Conversation room. Tom Waits is playing me again today.
I am seated in a metal folding chair, facing a drone that looks like Red Skelton. The drone, though “life-sized,” is seated on a tiny plastic chair, obviously made for a small child. I remember watching Skelton’s TV show a lot in the 1960’s, and cannot help but think of the drone as “Red,” though I know it’s the “skeleton/Skelton” association that first brought it on.
Red is smiling and fidgeting a bit, sometimes looking around the room, and sometimes contorting his face, generally giving off the impression that he has difficulty waiting. I simply stare at him in silence for a few minutes.
Red finally speaks. “So… I’m spoze to be talkin’ to you about sump’n, eh?”
I’m not smiling yet, though I’m betting that won’t last. “What is the nature of your dilation?”
Red purses his lips and crosses his eyes in one of his trademark expressions. “Dilation? Like when you call me on the phone? My number was 353 last time I knew, but I’m not positive. I been dead a while, ya know.”
“You do not know why you are here today?”
“Course I do. To talk to you! Skiddly doo, that rhymes!”
“I assume that your dilation has something to do with humor.”
“If that’s what you wanna talk about, I’ll humor ya.” Yuck-yuck.
I shake my head and let the smile loose. “You really don’t know what your dilation is? I was told to show up here today, but I don’t know anything more than that.”
“You know plenty more’n that, buster.” His brow furrows in a surprisingly serious expression. “I don’t think you’ve thought enough about ‘RED’ yet.”
“Nothing comes to mind in relation to that. Except that I recently heard the song, ‘You See Red,’ by Wishbone Ash.” I think for a moment. “Nothing else immediately.”
He pretends to settle back comfortably in his chair, in which he could not possibly be comfortable. “Then I guess I haveta wait some more.” He resumes looking around and fidgeting, but mutters in a low voice: “Resistance is futile.” (Or did he say “feudal”?)
We wait some more.