There are enough showers in the place for us all to shower at once if we’re feeling so inclined, but we aren’t. Papa Chub and Erb shower, but Googe and Monk sit in front of the television indulging in some virtual reality. Separately, by the sounds of it. Different worlds, maybe, where one of them isn’t married and the other one isn’t attracted to women so inconsiderate as to not learn his name. Meanwhile, I call up room service and take the liberty of ordering some things that I think everyone might like to eat for dinner. A twelve pack. No, make it two. And a bottle of wine. Uh, white and red both, please. No, I don’t know what I want. You pick for me. Nothing too fancy, I guarantee you we can’t taste the difference. The food itself? Well, I tell you, friend: we want vegetables. Green and bright and fresh. Show us something we’ve never seen before. And we want fresh bread, and we want real butter from real cows, and fuck it, we want steak. We want fruits and chocolate and cream for dessert, and we want you to send a chef up here so we can watch them cook, and no, we’re not paranoid, and no, this isn’t a weird sex thing. We just want to enjoy the process.
Twenty minutes later we’re all showered and comfortably dressed. There’s a knock at the door and a woman in her early thirties is standing before us, an assistant in her mid-twenties behind her. There’s a pushcart laden with food, and both of the women are dressed in tight and revealing, yet tasteful, outfits. The kind of thing that might be appropriate for working the casino floor. Far less so for a chef. When the older woman speaks, her voice is nearly a purr. “Good evening, Sir. I heard you gentlemen wanted something tasty for dinner?”
Goddamnit. They thought this was some kind of weird sex thing. Still, I smile and step aside to let them in. They head straight towards the villa’s kitchen, smiling pleasantly and making small talk with us, but still focused on the task at hand. We trail behind them at a safe distance, observing them uncertainly, like animals. This must be how cargo cults began, I think. These strange, alien people have come amongst us, and they will perform some ritual, and they will leave. In their absence, we will perform an approximation of the ritual of achieving the same result, but probably we will mess it all up. Our souffle won’t rise, our cream sauces will break, and our steak will turn out overcooked and tough to the point of leather.