ood to be home,
Dirk sighed, as the van lumbered down First Avenue towards Pioneer Square.
It was a postcard type of day; Mt. Rainier loomed ahead, free of the clouds
that usually hid it and its volcanic destiny, i.e., the equivalent of
L.A.s Big Oneyes, Seattle, once voted Most Liveable City, had an
apocalypse of its own disguised cleverly as a placid natural wonder, a
snow-capped ooooooooh-elicitor for unjaded tourists. Dirk hoped that
he could somehow not be in Seattle when Mt. Rainier decided to blow chunks
and then return to the city during the aftermath, just before property
values recovered. He figured that would be the only way he could ever
afford to live in Seattle. He hated the idea of profiting from othersmisfortune, but on the other hand, he had been raised an American and
so took a certain glee in imagining a real estate coup akin to when John
D. Rockefeller used the 1929 Crash to fill his portfolio with oodles of
price-challenged stocks. Ive got to cut back on the weed smoking, Dirk
thought. He could barely afford a pair of jeans these days; where would
he get the capital to become a real estate mogul in a post-Rainier era?
Time enough to solve that conundrum. Now he had but two goals: get through
their reading at Eliot Bay Books and score some fine Pacific Northwest
sativa. The former would prove to be the most difficult.
William precipitated the crisis when, after ingesting far too many Budweiser
and Nyquil cocktails, he began calling the store the Effete Fey Kookstore,
and yelling loudly that he owned more poetry than anyone in the place
and he had a database file on a floppy to prove it. The staff, the usual
collection of aging hippies and school librarians on crank,
were as gracious as they could be given the circumstances, but when William
insisted that it be collected poems at dawn, 20 paces, and began loudly
demanding a one-volume edition of Robert Kellys complete works to serve
as his weapon of choice, the night manager pulled Scott aside and softly
suggested we put a muzzle on William pronto or kiss the reading goodbye.
Whatever else Seattle may be, its a good book town, so a chance
to face such a potentially receptive audience was not something to cavalierly
toss aside, despite Williams apparent move to
do so. While Scott distracted William, I snuck up behind him carrying
an American Heritage Dictionary. William's skull responded
well to the healthy crack I delivered to his raving head and he
dropped soundlessly to the floor. We immobilized him with packing tape
and propped him up on stage for the duration of our presentation. Occasionally,
we would nod in his direction and he would begin writhing; flecks of spittle
sometimes slipped passed the adhesive and formed a small pool in his
We nearly broke up the tour that fateful evening in Seattle. That it had
come to this . . . this violence . . .
and words were exchanged that . . . that pretty much brought Scott to
tears. He left the bookstore after reading some of Williams poems and
walked off alone with the van keys in his pocket.
He knew Dirk would find someplace to crash, and that he could probably
take William with him.