in a properly Newtonian fashion, from a leather lanyard.

To each of Mitzi's lightly oiled and impressively muscled thighs was strapped an intercontinental ballistic missile with hellfire tendencies. And under her loin cloth, made of many neatly sewn, previously terrified and shrunken loins, was a detonator, with a hair trigger…OK, I may have been staring, or giving it a hard look…a few seconds - no more. But that was enough to set it off.

And up she went, slowly at first, like those rockets at Cape Canaveral, hardly moving at all, but I could tell that something dramatic was about to happen, because she blew a Labrador sized hole in the bottom of what was, just a second earlier, before that volcanic moment, a poop deck. No-one has ever seen a poop deck on a canoe before, but they do exist believe me. One appeared for a few dread moments before a Mohawk plus/minus an imminently detached explorer disappeared over the sudden edge of the Victoria Falls. And then, there was the…oh never mind, see chapter 22.

As her feet showed the first signs of lift, up and away from the ethereal Rufus-Fetchit, I grabbed her ankle, foolishly. Not foolish to grab her ankle, but grabbing her ankle in a foolish way. And not foolish in a dribbling idiot sense, but foolish because I did not use both hands. One of them (my hands) was busy trying to untangle the anchor chain, which had wrapped themselves (the evil links) around 'my' ankle, in an equally foolish attempt to save itself/themselves (it really doesn't matter) from drowning. I thought drowning was exactly what anchors were designed to do, but apparently this one ended up with reservations, a bit like, but not a patch on, the proud and indigenous mohawk.

In the meantime, the rest of Mitzi was accelerating rapidly, whilst we were playing catch-up. 'We' being her ankle, me and one hoity-toity anchor. Because I want to deny him the oxygen of fame, I shall mention Jeff, the nameless anchor, no more; but do bear in mind the added weight, when following the ups and downs of subsequent events).

Due to the one-handed cling, I was hanging out a bit to the side and that caused an imbalance to the rocket that was us. Centrifugal force, being what it is, decided to wobble us eccentrically, and before we reached the ozone layer, and with a decent pair of binoculars, one could easily mistake us for a Mercury-bound whirling dervish.

At this point, whilst there was still a smidgen of atmospheric resistance, Mitzi - true to form - was stripped of her dignity, albeit admired and nearly grabbed from his passing orbital puddle by Tantalus - Ha! Missed again! The buttons, bows, belts, braces, ties, scarves, zips, Velcro fasteners, elasticated loin cloths (plural, yes, I have since been told, by agitated observers at Jodrell Bank, that there were two; shockingly, Mitzi had a modesty cloth under the top one), loops and toggles, threads and laces all came adrift and fell to Earth, leaving her naked.

Being a gentleman of sorts - out of sorts at the time - I looked down;, my eyes were watering anyway. I was becoming ever so slightly concerned about the altitude as my hand began to lose its grip. Just my luck…the ankle to which I was attached…not emotionally, as in a loving way, but physically, in an hysterical, but not funny, way…was not quite so 'lightly' oiled as the rest of her; the WD40 had all gone south by the time we attained escape velocity. And Mitzi, being no lady, took advantage to shrug me off - just like her old fur coat - and that was that. She went up, and I went down (Chapter 93).

Her load having been lightened, Mitzi climactically unleashed both boosters and adopted warp speed on her way to a Chelsea Harbour in some other galaxy, for a bit of shopping and a game of ping-pong.

I encountered some turbulence and got a heat rash upon re-entry, causing me to scream somewhat musically in panic, but landed conveniently not far from my morning swim; just in time for Uncommon Man.

Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2017

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