"Hey it's dark out here on this desert highway. How come there aren't any streetlights?" Micky Dolenz peered worriedly through the blackness on the other side of the glass of the passenger window and tried to banish thoughts of ghosts, ghouls and other creatures of the night.
"Yeah, it's bloomin' hot too," chimed in Davey Jones from the back seat.
"Oh, I don't know. There's a pretty cool wind in your hair if you lean out of the window." Peter Torks voice came from what sounded like a great distance away and his companions realised that he was indeed hanging mostly out of one window of the Monkeemobile, tongue lolling and fair hair blowing like that of a dog.
"Will you guys quit whining." Mike Nesmith was irritable. He had been driving for over three hours and lost for two of those thanks to the combined navigational efforts of his friends. "look, there's a light up ahead in the distance."
Sure enough a small wavering glow seemed to wink in and out of the darkness in the uncharacteristically moonless night of the desert. Another ten minutes of driving saw the big red vehicle pull into the courtyard of what seemed to be an hotel in the mock Spanish style so beloved in California.
"Cor, what's that smell?" Davey asked as he and Peter spilled from the back seats of the car.
Mike unfolded his long lanky frame from the drivers door and stretched gingerly fists clenched in the small of his aching back. He took a slow deep breath.
"Collitas," he replied succinctly.
"Hey I only asked!"
"No, Davey, that's what you can smell." Micky grinned as he and the others hurried after Mike's rapidly retreating back. "they're a kind of flower."
"Oh." The three Monkees had now joined their companion at the base of a flight of wide gently curved steps which led to two heavy wooden doors which were currently ajar. From inside came a gentle amber light and the soft almost indistinct notes of a hypnotic guitar melody. As the four young men stood debating whether or not to go inside the door swung open wider and a figure with a storm lamp appeared on the top step. This caused Micky to jump straight into Mike's arms with a squeak of alarm. Mike sighed heavily and dropped him.
"Come in, come in," came soft lilting female voice as the shadowy figure resolved itself into that of a stunningly beautiful young woman. "All are welcome at The Hotel California."
As one the three Monkees turned towards Davey but it was too late. His face was as blank as a new page and in his eyes the reflected flames of the young woman's lantern flickered like stars.
"Oh no," Mike sighed again as his diminutive band mate glided past him as if in a trance.
"This is going to be heaven," Davey murmured breathily.
"More like hell, Micky corrected.
Bowing to the inevitable they followed and found themselves in a reception area that looked as if it had been created for a movie in the days of grand old Hollywood. The delicate pink plaster walls curved up towards a startlingly lovely vaulted ceiling and at the top of a grand staircase a minstrel's gallery allowed any guests to be able to look down into the gorgeous and tastefully furnished room.
Satin chaise longues and upholstered leather chairs crouched beside ornate occasional tables and against one wall a huge fireplace caught the eye, the massive mirror above it reflecting back the bedraggled image of four tired dusty Monkees.
"Ah, would you have a room for the night please miss?" Mike's honeyed Texan drawl dragged the receptionist's attention momentarily from Davey. In the soft light of the reception room her hair shone like polished black stone and her eyes seemed to sparkle with an unnatural brilliance. Glancing down Mike saw that her dress was of a particularly old fashioned style, it's bodice worn and coated with dust. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck go up and he swallowed hard. "Then again maybe we'll just push on a little further."