February 14, 2015
So anyway, this week has been a time of what they call "false spring" when the temperatures riseand the sap as well. Islanders took advantage of fine weather and a three day weekend to observe Valentine's Day, each in their own way. The Editor holed up in the Offices with a stack of Michelina's frozen and a couple liters of scotch, seeking to avoid the leggy Joanna. Jose hid out under the porch with Snuffles the bum and a gallon of cheap wine when Javier came looking for him with two of his girls.
"Where did mio compadre get off to?" Javier said aloud, standing right over Jose and Snuffles.
"C'mon Javier, lets go do the chi chi boom boom again," one the women said. She was wearing a hotpink tube-top and fuschia shorty shorts so tight you could read the care label on her underwear. She had six inch stiletto heels on her feet and her companion was dressed in a skintight nurse's costume with red pumps. Her dress was short enough to be banned from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition as being too extreme.
"Where's my valentine, you promised me, Javier," the nurse pouted and stamped her foot.
"I have no idea where the boy has gone," Javier said.
"Hey, somebody's down there!" said Fuschia.
Snuffles stuck his head out from the hole in the porch where Javier had nearly burned down the house on his birthday seven years ago.
Javier bent down but then recoiled. "Phew! Snuffles, when was the last time you had a bath!"
Snuffles paused a moment in serious reflection, then brightly said, "Deh-thember!"
"Wan' some wine!" Snuffles offered.
"I think not. Ladies, lets go have fun," Javier said.
Lionel stands nervously outside Jacqueline's salon, a bouquet in his sweating hands. The place is about to close and he has been waiting for an hour until the business quieted down. Jackie sees him, but pretends not to as she fusses about the shop. Eventually Maeve takes pity on him and opens the door.
"Hello Lionel, come on in."
"O no, I, ah . . . I".
"O don't be such a fish. Come on in, we are about to close up." Maeve hooks the stuttering Lionel by the elbow and drags him in. "Well Jackie, you have a visitor. I think I'll just neaten up the scrubs in the back. Ta ta!"
"Hello, Lionel," Jackie said, sweeping up loose hair around the barber chair.
"You have some flowers, I see."
"Ah. Yes. Flowers. They're for you."
"Why that is delightful! How nice of you!" Jackie took the flowers from Lionel who removed his hat and turned about by the brim in his nervous hands.
"Iyyy, ah . . .".
"Were you about to say something?" Jackie said as she trimmed the stems and set the flowers in a vase.
"I, ah . . . got a restroom?"
Jackie laughed. "Yes its back there." And she motioned with her hand.
Lionel scampered to the back only to run into Maeve who was peering from behind the curtain.
"Saints and pebbles!" Maeve said. "Lionel what is it?"
"I just want to ask Jackie to dinner," Lionel whispered. "Don't tell!"
"O for pete's sake, just ask her out would you, man!"
"Shhh! Sshhh!" Lionel said. "What if she just laughs at me?"
"God's whiskers, she won't laugh at you; she likes you! Go out there . . .".
"What the devil are you two up to back here?" Jacqueline said as she threw open the curtain. "Lionel! Maeve! Are you two trying to make love in my closet?"
"O! Pleasenoit'snotwhatyouthinkatallwewerejusttalkingandnothinghappenedIpromise . . .", Lionel said.
"Well Lionel, I never took you to be ladies man . . .". Jackie said.
"I . . .I . . .I . . .".
"Lionel, just ask her." Maeve folded her arms.
Maeve raised her wrist dramatically to her forehead. "O to think with my colleague, Maeve! I suppose I will survive. And to think I thought you . . .".
"NonononononoIdon'tlikeheratall . . .".
"Hey!" Maeve said.
"NoIdidn'tmeanthatatallIlikeMaeveshe'sniceandeverythingbutityouIwantImeantotake outtodinnerIamsorry Imadeamessofthingsagain Ijustbroughttheflowershopingyouwouldliketheman daskyououtandthatisallitreallyis."
Jackie looked a little cross-eyed."Lionel you are going to have to slow down and stop trying to tear your hat in half".
"It's Valentines Day. Everything is booked, I am afraid."
"I have reservations for Skates," Lionel said.
"I'll close up," Maeve said. "You two go on."
And with that, Jacqueline and Lionel left together. After closing up, Maeve went down the way to the Old Same Place Bar where the 3 day roistering was already in progress.
Denby, seeking to avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous Eros, spent the day listening to Cowboy Junkies CD's and that new Grammy winner, Beck. He then put on an overcoat and took himself to the movies where he watched Fifty Shades of Grey and the Spongebob Squarepants Movie as well as a space opera flick. He brought with him a pint of vodka which he mixed in with soda from the concession.
He fell asleep during the space opera flick and awoke to find that the kids in the Spongebob movie had glued the seat of his pants with bubblegum and shoved taffy in his shirt and somehow worked cotton candy past his waistband and there were wet jujubes in his shoes. He felt his way in the dark to a side door and let himself into a passageway that was cool and dark. He saw a light shining and pushed open a door to find himself in a restroom where he yanked off his shoes to shake them over the wastebasket.
There was a single stall and a dirty utility sink. Mops leaned up against the wall in one of those yellow buckets with wheels. This looked to be some kind of janitorial room that patrons never visited. He took off his pants and his shirt to try to clean them in the sink. Everything was soaked through and through with icky soda pop. He threw his underwear into the sink with his shirt and poured handsoap from a jug over everything.
It was while rinsing his underwear that he heard a woman's voice saying, "I am dying to take a leak." Denby turned just as the door opened and a stunning raven-haired woman wearing a skintight nurses uniform stalked in on red stiletto heels followed by a another woman dressed in shorty shorts.
The nurse shrieked and threw up her hands, while the woman in shorts looked up and said, "Nice hat."
The nurse looked down and said with speculative curiosity, "Say, are you Jewish?"
That's how Denby wound up spending another February 14th in jail again asking the Creator why this sort of thing always happened to him.
Because you make me laugh, responded the Creator. That's why I really love mankind.
Then came the ululation of the throughpassing train from far across the water as it trundled from the gantries of the Port of Oaktown with their moonlit towers, letting its cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, through the cracked brick of the former Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading dock, its weedy railbed, its chainlink fence interstices until the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, trundling out of shadows on the edge of town past the old Ohlone shellmounds to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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