Imagine Andrea’s chagrin when she had to walk away from the front door and follow the group upstairs for more German wonderment. Me? I was stoked because I just knew there were going to be secret passages up there.
Burnt Offerings Lady opted to sit down on a chair in the foyer because her legs were not stair-savvy. I noticed Andrea casting her longing glances, probably because she wished she had the foresight to feign a physical handicap. Too bad Dick noticed Burnt Offerings camped out downstairs and put a kibosh to it.
“Oh dear, is this an antique?” Burnt Offerings asked after Dick got all flustered at the sight of her resting her brittle bones. She labored herself out of the chair as he hot-stepped it down the staircase to join her.
“No, it’s just that my boss would have a fit if he knew anyone was left down here alone. I can’t let you stay down here, so we’ll have to take the elevator.”
Andrea looked at me, eyes all slit, and hissed, “He is such a dick!” So suddenly Scary Old Lady from the parking lot had become Poor Old Lady in Andrea’s eyes. I think it also made Andrea realize that there was NO WAY OUT OF THE BAYERNHOF.
We all milled about the upstairs landing until Dick and Burnt Offerings joined us from the elevator. Apparently, there was no staircase that couldn’t be swapped out for an elevator, yet I never actually saw the elevator, thus solidifying my theory that Dick was actually a warlock, latching on to Burnt Offerings by her hair and flying her in through windows.
The first upstairs room we saw was one of the guest rooms and hoo boy, do I wish I could sleep over! Paintings of castles, curtains that opened with the press of a button, a mini kitchen tucked away behind a cabinet door, the bedspread a paroxysmal splatter of burnt oranges, reds and yellows – it was a room fit for a German Dan Tanna. Dick told us that in his room, he puts a coffee pot on one of the stove burners and even has a small microwave tucked in there, too. I noticed Andrea flushing a distinct shade of chartreuse, probably because she was picturing Dick in his tightie whities, brewing coffee and popping prunes while doing the Charleston to wound-up music boxes.
The next room was a game room with a riverboat theme. It had a large poker table, a music box with a real banjo encased in it you guys!!!!, and a hexagonal domed skylight featuring painted images of, oh my God, Germany. But the best part of this room was the fortune teller box. Dick, having caught on by now to Andrea’s unchanging dour expression, volunteered her to crank the arm and get a fortune.
She reluctantly did as she was told, and then Dick made her READ IT OUT LOUD; it was some horrid string of words about how the one she is engaged to is not the one she will marry, and everyone began tittering and giggling at the absurdity of this fortune, but Andrea looked ready to self-combust on the spot. And if the Bayernhof wasn’t already haunted, it was sure to be if that had happened. As everyone retreated from the room, Andrea whispered, “I’m going to kill you” in the iciest tone I have ever heard in my whole entire life, and I used to watch A LOT of Soap Operas.
In the master bedroom, we learned that Chuck only wore blue Brooks Brothers shirts, and after he died over 200 were counted in his closet. What a fucking weirdo. All I really remember about this room is that it was overrun with Hummel figures and some fucking Walt Disney collection. Dick pointed out that this was one of the few rooms in the house that did not have its own bar, which made everyone cry out in surprise (myself included, albeit only to irritate Andrea). But then Dick opened a door with a flourish and yelled, “That’s because he has an entire kitchen and bar attached to his room!” and everyone (myself included) chortled joyously like the audience of Hee Haw. Except for Andrea, who merely sighed exasperatedly.
Also in the master bedroom, we learned that Chuck had a long-time girlfriend, some German broad named Erma. “They never married,” Dick said, pausing dramatically. “Because she never wanted to! I bet you thought it was him that didn’t want to get married!” he directed solely to Andrea, pulling back his lips to really give her a good shot of his gums. I could sense her recoiling. Listening to Jonny Craig in my car probably never sounded so appealing to her before.
One of the men in our group, Burnt Offering’s son I believe, began whistling through his teeth right about the time I began noticing someone’s sour, pungent breath swirling around me. Old people suck.
There was a narrow, winding staircase in this room and it was all I could fixate on the whole time Dick talked about the worth of the Hummel collection and what kind of toothpaste Chuck preferred. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally instructed us to ascend the stairs (I AM OBSESSED WITH STAIRS) while he whisked Burnt Offerings off to the secret elevator and promised to meet us up there after he finished snacking on her blood.
I was like a giggly school girl on that staircase! It was so narrow, twisty and wooden! Oh my god, I wished it would have went on forever. Fuck, I love a staircase. (I just jumped up and down at the memory!)
At the top was another bar which spilled out into a small, dark and curved room decorated with large murals of constellations. At the center was a metal ladder which led up to a gigantic orange telescope underneath a small observatory dome.
“Totally did not see that coming!” I enthused to Andrea, who retorted with, “This is fucking stupid.” Dick and Burnt Offerings joined us from the other side of the room (WHERE THE FUCK WAS THIS SUPPOSED ELEVATOR?!) and then told us some stuff while the old lady in feathering coral lipstick who came late to the tour kept trying to share with us her own observations that no one cared about and too bad she missed the part about not talking over Dick to your neighbors because I only had one half of a fake smile left in the bank for her. Andrea’s signature response to everything was an effective deadened stare and taut lips.
Back downstairs, we saw some other bedroom, and someone jokingly asked Dick, “When do we get to see your room?” to which Dick laughed and said, “Mine is one of the rooms with the closed doors. Trust me, it’s just a bachelor pad and you don’t want to see it!”
I bet at that point, Andrea’s mind was taken to a room full of palpable flatulence, piles of worn and ear-marked Hustlers and skid-marked underwear festering in discarded heaps.
Finally, in the master bathroom (which featured the same grand bathtub that’s in the master bathroom at my grandparents house), Dick pulled open a hidden door and I almost wet myself. FINALLY A GODDAMN HIDDEN PASSAGEWAY! I was an excited mess, fumbling with my phone and spontaneously breaking out into jazz hands. Andrea’s reaction was to grimace and look at me with disapproval.
At the bottom of the steps, we emerged through a gun case into Chuck’s office.
“I guess you could say we ‘shot right through’!” said the old lady who loved to talk. I laughed really obnoxiously and exaggeratedly at that and Andrea just rolled her eyes.
In the office, we learned that Chuck liked to display framed photos of Nixon and that “The Andy Griffith Show” was his favorite. He used to watch reruns in the kitchen while preparing for dinner parties, you guys!
“Any guy that has that many pictures of Nixon in his office has got to be an asshole,” Andrea said later. She really, really, really hated poor dead Chuck.
Apparently, when Dick first met Chuck (Dick used to come up from the South to repair the music boxes), Chuck had told Dick that Nixon was his cousin. When Chuck died in 1999, Dick came up for the funeral. He said that the house was packed with well-wishers, and that Chuck was laid out in the LIVING ROOM (so glad he waited until after to tell us that), but he couldn’t locate any of the Nixons. Finally, he asked someone who laughed and said, “Chuck wasn’t related to the Nixons!” Oh, that Chuck; such a trickster.
On a shelf near Andrea was one of those old school penny-flinging mechanisms. I’m not sure what they’re called, but I’ve seen them a million times, and so has Andrea, which really made for a crestfallen Dick when he tried to impress her with one. Really all he was doing was preparing us for the real wonder, which was the SECOND SECRET DOOR! The entire shelf spun opened and let us out into a boardroom, but not before Dick got all close to Andrea and sneered, “You have such a pretty smile.” In her best Ben Stein, she mumbled, “Thanks” and then later bitched to me that he was only singling her out in an effort to be an even bigger dick, but I will always believe that he wanted to make her the house fraulein. And that is where I will pick up again later. (I just can’t sit long enough to bang this all out!)