Did I talk yet about the young couple who had just moved in? I wonder what happened to them after all of these years. There was nothing wrong with them at all. Cute. They looked like each other and had to be from one of the suburbs around the city. I think they were married – either that or they just were on their way. I remember when they moved in – I guess it was a little after I did. I can’t remember. I remember the action well enough though. Time I can move around and then just edit.
So they moved in with their boxes and neat little plastic containers thinking that this was their start of their San Francisco life together. He was a teacher down in Hunter’s Point – one of those brave souls who really believed he could make a difference in the world. He just finished with his Masters and was about to start receiving a steady paycheck. Back then, and I can’t believe I’m calling the early 90s back then, but back then you could work a job, get a paycheck, and living well in the city. I think that’s why everyone was so connected. If you were a teacher, worked in a cafe, picked up the trash or ran sex dungeons, you could afford aplace to live and put food on the table. As far as children and that other level of life, I can’t tell you much about that. It’s not how I was living back then. That couple was sure enough square, but they were good folks, and that would turn out to be dangerous. The borrowing that took place over food and clothes turned out to get to them more than it got to me. I remember when they had a locksmith come over and put a deadbolt in their door. I remember thinking how silly it was because if you didn’t like what was going on in the house, you should just leave.
For me, I was high on herb a good deal of the time and didn’t realize how crazy everything was around me. That’s not just because of the herb mind you, but also because of the way San Francisco was. Crazy was the norm and if you weren’t, people looked at you as if you were the freak. I guess the movement that Harvey Milk started back in the day got a little to popular so that what as considered odd was now the ruling class.
Everyone was pretty close in the house at this time. I was no longer the newbie there, and felt comfortable with the vampires, the goat boy, and even the goat boy’s fag hag who still got her rocks off because she had money coming in from Mom and dad.
At work, the cafe’ was loosing so much business. The owners were taking way too much money out of the register, and that coupled with with the free food that we were taking plus what I was giving to my friends, was putting us in debt beyond belief. On one Sunday, with the sky turning dark blue, the two brothers came in while their dates sat in the back seat of the old Chevy parked in front. From what I could see they were two cute Rockabilly girls waiting to be taken out on a nice night after a bunch of so so nights by guys their own age who could only afford a burrito and maybe an horchata. I know this from personal experience of being the guy on the other side of many a girl who was never satisfied with such a meal.
“We’re going to have to shut it down,” the older one – the one that that he was better looking than the other, said. “We’ve been loosing too much. It was a fun ride and I’m glad we tried. Thanks for sticking it out.”
“How long until we close, I asked, adding up the money I had in my bank account.
“Today is the last day,” the uglier of the two brother said. “We can’t hold out any longer. You’ll be cool though – it’s a chance to move on.’
The car horn honked and the two looked back like their necks had been lassoed by a rodeo clown.
“You can close own early if you like,” the good looking one said, as he opened the register and took out the big bills. “We’ll take care of cleaning up later. There’s people coming in. Also, if a man name Freddy comes by, give him the spare set of keys. He’s going to be taking over the rent come Monday”
With that, he stuffed the wad of cash into his pocket, turned up his collar, and walked with his brother towards their dates and classic moments about to be wherever they chose to go. Motherfuckers sold the place and didn’t let anyone know. I don’t remember if I locked up or just walked right out the door into the soon to be night. The Mission district changed during that time – the transition. I was always walking through transitions but never ending up in movements. Madison lived not too far from there, so I stopped over his house and found him playing Madden on the Super Nintendo with his roommate Douglas, who had been named after Fredrick Douglas but enjoyed the hardness of Douglass McCarthur more. He even smoked his herb out of a corn cob pipe.
Douglas a was a little different because though he was a madman like us, there was a sense of balance. He had his nose in the books late at night, but didn’t start until late in the night to do so – that way he could keep his world as full as he liked it. There was always some girl hanging around Madison looking to be the one who finally broke him down to walk down the street and hold her hand, but he wasn’t having any of it. It’s funny, but trying to reach back into memory and pull out the times that were so important, most of it was spent doing nothing. Just being with each other and bullshitting around – these were the golden moments. The ones of nothing – but life does not allow you to sit still for too long.
I called up the house to let everyone know that I wouldn’t be bringing any leftovers home and that they’d have to fend for themselves, but the new guy answered the phone and he didn’t sound happy.
“The sold my TV,” he said, nearly in tears. “I’m going to burn this place down. This is hell and I’m leaving you hear to rot. Enjoy.”
He hung up the phone. There was something inside of me that knew that since they could no longer steal from him, they’d turn back on me. Though I didn’t have much, I worked, well I did work, and they could smell the money. I should have made plans to leave as well – to get my shit together and head in some type of direction. It’s important in those crazy years to have your crazy time, but too much of it, to much of finding out about live by walking streets late at night or partying with your boys, is going to cost you years in the end. Is this my punishment now? To be sitting inside of a cubicle typing my old stories of San Francisco while the world goes on without me and I’m grasping to get a hold of at least those days so I can escape? I’m not sure there is any solace in reflection.
I needed to get a job quick because I knew my money was going to run out. Even then it was paycheck to paycheck. Madison had just scored another long touchdown by using the Houston Oilers vicious passing attack, sending Douglas to the kitchen to make some french toast with extra butter as the looser always had to do. Madison noticed me off-center and walked over to rap, but not to give advice.
“I got some shrooms. Crazy Leon is coming over now and we’re going to hit Pescadero. There’s enough for you if you want to join.”
“I’ve never done those before,” I told him. “That might be a little hard core for me.”
“Nah, it’s not acid – beside – you should experience how the world looks from all sides. Might give you a little perspective. Besides, one day you’re going to write about this and I want to make sure I end up in one of your memories. I’m planning on using you to immortalize myself.”
He smiled – not wide, but warm.
“Phil, you rolling with us,” Madison asked. “It’s going to be unreal.”
“Not my thing,” he said, pacing like a tiger looking to break somewhere that would lead him to a jungle of his liking. “I’m gonna break soon and get into something a little later on.”
Phil never liked to be part of a plan that he didn’t come up with.
A car honked downstairs.
“Crazy Leon has arrived,” Douglas said, putting on his jacket and beanie. “You better bundle up yourself my friend, it’s going to a cold night out there on the sandy dunes!”
Madison loaned a me a jacket and hat, and we left down to the awaiting ride – Douglas up in front in control of the stereo and Madison and I in back with a clear view and understanding of Crazy Leon’s eyes in the rear view mirror. Now, Leon had been the guy to introduce us to Hunter S. Thomson and all of that – and at this point, so early in his life, Crazy Leon had told everyone that he was going to do his part to loose his mind with as much entertainment as possible and anyone could join him for as much of the ride as possible.
Douglass had come correct with music, and put in Soulz of Mischief’s 93 till infinity. The car started up and we were headed away from the city and into the night of pescadero beach, far away from what we knew.