Things have been stagnant at Gang Central. No wine thief
wielding stalkers intent on dismembering this taster, no Way Cool melees, no
Doberman obedience training with Master Pookster. We were catching up on
projects around the ranch and renting too many movies, while sticking almost
exclusively to Wine Probation plonk.
The Director was spending a lot of time playing the voyeur with
her CUCME cameras online, while I was lurking long and hard at vampland and
flirting heavily with the leaf.
In short, we were bored...
But we weren't so filled with ennui that we didn't still keep a
finger on the pulse of the mojo wine wire. Strange rumblings had been trickling
out from the left coast regarding a group of fanatics traveling from winery to
winery, following a larger than life character known only as
"Bacchus." Raving claims had been posting about this newfound guru
and the "Cult" shrines they'd been making pilgrimages to. Hot new
names like Harlot, Snowjob, Saddlebag and Plumpbutt were most intriguing, but when we heard
that a trip was scheduled to the fabled Rodent Ridge, we knew that we would
have to investigate and see what the bru-ha-ha was all about.
Madame got on the horn to priceloan.com, booked a ridiculously
cheap flight out left, and the next day we were on our way to the promised
land. We traveled light, packing only a couple of changes of clothes. I did
make a point of squirreling away some Canusi Islander Fidels, hoping to sneak
off at some point for a smoke or two.
We landed a SFO, procured our rental car and Hertzed on to
Cloudy Bay. I drove fast, feeling like Fitipaldi, barely able to contain my
curiosity over finally getting the opportunity to visit that vinous Shangri-La,
I screeched to a halt in the driveway of Hotel Califusa,
stopping on the dime that had been in Mr. Rococo's pocket; fortunately, his
body had been removed many months before. However, we were greeted by nothing
more than a cryptic message, scrawled on the back of a Snowjob mailer and taped
to the front door. It read: no tell motel - sonapanoma - 8 am you're either on
the bus or you're off the bus.
We went around back to the kennel, where we found K-J, K-mus
and Turdley, Bree's attack Dobermans. They were happy to see us again, yet
obviously nervous, looking anxiously around for their master, who was nowhere
to be seen. I retrieved the spare key from the pen; only those that the brutes
trusted could safely gain access to the house.
The place was a pit. Empty wine bottles were scattered about,
dishes were piled high in the sink and there were signs of a hasty departure.
This was very unsettling, so I raided Bree's cellar, pulling a bottle of his
highly prized Chateau LaFeet (much sought after for its deliriously delectable
essence of chocolate covered toe-jam, roses and dirty socks), for medicinal
purposes only, of course.
I was worried. Bree may be a twisted mister, but it wasn't like
him to disappear like this. Before turning in, I emailed a tersely worded SOS
to the Canadian Wine Wankers, informing them of the situation. I had serious
misgivings about involving these 3rd World troublemakers, but time was short,
and we had no other options.
We got a fitful night's sleep, then we were off early, after
feeding the Dobies well and leaving a paper trail that even the Canadians to
follow (Monopoly money, more valuable than their own currency).
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