ONE NIGHT IN AMERICA
NOVEMBER 20, 2006
It's been a quiet week on the Island. Paganos has changed its famous storefront to match the season. Night has tossed her sable cape over the Bay Area, sifting the dust of sleep down from the starry heavens into every nook and cove on the Island. At this hour, the Offices of Island-Life hum quietly as the machines go about their nocturnal tasks by the dim light of flourescent desk lamps.
Ms. Morales has not been seen since the infamous event of the Student Essays. Bear remains deep in his garage, tinkering on yet another modification to his beloved Harley. The wall at St. Charles was silently and abruptly repaired in the dead of night during a manic episode of one of the managers released from Villa Fairmont and so no rats have gone scampering down St. Charles for a while. Mr. Peepers appears well on the mend.
Its night now on the Island. The racoon family is chirring in their den under the Julia Morgan house. Stray Jack is curled up under the old utility shed, dreaming of nice tasty mice. Mayor Beverly sleeps and dreams of flung confetti and parades and RW&B bunting on a grandstand in a city where everybody loves her -- without any exceptions at all. President Shrubb tosses and turns in his bed, dreaming of The Inquisition. Donald Rumancoke sleeps peacefully for the first time in years, the weight of executing ludicrous policies under nonsense conditions gone at last after his resignation from Secretary of the Bum's Cabinet.
In far-off Newark, soldiers sleep the dead sleep of exhausted men and women suffering through their fourth tour of duty in a combat zone while buddies patrol the perimeter with itching eyes and roving searchlights.
The Angry Elf does not sleep, for he never does, but lays on a wooden bench at The Crucible with his fists clenching and unclenching, for he is the Angry Elf.
Eugene Gallipagus dreams of the perfect poodlehunt. Der Governator Arnold dreams of firing anti-aircraft missles from the back of his modified Hummer at Air Force One in a California where a huge oil deposit has just been discovered right under Orange County.
About 51 newly elected Bums sleep and dream of an America where we can do better than we have been doing. Down at the cutout on Atlantic near Buena Vista, Officer O'Madhauen sips a cup of coffee in his cruiser, watching for speeders at midnight. The fellow who carelessly left his pistol out for the child to find with such tragic results here on the Island now sleeps in jail, caught during a routine traffic stop.
Over at the Old Same Place Bar, Suzie clicks off the neon beer sign and grabs her hat to head on out the door while Padraic and Dawn lock up the tavern door with a rattling of keys at the end of another working day. Their echoing steps patter into the distance as each heads for home and warm beds, each to each. After the echoes fade away, all is left is silence and the buzzing of the streetlights.
Along the garden fence, the opossum scampers for one last bit to eat before retiring for the winter while out on the sward at Crab Cove the Canadian geese all tuck their heads under their wings in a huddle.
At it approaches the Midnight hour, the long wail of the Mystery Train ululates across the estuary channel as the locomotive chugs its way from the spangled lights of the port gantries and container cranes through the dark and shuttered buildings of Jack London Square and the outlieing vegetable warehouses, heading with its single headlight moon to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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