MARCH 19, 2017
THE WEE MAN RETURNS
So anyway. The Editor walked along, pensively, as the skies lowered from high mottled patterns to a low leaden gray and leaves showered in fits during the tremulous period that precedes a storm. What kind of story did he have to tell? To whom was he speaking when he spoke?
This is an age-old problem for actor and playwright alike. Who, indeed, is the audience? And is it true that we will never know for sure.
Latterly he had been irascible and outraged, shouting and ill-humored. Forgetting all the while as he shook his rattle at the blank sky, just for whom it was all being done.
Any father had experienced this same feeling from time to time, with the bills piling up, the vacations postponed, the dreams deferred . . . .
Mr. Sanchez, looking down at the newest addition to the house, considered that now, most surely, he would never walk the Pilgrim's Camino in Spain. Nor would he ever finish that book he had meant to write, and the old 350 Honda sitting with flattened tires in the garage, getting dustier by the year, would never spark again, for now obligations sat heavy upon his shoulders and he had other priorities.
Some men would have reacted with shaking rage, but Mr. Sanchez was made of other stuff and he reached down to lift the squalling infant and holding it close, it quieted. He was now the dream and no other.
Denby roused suddenly from his bed as a burst of Canadian geese scattered and reformed across the sky. He lay awhile staring out of the tiny pane afforded him in the attic room of the St. Charles Hospital for Social Rehabilitation, a place where he had taken up sanctuary years ago. He stayed there because the rent was cheap and the Hospital let out the room which had been deemed uninhabitable for patients because it needed the money.
He knew why he was there; he could not afford to move and he loved music, so that was that. As for his audience, Denby imagined that he ought to start playing a few more uptempo things. It was about time.
Things were rollicking at the Old Same Place Bar. As the weather closed up the air into a stifling box, Padraic and Dawn ladled out the Gaelic Coffees and the pints of Guinness. Padraic refused to insult the Old Sod by naming the coffee concoction of whiskey and brown sugar and whipped cream by its usual appellation, for he insisted no "daycent lad o' the Green" would slur the good spirit that is the Water of Life by such a name as "Irish Coffee."
But the liquor was flowing and the talk was alive and the music was "Molly McGuire" in a hustle and a bustle and a clatter of dishes in the back as Padraic ran back and forth with Jose hired on to help as an honorary Irishman because of his native religion and all was cheer.
Suzie sullenly served the four who elbowed people out of the way
Until the door flew open and in came three members of the Angry Elf gang, Bryan Gump, Nasty Narita, Snarky Twit, and The Cackler, all jovial after setting a group of boats on fire and killing a dog down by the Marina. The regulars glared silently at them while the Not From Heres retreated to a table to talk among themselves. Everybody knew something would happen. Marsha noticed suddenly her shawl was missing and Nina had lost her watch and Leo could not find his hat. Suzie sullenly served the four who elbowed people out of the way at the bar. Things always went wrong when one of them showed up. There were fights and people got hurt. Somehow none of them ever seemed to be the center of attention when something bad happened, for none of them ever seemed to get into a fight directly but anytime crockery broke, one of them was nearby, like the infamous Bann Se of long ago, whistling around the chimney, making roof slates fly off in the middle of a storm, causing the shivers, and spoiling the milk.
In the back corner, a formerly romantic couple now was arguing over a movie.
Anywhere people seek joy, you are bound to find these malevolent sprites causing unhappiness and mischief. Sure an' ya know the type they is.
The room got darker and draftier and more quiet until one of them, Snarky Twit it was, looked around and said, "I think we need to have some dancing and celebration!" Here he grabbed Shannon and spun her around until she was dizzy and she plotzed into a chair with her shoes askew.
It was clear she could not go on.
At that moment there was an eerie arpeggio of bells, the candles dimmed and disappeared. The door flew open and the wind appeared. The curtains blew and then He appeared.
"Don't be afraid," he said to Shannon.
The figure strode up the length of the way to the bar and the assembled multitude parted before him not unlike the Red Sea before the staff of the Prophet Moses.
He clambered up upon a stool there and ordered his usual - a bump, a Guinness properly stacked, and an ale for waiting on the Guinness.
Indeed, the Wee Man had returned. All three feet of him from the tips of his brogans to the top of his feathered cap.
There was a brief lull in activity, but the Angry Elf Gang could not let anything go by without comment.
"Hey little fellow, did you lose your mama?" one of them said.
"I see you have never known yours."
There was a shocked acre of silence.
"O yeah, so what're you saying, little dwarf?"
"I am saying quite plainly you do not know your mother and you never have. And you should know what that means. Everyone here who has any sense knows it."
"Oh yeah? I think we oughta put in a little ruggers here. A little dwarf tossin'."
"Just you try," said the Wee Man, who stood up on the top of the bar stool.
Faster and faster he spun the arsonist thug
Snarky Twit came up to the barstool and made as if to grab the Wee Man and toss him as they are wont to do in uncouth Southern Lands, but the Wee Man grabbed Snarky Twit's nose and holding him there tight as a vise, seized his privates, causing him to howl. He then spun Snarky Twit around in a circle, making of his body a great wheel with his privates the hub while the man howled in anguish. Faster and faster he spun the arsonist thug until he became a blur like the blades of a summer fan. A sort of hum began and sparks began to fly out and smoke arose as from an overheating motor and a wind blew back everyone's hair. The human dynamo spun into a blur of motion and sparks until there was a sort of explosion of sparks and all the lights went out and everyone sat there in a stunned silence.
In the darkness, everyone heard a voice announce clearly, "Your mother is and always has been the dear, sweet Earth. Be kind to her."
And with that the lights came back on and the Wee Man had disappeared. Sprawled on the ground was the Snarky Twit, all splayed out and dressed like a Bozo clown with droopy drawers and a fuzzy purple wig and a big red nose. Likewise was Gump, Narita, and Cackler, who it was discovered all wore chastity belts made of thorns which aggrieved them very much.
"O nuts!" said Dawn. "He's done turned me knickers into sausages again!"
Peering into her waistband, Suzie commented, "He certainly has a penchant for strange lingerie."
While the Angry Elf Gang fled the place in pain and shame, habitués of the Old Same Place Bar deliberated in some consternation about the state of their undies when the clear intent was to have each partner demand their removal ASAP, and so let consequences ensue au natural. . .
still doing all for Company
As the clock ticked over to a new day and the heavens broke their impending mood with lashings of rain, the Editor sat once again at his desk, finally decisive and determined. His place was to succor the lost, the lonely, the bereft, the less fortunate, the abused, the underdog of these times with wit and humor and hope. The coming times may become very dark and his instruments and powers must be devoted, as they always have been, to giving a lift up to those who needed it most; that was his job. Spring was coming, a time of renewal. In spite of setbacks he needed to remember the show goes on, week after week, sometimes with no hope of anyone being there to appreciate this rarefaction of elements, this removal of all obstacles until nothing stood between himself and the origin of Life. Yet still doing all for Company.
The clock struck. The pool of light remained. It was half one in the morning now as the blessed rain ending the long drought fell down. Time to work while the world sleeps.
From from far across the water, the night train sent its wail, spreading like the forcefield of an explosive wave, beneath the light-studded gantries of the Port of Oaktown, keening 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 an unknown future.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.