Bus to Anaheim

©1998, by Jeff Glovsky


In San Francisco…Spinning round the Metronome. I’ve no idea…

I walked to meet her here, from Geary. Walked with map, the vaguest notion…Even that’s all over now! Head spinning, feel up for blood…There’s none.

There’s just black lumps and pride.

The Mission. Baddest part of town…I smelled things getting worse there; I, like Fortune, found a taxicab.

"So how’s San Francisco to walk? It’s safe?" The driver’s eyes meet mine in disbelief. He smirks and shakes his head.  ‘Oh, really? Even this early?”

"Back there? Back where I picked you up? There’s twenty murders every day."

"Every…?"

Every day,” he nods. “And that’s just in that Mission district. Then there’s Market Street, the Castro…Boy, you’re lucky I came by.”

I sit in silence as the driver makes a left, back where I'd come from; then drives straight, right to the Metronome, he doesn't rip me off...So it grows obvious I'd missed my mark night-walking.

“...much I owe you, man?"

"Well...How much you got on you?"

"Uh...No. What's the fare from where you picked me up? From there to here?"

"It's ten...Ten-fifty, actually."

"Then that's what I got on me. Oh, but seeing as you probably saved my Life..." I give him fourteen dollars. Climb out of his cab and nod goodbye, then turn to go inside...

The Metronome is locked and dark.

...So I don’t see it up behind me (peering through the window as I was, I only see inside: deep black, with neon radiating): cracked the pane, alarm exploding…head flushed, blue behind crushed eyelids, ripping, empty wallet  gone...Down!

Crying for the count...

I wake up.

Spinning round the Metronome.

"Now where the hell'd she go?" I think. "It was supposed to be tonight...?"

And then I think I'd better get a cab, get back to Geary Street. My hotel’s there, soft pastel sheets and fusty warm interiors...The street I'm on is empty.  Long, deserted, broken warehouses...

The Metronome was s'posed to be here, dancing until three!  "Goddammit.”

Pissed now, walking...No idea! The map left on the...ground? Or was it? Taxi...Deli...Doorman building...

Don't think I'm in Kansas now.

If I can get back to the Mission...Cab came straight from there; no turns...Down...this way? Metronome on left, when....Got out driver's side. Uh-huh...

Set off. Back toward (I think) the Mission. There, at least there'll be some people...Breathing! Breath of night...Emission...

Suddenly, I'm back again...I'm here? Back where I started! How's that possible!?

Consult my...

Oh.

Set off again (I'm really lost now); head exhausted, weighted eyes (deep, yellow-crusted, black and blue). The downtown city's angles spire pointedly, lit  up on left...I go there, walking toward the glow.

Down still another boarded, home-less, once proud, dark west-coastern street. I'm humming California Dreamin'...pulling daisies for my hair...I tiptoe, edged and tension-packed down backstreets, freaked in hippie moon...

Luck won't strike twice, I tell myself; still, hum aloud...belt, screaming, out the words to long dead melodies. I'm talking to myself, and burbling, burping out ecstatically...cracked, praying lightning won't strike twice!

I make it to the edge of Market Street, where people finally glow. I stumble through the neon, down the crusted, naughty pavement; past the porno barns and donut shops, the hookers and all-night transvestites…Old-eyed, gorgeous-bodied, full Brazilians swipe their tongues at me...

One says she is Elizabeth.

"Your eye," she says. "What's up with that?"

"A fight...," say I.

"Your wife?" asks she...

She leans toward me...and I can smell her perfume, musk and seashell sand.  “It doesn’t make you horny, if you listen to me swear this way?” Then riffs on fuck and cunt and shit...I ask how she says “horny” in her Portuguese...

She licks her lips; but fully...two ripe buds explode! Slow-motion, like a nature documentary...Some insect show! Red tongue like lava floods between them, smothers forest teeth like gum...

Red, potent night in San Francisco!

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To Natalie, who inspired the title and Patti, who inspired me ... and everyone else who appears in these stories and in me, in some way, to this very day ...


Underwear Woman Digs the Sea

(These Are Some Travel Stories!)

©1999-2013 by Jeff Glovsky.  All Rights Reserved.

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