OPOSSUMS AND BEAUTY

SEPTEMBER 6, 2009

The hot spell has yielded to gratefully cooler temps and cloud-wracked breezy days fortelling changes to come. A thunderstorm is forcast around Bishop and more are forcast down south where the boys are battling a tough fire in the San Gabriel Mountains. Maybe we will post a story about how our Fremont crossed through there during the Mex-American War; it was really something.

The humid weather has dropped loads of morning dew in the pre-dawn hours, and it is thought that the hurricane in Baja is largely the cause of it. By late morning, the dew has all burnt off and the afternoon is cloudless and free of moisture as an ideal baby's bottom.

School has begun in many districts and so the streets are somewhat quieter now, with the kids in school and the parents all out of work. Island-Lifer Paul recently journeyed out to buy a used stratocaster from a fellow who used to be an investment banker. Fellow sat there among the ruins auctioning off his toys and possessions.

They say the End is in sight and the Recession already bottomed out. Don't you believe it. We are in this thing for the long haul and you better be in that frame of mind too or else. Housing here remains 20% overvalued so there are plenty of vacancies right now. Half a mil for a one bedroom cottage? Are you crazy?

Meanwhile we continue to encounter born and raised folk here on the Island every day. Folks born and raised here and not likely to go away any time too soon.

Over at Marlene and Andre's place the situation is growing desperate. The situation there has always been desperate, but then, that is always the way.

Mancini lost his job pushing a broom over at the former NUMMI auto plant, which closed down recently, sending him and about 4,500 other people to the EDD, so he has been hanging out at the house a lot lately. Jesus had his hours cut back as caretaker at the 7th Day Adventist Church as well as Tipitina who fills in as an accountant for Cribbage, Babbage and Umbsen in the City. The local businesses are all cutting back on expenses for special functions and even wedding organizers are turning to the beatbox and cheap DJ's for their entertainment, which means Andre's band "No Future in Real Estate" is having trouble getting gigs.

This Labor Day weekend, the gang all hung out by the BBQ. There was nothing to throw on the non-existant coals other than dollar corn (six ears for a buck) from the Special at Plucky's Supermarket, but they hung out anyway watching the windsurfers and clueless getting "swimmer's itch" down by the Strand.

That night, Marlene, who had collected day-old bread from the box at Mastic with Piedro, cooked up some of her bread soup with the corn and Bonkers managed to kill a rat that had been living under the woodpile so a fine dinner was had by all.

Xavier came in from his job blowing leaves and Pahrump went out with Alexis, Crackers and Quentin to a job Alexis had got cleaning up the meeting hall of the Native Sons of the Golden West. The Native Sons tended to get pretty rowdy during some of their shindigs, and the hall was littered with empty Fat Tire bottles, pizza crust, expended .45 caliber shells, sodden t-shirts, shoes, and women's underwear. Xavier shooed away a raccoon picking desultorily through the detritus when they got there.

Crackers took the lid off of a pot sitting on the stove and found a baby opossum in there among the remains of the vegetables. The opossum looked up at Crackers and sniffed and Crackers looked down at the opossum. He put on some work gloves and lifted the animal out of the pot.

The others watched him carry it to the door, leaning on their mops.

As he carried it out the front, which faced the marina there, a gaggle of brightly clad Not-From-Heres scampered down the wharf from an excursion boat. They all wore bikinis and were as blonde as the sun.

"Guck' mal an! Eena Geschoepf!", one of them said, pointing at the animal in his hands.

"Nay. Is'n Beutelratte. Man sagt, 'Opossum' auf Englisch.", said another.

The beauties all gathered around the helpless and grinning Crackers as they cooed and gabbled in their strange language.

An older woman wearing a khaki shirt and dockers came down the wharf and barked something at the girls who scampered off.

"Tchuss! Bye bye!", they said, bouncing down to the walkway.

Crackers put the opossum under a bush, where it decided to play dead purely as a matter of course. He went inside.

"Ah pulchritude." said Crackers. "Wish Rolph was here to translate."

"They ain't never gonna have nothing to do with the likes of us," said Xavier. "You know that."

"Old Indian saying," said Pahrump. "No money, no Honey."

After they got the place cleaned up they sat out watching the sun set over the marina. Down in Mexico, hurricane Jimena was stirring things up, but the air was calm over the cove with a slight breeze. The southern weather had brought up extraordinary clouds, however, and so each evening provided a brilliant light show of flaming incarnadine streaks slathered with white cockatiel feathers across the sky from one end of the horizon to the other until it all gradually dimmed to washes of deep blue and then black as the stars came out one by one, hesitantly and timorous at first, then boldly with confidence as more of them joined the congregation. The moon rose from her chambers and with stately grace took her position with authority trailed by shimmering silver robes and attended by a single handmaiden star.

The dark bay gradually changed from a dirty and crumpled woolen blanket into a carpet of diamonds stretching out to the lights of the City across the water, each wavelet a brief flicker.

"Everyone has the stars," said Pahrump, looking up. Somewhere a siren wailed into a distant crisis, then denouement."Everyone has the stars, but its not the same for everyone."

Just then, the long wail of the train passing through the Jack London Waterfront came ululating across the water as it travelled from the Port to places unknown.

With these small gifts, the three got up and returned to the house and whatever bread soup might remain in the pot.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

 

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