It started off as such a lovely day.
The birds were singing. The sky was sunny. And there was nary a cloud in the sky. Yes, it truly was a good day for travel.
Once again I was flying to Arizona. For my regular readers, you may recall that that the last time I traveled to Arizona, I was working on a deal with the SyFy Network to produce my script, Giraffealanche, as their latest original movie. Regrettably, I was a bit sidetracked when I was reunited with an unwelcome acquaintance.
In the ensuing months since those escapades, I had ironed out a deal and was now returning to Arizona to watch a rough cut of the film. This time, I felt certain I would not be bumping into certain individuals who shall remain nameless.
I arrived at the airport and hopped aboard my Southwest Airlines flight. I found myself seated to a pleasant, elderly gent named John. He was slightly below average height, had a short crew cut of gray hair, had a stocky build, and dressed very casually. I found him to be a likable guy and we shot the breeze on many subjects. I found that also was heading to Arizona to visit family and would be on the same connecting flight as I.
This was one of the smoothest flights I had taken in quite a while. We left early and made it to Denver, CO in almost precisely an hour. I had an hour layover between flights so I made a quick visit to Xpress Spa inside the Denver airport for a 20 minute neck and shoulder massage to relieve the tightness in my shoulders and right arm (the unfortunate curse of working at a keyboard all day).
Soon I was flying through the air on another smooth flight and arrived in Phoenix a little early. As I grabbed my luggage from the carousel, John told me he had a car waiting for him and offered to give me a lift to my hotel. I readily agreed and we stepped into a waiting limo.
I continued chatting with John as we rode down the interstate. I happened to glance out the window and I noticed that we were passing Golfland in Mesa, AZ. I then realized that this route seemed awfully familiar.
“John?” I asked. “Where are we going?”
Suddenly the driver pressed a button on the dashboard and some distinctive music began to play. To my mounting horror, John began to sing lyrics with the music.
“He’s Arizona!! Arizona Mat!! Arizona!!! Arizona Mat!!”
The driver removed his hat and shades and turned to look at the both of us, an impish grin playing over his face. I slowly turned my head to glare at John. Suppressing my urge to throttle him, I buried my face in my hands and began to weep. It was Arizona Mat.
For those of you new to this website, I refer you to the archives section for the stories entitled The Arizona Chronicles and The Arizona Chronicles, Vol 2 where I met a supposed explorer named Arizona Mat and his Neanderthal sidekick, Tall Square. Arizona Mat was so full of himself that I’m surprised he didn’t refer to himself in the third person. He had a strange love-hate relationship with his lackey, Tall Square. By that I mean they loved to hate each other. In fact, the last time I had seen the two of them, Tall Square was chasing Arizona Mat through the Sky Harbor airport.
“There, there,” said Arizona Mat. “It’s nice to see you again, too. No need to shed tears of joy.”
Resigning myself to the inevitable, I asked Arizona Mat how he managed to know that I was coming into town. He explained that Johnny V, indicating John, was an old family friend based out of Omaha, NE. He had Johnny V keep tabs on me until he knew I would be returning to Arizona.
“Why?” I asked.
“I’m about to make another epic discovery and I need my biographer to document my greatness,” replied Arizona Mat.
I rolled my eyes and asked what had happened to Tall Square.
“As you may recall, that Nordic gorilla was chasing me through the airport. I tried to duck into a store to escape him, but plowed into some mannequins. Applying my brilliant brain to the dilemma, I grabbed one of the mannequin arms and persuaded Tall Square to stop. I told him that I knew he was only upset because he had lost the handshake duel. I therefore offered him a rematch, but with the caveat that we both have our eyes closed because that allowed one to execute more force. He agreed and I stuck the mannequin hand into his and made my daring escape.”
“Are you saying. . .” I began.
“Yep,” said Arizona Mat. “As far as I know, that dummy is still trying to make a dummy submit.”
I rubbed my face and asked why he had “borrowed” me.
“Later, my Boswell. Later. Let’s enjoy ourselves for now,” said Arizona Mat.
After settling into his home, Arizona Mat, Johnny V, and myself walked the short distance to the Flaming Kebab for dinner. I enjoyed a gyro sandwich with a cup of lentil soup and some water. Arizona Mat feasted on Chicken Kafka, rice, Greek Salad, and iced tea. Johnny V supped on a gyro platter with rice, Greek Salad, and raspberry tea. Johnny V, a rather generous sort, paid for our meals.
After the meal we returned to Arizona Mat’s home where we sat around his new fire pit, drinking home brewed root beer, and listening to Arizona Mat regale us with some of his “legendary” adventures. After finishing up the tale of his rescuing me from a homicidal ex-associate (read The Arizona Chronicles, Vol 2 to find out what really happened), Arizona Mat rubbed his hands with glee and announced it was time to get down to business.
“Have you ever heard of the Voodoo Blue (Woo woo!)?” asked Arizona Mat.
“What on earth is the Voodoo Blue Woo Woo?” I asked.
“I didn’t say the Voodoo Blue (Woo woo!) Woo woo. I said the Voodoo Blue (Woo woo!)”
“You just did it again. You keep making this high pitched sound after you say Voodoo Blue.”
“Woo woo! I’m sorry. It’s just that I get excited whenever I say or hear the words Voodoo Blue (Woo woo!) It’s a rare blue diamond that was supposedly forged by a houngan (voodoo priest). I’ve been researching its history and certain clues have led me to its discovery. It’s somewhere in Las Vegas, NV. On Friday, the three of us will drive over there, I’ll discover it, and your masterful writing will make me even more famous than I already am.”
“Have you ever read any of my articles about you?” I asked.
“No. I’m modest in that way. But you’re writing about wonderful me, so I’m sure they’re stunning pieces of work.”
“Yes they are,” I said.
So once more I would be joining Arizona Mat on an adventure. I knew not what the future would bring, but I knew trouble and hilarity probably were not far behind.