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You Never Know What's Going to Happen

When the Phone Rings

A Visit to the Mojave Phone Booth


Tuesday, 26 August, 8:10pm. Cardhouse mogul Mark Simple flies into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

Wednesday, 27 August, 10:25am. Simple & I set out from Tempe in a rented vehicle, bound for Burning Man by way of a phone booth. The Phone Booth.

Wednesday, 27 August, Near Dark. (In-joke there for you fans of vampire films or Coolidge, AZ). After a full day's trek to I-15 in CA, we were losing light fast.

Then at sundown we found Lorene's mailbox. I left her a quick note & we headed on.
We saw the road to the Aiken Cinder Mine. We knew we were on the right trail.

We weren't.

Despite the marked map & directions from Road Meister Dennis, we had managed to get lost anyway. But darkness was not enough to keep us from . . .

The Booth!

It was just as I had imagined it--a lonely communications outpost at the end of a long, long chain of telephone poles. All its glass had been shot out, but I thought it was beautiful. At that moment I felt I might never leave it. In fact, we almost didn't--we spent hours making phone calls to anyone we could think of. Then I paged Audra back in AZ, just so I could hear the phone ring when she back.

All around The Booth the skies were full of storm clouds and lightning. Given that Chez Deuce had been struck by lightning the day before I set out (an event I considered a benediction on the enterprise), I had a Garp-ish feeling that we'd be safe at The Booth.

We were.

Though the skies dropped rain all around us, no rain fell in the area of The Booth. (Though we did get cool electrical interference sounds on the phone call tape, to punctuate the line's usual popping & clicking.)

As one person made calls, the other would be taking photographs, wandering in the dark, or leaving popsicle sticks imprinted with "www.cardhouse.com." (We thought we'd be the first to leave an URL; would you believe someone had beat us to it?) Above the phone, I wrote a message directing the curious to this site. (I included an apology for my vandalism, but noted that at least I hadn't shot at the poor Booth.)

I don't remember how many people we called (or tried to call) before finally leaving for one last night's sleep (and shower) in Baker before reaching Burning Man the next evening. But the honor of the first phone call had to go--naturally--to Mr. Dennis Casebier.


The official Girl Trouble t-shirt poses in The Booth w/W.
Female Voice: Hello?

Deuce: Hello, is Dennis Casebier in?

Who is calling?

Tell him it's Deuce of Clubs.

Say your name again, please?

Deuce. Of Clubs..

Could I help you perhaps?

Well, I spoke to him on the phone a couple of months ago, about a certain phone booth in the Mojave Desert.

Oh. Uh-huh.

While Mark called friends, Wagner reunited a widely-strewn pair of shoes.
And I just wanted to let him know that: I'm there now.

Okay. Hold on.

Dennis Casebier: Helloooo?

Dennis!

Yes.

We spoke a few months ago about that phone booth in the Mojave Desert?

Yes. Uh-huh.

Well, uh. . .here I am!

[Starts laughing]

I'm at the phone booth.

Ain't you the one!

I have arrived!

How's it feel?

It feels BEAUTIFUL! Except we got here and it was dark. We took a few wrong turns. But we found it, and it's pretty much the way that we imagined it.

The map that I gave you was adequate?

Absolutely, and I wanted to thank you again for sending the map and for the newsletter. I really enjoyed reading that, and, well, I couldn't have done it without you, Dennis.

Good! I think I put that in my last newsletter that you were going to do that.

Did you really?!?

Yeah, it's not out yet.

You know, I would really appreciate it if you would send me a copy of that. That would be great.

Now I do have your address, don't I?

Yep.

Yeah, I mentioned it under the heading, "You Never Know What's Going to Happen When the Phone Rings."
Or something like that.

Yeah, I'm out here by the cinder mine, I guess.

Are you going to camp there tonight?

We're actually headed up to northern Nevada to camp, but I don't know where we're gonna be tonight. Probably go in to Baker or something. But we'll probably be making phone calls from here for a while.

Okay, well you have good time and thanks for calling!

Thanks a lot!


Though it ought to have, the dumb-ass foolishness didn't end there.

(If you're interested in Dennis's newsletter, Mojave Road Report ($15 for 12 issues), write to:

Friends of the Mojave Road
Goffs Schoolhouse
37198 Lanfair Road
P.O. Box 7
Essex, CA 92332-0007


Main Page

Hello?
(How it all began)

Huh?
(Casebier Call)

Visit 1: Aug97
(Burning Man)

Visit 2: Nov97
(Socal Trip)

Visit 3: Aug98
(Burning Man)

Visit 4: Apr99
(Booth Blizzard!)

Visit 5: Jul99
(Coming Soon)

Booth Mailbag
(Your Thoughts)

Press & Links
(MediaWhoredom)

Satellite Image
of the Booth

Own Your
Own Booth

The Booth in
My Living Room