Grace Barnett Wing slowly moved her legs off the couch where she had fallen asleep. Every movement caused pain in her 68-year old body. Well, not 68 yet, thought Grace. Grace’s birthday was in a few weeks on October 30th, and she planned to have a party all by herself, no friends, no neighbors. Not that she knew any of her neighbors. The wooded area where Grace lived in Northern California was thick with twisted green trees and large white flowers. The breeze from the Pacific Ocean blanketed the flora around Grace’s property with a salty mist that kept the branches guessing which way next to grow. The growth was so dense that Grace could not walk to her neighbors if she wanted to.
The late afternoon sunlight made puzzle shadows on the Persian carpet as Grace’s bare feet touched the floor. She hoisted up so her spine was against the dark green fabric of the couch back. She was now sitting up. She glanced at the six or seven prescription bottles on the Mission end table to her right. Back in 2006, Grace suffered with diverticulitis of the large intestine. But after the surgery, she had an unexplained relapse that forced the hospital to place her in a medically-induced coma for two months. The procedure made it difficult for Grace to walk, and since then had been on many prescription drugs, including pain medication. And she used a cane. The pain in her left hip was bad this afternoon, but she was averse to taking any more medication. Afterall, that is why she had slept for most of the day.
Grace looked at the oil painting on an easel she had been working on for months. It was a painting of Jim Morrison. Grace had three evenings of wild sex with Jim Morrison back in 1968, and Grace was trying to paint something that represented those three evenings. This was not easy since she did not remember much of it. The drugs. The alcohol. At least one or both of them. Morrison could not have remembered much of it either since he was tripping on something.
A loud whack of the large bronze door knocker came from the front door, which she could see from the couch. Who could that be? No one came to Grace’s house unannounced. She was slow to get up, and then the door was whacked again, only this time in threes and louder.
“OK, OK, I’m coming?” said Grace as she walked with her oak cane capped with a red crystal sphere.
Grace opened the door. Two men dressed in black suits and wearing sunglasses with their hands clasped in front stood at attention.
“This the Slick residence?” asked the one on the left.
“Yes. What is this about?” asked Grace.
“Are you Grace Slick?” asked the one on the right.
“Yes. Yes. What do you gentlemen want?” asked Grace with a stern voice that did not have the same strength as back in the days when she was singing with the Jefferson Airplane.
The suit on the right pushed passed Grace and walked into the house. The suit on the left stayed immediately outside the front door.
“Hey, you cannot just come in here. I’m going to call the police,” said Grace. Grace was worried. Had she not paid her taxes? Do they know that some of her pain medication was obtained over the internet from Canada in not the most legal of means.
The suit in the house walked around, poking his head in the kitchen, he opened the bathroom door, a closet door. He paused at the oil painting of the Morrison-Slick sexual encounters. He pulled out a walkie. “Everything seems to be safe here. You can bring him in,” said the suit into the walkie talkie.
“Bring who in?” asked Grace.
The sun was low and was bursting through the front door, silhouetting the man who walked in. When he stepped deeper into the great room where Grace’s couch and painting were, Grace focussed her eyes on the man. She could now see his face. One suit remained inside the house, the other outside. Grace saw other vehicles in the circular driveway, as well as other suits ambling around the grounds, all with there hands clasped in front, as if they were robots.
Grace felt like this must be a dream. Some kind of dream. Here right in front of her was a man she thought to be, it certainly looked like, yes, it is the….no, it couldn’t be. It is the damn pain medication. She was delirious.
“So I finally get to meet the famous Grace Slick,” said the man.
“OK. OK. I think you do a great impression of President Bush. That is cool….but….”
“You use a cane? But I can still see the Grace Slick I had a crush on. Oh, wow. This is…this is amazing to me,” said George W. Bush.
“This is not happening. You are not Bush. This is all some kind of fucking mind trip. You are with the media? Rolling Stone? Blender? Spin? You assholes have been trying to get in here for years. Well, fuck you. Tell me where you are from?” asked Grace Slick.
“I am trying to wrap up stuff, you know, for myself, during my last year…my last year as President. Meet the people that influenced me. That changed me on some level. You are one of those people,” said President Bush.
“What? Me? I changed you? This is like a joke, right?” said Grace.
“White Rabbit. That song White Rabbit changed my life. I still have the very same Surrealistic Pillow album. It’s in the Oval Office. I keep it their for good luck,” said Bush.
“OK. That’s good to know,” said Grace, flummoxed beyond comprehension. She had now come to the conclusion that this was indeed the President of the United States. And it appeared to her, at least, that the man had lost his mind. The world was falling apart, she thought, and here Bush was in her house talking about a song she wrote back in late 1965 for the group she was with before the Jefferson Airplane called The Great Society.
“And Alice In Wonderland is my favorite novel,” said President Bush. “You know I have been reading a lot of biographies of Presidents. They were actually very very boring reads. I skipped a lot. My life, well…anyway, I went back to Alice In Wonderland a few weeks ago. Read it on Air Force One. There’s a lot in there,” said Bush.
“So why exactly are you here, again?” asked Grace.
The hookah-smoking caterpillar…I just love the lyrics. White Rabbit builds and builds to its finale, until you sing “Remember what the Dormouse said. Feed your head. Feed your head Love it, just love it,” added George like a high school kid.
Grace was feeling weak in the knees, and so backed up and sort of plunged back onto the couch.
“I can see you have had some medical problems. Alcohol. I know about that. But we both licked it. We both licked it. We have a lot in common, Ms. Slick. And I wanted to thank you for all the fantasies you gave me. You were really my first crush. Oh boy, did I want to…well, you know. I was young. I just wanted to meet you, touch you. And here you are, right in front of me. I am so lucky,” said Bush.
Grace stared at Bush. She was not angry. She was not sad. On some level, she felt special, like possibly a new chapter in her very tired life might be forming. But then, why would she want any chapter to be with this man. Then she had a rush of anxiety, like this was some mind trick. The Xanax. Where had she put the Xanax.
“I can see that you are having some difficulties. But I wanted to tell you thank you. Thank you for being you, for having that great voice, for writing and singing White Rabbit. It fed my head alright. And when the polls show that I am like in the trash heap, I blast White Rabbit on my stereo in the Oval Office. Dick. Dick Cheney hates the song. Screw him,” said George.
“We have to go, sir,” said the suit in the house.
“We probably will not ever meet again, but I consider this to be a supreme pleasure,” said Bush as he glanced over at the oil painting. “What’s this of? This your work?” asked Bush.
“Yeah,” said Grace. “It’s Jim Morrison and me fucking each other over a three-night drunken weekend in London back in 1968.”
“Really. Really. Damn, I wanted to be Jim Morrison so bad. Just for like a week. Got to go,” George said as he offered his hand to Grace. Grace reached up, and then shook hands briefly. George turned and walked toward the door.
“Who else you seeing on your little last-year-of-the-Presidency tour,” asked Grace.
George W. Bush turned his head just as the suit in the house was about to follow him out.
“Micky Dolenz. He was the coolest Monkee. I hear he’s in New York now,” said Bush.
The President walked out the door, followed by the suit who shut the oak door from behind. Grace lied back down on the couch, but she did not have the energy to lift her legs, her bare feet remaining on the carpet. She closed her eyes and dreamed what the world would be like if she had never written White Rabbit.