MAY 11, 2014



So anyway. It came around to Mother's Day and all the gals who had mothers with whom they were still on speaking terms took their mothers out to Mama's Royal Cafe for Brunch. The guys split up, with Denby getting a ride on Pahrump's scooter to visit his mom at Napa State Hospital where she had been living for the past 18 years since trying to brain a highway patrolman with an original Remington sculpture. The Officer had been very much put out by the episode of being nearly murdered by a white-haired old lady and everyone had said a person would have to be really crazy to do that to a genuine Remington.

Mancini visited the Chapel of the Chimes in Oaktown, and Jose Skyped his mother in Sonora using a library computer.

As usual, Mr. Howitzer took a bunch of flowers and a pellet gun to visit Colma. The flowers he laid on his mother's grave. The gun he used to shoot at crows, having found that throwing stones attracted too much attention out there. Meanwhile the Cribbages and the Blathers got together at the posh Garden Court in the Palace Hotel for champagne and buffet, for they considered themselves to be people of Quality.

Mr. Spline took his mother to the Davis Street shooting range for a few hours of target practice. The range had a Mother's Day Special which included mimosas for mothers and life-sized photos of famous historical figures -- such as Karl Marx, Benedict Arnold, Albert Schweitzer, and FDR -- as targets.

Andre and his band did a daytime Mother's Day special show at Roosters, taking with him Occasional Quentin as drummer. Quentin's family all had died in that terrible ferry accident described elsewhere in these pages.

As a result the place was suddenly empty on the weekend, with Adam knocking about with no one to play mumblety-peg or shoot craps for gummi worms and jujubees. Adam plotzed on the couch with a huff. Javier, whose mother, abuelta, cousins and anyone of near blood had disowned him long ago due to his scandalous behaviors, asked Adam what was the matter.

Adam said he was bored. He was a boy who left much meaningful content hanging in the air like a fine mist that soon disperses.

Everyone out dealing with their mothers, Amigo.

Yeah well. So what.

And you? What about your mother?

She be in Pelican Bay for cuttin' up somebody during a drug deal, Adam said.

Now how do you know all this a boy your age? I thought you was abandoned.

Marlene found out when she and Andre got the custody from CPS. That skanky 304:they aint never gonna let her out. That's fine by me.

You shouldn't say that, amigo. Even my own mother -- it's not her fault I went so bad. After all, she raised you.

She didn't raise nothing but blisters from doing the crack. Marlene raise me.

Well I guess she is your mother then, amigo. For now. How about that?

I guess you right about that.

Well what are you gonna do about it?

Do about it? What can I do? I got no bones, man. No way to bake the cake.

Javier paused in thought. It is a trouble, I admit. What is she doing now?

I dunno.

Well go and see, amigo! Say happy mother's day man! She feed you, she clothe you, she got you away from your mean stepdad who didn't want you anyway. Even got you going to school man, so you won't be no illiterati, know what I mean?

You joanin' me? You clownin' on me, pal?

No, friend, I am not joaning you. Go on over there and say something to Marlene. Show some appreciation.

S'okay then. Adam stood up and slapped his pants as if to shake loose the dust.

So what you going to say, amigo?

I dunno. I figure something.

Adam found Marlene in the room using a heavy needle and thread to repair clothing. Her jet black hair fell down around her shoulders to blend with her black t-shirt, tattoos of oleander, trumpet vines snaking up her bare arms. Perched on her nose a pair of reading glasses.

Adam stood a while in the doorway until Marlene said without looking up, "Everything all right Adam?"

Adam stood there in the doorway, folded and unfolded his arms. Leaned against the jamb. Coughed. Hummed a little bit. Looked up and found nothing there, then looked at his shoes, then finally . . . .

"Hi mom," Adam said.

In a little while, Javier watched as the two of them, the girl with the ruined womb who would never have children of her own and the boy who never had a childhood walked out together in great seriousness to the Strand where the dragon kites soared and danced above the tourmaline waves, under a hot sun caressed by soothing breezes.

We are taking a walk, Adam said seriously.

She could be so cruel that woman

In the empty house, Javier rolled a blunt and contemplated the face inside a silver locket he kept in his waistcoat. Even after all these years and all the recriminations and rejections he still carried that face. The woman whose job it had been to spit him out into the world only to call him a puta-chasing degenerate, a worthless perdador. She could be so cruel that woman, and when she died in her pain she had cursed everyone around the bedside, the doctors, the nurses, the family, everyone. Yet still, she had been a fine dancer in her prime. She could do the salsa in such a way that made everyone's head turn to look at her, snapping her head back and swirling her serape with a flourish. And when someone complimented her, she always said, "It is my partner that makes me look good."

Piedro showed up with a bottle of jug wine and the two of them went down to the Cove to drink from paper cups and watch the Citizens in their well-kept cargo shorts and their Teva sandals conduct their BBQ's while all their clean-cut children ran about in a sugar-fueled madness, their mothers placid or incensed as the case might be, sitting at picnic tables as the light began to fade on the day.

By this time, Marlene and Adam would have returned from their little Mother's Day walk.

Javier raised his cup and offered a toast. "To all the Mothers, all the mothers of all different kinds, good and bad. Somebody has to keep the human race going."

To all the Mothers, including Mother Earth, said Piedro.

A wet salty breeze kissed them both, los dos perdadors, and they sat and drank their wine and talked about memories and kid things and all kinds of stuff until the sun went down behind the serratted skyline of Babylon across the Bay, and all the streetlights and houselights came on glowing like strings of pearls.

From far across the water where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stand glowing with their sentry lights, the long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, keened through the cracked brick of the old Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading docks, its ghosts and its weedy railbed, moaned between the interstices of the chainlink fences as the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to parts unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.