The Cave of Tiki

Disclaimer: While the people in this story are imaginary, the places are very real. All three offer some form of escape. I encourage you to visit each establishment just as soon as your busy Angeleno schedule allows.

the cave of tikiYou are visiting your aunt and uncle in Losanjealous for the winter. The weather is unbelievable! The surf is up and the girls are out. If only the kids back home could see you now. Life couldn’t be better! But one day, clouds roll in. The temperature drops and the sky looks suddenly menacing. A few raindrops hit your surfboard. Before you know it, the rain’s coming down in torrents. Shucks! Just your luck! Last year, the rainy season lasted nearly five months. Before it was all over you’d read more Homer, Proust and Shakespeare than most literature professors read in a lifetime, and you’d watched more unrated Andrew Stevens movies with your uncle than most adolescents watch in two lifetimes. One day in a fit of manic cabin fever you suddenly carved two fingers straight off your left hand with a paring knife. You aren’t about to sit through that much rain again!

The next morning you set out, determined to take charge of your situation. If it’s going to rain, you’re determined to hole up in a very dark, warm place, as sloshed as humanly possible, listening to slack-key guitar and ruminating with big-bellied men in hawaiian shirts about balmy tropical breezes and chattery monkeys. Damn it you’re going to get your tiki on, but proper.

You begin haunting the local tiki watering holes, striking up idle conversations with crusty ’Don the Beachcomber’ holdouts at Duke’s, Tiki Ti and Trader Vic’s. At each location you run across a mysterious man with a peeling sunburn and a dark combover. “A tiki fan. I see we’re looking for the same thing, my friend,” he purrs one evening. You can barely hear his oiled voice over the crackled ukelele strains emitting from the hi-fi. “Oceanic Arts is where you should begin. Care to split a cab?”

The man looks shifty as all get out, but you’ve had two flaming zombies. You agree to split the cost of a cab to Whittier.

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