JUNE 8, 2018



So anyway, Rolf has been listening to old songs on his iPod shuffle while at work and during the long arduous process of getting there by way of bicycle to bus to SF and back by bus each day. He downloaded entire concerts by Nena, Peter Maffay and Udo Lindenberg in an effort to capture some sense of positivity, for those guys in the sixties and seventies and eighties strove to find a core of happiness and centeredness amid the ruins of what had been a nation harnessed by an evil power governing long enough to cause total destruction to rain down for several generations.

Rolph had seen his best friend shot down

Now, after the terrible Night of Shattered Fires on the Island, Rolf was living with the Household of Marlene and Andre in the north county of Marin, a foreign land with strange peoples and strange language once again a refugee. Rolph had seen his best friend shot down by the Grenzepolizei Vopos and his mother commit suicide off the Speebruecke, and had survived by his own wits as an orphaned child on the streets in the massive city of Berlin for years, so he was no stranger to hard times. Now, living in Marin, he had a chance to breath and look around him and see what was there.

Marin, it must be said, was nothing like Berlin, for Berlin housed more than five times as many people within its fabled "walls".

There is a place along the Nicasio Road where a memorial stands under the shade of an acacia tree and there Rolph was wont to go and climb up from that place where a trail passed on behind a gate to the top of the hill and look out onto what is the San Geronimo Valley and a golf course that is in much dispute, just like the bicycle bridge back home, home on the Island as he thought of it, and he would sit there and ponder things the way people do. Time was passing and he had seen much death and disarray and had nothing to show for it but memories.

He wondered about that Suan and if she was worth the effort, or even if he had any effort left in him after so many years. And so far away Suan was having similar thoughts. What if daddy found out I was taking up with a White? And a German at that. A German! Hell we fought against them and gave our lives because those Germans were worse than the Ofay at home! Hell, girl what are you thinking?!

I haves problems enough without worrying about some boy with blue eyes.

And of course all of us, wonder each day how to manage. Is not Love trouble enough with all the troubles it brings? For Pete's sake, let us consider.

That is right; we will just rationally decide what to do about Love and come to some very reasonable decisions. And it will all be decided. Yes, you just go ahead and do that.

Now that is decided, let's get on to Javier's birthday celebration.

It was early June and Javier was due for a birthday: his sixtieth. No one in Marin knew what to expect. On the Island and the East Bay, hospitals for miles in all directions stocked up on gauze, burn ointment, sutures, and made sure telemetry nurses would be available for overtime.

Meanwhile, the local ERs and hospitals had no warning something was about to happen. Something serious.

Sweet Marin had not a fucking clue what was to happen.

The gang all gathered out in the meadow with the Editor's Tree to celebrate, cautiously, Javier's birthday, for it would be today he turned sixty. It is difficult to imagine how such a rake who spent most of his life acting like a child could turn sixty quite suddenly, for it seemed only yesterday he was gamboling about like a young goat.

The Household gathered at the meadow . . . to celebrate Javier's sixtieth

The Household gathered at the meadow with the Editor Tree to have a picnic to celebrate Javier's sixtieth birthday. It is difficult to comprehend how the old guy managed to keep on galloping around like a young centaur, but here was one in whom the Latin blood remained hot as the hell to which he undoubtedly would go some day for all his sins. Just the opposite in temperament was Xavier, a good, devout, hard-working boy from Sinaloa. Then there was Jose, a well-meaning fellow who variously saved the day at times with cost to himself and variously got into trouble for no good reason because of Javier.

Occasional Quentin was there, still Occasional because he occasionally slept underneath the coffeetable when not sleeping outside. Snuffles the Bum completed the male side with the dark-haired Melinda, who was now one of Javier's girlfriends, attending as the distaff side of things. Missy Moonbeam, a neighbor who lived in one of the flatboard farmhouse-style places on the flats came over and joined them, dancing around with a swirling tie-dye skirt and long hair in braids. And Constance Washburn, coming from Lagunitas to visit her friend Beatrice got out of her car and showed them all the Solstice Dance of Stonehenge, which she had of late visited, and she got back in her car and drove away.

Martini appeared and set off some carefully tended homemade fireworks.

Jose brought out a jug of soapwater and started blowing bubbles that wafted above and through the trees and among the hummingbirds which began to flock all around with iridescent wings. Even Denby came down to play a set with his guitar before shoving off to visit a sick friend. And they were all there enjoying themselves with gallons of jug wine and grooving to the mixtapes on the boombox and generally having all of themselves a very fine time and it seemed this year nothing bad could happen with the sun shining and the trees waving and the birds doing their birdland songs and life in Marin-land did not seem so bad as usual despite its aggravations of which there are many.

the whole Hippie thing had been overwrought

And the neighbors peered from between their curtains and people chose to walk their dogs so as to have an excuse to trot on by for a good gawk at these newcomers and some thought, "It is just some old Hippie thing." They are coming back because of the same reasons they came in the firstplace - pervasive national idiocy, foolish wars with bombs, and cheap drugs and encouragement to foolishness, both peaceful and otherwise. And some said, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and some younger folks groaned and said, "O, no, no, no!", feeling the whole Hippie thing had been overwrought and foisted on succeeding generations far too long, so it became a general symbol of America in these times, this Javier's Birthday, with contention and disagreement and division starting up in the livingrooms and bedrooms of the tiny hamlet of Silvan Acres.

For a long time Marin-Land has been a place where the Hippie concept has persisted in the minds and souls of many individuals who are sheltered from the economic and social realties of the world outside. The same must be said for those dour, sour, grasping individuals who have acquired too much wealth too quickly and easily such that they are able, by way of being sheltered, to infest the County with their mugwump, self-inflated opinions.

The rest of Marin-Land consists of average people just trying to pay the rent or the mortgage and see their kids survive to an age where they can fend for themselves and seek a better life elsewhere. And hopefully return to the old homestead.

Among these are scads of dog walkers -- more dogs per capita than anywhere else -- and of these dogs there are big dogs, middle dogs, small dogs, miniscule dogs, and an unfortunate number of poodles.

In short, Marin-Land is pretty much like small-town America, but with an infection of Millionaires and Billionaires.

So anyway, everybody was having a good time when a black sedan pulled up in the round-about near the willow-draped busstop and out strode a fierce-looking woman with red hair, a red tube top, a short black skirt and high heels, waving a pistol in hands well bedecked with red laquer fingernails.

"O no, it is Roxanne!" Javier said.

The first bullet wanged off of the BBQ, sending sparks into the dry grass, and the next neatly parted Jose's hair as Javier dove down and Raquel continued to shoot wildly, perforating tree limbs, chairs, ice chests, and the windows of cars parked across the street until one bullet smashed the wine jug in the hand of Snuffles, who grabbed up a branch and, this hapless, peaceable, destroyed human being, smashed the hand of Raquel to cause the gun to fly off into the grass where Jose retrieved it only to accidentally shoot himself in the foot.

Fortunately it was a .22 caliber.

"How the hell could you have enraged women in Marin so quickly?" asked Martini.

"Things just happen," Javier said, underneath a table.

Meanwhile a small grass fire had started to smolder, sending black plumes upward.

"All of you are interfering with my Bliss!"

"Tu la Puta!" shouted Raquel in the face of Melinda, who responded by grabbing the hair of Raquel and kneeing her in the stomach. This resulted in Raquel throwing a number of roundhouse punches to the side of Melinda and the entire affair soon descending into an atavistic orgy of violence. Missy Moonbeam, in protest of this horrid violence, tore off all of her clothes. Mavis Mudge, stopped to exclaim, "All of you are interfering with my Bliss!" She then called the Sheriff, among a number of others, who soon arrived in several cars with flashing lights for this being the greatest crime that had ever happened in Silvan Acres, and everyone was promptly arrested for indecent exposure and reckless endangerment.

The Island-Life Editor came out and saw his entire staff being loaded into paddy wagons and ambulances and realized that once again, due to Javier's birthday, the issue would be delayed.

The sun sank behind the hills as a local cold front moved on to assail other states to the East and cause a different sort of misery. The new Editor faced out into the hillside of his place where wild turkeys moved in the faded light. "Lord, how did I ever wind up in such a charmed and benighted placed?" But God says nothing back; I told you so.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay's well-matriculated hills and slid over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railbeds that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and the old Beltline property that is now a park, and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the living locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.