1335

Garrison said about his wonderful creation, Lake Woebegone,
it's a "culture of it could be worse".

Great philosophy! That's the story of last week.
It could have been worse.

Actually, not just that week but the entire tail-end of the Bull. I was attacked by a terrorist during the night. The most likely culprit was a centipede. I was several times attacked by those nasty insects during the time of the Cloisters, but there was just a very unpleasant stinging pain. After about half an hour, no further discomfort. The one that got me at the Dark Corner, though, must have been saving up its poison just for me. The whole area around the attacks (one on the lower right arm, one on the lower chest) turned red, got swollen, feverish and itched like hell for days. The one on the arm wasn't too mysterious since one disadvantage of the silk night shirt is the tendency of the sleeves to slide upward during the night, but I don't quite understand the lower chest site. The creature crawled up under my tee shirt? Or was it capable of stinging through the cloth? (I've carefully tucked my tee shirt into my pants each night since.) And although I usually don't bother those creatures, I didn't hesitate to grind a large one into oblivion when it crossed the sidewalk outside the Dark Corner.

The Tweakers continue to visit now and then, usually only stay for about an hour while smoking the pipe. But they did spend longer on a Saturday, had some kind of quarrel. She was whimpering and whining in such an irritating manner that I could hardly blame him for slapping her around a bit (even if I didn't approve). She kept saying "I just want to go home". So why not get up and walk out of there? At one point she rushed over to my side of the area and sat down, wailing. He told her to get back to their side. When she just sat there, he grabbed her by the foot and dragged her over. Eventually they went away, no doubt to get new supplies, and were mercifully quiet when they returned. Domestic violence is one of the most common pitfalls of crystal meth and I didn't much enjoy my ringside seat at proof of that.

Well, it could be worse. That terrorist centipede could have stung me in an even more uncomfortable place and the Tweakers could arrive every night.

The Returnee told me Angelo is back in jail but that Little Brother is doing very well, has his own car, a cellphone, etc. When I mentioned it to the Sleeptalker, he sneered about Little Brother, "he's selling drugs". When I later talked to Tanioka about it, he didn't agree. I don't know how these guys maintain such a grapevine system of communication even though they stay on their own most of the time.

The Sleeptalker spent several hours with me in the sunset area of the mall, seemed in good spirits and looked fine. As usual, he had little to say about how he's spending his time out in the country but evidently his relationship with his latest patron has already gone a bit sour, the patron kicking him out after a day or two and then taking him back. What a bizarre life.

Oh well, who am I to talk?

1336

The Sleeptalker made his Full Moon visit a day late, arrived at the Dark Corner and woke me, asking for a pen because he wanted to write to his mother. Poor woman, if he did indeed write it and give it to her, since he'd obviously been on the pipe. He pulled "the bowl" out and examined it. If that was an attempt to lure me into filling and sharing, it didn't work. He had some anti-mosquito stuff and rubbed it over his arms and legs which made me think he planned to sleep there. Fortunately it really is a "dark" corner, so he went off to GovSanc2 for his writing exercise and didn't return. (Even if he hadn't flashed the pipe, I would have known he was tweaking because he so often gets that writing compulsion when smoking the ice.)

Not what I'd call a welcome encounter. I'm considering telling him the next time I see him sober that unless it's really important, I'd prefer he doesn't wake me. But then, he'd think the urge to write to his mother was really important.

The other Tweakers have mercifully been absent this week. Maybe they've run out of money.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find things I can eat without creating acute indigestion, gas, vomiting, next-morning diarrhea, or all the above. Hard cheeses (cheddar, Swiss) are the most impossible although I can get away with cream cheese so it can't be just plain lactose intolerance. Now even tomatoes are causing problems. So much for pizza.

A fan of David Baldacci has been leaving things at the freebie collection of the State Library, so I had a double feature with his Split Second and The Simple Truth, both most enjoyable reading. And I had a foursome from J.A. Jance, two with her droll Seattle homicide detective, Beaumont, one with her feisty female Arizona sheriff, and one where she puts both of her series characters into one book. Fun.

The Senate/judiciary nominee crap gets my vote as the most BORING story of the year. Thus far. I wish NPR would just shut up about it.

1337

A pleasant holiday weekend. Sunny, warm weather with gentle tradewinds, a delightfully quiet and almost-deserted campus (no leafblowers!). And I survived three days off-line (another idea for a tee shirt slogan?)

Didn't do much of anything on the Saturday but drink beer, read books and listen to the radio. Wasn't very taken by La Gioconda, although of course it still impresses me when we hear tapes of performances from faraway places (in this case, an opera house in the Ukraine). Wasn't impressed enough to last beyond two acts. But Prairie Home Companion was a good one, considerably boosted, as always, by the presence of Odetta. There was a funny skit about Bush2 having a dream, walking around Washington with no one recognizing him. He asked a waitress what she'd do if she met the President and she said "probably give him the finger". Indeed.

Sunday morning I went out to the really cheap discount clothing store, bought undershorts, a tee shirt and a cotton night-shirt to replace the Chinese silk. This one is Ralph Lauren, probably originally cost about fifty dollars, but I got it for $3.99. Black, great for night. A little heavier cloth than I would have preferred since it takes up a bit too much space in the bag, but it will do for awhile.

Listened to the news to hear what those silly French were going to do with their vote about the proposed EU constitution, wasn't at all surprised when they rejected it. I know almost nothing about it (can barely remember decades ago reading our own Constitution), but I do wish the Europeans would better get their act together. We need a strong, united Europe as a sensible balance between the USA and China's massive influence (and frequent stupidity).

On the actual holiday, I went with Helen R to see the latest (hopefully, last) Star Wars movie. I thought it was boring.

1338

June is bustin' out all over ....

Not off to a great start, though. My annual summer cold in the head has arrived early. It's not officially summer yet! I probably contacted the wretched virus at that mobbed theatre for Star Wars (as if a boring movie weren't enough punishment).

After the movie, Helen R kindly treated me to a meal at Big City Diner. First-class burger and decent fries, but I couldn't finish all of the burger and only managed about a quarter of the potatoes. As I told Helen, I really need to get "kiddie plates". Not only do I have increasing difficulties about what I can eat, but I just can't eat much of anything. Some days I have nothing but a baked potato. Recently I've been buying things from the Saint Germaine bakery, a little pastry they call a "curry pie" and another called a "sweet potato turnover". I don't think I'm becoming anorexic, I'm just not hungry. As Jonathan Cainer recently wrote, you put it in one end and it comes out the other. Still not sure how so much comes out the other when you put so little in to begin with.

Well, the Dutch were even more strongly against the proposed EU constitution than the French. It does sound as if the people who put together the document went well overboard with details. And is there really any genuine need for an EU constitution? History in the making ...

Felix sent a print of the only formal portrait he did of me to Maryse, who in turn sent me a digitized version. I didn't really walk around looking like that in the Seventies. When Felix did a portrait he controlled every detail. What clothing was worn, what the background was, how the hair was combed or brushed, where the hands were, what expression was required. It's one of the most peculiar images of me in all this long life.

This long life, this long life ...

1339

Felix has been diligently searching his archives for negatives of photographs he took at Alfonso Ossorio's Easthampton studio and mansion. Hasn't found them yet, but in the course of his search he did find two boxes of color slides. Works by me, from the early Sixties. "They're faded, of course," he said. Not as faded as the person who made those works, I'd guess.

The Sleeptalker rather plaintively mentioned that he would soon turn thirty. I told him I was well aware of it, that the current section of the Tales is called season of the sleeptalker in honor of the occasion.

He was animated and talkative. After awhile listening to him, I said I wasn't sure what the percentage was. Maybe 50/50 between fact and fantasy? (I'm not sure he knows all the time, either.)

He may (or may not) have a room in Kalihi, the part of town west after Chinatown. He was vague about how he got it, even more vague about how he is paying for it, but was quick to say he couldn't have guests. If it's true, he probably got it through one of the private help groups he has now and then contacted. That might also explain his intention to return to "classes" in August in the continuing quest for a high school diploma. He said he has an old Filipino landlady and when leaving asked where he could get the #2 bus, so maybe it really is true, even if he did at one point say, no, he's still living in Waianae.

In one of the usual odd byways of our conversations, we talked about "heaven". I said I thought the Christian idea sounded really boring. Who needs streets paved with gold, sitting around strumming on a harp? I'd see it as a vast library containing everything mankind has created, every book, every musical composition, every film, etc. And one would instantly know every language of mankind. It would also have a cigarette pack which would never get empty (he liked that) and fountains which served beer. Yes, that sounds like heaven to me. He just wanted a big house, a VERY big house, as big as the mall.

"And what age would you want to be?" "24," he said. I opted for 33.

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the tales