Outside it looks humble and invisible, but inside are impossible alien delights. Dancing sculptures, sacred and inhuman, writhe beautifully atop thirty-foot towers of twisting spun glass too fragile and precarious for the learned eye to accept. Perfect ultramodern angels, ice-eyed and androgynous, lounge languidly on a cloudlike sea of cushions, listening to distant music too subtle for most ears to comprehend, much less enjoy. They wear masks of ancient tragedy, reborn in a new age of hope and possibility. Their ways are innocent and hedonistic, refined and ecstatic. The delights of this place cannot be understood or forgotten.
This alley is not listed on any map, and the only way to find the place is to follow a stray raccoon or a homeless madwoman for a day and a night.
As a result, the rent is dirt-cheap.
There's a lot of stores there which couldn't afford to stay in business elsewhere.
There's a restaurant, "The Last Meal," which serves only dishes which contain poisonous ingredients, prepared expertly by a chef who is the pioneer of his field. If your time has come, say the food critics, go with style. Try the salmon arsenic, or the bamboo stir-fry with ginger-hemlock sauce.
Next door is a little fortune-teller's shop, "The Little Guides." The medium who runs the shop will only speak to nature spirits. Specifically, she'll only speak to the spirits of plants which were harvested for extraction of chemicals used in psychiatric medication. Bring in your Vasopressin or your Idebenone or your Strattera, and she will let you speak with the naturae, kami and dryads which were harvested for it. Most, she promises, are quite generous.
The reason I go to this alley, though, is for my favorite bookstore, "Books Which Only Contain Concepts A Dog Would Understand." I go every other Tuesday, generally. The store is clean and well-lit and stimulating, and the staff is eager and helpful. I haven't seen any of the titles elsewhere, but I can assure you that "I Wish I Were The Boss" is a classic. Other favorites include "Nobody Is Allowed Here Unless I Love Them" and "Yay! Let's Fight" and "When You're Done, Can I Have What's Left?" The writing style is refreshing and honest.
I'm headed there this afternoon. Do you need anything while I'm in the neighborhood?