Conversations With God – V Cafe 976, Pacific Beach

Fuck the DEA and other brands of American imbecility, I can’t stay in a bad mood in PB. Firstly, because it’s hard to keep my mind on it and watch where I’m walking so I’m prone to fall on my face in front of a half naked coed “innocently” sashaying down Cass Street, sucking on a smoothie. Secondly, because, although they can’t be going anyplace for which there could be reason to rush, like drivers in TJ (where by definition rapid response is an oxymoron), they turn their cars in front of you with nonchalance, as if an unconscious self-assertion pitted against the undifferentiated human background of  conformity of which they are a dedicated part, which amuses me no end.

Turning left from Ingraham onto Riviera this afternoon, I saw looming large in the rear view mirror, behind a shiny tinted glass windshield, a middle-aged idiot driving one of those enormous chromed-out Dodge Ram Turbo Diesel Supreme Macho pickup trucks. Reminded me of the caption printed on the frame enclosing the license plate of D’s gold Corolla, “If you’re gonna ride my ass, at least, pull my hair!”. As I made the turn, I saw a silver Prius wanted to reverse out of a driveway and, to spite the tailgating clown driving the Dodge, rather than out of some nobler inspiration, I braked to allow the Prius to enter, stopping traffic and hoping the shmuck in the truck would pay for my next car. His response was to veer the Ram to try to pass me on the right. Give the guy one for reaction time and perseverance but by then the Prius blocked his maneuver—the dude lost the round. I’m sure he’ll be back on the line next time the whistle blows.

Walked up the stairs past the “wait to be seated” sign and into 976 feeling over-confident if not upbeat. Four coeds surrounded my usual table, kibitzing in deutsch sprache over their laptops. Put my stuff down on the corner table beside them and said, “hello” accompanied by an ordinary southern Cal off-handed smile, which the girls ignored with typically distant teutonic snobbery…I imagined these assholes blowing kisses to their SS husbands and brothers going off to murder Jews and faggots back in the day. Welcome to the USA, babezillas, careful not to open your minds, something real might fall in.

With no definite plan in mind, I sauntered up to the counter to order a “beverage”–table rent. A recording of the Temptations’ My Girl, drifted toward me like Cupid’s golden dart and as I struggled to return from a visit to the past, B’s brown hair tumbling over ivory shoulders and breasts, taught nipples in classic form, I heard the young man behind the counter saying, “Hi, how are you?” With a glance, taking in his enviably slim young body in navy blue “976” T shirt and de rigreur Levi pants, I felt an unspecified pang of envy for the opportunity of his self-assured and my own lost youth and balanced my self esteem as I engineered a response he could appreciate,

“I’m ok,” I said, “high, at least. How ’bout you?” He grinned a 420 grin full of straight white teeth, smiles and sparkly eyes.”

“Great,” he said , “what would you like?”

“I really don’t know…something non-lethal.., definitely something non-caffeinated—something cold and smooth…”

“I can do smooth!”

“You say that to all the guys.” Toying with intimacy like macho guys who don’t go there but aren’t phobic about it.

“Yeah,” he said, “I do, in fact.” Being cool.

We laughed together at the homeo-erotic reference, perhaps, telepathing a shared vision of activities in a prison dorm. He said, “I can make you a smoothie.”

“What kind of smoothies can you make?”

“What are you into?” (Taunting? Cheeky fucker.)

“Women…obsessively, actually. Really.” We laughed some more. “So what do you suggest—about the smoothie, I mean.”

“Well,” he said, “I like mango, strawberry, raspberry.”

“In the direction of pink, that’s good.”

“Yes,” self-satisfied grin about his cuisinal pun.

“Ok, let’s do that. I’ll use my imagination. We can call it Eskimo Pie—no, that’s already taken. How about Mango Raspberry Chick? More direct, Cool, Sweet Pussy.”

I took out my credit card.

“No,” he said, this one’s free.”

“No shit?”

“I like you,” he said, “you’re cool.”

“Thank you. I like me, to,” I said.

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