MAY 25, 2017



So anyway. Everybody was looking to beat the heat that suddenly slammed the Island. It got so hot that both Javier and Pimenta Strife put off all thought of having sex with anybody. Which ought to tell you just how severe the weather had gotten.

Mr. Howitzer hired Bobo the Clown

Mr. Howitzer held a garden party out back behind the mansion on Grand Street in honor of the recent accomplishments for their favored President Select, Ronald Rump, President of the Bums. Mr. Howitzer hired Bobo the Clown who came dressed in florid rags and sporting an unruly blond wig and many thought he was a hired impersonator, for Bobo had indeed run for office several times in the past under the slogan, "Put a real Clown in Office! Then you will know for sure!"

But no, Bobo was not there to satirize anyone in particular, although, because life in America had gotten so strange in these times, it was hard to tell what was satire and what was plain confusion.

In any case Dodd was kept busy bustling back and forth with mixed drinks and cushions for the Tushes and doing all the things people who know how do to make things work.

Mill Valley sent over a contingent that called themselves the Mill Valley Milles, which one was to take as either millionaires or females or both. Probably both was intended.

The Milles arrived in European cars and brought splendid bouquets and arugula salads, which Mr. Howitzer found quaint and had Dodd put them into the freezer. They kept mostly to themselves as they seldom ventured far from the Marin Bubble, which possesses many insular qualities, save to attend the Black and White Ball and ACT's latest edition of Shaw or French neoclassical drama.

The Mill Valley Milles were there because they had heard of civil unrest among the hoi polloi and seeds of dissension regarding something called a "Rental Crisis", which they were concerned might spread with undue satisfaction to the North.

"O do not worry," Mr. Howitzer said. "We have this rent control thing nipped in the bud. And besides, if things get serious, we will simply kill them all."

"O I certainly hope it does not come to that!" said Mary Auberge, a Branson grad. "That would be distressing!"

"Of course we do not want that," said Mr. Howitzer. "That would mean so many less to pay rents! We are not stupid here!"

A scream cut through the conversation; Mrs. Cribbage had gotten drunk once more and fallen into the coi pond again.

"Help me!" Anne Cribbage cried out. "I am drowning!"

Everyone stood around holding their gin rickey's and tom collins glasses; the pond was about two feet deep and the colorful coi, some with ancestry going back a thousand years, darted to the far corners to avoid Mrs. Cribbage's flailing limbs.

"Anne, please calm down!" Someone said. "You are going to be all right; help is on the way."

"I don't know why my life is so . . . such. I am always at the ends of things and Edward is graduating this week and going away forever!"

"Now now, Mrs. Cribbage . . .".

he and Sister Profundity . . .kept wary eyes on the incoming grads

The light dimmed and the Season advanced with its traditions, including graduations with tossed hats in the air and invited speakers. Over at Washington, Mr. Lithgow, the Superintendent for the school for the past thirty years, surveyed the stakes and markers and the ranks of chairs before the ceremonies as usual. And as usual he and Sister Profundity from the Church and Pastor Milque from the Baptist Community kept wary eyes on the incoming grads, soon to be outgoing citizens. Every year it had been the tradition ever since the Founder arrived from Minnesota in 1849, for the departing class to let loose one last Senior prank upon the school.

The Sister checked for the presence of waterguns and the Pastor kept a lookout for unusual wires, but Mr. Lithgow was far more seasoned, far more experienced than either one of his colleagues who taught Religion classes during the year.

Missy Melons stepped up to the podium to deliver the valedictorian speech. She was smart and well-groomed, had aced her classes every semester, been a chairperson of all the right clubs, wore an impeccable peter pan collar shirt, and already had her acceptance letters from MIT and Harvard in her pocket and she was confident as all hell.

"Fellow students and graduates of the Class of 2017, we have journeyed far in our four years together . . .".

Sister Profundity and Pastor Milque looked around anxiously so as to locate where trouble sure was to arise and so stop it in its tracks. It really was just a repetition of what they had been doing for several years.

Mr. Lithgow simply stood patiently with a shovel, a bucket, a towel, and a garden hose, knowing he had done already as much as one could do for this Class of 2017.

"One thing I would ask of you, my fellow students, with whom I have lived and endured and enjoyed and suffered so much, please do not toss your hats into the air for as you must know we must rent these caps and gowns and must return them undamaged to the retailer at the end of the day. For we do not own these objects that we pass from generation to generation as tokens of tradition and common cause . . ." Missy continued. "We are all in this together. . . ".

That is when the fireworks went off from under every single seat in the field, a flock of starlings was released from hidden cages located at four corners of the field, and all the grads tossed their caps into the air before dropping their gowns so as to parade, each and every one, stark naked to the stage, which was abruptly vacated by the President, the Speaker invited from Washington D.C. and the Trustees, leaving the pile of ceremonial parchments on the table there in a box while the flashbulbs of photographers seemed to go on endlessly.

The Sister and the Pastor stood there aghast. Mr. Lithgow simply dropped his garden hose and retired to his office where he cracked open a bottle of Glenfiddich and so toasted the benighted and dismissed Class of 2017.

All along the ridgelines of the Bay Area, especially along the hills that hovered over the Belvedere lagoon, the Spring fogs crept over like Tolkein spells to enchant the Bay. The burning sun dropped below the horizon and last spears lanced through the foliage to illuminate the noisy turkeys making their calls. Down along the Snoffish Valley Road already the teens were engaged in nighttime speed duels to the death with girls wearing shortie shorts leaning up against the hood, sipping warm beers, ready for anything.

Spring had begun with its customary savage nature. You can put out Nature with a pitchfork, so says the man, but it will always come roaring back.

The Editor sat in his glass cube, the desk illuminated by the usual pool of light while all around hung the muttering darkness. Somewhere out there beyond the ring of eyes reflecting back the light, somewhere out there was a like mind. And so he sat there night after night, doing all for Company.

The windows of the offices were all open and moths banged into the screens. All the desks were silent, all the staffers gone home. The telephones had ceased their inane chatter of indifferences.

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.