THE AFFAIR OF THE EASTER PEEPS

March 23, 2008

Its been a quiet week on the Island, our hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. The gorgeous weather had all the folks out taking in the first genuinely warm rays in a while. Northern California can be as deceptive as a CIA Operative when the seasons turn. Outside the sun streams down, coaxing up a few hardy early blooms, but a chill wind lets you know summer has a ways to go before arriving for real. When Spring gets going here, it is a riot of color, an explosion of fecundity. Spring is the most dangerous season in Northern California. Maybe it is different in other places, but here, wise men remain indoors and order pizza for dinner. Bees dive-bombing the clover, hummingbirds bayonetting the lavendar that is throwing out punches this way and that. Army ants on the march and squirrels conducting reconnaissance forays add to the mayhem, while racoons begin nightly raids. The daisy bush bursts with yellow ack-ack blooms. Squadrons of swallows streak overhead and then, most intimidating of all, there are the girls in their summer dresses.

Meanwhile, somewhere overhead, flying in stealth mode -- that naked fat boy keeps firing off at random his erring arrows.

Here comes Johnnie, happy and carefree as a lark, striding with ruddy cheeks and full confidence. But after him comes Jane, armed with those sharpshooter eyes, a flippy skirt and strappy high heels.

Now Johnnie is down! His face wan and his appetite poor, his breath coming out in ragged gasps as Jane cradles his head among the wildly blooming daisies. In the heart, poor lad.

Yes, Spring is the most dangerous Season.

The Native Sons of the Golden West held its annual Sunday brunch at its clubhouse down by the marina. "Peeps" were presented by Carol, as well as cupcakes which sported frosting hued in a manner not found in nature except certain deepsea crustaceans that glow of eerie light at least a mile or more beneath the surface. Paul Bailiff stood up and gave a speech in which the various Biblical contradictions in timing of events with regard to the Resurrection were all resolved with reference to Job's three days in the whale.

Mr. Jesus arose on Saturday instead of Sunday and so the Brunch needed to be shifted a day earlier next year. He was voted down.

In another speech, of which meetings of the Native Sons are fraught, Marty explained that the word "Easter" refers to the fertility goddess of that name, who rumbled about some two thousand years before the birth of Jesus -- which took place in March instead of December, but who is counting at this point -- and whose symbols included the egg and the hare. This one caused Fr. Flagherty some discomfort and an argument ensued later in the day.

Rachel, from the Fat Lady in Oaktown, served up mimosas to all, until she had enjoyed a few too many and began walking about barefoot and singing to herself while Mary and Fr. Flagherty argued in the corner. At which point the place became "open bar."

The mimosas definitely took effect as the afternoon wore on and, under instruction from Rachel (who teaches dance at the Metronome) Karen, Kirk and Helen were seen performing Have Nagila, arm in arm, to the music of James Taylor, even though all three are of Norwegian extraction.

The Almeida kids somehow got hold of a bunch of peeps and stuck them in the microwave. As the dish revolved, the peeps expanded and -- because some twenty five of them had been shoved in there, they filled the entire cavity before bursting open the door to fall on the floor in a smoking gelatinous mess that was multicolored in pastels and stinking to high heaven, which satisfied the kids to no end.

Carol, seeing this event at its conclusion, ran to the sink to fetch what would have been a largely useless dishtowel as the smoking peeps glowed internally with heat reminiscent of the lava held in the pit of Tolkein's Mount Doom. But in running to the sink, her foot happened to catch the cord of the mini-bagel maker, which fell over and hit the belljar enclosing the Official Brass Fantod of the Native Sons. The belljar broke and the fantod leapt up off of the table there to joust Roberta below the girdle as she stood talking to Eugene Gallipagus. Thinking she had just been molested, and being of hot-temper from Oaxaca, she slapped Eugene suddenly and fiercely across the face such that the poor boy fell backwards into the lap of Patricia as she sat on the comfy chair talking to David Phipps, sending mimosas and fluted wineglass scattering in all directions.

Patricia, being of hot-blooded Columbian extraction, slapped Eugene repeatedly until he rolled off of her onto the floor where David kicked him perfunctorily as a matter of duty and honor.

In the middle of this rucktion, a racoon which had been observing all this from the top of the maypole erected for next month's festivities climbed down and ambled through the door to sniff the still warm peeps on the floor and the cabinet and the microwave and the wall, but wrinkled his nose in disgust before going to the table piled high with cold cuts and fruit salad.

A breeze came up, for it was the late afternoon by now, and fluttered a number of sheets listing the day's agenda out the window and over the estuary where a robotic arm arose from the waters beside a periscope to seize an handful. The Iranian submarine had returned, finding the area fruitful for information gathering and the officers puzzled a good long while over this agenda.

"In the name of Allah, what are "peeps"? one said.

And the Iranian submarine took this query with it out into the Bay where it ran silently, ran deep, back out the Golden Gate to the Pacific Ocean.

That's the way it was on the Island, this sunny Sunday. Have a great week.

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