Thomas had ambled up to the table and asked for a beer. He was wearing jeans, a once-white shirt, a hat of indeterminate shape. He looked like a Spaniard, or at least a Portuguese. He told us he had voted for Trump, but now wanted to hit him. We told him he should not, because they would shoot him as sure as they’d jail him. We told him Republicans did not have his best interests in mind. He should try not to vote for them in future.
A well-meaning woman had insisted he couldn’t have a beer, but must eat a sausage instead. He did, but he was surly, then he was ready for his bottle. I had stated my preferences: I’ve never wanted to police how homeless people spent their money, their day, or their liver. If we all, this group of nice middle-class people, could be day-drinking in Sacramento, surely the man with little to look forward to could sauce himself up as well.
But of course it didn’t occur to me Thomas wouldn’t know when to say when.
We took our group picture of all our new friends in Sacramento. Thomas walked into the picture as well. This delighted me, and I laughed and cackled. Can you see him up there? Can you find him?
As dusk set in, Thomas brought back our two-year-old daughter from wherever she had wandered. We considered this could have ended poorly. We kept a better eye on her going forward. We’ve got a runner.
Thomas sat in a chair, and mumbled, and Donna swung on the bar next to him, regarding him with her brown eyes. “Watch her,” Shy said to me, “she’s mesmerized.” She sidled up to him. “Did you hear that, Cowboy?” she asked him. “Cowboy, do you hear?”
Thomas became aggressive, and started mumble-slur-yelling at the little girl. “FUCKING MOVE when I tell you word word mumble slur,” he said, and I considered this an excellent learning opportunity. I looked at her steadily.
“Donna Rose, when a random man tells you to do something, you don’t have to.”
“YES. I am random,” he said, and cooed, “listen to your mama.”
We packed up the Wonkebago, ready to roll to Sonoma. “GOODBYE COWBOY,” Donna called to him plaintively. “I LUB YOU.”
In the morning she told us she had lost Cowboy, and she loved him, and he was her best friend. And she also said bears had killed her in her bad dream, and also there were octopuses to kill the bears. And we said, “oh shit, we are going to have this exact conversation in 14 years,” like the affluent educated parents in Top of the Lake whose teen daughter takes up with, and desires, the greasy scary pimp man, and there is nothing they can do, except for the bears and or octopi.
The next day, we went to Sonoma, and we kissed the Wonkers on their faces for surviving, and we told them we loved them. Aaron, our friends’ little boy, dumped Donna Rose out of his tiny blue camping chair, and she wept, and said “I HATE HIM! RUDE TO ME,” but then told me she could forgive him and be friends again, since I’d asked.
“I love the blue chair,” she wept, some hours later. “The blue chair is my best friend.”
We felt better.
Oct. 26, Orange County, at Moreno’s in Orange, from 7 to 9!
Los Angeles, we have decided you will find parking tomorrow, Oct. 27, at the Red Lion Tavern in Silverlake, where an old man once offered me so much cocaine! Call it 7 to 9 as well, though we bet you could find us there early, NOT DOING COCAINE.
San Diego, Chicano Park, you’re up Monday, Oct. 30, potluck from 5 to 8!
And Big Bear area (actually Sugarloaf), you’re up at 5-8 p.m., Nov. 1, at our dear friend Riss’s private home, 875 Orange Ave., Sugarloaf, so this address will self-destruct!
Las Vegas, be ready Nov. 4, tell us where in the comments!
And places beyond.