MARCH 22, 2020
THE WEE MAN RETURNS
So anyway. 40 million Californians are ordered to stay home, but Denby works the medical gig these days so Pahrump has to drive him over the Larkspur Ferry which gets him to Babylon where he takes the largely empty BART train to downtown Berkley and walks then to the Herrick campus of Alta Bates\Summit each day. Back in the Valley, the Editor never saw so many people taking walks on the byways of the place. In the beginning of the Stay-home orders people felt too inhibited to venture more than a few blocks from their domicile with the dog. Only recently have families piled into cars to go to one of the park trails for day-long hikes, picnics, fresh-air outings. Time will tell what this increased family cooperation will feature. Almost certainly in another nine months we shall experience another baby boom. Indoor activities are of course limited to TV, internet and . . . cooking.
The places one normally goes during a crisis are closed. It came around to the time of the wearing of the green and obesience to St. Patrick. One dark night this past week a small figure could have been seen scurrying along the alleys of the Island. As it was raining he wore a mantle and a high top hat which added a foot to his otherwise three foot frame that arose from curly toed shoes to the gold hatband adorned with a four-leaf clover.
He came to the doors of the Old Same Place Bar and found them shuttered with a notice thereon that due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the establishment would remain closed until April 7 at the earliest.
A truck carrying members of the Angry Elf Gang drove by and they were all laughing, for pain and suffering are things that always delight the AEG.
The Wee Man, for it was him, stroked his chinny chin chin and thought and thought. Finally he said, to no one in particular for no one stood there with him and the streets were dark and bare, "This cannot do!"
The Wee Man raised his hands and shouted "Mach de Toor auf!", which is not Gaelic, but worked nevertheless. The door sprung open and all the lights came on and the Wee Man strode with powerful strides and said, "Inhabit!" And so suddenly there they were. Padraic and Dawn were behind the bar and Suzie was serving Guiness (which is good for you) to a table of Not-from-Heres and Eugene sat at the rail at his usual place and even Old Schmidt sat there with him, causing Eugene to exclaim, "I thought you were dead!" to which Old Schmidt responded, "Rumors of my death are sadly mistaken."
And the two of them began to talk about what it was like living in the DDR after the War and there was a cheerful clatter and chatter from within.
And the Wee Man clambered up on a stool and ordered a Guiness and a shot for the stack wait and everyone was momentarily stunned as things in the past had occured so magical and scary, but the Wee Man waved his hand to say, "Carry on as usual."
And so everyone who was there, did.
Wednesday morning Padraic awoke late and stretched his no longer limber arms as Dawn fluttered her eyelids.
"I had the most strangest dream last night," said Dawn.
"Indeed so did I," Padraic said.
"I dreamed that we were all back in the Bar and everyone was there and there was no talk about the virus going around. Everything was grand. And the Wee Man appeared as usual, but I don't remember the rest."
"I dreamed the same," said Padraic. "But the Wee Man was not so frightful. Still, I wonder what to do with the rest of the day. Maybe clean out the Guiness lines again in advance of schedule."
"I don't know, " said Dawn as her fingers began to walk down Padraic's body from his face and torso and down further. "I can imagine a few things. I am absolutely sure I can occupy the day with something delightful and better than flushing the beer lines."
"Good heavens!, " said Padraic suddenly. "He's done it again! He has transformed me knickers into something unusual!"
"Same for me!" said Dawn.
"Sodding pervert! Did you check the door before shutting up last night?"
"I thought you did that," said Dawn. "Let's take these knickers off right now and find other things to do. . . ".
On the Island, all was quiet as the sun sank behind the hills of Babylon and the promotories of Marin in flaming rooster-tails of crimson and gold. As the night advanced no sirens rent the night and few cars shushed down the little streets. It was a peaceful night on the Island with no screaming and no one got shot and no one got stabbed.
The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary, echoing off of the embankments of the Island to wend its way through the redwoods of Marin'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, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.