January 16, 2012
PLANNING THE BALL
So anyway, the temperature has been chill and the pogonip lingering these past few days. When the sun came out a chill wind forced everyone quickly indoors. Word has it that a big storm is heading this way, which will surely rectify all inequities.
It will not, but at least it will be something different and maybe put snow in the Sierra.
The new Mr. Howitzer, spreading his wings and just establishing himself in Society here, sent Dodd out in search of truffles for a particular recipe he had in mind.
Dodd said that raw truffles were not to be had in this district at the grocery, to which Mr. Howitzer responded that Dodd had better find some or else and besides he had found a receipt from Sonoma Farms for 1 live pig. It is commonly known that pigs are employed to find truffles. Where had that pig named Hermano gotten himself?
"Hermano was not the truffle-pig sort, having been bred as the rashers and ribs sort of supplier", Dodd said, and so absolved his friend from responsibility once more. Hermano, snorting and snuffling in a pen located in up-county Sonoma, appreciated this consideration.
Wearily, Dodd climbed into his battered Citroen to head up to Berzerkeley to find that the posh Andronico's had fallen victim to the Great Recession. Berkeley had long ago put the foo in fou-fou, so Dodd went searching.
While Dodd hunted truffles, Mr. Howitzer checked in on the work being done to repair the building that had caught fire. While at the site, he instructed the electrician to run the power lines so the hall lights would be on the circuit of one tenant, the porch lights on another's, and the maintenance sockets on yet another's.
"Ah señor, where do I put the ground?" Ferñando asked.
"O don't bother with that."
"Ah, señor, I do not think that is so legal," the workman asked. He was not a licensed electrician, but he did know a thing or two.
"I am not going to pay for it," Mr. Howitzer said. "I'll put one in later. Here's five dollars. Forget about it, I tell you."
"But . . .".
"Okayyyyy . . .".
The mains may have been grounded at one time, but the inexperienced Ferñando could not find it, so he ran a line to the metal clothesline pole. That sort of worked for now, but Ferñando made a mental note to avoid the place in the future.
When lunchtime came around, Ferñando went in search of a food truck, but the City Council had not yet granted its blessing to this necessity. Fortunately, he found Lionel tending the counter at the Pampered Pup hotdog joint.
Lionel was trying to explain to Arthur about how things had changed since the old days.
"These kids running around with their pants hanging down and slouching like no-accounts complain about nothing I tell you," Lionel said. "They just don't know what it was like."
"How things going between you and that Jaqueline? You get past first base yet?"
"And that's another thing . . .", Lionel began.
"O for pete's sake. . .".
"Where's the romance gone today? These kids! Where's the subtlety, the . . . the . . . I remember when it was "Signed, Sealed Delivered" instead of Baby baby I wanna hump you now. There was Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Stop! In the Name of Love, and Heaven Must Have Sent You. . .".
"Sounds like the same old song . . ." Arthur said.
"Four Tops. You betcha. They just don't write songs like they used to. Everything is all sex and drugs and 'hoes and violence."
"Si," Fernando said. "Like La Pistole y mi Corazon."
The two guys just looked at him.
At the marina parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West the planning committee was gathering ideas and taking stock of resources for the Annual Golden Poppy Valentine's Day Fundraiser Ball. Wally had got out his hunting bow as well as an 180 pound crossbow and they were thinking of having a live cupid running around, first on Park Street as a sort of ad for the charity ball and then at the Ball itself.
The crossbow was nixed as looking really unromantic and Wally regretfully put it away.
"Now who do we have who is fat and still looks good naked?"
Roberta was shocked. "Is too cold to run around without any clothes on!"
Rachel was contemplative. "Who says he's got to be fat? Put some vine leaves in his hair whoever it is." She was thinking in her head of a couple dance instructors who would look dashing with a quiver of arrows and not much else. They would do it, too.
"They have to wear some pink," Sharon said. "At least pink shoes. I adore pink. That's the main reason I like Valentine's Day."
"No, no, no we can't have naked people on Park Street," David said. "This is not Berkeley."
Various members of the City Council were bandied about, but only briefly. Nobody wanted to see any of them nearly naked, not even Mayor Marie, who is must be admitted was a far better-looking Mayor than the Island had enjoyed for quite a long time.
"Who says Cupid has to be a guy?" Abraham said. "Let's get Miss Island! She is civic-minded with her recycling programs and we already know Jessica looks good in a bathing suit . . .".
"Well," David said, "We could drive her around in a compost bin on wheels. . .".
"I can see it now," Abraham said. "The theme for this year can be 'Go green this Valentine's Day!'"
"God!" Rachel said with disgust. "Just think of the wretched color scheme -- green and pink!"
"Or it can be, just imagine, 'The Recycled Heart!'" Wally said. "Don't just throw your heart away, recycle!"
The possibilities began to pour through their minds. Everyone except Rachel, who could not get the image of hearts being used to compost a worm farm out of her head.
"It's just like Love," Sharon said. "You pour dirt on it and . . . it just blooms!" She sighed. "Ah romance!"
Abraham really liked the idea of Miss Island being driven around while wearing nothing but strategically placed refuse. Okay, so its Valentine's day -- strategically placed hearts.
"I can't believe you people want to turn Valentine's Day into a strip show!" Rachel said.
"Can we get, like, pink champagne for this?" Sharon asked.
Bored, David went outside with the crossbow and, seeing the tempting sight of a plump "tree chicken", fired a bolt, missing the critter who scampered up and away with a flick of its bushy tail. The bolt snicked past the tree branch to severe a guy-line for the mainmast to Mr. Cribbage's new 40-foot ketch. With impressive power the bolt continued on its way to pierce the transformer up on the utility pole at the far end of the marina.
Wally and the others came out of the clubhouse.
"The heater stopped and all the lights went off," Wally said. "I think the power went out."
The Island, from 8th Street on west went dark as sparks began a little show of pyrotechnics up on the pole, noticed only by David.
David handed the crossbow to Wally. "I gotta run. Patricia is having a chiropractic social and I gotta be there. Talk to you guys later!"
"What happened to the power?" Sharon said. "Hey! Look at the pretty pink sparks over there!"
That night at the Old Same Place Bar the talk turned from the fire that started at Washington Park, caused apparently by a power pole accident, to politics. The Presidential primaries were coming up and the battles between the various factions of the Conservative Party, the Very Conservative Party, the American Taliban Ultra Conservative Party and the Ultra Ultra Conservative Pee Tardy Party had gotten fierce. Michelle Schockman had already bowed out when her main campaign manager spent most of the campaign budget on sunglasses for their poodle, Froufrou Pink.
Greg Eft, of the Ultra Conservatives looked in pretty bad shape after news of his seven wives in seven states became public.
Babar, present in the OSPB at the rail commented that all these so-called conservatives were just posers. "A true Conservative wears two pairs of pants, uses the right Grecian Formula on his hair and the right plastic on that of his spouse of many years. A true conservative does not travel abroad to any place save Germany, which is held as a modal of how hard work and innate talent lead inevitably to success and the fall of evil socialism. German food is known to be Conservative in nature.
A true conservative does not really believe in starving government to nothing for government can be useful for handing out pots of money to wealthy friends. A true conservative goes to church, but not often and never talks about it, because all churches are always looking for free handouts.
When asked for whom Babar would vote, other than himself (he, himself is, of course, considered America's Best Conservative, for his very physique embodies the heart and symbol of Conservativism) the Candidate considered briefly.
"The most intelligent and clearly superficial candidate is Steven Colbert."
With that, the long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the shining sea waters of the estuary before wavering over the amber waves of grain at the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive wended its way from the tall gantries of the Port past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, heading off on its journey to the purple mountain's majesty and parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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