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Mar 31, 2010

The mysterious visit of Donna Pérignon

Saturday night. The wind howls around the house, the timber creaks, the rain beats on the windows, the sea roars below.

The doorbell rings.

On the intercom, a female voice. "Excusez-moi de vous déranger," the voice says, "je ne peu pas expliquer trop, mais je suis Donna Pérignon," (Sorry to disturb you, I can't explain too much, but I am Donna Pérignon)."
"Donna?", I ask, and she replies: "Yes, Donna like in Ma-Donna, or Donna-stag, or Donna Versace, or Gianni Versace, or Giorgio Armani, or Emporio Armani, or Emperor Napoleon." I push the remote for the gate. Michelle Pfeiffer emanates from the dark.

-"You can't be Michelle Pfeiffer", I say.
-"How so?", she replies.
-"You are without your entourage."
-"Elémentaire, chèr Watson, she replies.
-"Enchanté", I say.
-"I am coming for ... ," Her voice trails off, her sentence ceases. Then, in French: "C'est urgent, mais d'abord, Pérignon."



A pause. She gazes at me through her shades---she wears shades at night, radioactive vision, cool. What can I say? "Pérignon, Pérignon" I say to Chang. Chang gives me the Marx Brothers look. "Any Pérignon left in our cellars?" I ask, kindly.

Chang has been a fan of Keeping up Appearances, the BBC tragedy, all his life. He disappears, and while I am helping Donna to undress (only the coat), a cork pops in the kitchen, and Donna takes notice, and Chang reappears with three champagne glasses, filled. "Dom Pérignon", Chang says, handing out glasses. She raises her glass. "Santé," she says. She drinks.

Chang refills her glass, artfully hiding the label on the bottle. This bottle does not look like a Pérignon bottle to me (they have a special shape), and it does not look like a Pérignon bottle to Donna. She drinks some more. "Truth to be told," she says, "a great champagne tastes differently every day. Show me your blog."

We proceed to my desk.


"La vague géant," she commands, more Brigitte Bardot than Michelle Pfeiffer now. She sits down in my Eames aluminum chair. I bring up the giant wave posts on the screen (pictured). She studies the pictures, carefully, intently. Then she gets up. I need a cigarette, she says, and proceeds to the terrace outside. There, her glass is refilled, her cigarette lit.



She returns after a cigarette length. "The blue tulips," she commands. I'll go and fetch a blue tulip. She sniffs at the blue tulip.
-"Elementaire, chèr Michael", she says, and then, "Je dois partir maintenant" (I have to leave now). She claims her coat. We refill her glass. She sniffs her tulip some more. "Il n'y a pas des secrets" she says. She posits her empty glass on the secretaire in the hall, blows kisses, makes her exit, makes more of her exit, exits, is gone.

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