Inversion Trawler: MURGATROID, THE DISEMBODIED FLAPPER – August 2008

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Apparently we've got ourselves a spirit guide of sorts. Aunt Leona brought us the news in full dramatic Leona-excito-flutter. Her white Chrysler Le Baron convertible screeched to a halt in front of our house, and we heard the rapid and distinctive click-click-click of her open-toed heels along our front walk as she hurried to our front door. Boo and I were sitting in our side garden, just out of view of the front walk, so I called out, "Ahoy there Aunt Leona." At this we heard her pause momentarily and then resume towards us across the uneven and staggered paving stones of our xeriscaped yard. The first thing we saw of her were her long, red press-on nails held up and out for balance. This was followed quickly by her particularly fluffy hair-do, her shoulder pads and her glowing "i-have-juicy-news" smile.

As soon as she set eyes on us she breathily exclaimed, "Oh pets. You've been chosen!" Boo and I looked at each other with slight apprehension of what Aunt Leona had in store for us this time. Boo cautiously inquired "Chosen for what?" Leona didn't miss a beat, "for guidance, ya know, from a spirit. Alfredo says this spirit is totally into the idea of guiding you guys." Alfredo is Aunt Leona's own spirit guide who appears to her in the form of a messy plate of spaghetti marinara. It can be a bit unnerving when Aunt Leona suddenly starts chatting away, or sometimes even arguing with empty space, in public. Leona continued, "This spirit is Murgatroid. Alfredo is acquainted with her and had invited her along to see the show you guys played at that killthe- bees place." Leona is referring to the local all ages venue Kilby Court and a show our band The Weeping Giblets recently played there with Couscous Caboose and The Soup-Gone-Wrongs.

"So this Murgatroid spirit lady is a dead flapper from the 1920s. Alfredo says that Murgatroid was all hot for Rudolph Valentino back in the day, and that when Rudy V. suddenly croaked it in like 1926 or something, Murgatroid was all, ya know, grief stricken so she hopped a train and traveled across the country to the Great Salt Lake and just, ya know, drowned herself in it." Leona has a great talent for delivering enormously long run-on sentences in a single breath. She continued, "This Murgatroid had read that Rudolph and his exotic wife who was actually from Salt Lake City would swim in the lake on secret visits to Utah. Apparently, when Murgatroid got to the lake she found it a lot more difficult to drown herself than she'd expected, due to the saltiness of the water. I guess she just wouldn't sink, and after walking forever into the lake, she got only knee deep. Sweet Petutti, can you imagine? How frustrating for her! Funny for us though. In the end she had to kneel down and actually, ya know, hold her head under the water. What finally did her in was that she suddenly viewed the situation with clarity and involuntarily laughed while her head was submerged. She inhaled a billion brine shrimp and croaked."

Aunt Leona's wide smile never wavered or dimmed once as she told us this extraordinary and somewhat gruesome tale. And still she went on, "So Murgatroid has been wafting about and wandering these parts ever since. She liked your show and you two in particular. She's sort of, ya know, attached herself to you guys. She could be here right now!" Leona turned towards an empty lawn chair and said, "Hey there Murgy, how's it goin? I once dressed up as a flapper for Halloween... it was fabulous." Without pause, Leona turned back to Boo and me and continued, "only thing is, ya know, since Murgatroid is a suicide she can't be an official spirit guide. The official guild-thingy of spirit guides wouldn't allow such a thing. Alfredo says that there's a new movement of renegade spirits doing some sort of guerilla spirit guiding ... kinda DIY punk-rock style guiding totally outside the official league of spirit guides. So you guys can't, ya know, let on that it was Alfredo who introduced you to Murgatroid or he could get some sort of spirit guide demerits or something." As usual with Aunt Leona, Boo and I hadn't had a chance to get a word in edgewise. During a rare pause, Boo asked in disbelief, "are you being serious Leona?"

Leona was off again "Totally! Alfredo says you can find the old newspapers and everything that have headlines like 'Unidentified Exotic Pulled From Lake.' I bet you could find them in the library archives. He says Murgatroid will be contacting you soon. Has she already? Have you heard any unexplainable charleston music or anything like that?"

That bizarre encounter with Aunt Leona was a few days ago. So far neither Boo nor I have heard even a peep from the disembodied flapper.