Archive for October, 2005

Don’t you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me

Posted in Blog on October 30, 2005 by trevorgregg

A cold, cold night in our fair city.

I spent the last six hours finishing One Hundred Years of Solitude in my rolling office chair, which I’d pushed into the hall in front of our heater. Strategically positioned to ensure minimal effect with maximum energy waste, the rusted relic we call a furnace spews tepid air into one tiny fraction of the apartment, far from any living space or common area. Even if it were working in any traditional sense of the term, simple thermodynamic laws regarding heat diffusion would require the hall temperature to be raised above 130 degrees for my room to warm above 50. And so, with all my friends out of town and no internet and no video games, I read the final 3/4’s of that book huddling in front of the heater.

It’s about 9:30 Saturday now, and I’m thirty pages into Henderson the Rain King, stolen shamelessly from Jolene’s book collection. In some distant age past, she made the mistake of showing a flicker of interest in literature, and so has been on the receiving end of vast amounts of books at every conceivable holiday, from yours truly. Now, my drab and uninspired giftgiving has paid off, as her library is at my disposal. No more rereading Alas, Babylon for me; there’s a whole stack of books at the end of the corridor for me to dig into.

It’s very, very damn cold in here. Colder still, without my jacket.

Fuck every last one of you metropolitan vermin, and fuck you hard. The conspiracy behind the theft of my leather jacket, the lynchpin article of clothing in my closet, is vast. I will find you all, however, and I will murder you. Slowly. Gleefully.

Through the intricate and mysterious passages of San Francisco’s trickle-down ticket economy, we obtained free passes to the San Francisco Music Awards at the Warfield on Thursday. The event may not have been red carpet gala, but it was fancy enough to give away free Heineken. Be still, my heart. Along with a couple of our fair neighbors, Jo and I headed to the venue. Several high points:

Itzhak Rizcahtazaslevizniovitzovzky (sp?) and his fucking awesome “My Parachute Won’t Open” video. Probably the most random, out of left-field two and a half minutes of video I’ve ever seen anywhere ever, including the internet. A masterpiece.

Going to take a leak and getting stonewalled by the roadie scum manning the east door. He gave me some bullshit about having a balcony ticket, and I threatened to hang his bleached blond scalp from a pike in my front yard. Rather than risk a permanent criminal record, however, I went around to the other side and walked right back into the floor level, completely unassailed. Fucking roadies.

Partying with teachers. Teachers. My brain simply cannot wrap itself around the concept that teachers are people. Teachers are not humans, teachers are one dimensional androids who cease to exist after about 3:30 every school day. And yet… these girls are teachers, and do appear to be homo sapiens, at least to the naked eye. I don’t know why I have such a hard time with this. I recognize it as a personal and not a social hangup, but that doesn’t make it any less real to me. I can not conceive of any of my teachers from my younger days, any of them, drinking beer and partying on Thursday night at the SF music awards. Can not do it. These people are state certified to manage and educate our young while we go about our business daily. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think them unqualified in any way; far from it. These folks could tend my larvae any day. I don’t know…

It’s like, somehow I’ve gotten old enough where the wizard just says “fuck it, c’mon back” and I go around the giant green mask to find he’s just an old dude with special effects equipment. Know what I mean?

Highlights, highlights… The Hieroglyphics. Of course. Nothing redeems a show full of shitty indie rock and greasy white people like some serious Yay Area Stylin.

The night draws to a close, and we find ourselves on the dance floor, courtesy of the previously mentioned headlining act.

We boogie, and we groove. Our hero is approached by a not unattractive blond who is oh so subtly trying to snag his attention and be approached. You know that thing, that “approach you by tricking you into approaching me” thing? That.

I fucking should have known.

I follow the trail of bread crumbs like a good hetero feeb and we dance for a while, interrupted regularly by a towering Aryan tool who tried unsuccessfully to drive me off. He may or may not have been her boyfriend. Tall you might be, ass, but without some sweet moves you’re just a fuckin eucalyptus with a Cal State Long Beach jacket on. Fool.

The set ends and all seems well; the blond wanders off with the rest of her little crew.

The house lights come up and poof, my jacket (perched purposefully within view so I could keep an eye on it) is gone. I look around, overturning chairs and patrons frantically, to no avail. That bitch, that evil bitch distracted me so they could steal my fucking coat. My fucking coat. My eyes turn red with hate and I immediately start raving about a conspiracy.

“Come back here you treacherous floozy!” I shout, plowing headlong through stunned hipsters, leaving a wake of collapsed, quivering musicians wishing they were good enough of popular enough to have bodyguards. Maybe you would have seen me coming if your hair wasn’t growing down into your eyes, you scum. “Where’s my god damn jacket!”

Gone. The blond, the thief, the evidence, the coat, gone.

Motherfuckers. Now the black knight has no armor. And now I’m wearing six layers of hooded sweatshirts and a Twin Falls baseball hat, looking like some kind of laundry explosion, completely vulnerable to the elements. Jacketless.

I fucking hate you all and hope you die. Tomorrow I go in search of a replacement, to be bought with money I don’t have, out of horrid necessity.

A few days later, my rage has cooled a little. A little. At least we’ve learned some valuable lessons.

1) Never trust women, they are creatures of pure greed and deceit who will lead you to your doom at every opportunity.
2) Never set your jacket down unless there’s a land mine under it.
3) Don’t leave your muni pass in your jacket if you plan on having your jacket stolen, cuz then you have to pay another buck fifty just to get home.

Motherfuckers stole my fucking coat.

——————–

Strange dreams in this place, strange, strange dreams. The perpetual light and noise of the street through my big bay window is having profound effects on my unconscious psyche.

I swim in rivers of black poison, lined with dead palm trees and rusted iron fencing. The cannibals on the shore speak to me in a language I can’t understand. They seem non-threatening, but very primitive. The giant canary sits on his alabaster throne, whispering profanities in Spanish and governing the land.

“There are unicorn in those woods, you know.” The canary tells me.

“I know, I’ve come to hunt them.” I respond, waving my assault rifle with its laser sight and serrated bayonet. I feel an insidious and burning guilt from my innards; the canary, he knows I don’t carry the proper permit to hunt these unicorn. Perhaps he will not mention it.

“Kill them all.” He bids.

My orange prison jumpsuit smeared with the blood of goodly and majestic mythical beasts, I am confronted.

“You treated me poorly, for a long time.” She says. I know this girl.

“You deserved it. That’s not half the punishment you deserve for your crimes.” I say. Still, I offer her a fresh unicorn steak, wrapped in palm fronds. I’m sentimental like that.

“I have wronged you greatly, yes. Whether I deserve it or not is immaterial. Revenge is not the path to righteousness.”

“The canary sent you, didn’t he?”

“We’ve come so far, and yet still you haven’t moved.”

“Remember when I was in love with you?”

“Yes.”

“Yeah, that was the suck.”

She cries briefly, then explodes into a flock of blue doves, and I collapse into the bloody murk of the swamp. I see myself sink into the quagmire.

Break.

——————-
Hours pass.

I’m back. Life has a nasty habit of interrupting when I’m typing this shit up.

Tired and mildly hammered, I’ve hiked it back from the Castro. That’s right, the Castro.

This town… it’s tough to be straight around here, sometimes. Only place on the planet you can be singled out for heterosexuality. Call me old fashioned, call me bourgeois, call me normal. But hey, for me? Women > dudes.
Because I’m a dutiful roommate, because I’m an enlightened and open minded American individual, I agreed to go with Jo and her friend to some club. So, so many guys. Maybe… maybe eight chicks in the place. Maybe. I am not, and never have been, a person easily offput by the crowd, but holding Jo’s purse and scowling into the distance didn’t seem to be enough to convince the masses that I was, indeed, straight. She plays the role of girlfriend fabulously and scares off many a potential suitor, but sometimes we’re simply overwhelmed by numbers. So I bounced.

Now I’m back here.

San Francisco is a tricky town in a lot of ways. It ‘s certainly unique, I’ll give it that.

——————————————

Right before we left, we met some more neighbors. Fabulous.

They came down to introduce themselves, and to ask us (read: me) to turn our (read: my) music down a little bit. Because I had GNR playing at a not unpleasant volume.

At 9:30.

On a Saturday.

Now, listen here neighbors. I’m a reasonable man.

In many respects.

But you know what’s not gonna happen? Me not blaring my music at fuckin 9:30 on a Saturday Night. I’m still not over the fact that I can’t blare it at 2:30 AM on a fuckin Wednesday.
What assmonkey decided that people who have to get up early’s schedule trumps the rest of us? When the fuck did that memo come out? You stomp around at 6:15 making your coffee and getting ready for your infinitely pathetic and worthless day, and wake my ass up. Why shouldn’t I party late and keep you up till 10 on a fucking Saturday. Asshole.

This, this is why I’m moving to Montana. Cuz I can’t stand people telling me what to do. Nobody without a firearm has any right to ever even insinuate that they can tell me what to do. This is a hard lesson to learn, and I’m afraid our poor neighbors upstairs are going to be savagely indoctrinated when Tuesday night rolls around with me blasting James Brown till all hours of the night. What’s the occasion you ask? James Brown kicks ass, that’s the occasion.

Ah christ I’m tired and drunk and cold.

Too much deviance and deception for one East Bay white boy in one night.

I’m gone.

-T.

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Beat me out of me

Posted in Blog on October 30, 2005 by trevorgregg

“I like your coat.” said Satan.

“Thanks, I just got it. My old one got stolen. There’s some evil fucks in this town.” I said.

“Don’t I know it.”

“Was half off, at least. My mom told me about a sale.”

We were eating pizza, pepperoni and sausage. Satan was picking the meat off. He’s a vegetarian.

“So let’s make a deal here, Satan.”

“Pffft not gonna happen man.”

“What? You can’t just refuse me outright, we haven’t even talked terms yet. Isn’t there some sort of Better Business Bureau that keeps you demons in line as far as equal opportunity soul exchange?”

“Not really. Besides, you don’t have anything to trade me.”

“What about my soul?”

“You have no soul. You don’t believe in the soul, remember? You don’t believe in God or ghosts or Santa or the government.”

“You are a conniving bastard, aren’t you. How’d you find all that out?”

Satan smiled, and began plucking more bits of meat from his pizza, tossing them onto his plate.

“Same way as everyone else. I read your blog.”

“Ah. My favorite albatross. I hate people that do their research.”

Truly metropolitan places in America have a staggering ability to desensitize and distort one’s view of “regular”. For instance, I could not have a conversation with the Morning Star over pizza in, say, Des Moines. People see the horns, the red skin, the nice suit, they ask questions. San Francisco? I could have lunch with Jesus, the Devil, Robin Williams and a cyborg who speaks nothing but Mandarin at any restaurant in this city without getting a second glance. That’s why I love it here.

“Ok, so no deal.”

“No deal.”

“What should we talk about then?”

“I dunno.” He mumbled. He talked with his mouth full.

The place was nearly empty. A cold Monday in a cold town. Most people don’t know this, but Monday is the Devil’s day. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, a day of rest. Nothing gets done, except for Our Father On High once again displaying his absolute disdain for the Forty Niners. Monday rolls around and people sink a little lower, back into their regular lives. Nobody gets to go out and have fun, and people are generally unhappy. That’s why the Devil got stuck with it. Of course God wouldn’t give away one of the good days.

“Let’s talk about power.”

“You mortals are so predictable. One track minds, I swear. You’ve got no sense of originality.”

“You know Satan, you’re really critical. Being negative like that all the time, it brings people down.”

“I know kettle, I’m sorry. I’ll stop calling you black.” He said, smirking.

“So what is it that makes people powerful? What separates them from the rest?”

“Well, you see it used to be very simple. Power was just strength. He who could lift the biggest stick and swing it the hardest was the most powerful. Now things are all gummed up, complicated.”

“Because now there are all these different kinds of power? Religious, political, economic, etc?”

“No. God, where do you people come up with this crap. There are no ‘kinds’ of power. Power is power is power. The route might differ, but the destination is always the same. I mean, in the end it always manifests itself the same way, but nowadays humans have all these different… options, I guess, is the word I’m looking for.”

“Well I guess it’s the method that matters, then, if the result is always the same.” I concluded.

“Waitress, bring the boy a cookie.”

“Funny. So let’s talk possibilities. What’s the score, here.”

“You said it yourself, kid, the method is what matters. So you just have to assess your skill sets and your goals, and figure out your path of least resistance.”

“You sound like a consultant.”

“I sort of am.”

Satan got up and pumped a buck fifty into the jukebox next to the crappy salad bar. Somebody had spilled the beets into the ranch, and there were baby corns strewn about the entire enclosure. A real mess, the whole thing. A Chris Isaac song started to play.

“Satan you’re gay. Chris Isaac? Come on.”

“I’m androgynous, you fuck, I can’t be gay. I can’t be anything. I just like Chris Isaac.”

“No Sabbath?”

“No Sabbath.”

“Maybe they should call you the Prince of Lite Rock. Spelled L-I-T-E.”

“Maybe they should call you the Prince of Shut The Hell Up.”

We stared at each other for a moment, sternly. He reached for the last piece. He would.

“So what was your ‘method'”?

“You went to Catholic school, you should know all this already.”

“We both know I slept through high school, Satan. Stop stonewalling me.”

“Alright, well you know the standard issue ‘jealous angel’ crap. But you know, I wasn’t the first, or the last, angel to ever tell Him off. Baal, Beelzebub, Steve Buschemi, all those fools. They went off on him just like I did. But none of them run the Underworld, do they?”

“They certainly do not.”

“Nope. But my method? And I’m not saying it’ll work for you. You gotta work out your own… thing. But for me…”

“For you…”

“For me… Charisma. I’ve got more stage presence than any angel, fallen or otherwise, you’ve ever met. Most ethereal beings can’t manifest themselves tangibly enough to even be seen by humans. They try their darnedest and still end up looking like a glowing fart. Me? I’m a god damn miracle of tactile presence and physical density. Look at these guns. I can talk, dress myself, click my heels. Hell, I can even eat.

“That’s why you run Hell?”

“The main reason, yeah. First chair in the Evil Orchestra, because I can project.”

“You’re useless to me. I’m not charismatic. This gets me nowhere.”

“I told you, that was just my way. You’ve got a lot of other options too.”

We talked for a while after that. The waitress brought the check, and had accidentally added it up wrong. Satan cursed her with syphilis, and sent locusts to devour the seven pot plants growing in her boyfriend’s closet in a condo in Daly City. He’s very unforgiving, for an angel.

I don’t know why this topic has been rattling around my brain so remorselessly as of late. Maybe it’s some sort of latent adulthood thing manifesting itself. Perhaps my recent change in scene, with the inherent loss in rank and credibility associated with moving to a new locale, is affecting me in ways I hadn’t expected. I don’t know. I look out on the eerie splendor of my new city and wonder what I can do to get where I want to be. A big enough lever could lift the world.

What levers, then, are at my disposal.

Let’s all go on and marinate on that for a minute.

-T.

The Great Gig in the Sky

Posted in Blog on October 19, 2005 by trevorgregg

A conversation.

“Trevor, we need to talk.”

“Oh christ, what’d I do now?”

“Don’t give me that shit. I’m not your girlfriend, I’m not here to nag you. We should just discuss things, you know? Make sure everything is in order for your new situation?”

“I withdraw my previous comment, but reserve the right to approach your proposition with all due caution.”

“You talk very strangely sometimes, you know? That’s a good place to start. Why do you talk like that?”

“I read Dune when I was eight. Took me a month and a half, and I didn’t understand a damn thing. I think it had a serious effect on me during those formative years.”

“Ok, my fault. Too specific. Trevor, why don’t you have a girlfriend?”

“Hey god dammit you know I hate that question. You fucking tell me, you’re a woman. Far be it from me to speculate on the motives and mysteries of you weird creatures.”

“You’re such a sweetheart, too. And classy. I swear, we must all be blind and brain dead to not throw ourselves at you in the street.”

“Now you’re talkin’, darlin.”

“You’re deliberately avoiding the point, here.”

“Fine fine fine sorry. You bought the beer, you choose the topic.”

“Let’s try again. My point is, on paper you’re quite a catch.”

“Hmm.”

“Think about it. You write, you play guitar, you speak another language, you’re funny…”

“I’m clean, employed, disease-free, acquitted on all charges….”

“See? Exactly.”

“So I’ve got a good resume. That’s not how this works. Obviously.”

“Obviously. And you’re capable of being endearing enough to interact with girls. You’ve got plenty of girl friends.”

“Wait what?”

“Girl(space)friends.”

“Space friends.”

“GIRL (SPACE) FRIENDS, you know what I’m talking about so shut up. Stop being difficult.”

“My bad. I retract all previous guff.”

Anyway, so we know that’s not the problem.”

“Check.”

“And I’ve seen you be nice.”

“You’re a dirty liar and if you call me the N word again I’m gonna… do bad things. Send threatening letters, or doorbell ditch or something.”

“Remember when you bought what’s her name flowers…”

“OK Stop now, we don’t talk about this for a reason. Those were darker times.”

“And those sweet letters…”

“AND WE’RE DONE. We’re all young and stupid once, but some of us adults achieve the common decency not to constantly bring up old shit. Hint Hint.”

“Regardless, I’m saying it’s within the scope of possibility for you to actually be a decent person when pressured. That’s the point.”

“I’ll submit, only in the interests of time and efficiency, not because I admit a damn thing.”

“You do do some mean shit though.”

“The hell you say. I thought you said I was a sweetheart.”

“I was exaggerating. I get that from hanging around with you too much. Anyway, we need to think big picture here. Like, what do you want out of life? All in all?”

“Let me think.”

“Take your time.”

“Immortality. A Superbowl ring. Wealth beyond your wildest imaginings.”

“See? That’s not normal…

“An El Camino, red. Pet wolves. Glory and respect. A bitchin’ knife scar. Did I already say immortality?”

“OK stop. A regular person would say something like a house, a family, love, happiness, something like that.”

“I’ve been called a lot of foul things in my day. Hell, I’ve been called a lot of foul things this morning, but regular is not one of them.”

“I’m not telling you you should be normal, Trevor. Normal doesn’t work for you. Maybe a little bit less weird, though.”

“How drab.”

“Hush. You know you’re not nearly as strange as you make yourself out to be. You still go shopping and make Chapelle’s Show references and dance and do laundry with the rest of us.”

“I keep up this banal charade for your benefit, puny mortal.”

“Or maybe you keep up the weird one for your own.”

“Touche!”

“Tell me about your last date.”

“I think it went pretty well…”

“Ok NO. Rephrase. Let me tell you about your last date. A date I set you up on, I’d remind you. I had to hear about you from Alison for two weeks after that whole thing. She’s still mad at me, I think.”

“Alison! That was her name. I had a damn hard time remembering that for whatever reason. She wasn’t that great, by the way. Very boring, very AA from a Community College, if you take my meaning. Had significant hair on her arms, too.”

“Shut up.”

“Yeah OK.”

“Anyway, she didn’t tell me how your date started, but she sure told me how it ended. You jumped on her car hood with a harpoon and no pants on, screaming that she needed some adventure in her life.”

“I couldn’t get the hedge trimmer started.”

“You do not jump on a girl’s car hood with no pants waving harpoon on a first date, Trevor. Hell that’s not even a second date thing. I shouldn’t have to explain this to you. Boring or not, whether she actually does need adventure or not, that’s a big no no. And let me tell you, you find a girl that reacts positively to that kind of shit on a first date, you do NOT want to be with her anyway.”

“It must have been out of gas. I was really disappointed; that whole scene would have been way cooler with a hedge trimmer. The harpoon worked, though.”

“You’re so mean sometimes.”

“Am not.”

“Are too.”

“AM NOT.”

“What about the time you told those chicks in the Silver Fox you were a hitman when they asked you why you were wearing a suit?”

“That’s not mean, that’s cool. They were wasted anyway, who cares. Besides, I told them I was a cleaner, not a hitman.”

“KARMA cares, Trevor. Karma. What about the time you made Sean eat that bee?”

“Hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha hoooooooooly shit how could I forget that. God damn, I totally forgot about that. Greatest Sunday Afternoon in history.”

“For you maybe, but certainly not for Sean.”

“Ok let’s get this straight, honey, I did not make Sean eat a bee. Per se.”

“Oh yes you did. Oh yes, you did.”

“Did I point a gun at his head? Did I threaten or force him in any way?”

“Not exactly but”

“But nothing. I simply put a bee on a spoon, handed it to him, and made certain suggestions. He ate that bee of his own free will.”

“You cajoled and taunted and badgered him into doing it, Trevor. ‘Just one little bite, Sean. Don’t be a pussy, Sean. It’s just a bug. Sack up, Sean.’ You know what kind of power you have over people like him. It was mean.”

“It was funny.”

“It was funny, but it was also mean.”

“Hahaha god I can’t believe that moron ate that bee. That was great.

“What does that incident say about you? That you’re pushy, cruel, weird…”

“Charming.”

“Manipulative.”

“Supportive.”

“Insane.”

“Sensitive.”

“Ok sensitive? Shut up. Let’s be serious.”

“Ok ok serious serious serious. Look, here’s my serious face. I’m being serious now, we’re serious here.”

“Now your apartment is pretty well decorated. Despite your best attempts. That’s half the battle.”

“What a horribly female thing to say. Why should my stupid house matter?”

“It does. Quiet. If you spent as much time smiling and asking for numbers as you do watering Kahlua…”

“Kahlua?”

“Kahlua? Isn’t that its name? Your weird house plant?”

“CTHULHU! You can not, you CAN NOT mix up Cthulhu with Kahlua. Absolutely unforgivable.”

“Haha, you’re right, sorry. I couldn’t remember his name.”

“Fucking Kahlua… Cthulhu is an elder alien god of pure evil. Kahlua is god damn chocolate milk wine cooler.”

“Haha, ok ok.”

“This sucks, let’s talk about something else.”

……..

“Trevor?”

“Yep?”

“Where the hell did you find a harpoon anyway?”

“Garage sale in Vallejo.”

“Oh. You freak.”

………….

“So darlin’, when are you gonna set me up with one of your friends?”

-T.

Just can’t seem to drink you off my mind

Posted in Blog on October 19, 2005 by trevorgregg

The sun sets and I hit the streets, with the rest of the mutants.

I wander through the dark, learning the spiritual and physical topography of my new locale.

Three lanes of maniacal taxis and commuters floor it up my street, honking and swerving with the desperate unpredictability of consistently unhappy. Such a rush to get home to their drab lives. So I head south, away from the freeway in my yard.

I follow the cracked and oily pavement down through the projects, stepping over the mumbling, malodorous poor. They ignore me, they know I’m not worth begging; I’ve got the stern look and hard step of a city dweller. I was born with it.

I find myself in the Haight.

The Haight is a land of remnants and immigrants, inhabited by the husks of a simpler age and their arrogant, fashionably trashy children. A few of the originals hang around, simpering old men and women in ripped tie-dye and corduroy who sell crap necklaces and beaded things. Yellow teeth and vacant smiles, they look around with eternal junkie optimism, as if just around the next corner the age they knew and loved is still waiting. A man leans out a convenience store window, waving at me. This place is in my veins, if not in my heart. Perhaps he’s seen it in me; my heritage betrays me.

“Howdy brother.” He says, giving me a thumbs up. I stop, and look at him.

“A bit dark…” He stops midsentence, wracked by the distinctly consumptive cough of a sixties survivor. “A bit dark for those sunglasses, ain’t it?”

I stare at him, not saying anything.

“Spare any change, brother?” He asks, smiling and picking at his filthy grey hair.

I walk on.

It’s not as though I have anything against hard drugs, or softer ones. Self destruction is a basic human right that I exercise regularly. I simply don’t have the constitution for anything harsher than malt liquor, and seeing these rotting revenants staggering around the cold city streets reminds me of what could have been.

Packs and pairs of people my own age wander by, looking out at me from under dyed black hair cut at weird angles. Checkered shirts and yellow socks and thrift-store affluence. Who are you kidding, you scum. You live in the Haight. I wonder how much Daddy spends a month to let you live your gloriously artsy lifestyle, how much Daddy sends you to let you craft that image of calculated poverty. Get out of my way.

They do.

The Haight still hums with some old energy, despite its populace. The streets themselves buzz with it, the buildings creak with it from behind modernized commercial facades. You can smell what was once here, if you don’t mind all the other smells that come with it. It hums the way the rocks do in Alamogordo, near the old test sites; an energy of unnatural infection.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this place.

The misty eyed elderly that speak of it with an almost holy reverence are, of course, full of shit. There was no revolution here, cultural or otherwise. 99% of this place’s fame is the product of memories distilled by forty years of drug flashbacks and delusional self-aggrandizement. Pot and unemployment and poor hygiene weren’t, and aren’t, the panacea they thought they were. All the love and peace and brotherhood and crap this place was at the heart of fell apart at the first breath of wind. All that’s left are cold junkies and a few opportunistic vendor/vultures picking at the corpse of the older generation’s mass hallucination.

Still…

I’ll bet it was one hell of a party.

I head west, south of the park, into the flats where the lights get dimmer and the alleys narrower.

I pass two werewolves beating a gypsy senseless behind a dumpster, hissing and frothing with rabid greed. A Nepalese monk curses in a forgotten language at the Muni bus that just left him behind. Two homeless women stagger in circles around a bench, talking to nobody. A mural of Eastern gods, undoubtedly painted by a white grad student with spraypaint he bought at Home Depot back before Burning Man 2001 decorates the outside of a liquor store. CNN barks news of the wars out someone’s fire escape window. An Indian girl in heels walks her yipping rat dog around the rim of the park, nose in the air.

Welcome Home.

—————————————–

-T.

This lonely won’t leave me alone

Posted in Blog on October 19, 2005 by trevorgregg

Life in the city.

My bedroom window is big, and I don’t have any curtains yet. It’s maybe seven, eight feet above street level, low enough that I make awkward eye contact with passersby regularly.

Late Sunday night, and I hear this conversation.

A man and a woman, obviously returning from a date. An early date; this is obviously not an established relationship. They’re still flailing around in that giddy, inept phase.

The man is talking, fumbling. No game at all, I can just imagine him glancing around, scratching his head, jamming his hands in his pockets.

I assume they’re just passing by, and so don’t even look up from my Transmetropolitan. Just another pair of people cruising by on a city night. People I probably wouldn’t like, if I met them.

But lo, the girl must live in my building, because they sit there and yap. She’s a little too articulate, and talks about her trips to Spain and Brazil with lazy metropolitan arrogance. The guy tries to be witty, and she laughs. He must be hot, because she likes him and he obviously has no game.

“I had a good time tonight.”

Durrrrrrrrrrhurrrrrrrrrrrrhurrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. My face sinks into my comic book. Get away from my window you swine.

“Me too.”

That’s right it’s Sunday night and I’m reading comic books. Shut up and let me tell the story. You asshole.

“We should get together again some time.” Good line, you bumblefuck. How old are you, six? Come on man, you’re killing me. Say something cool.

“Yeah we should.”

“What’s your schedule like this next week?” What’s your fucking schedule like? Oh man you’re fired. Seriously. You’re not planning a budget meeting, you filth. You’re a disgrace to my half of the species, and I pray for your death.

She keeps laughing. I hate the world, and pull a pillow over my head, making a sort of head sandwich between comic book and bedding.

“Muffle muffle muffle muffle.”

“Muffle muffle giggle muffle.”

This isn’t really achieving the desired effect. I remove the pillow.

“Yeah, he he. It’s, I had a, you know, had a good night time. Time tonight.” He says.

She talks some more, about whatever drivel my urbane wool-wearing brunette neighbors talk about. Blah blah blah blah blah.

Unable to cope with the situation, my brain makes a valiant attempt to escape out my right ear. Straining and squishing, it makes a desperate bid for freedom. I jam my finger in my ear, trapping it. A little blood leaks out onto my hand, but my mind is intact. My brain goes nowhere without me.

“Give me a call. You know, when you’re free.” He says. You spineless shit, you don’t make her call you. Grow a pair.

“Giggle giggle.”

Rage like the wrath of the Old Testament God pounds in my heart. I’m at a loss as to why, specifically. But it’s certainly there.

I roar something vulgar and charge the window.

“You people disgust me, and made my brain try and escape from my head! Begone from this place, and I hope all your children have birth defects!” I scream.

I drop trow and press my ass against the window, two feet from the lovers’ knit-beanie topped heads.

Jesus God this glass is freezing. Buck up, man, it has to be done. It has to be done.

I wait a moment, and pull up my shorts. I turn and scrawl “dloC ecI” into the steam ass print on the frigid glass, and flip them the bird.

I hate you people.

I need curtains.

-T.

Your mama lets you have sharks in the house?

Posted in Blog on October 19, 2005 by trevorgregg

And so, with little fanfare, our hero moves to San Francisco.

His apartment, a narrow, white Victorian in the Lower Haight, still smells of wet paint and sawdust, the inescapable new apartment smell. It’s cold, and his room has no curtains. There is no internet, which troubles him, but not over much.

He is a long way from home, and he has nothing to eat but bear claws and some grapes, yet he is bold. Bold, and untroubled.

The cars roar past his window, and he reads, and he plots. The winds of change whistle through the cracks in the windows.

———————————

Moving is unpleasant. Americans are not a naturally nomadic race, not by any stretch. Unloading my worldly possessions, arranging, sorting, boxing, thankfully I’m almost finished now. The material accumulations of my life, the sediment that’s settled around me in my past five years, confounds me. Where did I get not one, but two copies of a book about mullets? Why do I have so many birthday candles, and a dozen green lightbulbs? Why do I have four hundred complete yet unmatching sets of silverware? Where the hell are my socks?

Needless to say, much of the transitional discomfort is behind me. Us. My roommate and comrade in arms Jolizzle has handled the entire situation with her trademark chaotic grace, decorating and organizing with full tilt abandon. We compliment each other well, austerity vs. fashion, determination vs. enthusiasm, dark vs. light. Our home will be a good one, no doubt. Oh, the parties we shall throw.

Books, books everywhere. A good 80% of my entire personal property is books, and old computer parts. It’s good though, it adds a touch of intellectual class to our new pad. All we need now are garbage cans. And a shower curtain. And a coat rack, we simply must find a nice coat rack for our vestibule.

The Bua paintings have been hung, and my bedroom has assumed an almost normal state, with knotted cables and tangled wires sprawled out everywhere, stuffed cleverly behind guitar stands and dressers. It’s not home if it’s not a huge electrical fire hazard. Daisy-chained surge protectors and tacky green Christmas lights and CAT-5, oh my!

I’ve met a few of the neighbors, in passing. Charles, the strange bachelor above us, introduced himself as I sat playing guitar on our fire escape. He then proceeded to rant about the failings of San Francisco’s sustainable building policies. He’s an up and up in Solar Power and Organic Plastics circles, I gathered. He plans to hold a cookout soon, to encourage sociable relations amongst our building, which I heartily encouraged. He seems harmless enough.

I introduced myself to the very San Franciscan woman upstairs as she toted her garbage to the garage. Her name escapes me; she warned of strange happenings and questionable ventures afoot next door. I have yet to see anyone enter or exit the next building, except for an ancient Chinese woman and her albino great dane, who watched me suspiciously as I unloaded my desk yesterday. Keep your doors locked, she advised.

Undoubtedly, we will be the talk of the block. Already, I’ve been addressed as “the new couple that moved in downstairs”, and with both of us bringing lady friends over at odd hours, rumors are sure to fly. Why the hell does everybody think we’re married? I don’t have a ring. Shit I don’t even have a watch. I’ll be interested to see what the gossip mills churn out about us, in this here apartment building.

There is, of course, the house full of our friends across the street, who have welcomed us to the neighborhood graciously. I don’t believe I’m at a point where I can simply go across and bang on their door for no purpose other than hanging out and mooching wireless access; after all, those girls are still more Jolene’s friends than mine, and such impositions would not engender friendly neighbor relations so early in our stay here. Hopefully things will progress, however, and that degree of separation will disappear. I’d certainly like to recreate the open-door highly social atmosphere I worked so long and hard to foster in the Grand Ave house, with various friends coming and going at will at all hours. It’s harder in a city, where people can’t simply stop by on their way home from class, but I’ll bet with a little encouragement and free food, the guests will start to appear. Here me now, friends. Come the fuck over and hang out.

——————————–

Still trying to get my bearings here. A change of setting is, without a doubt, a positive move. All movement is good movement, as they say. Is it speed, or velocity which can never be negative? I believe it’s speed; my physics fails me right now. But whichever one is always positive, that’s what’s working its magic now.

Life in the city? Well.

Who the hell knows. I’ve only been here two nights.

I’ll tell you more later, once I get a better sense of things.

——————————-

Camping;

We went camping a week ago. Two weeks ago?

A week ago I believe.

We went with Galo’s high school friends, who were not only from Moraga, but from Moraga. Duraflames and fruit salad and fleece, oh so much fleece. The look on their faces when I brought out the firewood was priceless, even more so when I started hacking away at it with a hatchet. I don’t think any of them had seen a hatchet before.

They were nice enough people. The guys were typical, a math teacher, a consultant, various other harmless professions. Their girls were typical background Other Side Of The Tunnel girls, mousy and brown and infinitely bland. I’ll say they were nice, lest you think me a bigger asshole than I really am. But nice is just about it. We set up our campsite and immediately started in on the boozing; the others (Galo’s friends) were spending the day winetasting, and we had much ground to cover to catch up. Albertsons in CV had an 18 pack of PBR for 4.99. Four ninety nine.

Four Ninety Nine.

That’s as close to free as it gets, without stealing. Regardless, out came the tents, the chips, the football, and the beer. Now we’re fucking camping, fools.

When they returned from their white-collar suburbanite diversions and found their camp inhabited by two Hayweirdos and one of their own who has certainly strayed from the flock, I think they were a little put off.

Good.

Being around the affluent and naive has a serious effect on my personality; it polarizes me completely, and suddenly I’m a working class thug from the Hayward ghettos, a hatchet-wielding foul-mouthed savage, a leathery half-Idahoan world traveler with a chimp’s sense of propriety and a relentless lack of respect for the whitebread tract house bourgeois. I’m a fiend with the lighter fluid, and I scowl a lot.

The kids grew on me, though. Despite their non-humble origins, I took a decent enough liking to them. We played the who-knows-who game and found that one of their roommates at UCSD had dated one of my roommate’s roommates, back in our college days. Oh, you know so and so? And her too? and that tall guy, their roommate from the water polo team? Yeah yeah, I know him. I met her at a party once. The world gets a little smaller, and we all shake our heads at what a god damn miraculous coincidence a bunch of Californian 23-25 year olds knowing each other is. It was interesting being in an environment where my… clique, I guess. My circle was not at the center of the activity. We gather new friends and acquaintances, our ever-expanding East Ave Bret Harte Moreau Cal Poly core. New friends don’t gather us. Other peoples’ inside jokes and stories and memories… it was like a foreign country; I’ve become so accustomed to absorbing, of new satellites being caught in our orbit that I had forgotten what it was like to spend a night in someone else’s galaxy.

I argued long and hard with Zach, (Zach? Was that his name? I think so.) a union organizer and liberal at large, for nearly two hours. I don’t recall what specifically started the argument, which was reasonably good natured. It was one of those rambling, wandering battles that’s more a clash of ideals, personality, and essence than a real debate over a specific issue. Being of the liberal bent myself, you’d think that our views would be reasonably in line, and I think when seen from above, from a suitably high point, our ideas would run in pretty much the same direction. And yet, we argued tooth and nail almost constantly. He abhors my loathing for the government, for my defeatist and selfish idealism, just as I scoff at his wide-eyed faith in the inherent good of the American public, for his post-modern hippy activism and his witty bumpersticker politicism. Guitar in one hand and beer in the other, I shouted my disgust with his petty crusades. Hands waving, spilling his glass of red wine repeatedly, he looked to the heavens in abject disbelief at my cynicism and closemindedness. I gave up the night Bush was re-elected, I yell. Let these stupid fuckers burn our country to the ground, I’m too tired to patch the dike that holds back all this country’s retards. Buy the ticket, take the ride; these morons want to turn our country into a Christian theocracy run by oil tycoons and midwestern inbreds, there’s nothing I can do outside of open revolt to stop them. You have no concept of the strides we’re making in this country, of the plans in motion to set things right, he shouts. What about proposition whatever, we’re working to get What’sHisName on the ballot in Sonoma County for 2006, and to get the teacher’s minimum wage raised to whatever whatever by next October! I’m sure an extra twelve cents an hour for old women teaching Long Division is just the kind of social progressiveness that brings comfort to all the dying soldiers in Iraq. You have no sense of the common good, he says. And you have no sense of priorities, I retort.

And so it continues, degrading, as arguments between the inebriated are wont to do, into a pseudo-philosophical shouting match about the nature of humankind and the universe at large. I look up and see emptiness, he looks up and sees the stars. I roared some twisted metaphor about people and wolves and dogs for forty five minutes; Zach shook his head and stuttered and barked retorts. The only difference between a wolf and a dog is the suppression of instinct, I say. People are the same way, and some of us end up more wolf than dog. People are happy and kind and just confused, and everybody is happy and Bambi’s mom comes back in the end and we all hold hands and nobody starves or bleeds ever again, he says. He didn’t really say that. That may have just been my interpretation, but god dammit the sentiment is accurate.

The other men dispersed from the circle quietly, lest they be caught in the crossfire. Galo stuck it out, and discussed as well, though he never took the gloves off like we did. Candace fell asleep in her chair.

We ate our shepherd’s pies, meat and potatoes wrapped in foil and tossed directly onto the fire. The Moragans ate their propane-grilled sausage and fruit salad and french rolls and drank their wine.

Only once did one of the girls address me directly. The rest of the time, they were milling about in the background, preparing food and giggling and folding things or whatever the fuck boring chicks do when I’m not watching. I was ranting about money wasted on this entire Childhood Obesity campaign by the Governator, about how mind-numbingly stupid it was (and is) to spend money to stop kids from fucking drinking soda when our education system is in shambles, we’re fighting overseas, and our economy is a disaster.

“Diabetes in children can be a very big problem, though.” She said.

I whipped around to face her across the fire, snarling. The argument had been particularly vicious for the last few minutes, and I was going full bore.

“Are fucking kidding me?” I yelled.

Wide-eyed and caught completely offguard, the timid housewifeish brown-haired girl looked devastated. Never before had she been spoken to like this; I doubt if anyone has ever so much as raised their voice at her. Or needed to.

“You think an unfortunate yet treatable malady which occurs in a very small percentage of the population should even be of the slightest concern considering the dire state of our nation? While Americans and our victims pull shrapnel from their bloody wounds on foreign sands, while people starve and go homeless because of hurricanes and earthquakes and economy crisis, you want me to give a flying fuck about little Scotty’s Mountain Dew addiction?”

Her jaw dropped, just a little, and she sank back farther into her hooded sweatshirt. Tears welled in her eyes.

“How fucking stupid can you be? Shouldn’t you be cutting up some orange slices for soccer practice or something? Or doing your boyfriend’s laundry?”

Everyone got quiet.

I looked across the fire and saw what my violence had wrought. I saw a girl, whose porcelain dreams and simple, kind heart were completely shattered by my viciousness. I saw a girl far younger than her years would imply break down completely in the face of my anger. A girl who wandered into the wrong argument at the wrong time, and left in shambles.

She looked across the fire and saw me. Anger and bitterness and eyes like the void, glaring at her across the fire with abject unconscionable disgust.

She hid her face with a small and shaking hand, and, stumbling, left for the tent. Her boyfriend followed, not meeting my eyes.

I broke that poor girl without a thought, completely out of hand.

Jesus, how did I get this bad?

———————————-

I decided to use my super powers, and turn back time. Reversing the flow of time is an exhausting and uncomfortable proposition at the best of times even for one of my powers, however, upon seeing the look on that girl’s face whose name I never bothered to learn, I felt it must be done.

And so I turned back time.

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

The girl balked. I don’t know that I had ever seen a person balk before; it was simply a word in books, a purely theoretical expression of emotion. This girl balked.

Everyone got quiet.

“I understand that diabetes is a horrible disease. My grandmother had it before she died, it was terrible. Don’t you think that there are more pressing issues at hand, though? We can worry about diabetes after we stop murdering foreigners and raping our environment and cure AIDS.”

She mumbled something, and looked at her feet.

“Priorities, it’s all about priorities. You know what I mean?” I said, sitting back in my chair. I tried to think of a nice song to play on guitar, as repentance. I don’t know anything but Alice in Chains, though.

She finally looked up. I saw a girl whose timidity and unbelievable naivete remained shaken but intact. I saw a girl raised in a glass case, in a terrarium, in a world very different from my own.

She looked across the fire and saw me. Angry, a hard-hearted and mean-spirited bastard to be sure. Not that she’d ever use the word bastard.

She got up and walked off, joining the other girls for post-dinner cleanup. They put an arm around her as she joined them, and looked at me over their shoulders while they whispered in her ear.

I looked over, hoping Candace was still asleep. I don’t need her finding out what an evil man I really am.

—————————-

Later that night, looking at the stars after the other kids had gone to bed, Galo and I talked for a bit.

“Man, you ripped that girl’s head off.”

“Yeah, yeah I did. You should have seen what I said before I reversed time and bit my tongue.”

“What?”

“Nevermind.”

“You’re pretty negative, you know that.?”

“Yeah.That damn girl had no business wandering into that argument, though. You don’t play hopscotch on the minefield, god dammit.”

“True.”

We watched for falling stars, and Candace and Galo and I wished for things, silently.

——————————-

We woke before the Moragans the next morning. Some assbag’s car alarm went off around 7:30, and must have shrieked for a good five minutes before he got his lard ass out of his trailer to turn it off. Somebody’s white trash children bombed by about thirty times on their little pink bikes, training wheels rattling at full volume. So much for the idyllic wildnerness morning, you scum. Christ I hate people.

We walked around a bit, strolling through the dry Napa October. The others busied themselves with cleanup.

“What do I have to do to make one of these white women bring me some breakfast?” I asked.

“Just sit back, they bring it to you.” Zach said, laughing.

“Maybe you, man. I think I’m on the blacklist now.”

Petro and Galo and I talked sports for a while, and they loaded up their fleece and their unused Duraflames and their Campo Lindo sweatshirts into their suburban. We tossed our shit into my truck, and roped the tarp down. We went our separate ways.

———————————

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the rare fall weather. Sunshine like you wouldn’t believe, in Napa and back in the city. The Blue Angels were tearassing around in the skies above us as we crossed the Golden Gate, and Candace led us to a hidden hill above the Sunset where I watched their aerobatics with secret, 8-year old boy glee.

“How come guys always know about jets?” Candace asked, after hearing Galo and I discuss the merits of an F-15 in comparison to the newer, more versatile F-22 Raptor.

“Jets come right after dinosaurs, in the little boy childhood obsession scheme.” I explained. “If it can’t shoot down a Mig or bite a Brontosaurus in half, we don’t give a shit about it till we hit puberty.”

“Weirdos.”

She’s right, of course.

I couldn’t stop humming Danger Zone for the next three days.

——————————-

Sunday night in a new house.

No food here. God damn I wish I had a hot dog.

I wonder where Jolene is, and whether she’s bringing a shower curtain. I took a bath this morning, a god damn bath. You know who’s too tall to fit comfortably in a damn bath tub?!

We desperately need that shower curtain. And the Internet. Who knows how long this madness will languish on my hard drive before SBC sees fit to grant me their favor and an IP address and I can broadcast it out to the teeming hordes.

Corrections, Revisions, and Clafirications:

In reference to some previous post, a Mr. Q. Soto has informed me that Rosie Perez did not, in fact, star in My Cousin Vinny. It was Marisa Tomei. I am inclined to believe him, as his knowledge of worthless and arcane movie trivia is unmatched. I apologize sincerely to both Ms. Perez and Ms. Tomei, and wish them the best in their failed and hopeless careers.

-T.

i’m certain that i have never seen
a turning, a turning from deceit

No one can see inside your view

Posted in Blog on October 19, 2005 by trevorgregg

I return, an internet refugee. Even now, I mooch pathetically from the wireless at Candace’s house, my own glorious technology stranded pathetically back in my own Net’less place.

Well here’s something to tide you ingrates over, completely out of chronological order and brought to you courtesy of a cracked purple floppy disk I found in my dresser.

Fucking no internet sux.

-T.