SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 243: “The Fourth Castle”

From Left to Right: Richard Carniglia, Steven Carniglia, Brett Herman, Ian Desilva, Claudia Cruz, David Wright, Chris Velasquez and Jose Martinez.

The scene: King Arthur and his nights have approached the French castle, and upon the Arthur’s claiming of the castle, the French guards react. Standing upon the top fortress’s wall and with broken French accent, they proclaim, “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”

You don’t frighten us, English pig dogs. Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called “Arthur King,” you and all your silly English K-nig-hts.

No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”

If any of you are Monty Python fans, you know the origins of the above dialogue – the 1975 classic film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

And in perfect British wit, This Python bit sets the stage in explaining the mindset I experience this evening in meeting today’s troupe of merry artisans.

Flash back… 7:00pm, I get this bright idea to do a nature hike, sure that I will walk into someone who is open to conversation. After all… everyone who is into nature is ready to share something…? Or at least I assume?

Half mile out from trail head I trudge, carrying my forty-five pounds of camera backpack, inducing my very patient lower vertebrate to shake its finger at me, “Dude! Pick up the pace and your attitude, I want to see feet moving and personality kicked into extrovert overdrive…Find a friend now! Or, I’m going to hurt you!”

Forty-five minutes I press, and after eight “thanks, but no thanks” conversations, I surrender to the darkening of the sunsets glowing sky in retreat to regroup at base camp car.

Crud! I’m on the edge of missing the sweet light of day’s end, and with this admission, my mid back cries out, “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper.”

My brain fights back in pulling another scene from its Python database. The words of the “Swamp Castle King” in speaking of his digs, “When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England.”

My spine forgives me, “Carry on sir 365… I pledge alliance to your cause sire.”

… Back to present, and the fourth castle.

Safely buckled into my auto isolation… Trail behind me… The street light is out (just my luck)… and with cars self trafficking through the intersection, I am on hyper alert in focusing on the surroundings. A side hit right now would be icing on the cake of day ending to fast.

As I survey the situation in preparing for my pedal to the metal push for friendship, I scope the earlier mentioned troupe of merry artisans as they lean over the second floor of a corner office complex.

Now here is my French castle moment!

I reign my four-wheeled steed to a halt and with enlarged chest, I walk up to the “Fortress Office”, and standing at parking lot level I look up upon the walls, “Hail ye men, and women, of land unknown, wilt thou lay down thy opinion to the quest of crusade 365.”

We’ll, perhaps my words were a little watered down from that. But none-the-less, the risk feels the same.

Maybe I’m feeling a bit self-loathing after my preceding dismissals as I ready myself for my mocking’s in expanding my oration, “I query that thee not refuse me, for I have traveled many rejections to be here… and the quest is long. Lower your gates my good neighbors. Allow me to enter thy chambers in a token of solidarity… May our kingdoms unite?”

Hey, pretty snappy writing, don’t you think?

“Come forth my balding friend, we reach out our hands in acceptance of your request, enter thy gates.”

The courts have decided, and have welcomed me an audience. The trumpets sound, “We are the people of Hidden-LA, there is no peril before you Sir Richard, for we are the world of ink, and in that… the world of peace.”

Turns out I have run into a newly established tattoo salon and fine art gallery, and my new friends are as I aforementioned, an eclectic bunch of amazing artisans, and better yet, warm and ingratiating people of planet earth.

We get together as a parliament of sorts. No one individual takes the lead in the answering of any question. Concepts, ideas and personalities are jousted towards in fellowshipping me at a pace that is too astonishing to completely absorb, but here are a few brief notes that may shed some light on the culture of Hidden-LA and its population.

“The world of ink is a world of peace.”

“Keep your side of the street clean.”

“Stay hungry and be humble.”

“Be thankful for what we have, there is always someone with less.”

“Feelings are your friends.”

“Question everything.”

“Life is a garden…Dig it!”

“Dream big.”

“Get out of the kitchen, unless you are a woman…” “Ouch! That’s going to get us in trouble,” I suggest as the whole group laughs in receiving a thumbs up from its one female citizen.

“Keep learning. Learn a little about everything, not a lot about one thing.”

“Get tattooed more.”

“Tell the people that you love, that you love them.”

“Kids of today are getting brainwashed, they need to go outside and to not forget to be kids.” So much is this belief buried into the DNA of Hidden-LA that one of its owners, Brett, has dedicated a year of his life in publishing a coloring book. It’s intent is to not only expose children to a different kind of artwork, but more importantly, to give them an art outlet that pulls them away from the traps of a virtual life. Very cool stuff!

The pace slows down when addressing the future, city Hidden-LA huddles, and spokesman Brett speaks for the township, “Even with politics, and throughout any negative times, people will continue to slowly come together.

Hopefully we will still be here.”

Noble friends of Hidden-LA, I will again journey to your land, for it is a place of art, and a country of acceptance. For these things, I give you my gratitude in allowing me into your boarders.

Boarders that this un-tatted conservative hippy guy is now familiar with; boarders that I will certainly visit again …and that, my liege’s, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped.