Following is a redaction from an e-mail I sent explaining Why Our Hero Is Going East. Useful for those viewers just now joining us. Names and details have been changed to implicate others.
It's my Grandma's Farewell Tour '05. She's going back for what will probably be the last time in her life. It's going to be all about parading the family (nine of us on my flight alone) (because there are so many of us, and because Grandma is in a wheelchair just for safety's sake and because there are two babies numbered among us, we get to jump ahead of the lines and live it up like rockstars in Economy Class, boo-yah). She'll be tying up loose ends, squaring away old debts, that sort of thing. I'm coming along to make sure she doesn't break her hip or something.
Then, roundabout Christmas time (it's the season, you know), my aunts on my Mom's side of the family were freaking out about old abandoned properties back home that aren't being properly supervised, because everyone on Mom's side of the family is DEAD or ILLEGITIMATE, and there are backtaxes and corrupt officials and illegal squatters that all need to be appeased.
So naturally, since I'm already going In Country, I've been briefed and commissioned to straighten things out and see what's going on on the ground for the surviving ex-pat Jimenez sisters. It's a delicate situation, because on the one hand I'm a prop and an element of my father's family's prosperity, and on the other hand I'm an agent and a trusted advocate of my Mom's family in their desperation. The natural thing to do is to somehow bridge the prosperity to the desperation, but this is not a simple proposition given the complicated nature of my sundered dual family dynamics (it's like twice the fun without the emotional support!).
And to top it all off, I just moved to a new place, on 32nd and Hawthorne.
And I'm dating a painter.
And I've just been told that I'm on the ______ ______ cast, whereas last time I checked no one formally offered me a part, and I haven't had a chance to check with my calendars or anything like that. I mean, I was in the staged reading, and I was in a workshop back in late december or early january, and everyone was acting like I was part of the cast. But when I talked to the People In Charge about this they said that sorry, but they were still in re-writes and they couldn't formally offer me a part until they knew which characters were doing what, to which I said, okay, that's cool. Let me know as soon as possible so I could make decisions accordingly, because here I am flying hither and yon with painfully laughable sums in my checking account, and I'm by no means prepared to fecklessly sign on to something else, especially if it means more time away from my day job, which I keep forgetting I have because I seem to be doing everything but earning a living these days. But I digress.
Will the Puissant Paulmonster Survive this Phrightfully Phantastical Philippines Adventure? Stay tuned, o reader.