They shot my mule and burned my wagon.

“I’m more dangerous than you know, you scuzzy shitbag!” I scream at him.
“Let’s go dude, leave him alone, he’s just doing his job.” I’m hustled away from the bouncer, everyone around me tossing each other those slouchy apologetic embarrassed looks they so love to toss when I’m drinking.
“You motherfucker. I’m a ninja! I know where you live, I’ll sneak in your house and fillet your girlfriend in her sleep for what you’ve done to me. You have no idea! I’m quieter than a cold draft, I’ll get in there when you least expect it.”
“Stop dude, it’s time to go home.”
“NO IT’S NOT. You know how silent I am? I spend every autumn in Wyoming hunting deer with a baseball bat. I feast on venison steaks the rest of the year, only bringing out my ninja uniform on special occasions like sneaking into your kitchen and stabbing your kids you greasy freak!”
“He’s calling the cops it’s time to go.”

My new friends dragged me away from the bar into the rainy night. Despair grips me momentarily; where else can we find an open bar on a Sunday night, let alone on Christmas? Fuck, I’ve ruined it for everyone. I hate god damn Christmas.

“Who are you people and where are we going?” I demand.
“Something else on Haight’s gotta be open.”
“You’re right; these godless swine hate Jesus more than I do, of course they’ll keep their bars open. Why did I even fret.”

We stumble on through the horrid December rain, getting thoroughly soaked in our search for strong drink. I’ve been talkative all night; a rarity. I’ve confessed to crimes I’d forgotten years ago, my gin soaked neurons firing seemingly at random under the onslaught of holiday nostalgia. Bad craziness on the streets of San Francisco.

The girl supporting my weight asks me inane, flirty questions. I respond with outright lies, as seems appropriate.
“I’m half Basque and half Visigoth. Did I tell you that? My ancestors sacked Rome. Burned the whole mess to the ground and started the Dark Ages with a big barbarian raze orgy. You’re not Italian, are you? I’ve got some serious genetic predispositions against Italians.”
She tells me she’s not Italian, and asks me about my writing.
“Who the fuck told you that? I’m not a writer, I’m an engineer. There’s a lot of bad noise on the SF social circuit about me, some gossipy liberal arts bitch jealous of my paycheck and career possibilities has been telling people I’m a writer, that I have some Internet site or something. All complete untruths, I assure you.”
She looks disappointed. She was obviously hoping I was softer on the inside, a Beautiful Person despite the rough exterior, writing haikus about universality on recycled paper. I hate to break her heart.

Not really.

“Honey you need to understand something, about why you and I could never work. You seem like a sweet girl, for a white chick. But I have an iron heart; it pumps nothing but black ink and cheap scotch. I’m terrified of commitment, and am also immortal. Being immortal gives me a very different perspective on life and humanity than you have. Basically, we’re too different for this ever to be anything more than a fling. Do you understand this honey? Are you reading me?”

She nodded yes, and adjusted my arm over her shoulder to bear the burden more easily. Still, her hope was visible in her eyes. Foolish thing.

“Listen honey, I know your kind. You like candles, don’t you? Yeah I thought so. Why is it hos like candles? Explain that to me.”

She looked at me for a second, and we walked on.

“That was not rhetorical. Seriously. Lightbulbs are vastly superior in every way. What’s with candles?”

She proceeded to ignore me, but still we carried on. I felt I had to win her back with stories, if only to avoid being abandoned behind a dumpster in my sorry state.

“You see this scar on my arm?” I showed her.
“I got this in a bar fight with a golf pro in Guam in 1987. Yeah I know, I’m older than I look. I told you I was immortal. Unkillable, at least in the classical sense of the term. Regardless. So I was in this shack called Captain Steve’s Port of Storms drinking grappa with a couple of Polynesians when these golfers show up. I hate golf and I told them so immediately. Things went downhill from there, and this golfer ends up breaking a bottle of High Life over one of the Polynesians’ heads and shanking me in the arm with the thing.”

She looks at me, horrified by my tale.

“Seriously. I learned a hard lesson that night; don’t ever talk shit about the LPGA unless you really know who you’re dealing with. Those evil harpie golf-bitches get mean.

She laughs. I’m back in the good graces.

“I’m overcome with truth. You’re witnessing a rare moment, honey. Rare indeed.”

She thanks me.

“I hit a raccoon once in Atascadero, on the freeway. I felt horrible. I felt even more horrible thinking that I didn’t feel horrible enough.”

“I can’t speak Spanish for shit. My brain only has room for one extra language, and Portuguese has completely supplanted it. I can understand it well enough, but I talk like I have the Downs when I try and respond.”

“I’m completely in love with Claire Danes circa 1998. I’ve never gotten over My So-Called Life. Is that so terrible of me?”

She said it wasn’t. She sensed that my confessions were truer on a deeper level, despite their factual inaccuracies.

“Were you a Ken person or a Ryu person?”

She asked me who Ken and Ryu were.

“I oughtta smack you for such blasphemy. You’re lucky I’m in such a depleted state.”

I woke up on a dock in Alameda, my arms covered with club stamps, phone numbers, and vicious paper cuts. I took bart home.


I devoured The Curse of Lono in two nights, of course. It’s done wicked and beautiful things to my mind, and reminded me why I venerate those I do. Damn I need that tat. I wonder if I could get Steadman to paint something custom for my entire shoulders?

A word to the wise: never, ever put warm clothes on your Christmas list. I made that mistake and ended up with three dozen new god damn sweaters. All of them nice, to be sure, and hopefully there will be enough frigid horrible suicide-provoking SF winter days this year for me to take them all out for a spin. Still, just let it be known that asking for sweaters is inviting disaster, if only by sheer quantity and volume. I’ve got more sweaters than socks. Now I’m too warm and well dressed for my own good. Watch out, fools!



“Clergymen are the ticket scalpers outside the gates of heaven. Religion has been a curse to mankind.” – H. L. Menken


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