First, flash back to February last year, when I approached an
unkempt, scraggly jerkwad smoking a cigar right in the doorway of Muddy
Waters. I politely asked him to move away, so the foul stench wouldn't
poison the patrons inside. Personally, I was reeling in nausea from the
stinging vapors, and craved fresh air. I could not return to my table,
until dipwad evacuated the doorway. But he did not. Instead, he spit a
huge gob of brown and yellow phlegm at my feet, and cussed me out. (Oh, sophisticated San Francisco, the most "European" city in Amerika!) FYI: It is now against the law in San Francisco, to smoke anywhere within 20 feet of a door...so my demand was most reasonable.
He numbers among a cluster of jerks who frequent Muddy Waters, and
usually sit outside, puffing their tobacco in the doorway...which smoke
gets sucked into the coffeehouse like a vacuum. They are also HELLA
homophobic. I confronted one such loser--a fat toad of gross proportion
and face--who I caught ranting about faggots, how he wants to kick 'em
all out, remembers a time before any of them moved here.
(As if! As if not a single queer were born in Baghdad by the Bay. Oh, sophisticated San Francisco!)
I walked right up to him and said: "What a vulgar attitude! You're just
a parrot for Michael Savage!" (M. Savage is a shock jock on SF radio
station KNEW, 910 on the AM dial. He foments hatred and hysteria against homosexuals,
liberals, the homeless, and other assorted, long-suffering minorities.)
Toad-man just stared at me with those buggy eyes. I continued: "Why do
you hate gays so much?"
"Because they fuck each other up the ass!" was his uncivil reply.
"News flash," I retorted, "heteros boink each other in the rectum, too.
It's a form of birth control." Toad-man then looked away from me, did
not utter another syllable. Several "comrades" (partners in crime) were
sitting around The Toad, one of whom was amiable to me in the past. So
I said: "Steve, tell this guy he's wrong." But Steve was mum, shrugged
his shoulders. Three others there also remained silent. "Aren't you all
a bunch of sorry suckers!" I declared, pointing to a wiry rodent of a
man: "Especially you, who walks around with petitions for liberal
causes. No skin off your back to correct this fool's anti-gay bigotry!"
He remained silent, like the rest. Disgusted, I entered the coffeehouse
with a new appreciation of just how deeply rooted homophobia remains,
even among native citizens of "Gay Mecca"...even right here in the
gayest neighborhood on the planet: "The Castro". (Oh, sophisticated San Francisco!)
They have a ring leader: a pot-bellied, weak-kneed curly-gray-haired
1st-generation Irish-Amerikan called "Robert"...also a blatant cigar
Jerkwads gravitate around him, including The Toad. They are mostly
loud-mouthed, macho-bravado goons, with Robert as their anchor and raison d'ideotie.
He is a house painter, hiring lost souls under the premise of honest
employment. At least, that's the draw, the surface appearance. Loser
types gravitate in Robert's direction, like orphaned asteroids...and I don't think they're all looking for work.
(Eventually, my complaints about the tobacco smoke got to the
previous owner, Hisham...a Palestinian who owned the small chain of three Muddy Waters,
the other two on Valencia Street: one near 16th, the other, 25th. Two
months after my unpleasant confrontation, signs were placed in both
sides of the door well, forbidding tobacco smokers from that hotspot.
But Hisham was personally rude to me, mocked me for complaining...and
gave me no credit for raising his awareness.)
Sorry for the lengthy flashback, but it was a necessary fill-in for
what follows. In sum: there's a nasty little crowd hangs out at Muddy
Waters, with this prick "Robert" at the helm. They do not like me; in
fact, they loathe me. The hostility towards me is so thick, I couldn't
cut it with the keenest scimitar: I'd need a Star-Wars-grade laser
beam. And I thought until yesterday, it's solely because I'm an
outspoken gay activist, and they're hopelessly, viciously homophobic.
Naive little moi!
Now let's return to the near-present, that is: three weeks
ago...which by then Hank had replaced Hisham as the owner (and Muddy
Waters on Church Street renamed "Church Street Cafe"...this new owner's
got a very practical business acumen).
sitting there alone as usual, enjoying my coffee when I observed a
scummy low-life rummage through the doorway trash bin for bottles and
cans. (This goes on several times a day, by the shabbiest slimeballs
you couldn't imagine.) Bad enough he spit and blew snot chunks in the
entranceway: he also scowled at patrons (including myself), and loudly
cussed. Which this day (as opposed to countless previous times I've
witnessed such depravity by an assortment of unsavory baboons),
inspired me to approach the cashier: a petite, angelic Asian-Amerikan
lady (as so many are, like fairies or elves). Also very considerate and joyful.
Anywayz peoples, back to my story. So's I walks up to the cashier,
and suggest she remove the doorway trash bin, in order to put an end to
these obnoxious scenes...which no doubt are bad for business.
Several days later I return to the coffeehouse, notice the
entanceway trash bin's absence...look up to see Hank tending the
register. I order an iced tea; Hank says, "This drink's on the house.
My wife told me about your idea to move the garbage container inside."
Wow, did I swell with pride! Several moments later, enjoying my drink,
Mickey-Mouse "Robert" steps in, belligerently questions Hank about the
trash bin's disappearance. To which Hank replies, "I decided to move it
inside". Robert asked "Why?" Hank responded with a non-verbal shoulder
shrug. (That's when I realize Hank's a Cool Operator.) Robert storms
out, exclaiming huffily about the homeless denied their cans and
Hmmm, interesting (I put on my thinking cap, never dreaming that
Robert would have any interest in a trash can). With Robert now outside
and beyond earshot, I come up to Hank and remark, "Well, that's
curious, why Robert is upset over this." Hank's unexpected response: "He cares about homeless people".
"Ha!" I guffaw, "how unlikely. He just uses them for drug deals." My
thought then, is that he wants certain homeless folks to access the
trash for bottles and cans, which once redeemed for moolah, could be
used to buy their fix. Naive little moi!
Several days later I return to the Church Street Cafe for my daily
java. As I sip and read the paper, Hank summons me from behind the
counter: "Psssst!" So I step up, where he hands me a flyer regarding
the rules for San Francisco eating establishments, including: "All
food-serving venues must provide a trash receptable by the front door, at all times during business hours."
I hand it back to him and chuckle: "Wow! No good deed goes
unpunished." And sit down once more, to ponder the situation. Some
moments later, I had the answer, and tell Hank to get a trash bin that
allows you to deposit garbage, but not remove any (like with
spring-activated spikes to thwart retrieval). He appreciates my
suggestion, says he'll look into it. Then I ask, "Did Robert hand you
Hank replies, "No. Someone must have phoned the business bureau and
complained, because a representative showed up today, told me about the
trash bin rule and gave me this flyer." I was amused: "Oh, Robert
called in. Obviously." Hank said, "We can't prove that, it could have
been anyone." I suggested: "That's how these idiots operate: very
surreptitious, secretive. Let me think more on this."
I return to my seat awhile, to ponder the matter...then it hits me:
So I jump to the counter, lean across and blurt in a controlled,
staccato whisper directed only to Hank's ears just four feet away:
"It's a drug drop! Someone's very perturbed about the trash bin being
removed. He doesn't care about the homeless, the few bottles and cans
they retrieve. No one would be so upset unless they used it for a drug
drop." I add: "Notice how few coffeehouses provide a trash can
outside...they're onto these dealers, plus it's really bad for business
to have skanky punks loudly pawing through the trash in the
entranceway, cussing and spitting, intimidating the clientele. When you
walk around The City, observe the coffeehouses, and I think you'll see
very few providing a doorway refuse. Who'd compain about this, except
(Note: I might be wrong about Robert, though his behavior towards
me--or lack thereof--and that of his cronies (rude, belligerent,
threatening) is druggie-typical. The trash bin incident is but ONE key
indicator. Evidence: circumstantial. Significance: strong.)
Hank nods, agrees with my surmisal. I grin smartly: "Told you
I'm a psychic detective. Answers just come to me; it's a gift! I simply
need to be patient, sit back and wait. Problem solved. On to my next
case!" And I depart for the day. Stepping out, I turn my head back to
see Robert sitting outside on a hard, cold, metal-wire chair (new since
Hank took over) that finally replaced the moldy,
spit-and-coffee-stained, weather-and-homeless-beat en pigeon-poop
upholstered chairs...glaring at me with those rheumy eyes. I pause to
smirk back knowingly ("I got your number"), then turn away and
walk home, bemused. For I know that victory will be mine, and a new
alliance has formed...and my first witness to my growing psychic skills
has finally occurred. Fantabulous!
I know Robert et al hates me...but all along till yesterday, thought
it was exclusively the homophobia issue. He never directly insulted me,
leaving that to his cohorts...but all along, had surreptiously fomented
reptilian venom against me: gossip gossip gossip blah blah. Ha! Did I
learn something new. And in so doing, also formed a new friendship.
But the most amazing outcome in this jigsaw puzzle (finally pieced together...huzzah!), is that through Hank, another person witnessed my skills as a psychic detective. That alone is a Victory Of No Small Measure. And I am totally confident that such witness is an affirmation of victory against the druggies who think they rule this neighborhood, and bully anyone who challenges them. I quaff triumphantly from The Chalice Of Righteous Jubilation! (And I don't think I'm counting my chickens before they change horses in midstream. Do you?)
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Tomorrow's installment: OUR COPS AREN'T TOPS