FEBRUARY 12, 2017



So anyway, a major dockwalloper set in this week to completely disrupt everything. Schools closed, power went out, sirens wailed and there was a lot of to do about road closures. Now that things have dried out for a few days, everyone around here has turned their minds to America's favorite pasttime: Sex.

The markets are packed with floating mylar balloon hearts, which surely is a most symbolic thing if there ever was one. Hearts made of tough material to which nothing will stick. The aisles groan under the weight of high caloric chocolates and pink confections. Everywhere the girls flutter and stir like thrushes and couples walk hand in hand. Everywhere there are couples cycling, walking, boating, dining and the world, although hung over with grey, roiling Blakean skies, exhudes a kind of Tanz auf der Vulkan sort of joy in the nauseating days of our lunatic Presidency.

All of this joy and Denby is miserable. Of course he is. The terrible V-Day approaches with much more advance bally-hoo than ever before, which means joy for some, but usually abject disaster for our only man.

The Editor typically sequesters himself a few days in advance into his office with a case of Makers Mark and a fridge packed with Michelina's frozen dinners so as to avoid being seen by that nasty boy flitting about with his quiver of arrows. Him and the leggy Joanne who always comes calling about this time. When one of his spies warns that Joanne is on the warpath, wearing a short shirt and tall leather boots, he turns out all the lights and sits with a straight shot of whiskey and pretends he is not home until she is gone from the outer door, calling "Yoohoo! Sweetie! I have a rose for you!"

Meanwhile Denby has tried various methods so as to avoid the terrific calamity that love and lust always make for him. When young women approach he averts his eyes.

No way did he want to repeat that catastrophe which happened with Diane. The broken bones and the third degree burns and the terrific property loss. Even worse: the execrable Opera of it all, with its scenes and wild hair and screaming.

Now that he was older, the pressure from those two hummingbirds down there had become less and he was content enough with his music and his books and sitting in the park undisturbed by any save the thrushes and the squirrels with their high bushy tails. Ah love - he was done with that young man's game.

As Denby crossed Crumpet near the traffic circle at the intersection of Throckmorton, Belvedere and Snoffish Valley Road he happened to see a head of flaming red hair enter Mr. Snarky's Coffeeshop. The parking meters there were all the old fashioned coin type, which he found quaint. It was that librarian, Siobhan who always walked with self possession. As a librarian, she fulfilled a role that possessed itself strict boundaries. A gentleman must always address a librarian as "Ma'am", for example.

Springsteen had a song about red-headed women. Denby wondered if Siobhan was a natural redhead with her blue eyes and if all her hair was . . .

Oh now stop it!

Up in the second floor rooms of Mr. Sanchez and Ms. Morales, a roseate glow pervaded the space that now housed the couple and their newborn, soon to be baptized as a native Californian with the name Ignacio. Above this room, the naked cherub armed with bow and arrows, invisible, paused to gaze down, but withheld his hand, for here there was love enough.

In the houses of Mr. Howitzer, the real estate magnate, and the Cribbages and the Dowdys, Cupid had visited before without success, for love always whithered without sustinance in such money-rich but emotion-poor environments. He spied Percy Worthington-Boughsplatt polishing his already immaculate two-toned 1939 Mandeville-Brot coupe and let loose and Percy took one look at Madeline and fell head over heads in love with her all over again.

Shelly and Lynette walked hand in hand beside the marina after dinner; they needed no help. They were perfectly fine together.

Amor flew off down the street, pinging here and there to see what targets he could find in the dead of winter as the tulips were just beginning to thrust upward through the snow in some places and the sun descended behind the Golden Gate in a firey burst of volcanic skies lit by glowing magma bearing granite lumps of cloud flowing west.

Down below, a figure walked slouched over, deep in his thoughts, thinking about red-headed women. An innocent soul. So Eros let fly.

Denby jerked in pain and clutched his chest, but the damage was done. In a fit of pique Denby marched off to the Old Same Place Bar, there to grab his guitar and pour himself into a double shot of Blues as the barflies took their places and the singles mingled in their ritual dances, some leaving with another and most leaving alone with only the Water of Life for solace. V-Day would be over, soon enough.