MARCH 28, 2010

Its been a quiet week on the Island, our Hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.

March came in roaring, as it is wont to do, and although the days have been mild, an approaching dockwalloper indicates it may go out just as noisily. Hopefully those folks stacking sandbags in Fargo and along various streams in Minnesota will see the waters go down a bit before the thing hits them.

In honor of the Season the Native Sons of the Golden West held their Spring Fling in the Clubhouse down by the Marina. Everyone was invited. Everyone came.

Little Imbecilla Cupcake carried trays of tapas prepared by Marlene around to all the guests during the entertainment, which had all been put together by Harry (Hoot) Buttkins, who traced his lineage way back to members of the Mariposa Battalion. Hoot had arranged for Andre's punk band "No Future in Real Estate" to play Beatles covers between main acts. So Andre had grabbed several dubious tab sheets off the Internet before quickly running the band through Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, and White Album.

"This don't sound like the right key," complained Denby. "You sure 'Got to Hide Your Love Away' is in F#?"

"Just tune your instrument, dude." Said Andre.

"I don't care about the rest of you. I am doing G major. You can do F# all you want."

Andre told him the key didn't matter. Nor the right notes. "Those old farts heard this crap a thousand times by now; heck, they all hear what's in their heads anyway and half of them was wack on acid the first time they heard it."

Andre had great fun doing "Imagine" with all downstrokes at 200 bpm adorned by screaming and snarls. "Hey," he said. "We be artists. Just wait til they get a load of our Australian walkabout sing-a-long version of "Stairway to Heaven."

Fortunately for all concerned Hoot had provided other distractions. "And now, live from Winnipeg, the pride of Canada, Wootee Kanootee!

Wootee Kanootee, an immensely bearded man, wearing a checked shirt that would have done well by size and design for a table cloth, and topped by a beaver-skin cap, lumbered up to the stage.

"Fine groupa folks," he said into the mike. "What say we form a hockey team, eh?" Silence greeted this intro, and then he called in his animals by name. "Donner and Blitzen and Prancer and Alice, you come now, ja."

The back door opened and four very large animals with antler spreads of at least three feet each -- save for Alice -- clattered up to the stage."

"Oh!" said Latreena Brown to Mrs. Blather. "I thought they said "Famous Mouse tamer! Those aren't mice at all!"

While this was going on, Malice Green was out front of the Clubhouse trying to interest the leggy Joanne and a couple developers in a development project to redo the entire Marina into a massive waterfront housing project. The first step, of course, would be to brick up and cement all of the shoreline to get rid of the nasty sedge and mud. Provide a concrete Promenade with potted palms. Maybe put up a rail for liability purposes. Then, the highrise condos. Think of it!

Mr. Howitzer thought it a capital idea as did Mr. Cribbage, but Joanne, gazing at the trees and grass, women pushing strollers along the little path, and the gentle water lapping against the rip-rap said, "I think it looks fine the way it is. Leave it alone."

The rest of the developers there were shocked into an acre of silence and Mr. Howitzer's dog, Eisenhower started barking at a couple moose standing there on the lawn.

Inside the Clubhouse things got chaotic. Prancer had stopped trying to answer the question about what makes the border between the US and Canada. The correct answer is "40th parallel" -- at least according to Wootee -- but Prancer had given up tapping his hoof around the number 24 and had gotten up to place his forelegs to either side of Alice's trunk there and so begin doing to Alice pretty much what moose do in the Spring each year, and no amount of persuasion in Canadian French or any other language could get him to stop this in front of the children.

Wootee hustled the others out to the yard where he provided them with oats and Eisenhower barked at them, while Andre was commanded to distract the audience from the increasingly erotic display on stage. Prancer pretty much finished his business according to his own desires and so to the tune of "Hey! You've Got to Hide Your Love Away", the amorous couple was led outside.

A man wearing an opera cloak, a red bowtie and a Machiavellian mustache came up to the developers to say, "I am Sympatho Mimetslovic, clairvoyant from of the Prague. Yes! I will now read everything that is in your mind! Yes!"

With that the man dramatically placed one hand over his eyes as if shading them from the sun, and his other palm on the forehead of Malice Green.

The Czech man yanked his palm away from Green. "Ugh!" he said in disgust. "Worms!"

Joanne laughed. She then went inside where Andre was writhing on his back up on the stage. "Number 9! Number 9! Ahhhhhhhhh!"

She went into the Golden Poppy room where Angus McMayhem had set up the no host bar. Several people were standing around talking and sipping from glasses that contained liquids of shocking neon brilliance. A woman with short spikey hair was chatting with Eugene Gallipagus. She had a shi tzu on a silver leash which kept trying to mount Eugene's leg and her crimson blouse was bright enough to guide ships through the harbor on a foggy day.

"Cancer!" barked the woman sharply. "Sit!" The little dog plopped down his rear end and looked terribly disappointed.

"His name is what . . .?!" Eugene began.

"My name is Pimenta Strife," said the woman, offering her hand. Not knowing what else to do, Eugene shook it vigorously. "I do management. And you?"

"Uh, I do construction. I am a painter mostly these days."

"Cool. A painter. Representational or abstract?"

Eugene looked confused. He often does.

"Nevermind. Show me later. All artists are cool." She said, then abruptly, "Got any tats?"

"Um one. Um, a bird."

"Cool," said Pimenta. "Where?"

"Its, uh back . . .um there. Actually it wasn't my idea. I was in the Navy and these guys thought it would be a joke . . .".

"I got one," said Pimenta. "It says LUST 2.0. Its on my left lip."

Eugene looked carefully at her face. "I don't see it."

Pimenta smirked. "I don't think you ever will." With that she turned on her heel and walked away. "Cancer! Come along!"

She walked up to a guy with very large biceps emerging from a black T-shirt. You could see his tattoos very clearly and most of them involved serpents.

Pimenta introduced herself.

"Dey call me da Kid Viper."

A very platinum blonde standing next to him said, "He's Golden Gloves 2006. Just went pro. Knocked La Hoya right outta da ring last night." she said.

"You his girl?" asked Pimenta.

"Nah. I be his manager."

Pimenta put her hand on a writhing asp. "Now you are my kind of style."

The rejected Eugene left the bar area and went in to see Javier doing a rap version of another Beatle's song.

"Word! Words be flyin out like endless rain!
Yo! Into a paper cup I be holdin with my 40 ounce, yeah!
They be drifting they be caressin they be possessing
Like a mighty fine ho
They slither while they pass
They slip away across da universe with their stash
they be flying like bullets in da hood

Jai guru deva Om!
That's what I be talkin about
Got my mac got my knife
Nothin's gonna change my world
Nothin's gonna change my world

Yeah. Images of da broken streetlight . . ."

Christopher Brian Bridges and Snoop Dogg would have had tears in their eyes at the sounds emitted.

The Fling went on into the late hours of the night with Andre's band managing to mangle and destroy every single Beatles song from Rocky Raccoon to Get Back, with only a brief interlude during which the Amazing Anatolia Enigma performed various magic tricks in a performance that enthralled until Mr. Almeida's dog chased down one of the escaped rabbits and killed it.

"Tugboat!" admonished Mr. Almeida. "Put that back!" The black lab sadly walked up and dropped the lifeless bunny into the silk top hat before returning to Mr. Almeida, where he plopped down and sighed. This ended that performance.

At the end of the night Hoot Buttkins proudly handed over payment to the five members of the band to Andre.

"We decided to include something a little extra," the beaming Hoot said before walking away. "See you next year!"

Andre looked at the seventy-five dollar check, meant to be split five ways among the band members for about eight hours of work.

"Better than a kick in the face," said Pahrump, the drummer. "Oh the glamorous life of the professional musician." As they all packed up their equipment the cleaning crew started picking up the broken bottles and mopping the floors. The crew consisted of Martini, Jose, Tipitina, Xavier, Chad, and Marcus the dog, all from the Household.

When they had finished up they went out to the front and sat on the porch before the long walk home. Tipitina lit up a cigarette and the flash of the match revealed a small herd of moose. All the males had taken turns with Alice that day, and she stood there with a dreamy look on her moose face in the temporary corral.

A light rain began to fall under the full moon. Ship masts clinkered in the little marina that the developers contemplated destroying.

Its Spring again, said Jose. This may be the last rain for a while.

Rain is good, said Martini. 'Cept walking home in it.

Think the developers will ever get around to wrecking Ballena Bay? Tipitina said contemplatively, looking at the moon over the palm trees across the cove.

Something sure gotta replace greed as a prime motivator in this country, Chad said.

No idea what that could be, Xavier said. Seems that's all people go by and it don't work no good no more.

What's good for GM sucks for the rest of us, said Martini.

Compassion, said Chad. Compassion really can get people to do things. And everyone benefits.

There was silence except for the rain. Marcus barked, breaking the reverie.

They all got up to go.

"Right Marcus!" said Jose. "For I am a rain dog too . . .", he sang.

Sure nice to hear something besides the Beatles for a while, said Tipitina.

Right then the long wail of the throughpassing train ululated across the moon-dappled compassionate waters of the estuary as the engine wound its way from the Port of Oaktown through the dark and shuttered storefronts of the Jack London waterfront, heading off to parts unknown.