JUNE 28, 2009


The cool weather turned hot and bothered and sent all kinds of folks out of the area to the surrounding lakes and parks and whatnot. Down at the Strand, windsurfers and parasail boarders cavorted just offshore in the shallows.

Everyone here looks to be fully recovered from that flu that went around, knocking staffers flat and sending them in queues to the loo. Poor Javier sat there with a bucket looking miserable and, well, sick as a dog, so he got no dates for his birthday.

Gradually everybody is returning to social activity which nausea, flatulence, and the runs tend to preclude.

Lynette and Susan returned from this year's Pride celebration in Babylon, sunburn, tired and happy as did Tommy and Toby who sailed their little ketch, The Lavender Surprise, over to the Marina there for the two day festivities. This year's theme was culled from the Constitution of the United States, always a worthy document to draw inspiration from.

Even Justices Roberts and Scalia would have to agree on that one.

Over at the their clubhouse, the Native Sons of the Golden West held a pre-July 4th BBQ to ostensibly plan for the annual Mayor's Parade, however it was really just an excuse to fry up some brats and down pitchers of Paul's homemade scratch margaritas.

Paul and the Marin-based Mugwhump Incompetents sat out on the porch making sounds with guitars that grew progressively more discordant as the afternoon drew out its shadows and the vat of margaritas dwindled and ebbed. While Paul assiduously attended to the usual musical values of timing, harmony, rhythm and the Circle of Fifths, as usually practiced within the American folk idiom, Denby segued from all of these into something that sounded suspiciously like punk rock, nearly always an unfortunate occurrence on an acoustic instrument unless your name is Billy or Mike.

While Beatrice twanged a Leonard Cohen tune, MaryBeth thumped the old washtub bass and David played some kind of blues which may have been Son House or Stevie Ray Vaughn or perhaps Bob Dylan. It didn't really matter as each one of them was playing an entirely different song and getting drunker by the hour.

Tucker and Rumsey, giving up the remarkably ineffective mouse hunt, both began to howl in a key reserved usually for chalk on blackboards.

The noise got so bad that the family of raccoons crept out from under the floorboards where they had been living ever since the time David and Jose had tried to trap one of them, nearly destroying the meeting hall in the process.

The big daddy bacon looked over his shoulder with reproach at the band before ambling off to find some quieter locale to rest.

It all ended badly when Denby started to pogo, a bad move on old floorboards for a man weighing in excess of two hundred pounds. The boards buckled, cracked, then gave way with a sudden snap and Denby went right through to his waist. This must have caused some kind of sympathetic vibration, or perhaps the instruments felt they had been tortured enough, for the bullet amps all blew out such that a fat blue spark drifted through the air to set the drowsing Jim Kitson on fire. In his beard.

"Idiot!" Beatrice shouted at Denby.

Everyone scattered, with Jim running down to the marina through a formerly calm gathering of ground squirrels and bacons to the water where he jumped in with a sizzle.

At that moment, Sue came out to announce, "Beans are ready!"

The rest of the evening went somewhat cantankerously.

Over at the Old Same Place Bar, Suzie was tending bar with a temporary ink "tattoo" of a black tear beneath her left eye, done in memory of Michael Jackson, when a group of Bozos trooped in and all sat at the bar to order the newly legalized absinthe. Absinthe is now made here on the Island, should anyone ask, however Suzie was curious to know what was up with the red noses, the orange hair, the baggy overalls and the big shoes with pompoms.

Well, said the first one, who was named Bob, I'm a Bozo and he's a Bozo and she's a Bozo too. Squeeze Louise (many like to). Are you a Bozo too?

Suzie had to admit she often felt like one.

Well I guess we are all Bozos in this bar.

They had come from the Pride Parade and had gotten up their outfits to mourn the recent death of the King of Pop. Or if not mourn, at least chase away the sadness.


Well, said Bob, none of us can sing and none of us can dance. But we sure can be entertaining, and Michael Jackson was the Entertainer par excellence. Here, Ralph, do a pratfall off of that stool for us.

Ralph obediently slipped from his stool as if greased and then, after laying face up on the floor, moonwalked back to his starting position.

Life is full of sadness and misery and nasty circumstances like all of Somalia and Darfur, incontinence, erectile dysfunction and Rush Limbaugh, as well as death in general, said Bob. Here, have a nose.

He handed Suzie a bright red ball but the thing would not stay on, so Ralph presented a Groucho Marx combo mask with spectacles, nose and whiskers.

Some guy is gonna see you like that and fall madly in love, said Louise.

Remember when we first met? A bozo named Ray said to Bob. We were both dressed as chubby-cheeked hamsters.

How could I ever forget the full moon rumba and the terra cotta fish, said Bob.

The two clowns hugged one another, then brought out their rubber chickens.

Hey, lets have a song! Ralph said. For the good old days.

The Bozos all gathered together in front of the bar and began to warble as everyone at the tables gawked.

Ben, the two of us need look no moooooooore
We both found what we were looking foooooooorrrr
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you, my friend, will see
You've got a friend in meeeeeeeeee . . . .

Then they all wacked each other ceremoniously with their rubber chickens and returned to their absinthe cocktails.

Don't be sad, beautiful lady, Bob said to Suzie. Someday somebody special will come along and knock you right off your feet.

Probably with a rabbit punch, added Ray. And they all nodded.

Right then the long wail of the late night train came ululating from the dark Jack London Waterfront across the water flecked with lights from the silent and pondering container cranes of the Port.

Its a dark night in a City that knows how to keep its secrets, but in the Old Same Place Bar sits one bartender still puzzling over Life's Persistent Questions.

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