October 10, 2006


This weekend the Island, a part of which retains an irrational longing for the 1950's, held its annual car show down on our miniscule main drag. All six blocks were blocked off for the much ballyhooed Car Show Extravaganza, where ducktails and running boards met with chrome and shiny topcoat to present the latest in dinosaur fuel retrograde technology.

No, it was not a Harley convention, but the Island Auto Faire. Although a vintage Harley was present, parked neatly over a puddle of leaking oil, just like old tymes.

And since this was an Island affair, who should present his mandatory appearance but Percy Worthington-Boughspatt III with his consort, Jolene, of the Berkeley Explicit Players. As usual Percy appeared dressed in plus-fours, two-toned beige-and-white shoes golfing shoes, immaculate spats, neatly pressed tan waistcoat over starched collar Arrow shirt and Old School Tie, topped by a checked tam. His vehical was the very rare 1929 Mandeville-Brot, complete with full length running boards, four on the floor, plush beige leather interior, massively chromed fore and aft bovine repellers, Hurst carburetor, finned extraordinaries, and an exquisitely detailed stickshift formed from a rhino's organ of increase and pleasure -- fully chromed of course -- and topped with the most lascivious shifter knob of solid gold.

His companion, as usual, was naked.

Except, being as the temperatures had dropped recently, she had allowed for the donning of a charming fur hat and feather boa.

But nevermind, for on this overcast day with autumn fogs and all the trees along Santa Clara going golden with changes bright neon and flashy fins held the day on the Island main street as speakers boosted the rave sounds of Elvis and the Big Bopper out into the crowd and Percy cruised down the middle in his boat with all sails flying and Jolene's boa trailing after like a great banner.

Long time readers may recall that Percy scooped up his consort in Berkeley a couple of springs ago as Jolene prepared to finish her finals at UCB, as usual entirely naked as was her wont and her classmates distraction. There is something just so unutterably sexy about a two-toned vintage automobile with chromed headlights, especially an automobile that matches the color-scheme of the driver's shoes. Jolene does not tend to wear shoes, unless they be those Italian spaghetti-strap things with high heels, but that day she certainly fell for Percy's and the result has been an affair worthy of Dr. Zhivago or better. Her parents, living in St. Paul, having long adjusted to her clothing habits -- or absence thereof -- had little difficulty in accepting the presence of a maniacal devotee to automobile retro-culture, as this quibble seemed rather minor in the face of other issues. Her naked presentation at Aunt Elizebeth's wedding last year, naked save for a crinoline garter, simple tam made of felt, and those Italian spagetti straps, is still the talk of St. Paul. One would thing no one had ever viewed La Vie Boheme with independence.

Fortunately, unlike many of the Explicit Players, she is yet young and, unlike many of the Explicit Players, yet still delightful to look upon.

So Percy decended upon the Annual Car Faire with all due innocence, not anticipating any such reaction as ensued. As it so happened, Bear and his consort Sophia had emerged from their dungeon where Bear dwells amid piles of motorcycle parts and vats of oils. Sophia, born to be a creature of light and disinclined to tolerate darkness nor grease nor oils, erupted from this dungeon with great intent, after having succeeded in getting Bear to wear a clean shirt for more than three days running in succession. Crossing the street most inopportunely, as it later appeared, Ms. Ruth Morales of the Island Free Library was crossing against the light. Ms. Morales had the affair of the disappeared Library Research Assistant (reported last year) in mind and so was understandably distracted. Nothing remained of the Research Assistant but a tattered copy of Anais Nin's diaries, so the worst is expected. As Ms. Morales crossed within the demarcation of the crossing, but yet outside the established limits of the traffic signal, Percy slammed on his brakes, causing Bear's 1949 Tweakhead Harley-Davidson to backfire as he slammed the notoriously bad brakes of the Tweakhead to a slovenly, sliding, stop athwart said signal . This event caused Mr. Stuffsack, a slatternly golden retriever sleeping on the porch of the Kitson family to leap up and charge the postman, who innocently was trying to deliver a past due missive to Ms. Emily Post of Central Avenue.

All of this activity resulted in Percy arriving late for the judging on Park Street.

Mrs. Morales, startled by the sight of a naked woman riding in a 1929 Mandeville-Brot coupe with complete running-boards and exquisite trim, naked save for a charming hat and feather boa, threw up her arms and so sent a number of student essays on the poetry of Emily Dickenson into the air even as Stuffsack tore a hole in the postman's carry bag. The postman was named Mr. Richards. Various messages flew into the air and mingled with the student essays as an early autumn breeze caught them up and whirled them over the estuary. Under which an Iranian submarine cruised with serious intent. A robotic arm emerged from the Iranian submarine to capture some of this errant postage, among which were certain ardent letters proclaimed that notwithstanding her deep affection and profound lust for Mr. Snort of Central Avenue, Ms. Twickham saw the need to break off her engagement forthwith and cease all connection with the gentleman. Simply because.

The Iranian submarine proceeded out of the estuary and through the Golden Gate undetected bearing these sad tidings and many more besides.

Mr. Snort proposed marriage to Ms. Twickham on the corner of Webster and Trivial Streets, near the place where Skippy Peanutbutter was invented and manufactured for many years. They were married in St. Patricks Cathedral and now are enjoying a torrid honeymoon in Hawaii where neither one has seen the beach or the sun for several days.

Meanwhile certain Iranians are considering a revolution and Bear is repairing his motorcycle. Mr. Richards now carries a can of pepper spray and Stuffsack is kept on a chain leash. The students are writing their essays for the third and last time.

Percy's coupe runs like a top and Jolene is still naked. Save for a fetching felt hat. And boa.