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Ah yes. Mother Roberts . . . I found her card on the bus and jammed it into one of my pockets, thinking that maybe I would give her a call on Monday and make an appointment. I had a lot of heavy questions to lay on her like "Why am I here, Mother Roberts? What does it all mean? Have I finally turned Pro? Can this really be the end? Down and out in Houston with ---
"No, I was just kidding, Mother Roberts, just putting you on -- just working a bit of the test on you, right? Yes, because what I was really leading up to is this extremely central question . . . No, I'm not shy; it's just that I come from way up north where people's lips are frozen about ten months every year, so we don';t get used to talking until very late in life . . . what? Old? Well, I think you just put your finger or your wand or whatever, right smack on the head of the nail, Mother Roberts, because the godawful truth of the whole matter is that I've been feeling extremely old this past week, and . . . What? Wait a minute now, goddamnit, I'm still getting up to the main question, which is . . What? No, I never curse, Mother Roberts; that was a cry of anguish, a silent scream from the soul, because I feel in serious trouble down here in this goddamn town, and . . . Yes, I am a white person, Mother Roberts, and we both know there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Are you prejudiced?
. . .No, let's not get into that. Just let me ask this question and if you can give me a straight and reasonable answer I promise I won't come out to your place. . . because what I want you to tell me, Mother Roberts - and I mean this very seriously - is why I have been in Houston for eight days without anybody offering me some cocaine? . . . Yes, cocaine, that's what I said, and just between you and me I'm damn serious about wanting some . . . What? Drugs? Of course I'm talking about drugs! Your ad said you could answer my questions and lift me out of sorrow and darkness . . . Okay, okay, I'm listening . . . Yeah, yeah . . . But let me tell you something, Mother Roberts: My name is Al Davis and I'm the Editor of Reader's Digest . . . Right, and I can have you busted right now for false advertising . . . Yeah well I think I might pick up some of my people and come out to see you later on today; we want some explanations for this kind of anti-christ bullshit. This country's in enough trouble, goddamnit, without people like you running around selling drugs like cocaine to people in serious trouble . . . ."
Mother Roberts hung up on me at that point. Christ only knows what she thought was about to come down on her when dusk fell on Houston . . . Here was the Editor of the Reader's Digest coming out to her house with a goon squad, and all of them apparently stone mad for cocaine and vengeance . . . a terrible situation.