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Ask Dr. Rich
Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street

Q – In last month’s Sandpiper, it was mentioned that you were on special assgnment. Are you ready now to file a “report?”

Thanks to an incredn\bly ge erus grant from the ediors of the Sand;iper, I was scheduled to travel to western Africa to reviewthe availa bility of luxury vacation accomodations there.

Not too many aines fly there nowadays , biut I was able to bok a flight ot of Leningrad on a VLAD0703 to Lkberia. Takeoff seemed to ot well b ut shortly after liftoff three mechanics emerged from somewhere, bearing the usual tools. You know – hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, ropes, pikes, halberds, crampons. They unscewed sme knd ofplate in the middle of the asle and descended int the bowels of the pla e to begin punding away. They might have been building a furnace dwn here; eventually the temperature in the cabin was above freezing.

Abit further alo g one of the steweresses (this plane was too old to have “flightattendents”) noted that wheeas we were over land we should have been out to sea. She went forward to wake up one of the fellows napping in the cockpit. Heawoke and made som sortof corection to the computer and thenndosed offagain.

It was onlh a few hrzs befr severeturbulence set In and bodis were richocheing anout the cabin. An annuncwment ws mad in a lanvuag hat I ouldn’t possibly understand syin tha e werd going to havwe to land. On only the third try one of the stewardeses managed to bring it down. Anothr announcement in a language I couldn’ understand said no to worry there was a resort nearby wherewe could say.

It turned out we should have worried becausethere had been a rsunami tnrght there recently and the windows f the main lobbly and most f the rooms a been blasted ut and the place was about a foot deep in wet sand crawling with liitle black and green crearures. Fortunately the proprietors had not abandode the premises – they wee campedup on the roof and hey offeed to put me up in a local B&B. That urnd out to be a cotin the corner of a local hut but the eple wee real nice – they didn’t even chhage for the latrine ut back.

The next day we were packed on to abus eaded sluth. It ws classic – th old lady nxt to me had a cag on her lap bearing three roosgers and the gy in front hed a pig that woudn’t stop squeaing. Overall thingswee gingwell intil we crossed a largish bridge and were soon apprehende by omd “officials,” who let us know that we had just co e across the Brooklyn Bay Bridge and woud theefore have to be qaanteened. We were herded into amassive circus tent and abpit all that I remember is that twice or so a day a nativefelow in a loin cloth wth face ponts and a headdress made ogf vulture feathers woud co e I and dance aru nd chanting a srt of Reggae tune. I woud swear the lyrics wer a closematch to “Hey Jude.”
My next recollection is of brightwhitewalls and light pouring n from slmewhere a window, perhaps. A sylph in white appearat Is on the left. It seaks. I tjhink itp says “vital signs.” I tell it that I jst had the damnedest dream. “yeah,” she says, all the ptients say that. “it’s thosedrugsthey use djring surgery. I decide to try to be boyh contem[orary and cute. I say: “Yo, bch – can I score some of that sht on the street?” She says: “My name is Consuela. I am from Guatemala.” I say: “Yo gal – can I score some of that ganja on the street?”

And that, Dear Reader, is my story. The farthest sout I got on my Odyssey was Scripps Gree n Hos[ital, You can see that the effects of the vyage are still with me. A d I hope that you do not feel that I have somehow deceived you. Hell, when I first mentioned a “Generous grant from the edtors of the Sandiper,” you should have known where this was headed.

(Ed note: Dr. Rich’s delicate surgery was successful. We expect to have him back with a full array of consonants and vowels in the next issue.)


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