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Late night at Rini's house in hilly El Cerrito. Soon, no more attic misadventures. Not having electricity anymore suddenly reminded me of my volatile living situation.

Before midnight hot dogs and donuts (choclit raised, plain 'cuz I just had a lemon chicken hot dog with lotsa onions and spicy mustard, yum), Rini and I walk past my apartment building, shuddering. That's so creepy, Rini whispers.

In the gas station right next to it was my landlord's white truck, with my landlord inside it, booze-red and slumped over the steering wheel. I remember other nights, those late nights when I would walk up Durant and spy him in his pick-up truck, crying and/or drinking.

Then and now, I would shudder, wondering when the man would break and wreck violence out of desperation, because, somehow--even with the property he had inherited from monied academic relatives--he could only barely eke out a living, taut and scratched thin. Somehow, he was still here, year after hard year, clutching his fourth or fifth beer in his carpenter's hands, the beer he would finish before returning to his house in Pleasanton where he would, I imagine, fight with the exhausted pale woman who was his wife, the woman with whom he fought in arguments that echoed shrilly throughout the entire neighborhood on startled late summer afternoons.

Seeing him there tonight, I realize that I can't sleep in the attic anymore. It's not home. It hasn't been home for a long, long time.


Uh, yes, send out feelers for me, please: cheap place wanted, near library and pinball machines and maybe 24-hour donut-shop too, but that's maybe pushin' it, no, tho' nice to think of belly rounding soft just in time for winter, for midnite rubs for luck.


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