APRIL 25, 2010


Its been a quiet week on the Island, our hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. After last week's dockwalloper the temps have gradually warmed to their usual spring degrees. Spikes of incipient glads are spearing up from the drying earth. What look like future sunflowers are erupting, and this weekend avid gardeners attacked the long breeding host of weeds even as the seasonal garage sales sprouted all over. Javier's Peru fava beans are now about four feet in height, studded with white and black beanflowers.

First Ensign and U-Boot Navy Oberkommandant Marvin Stiffstik delivered a speech to the Native Sons at the clubhouse this weekend. It was supposed to be a part of the Doolittle Raid commemoration as well as a remembrance of California's personal sacrefices in times of war.

Unfortunately, because it turned out to be such a nice weekend, nobody showed up, save for Xavier, Pahrump, Jose, Bonkers the dog, Snuffles Johnson, and Waddles -- the Abodanza kid with Down's Syndrome. All of them, including Bonkers, had come for the deli spread laid out on the side tables.

Marvin wore mirror aviator sunglasses during the entire speech, which meant he looked really sharp and cool, but could not see the paucity of the crowd or anything else for that matter.

In addition, Pahrump had shifted the projector and screen from the right to the left so as to ease passage to the restrooms, so Marvin kept guesturing with his pointer to a poster of an Hawaiian hula girl while the slide show displayed aircraft and destroyers on the screen to the other side.

"Here we see the awesome power of our native artillery," Marvin said, pointing directly at the girl's upper lei arrangements.

Waddles let loose a big smelly one which pushed Pahrump into giggle fits. Xavier covered by applauding vigorously and calling, "Bravo! Hoo-Rah! Hah-Yoo!"

At the end of the day, they managed to get themselves and Marvin really drunk on pineapple juice and grain alcohol Xavier had made in the back yard and while Bonkers ran down the beach wearing the sunglasses, Marvin bragged about running the Marines in Carpenteria around the track until they dropped.

"G'dam stoopid jarheads!" Marvin said. Then he fell backwards to stare at the ceiling. "I can see the stars through the roof!"

"We're not really any safer at the end of the day after all these wars, are we." said Pahrump.

"Course not," said Xavier. "Wars be politics by other name. Politics never made nothing safer or better."

"Hoo Ya." said Marvin.

"That one is the constellation Aldeborion," said Marvin.

"That's track lighting," said Xavier, who was similarly oriented to Marvin.

"Aldeborion?" queried Pahrump. "Is that the Specter which is striding across Europe?"

"That sounds vaguely familiar," Marvin puzzled.

"What is the stars," asked Snuffles rhetorically. "What is the stars?"

"Screw politics," said Xavier. "Here's to Spring!" He raised his glass high.

"To Spring! To Life and eternal Chaos! Hoo Ya!" they all said. Bonkers barked a joyous bark of peace as well.

Right then the long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the peaceful, starlit waters of the estuary as the locomotive wended its way past the dark and shuttered windows of the Jack London Waterfront from the Port of Oaktown, heading off to parts unknown.