Toodle-loo.

My term as Pfister Narrator is about to expire.  A bell is sounding.  A cane is coming to pull my waist off the stage.  A gong is sounding.  Ladies are booing, children are throwing popcorn at me, but I do not want to leave my flaming hula hoop.

I still…

29 Apr 11:23 PM 0 Read More...

You see the woman in the nude shag dress?

When the professional ballroom dancers come en masse to the Pfister,

expect to find several crystals strewn across the bathroom floor,

shed from their glistening, parrot colored ensembles

that induce the ordinary citizens in the café around them to exclaim,

“Ah my god, I can’t believe it!”

I go…

27 Apr 12:25 AM 0 Read More...

The Hard Part About Living In Costa Rica

I meet her in the elevator and she says she recently moved to Costa Rica. I ask the Costa Rican ex-patriot for a story and she tells me that she is not a very interesting, story-rich person. I whine, “Come on, you live in Costa Rica! Haven’t…

21 Apr 10:52 AM 0 Read More...

She Pauses To Nibble On Her Pickle

“You have to travel with people who want to explore

otherwise everything is constructed,”

warns Louise.

She pauses to nibble on her pickle,

and contemplate those frequent trips

she has made to visit her family in Barbados.

The last time she went down there with non-explorers

they whined every…

15 Apr 11:33 PM 0 Read More...

Bar Hoping

Sean runs a trivia company out of Minnesota

called “Trivia Mafia.”

Currently there is only one bar

in all of Milwaukee

(the city with more bars than grocery stores)

where you can play Trivia Mafia

and that bar is Vintage.

Here is why Sean and his dad came down for…

10 Apr 11:31 PM 0 Read More...

The Lady and the Pirate

I meet an accountant. She tells me about her career hobby: her involvement with the Society For Creative Anachronism (SCA) where she is known as ‘Lady Aiofe Cno Capaill,’ which means ‘dark horse.’ What is the SCA? “Basically we do 600 to 1600 (a.d.) everything, from Middle Ages to…

07 Apr 9:54 PM 0 Read More...

This Is Not The Real Dance

Sisters came in from New York

to attend the wedding and to show off their Wedding Dance.

They are choreographing their piece right now

on the exquisite carpet that urges all who come here

to at least sashay at least slightly

even if it is so slight that no one…

03 Apr 2:42 PM 0 Read More...

Two Texans

Two Texans,

architectural engineers,

college students,

conference attendees

named Shannon and Michaela

want me to write them love letters for their boyfriends.

 

Shannon lovingingly describes her boyfriend, Ryan, as

“a sarcastic ass always picking on me and my big head!”

She goes on to say she met him at…

30 Mar 1:35 PM 0 Read More...

A Mud Bath, Followed With An Insult

A few months into my job at the Pfister I learned something very interesting:

 

If you want, the spa will give you a bowl of clay to go with a hot steam shower. Yes, with this spa offering, you can temporarily remake yourself as an exquisite porcine figure, steamed…

24 Mar 4:01 PM 0 Read More...

Coke A Cola and the Meanderthal

When I first discovered Coke’s name

to be Coke,

I admit, I was taken aback

with the fact that it is the unusual title

for this amiable human

I often see in the lobby.

But Coke is used to the awe

of people discovering his name,

and ups the…

21 Mar 1:08 PM 0 Read More...

Whispering, 1925

My term as Pfister narrator is almost up, so yesterday I finally booked a room.  My best friend Jessie drove in from Ann Arbor for the occasion.   Jessie promptly plopped on the plush puff bed as soon as we had entered and perused our room, #332.

She then jumped to…

16 Mar 11:32 PM 1 Read More...

If he don’t love me, how could he love you?

“My name is Charles Bentley.

I’m Native American,

Cherokee.

My grandmother was Cherokee.

I worked for American Motors

at the corner of Capitol and Richards,

where Wal-Mart is now

from 1958-1966.

I was a spray painter,

I was “The Door Jam Man.”

The Rambler was the first…

10 Mar 9:32 PM 2 Read More...

About Life, About Mystery

The shop window on Wisconsin Avenue is empty.  Inside the glass room is a door that leads to the darkness.  The combination of this darkness door, the street lights reflected in the glass and the promise that the blank space will be filled up one day again, instills in me…

04 Mar 6:20 PM 0 Read More...

A Psychometric Questionairre

Yeah, humans are social creatures

you know, we see faces

inside clouds, fungus and tea stains.

Children conduct full-length conversations

with “pet” rocks and plush dinosaurs,

then as adults, they still try to assign meaning

to their frighteningly mysterious days

through science, philosophy, religion,

art, astrology or psychology.

Pfister…

28 Feb 11:58 PM 0 Read More...

When you look at some modern art it can stump you.

Barbara has been giving tours for the Milwaukee Art Museum over a half century.

“When I first came to the museum, there were eight employees.”

This January I started my fifty-second year.

I retired when I was 50,

but I’m still going in,

teaching and working

‘cause I…

24 Feb 11:46 AM 1 Read More...

A Mom Letter and a Dad Letter

I was taking a picture of the roses in the lobby when Val, the bartender summoned me over to see something. I took a stool at the bar and waited for a moment as Val rustled around in her bag, elbow deep.  At last she exclaimed “Ah!” and pulled out…

19 Feb 12:26 PM 0 Read More...

This is Howard. I just met him in the kitchen.

Anja: How long have you worked in room service?

 

Howard: Nine months.

 

Anja: What does that all entail?

 

Howard: Well… amenities, doing orders, and uh, being very uh… kind and gentle with guests hospitality wise. You make them feel wanted, and if they want anything, you do…

13 Feb 7:30 PM 0 Read More...

Butter on a Plate & Hat Swapping in the Bathroom

The whole hotel is my beat so I’ve got to drift.
I’ve got to find the swirled butter on the plate.

Regard this spiraled stack of paper napkins. This miniscule, considered bit of hospitality intrigues me.

 I like to chase the shadows of bicyclists with my camera from…

10 Feb 4:53 PM 0 Read More...

Peasant With Potomac Fever Ning-Nongs

I’m fifty-seven and one day old today.

I walk dogs.

Pitbulls.

Never mind all the bad PR that they’ve gotten

they only get nasty if you abuse them

or

if you train them to be killers,

to fight in the ring against other dogs

my friend and…

05 Feb 10:36 AM 0 Read More...

What I'm Whytching in the Pfister

Concierge Peter suggests

we all need to practice

“whytching,”

watching our surroundings

while wondering why,

or how is it like that?

To behave like the elated toddler

who discovers everything is dimensional:

it can be crawled over, pulled, pushed

bitten and unraveled to reveal

what is at the end,

and…

02 Feb 3:14 PM 1 Read More...

We Ate Our Last Meal Together At The Pfister

We ate our last lunch together at the Pfister,

my Grandma and I

and family,

I wrote a story about it the other week,

except then I did not know it would be our last meal

when I sat next to Grandma

and we both ordered the salmon salad

from…

17 Jan 12:30 PM 0 Read More...

The Backside of Everything You Will Never Think About

Roving the lounge

I roll up to a family

with one of those dual seat strollers

and make my introduction,

“Are those two ‘youngins’ twins?”

“They are almost Irish twins,” says the mama.

Irish twins?

I’ve never heard

of that one

what does that mean?

 

Says mother:

“In…

12 Jan 9:29 AM 0 Read More...

The Underwood Typewriter Girl of 1945

I am sitting at my Remington, clacking away at the lobby’s desk when a man approaches me. Chuck, a New York businessman, tells me about his mother, Anne Bernich, who served as Underwood’s Typewriter Girl of 1945. According to Chuck, “Although her typing skills were amazing, she was…

06 Jan 4:43 PM 0 Read More...

To Properly Crash A Wedding You Just...

In the lounge by the fire I meet a clump of kids and their parents. There are six empty mugs of hot cocoas and the dad tells me they all came here to enjoy the holiday décor. The nearest décor (that I suddenly notice with fresh décor…

03 Jan 9:53 PM 0 Read More...

Wasn’t One of Our Ancestors a French Bishop Or Something?

Two of my second cousins are in town

so my Grandma and Mom take us all out

to a Monday noon lunch at the Pfister café.

My cousin Courtney, lifelong Texas resident

introduces us to her new husband, Michael

who, to our collective delight is as Wisconsin as

Green Bay…

01 Jan 5:36 PM 2 Read More...
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