Well! It was certainly no cakewalk to get here. What is this neighborhood called again? Something Mexican and lovely, makes me think of dusky people entwined in a desperate tango with red roses clenched between their teeth. Los Feliz—yes, it is Los Feliz! I haven’t lost my wits just yet.

Whose acquaintance am I making, sir? “Machine.” How lovely, being named for something so practical and functional. Would you mind terribly dimming the lights just a bit, Machine? Fluorescents fray the nerves. I’m so frazzled and parched; I would just die for something cool to drink.

Thank you kindly, sir. Oh—a blessing in a can! Just what you need after a long dusty trip. This—what is this? “Pabst Blue Ribbon.” Joie de vivre. This may surprise you, but I am a woman who appreciates high-quality beer.

I should really freshen up, is there a place to powder my nose?

What—my stars, is that cocaine?

I shouldn’t, honey. I have an excitable temperament, all natural, you know. But thank you so much, sir, you’re too kind. Sweet and kind and gentle. You remind me of a boy I knew long ago, a beautiful boy who danced the Varsouviana with me and then was gone, although I don’t think he ever wore bike shorts like regular shorts the way you do.

So where are the delightful frocks I am to be draped in?

Oh—no! I think I’m going to be sick! Horrible! You’re certainly joking, but in bad taste, very bad! It’s so shiny and tight, cut high in the leg and low in the chest like a—yes, like a common streetwalker! What do you think I am? Who did you talk to? Kiefaber? Shaw? The school district? They’re all liars!

Dear, I could use a refreshment. I spy some liquor over there on top of the refrigerator. Ruskis are so crude. But oh, that Georgi will do the trick quite nicely. I am a woman who appreciates vodka in plastic bottles.

Oh, Machine, I feel so much better already. You know, the golden caress of flashbulbs are so terribly warm and welcoming for a woman of a certain age. Let me dash and put this on. Back in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

My, I hope this fabric is forgiving! I have always depended on the kindness of spandex.