OCTOBER 16, 2013



So anyway, a brisk sirocco blew in sending local temperatures into the eighties as a consequence of Pacific typhoons. Howard Schecter has forecast a dry Sierra October and we are looking at a gradual temperature decline into something reasonable for this time of year. Unfortunately for folks seeking high altitude respite and taking advantage of warmer than usual temps at elevation the intransigent Party has shut down the parks and park access to the best locations. Despite all that the aspens are turning their leaves in the foothills rising up the slopes and autumn pursues its annual rite of changes.

Now is the time when shadows reach across the road with cold penumbras dictated by the fading lights and things fade into colors of burnt umber and oranges and browns. The scent of blown leaves mingles with the exhaust that now pervades our days. We are coming up on the most terrifying days at Island-Life, when Denby must perforce pursue Tradition and descend to that awful place from which no traveler -- save Denby -- is allowed to return. We are coming to the august 14th annual Poodleshoot and BBQ, which is always an event not to be missed.

The days are fraught with anticipation and histrionic buildup. Just as they are the calmest days of the year, embedded into deceptive Indian Summer, so hard to get warm now, so easy to get burned.

So now as the dregs of the year drain into the limiting possibilities and scenarios we see the following: Wally's son, Joshua, remains harbored in dubious sanctuary at the Greek Orthodox Church where he took flight after whistleblowing the illegal wiretapping conducted by Hometown Security Aegis of Alameda. Mr. Terse and Mr. Spline have been taking turns watching the front door of the church, hoping to snag the traitor/whistleblower for some weeks now.

He has been able, however to periodically escape this false imprisonment by pursuing secret tunnels delved many years ago by the LDS neighbors, risking only encounters in those dank Mormon tunnels with the notoriously savage horror of the Taetzelwurm, described in other pages by sages more wise and knowledgeable and dispatched with some effort and attention with nothing less than a solid Smith and Wesson .45 caliber pistol. The tunnels were delved ages ago, supposedly by the First People who preceded the Ohlone, and were subsequently enlarged for the Latter Day Saints to store their gold and be used potentially as means of escape should California prove as unfriendly as other parts of the Country. Few go through there these days without substantial company and decent firepower, for in those tunnels which descend to regions not seen since the god turned aside his face dwell creatures like the savage chupacabra, the firey Balrog, and the dreaded Taetzelwurm, which arise from the fetid darkness of some diseased intertextual imagination deep hidden beneath the bowels of the earth.

Over at the Native Son's Parlor 33 1/3 the budget impasse has resulted in a totally frozen set of conditions. Wally has sequestered himself into bathroom with the Encinal Cheerleading squad causing a total moratorium on Encinal games and also resolution to the Parlor budget which causes a cessation in all Parlor projects, including the ones seeing amelioration of birth defects in newborns. People listening through the door hear what sounds like Wally filibustering one or all of the cheerleaders with Penthouse letters.

Quite a lot of people are pissed. Especially since no one can use the bathroom.

Swinging into October, the Island and the entire Bay Area prepares for that month-long orgiastic festival known as Halloween, culminating in the night of trick-or-treat and El Dias del Los Muertos when strange creatures walk the shadows and the Dead return, and Denby returns -- unwillingly -- to visit the Dead.

Speaking of strange creatures, Old Schmidt is in the Old Same Place Bar entertaining Suzie with tales of the strange creatures he has seen in his travels back in the day when he worked as a merchant seaman.

"Ja, de strangest creature I haff zeen was certainly the Wolperdinger. This fellow inhabits die Alpen and in form and shape resembles an elongated bear. Ja. Mit de wuschelkopp und de ears and furry like nobody's business. Und because he liffs all his life on the hillside, the two legs on one side are shorter than the odder. So he can only run in the one direction. For evermore."

"Have you ever seen a unicorn?" Suzie asked.

"Bah! De unicorn is fantasy! It is not real anymore. Totally extinct."

"I don't want to believe that!"

"My dear, only a pure knight of unquestioning honor or a virgin can find a unicorn. Nowadays, just look at the twelve-year old girls and the way they dress! Not to mention the Hannah Montana. So ein Schlampe! It is quite impossible."

The conversation at the bar turned to the government shutdown and politics, fantastical made-up pseudo-realities and the modern day Republican Party. Babar, who possesses unimpeachable qualifications as a True Conservative, so Conservative he wears two pairs of pants, was of the mind that his party needed no costumes for the season as they all appeared to milling about towards Halloween dressed like dunderheads with duncecaps already.

Padraic was doubly disappointed to hear about Hannah Montana, for he had wanted to dress Suzie -- or undress her more precisely -- as Miley Cyrus, but Dawn really put her foot down. Hard. So hard all the glassware had rattled behind the bar.

Indeed, Suzie thought, or perhaps spoke to someone. Sometimes it seems that all magic had left the world, leaving us groping for processed visions that promise some kind of larger cosmos -- UFO's, the Loch Ness Monster, haunted houses. As if the mysteries we do have for real are not enough.

After the bar had closed, the unusually warm night air drifted scents of leaves and that tree which always smells like a wet dog come in from the rain. Chrysanthemums along the fence had suddenly erupted again with their sharp perfume and remnants of the sirocco stirred the upper branches of the trees along Lincoln Avenue while recessed pools of shadow behind the low picket fences of the yards with their arched trellis gateways draped with roses and trumpet vines seeped mysterious odors of other flowering plants. The unusually warm air had enchanted the night and as Suzie turned to look at a noise she saw a form of some horse-like shape in the Abodanza's hedged and bushy front yard. It turned its massive head and blurred in outline, Suzie saw, or thought she saw a tine protruding from the thing's head.

From that front yard drifted the unmistakable horsey scent of a very large animal and Suzie gasped, stepped backwards and promptly fell off the curb into the street, landing on her rump and jarring her eyeballs. After she had picked herself up, the apparition had disappeared. Startled, no doubt, when she had cried out.

She strode home briskly, her head going a mile a minute, wondering about this vision. In the end, as she brewed a cup of chamomile tea. After downing a couple shots of Patron, she decided to tell nobody about what she had seen. She hardly a virgin anymore and she did not want people talking about the impossibility. Nevertheless, she did feel a little special. So she had another shot.

Meanwhile, Eunice, Wootie Kanootie's ever eloping female moose ambled from the Abodanza's yard over to the Almeida's, but Tugboat's loud barking sent her in a loose shamble over to the Cove where she was wont to go when she escaped from the herd Wootie kept in a corral near the base of the Park Street Bridge. There she would stand knee deep in the marshy rushes, listening to the geese collecting overhead and smelling the salt sedge reminiscent of distant Ontario. And that is where the weary Wootie Kanootie, famous Canadian moose tamer found her to bring her back home.

The mystery is how she keeps on getting out of the corral, and Wootie worried someone may have seen her. He did not need to worry, for no one would ever speak about these things.

In the Iranian spy submarine AIS Chadoor that drifted now in the San Francisco Bay, a visibly disturbed Omer came up to the First Mate, Mohammed, saying he had seen something extraordinary through the porthole, normally sealed up so as to avoid emitting traitorous light. But Omer had been taking to closing that area off with the lights off and opening the seal to gaze at the aquatic life swimming by.

"It was a woman! Or half of one!"

"A woman! Was she drowned and dead?"

"No, she had green eyes and she waved at me!"

"A woman in the middle of the Bay. At night. How could you see this woman, Omer? She cannot be there."

"She was lit by a phosphorescence from below. I don't know where it came from. But she is real, I tell you! Her arms were slender and she wore a veil of seaweed!"

"Omer, I think it has been too long since you have been with a real woman. Now you are seeing djinns and visions. Go to bed."

So Omer returned to his bunk, mentally notching the note never to speak about what he had seen to anyone again. And he fell into a deep sleep and dreams of swimming among the fishwomen.

Meanwhile an aquamarine tail three feet wide at the flukes slapped the water's surface and a girlish laugh drifted over the choppy Bay as the spy submarine ran silent, ran deep, out through the Golden Gate to the open sea.

The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water, across the gentle waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline; it snaked through the cracked brick of the old abandoned Cannery with its ghosts and weedy railbed and silent chainlink fences as the locomotive glided past the dark and 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.