MAY 9, 2017




So anyway, it was quite a week for loud ignoramuses everywhere. Everywhere one went, the sane man heard them shouting from cars, from the TV, Twitter of course, the radio, and even in Church where at one time the place was considered a sanctuary of peace where one could at least pray without fear of being murdered in the pews.

Services started pretty much as normal at the Unity Church on Grand Street, with the Cantor Betty asking people to affirm their Faith and Pastor Plane about to deliver a sermon about Jesus and the moneychangers in the Temple when Mr. Snarles stood up and started a long rant about how terrible it was that few expressed love for the President Rump, duly elected -- with only a few hints of shenanigans -- as President of the Bums.

Everybody expected that Mr. Snarles would spew his piece and then sit down, but the man would not stop, but kept on and on about the traitors and the buttercups had best suck it up and a few things needed to change around here and the damned Mexicans better pay for the new border wall and all these indigent, lazy, good-for-nothing slobs living off welfare should be rounded up into camps while meanwhile the children grew restless and those who had come for it started to hunger for the ham and cheese sandwiches in the next room and the pancake brunch, but Mr. Snarles just would not stop.

It was all about needing a strong leader and kicking out the foreigners and making America Great Again, just like in a John Wayne movie and the weak needed to get their asses kicked to teach them who was boss now that Rump was in charge and the choir started to chafe and the organist had to pee and finally Pastor Plane could not take it anymore for the people were suffering on account of this windbag.

"How dare you come into MY CHURCH and spew such GODDAMNED drivel! You insensitive BASTARD you have as little an idea of GOD'S PLAN than an earthworm. Take your effing vitriol and spew of hatred, which has no place in any house of God worth noting and go away! Get out!"

The man continued his vile spew of vitriol nonetheless and Pastor Plane consulting with Denby as what to do. The two of them decided to bum rush the speaker and hook him under the arms and so carry him out. Which they proceeded to do. And so Denby and Pastor Plane hustled the man between them to the door where Pastor Plane planted his brogan on the man's backside to send him tumbling down the stairs to the street where there stood Officer Popinjay who made inquiry as to what the hell was going on here.

The Officer, recognizing Mr. Snarles as a known neighborhood problem, told the Pastor there was nothing to worry about and he took Mr. Snarles away for disturbing the peace and being a nuisance.

Jose was walking past the Kaiser Klinic when his view was accosted by a group of Anti-Vaxxer protesters. They were shouting. They were loud. They wanted out from the recent State law that mandated vaccination, religious bluffery or not. Measles had returned in local epidemic form and common sense would prevail.

Save in some bubble-areas of willful ignorance.

The anti-vaxxers of the Island were joined by a contingent from Mill Valley up north, an area even more insular than the Island in many ways.

Minny Mildeugh rushed up to Jose and thrust a pamphlet into his surprised hands. "Vaccine causes shedding and autism and banana fever! It's a fact!"

Jose was a bit uncertain. "Our dog Johnny Cash always sheds every summer. He's been vaccinated against rabies and all kinds of stuff already and he is smarter than most of the people in the Household."

"Ooooooh! Your dog just got lucky he did not come down with the Alzheimer's autism thing! They are related you know. Science has shown how inoculated children shed viruses like lice all over the place." She clutched Jose's lapels and brought her face up close. She smelled like old violets and vinegar. "The vaccines make our children dumber! It's a plot!"

"That is absolutely nonsense," said Wilmer Titrake, MD, who happened to be strolling by.

"I beg your pardon!" said Minnie.

"You beg nothing but excuses for ignorance," said Wilmer. "Your ideas are silly, unfounded and a hindrance to public health."

"Well!" huffed Minnie Mildeugh. "Who are you to say such a thing?"

"I am a doctor," said Wilmer.

"Well we have informed doctors who are up to the snuff on the science of things," said Minnie.

"Your doctors who claim such claptrap are imbeciles and ignoramuses mistaking correlation, supposition, and vague extrapolation for hard, cold scientific proof as well as historical confirmation. They are charlatans to a man."

"Well! You have your ideas and we have ours!"

"It is America. Everyone is free to be an idiot as much as they like. Just do not poison my own children with your idiot ideas about health!"

"O you say!" said Minnie, who turned on her heel and returned to her group.

Wilmer tipped his hat to Jose and entered the doors of the Kaiser Klinic, brushing aside the protesters like so many flies.

Wilmer, it must be admitted is a curious one to accuse any physician of being a fake, for his subspecialty was that of Air Surgeon. One would range far and wide in the DSM IV or any JCH Commission list of protocols and fields to find such an animal as an Air Surgeon, but Wilmer had found his niche after graduating from SF Medical School in 1979. He could have easily buried himself in Otology, Osteopathy, Neurology, Internal Medicine, General Practice or Phrenology but he glommed onto Air Surgeon after a course from a medical institute located in Central America and now defunct after an invasion by US Marines on the instigation of then President Ronald Reagan, a man undergoing at the time his own cerebral troubles.

Jose continued on, a normal man on the street in the 21'st Century having to deal with things his ancestors had barely conceived. He had gone to the Kaiser to stock up on asthma medicine, as he had a pre-existing condition he did not know how much longer he would be able to get the stuff he needed. Hence he had to stockpile medicine for himself and others.

On the corner across from the restored 1940's newspaper kiosk two teenagers were complaining about the latest version of the Apple Iphone.

"What's WRONG with these people? Don't they know I need my earphones to listen to all my downloaded music? Gawd! Those IT people are soooooo dumb!"

Jose crossed the street and glanced at the headlines which were all about the Russians having successfully altered the course of the American elections. The President, naturally, did not consider this news. Most people seemed to take it in stride and his supporters, of course, ignored the consequences of this.

Jose dropped by Paul's Produce where the prices were expected to rise for those things that were imported from Mexico, taking them outside the normal families budget. Because the Administration wanted to grandstand about imports and eliminate cheap foreign labor.

Everything already looked too expensive and much of the wares seemed to cater to the extremely affluent now. So Jose continued on down the street without buying anything for the Household. There was no point as his people were clearly not the intended market for this produce of expensive arugula and Mongolian yak butter cheese and Organic oranges costing three bucks a piece.

He walked down to the shoreline, passing houses that had been bought up by the Iranian guy who had turned them into multi-family apartments charging $4,000 dollars a month.

Along the way he passed the yawning mouth of the Snoffish Valley Road, with its mysterious stone carvings Pahrump called "The Old Ones", and its misty exhalation and shadows.

Finally he reached the Household of Marlene and Andre and was greeted joyfully by Bonkers and Johnny Cash, tails a-wag. There is no place like home, even as tenuous as it may be. In the kitchen Marlene was brewing up another dinner of bread soup with tomato sauce. In the hole in the porch floorboards Snuffles mumbled and moaned with his jug of wine. Home is people, not place, that Jose knew for sure.

Night fell and the gibbous, swelling moon ascended, accompanied by Venus, first among stars and the best. The moonlight shone down on the exploding irises, poppies, calla lilies and fragrant sweet peas hugging the fences while the teens of Washington High gathered to race their hotrods down Flamingo Lane to where it ended right there at the gate of the Snoffish Valley Road.

Minions of the Angry Elf roamed in open top cars, pretending to be "artists," looking for souls to maim.

On the back deck of the Island Life Offices, the Editor stood with his hands clasped behind his back, flags from the Cambodian New Year left fluttering all around the railing and the 18th century gables behind him, a post-modern Captain Bligh or Ahab.

The time was coming to leave this place. It awaited only the return of Penelope, for the story goes that it was Ulysses who remained at home, dressed in woman's clothes while it was Penelope who went to the Trojan wars and ranged far in the world only to lose her companions who devoured the cattle of the sun and so come back recognized by the loyal dog Athos.

Only then did brave Ulysses arise after telling the stories of 1001 nights of Scheherezade and go with Penelope who slew the suitors with her crossbow.

The Editor returned to his cube and his desk and the lamp with its pool of light and returned to work, doing all for Company. Beyond the pale of the desklamp the muttering darkness. Somewhere out there a like mind. Company.

From from far across the water, the night train sent its wail beneath the light-studded gantries of the Port of Oaktown to keen 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.