I’ve been told that my post on my visit to the CIA compound left out one of the most important parts of the entire trip: after our daytrip to Virginia, we drove back to Brian Keene’s house in Pennsylvania, where he had prepared for me and Mary Sangiovanni what can only be described as one of the best dinners I’ve ever had in my life. Yes, people: when Brian Keene isn’t making the intarwebz cry, he’s also a fucking great cook. We had pork chops covered in some kind of sauce that was like some kind of heavenly sauce crack, a baked potato as large as my head that I insisted I couldn’t eat and then shoved directly and repeatedly into my face until it was mostly gone, and sautéed mushrooms that made me see stars and unicorns and shit. And they weren’t even hallucinogenic mushrooms, they were just That Damn Good. And the previous night, he made this jambalaya dish with shrimp and sausage and probably the tears of his enemies. Yeah, it was also that good.
I also want to mention that Brian lives with one of the biggest damn cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting: Max, a gigantic orange Maine Coon, who supposedly doesn’t like people in general but realized within five seconds of meeting him that I can scratch cats in all the secret places. Yep, I became Max’s bitch, and I’m completely fine with that. So, it was a really great couple of days, and Brian is a fantastic host, and I hope I get invited back someday. I think I will, because I gave him a huge bottle of bourbon. I totally know how to be a fantastic guest.
And: on the drive back to Jersey City on Wednesday, Mary and I drove through Bethlehem, PA – we were looking for a McDonald’s (don’t judge! we just really needed those fries), but in our search, we drove past one of the most awesome sites I’ve ever wanted to see in my life: Bethlehem Steel. I got so excited Mary almost had to stop the car and slap the shit out of me. Seriously, I was SO FUCKING EXCITED. Also a bit perplexed at the site of the ginormous Sands Casino built right next to the old blast furnaces and stacks. Whatever – it just makes it that much easier for me to plan my fall vacation. Yes, I’m going to go back to Bethlehem, request a room at the Sand Casino with a view of the factory, and then spend my days taking the factory tour and visiting the on-site arts center over and over again until they kick me out. No, this is not because I’m a crazy person – this is all part of ongoing worldbuilding research for my fiction set in my industrial Lovecraftian city-continent of Obsidia. Also, because I can’t afford to travel to this city. Also, I plan to gamble and buy discount purses and shoes and eat big buffet dinners and watch porn in my room. I am fairly certain that it will be the Best Vacation Ever.
.Originally published at Livia Llewellyn.