"Whyncha learn to drive, ya idiot!"
Horn blaring, an arm stabs out of the car, waving the middle finger before shooting past. Bubbles, so stoned it's not even funny, is creeping along at about 20 miles an hour, down the center lane of crowded Route 1. Trying to maintain, she talks to herself,
"What an asshole! . . . TOO many assholes! Damn international conspiracy of . . . Oh, man, just be cool, be cool . . . Wish I had some . . . my mouf is sooo dry. . . Hey, look at those birds . . . sitting there, on that . . . I can't feel my tongue! . . Should be home, eating some damn cookies . . .Whoa! All right, stay in the lines, stay in the. . . That's what HAPPENS when you're this RIPPED! Goddamn bikers! Just one hit! OK, remember . . . breathe, breathe . . . Need some AIR!"
Rolling the windows down, she puts her face into the wind. The torn felt on Big Brown's ceiling noisily flaps around. Mercifully, she finds her exit, and with a great sigh of relief, she leaves the insanity of Route 1 behind her.
"Let's see, bear right at the fork, then down two blocks. Look for a big old blue house. Sign says, 'Essential Graphics'".
Chugging into the small parking lot, Bubbles swings Big Brown into a space. Putting her head on the steering wheel, she zones out, listening to Big Brown make funny noises as it cools down. Suddenly, she snaps out of it. Looking in the rear view mirror, she examines her eyes.
"Oh, man, I'm still SO WASTED!" She flops back in the seat. "Well, I've come this far, may as well do it."
She starts to laugh, until she's doubled over, giggling uncontrollably. Eventually, the fit subsides. She wipes her eyes and smoothes out her clothes.
"OK, time to go."
As soon as Bubbles steps inside the door, she's met by a storm of activity. People scurrying, music blasting, voices yelling . . . A woman flys around a corner, stops and looks her over.
"You here for the interview?"
"Um, yes, I'm . . ."
"I'll let Sam know you're here." The woman turns and hollers down a hallway. "Sam! SAM! Your interview's here!" Have a seat, he'll be with you shortly. Uh, I think. Just move that stuff on the floor, . . . right."
The woman grabs a stack of photocopies and disappears. Sitting uncomfortably, Bubbles tries to look inconspicuous. She doesn't quite know what to do with her hands. Glancing down, she notices bits of grass and leaves stuck to her legs. Mud decorates her shoes. Nervously, she tucks her long legs under the chair. The woman with the copies reappears.
"OK, Sam can see you now. Down that hall, the door on the right."
Bubbles swallows hard and heads down the hall. Checking herself over once again, she shakes her head and knocks on the door.
A voice says, "C'mon in."
Stepping through the door, she stumbles on a stack of brochures, sending her sprawling to the floor. Quickly she jumps up, and finds herself in the midst of a mess of monumental proportions. Towering piles of printed materials of every description cover every available surface. The walls are a jumble of calendars, spreadsheets and rock and roll posters. Broken drumsticks, CD cases, guitar picks litter the floor along with paper clips, post-its, food wrappers and other office debris. Up from behind a computer monitor pops a man, longish hair, with gray at the temples. Looks to be in his forties. Maybe older. He's wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Hula girls with ukuleles dance around the bottom.
"Hey, you OK? Hi. I'm Sam Cantrell. So, you know a Mac, right? Photoshop, Quark XPress?"
"Oh, yes, I'm a Mac user. I'm proficient in . . ."
"Good, good, good. See that work station over there? C'mere, watch your step and sit down right here. There you go. Now, see this ad? Piece of crap, right? I'd like to see this title bigger, and go with the sans serif version of the same font. Move the photo down to this corner and enlarge it about twenty percent. Then wrap this copy around the logo at the bottom. OK? Any questions, I'm right over here."
Bubbles sits, spacing out in front of the screen, thinking about . . . his shirt.
"Like some old, bugged-out cartoon, crazy shit, palm trees wiggling to the music, wicky-wacky-woo . . . "
Shaking her head, she snaps to.
"YOW! Concentrate! OK, now, don't freak out. Be cool. You can do this . . ."
Bubbles grabs the mouse and goes to work.
Fifteen minutes later, Cantrell is looking over the reworked design.
"There it is. That's much better. And I like what you did with the border at the bottom. Cool."
Bubbles exhales and starts to relax a bit.
Going to his desk, Cantrell rummages through the mess, sending a Chinese food carton to the floor.
"I've got your resume here somewhere. Here we go. Let's see here, . . . Agharta Callahan . . ."
"Er, yes, but actually, people call me . . ."
"Degree, graphic design, advertising, minor in printmaking, blah, blah blah . . ." Cantrell tosses the resume behind him. "I don't give a shit about all that. Most people just puff that stuff up anyway. However, you showed me you can jump in, take direction, and quickly produce. That's what's important. You know, your eyes are kind of red. You got allergies? Pollen's bad this year."
"Oh. Er, yes, that's it. Allergies."
"Look, I'm gonna need somebody, full time, starting in about ten days. You want to come in, do some hourly work, see how you like it? After a couple of weeks, if we're happy, and you're happy, then there's a salaried position, with benefits."
"Oh, yeah, I'm definately interested, but I gotta get my, um, transportation thing straightened out."
"OK, so you give me a call Monday . . ." Cantrell pauses. Narrowing his eyes he says, "Agharta. That's the name of a Miles Davis album. Are you named after . . . I mean, is there a connection?"
"No. I mean, I don't know. Agharta's the name of a Miles Davis album?"
"Yeah. 1975. Live double album, recorded in Tokyo. Some primal funk, that one. Ooh, yeah."
"Actually, I don't go by Agharta. Everybody calls me Bubbles. Since I was a baby."
"Bubbles? Far out. OK, Bubbles. So let me know Monday, right?"
In a daze, Bubbles finds her way back to Big Brown, and slides in behind the wheel. Her mind wanders as she reflects on this CRAZY day . . .
"Holy shit! I should call Tony! I was supposed to be back hours ago!"
Bubbles Meets the Prince of Darkness
International Assholes' Day
Bubbles Runs the Voodoo Down
Bubbles Takes a Magic Carpet Ride
Big Brown lets Bubbles Down
Bubbles, Baked and Fried
Bubbles, Biff and Binny
Bubbles and the 99 cent Epiphany
Bubbles' Trip To See the Doctor
The Doctor and the Prince of Darkness Meet Again
The Doctor and the Naked Glory
More Troubles for Bubbles
What a Lame Vacation
In Careless Act, 17 Drown, 3 Survive.