I hope you'll forgive my rather brief presentation tonight, ladies
gentlemen, but it's been a long day and I haven't had time to rest.
The problem with collecting is one never knows when to stop. When I
picked up my first item, the skull of Louis the Fifth, I never dreamed
it would lead to an entire display of royal heads. You can see them in
the left-hand corner, near the crocodile skins.
And that next case, the Struthiomimus eggs. You'll object that they
like bird shells. They do. But I assure you they come from one of the
remoter sections of Eastern Mongolia, where even Professor Andrews
forgot to look. They don't behave like ordinary eggs - go ahead, pick one
up. When you do, you'll find it makes a sound halfway between a monkey's
yip and a dog's bark. I like to think they retain something of their original
inheritance from a hundred million years ago.
In fact, all my collectibles have a curious property you won't find
museums. That mummy, for instance. It looks like one of those Guanajuato
relics you may have heard about, but it's really from the back seat of
a serial killer's car. Rumors are his wife had gotten on to him and was
about to report his philanderings. Anyway, the guy couldn't take it, so
he did this to her. But what really makes it interesting is when you cut
the mummy open. You'll find that all the internal organs have been meticulously
duplicated in natural clay. I'll say this --- the man was a promising sculptor,
and I've been trying to track him down for weeks to sample more of his
work. Alas, he never seems to stay in one place long.
Now, hanging from the ceiling is an old Hasselblad movie camera. Prosaic,
you say. But after 35 years, it still works perfectly. The reason I keep
it, though, is when you point it at anything, in any direction, it always
films the same thing: the inside of the factory where it was first produced.
I don't know why. In fact, it took me quite a bit of research to find out
what that dismal place was that kept showing up in all the frames. Finally,
after long months in libraries, scanning through catalogs, and numerous
interviews with camera buffs, I traced the whole thing. Of course, the
now --- razed over 20 years ago. But these souvenirs still live.
Again, I'll keep it short. But I must show you this one. It's an
old-fashioned pine coffin, no different than a million others in lower-class
districts. But I wanted something plain and honest. I don't like this meretricious
stuff you find in parlors nowadays. Somehow you always expect to see wiring
inside, or even some tiny computers. No, this was what I had in mind. True,
the air gets a bit stale after a few hours, but I generally prop the lid
with a modest-sized stone, so it isn't too unpleasant. And I often take
a magazine to read, something from the alternative press, preferably. These
mainstream icons are horridly tacky. I've even considered installing a
skylight, but I'm afraid it might be atmospherically, well, a bit "askew."
That must be it for now. I trust you've had a fine evening. There are
donuts and coffee in back, some very special donuts I might add. And please
find one of my cards on your way out --- don't hesitate to call if you'd
like a special tour.