Monday, March 14, 2016

Celebrity (Part 1)

     Channel Eight News was coming to visit.  Our local CBS affiliate, they were coming to interview Bekka for national.  CBS national news was going to run a puff piece on Becky-mania.  Not since Linda Lovelace had the name of a porn star been a household word.  Channel Eight would set up their cameras and lights in our living room, lob a series of softball questions at Bekka, then edit what came out down to the juiciest bits.  CBS would fill in their own material, like how Becky (and her character Ursula) was influencing popular fashion, not to mention the Farrah Fawcett-style posters of Becky that every single heterosexual male seemed to be hanging up in their garage, workshop, or office.  Becky Page had hit big.

Theft (Part 1)

     We hit the driveway of the trattoria with five minutes to spare, checking in the Fleetwood and getting out.  Me, Bekka, Jane, and Sue.  We were there to dine with a star....
     .... Who was already there and waiting, sitting on a bench next to the entryway arch.  Ms. Lois Ayres of adult film fame would be eating with us at this rather exclusive Italian restaurant, and had already expressed her doubts about my ability to get us in the front door, or to a table.  Much less a patio table, where the hoi polloi  gathered.  I wasn't worried.  I'd eaten here too many times before, on the spur of the moment, and with much less savory characters than two well-known porn queens, a goth, and a punk rock brat.

Theft (Part 2)

     The next day we got a call from Ivanka up in San Francisco.  We talked to her and Ginny weekly, invariably on Wednesday nights.  She had news for us, though.
     "Last night we went to Slim's and saw a butch band called Chromewagon.  They do a love song for Bekka called 'Heavy Petting Becky' that is the tops.  Bekka, you have many lesbians who want you up here, from the reaction of the audience.  I bought a tape, and it has that song on it.  Shall I send you the tape?"

Theft (Part 3)

     "How fast are we going?"
     "I don't know."
     I was rocketing north on I-5, somewhere past Kettleman City.  The speedometer on the Cutlass was pegged, no place to go.  I was guessing we were holding about 140 mph in that bomb.  I tried moving faster, but the steering became suspiciously light when I did.  Since I was slaloming through traffic at that speed, I preferred having a firm grip on the pavement.  The big Cutlass tracked admirably, a machine born for the road.  After a few more minutes I backed off to ninety, then eighty, then blended in with traffic.  Instinct was telling me I'd get in trouble if I didn't, in the form of CHP busting me.  My speeds and behavior would be sure to anger even the most sedate of patrolmen, and we had enough drugs in the car I didn't feel like being shaken down.

Theft (Part 4)

     We spent the next day doing tourist-y type stuff, starting on Haight St.  Upper Haight was crowded with tourists, losers, dealers, and cretins.  Lower Haight was an improvement.  We got some lunch and went into a place called the Toronado that had eighty different beers on tap, none of which I'd ever heard of.  I asked for a Molson and the entire bar went silent while everyone stared at me.  I revised my request to whatever type of frosty cold lager they had, and was presented with a good beer called Golden Bear.  Bekka asked for Anchor Steam and received the same treatment I had.  Apparently the local stuff wasn't snooty enough for this place.  Bekka shrugged and said, "Gimme whatever pale ale you have.  Surprise me."  Jane asked for the same.  Both got pints of India pale ale from an East Bay brewery called Lind.  We sat in there and lapped up beer for two hours.  It struck me that no one ever seemed to leave, they just kept drinking and watching the horror movie playing on the bar TV.

Theft (Part 5)

     Tribe 8 was bringing their set to a crashing finish when Jerry collared me.  He had an overjoyed look on his face.  He said, "That stuff is something else!  I can't even describe how I feel right now.  Hey, you want to do a line of crystal?"
     "Sounds good to me," I said.  "Um, where?"
     "At my house.  I live on the end of the next block.  If we go now we won't miss any of Chromewagon's set.  I got good rock, this stuff rips.  Let's go."
     "Okay if I bring Becky along?"
     Jerry smiled.  "More the merrier."

Theft (Part 6)

     We got back to the club to find the front door still open, but it was obvious the night was over.  While it was impossible to separate club workers from the audience just by looking, just the lack of human beings, and the ones who were there seemed to be involved in some sort of task, made it clear the night was over.  I walked up to a door behind the front counter that had OFFICE spray-painted across it and pounded on it.  A scrawny kid with thick glasses and an unfortunate haircut swung the door open and stared blankly at me.

Theft (Part 7)

     We arrived at Jerry's house at nine sharp.  Bekka and I led Jane around the side of the tiny house (which looked even more decrepit in daylight) to the back door, where I pounded for admittance.  I had to pound, as Jerry had his stereo turned up loud enough to make the windows rattle.  Oh well, he certainly didn't have any neighbors that he could annoy.  The door popped open and he stuck his head out, smiling when he saw who it was.

Theft (Part 8)

     We rolled up the 580 and got off at Richmond Parkway, as instructed.  The parkway bordered the Chevron refinery for a distance, as one could determine by the smell.  There is nothing cheery about the drive up Richmond Parkway, it runs through literal wasteland.  The landfill is out there.  Industrial concerns, like steel recycling centers and small foundries, squat in their corrugated steel buildings, huddled as though to fight off the breeze that comes constantly off the bay.  No shrubbery, no services, no gas, no food.  No hope.  Everything about the area seems to suggest to the uninitiated, "You will find no life here.  Conduct your business and leave, lest you also find yourself mired here, covered with grime and rust."