It has been a very busy summer in Muskrat Flats. So busy, that I am chagrined to see that I have not posted any thing since Valentine's day.
It has been a while since I have been to Muskrat Flats, so long that the Town Meeting decided to re-route traffic to the downtown area to encourage more shopping and pedestrian traffic along Petersen Street. One would think that a benevolent organization such as the Odd Fellows would have more pull with the Town Meeting folk, and yes there was some resistance, but the 90 day trial run of having Petersen Street run one way in a westerly direction beginning at the intersection of McKernan Street is in effect.
This means that the club members are now forced to drive an extra couple of blocks to catch Petersen at Firglade, in order to turn left into their parking lot where in the past they simply had to turn right at the intersection. Minor details. Some members actually support the change.
Moe Eckstein and Sid Bartleby however - not so much. They had a nice session kvetching about the change. They do hold the principles of Friendship Love and Truth near and dear to their hearts, but let's face it, they are old and need something to bitch about and this time it was finding resistance to their proposition that a "curb cut" be allowed on McKernan Street to allow for direct access to the Odd Fellow's parking lot. For some reason, these days it is easier to get a liquor license in Muskrat Flats than it is to get the Town Meeting and the DPW to agree to a new curb cut.
Moe and Sid sat at their usual table under the gilded framed portrait of Sheriff Hawthorne. Moe was eyeballing the Jack-a-lope which had recently been returned to them by the taxidermist.
Moe really didn't like the taxidermy guy. He felt bad for this guy's neighbors. His front lawn was decorated as if it were a summer rental cottage at Cape Cod, rife with seashore kitsch. His lawn - wasn't even a lawn. It was littered with driftwood, mounted fish and wooden lobster pots, much more of an eyesore than appropriate lawn ornaments, in Moe's opinion.
The landscape was void of any greenery other than a few scrub bushes, perhaps they were ill looking arborvitaes which had od'd on the calcium from the sun bleached broken oyster shells lining his walkway and scattered through out the yard.
The inside of the house was equally creepy. The interior very much resembled the motif of the front yard. Displayed prominently in a glass hutch were scrimshaw etched walrus tusks and whale's teeth. The walls were adorned with muzzle loading pistols, more mounted fish and dusty paint by numbers quality portraits of canvas masted tall ships perched atop white capped waves in a turbulent blackened ocean set below a foreboding gray and stormy sky. The house was a very dark and morbid place. All except for the living room.
There, Moe walked into an equally alarming display of multicolored pastel miniature ceramic kittens. There were thousands of them in various poses displayed on lemon oil polished furniture lined with lace doilies from Brugge, in Belgium. The kittens were on the mantle piece, window frames, inside shadow boxes. They adorned any flat surface in the room.
The entire time Moe was dealing with Sam the Taxidermy Man, his wife, Mimi, the curator of the manic ceramic kitten circus, was fixated on the computer screen, seemingly in a bidding war for more feline figurines on eBay. Moe thought he heard a muffled curse escape from her lips as she was outbid in one auction she was following.
He couldn't get out of that place soon enough. Standing in the house, he felt his spirit begin to decay and atrophy. Moe was startled as Mimi actually spoke to him as he was leaving. Without peeling her eyes away from the screen, she spoke, handing Moe a sheet of paper the printer had just spit out.
"Jack-a-lopes are a dime a dozen on eBay, cheaper than he's charging you ..."
"Jesus, MIMI!!" Sam barked.
Moe became invisible as they began to banter back and forth. He deftly slunk out of the house hearing the ensuing ruckus fade away as he made his way to the car and escaped, thinking to himself,
"I can't even imagine what the fuck they have tied up in their basement. But I'm sure it's something and it ain't right."
As Moe and Sid sat under the painting of Sheriff Hawthorne, Gomer- Moe's son, was whooping it up a few tables away with the kitchen workers Paulie and Donnie. They were watching the video of the botched re-enactment of Sheriff Hawthorne's hanging. Gomer was playing the part of Sheriff Hawthorne at the Silver Days celebration a few years ago, when the Hanging went horribly wrong. It didn't go as wrong as it could have considering he was still sitting here in the warmth of the wood paneled banquet room at the Odd Fellows Hall.
Another nonsensical conversation started to brew between Paulie and Donnie. This conversation would end up taking all day if not weeks or months. Gomer wondered who was going to throw the monkey wrench into the giddy repartee which would launch this conversation to the level of being revisited time and time again?
"What do you call those guys ... the one's in Tibet that guide you up the mountain?" Donnie asked.
"Are you talking about Sherpas?" Paul responded.
"Yeah, that's it, like in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those dudes are bad ass! Imagine doing that every day? It so dangerous."
"There are more dangerous things out there," Paulie shot back. Gomer began to grin, he could feel it coming.
"What do you think is a more dangerous sport than Mountain climbing in Tibet?" Donnie asked.
Paulie stroked his goatee for a moment and replied,
"How about swimming from Florida to Cuba?" Gomer laughed.
"Who the fuck would want to swim from Florida to Cuba? Don't you mean the other way around, Cuba to Florida?"
"Whatever ... it's still dangerous." Paulie asserted.
"How is it more dangerous than climbing say, Mount Everest?"
"Well, you could drown ..."
"You could fall off the Mountain ..." Donnie shot back.
"You could get a really bad sunburn ... "
"You could freeze to death!"
"You get get stung by a bunch of jelly fish or eaten by a shark..." Paulie replied.
Donnie had that look in his eye,
"You could get sodomized by a Yeti!"
What!? You fucking moron, who gets sodomized by a Yeti?! Nobody!"
"How do you know? You could. You don't see very many Yeti which probably means there aren't very many female yeti for procreation purposes.."
"First of all, animals mate, God fearing humans procreate. There aren't any fucking yetis that are going to sodomize you."
"Yeti ... It is pluralized Yeti." Donnie continued, "Well, like I just said there probably aren't very many female YETI so the male Yeti are probably really horny, looking for nice warm young white boy like you ..."
Gomer was beside himself. All of the sudden he heard Sid shout out for them to take it in the kitchen. They left Gomer at his table as they were bickering and slapping at each other on their way to the kitchen. On they way Donnie dropped his apron and bent over to pick it up. When he did, Paul reached between his legs, grabbed his balls, and in a cartoon voice said,
"YETI" Donnie shrieked and began laughing, he said,
"I can't believe you did that, you fucking homo ..." And they disappeared into the back.
Gomer just sat there, staring at his computer screen, shaking his head. His phone chimed, he looked at the screen.
"Miranda Klein Text"
He slid his thumb across the screen to open the message. It was a picture taken in a slightly fogged bathroom mirror of Miranda nude. Gomer smiled and read the text.
"in SF It is 56 degrees and Foggy. I steamed up the mirror just thinking about you, lover."
Gomer giggled. Nobody noticed ... but it was a text giggle, nonetheless. He was so lucky to be experiencing one of life's simplest pleasures ... That feeling - knowing that somewhere out there, someone cares enough about you to let you know they are thinking about you.
A new way of communicating, and flirting, and falling in love.
He had felt the same way in the past without the modern technology. Just passing notes in school, or opening a love letter in College. He started to answer the text thinking about how very lucky he is.
He remembered how he felt that day after Valentine's Day, when Miranda met him in Mountain View. Her electrifying kisses, the warmth of her touch. The pressure of her hand holding his. He longed for her touch right now. But it didn't matter. she was thinking about him.
He hit the send button on the glowing screen of his iPhone.
Somewhere in San Francisco, in the bathroom of a renovated three floor Victorian house somewhere between Mission and Guerrero, a cell phone chimed -
followed by a giggle.
This one didn't turn out the way I had thought or intended. Sometimes I think my writing, and by that I mean my style and how it flows out of my mind is more of a curse than a gift. It is a gift I will continue to accept, because sometimes you and by you I really mean me, just don't know how things are going to turn out - especially when you (see above) are absolutely sure they will turn out in your favor. Still not a good enough reason to be ...
Running Hard Out of Muskrat Flats.
Go in Peace!