NOVEMBER 14, 2017
After Denby struggled back to his rented room upstairs in the St. Charles Lunatic Asylum to recover from this year's Crossing during the last night of Los Dias de Los Muertos, Eugene Gallipagus took down the long box from the shelf and unpacked all the camo equipment and brushes and oils and everything that evoked the scent and memory of autumn.
Yes, that special season has come upon us when the air turns brisk with scents of apples and chimney smoke and thoughts turn to traditions and season rituals. Dick and Jane go gaily scampering through the fallen leaves with ruddy cheeks and panting breath hand in hand, leaping over babbling brook and rain-damp fallen tree, each dreaming of popping a few rounds into a Fifi, blasting the stuffing out of a silver-haired poo with their brand new, polished thirty ought six.
God! It is such a magical time! It is glorious America in Fall!
Yep, that much anticipated Island event is nigh upon us once again, the Annual Island-Life Poodleshoot and BBQ.
So anyway. The year spins on its twisted axis to a close. Old Gaia sits on her porch of the Universe as the earth tilts away from her son, Phoebus Apollo with her coverlet over her old knees and the last rays caress her ravined face.
Now is the time when the air becomes sodden with mildew and sluice. Gouts of water erupt from the old places and streams return in their prepared beds. The light is soft through the dense gray atmosphere of morning and then, the afternoons sparkle with dazzling rays that glow the changing leaves of maples and other broad leaf trees going golden and scarlet in this time.
In this time, people start to make connections, plans for family gatherings and the restoration of Traditions. All the ghosts that crossed over during Los Dias de los Muertos stand around, watching.
Soon the Island will resound to the 19th Annual Poodleshoot and BBQ. Father Danyluk of the Church of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint will renew his friendship with Pastor Nyquist of the Lutheran Immanuel Church as in years and decades now past.
It was a rainy year when the Catholic priest, given to walking clockwise about the block so as to meditate upon his sermons (he was a fond devotee of St. Thomas Aquinas), took refuge under a bus stop shelter with Pastor Nyquist who had taken to walking, as was his nature, anticlockwise around the same block, and so came to discovering that both clergy experienced difficulties with members of their respective flocks and yet had need during the Holiday time of specific resources.
Pastor Nyquist had need of proper beverages of which the Catholic rectory kept ample store. The Catholic had need of proper musicality which could only be supplied by the Lutheran choir filled with talented voices.
Some might say it was a match made in heaven, which probably gives fig all for Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, or Islamic petty differences when push comes to shove.
The weatherman forecast cold and rain and so the streets were largely empty as the red truck and the white sedan carrying members of the Angry Elf gang stopped on Santa Clara Avenue to set a car on fire before driving away.
Denby, passing by, called in a report to IFD and wondered about the tenability of remaining on the Island that now was home to 100,000 people.
The Editor considered Veterans Day and quickly rejected the notion. The time for fond sentiments was 40 years ago when he and his brothers returns from that Southeast Asian fiasco. Thanks for your service now, when it had been all spits and hisses back then. Damage done and not repaired.
Some of his buddies went out for blowing of taps, wearing old uniform caps bedecked with the names of ships and units and all that nostalgia stuff at the model airplane field on Harbor Bay Island, but he seldom had patience for the pomp and ceremony -- old fogies living in the past and he had a news room to run while under onslaught of the worst attack on the Press since Heinrich Himmler. Sentiment be damned; he had a press organization to run.
Over at the Household of Marlene and Andre it had gotten crowded again. With the return of wet, cold weather, folks who had been keeping outside were taking shelter in the Winter. Occasional Quentin was again sleeping under the coffee-table while Jose folded himself up to use the hall linen closet as a bedroom. Times, never very easy, had become harder once again now that Brother Obama was gone and so the fifteen lost souls took humble residence in the one bedroom cottage. The rents had skyrocketed to obscene levels way past the ability of even normal people to pay to live, and the savage greed was wrecking households and businesses all over the Bay Area.
In this time the Angry Elf was finding employment as a Real Estate Management Expert one month, and as a Security\Fire Safety Manager the next, all the while using his position to scout out places that his gang could later rob. He had "friends" in several businesses who diverted calls from honest people checking his references and credentials. For the end of the year he had a grand revenge planned on Islanders who had disagreed with him on any number of real and imagined slights.
Out on the street Jason Arrabiata, Rev. CFSM, put his hand on the wet pavement to feel it tremble from some deep tension. Some kind of tectonic event was building up far underground beneath the mantel of the earth's crust. Rebbe Mendelnusse felt it as well at the house of worship on Harbor Bay, a strange forboding. Something was about to happen, another ugly Kristalnacht he was sure of it.
Meanwhile Suan and Rolf poured over Bay Area maps. They knew that the attack from the Angry Elf gang was coming soon. Both of them knew enough about survival and life that they had to have an exit plan. They knew they did not have the resources to fight savage animals like these. They knew they needed a fallback plan and in western Marin there was a possible place of refuge for the Lost of the World.
In the Old Same Place Bar, there is a chatter and a clatter from within. Every time Padraic passes the snug where he put the new lease with its rent increase, he snarls, then sighs.
Eugene is huddled with stalwart hunters trading stories of past Poodleshoots and making plans for this 19th version of the famous event that draws luminaries from all over the country. There is much speculation as to whom the White House will send as representative this year.
At the Marlene and Andre's household, the place has been packed, all the wanderers and lost having come home to roost as the night air turned dank and chill with the rains and the return of the heat-sapping fog. As the night eases along with a smooth stride, spinning its watchchain in a loping stride, horns moan through the fog across the wide expanse of water and the snores of sleepers drift up from cots and sleeping bags and sofa and closet, every nook and cranny occupied of that bad abode. The rustling in the big ginormous habitot run goes quiet as Festus and his pals tuck in.
Out on the street a pickup truck carrying members of the Angry Elf gang went whooping around the corner as the gang members planned more evil mischief.
Soon, all was quiet in this darkening time of Daylight saving and Trumpism. Beneath the floorboards of the Household the rats scampered around the old decrepit furnace with its sparking wires, avoiding fried comrades who had gotten too close to the machinery. Night fell early and a gentle rain sussurated down and a quietude pervaded the Island. No sirens tore the night air and a gentle peace ruled all the little Edwardian houses. It was a quiet night on the Island and no one got shot and no one got stabbed.