Chopping Bottles

by Melanie Camp

Los Angeles has a chateau where a lady, who looks better than anyone in red lipstick, guards the gate. And, I am here for my birthday.

“Swimming pool
Glimmering darling
White bikini off with my red nail polish
Watch me in the swimming pool
Bright blue ripples”

– Lana Del Rey

Eating alone, I strike up conversation with a fellow solo diner. He is a New York rocker type and is living here in exile a few days while his wife takes a break. “We work together and live together,” he says adding that the secret to any couple staying together and still loving each other, is time apart.

He tells me he believes the best art is left space. Best to keep it undone, he says, so there is room into which the audience can crawl – a crack for the light.

Myth says this place is haunted, but I wonder if ghosts are just fragments of energy released the moment a memory forms?

Born in the late 1920s, the Chateau has her cracks, but to all her lovers she is perfect. And, she loves animals. Maybe because they are the only ones ethically able to pull off wearing fur in Los Angeles?

While rockers from New York may espouse the virtue of time apart from partners, try telling that to my co-dependent dog. She is my excuse, a separation-angst-addled-bat-wing-eared little scruff who enables a party with too much champagne in a room bigger than my small flat because I haven’t any choice but to stay somewhere pet friendly.

The furry one and I settle into the same suite Patti Smith stayed and where Jim Morrison almost died swinging off a drainpipe.

Myth says this place is haunted, but I wonder if ghosts are just fragments of energy released the moment a memory forms?

Because Napoleon would come back a near six-foot blonde Australian
with a penchant for chopping the tops off bottles of champagne

Sometimes, I suffer an existential crisis where I think I’m dead because living is heaven. I’m sure, in a past life, I was a soldier with a saber, and most likely I fought to free France because Napoleon would come back a near six-foot blonde Australian with a penchant for chopping the tops off bottles of champagne.

Without a war to wage, I soak in luxury and sunshine, sipping Frosé by the pool, dog familiar by my side. My nails may be royal blue and my bathers red, but still I plunge into the bright blue ripples.

All the ghosts we’ve left behind say, come, take the plunge.

A perfect place for co-dependent dogs.

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