Kage Baker usually spent Dickens Build in her red camp chair with the built-in drink holder, consulting the holo in her head that showed her how the Parlour was supposed to be constructed. From time to time she would rise and stalk through the extension cords and pallets of lumber, making tiny corrections to details.
She would alter that holo (a little) to accommodate missing pieces, broken flats, inexplicable bits from other sets, the brand new bits of furniture that absolutely had to be fit into the room, and the markings on the floor where we had painted round the corners of last year’s walls. In the meantime, carpenters wise in the ways of Kage would be building the walls anyway, so they actually stood up and functioned. They were all well aware that Kage might very well be consulting a plan 6 years old. Or of a pub in some other city and century … it all worked eventually.
Today our crew outdid themselves – not only got the walls of the Green Man up in our bay of the Cow Palace, but got them repaired, straightened and painted. The kitchen (authentically narrow, dark and badly plumbed) is in place; there are the customary hollows behind the walls, where chimney sweeps and Fagin’s boys can creep (and where we hide the boxes the china was packed in), and our enormous Inn sign is up. At the moment it is proudly proclaiming our existence to all the other frantic performers and vendors likewise building their bits of London: but soon, soon …
Kage would be pleased. We’ve gotten this far in one day, and tomorrow we can begin moving in the furniture: the several, gloriously mismatched Turkish carpets; the carved tables “borrowed” from our various mothers, the gorgeous bar back found in a Vallejo antique store during the Farmers Market … the Welsh dresser and the sideboard and the white mantlepiece. All the lovely, homely jigsaw pieces that make a proper Parlour out of a 25 by 50 foot stretch of asphalt between concrete walls.
In only three days more of work, we will open. The day after that most American holiday, Thanksgiving, we faux Londoners will be here in our hoop skirts and top hats, eyes sparkling with jolliness and Christmas cheer. The crowds will pour into London, I will set the hands on the mantlepiece clock, and it will be Christmas Eve, of all the good old days in the good old world!
Kage would, I hope, be proud.