So here’s what happens. Mac goes off the next morning to find the two guys who scared Myrna. Louie and Billy. Gambling buddies of his dad. Mac’s dad is a mean drunk and a gambler. That’s why Mac leaves home. Great great grandfather Mariano speaks of a treasure connected to the Frolic wreck. Says it has to do with the Mendocino coast, the site of the wreck. He gets busy with his life and never goes back for the treasure. He says the treasure is for the family but no one knows where it is or even what it is. The story passes down from generation to generation. Mac’s father owes Louie and Billy a lot of money that he can’t pay. He tells them about this family treasure and says they can have it in exchange for the money he owes. He tells them Mac knows where it is. When Mac leaves home and heads up the coast, Louie and Billy figure Mac is going for the treasure. They follow him up the coast, beat him up, rob him, but find nothing. Zilch. That’s because Mac doesn’t know. The map Myrna found shows the site where the Frolic wrecked. That’s all Mac wants to see.
Louie and Billy are nowhere around. Mac figures they’re gone. Maybe they come back, maybe they don’t. He doesn’t worry about it. The memories are coming back like Doctor Herald said. Everything in due time. Mac still has some staring spells, some sudden breaks, but they’re not as frequent. He doesn’t fall out of bed anymore. That’s good but the mind-forged manacles still fog his brain. He needs to get things clearer. Clearer.
The boss wants the new restaurant to be a work of art. Especially the bar. Mac likes to stick around late at night and listen to the boss and Philip. Philip is the guy who builds the bar. Mac helps on the simple things like getting stuff they need out of Philip’s truck. Philip uses red mahogany for the backbar, bar top and stool seats. He uses the same wood for the room dividers and a few large rectangular tables. He makes smaller round tables out of maple and Maxwell paints the tops of these in a modern swirling design. The boss and Philip talk while they work. They discuss William Blake, Nietzsche, Ginsberg, and lots of other writers Mac has never heard of. The conversation is way over Mac’s head just like what he hears out at Roy’s but Mac likes to listen. Philip tells the boss how he used to drink with Gene Clark and Hawley in the old Cellar Bar. Mac remembers Rafan talking about this. Philip tells the boss about a trip to Mexico with Jim Morrison, some other musician. They take LSD and eat psychedelic mushrooms and find some kind of spiritual peace or something like that. Mac is surprised Philip knows all these people, does all these things. And now he’s here building furniture. Maybe furniture building is where Philip finds enlightenment. Mac finds his enlightenment washing dishes.
Maxwell paints a large Pied Piper painting with local characters and gives it to the boss for the new bar. The boss likes it so much he commissions eleven more fairy tale paintings. This keeps Maxwell busy for two years. The boss asks another local artist, Sandra, to do a large oil painting. She paints a large canvas of butterflies and fairies dancing in the woods and two smaller oil paintings with dinosaurs. Her two young daughters and other local people are the characters. Mac knows some of them. Kelley, a sculptor and musician, does a giant carving out of a single redwood slab twelve feet long. The sculpture features three strange figures, a jester, a naked woman wearing a pendant and a helmet with horns and a winged creature who looks menacing. When Mac stands and gazes at the sculpture he is baffled. He likes it but has no idea what it means. Some kind of myth probably. Phil, a local blacksmith, makes the metal frames for the bar stools and some of the large hanging stained glass lights. In the stairwell from the restaurant to the bar Chamberlin, another local artist, paints an intricate mural celebrating the redwoods, logging, the ocean and all the different people that make Mendocino and the Frolic what they are. This is something Mac can relate to, the scenes he sees around here all the time. The imagination of artists is where they find enlightenment or maybe what they tell about what they find. Just like Micah gets off on a pebble rolling across the floor.
The aura of the old Cellar Bar is gone. There are no stuffed animal heads, no dusty Persian carpets or round brass tables. The new bar is large and full of light with a high ceiling and an outside deck with a view of the ocean. Clayton wants a large open fire pit in the center but it won’t draw. The kitchen fan pulls against it. So, it is removed.
The old customers return and lots of new ones. There is a stage for musicians and a dance floor. The boss hires Lenny, a local musician, to book music. Ilja and Chamberlin make the fliers and the boss asks Mac to put them up all over the area. This gives Mac a chance to drive around in the boss’s truck.
Mac drives to Pottery Cove and parks. He looks out over the ocean where the Frolic wrecked. Somewhere around here his great great grandfather says there is a treasure. It’s a family tradition to try to find it but no one has succeeded. Billy and Louie are out of luck. Mac hopes they don’t hurt his father but it’s his father’s problem if they do.
Back at the Frolic, Mac is in the garden. A man on his knees gathers something in his hat. A woman and two small children watch. Mac recognizes them as guests at the Inn. An old man, the grandfather, stands by the fence that separates a trellised walkway from the garden.
“Monsieur, may I ask, do you use any poisons or pesticides in ze jardin?” asks the man.
“Poisons,” says Mac. “No. We use the flowers in the restaurant and we could not do that if we used pesticides.”
“Très bon, monsieur. The snails will then be safe for us. Do you mind if we pick the snails out of your garden? It will be better for the flowers and the snails will make une bonne repas.”
“You eat them?” says Mac.
“Absolument!” says the man. “The escargot are delicious. You have not tried?”
“Certainly not,” says Mac who backs away and turns to leave. “Take all you want,” he says and he tries not to get sick.
“You must join us in three days,” says the woman. “It will take us that long to cleanse the snails. We feed them cornmeal and water to clean out the impurities. You have a bonanza of snails in this garden, my friend. Large beautiful snails. We have a delicious family recipe you must try. Drop by our room on Thursday night. Let’s say 5 o’clock. We will be most pleased to serve you your first taste of escargot.”
“Okay,” mutters Mac to his surprise. He doesn’t want to be rude. “But only a small taste. I’ll bring some white wine.”
“Magnifique, Monsieur! That would be lovely with the escargot.”
Before the boss buys the Frolic, Hawley sells it to a woman from Los Angeles who has no idea how to run it. She begs him to buy it back. He buys back the restaurant but not the Inn. He agrees to rent the rooms for her in exchange for a fee. The boss inherits this arrangement.
The French family occupies the Lookout Room. It faces the ocean. The Inn is a beautiful old house originally built in 1883 by the Switzer family. Sometimes a Switzer family member drives up from the City and rents a room. For old times sake Mac guesses.
Mac is met at the door by the two small children. The grandfather sits at the dinner table.
“Come in, come in,” says the mother.
The snails are tastier than Mac imagines. After the family leaves, Mac tells the boss he should put snails on the menu. The boss buys snails, shells, silver tongs and special serving dishes. They are not popular. Hardly any sell. After a month the boss tells Mac to keep his menu ideas to himself.
Separate, rinse, load, dry, stack.
Back when Mac took his pendant to Old Li to see if it was worth anything a man died at the Inn. It was in a room called the Sand Dollar. He was there with his wife. Mac remembers showing them to their room. Last night, a year later, Mac shows the same woman to the same room with her new husband. Mac is nervous but nothing happens. The next day they have breakfast at the Frolic and leave. People are strange that way thinks Mac. Just like he is drawn to the place where the Frolic sank.
Separate, rinse, load, dry, stack. You have a lot of time to think about things when you’re washing dishes. Sometimes you don’t think about anything. That’s what enlightenment is. Not thinking. Just being there. That’s it.