The sun had long disappeared below the trees. Candles cast flickering shadows across the patio. Familial feelings had encouraged the wine to flow freely, and it appears that mother and daughter have rounded the corner of tipsy and are barreling towards the neighborhood of good-and-drunk. Bubbles, returning from the kitchen with a freshly opened bottle, leans across the table to refill her mother’s glass, spilling some in the process. Giggling, she flops back into her chair licking her fingers.

“S’good wine, Mumsy.”

“1998 Cabernet, from Napa. I put up a few bottles from my trip to Marin last Fall. I like the hints of cinnamon and cherry, with the . . .”

Bubbles rolls her eyes. Holding up her glass, in a stuffy voice she intones,

“Cinnamon and cherry? I dare say I detect essences of I really don’t care, with a pronounced finish of who gives a shit!

Bubbles kicks up her feet and cackles.

Carole raises her glass, wrinkles her nose and squints at it. She swirls it dramatically before taking a big swallow.

“My dear, I do believe you’re right. Definitely who gives a shit!

They both laugh loudly.

Bubbles runs her tongue around her lips.

“I’m kinda hungry. Is there anything to eat?”

“Did you look in the fridge?”


“And . . .?”

“Nothing. I mean, ‘cept for powdered protein mix, wheat grass, and two hundred kinds of vitamin supplements.”

Carole leans forward, and in a conspiratorial voice says,

“You know, I think I’ve got just the thing, stashed away . . . “

She jumps up and disappears inside. Bubbles tips back in her chair and sips her wine. A little sliver of moon through the treetops catches her eye. Soon her mother returns carying a small gold box.

“Ooh, fancy chocolates!” exclaims Bubbles.

“They make a superb accompaniment to good red wine.”

The two eagerly dig into the box. Each piece is admired lovingly, rolled between the fingers, then consumed with deliberate precision.

The chocolate box lies decimated, pleated paper cups scatter the table. With her chin cradled in her hand, Bubbles watches her mother run her manicured finger slowly around her mouth. Smacking her lips, Carole takes a large swallow of wine, and with a flourish, erupts in a rousing belch. As her mother giggles, Bubbles regards her with narrowed eyes, attempting her best impression of Carole’s intimidating gaze. Brandishing her wine glass in dramatic fashion, Bubbles says,

“Mother, we need to talk.”

Carole, thinking her daughter is fooling around, says,

“Certainly, dear. For you, the family rate, sixty dollars for fifty minutes.”

“No, I’m serious. It’s about my name. My REAL name. Agharta. Why did you choose it?”

“Well, as you know, deep beneath the earth's crust dwells a mysterious empire called Agharta . . .”

“You named me after a fairy tale city? That’s bullshit.”

“Well . . .”

“You know, the guy I interviewed with—Sam—he asked me about my name, and . . . well, hang on, maybe this will explain things.”

Bubbles stands, a bit unsteadily. Grabbing her bag, she heads into the house. Carole, puzzled by her daughter’s behavior, gets up to follow her, but is stopped as the backyard floods with music. Tribal sounding music, rolling, clattering rhythms churning with drums and scratching guitars. Strangely, but dimly familiar. The keening sound of a trumpet darts and weaves like a boxer feinting and jabbing. Carole turns to see Bubbles standing in the shadows, her tall thin frame silhouetted in the candlelight.

“Do you know this music, Mother?”

Carole, stands by her chair but doesn’t respond.

“It’s Miles Davis, the Prince of Darkness.”

Carole slowly sits down. “Miles Davis. I didn’t know . . .”

“It’s Agharta. The album is called Agharta.”

“Yes, I remember. but I never knew the artist.”

“So you’ve heard it before?”

“Oh, yes. It’s been a long time.”

“When? Does it have anything to do with . . .?”

“Yes. Please, turn it down, turn it down. Thank you. Come sit down and I’ll tell you how you came to be Agharta.”


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
Cristo Redentor
In Careless Act, 17 Drown, 3 Survive.

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