MAY 16, 2021




The time had come to the Most Dangerous Season.

The Island has been handling the COVID lockdowns with its usual stoic perseverance. The buckeyes have been erupting with green spikes and everything is burgeoning into the usual riot of Spring, that most dangerous season even as the dark clouds that lowered upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

May begins 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.

the daisy bush bursts with yellow ack-ack

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, ducks performing sorties, Canadian geese streaking overhead in formation and then, worst of all, there are the girls in their summer dresses.

those IEDs (Improvised Erotic Designs)

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 than 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.

Save us all from Spring's violent terrors.

Observe Johnnie, happy and carefree as a lark, striding with ruddy cheeks and full confidence down San Pablo Avenue. 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. And now Denby had become captivated by the nurse Mariah with her tatoos and sharp wit and lanky superstructure along with everything besides. Her beautiful eyes glowing in that dark pit. His daydreams featured images of Mariah riding on top of him with her luxurious rope of chestnut hair flying about like a cowgirl riding a rumpus. In short, he was hopelessly smitten and tottally lost. Ah the poor sod.

As usual the Editor has been stocking up on Michelimas' One dish meals so as to remain safely indoors as the errant arrows of Eros go darting about, injuring the innocent and causing mishchief and mayhem everywhere.The Editor was disinclined to suffer misadventures of the heart at 72 and so approached the Season with the discipline of an ex-Marine. As the saying goes, once a Marine always a Marine.

Now that the Bay Area has moved tentatively to the Orange Tier in many places eateries like Mama's Royal Cafe have started up again. Mama's always had a form of outdoor service, albeit with recognition that patrons experience the gritty ambiance of urban Broadway rather than the foo foo ferns of Mill Valley, but true Best Bay Beast Bay denizens do not care. Life involves a touch of City soot with your haut cuisine and that is a fact.

Mother's Day took place at Mama's with the surviving Household members in attendance along with friends from the Island.

Everyone who came to Mamas had either been sick with COVID19 or been vaccinated. Marlene was there with little Adam, Ms. Morales, Susan with little Sprocket in a pram, Mrs. Bliss with Mercy from Mill Valley, Marsha Barrows, Mr. and Mrs. Almeida, Pedro the fisherman with his wife, Suan and Sarah were there to commemorate their mothers who had passed away, and so it was quite a jovial group of folks who had known each other for 20 years and who were gathering together after the long season of the COVID lockdowns. Lionel, unable to chase after Jacqueline on account of the salon being closed for COVID, showed up with his mother.

"Is the Pampered Pup closed today?" asked Marlene.

"We closed for about a week and then opened right up -- hot-dogs being the quintessential take-out for sure. Arthur is minding the shop today," Lionel said.

"You still chasing that hairdresser, Lionel?" Mrs. Poole said. Lionel groaned.

"You see her much in church?" Mrs. Poole pursued.

"I do not think Jackie spends much time in church," Lionel said by mistake.

"O lord save us! Back in Baton Rouge a man was best to meet ladies while hearing the Gospel; that way he was sure to get a good 'un. You best not go around jukin'. You not going to find no fine ladies in a bar joint."

"That's the first I heard you speak against dancing," Lionel said. "I know for sure you and daddy went out to barrelhouse to Little Walter and Pinetop. Don't pretend to be a saint. Mother . . .".

"Now now. It's okay if you gots a partner already. That way there be no gambling or funny stuff."

"O mom!"

"Now looka here. There be a fine sister sitting right acrost from you right now. Why don't you . . .".

"Mom I gotta tell you something about Suan. Later."

Listening to this exchange Suan had to cover the lower half of her face. She was about to bust a gizzard trying to keep from laughing.

"Well what is it son? What can't you say right out . . .".

Lionel leaned over and whispered in his mother's ear. "Men don't have what she wants."

"Wha . . ? Ohhhhhh!"

Suan and Marsha redirected conversations by gurgling over the babies in attendance and Mrs. Poole offered the best of Louisiana swamp advice with the understanding that although California in the year 2021 was a vastly different place than the Baton Rouge of Earl K. Long babies remain the same everywhere.

After the babies got properly ooh-ed and aah-ed, and parenting tips got handed around people talked about what they did to get through the lockdown and who died or nearly died. Most of the Household, living in cramped squalor at the old farmhouse in Silvan Acres got terribly sick such that Martini and Pahrump with Denby's help built quarantine sheds out back along with an outhouse and a lime pit to toss the contents of the upchuck buckets.

Piedro and Jesus both had to go to Marin General ICU as they got in a bad way.

"That old Jesus almost didn't rise again," Mrs. Bliss commented

"Now we are all vaccinated," Marlene said. Even Adam. Pahrump drove him over on his scooter to get his shots."

"You get sick," Mrs. Almeida asked.

"Nope!" Adam said.

"Adam." Marlene said.

"Well, a little," Adam admitted.

Lionel mentioned it was nice things had started to open up. The other night he and his mother had dinner at the Lake Chalet.

"That was fine, except they need to learn how to make the greens right," Mrs. Poole said.

"Mama they made the greens healthy," Lionel said.

"There weren't no pot likker! You gotta boil them greens all day with a pound of fatback and salt pork to get the flavor right," Mrs. Poole said.

And so it was after the long, hard year, old friends met again glad to see each other's faces at the resumed tradition at Mama's Royal Cafe in Oaktown.

Others, like Mr. Howitzer, preserved their own traditions such as driving out to Colma with a Mossberg 352 to blast the crows Mr. Howitzer felt desecrated the old family plot that contained the remains of his mother.

So the day settled down as each went to their respective destinations. As Lionel and Mrs. Poole walked to his car and his mother commented, "That Suan is such a fine looking girl." She shook her head. "Such a waste."

"Mother! She is a good friend."

"You need to stop making friends and start makin' me some grandchildren," said Mrs. Poole with her back ramrod straight. As usual.

At the Offices, the Editor took out a program that displayed a sepia-toned photograph of a woman with curly hair. "Celebrating the Life of Helen Ann X, March 1, 1923 - October 27, 2019.

Jose came in to drop off the mail from the PO Box and saw the program.

"She was quite an attractive woman in her day," said the Editor.

"My condolences," Jose said.

"It has been said," commented the Editor who put the program in his desk drawer. "Lets get back to work."

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.