APRIL 9, 2017
BLUES RUN THE GAME
So anyway. Things sure seem crazy on the Island lately, what with the full moon, the Spring Equinox and the change in Daylight Savings Time - which of course some people will blame upon a Liberal Conspiracy Agenda.
With the election of Ronald Rump to the Presidency of the Bums, discord has migrated from either the bottom upwards or from the top down, depending on how one looks at the Aristocracy of Bums that calls Sacto its capitol.
Babar, leader of the Greatly Orotund Party and long the Party of choice for Conservatives has been dismayed by the usurpation of his party's resources and name by Rump, who has been roistering with floozies and neo-nazi-types in a marble hot tub his peeps had pulled from the Ronald Reagan Memorial Dump outside Sacto.
Papoon's campaign slogan, "Not Insane!"
Babar, a personage so conservative he wears two pairs of pants, considers Rump to be Nouveau Riche, course and without manners. Lately Babar has been kneeling before his painting of Teddy Roosevelt, burning incense and muttering prayers, while his opponent, Papoon, the leader of the Somewhat Overtly Democratic Party has been drinking like a fish at the Old Same Place Bar every night, lamenting the debacle of the last elections. Papoon's campaign slogan, "Not Insane!" had not gone over well this time, as people preferred the alternative, or so it seemed.
"I'll have another Buttercup," slurred Papoon to Suzie the bartender. The bar's signature drink, a Buttercup, consisted of a splash of soda, 1.5 ounce vodka, 1 ounce clear absinthe, 1 ounce rum, 1/2 ounce Chartreuse, 1/2 ounce Galliano all strained with crushed ice and then a float of 151 proof Demerara on top. It was a drink that caused die-hard drinkers of Zombies pause and Papoon had three already.
"You are going to wake up with a head," Padraic warned. "I am going to have to shut you off soon."
"I am shut off from Power by His Majesty, The Mouth," Papoon said. "The land has chosen against its own interests over simplification and strident nonsense, tossing away its birthright of Democracy. So pickle me and brine me and preserve me as an old fossil of what once was The Island."
"You are drunk," said Eugene Gallipagus, who had also enjoyed a few rounds of celebration towards the beginning of trout season.
"Of course, I am," Papoon said. "That is why I act foolish. What is your excuse?"
Averting fisticuffs, Denby broke up the disputatious scene with another round of Blues from the Snug where he had set up his guitar and the table.
Latterly, Denby has been all steamed. He's been carrying around this bad review cut out from Island Magazine for weeks wherein the reviewer had savaged his singing ability. "This fellow plays the guitar well enough," said the Reviewer, "But when it comes to the lyrics it appears that he is tone-deaf...".
In addition, members of the Angry Elf Gang have been driving past the cell he rents at the Lunatic Asylum of St. Charles Street, taunting him. This tends to put anyone of reasonable disposition off their feed. Denby pulled out the copper metal slide and the Montoya, set in Open G.
I've been looking for a home
Despite these setbacks, there is the blues. Despite these accusations, there is the Blues. You do not need to be "on key" singing the Blues.
I've been drifting here and there
The Blues is not about being smooth and comfortable. It is not about meeting anybody's expectations about behavior or music. It is not about being political one way or another. The Blues is and always has been about Life and living it and nobody ever chooses the Blues.
One of these nights sing you a song
You can always pick your melody and you can always pick your key and you can always pick a road to follow, but nobody chooses the Blues and succeeds for long; the Blues choose you. Only then can the Blues ease your soul.
I've got a picture in my mind
Carry my burden down to the anvil
Still looking for a home
Lead me on
Denby's slide was not store bought, but a short piece of copper waterpipe he scrounged from when they had done a massive re-pipe job at the asylum. Denby's job had been to open up the doors, show the crew where the boilers and street inputs were, and keep an eye on the hebephrenics and the schizos so they didn't go bonkers when the men tore out the walls. After the job was done there were lengths of choked galvanized and copper pipe everywhere so Denby picked up a piece, cut it with a hacksaw and used a grinder to polish the edges. That pipe became his slide.
That re-pipe had been a job the Angry Elf had wanted to do, but the little man had proved too unreliable, so when Denby took it on that had been another reason the dwarfish Mafioso disliked him. Denby knew that time was against him and eventually the gang would get him, like in that old Hemingway story about the boxer.
Martini, also deep in his cups after a long day working the metal saw and filled with all the accumulated indignities that come with working a day job in this town and this country, all the insults and slights and put-downs arranged his elbows on the table. "Blues run the game; no question about it."
From from far across the water, the night train sent its wail, spreading like the forcefield of an explosive wave, beneath the light-studded gantries of the Port of Oaktown, keening across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats through the cracked brick of the Cannery and its weedy railbed, crying over the dripping basketball hoops of Littlejohn Park and dying between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, trundling out of shadows on the edge of town past the Ohlone burial mounds to parts unknown