MAy 3 2007 - A Night in Salida, CO

The little town of Salida, CO sits on the western ridge of the Rockies, and has collected potters and painters and skiers and
tourists and folksingers to it's window-shop sidewalks. The shop windows were truly captivating, though some of the
stores were closed for reasons known only to the owners themselves, (karmic vacations pop up on everybody's calendar here. When weather permits all the buddha-shop owners disappear into the mountains to celebrate their good deeds. It seems like everyone in town has good karma lately). I like the craft shops here. They are different from the typical east coast tourist traps-- they have a home spun quality that retains a local flavor. Not much in the way of imported mass produced quaintness here.There is a little place in Salida called "Balloonatics" that artully converts lightbulbs into miniature replicas of those Sante Fe
styled colorful hot-air balloons. Their window was loaded with a sky full of them. A Christmas shop, a few doors down, offered a never ending supply of blinking, bell ringing, merry wee town buildings and knick-knacks. Skaters and skiers and trains run through the little replica towns. There is a replica of Salida in the back room.It seems like you can create these kinds of businesses and just about make ends meet in a place like Salida-- Housing is affordable and the views are priceless. It's the kind of place I dream about settling down in when the grayer hairs have taken hold of my head. I had the pleasure of performing last night in their community opera house, The Steam Plant Theater. A cast of local characters came out in rowdy droves. I was wined and dined and mined for information at a pre-show reception at a great local bar/restaurant called "Dakota's." The after show gathering meandered to a bar named "Benson's" and we drank a few local Colorado brews. I heard gossip and tall tales about the town. At midnight, I began to fade.I staggered home to the "Gazebo", a local Band B in
the mountain town, and fell asleep in a brass bed with a smile on my face and a potpourri bouquet smelling up the room and whisping into my dreams.My dream was so vivid-- I had bought a little home in town. I think I need to live here. I woke up in a sweaty kind of demented Martha Stewart euphoria.Overnight at the B and B, beneath cotton window dressings and quilty puffy sheets, I designed and manufactured my very
own cloning apparatus. I used card stock torn from Martha Stewart's "Living" magazine, duct tape I had absconded with
at Benson's, and lip balm from a local hiking gear shop. I cloned the house cat first. The hind leg on the first copy came out in an impossibly wrong place, but with a couple of slight adjustments, the leg on the next few cats had drifted back to it's appropriate position. Tinkerbell became Tinkerbells.I was ready to give myself a run through. The apparatus is essentially a box, multi-colored and three feet high. You crawl through it, and the clone follows. Brilliantly simple.

I discovered the best time to make a clone of yourself is not at a moment of questionable sobriety. The first clone came crawling
out, happily slurring and spitting speeches, mocking the countrified decorations, singing ABBA songs at the top of his lungs-- he woke up the talking clock next door--
"Shut up in there! It's three o'clock in the morning!!"I took him in my car down to Benson's and left him dancing with a whirl of a mountain lion named Lawton Carson. Back at the B and B, I started in on mass production. Lining up three cloning devices in a row, the clones and the clones
themselves became cloned until there was a parade of clones-- the little Band B was spilling over with Ellis Pauls. A choir of me's.
Three hundred tenors. (And you thought three could make some noise)I had to shut down the plant momentarily. Too much of even one of me is too much. I handed out written instructions with a sharpie on coffee napkins to each of me. #1 was to go to Big Sur, CA and rent a hut on the cliffs. Paint. Drink espresso. Write novels. Fall in love with waitresses.#2 was sent to Charlottesville, VA, to change diapers. Pay bills. Kiss wife. Hike. Read books.I sent one to get a PhD in American History beneath the ivy steeples of Harvard University. I told him to lie on the
application about his elementary school grades. The "F's" in science were purely typoes... I told him to play at Club Passim every Friday night. Drink coffee till 6, then switch to ale.Three are in Paris. Smoking hashish. Reciting poetry. Drinking pinot noir. Doing Jerry Lewis imitations.#145 was sent out as a plumber to work inside the White House. To plug some leaks. Flush some policies. To wrench some
heads.I sent one to Nashville, TN with a cowboy hat and and a book of song lyrics taken from dirty British lymrics. He was to infilltrate the Grand Ole Opry, and yodel some. I told him to verify, in whatever way possible, the truth about the authenticity of Dolly Parton's assets. (photos if possible.)#205 is working in New Orleans. Rebuilding houses. Passing out clean water. Playing dixie land songs on a banjo for relief
workers. Playing poker in mardi gras beads. Smoking cigars in the French Quarter. Flashing the police officers. Avoiding brothels.I sent #245 with peace signs painted in yellow and black to Crawford, TX. To slow the traffic and offend the neighbors.I sent one to Moscow. One is off on the space shuttle. Three are flying to Japan. (I'm big in Japan).One is in Iraq busking in Baghdad. Singing "Imagine" in Islam.And me. I am here in Salida, living in a little brick B and B, selling tickets to the Steam Plant Theater for the next week's
John Hammond show. He's playing Friday night and he was nominated for a grammy! It's almost sold out! Only a few seats are left! Come on down and ski for the weekend, take in some music! You gotta try the Baklava at Dakota's. We got some beds at the Gazebo. Come on down! You'll love this town....see you soon,
Ellis
ps. (After a few days... a trickle and then a flood of several hundred homesick me's appeared in Charlottesville and were fist fighting over the rights to change Ella's poopy diapers.)... happy thanksgiving y'all.... Ellis

updated: 1 year ago