One of those Crazy Old Nights

Linda, Me, and Miscellaneous Others

It was one of those nights. I had just optioned my first screenplay for The Virgin Missile Crisis to Hollywood, and everyone was calling me the new kid in town. My agent called and told me to show up at this studio on Sunset where there was to be a photo shoot with Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and The Eagles. “Wow!” I declared, “But how do I fit in? I’m no musician.” My agent said Linda wanted me there. “Baby Jesus on a flour tortilla!” I exclaimed. I didn’t know her, but I loved her.

So I went and watched quietly in a corner. Then she asked me to pose with them for a last shot. When the shoot was over, they invited me back to The Hotel California, where the boys headed straight for the stage in the bar and kicked into Life in the Fast Lane. I was feeling pretty much like a prisoner in disguise sitting alone at a table with Linda. She looked at me and softly said, “Desperado?” Then she touched my hand and beckoned me to follow. As we got into the elevator, she stared humming Someone to Lay Down Beside Me. As we got out of the elevator, I couldn’t get Willin’, out of my head…but I didn’t dare sing it because I can’t sing.

She led me to her room, and once inside laid out a spread of nachos and sangria across her big brass bed. The window to the balcony was open overlooking the ocean, shining silver blue in the moonlight, and Lyin’ Eyes wafted in from the bar. She closed the window and told me about Jerry. I told her about Lorna. Then she coaxed me into harmonizing on Ooh, Baby, Baby. She giggled like a schoolgirl at my attempt to channel Smokey Robinson. And in embarrassment, I quickly turned on Pandora, which was playing her singing It Doesn’t Matter Anymore. She said, “Hey, Mister, that’s me up on that jukebox.” So, I took the hint and turned it off. She pulled me…simple man, simple dream…closer and breathily spoke low in Spanish, the loving tongue:

Hours later, with another tequila sunrise in the East, the band burst into her room with a raucous version of Take it Easy. Crazy Joe Walsh jumped up on the bed and started bouncing up and down. Linda and I, laughing hysterically, ducked under the covers to hide from it all. Under the covers, she looked into my eyes and cooed, “Love is a rose.” Then she reached out, grabbed one of the roses in the vase by her bedside and handed it to me. I pulled it to my nose to smell it, but Walsh’s antics threw off my aim and I jammed a thorn into my nose. I howled.

The music suddenly stopped. Walsh got off the bed. By the time Linda and I got out from under the covers and put our clothes back on, the band was already gone. Linda gave me just one look and panicked. I was bleeding profusely. She said she was going down to the concierge for some silver threads and golden needles and would be right back. I waited..and waited…for a long, long time.

Then I heard a commotion outside and stepped out on the balcony to watch as Linda and the band piled into an ol’ 55 with Jerry Brown behind the wheel. They hastened down the wind, leaving me standing there to gaze out on freeways, cars and trucks while pressing a half sheet of toilet paper to my bloody nose. I wanted to take it to the limit and raise my broken voice in a brave, bold rendition of poor, poor pitiful me. But suddenly I heard a lovely, pure voice coming from the hallway. It sounded just like Linda, but how could it be? I ran to the door and threw it open. It was Lorna! She stood there in all her glorious beauty, doing her best Linda, as only she could:

I ran into her arms and we kissed the kiss of a lifetime of love. No more songs. No Spanish. No Superstars. Just us. Together again.*

Probably not the funniest April Fool’s joke ever, but muy caliente, si?

* I know that Emmylou Harris link doesn’t really fit with the overall conceit of this post, but I stumbled upon it while hunting down the other links and watched it with mouth agape. Easily one of the goofiest music videos I’ve ever seen, compounded by the fact that it was created for one of the classiest acts in all of music. I watched it thinking that if they ever did a musical version of Aliens (and don’t bet against it), this would be the staging and the song for the scene where Ripley goes tiptoeing through the nest of baby monsters.

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Dan Riley

From the obit desk at the Hartford Courant to the copy desk at Larry Flynt publications to the stage at Long Beach Playhouse to books, blogs & beyond.