"Hello, Erich? This is
Neil, I'm in town now. Remember, I was going to stop by your
The next voice I heard could
only be described as the best Ms. Doubtfire impersonation since,
well, since I called Jordu to inquire about visiting his studio.
Hmmm... I think I see a trend.
Erich has moved."
"Yes, it was quite unexpected."
"Come on Erich, Jordu tried the same thing."
"Ah damn, ok. You can come by, but I'm
going to ignore you and don't ask any stupid questions."
Ok, maybe the conversation didn't exactly go
that way, besides Erich is way to nice to tell me to bug off over
I got in touch with
Erich a week or so prior to my trip to La La Land. The idea
was to come by on Sunday and his wonderful fiancee Antoinette would cook me a
nice dinner. Erich said they could only dig up lobster tail
and and filet or two because their fridge was bare. I suppose
I'd have to slum it that night.
Erich and I decided to visit Henry on Sunday.
"Hey Erich, can we make it lunch instead?"
"Ah jeeze, you're killing me. Let's see,
we have Chateu Briand lunch size portion and a fine Chianti, will that do or will
we have to go to the store?"
Of course anything
I plan changes from minute to minute. When Jordu decided to
accompany us to Henry's the plan changed once again.
"Hey Erich, we are going to meet at Jordu's
right around lunchtime, can we make it breakfast instead?"
"Damn you, you'll get toast no butter!"
Whew, glad that was settled.
I had made up my mind to stay in Riverside
that night and get to Erich's house early. I inquired as to
the best place to stay in Riverside. Erich said there's a
hotel on every street corner, I should have no problem. He
forgot to mention there is only one street corner and I had no idea
where it was.
I made the trip out
there in just about an hour. You can probably make the same
trip in 17 minutes if you are rushing for a plane (note my careful
use of foreshadow used to entice you to read part 3).
I had found my lodging destination and entered
the lovely lobby of this quaint, yet tastefully furnished hotel.
I waltzed past beautiful statues, flowers and potted plants and
slipped my credit card through the little slot at the base of the
bullet-proof, reinforced, night window and after 3 rounds of
interrogation, I was rewarded with a room key. Yes, a
room key. I haven't seen a room key in years. All I ever
get at hotels are little plastic cards that open doors. I felt
a pang of melancholy longing for the days of room keys, but alas
that feeling passed. It may have also been the remnants of
Taco Bell, but both feeling are strangely similar.
Once in my room, I was heading off to sleep
and decided to watch a little TV. I was sifting through the
channels and came across a channel that appeared to show nekkid nude
folks. Wait a minute, those people are doing more than just
walking around nekkid nude and there's no little black moving spots
covering important areas. I checked to make sure I wasn't
paying for this room by the hour. Nope, seems like a regular
hotel, I've only heard one or two sounds of gunfire outside my door.
Maybe I have the managers room. There was no point pondering
the morality of a porno ridden hotel TV and the possibility of a
child staying there, so I settled in to watch a little more TV and
to thank the satellite Gods for my good fortune.
Bright and early the next day, I headed off to
visit Erich. Erich's abode was not too far from where I was
staying. I arrived and approached the door only to be greeted
by Ms. Doubtfire's bellybutton. You see Erich is tall. I
don't mean 6'2" tall, Erich is 6'8" tall. He's so tall, Shaq
would give him a head nod and a wink if he passed him in an airport.
Erich's build also fits his height. Not only is he tall, but
he's proportionate and he doesn't look like Ms. Doubtfire at all.
Well, except for that gray wig and those dentures, but the gray is
much different from Ms. Doubtfire's gray, it's more a whitish gray.
I ran for the car screaming like a little girl when Erich bellowed
for me to stop. I felt this arm grab my shoulder and realized
Erich had a grip on me all the way from the porch. More
screaming and crying. This wasn't how I imagined my trip to
Erich's to turn out. I was coaxed (Erich's term for
bullied) back to the house and eventually went in. Erich was
introducing himself and his family while skillfully ducking the fan
like those amazing kids that jump rope while doing flips and stuff.
It was quite a feat.
turned out, all that size and intimidation, Erich is probably the
nicest guy in the the mask world. That either says something
about Erich, or something about the mask world. Anyway, we had
a great breakfast of ham, eggs and of course toast no butter.
all skillfully cooked by his fiancee.
Once I popped my shoulder joint back in place,
we headed out to his studio. Erich is a seasoned mask maker.
How do I know this? Because he abides by the first rule of mask
making: Your studio should be as far away as humanly possible from
the family. There you have it, the answer to the first
question on your mask test. Make it tough for the family to
come bug you as Erich has so skillfully done. We hiked through
the backyard through mountains, ravines, rivers and fought off two
bears until finally reaching his studio.
also follows rule #2 in the mask making rulebook. Your studio
should be 10x smaller than humanly possible to work in. Erich
opened up his studio and sat in the rotating chair. I asked
him where he paints, he rotated the chair to the right. I
asked where he sculpts, a quick turn to the left. I asked
where he molded, this required a 180 degree spin. I had to ask
where he peed. He spun toward the door and asked me to kick it
open. We had a blast trying to outdo each other in distance.
I got my knee out of his hip and he removed his elbow from my
spleen, he showed me around the rest of his studio. It was my
turn to sit in the chair. Beautiful masks of many varieties
adorned the walls, mostly by Erich's hand. There was also this
glop monster that appeared to be a melted toy that seemed to be
Erich's prize possession. He tried to sell it to me for 3 easy
payments of just $99.99 but I was short on cash. He reminded
me of his vulcan death grip from the porch incident, so I agreed to
his terms. A quick jaunt outside the shed, I mean studio and
there was his mold farm. You see, to grow a mold farm, you
plant plaster in the spring.
summer, you get these gorgeous molds that pop up out of the ground.
Harvesting these molds is what a mask maker excels at. Too
early and the mold is ruined. Too late and well, you miss
Halloween. What's neat about a mold farm, it's a crap shoot as
to what mold goes to what mask. Erich typically pours latex in
the first mold that he bangs his shin into and just sends the
customer that one. Not a terribly efficient system, but saves
you alot of hassle.
those beautful molds, that bastard! Most people are envious of
other's pretty spouses, not mask makers, we love pretty molds.
The time had really flown by and we needed to
get moving to make it to Jordu's place so we could then go to
Henry's. I offered to drive Erich back to La La Land which is
another less subtle use of foreshadowing for that plane reference I
made up at the top. I'll wait here if you want to scroll back
to read it. Hum dee dum. Ho hi diddle do... hummanna
hummana. You back yet? Was it worth the scroll back?
Are you excited to read part 3? Good, because part 2 is
officially done. Oh wait, I have pictures, never mind.