Not altogether sure we’d had enough, the party headed back downstairs for the final inauguration ceremony of the silo: the installation of Space Ganesh. Without letting on, Joan had gone to the trouble of having a special super modern Space Ganesh carved in India, and then transported him to NY in a special wrap until it was time for his unveiling in his new home: the Emergency Launch Control Centre fire Supression Switch Box.
As is the custom with all Ganeshgi installations, the ceremony proceeded with banging, whistling, chanting, conch blowing, singing and dancing, that is, until a water pipe over us exploded and put a dampener on the celebration. To everyone’s relief, Dennis convinced us that it wasn’t the obviously flawed septic system, and so without missing a beat, Joan declared it a good omen, and the dancing continued under the showering Ganga. Further evidence of Joan’s extraordinary intuition came when Lina Cogolo was miraculously cured of flu and persistent jet lag, and I shouldn’t mention it, but so profound was the cure, that she and Dennis later disappeared on what they described as beaver spotting.
The following morning, I had planed a trip to the mighty cliffs of Pockamoonshine, but my guests, Ms Beaver included, were in no mood for an early rise, so at a more reasonable hour, we packed everything up, climbed back onto the Simpson’s bus, and headed south for New York City and the end of the best weekend of my life.
Aside from the occasional film crew such as the fabulous Altamont Now team, or the House & Garden crew, things are now much quieter in the LCC, although I still wonder what became of that outfit Pencil had left behind. It took me a few more years to finish the work that needed doing, but during that time, the LCC has doubled as my New York office, PR instrument, and my home away from home. There are a number of other silos of the same vintage throughout the States, but very few are habitable, and even less have an LCC that is as original as Bouquet 556. In an effort to retain the utilitarian character of the silo, I needed to perform a kind of designer’s balancing act that wouldn’t deny or trade off what the purpose of the building was against the needs of a modern office and residence. I’ve already seen my fare share of potbelly stoves and cedar dressers adorning other less fortunate silos, and so I’ve remained quite vigilant in my half-purist approach to the project.
Researching something as obscure as an Atlas F ICBM silo wasn’t as difficult a task as I had originally thought, and that was when the internet really proved its worth. Not only could I communicate from my Sydney office at virtually no cost, I could find almost anything on the web that had anything to do with the silo. I’m also in constant contact with dozens of “Missileers” who once lived and worked in them, I answer questions daily from interested parties who find my web page, and people I’ve never even met regularly volunteer to work on the base, or even offer to build websites for the project, “just because it’s cool,” said one.
My best find on the Net were the original pair of pneumatic rams that pushed up the enormous silo doors, however, the ebay price had already reached ten thousand US, so I had to kiss the rams goodbye without even a bid. Incidentally, the doors did remain up, but the opening was covered last year, and the silo pumped dry during an unseasonably dry summer.
My next best find on the Net ended more fruitfully with the purchase of a military vehicle known affectionately as the Gamma Goat. She’s a fully restored six wheel drive, four wheel steering, all aluminium, three piston, two stroke Detroit Diesel, articulated amphibious troop carrier, and I love her. I call her Martina, after my mother, and I know she wouldn’t have mind. Mum left me a small amount of cash in her will, which covered the cost of the Goat and a back seat ticket to Columbus Ohio to pick it up. Unfortunately, after missing a connecting flight through Chicago because the rocket scientist hadn’t adjusted his watch, desperately needed a cigy,and forgot the closest smoking exit in Chicago O’Hare was about ten miles down a passage with an inoperable travelator.
I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a cruel and inhuman thing to do to people who have an addiction, a perfectly legal addiction.