October 31 Lucifer

I FIND HER OUTSIDE THE OAKLAND INDUCTION CENTER. Here is a girl who should have been home applying artificial warts and primping a nest of black straw, but instead she is there with a gaggle of other happy-go-lucky harpies, intent on making it hard for a bunch of decent, god-hating recruits to make it in the mouth of the man-made, man-eating machine. She has a sumptuous innocence like so many California girls--the ones I down by the bucket on the Haight, compulsively like popcorn--but attendant is a feature that makes her a rarer morsel, more tempting than a seven-course meal though all-told less than a mouthful: the arrogance of one uncompromised and not for sale, at least not today . . . "in whom brazenness is a kind of grace."

She is the fat olive at the end of a whole tumbler of Martinis, the first bite of mahi-mahi on the tip of the fork, the bar of freeze-dried ice cream that's been in space and made it back. And lo! though I dilate the nether aperture of my digestive tract to a greater breadth than the area's great bay, still I cannot swallow her whole.

And so I go home 317 arrestees richer but with a new hunger in my belly, sour and squealing all through my meal of 278 fresh casualties from across the seas, a need that will not easily be quelled, and yet that somehow relieves; for by its prominence this new ache relieves a thousand other petty irritations. For all the lost souls, wandering waifs, and runaways available to me this moment on Telegraph, at Mission, in Sausalito, etc., there is one I cannot possess this night in the hideous haven around Berkeley High.

Patience: my most invigorating and abhorred stimulus. This piece will take chewing, much chewing, much more chewing than I believe myself capable of doing.




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