April 19, 2015


The Most Dangerous Season


Imbecilla and Fr. Danyluk

So anyway. The nights have drifted into their usual chill, but the days burn with a sunny brightness as prevailing winds and inland seagulls remind us that things are changing here on the Island. The box elder is beginning to leaf out as well as the crab apple tree. A skein of clouds keeps things from getting too hot, yet warm enough for people to toss up the sashes, but at night the high altitude winds are keeping away the high fog, revealing Orion tumbling over the Veteran's Hall and that secretive Harvest moon. From somewhere out of an open window two extraordinarily beatiful women's voices are drifting over the yards, singing an old Neal Young song, a duet.

Makes a man want to fall in love. Take that dark one, the one who is really an angel of light. Chain up her heart. Get into a bit of role play and deliciousness. Tease and please. And the light one, she who is really dark and fey and of the faery Se, tie her up too and do all kinds of things, like cover her with roses. As if that had not happened to her before. What is a man to do? Especially an old man in dustcoat, waiting, standing out in the alley, listening to the concert with no more than a tattered bouquet in hand.

Spring. It's a time when things start to happen. Imaginations start to run wild. The ivy goes crazy and the squirrels act even more squirrelly than usual with manic industry.

Pedro Almeida, on board El Borracho Perdido, with his new first mate in training, Ferryboat beside, angles out toward the fishing lanes beyond the Golden Gate. People who do not know think NorCal has no Seasons, but those people do not know the lives of fishermen who cast their fates upon the seasonal restrictions upon their trade. In this month you may not take crab nor oysters. In this month you may take herring and sole. This year you may take no tuna or salmon.

Nevertheless the fisherman's lot is his to choose. He is the sole proprietor of his domain, the Sea. Woof! says Ferryboat. And the chop and the radio provided all the accomaniment required.

Out toward the lanes pilots Pedro with Ferryboat beside and another galloping across the waves, the ghost of Tugboat, his companion of many years who fought the Great White and died on the blood-soaked decks of the ship, for all mariners must suffer their ghosts to attend from day to day, ship's bell to bell, hour to hour. For that is the way of the Sea, and perhaps also those vast acres of wheat or alfalfa blowing in waves for miles upon miles to the horizon and those who tractor across them in their iHarvester cabs like small ships scudding across the waves.

The nights remain chilly, but the bright days increase in number. After the calla lilies, the tulips and other harbingers of change are popping out all over. It has been quite a winter for people east of here, but the snow shall melt soon even in Boston.

"You bit his WHAT!..."?

At the Church of our Lady of Incessant Complaint, everyone was just knackered after getting through the pastoral Eastertime, what with pageants and egg hunts and the swapping out of color schemes in the hangings and drapery and Sister Profundity getting into a snit over washing the chasubles and Sister Incontinence tripping and falling down the stairs and the rolling morality play wagon losing a wheel at just the wrong moment, dumping all the prophets and apostles and Mary Magdalen into a heap and thank heaven He is risen and its all over, hopefully for another 1000 years, or at least next April. The exhausted priest just wanted to plotz down with a fishing pole and not be bothered when up comes little Imbecilla Cupkake to complain that Danny kept sticking his "thing" in her ear.

"Tell Danny to stop it."

"I did but he wouldn't stop. So I bit him. I bit him on his pinna."

The Father dropped his fishing pole. "You bit his WHAT!?"

"His pinna. I grabbed his head and bit him on his earlobe. . . ".

"O for Pete's sake. . . ".

"Then I shoved him and he started to cry and I felt good about it. Is that a sin? Pinna -- that's a funny word. Sounds like something else. A dirty word maybe." She giggled.

Father Danyluk sighed.

No doubt about it, things were happening all over the Island. Tendrils of fava been shoots had started to curl about the ironmongery in the back of Marlene and Andre's Household. In Wootie Kanootie's paddock, Eunice the moose shifted her feet, guaged the height of the fence and considered the timing of her next escape. Night draped itself langorously as an odalesque over the flat roofs of the town and Orion re-appeared, doing his gymnastics over the Veteran's Hall. Sargeant Rumsbum twitched his moustaches and sniffed the air for something suspicious, but it was only the lemon verbena tree across the way and so he marched on down to the bus stop to catch the O Express into the City where he would serve and protect the Macy's basement Women's Intimate Apparel Department for a few hours as a security guard.

In the Offices of Island-Life the Editor came in at the end of the day to restock the cabinet with good scotch and the fridge with Michelina's frozen dinners in preparation for the Most Dangerous Season. What can one do to prepare for a Season of Danger? And why is the upcoming Season the most Dangerous of all?

A raccoon crept along the Old Fence and climbed on over to the other side in hopes that maybe just this one time the door to the Almeida henhouse had been left ajar. Little white clover flowers hung like silent bells, moving ever so gently back and forth in the wake of his passing.

One will just have to wait until next week to learn all about the Most Dangerous Season of all, for 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.


The Gardens of Qom

So anyway, as mentioned last week everyone on the Island is preparing for the post-Winter season. Which, given the cloudy skies and occasional sprinkles and rather chill -- for California -- evenings dipping into the forties has not exactly arrived quite yet.

Yet nevertheless it is unwise not to prepare in advance for the Most Dangerous Season. Yes, Spring is the most dangerous season. Maybe it is different in other places, but here, wise men remain indoors and order pizza for dinner, hunker down by the TV to watch endless reruns of Monster Truck Destruction and Terminator I, II, III and IV. It's safer cuddled there in the dark lit only by the blackout curtain blocked TV set glow.

squirrels conducting reconnaissance forays

Bees dive-bombing the clover, hummingbirds bayoneting the jasmine that keeps throwing out punches this way and that while sending wafts of chemical weapons of mass disruption. Army ants on the march in great phalanxes and squirrels conducting reconnaissance forays add to the mayhem, while raccoons begin nightly raids. The daisy bush bursts with yellow ack-ack blooms while the poppies erupt with tiny explosions across the fields. Squadrons of swallows swooping and diving, duck sorties, and Canadian geese streak overhead and then, worst of all, there are the girls in their summer dresses.

Meanwhile, somewhere overhead, flying in stealth mode -- that naked, blindfolded, fat boy keeps firing off at random his erring arrows of wanton mishap, those IEDs (Improvised Erotic Designs), wreaking chaos in a wide swath more terrifying that Sherman's March to the Sea. Squadrons of women and girls swelling with fatal charms stroll on patrol, their smooth lithe legs flashing beneath their uniforms: thin summer dresses, haltertops, daisy-dukes, and god knows what else underneath that armor - if anything. It's all agitprop left to the imagination.

Observe Johnnie, happy and carefree as a lark, striding with ruddy cheeks and full confidence. But after him comes Jane, armed with those sharpshooter eyes, that flippy short skirt, and strappy high heels. Now Johnnie is down! His face wan and his appetite poor, his breath coming out in ragged gasps as Jane cradles his head among the wildly blooming, victorious daisies. Right in the heart, poor lad. A goner for sure.

Yes, Spring is the most dangerous Season.

When the fog rolls back and feminine panzer divisions cruise the Uptown district in search of some likely target holding his pinsel in his hand at the galleries, when the leggy Joanne strides forth into the night on six-inch stiletto heels and Danielle puts on that short black dress and a European accent spoken with a sultry je ne sais quoi wafting pheromones among the randy artisans, that is when Don Giovanni and Lola Lola stalk the Salons for luscious prey.

That is also when The Editor, avoiding the leggy Joanne, stocks up on Redbox flicks (Netflix now passe), and a fridge filled with Michelina's frozen dinners so as to avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, especially those arrows sent by that obstreperous hoodlum, Cupid. For the artsbeat he sends his representative, the hapless Jose who safely has no more a clue about Eros than Faber's Euphonia, and Javier, who knows a good deal more about Eros than someone in his position ought to and nothing at all about Art save for ogling the odalisque.

Spring is also a time when Mother Nature grabs your attention and, be you the most rigid, retentive personality on earth, try you and vie you, you shall not be able, for at least one day, to hold attention as the mind skips the light fantastic to places that, for all we know, are far better, more productive, more useful than that blasted spreadsheet demanded by the CIO by noon. The boxelder branches are stroking the windowpanes with trembling fingertips and you cannot get that fey Emma off your dirty mind even as the demand for the spreadsheet swells in the background to the rumble of the kettledrums of Business.

Which demand shall not be met and shall not be disciplined quite yet, for that same day the CIO is herself skipping through the sun-dappled buttercups in the bee-loud glade of her own mind and she is listening to timpani and a lyre on the golfcourse, not kettledrums.

The Valkries shall ride anon; for now, there is the boxelder and thoughts of Emma.

As a consequence, the Editor prepares in his own manner as does Denby, who gathers up those .89 cent Knorr's rice sides at the Foodmaxx and downloads the entire box scale system along with all the tabs for every Bob Dylan song ever transcribed so as to diligently devote himself to Art, stat Eros.

In the Old Same Place Bar Suzie observes the nightly courtships, the flirting and the disappointments from behind the bar and after serving the customers with their anesthetic or stimulation, take what you will, she retreats to the back and her anthropology textbook. Those last few credits towards earning her BA degree at Community College.

Eugene is of a mind that she should take Botany and get a BS degree, which would be more useful in the long run, but Suzie is not so sure.

Ms. Almeida comes out to check on things around the chicken coop in the backyard, sees the long black ropes of scat. Either the Opossum or the raccoon has been scouting again with the weather changing. She looks warily about the hedged fences and the border palms but sees no sign of glowing eyes. All is dark and dangerous out there in this time.

Beneath the estuary waters thrums the engines of the AIS Chadoor, the Iranian spy submarine, still diligent upon its vague charge issued long ago from an office in Teheran that very likely may no longer exist.

Governments come and go with the winds and the sands of Ozymandias, but bureaucracies persist for ages on end and very likely will do so until the end of time. And so, given no countermanding order, the El Chadoor continues its mission from month to month, from year to year, keeping tabs on the port of Oaktown with its periodic reports, its officers getting gray about the temples, its crew maintaining contact with distant families via encrypted communications. How is little Avram? He is doing well in school, getting good marks. That is good as he must provide for the family should I not return. Say it not so, Ari, we all long for your safe return . . . .

Such is the life of the military man conscripted into service. There are no real choices; only the endless ticking of the clocks as people wait and wait and wait . . . .

"It looks like some sanity may be coming to bear at last and the fiendish DAESS, our common enemy, will be destroyed by the grace of God and the necessary treaty with the Americans," said the First Mate.

"Common sense is never something combined easily with politics, " said the Captain. "Necessity, however, that is something entirely different. Necessity is always a part of politics."

"I do not know what this has to do with nuclear power for Iran, which we badly need, but I think it sounds wise." The First Mate said. "Truth to tell."

"Truth and trust have nothing to do with anything, and less to do with politics. Each nation does what it must out of necessity. You must surprise your distrustful ally with gifts that follow through out of necessity. That is how truth is gained."

"Indeed, Captain, you are deeper than I can go."

"Deeper we shall go yet. Dive! Dive!"

And with that the spy sub dove out of the estuary into the Bay and out the Golden Gate to the silent fog-shrouded sea, running silent, running deep.

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.