Call Me Pomeroy
by James Hanna
I tell folks to call me Pomeroy. That’s a whole lot better than Eddie Beasley—the name I was born with fifty-five ago. Pomeroy has class, style, and strut. And I ain’t got no choice ’cept to strut. Don’t matter that I’m homeless. Don’t matter that I wear polyester bell-bottoms. Don’t matter that I act a little crazy now and again. Because I’m a stud—I’m a star. And sooner or later, a star’s gotta shine.
Now a star’s gotta share himself—that’s how it is. So last week I put an ad in a swingers’ mag. An ad for straight sex—none of this bi shit for me. Hell, I don’t even buy muscle balm unless it’s Ben Straight. So the ad told it straight. Picture me one and all, it read. I’m six foot six with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and thighs like a stallion. I’m available for one-on-ones or threesomes. I can handle two women at once. And I look just like Queequeg out of Moby Dick. Contact General Post Office, 101 Hyde Street, San Francisco. Got a hundred responses, but I only answered a couple of ’em. Sometimes, describin’ yourself is enough.
They got me on parole, you know. For statutory rape if you can believe that. They could have gotten me for battery. They could have gotten me for assault. They could have gotten me for threatenin’ a cop. Crimes like that are worth braggin’ about. But they got me for statutory rape. No matter that the little spinner lied about her age. No matter that I wasn’t her first by a long shot. No matter that she rode me like a jockey while all the time squealin’ like a pig. Hell, she practically raped me. And then, when she turned eighteen, she came to see me at San Quentin—guess I must have spoiled her for other men. But I wouldn’t have nothin’ more to do with her. When a woman puts Pomeroy in jail, Pomeroy cuts her off. I told her she’d have to make do with my mug shot and a dildo.
They gave me a psych eval while I was at Quentin. The psychiatrist looked at me and he said, “Ahem, Mr. Beasley, you got yerself a narcissistic personality disorder.” I said to him, “What?!” and he said to me, “Ahem, Mr. Beasley, you got yourself an explosive disorder. And an antisocial personality to boot.” That’s psychs for you—they gotta make a problem out of everythin’. Just ’cause a man likes to fuck and fight don’t mean he’s got problems. And just ’cause he can think for himself don’t mean he’s antisocial.
I sleep in the Multipurpose Center on Fifth and Bryant across from the San Francisco Hall of Justice. My parole officer reserved me a bed there—no waitin’ in shelter lines for ol’ Pomeroy. The shitkickers there all know me well. Whenever I walk into the building they say, “Pomeroy, you’re the man. You’re the stud. How’s it hangin’, Pomeroy?” I play the game. “Loose and full of juice,” I say and they all laugh. But they’re full of shit. And they know that I know that they’re full of shit. They just don’t want to mess with the baddest dude in San Francisco.
I got out of Quentin a month ago so I’m still kinda trippin’ on freedom. The nicest thing about it is that I can eat what I want to eat. So I start each day with a hearty breakfast at the Sunshine Café on Polk Street. No soup lines at Saint Anthony’s for Pomeroy. I have the same breakfast every mornin’—two eggs over easy, hash browns, sausages, and wheat toast. And three cups of steamin’ hot coffee. That’s as close to heaven as a man’s gonna get. And there’s no point in messin’ with heaven. The waitresses there have all got to know me, and whenever I walk in they say, “Pomeroy. You want the usual, Pomeroy?” “Does a bear leave turds in the woods?” I answer. They laugh like crazy at that old chestnut—that’s ’cause they’re really nice. They don’t even mind that I sit there for hours and read every page of the San Francisco Chronicle. First I read the sports pages and then I read about the occupation movements over in Oakland and The Embarcadero. And once I’m done, I leave ’em a ten-dollar tip.
When I’ve had my breakfast, I go over to Market Street and do a little panhandlin’. I always pick the tourists ’cause they don’t know what to expect. I say to ’em, “Oy. Can you spare me some cash for a beef burrito?” I hate any kind of burrito, but I’ve got to tell ’em somethin’. And when they try to buy me off with a buck or two—that’s when I go crazy. “Five,” I tell ’em. “I gotta have five.” And then I start spittin’ like faucet, rollin’ my eyes, and lurchin’ about like a zombie. So I always get my five dollars. But I don’t hustle more cash than I need—unlike some folks. And once I’ve picked up fifteen or twenty dollars, I get the hell out of there. No point waitin’ for the cops to show. The cops know me too well as it is.
When I’m done panhandlin’, I walk over to the public library. I don’t go there to sleep or shoot up in the bathroom—I go there to read. ’Cause Pomeroy ain’t no illiterate, crack-smokin’ bum. He’s a coffee-sippin’, Shakespeare-quotin’ bum. That’s why I was assigned to the library at Quentin. That’s why nobody fools me—a man who likes to read has got his own mind. Now usually, I read the classics ’cause none of the modern writers are worth a shit. Except maybe Charles Frazier. Cold Mountain got it right. Don’t be dyin’ for no slave ownin’ one-percenters. But I prefer the classics, and I read ’em ’til the pages fall out. Paradise Lost I’ve read a dozen times ’cause the devil got it right, too. Don’t be kissin’ ass in heaven when you can rule the whole underworld. Makes sense to ol’ Pomeroy. And I kinda like Joyce’s Ulysses—not the story but the way he tells it. There ain’t much story to it. An ol’ boy wakes up, wanders around Dublin, sees a pretty crippled girl, and jacks off. And then he goes to a pub and pisses off a racist. And then he goes home and has a cup of tea. Meanwhile, his wife is lyin’ in bed ticklin’ her minnow. Guess the ol’ boy couldn’t deal with her. Guess pocket pool was all he could handle. She shoulda had a dose of Pomeroy. I’d have had her shriekin’ like a banshee. And I like the poets too—especially that Yeats dude, his poem about mere anarchy and all. And what rough beast, his hour come at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born. I ain’t sure what all that means, but I like it anyhow. That’s one big-dicked poem.
I’m a hell of a poet myself. I recite my stuff at The City Lights Bookstore when they have their open mic readings, and I strum my guitar while I read that shit. While I was there last week, I read ’em a poem I wrote about that Bush dude—the fucker who stole himself a whole presidency. I wrote it five years ago, but that didn’t make no difference. The crowd was stompin’ and hollerin’ before I even finished the first verse.
This man we call a president is just a piece of shit.
He ain’t got no intelligence. He got no soul or wit.
He’ll call on you to sacrifice. He’ll send your sons to die.
But his hands are full of money and his heart is full of lies.
Well, the shitkickers there went ballistic on me. “Tell it like it is, Pomeroy! Tell it like it is!” they all hollered. So I read ’em a bit more.
Now he’ll claim to be a Christian. Now he’ll say his soul is filled.
But all he really worships is the corporate dollar bill.
I had to stop there even though I had forty-seven more verses. Because the women were about to rip off their bras and shake their titties at me. Write yourself a poem—even a fucked-up poem—and women are gonna mob you. I was damn lucky to get out with my bellbottoms still on.
Twice a month, I go to the General Assistance Office where I pick up a check for two-hundred thirty bucks. I cash it at the Sunshine Café, and then I look carefully at the money. Ain’t it amazin’—the shitbags who got their faces on money? There’s Jackson, an Indian murderer. There’s Jefferson, a slave owner. There’s Grant, a drunk and a butcher for the cotton guilds. And that goddamn Lincoln was the worst of them all. Killed himself half a million people just so he could keep the cotton tariffs jacked up. Talk about a one-percenter. But that’s the way things go in this country. Steal a little and they’ll throw you in jail. Steal a lot and you’ll get your face put on money. Guess it don’t hurt a fucker to be on the right side of history. Hell, even that Kennedy dude got himself a fifty-cent piece. I remember his speech when he became president. “Ask not what your country can do for you,” he said. “Ask what you can do for your country.” What a steamin’ pile of crap that was. You might as well ask the one-percenters to pick your pocket and kill you in their wars. Fuck that shit. But they’re all pretty much the same—Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, even Bill Clinton. They want you to be faithful to some cause or other when they can’t even be faithful to their own wives. If a man wants my vote, he can damn well keep his pecker in his pants.
When I’m done at the library, it’s almost dark. That’s when I go to the Multipurpose Center and chill out with the shitkickers. Usually, we watch television—Survivor if it’s on. I like bettin’ on who gets voted off. Usually, I win but when I don’t win the shitkickers all shake their heads. “You don’t gotta pay us, Pomeroy,” they say—that’s ’cause they’re all scared shitless of me. But I always pay up when I lose—even if it’s twenty bucks. If a man don’t have his dignity, he’s got nothin’—hell, he may as well be on Survivor. None of those folks on Survivor have dignity—if they did they’d get voted off the first week. And it’s the biggest slime balls of them all who end up with a million dollars—like maybe they took lessons from the one-percenters. They oughta call the show Conniver.
I like American Idol too. Round up a bunch of pretty looking kids, have ’em sing other people’s music, and you got yourself a show. It’s that easy to become a celebrity. It’s that easy to have millions of people hollerin’ out your name. Now if those pissants can make it—kids who don’t even sing their own words—it’s gonna be even easier for Pomeroy. The shitkickers all agree with me. “You’re gonna make it, Pomeroy,” they say. “You’re gonna make it big.” And then I recite ’em one of my poems.
Tonight, they’re pitchin’ tents in Frank Ogawa Plaza over in Oakland. So tonight I ain’t watchin’ no pissants sing other people’s music. There’s better entertainment on the news—all those little spinner types wigglin’ their asses to drumbeats. Makes ol’ Pomeroy pitch a tent of his own. And those folks dressed like corporate zombies are a hoot. The zombies keep shoutin’, “Money makes the rules!”—like maybe they just figured that out. The zombies keep shoutin’, “We’re changin’ the rules!” Fuck that shit. Haven’t they read Animal Farm? I guess not—that’s a bit much to expect from a zombie. What rules are they gonna change anyhow? Ol’ Pomeroy makes his own rules. ’Cause I think with my head and I fuck with my cock. There ain’t a whole lot of folks who can get things in that order.
But I need to be gettin’ out of Frisco for a while. Gotta change my routine every now and then just to keep the cops guessin’. It’s too easy for ’em to pin stuff on ol’ Pomeroy. But the cops ain’t gonna bug me in Oakland—there’s too many anarchists there that need bustin’. And Pomeroy ain’t no anarchist. But that don’t mean I’ll be missin’ the party—not when they got food tents set up over there. None of that vegetarian shit for me, though. They better be servin’ sausages if they want to keep Pomeroy around. Gotta keep my strength up if there’s fightin’ to be done. Gotta keep my strength up if I’m gonna play my music. And if I get my face on the evenin’ news, I might just get a recordin’ contract.
So I grab my guitar and sleepin’ bag and go to the San Francisco Ferry Building. And I buy me a one-way boat trip to Jack London Square. I like Jack London ’cause he told it like it is. Or like it oughta be anyhow. The ol’ survival of the fittest. The law of tooth and club. That’s why I read The Sea Wolf twenty times. That’s why I’m the baddest dude on the street. That’s why I’m thankful every day to be the big ol’ bruiser I am. I believe in that survival of the fittest shit. But things ain’t that way really—that’s just how they oughta be. Just look at that Bush dude—that fucker ain’t fast, smart, or strong. In college, he was a fuckin’ cheerleader. And he got to be president of the whole damn country. And he got to send folks to wars of his choosin’. Guess it don’t hurt a man to be in good with the one-percenters. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.
Today, the bay is calm. Today, the sun is shinin’ like a motherfucker. So I stand on the top deck and breathe deep of the salt air. The top deck—that’s the only place I can get a bit of privacy. The only place I can scribble me a poem. ’Cause the women aboard the ferry are all givin’ me the eye. Like maybe I’m gonna harpoon ’em with my whanger—give ’em a break from their husbands. But that’s how it is when you’re gonna be a star. The women all want you to satisfy ’em.
When the boat docks in Oakland, I get off quick. Before the women have a chance to tear my pants off. And then I wander around Jack London Square. I look at the shops, the bookstores, and that log cabin they shipped in from the Yukon. I look at the statue of ol’ Jack. The statue looks like it’s callin’ me—like it’s givin’ me a signal. Like maybe ol’ Pomeroy’s time has come. I read the inscription at the base—even though I know it by heart. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet . . . Fuck that shit. Ol’ Pomeroy ain’t gonna be no flash in the pan. Ol’ Pomeroy’s gonna be around for a long time.
I treat myself to lunch at the Sea Wolf Café. I order me a dozen oysters. I’m gonna need ’em when I corral those little spinners. When I’m done eatin’, I walk the ten blocks to Frank Ogawa Plaza.
I hear the tent city before I see it. There’s music, drums—the amplified voice of a speaker. The noise is so loud and warlike that I’m kinda disappointed when I finally see the place. There’s maybe a hundred-and-fifty igloo-shaped tents all crowded together on a small patch of grass. The place looks too small to be makin’ that much racket.
I walk along 14th Street then cut across the Plaza to City Hall. Michael Moore—that fucker who makes in-your-face movies—is standin’ on the City Hall steps. He’s tellin’ the crowd, “Today, you killed despair.” He’s tellin’ the crowd, “Today, you killed apathy.” But he also keeps talkin’ about how he’s eatin’ too much red meat. Guess that dude could skip a few Twinkies too—he’s gotta weigh 400 pounds. But it really don’t matter what he’s sayin’—the crowd, maybe a thousand people, is gonna keep on applaudin’ him. He could just as well be sayin’, “Today, I’m buggerin’ your mothers and daughters”—they’d still be cheerin’ him on. But that fucker don’t fool ol’ Pomeroy. I saw real revolutionaries in Nam—skinny little dudes who could march fifty miles on a cup of rice. I’d like to see ol’ Michael Moore do that.
When ol’ Michael’s done speakin’, some dry puss grabs the microphone—this shriveled old woman who’s gotta be a hundred-and-twenty years old. She starts givin’ a report about the camp: the food they got available, the medical tent, and the fliers that need distributin’. I get bored with her quick—the crowd does too—and I start wanderin’ down 14th street.
The first thing I see is a column of shitkickers—Iraqi veterans against that war Bush started—and they’re marchin’ along all ramrod straight. They’re singin’ the ol’ Sound Off Cadence—’cept they changed the words around some. I listen to ’em singin’ out and then I start singin’ along.
“Corporation profits riiise. CORPORATION PROFITS RIIISE. Common people bleed and diiie. COMMON PEOPLE BLEED AND DIIIE. Sound off. ONE, TWO. Sound off! THREE, FOUR. Break it on down. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR. ONE TWO—THREE, FOUR!”
They say Nam, another fucked-up war, fucked me up too. But that ain’t the case—even though I did a couple of tours there after flunkin’ outta high school in Michigan City, Indiana. The truth is ol’ Pomeroy fucked up Nam. Scored me a whole lot of Asian pussy and mailed home a fortune in artifacts that I took from the Buddhist temples. I mailed home a ton of gold too—pried it from the teeth of those little fuckers we shot dead. So it don’t hurt a man to be fightin’ in a king’s war—not if he stays on the ball. Not if he’s gettin’ some gravy for himself. But I sing along with the war veterans anyhow—clappin’ my hands and rollin’ my eyes. I keep repeatin’ the Sound Off Cadence. ’Cause I don’t want ’em thinkin’ I’m no undercover cop.
When the press folks starts crowdin’ the veterans—they’re lookin’ for any old story to pounce on—I start gettin’ bored. The veterans keep talkin’ about how this is the only occupation they feel comfortable with, and the reporters keep askin’ ’em a lot of half-assed questions. So I wander on over to the tent city, buy me an ounce of weed, and look over the little spinners who are givin’ me the eye. After awhile, I get kinda hungry—those oysters are wearin’ off quick—so I walk on over to the food tent. They ain’t servin’ sausages there so I have me a bowl of soup.
I hang around the tent city for four or five days—smokin’ weed, strummin’ my guitar, and checkin’ out the spinners. They look kinda grubby from all the marchin’ they been doing. Some of ’em even smell, which is kind of a turn-off. And the placards they’re carryin’ don’t help much either. No Justice, No Peace, the placards read—now what kind of bullshit is that? Ol’ Pomeroy can always do justice to a piece of ass. But if I screwed too many of ’em, there still wouldn’t be no peace. Not when they started fightin’ over me. So I keep to myself, strum my guitar, and score all the weed I can get.
On my fifth afternoon in the tent city, a reporter comes around, sees me writin’ a poem, and pokes a microphone in my face. “What’s your message here, sir?” he asks. I start to act all mysterious, like maybe I’m some kind of holy man, and I strike a couple of chords on my guitar. “To become a vessel to life,” I reply. I heard David Carradine say that once on Kung Fu—that martial arts series from the seventies. I still watch the re-runs every chance I get. ’Cause I like a dude who can spout wisdom and kick ass. Don’t know what kinda vessel Carradine was, though. Not when he was into bondage. Not when he hung himself in a hotel room just to get a hard-on. Ain’t no hard-on in the world worth riskin’ your life for—not even a Pomeroy hard-on. Unless maybe if you’re a woman on the receiving end of it.
After a minute or two, the reporter takes my picture. I ask him for a copy and he promises to send one to my post office address. That oughta look good on my album cover—ol’ Pomeroy standin’ up for the workingman. May as well act like Woody Guthrie while I’m out here. When the reporter finishes copying my address, he goes hurryin’ off. That’s ’cause Frank Ogawa Plaza is packed with people now. There’s gonna be a strike on Oakland, the loudspeaker announces. Don’t know how these fuckers can strike if they don’t have jobs, but it looks like they’re gonna have one anyhow. So I shoulder my guitar, put away my poem, and walk on over to join them.
I march along 14th Street with the crowd—all the time puffin’ out my chest, strummin’ my guitar, and singin’, “This land is our land.” And all these folks keep crowdin’ behind me, clappin’ their hands and singin’ along. Oughta have a bodyguard to keep ’em all away from me. Or maybe I’ll just round ’em up and turn ’em into a cult. There’s a lot to be said for havin’ yourself a cult. Folks will give you all their savings to work for you for nothin’. And all the while, you’ll be fuckin’ the wives. There ain’t no sweeter deal than that.
But there ain’t no challenge to brainwashin’ folks. Hell, there’s fuckers all over the street shoutin’, “Socialism now!”—like they got too much Obama on the brain. I holler along with ’em ’cause I don’t want ’em thinkin’ I’m workin’ for the pigs, but ol’ Pomeroy ain’t no socialist. A General Assistance check twice a month—that’s all ol’ Pomeroy needs. Gotta keep myself lean and hungry if I’m gonna to hustle my music. And when I’ve made me a million or two, I ain’t giving squat to no crack-smokin’ lay bouts. Gonna buy me a Lamborghini, dress up in a sharkskin suit, and score me some thousand-dollar-a-night hookers. Women with class. Women who won’t bother me when I’m done screwin’ ’em. So fuck that socialism shit.
I march with the demonstrators ’til late afternoon, strummin’ my guitar, fightin’ off women, and lettin’ the news crews put me on television. But around 3:00 p.m., a bunch of anarchists come and mess things up. There’s fifty or sixty of the fuckers—all dressed in black and wearin’ ski masks—and they think they can kick ass. So they start throwin’ chairs at this Whole Foods store and they start stompin’ on the picket fence surroundin’ it and one of ’em takes a can of spray paint and writes STRIKE on the store window. And then the news folk, who are always lookin’ for another story, forget ol’ Pomeroy and point their cameras at the anarchists.
By now, ol’ Pomeroy’s gettin’ pissed off. The rest of the marchers are gettin’ pissed off too. “Show us your faces!” they shout. “You’re better than this!” they shout. Then this solid-looking dude beside me hollers, “These assholes are stealing the show!” The dude grabs a steel pole layin’ on the ground, twirls it around Ninja-style, and chases all sixty of the anarchists away. Some revolutionaries they are—but the damage is done. The news teams are all chasin’ after the fuckers, beggin’ them for a statement. And the goddamn store has closed itself down. Just when ol’ Pomeroy was gonna get himself a key lime tart.
Things ain’t no better when we get to the Wells Fargo bank a few blocks down the street. The anarchists are rallyin’ there—breakin’ the ATM machines and writin’ FUCK THIS BANK on the windows they ain’t smashed yet. On top of that, they’re grabbin’ cameras from the news folk and rippin’ out the film—film that’s got Pomeroy on it. The fuckers keep shoutin’ how banks got bailed out while they got sold out, but that don’t make a bit of sense. Not when they’re wearin’ them expensive Air Jordan Nikes, it don’t.
Well, ol’ Pomeroy’s ready to kick himself some ass, but the rest of the marchers are puttin’ a lid on things. That’s ’cause the cops are all standin’ behind the bank window—like maybe they’re scared of them pissant anarchists. So the rest of the marchers start grabbin’ the fuckers, yellin’ in their faces, and tellin’ ’em they’re gonna make citizen arrests. But the anarchists are long gone before any of ’em can get copped. The fuckers can fly on those Air Jordans.
When it gets to be 11:00 p.m., ol’ Pomeroy’s ready to crash. Most of the marchers have gone on home, and I ain’t been signed to no recordin’ contract yet. So I walk on over to the Traveler’s Aid Building on 16th Street. Ol’ Pomeroy’s slept there many a time, but the protesters have taken the place over now—liberated it in the name of the people. They’ve even hung this big banner outside that says OCCUPY EVERYTHING.
All ol’ Pomeroy wants to occupy is a bed, but it don’t look like I’ll be gettin’ no more sleep in that building. There’s maybe three hundred protesters in front of the place—most of ’em anarchists wearin’ black—and they’ve set a fuckin’ barricade on fire. And the cops, who have finally grown themselves a set of balls, are startin’ to close in. The cops have formed into a double-line and they’re all wearin’ riot helmets, spit-shields, and bulletproof vests. And they’re poppin’ air grenades at the protesters and shootin’ ’em with rubber bullets and the protesters keep hollerin’, “Banks got bailed out—we got sold out!” The protesters haven’t even changed their material, but there’s news crews everywhere puttin’ the fuckers on film. What kind of shit is that?!
After a few minutes, the place is in fuckin’ bedlam. There’s protesters throwin’ bottles at cops. There’s protesters chokin’ on tear gas and smoke. There’s cops hookin’ fuckers up and haulin’ ’em off to the meat wagons. And over near the Traveler’s Aid Building, some anarchists are stagin’ a show of their own. There’s maybe twenty or thirty of the fuckers all standin’ in a circle, and they’ve cornered themselves a cop. The cop’s got wide hips so she’s gotta be a woman, but the anarchists are shovin’ her back and forth anyhow. They look like a wolf pack that’s captured a deer.
Ol’ Pomeroy decides that’s enough of that shit. Can’t let no woman get beat up even if she is a cop. That’s a damn waste of good pussy. So I stash my guitar under a bush, elbow my way into the circle, and hoist the bitch up on my shoulders—like maybe I’m a fireman. Well, the anarchists start lookin’ at me kinda dumbstruck so I give ’em the ol’ thumbs-up. Like I’m gonna haul this bitch off to a park and have my way with her. Pay her back good for protectin’ the banks.
Soon, the anarchists start hootin’ at me and givin’ me the ol’ thumbs-up. One of them even steps forward, this tall-ass dude wearing one of them Anonymous Guy Fawkes masks. The mask looks kinda like the devil, but it ain’t no improvement when the fucker takes it off and lets me see his face. His jaw is so weak that he looks like a mole and his eyes are bulgin’ out like Ping-Pong balls. Well, the fucker licks his lips, like he likes the taste of tear gas, and he starts talkin’ to me in this highbrow English accent. “Who might you be, noble warrior?” he says. “And why have you hoisted that dyke on your shoulders?” Dude sounds like a silver-spooner who’d like to hide his roots.
“Pomeroy,” I tell him. “Pomeroy’s the name. And I’m gonna show this bitch some liquid assets.”
Well, the anarchists start laughin’ like crazy and pattin’ me on the chest, so I grin like a possum and I carry the bitch across the street. Don’t know if she’s dyke or not, but that don’t make no never mind at all. She wouldn’t be the first dyke ol’ Pomeroy’s turned straight.
I drop the bitch onto the sidewalk and I look her over good. She’s a bit too heavy for Pomeroy’s taste so I tell her to haul ass. But when she removes her spit-shield and looks at me, it don’t look like she wants to go nowhere. Not when her nostrils are flarin’ like a racehorse, it don’t. It looks like she wants to fall to her knees, tear off my pants, and give me a knob job right there on the street. But before she can grab my belt, I hear the cops yellin’ at each other. “Get him, get him, get him!” “Who?!” “That big dude! Looks like a South Sea islander! The bastard’s got Nora!”
I look away from the bitch, hopin’ she don’t rip off my zipper, and I see a dozen cops bearin’ down on me. One of ’em swings a baton at my head, but I push him onto his ass. Ol’ Pomeroy’s faster than a rattler’s tongue. But the cops are all over me now—the chickenshits ain’t linin’ up to fight like they do on Kung Fu. A blow stings my neck and, next thing I know, my hands are pushin’ away the sidewalk. I hear Nora, or whatever the fuck her name is, screamin’, “Don’t hurt him,” like maybe she’s still hopin’ for a pokin’. Like maybe she’s wantin’ a piece of a star. ’Cause lights all around me are hoppin’ like shit and they kinda remind me of flashbulbs.
Jail ain’t shit—take it from a dude who knows his jails. But if you gotta be in jail, you can do a lot worse than the Santa Rita Lockup. The place has state-of-the-art housing units, solar paneling, and it looks like a fuckin’ community college. And the bed pods got exercise bikes where ol’ Pomeroy can crack off laps—keep in shape for all them women. But it’d be a whole lot better if I didn’t have to share it with a bunch of anarchists. Those fuckers have gathered in the TV area and they’re singin’ God Bless America at the top of their lungs. Just when ol’ Pomeroy wanted to go switch on Bonanza. Fuck that shit.
But maybe I won’t be around here long—listenin’ to these assholes who can’t even hold a tune. ’Cause before I even have my breakfast, the desk officer tells me to report to the attorneys’ module. And when I get there, my parole officer is waitin’ to see me. Her name is Jessica Jimenez, and she’s a hot-blooded Latina with smolderin’ eyes and a damn fine ass for a woman of fifty. Now she’s gotta be a dyke or I’d have screwed her by now, but that don’t make a bit of never mind. Jessica’s always been good to Pomeroy and Pomeroy takes care of his own.
When I enter the module, ol’ Jessica’s sittin’ there writin’ into her logbook. She’s swingin’ her leg as she writes—praise the Lord. ’Cause she’s wearin’ these alligator pumps that give ol’ Pomeroy a fat. But when she looks at me, I kinda lose my woody. Ol’ Jessica’s got this way of lookin’ at you that can make you feel conspicuous. Like maybe you’re a stray dog that pissed all over her carpet.
Ol’ Jessica gives me the once over then she draws herself a deep breath. She always draws a deep breath before speakin’ to me—that’s ’cause she’s a Latina. She’s a bit of a drama queen, ol’ Jessica. “Head-ward,” she says finally—that’s how she pronounces my name. “Head-ward Beasley. What have you been up to, señor?”
I sit across from her and scoot up close to the table. That’s ’cause her husky accent is makin’ me stiff again. “I’m a rising star, Miss Jimenez,” I say.
Jessica frowns and closes her logbook. Her alligator pump is danglin’ from her toe. “Head-ward,” she says to me sternly. “We have talked about this before. I am not here to star in your schoolboy daydreams.”
Well, that kinda ticks ol’ Pomeroy off. If Jessica ain’t gonna give me a whirl, she oughtn’t be statin’ opinions like that. Ol’ Jessica’s a bit like a mare that needs breakin’—she just ain’t found the right man to slip it to her yet.
But ol’ Pomeroy needs to slip out of this jail—get himself back on television. So I don’t press the point. I just give ol’ Jessica a wink. Ain’t a woman alive who can resist a wink from ol’ Pomeroy. “I apologize, Miss Jimenez,” I say and I mean it. “You give me a bit of a charge, is all.”
Ol’ Jessica shrugs, like she ain’t quite heard me, and opens her briefcase. “The charges, Head-ward, are trespass, false imprisonment, resisting peace officers.” She hands me the police report, but I don’t bother lookin’ at it. Got my eyes on her alligator pump. “Mi amór,” she says. “What were you doing with that policewoman on your back? Didn’t you think that would get you noticed?”
“No,” I reply. “I was hopin’ it would.”
Ol’ Jessica kinda shakes her head. “I know you are a fine musician, Head-ward. But that’s not a good way to get noticed.”
Now that’s a shitload if ever I heard one, but I don’t wanna be disrespectful to ol’ Jessica. So I address her like a gentleman. “There ain’t no bad way to get noticed, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “Ain’t you read Oscar Wilde?”
Ol’ Jessica groans and nibbles her pen. The bitch has teeth like pearls. “Do you think I’m illiterate, Head-ward,” she says, her voice all touchy now. “You always want me to read something.””
“Gotta work on your mind, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “Your ass don’t need no seasonin’.”
Ol’ Jessica covers her mouth with her hand, but I hear her gigglin’ anyway. The woman has the hots for me and don’t even know it. But she does know ol’ Pomeroy don’t follow rules. Not when it’s motherfuckers who make ’em up.
When I hand ol’ Jessica back her report, her hand kinda lingers on mine. “Your season will come,” she says to me gently. “I’m sure it will, Head-ward. I am sure you will have all the groupies you want. Now will you please stop staring at my foot?” She looks at me like I accidently brushed her tit then studies the police report again. “I’ve never had a client quite like you, Head-ward.”
“That’s ’cause I’m up and comin’,” I say.
Ol’ Jessica frowns so I know she’s gettin’ tired of them jokes. But she pats me on the wrist, and her palm is cooler ’n a cucumber. “You’ll be getting out this evening, Head-ward. The district attorney is dropping all charges on you. I told him you’re a very special case.”
I thank ol’ Jessica and shake her hand, and she tells me to please be more careful. I promise I will, but she’s gotta know I’m shittin’ her. ’Cause a man who don’t take chances is gonna end up broke.
As I walk back down the range, a couple of trustees start grinnin’ at me—a pair of shitkickers who oughta keep moppin’ the floor. “Whooee,” says one of ’em.
I stop walkin’ and I look at him—the same way I’d look at a turd. “Can I help you?” I ask.
Well, the dumb-ass fucker starts strokin’ his mop handle—like maybe he’s well-endowed. “Damn fine ass on your parole officer,” he says. “She wears that skirt like it’s a coat of paint. You are one lucky dude, bro.”
Well, I just stand there, my hands on my hips, and I look the asshole straight in the eye. “You wanna be wearin’ that bucket?” I ask him. “Your head oughta fit in it nice.”
The fucker pauses, like he’s seriously considerin’ the question, then he answers in a shaky-ass voice. “Well, no . . . No, I don’t want to be wearin’ no bucket.” He’s tryin’ to act real slick and all but he’s ready to piss his pants.
“You don’t wanna wear that bucket,” I say, “you’ll stop talkin’ that way about Miss Jimenez.”
I leave the fucker to crap his pants and I walk on back to my bed pod. Ol’ Jessica may be full of shit, but ain’t nobody gonna diss that bitch. I’d fight an army for her any day.
They let me out of jail around 6:00 p.m., and I catch the BART back to Oakland. I find my guitar where I left it, under a bush near the Traveler’s Aid Building, and I sling it over my shoulder and head on back to Frank Ogawa Plaza. The place is still packed with tents and protesters—I guess ’cause the police are too chickenshit to clear it out. And although it’s nearly midnight, there’s singin’ and guitar strummin’ going on everywhere. But the music ain’t worth a shit. Ain’t none of these fuckers heard of Jefferson Airplane, The Band, Bob Dylan? They could use a dose of ol’ Dylan here, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Dylan to show up. The last I saw of that fucker, he was sellin’ women’s underwear on television.
Well, before I can even settle down—before I can even find me a place to crash—a bunch of anarchists come runnin’ up to me. That tall dude, the one with the bulgin’ eyeballs, is among ’em and the fucker is shoutin’ in his highfalutin English voice. “Salute noble Samson!” he shouts. “The bloke knocked out ten cops with the jawbone of an ass—all for the people! Knocked them cold, he did! And he’s been sitting in jail—a living hell—all for the sake of the people! Salute noble Samson, my friends!” Well, the fucker starts salutin’ me like maybe I’m Che Guevara, and the rest of the assholes start givin’ me the ol’ thumbs-up again. But I just stand there and hold onto my guitar. I don’t mind gettin’ saluted and all, but not by some pissant who can’t even handle jail. Jail ain’t shit, but it ain’t hell either. Hell is a cute little blonde without a hole.
Well, the fucker introduces himself as Charlemagne of all people and he invites me to dinner. And before I can tell him to fuck off, he takes me by the elbow and guides me to his tent: a big-ass teepee that’s five times the size of any of the other tents. There’s this whoppin’ gas grill in front of it—it looks kinda like a robot—and ol’ Pomeroy can smell steaks cookin’. Now I ain’t about to eat with that fucker—not if he’s gonna call himself Charlemagne—but then I spot somethin’ that changes my mind. Attendin’ to the grill is the cutest little spinner ol’ Pomeroy’s ever seen. With her deep brown eyes and mahogany skin, with her braids falling down to her heart-shaped butt, she looks exactly like Pocahontas. And the bitch looks durable, sinewy-strong, like she’s ready to handle some Pomeroy sex. A damn fine piece of ass. So I decide to stick around for dinner, after all. Give the bitch a break.
After Pocahontas serves us the meal—all the time givin’ me the eye—I stare at my food so as not to appear too horny. Got me a prime cut of beef to work on, a Mason jar of Falcon Ridge Chardonnay, and some puffy-ass shit that’s got to be Yorkshire pudding. That Charlemagne fucker eats well for a revolutionary—too damn well—’cause I hear him burpin’ like a blowfish while he’s swallowin’ down the chardonnay. After finishing the wine, he smacks his lips loud and starts talkin’ about himself. Turns out he’s from Manchester, which is somewhere near Wales. Turns out his father owns a piece of The Beatles. Turns out he graduated from Oxford with a degree in the classics. And then, having jack shit to do, he came over here to start shakin’ things up. “Whacking the piggies” is how he puts it, like he’s been listenin’ to too much George Harrison.
Well, there just ain’t no shuttin’ that fucker up—talk about the jawbone of an ass. He keeps talkin’ about Saint Crispin’s Day—that battle speech from Henry The Fifth. He keeps talkin’ about slayin’ the Philistines. He keeps talkin’ about the siege of Troy. So Pomeroy just grins, takes off his shirt, and flexes his muscles like mighty Odysseus. ’Cause ol’ Pocahontas is wet for me now and I’m gonna score that bitch before the week is out. Give her a whirl around the ol’ totem pole. Fuck ‘em while they’re hot—that’s Pomeroy’s motto.
So I don’t say nothing—I let the fucker talk. He tells me the anarchists ain’t worth a shit—not without no champion, they ain’t. Not without a spark to light their powder. Not without some big ol’ bruiser to lead ’em in the charge. “It was blokes of your mettle,” he says, “who dumped the first box of tea into Boston Harbor, who fired the first shots at Lexington and Concord, who warned John Hancock that King George was coming.” Well, I keep on sittin’ there, noddin’ my head, and I don’t say nothin’. Screw John Hancock—the fucker wasn’t worth savin’. All he did was sign a piece of paper, develop gout, and jack himself off in Congress. John Hancock—the name kinda says it all. But I ain’t averse to no midnight ride—not if it’s ol’ Pocahontas I’m mountin’. The bitch needs a pokin’—that’s for sure. A long damn pokin’. And ol’ Pomeroy ain’t no Minuteman.
I pick up my guitar, mostly to shut the fucker up, and play him some kick-ass songs. I play Masters of War. I play The Battle Hymn of The Republic. I play Blowing in the Wind—now ain’t that a lark. The only blowin’ I want is from ol’ Pocahontas who’s ready to cream her undies. But my music is makin’ that Charlemagne asshole talk all the more. He tells me I’m a mighty musician. He tells me I play like an angel. He tells me his father will give me a recordin’ contract for sure. Makes me feel kinda bad that I’m gonna borrow his girlfriend. But what the fuck—ol’ Pomeroy don’t stand on no ceremony. Not even when his future’s on the line. ’Cause destiny is destiny and ass is ass.
I hang around tent city for another week, strummin’ my guitar, singin’ Hard Rain, and actin’ like I’m Paul Revere. But what I’m reverin’ is ol’ Pocahontas. Charlemagne tells me she used to be a dancer, but gave up the stage to join the revolution. “Seize a higher calling,” he says. But my Johnson is what she’ll be seizin’ before long—there ain’t no mistakin’ the sweat on her lip, the heavin’ of her breasts, or the way her hands tremble whenever she serves me my mornin’ coffee. It wouldn’t be merciful of me not to screw her—not when she’s starvin’ for the ol’ bologna pony. And I ain’t talkin’ about Charlemagne’s bologna—the dude oughta be on meds. ’Cause every fuckin’ day he sits outside his tent talkin’ crap to his fellow anarchists. He lectures ’em about diversity of tactics. He lectures ’em about the bank bailout. He cautions them about careful recruitment, so no undercover cops will sneak into their organization. And he says the Black Bloc Anarchists—that’s what these fuckers call themselves—won’t abandon none of their soldiers on the field of battle. Ain’t that a load of shit? These trust fund fuckers wouldn’t have lasted a day in Nam. But I don’t say nothin’. I just nod my head, drink the fucker’s wine, and wait for my shot at Pocahontas. ’Cause it’s pussy that raises ol’ Pomeroy’s flagpole. Pussy ain’t never let me down. The worst I’ve had has been terrific.
Whenever Charlemagne’s done jackin’ his jaws for the day, he asks me to play ’em some marchin’ type music. So one day I throw in a ditty I been workin’ on. I call it Ants in My Pants ’cause ol’ Pomeroy’s like a rollin’ stone. Once he’s fucked all the babes, he heads on down the highway. Well, I start off with some silly ass shit—just to get the fuckers laughin’—and then I throw in some Guthrie type lyrics. By the time I get done, every one of them anarchists are clappin’ along and singin’, “Doo, doo, doo.” And ol’ Pocahontas is drippin’ like a sponge. I don’t remember all the verses—there’s ninety-seven of ’em in all—but the ones I sang go somethin’ like this:
Well, the law says I’m a pervert
“Doo, doo, doo”
And the girls say I’m a cheat
“Doo, doo, doo”
’Cause I live on orange sherbet
And I like to beat my meat.
But I go to church on Sunday
“Doo, doo , doo”
And I find myself a nook
“Doo, doo, doo”
Where I eat my chili peppers
And I catch up on my books.
And I won’t dance.
“No, he won’t dance.”
Got ants in my pants.
No, I won’t dance.
Got ants inside my pants.
Now there’s a rumble in the city
“Doo, doo, doo”
And a rumble in the dale
“Doo, doo, doo”
’Cause the banks are sittin’ pretty
And the government’s for sale.
But I ain’t a gonna tell ’em
“Doo, doo, doo.”
That this boat ain’t got no oars
“Doo, doo, doo”
‘Cause they’ll take away my pension
And they’ll ship me off to war.
But I won’t dance.
“No, he won’t dance.”
Got ants in my pants.
No, I won’t dance.
“He ain’t gonna dance.”
Got ants inside my pants.
“Doo, doo, doo.”
When I’m done singin’, ol’ Charlemagne starts clappin’ like a seal. “Rah-hah, rah-hah, rah-hah!” he shouts, like maybe he’s at a cricket match. “Stick it to the Hittites!” he jeers. “Stick it to the one-percenters—those cunts who steal your homes and jobs then make you fight their bleedin’ wars! I WON’T DANCE!” He shouts it out loud. “Let that rumble in the cities! Let that rumble in the dale! Let it rumble from the top of the song charts! For no longer—no longer—will the Hittites be calling the tunes! Rah-hah, rah-hah!”
Well, the fucker starts struttin’ about while he’s speakin’ like maybe he’s some kind of stud. But that don’t fool ol’ Pomeroy none. Hell, a flit like that ain’t been around pussy since pussy gave him birth. No wonder Pocahontas is drippin’ all over the place. No wonder she’s ready to jump my bone. So I give Pocahontas the Pomeroy wink and I lift my forefinger to my lips. I let the bitch know that she’ll have to wait ’til it’s dark and all if she wants some real bologna. ’Cause Pomeroy’s got class—he don’t mount no woman while her boyfriend’s lookin’ on. No matter how bad she wants it.
After a week or so, Charlemagne moves me into his big ol’ teepee. He says I’m too great a poet and too great a warrior to be sleepin’ out on the grass. So he gives me a cot and a sleepin’ bag and tells me to rest up good for the revolution. He even puts me on his payroll—ten dollars a day as long as I keep on singin’ Ants in My Pants. But when he hands me a ten-dollar bill I just chuckle. Alexander Hamilton—that’s who’s on it—that founding fucker who said, “The people are a beast.” Ain’t much else you can say about ol’ Hamilton ’cept that he also skipped out on his wife. But that ain’t so bad where that dude’s concerned—at least he had a hard-on for something besides the Electoral College. So I take ol’ Charlemagne’s money and I thank him for his hospitality. And then I go score me some weed.
Three days later, I get my chance to nail Pocahontas. She’s sleepin’ in the cot next to mine so I know she’ll be mountin’ me soon. ’Cause it’s four o’clock in the fuckin’ mornin’ and ol’ Charlemagne’s out organizin’ some rally for later in the day. There ain’t nothing to hold the bitch back from me now—not unless she trips on her undies while she’s rippin’ ’em off. So I strip off my shirt and lay back in my cot. ’Cause it won’t be much longer ’til the bitch is posin’ for a hosin’.
A half hour later, I’m startin’ to doze. But I wake up quick when I hear Pocahontas hop out of her cot. It’s kinda dark in the tent so she’s turned on a flashlight. And damn if she ain’t got the Jones for my bone: her mouth is all slobbery, her braids are undone, and her hair is spillin’ all over her shoulders. And her dark brown eyes are brighter than the flashlight. “Señor Samson,” she whispers, her voice all raw and husky. “Señor Samson, you are snoring much too loud.” She’s tryin’ to act annoyed, like my snoring’s what lathered her up, but when I pat her crotch it’s me who gets annoyed. The bitch has a whanger on her that’s bigger ’n ol’ Pomeroy’s. What kind of shit is this?!
Now before I can toss the bitch out of the tent—before I can even tell her to haul ass—the flap opens up and Charlemagne pops in. It looks like he’s finished up his errand, or maybe this was all a set-up from the start. ’Cause he don’t show surprise when he sees me with his bitch—instead he starts jabberin’ like he’s been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. “Rah-hah!” he shouts. “Remember the Greeks! The chariot of Achilles! The bow of many-wiled Odysseus! Remember the toppling of Troy, the blinding of the Cyclops, and the liberation of sweet, sweet Penelope from a host of loathsome suitors!” As the fucker keeps babblin’, his spittle starts flyin’ and Pomeroy starts to get damp. “Why was that?!” he shouts, like I ain’t never read The Iliad. “Why were the Greeks the most committed of warriors?! Why were they such relentless fighters?! Why did they so successfully demolish the bastions of greed?! Because,” he hoots, “they were the first true anarchists—generous in spirit and selfless in battle! Because they were swift to spot openings and penetrate them! Because all were for one and one were for all! Rah-hah, rah-hah, honor the mighty Greeks!”
Well, there ain’t no doubt that that fucker wants a three-way so I put on my shirt, grab my guitar, and get my ass out of there quick. Ol’ Charlemagne may be for sweetness and all, but Pomeroy don’t ride on the Hershey Highway. So to keep the dude off my tail—to stop him from liberatin’ his tallywhacker—I roll that big ol’ gas grill into his teepee. Don’t matter that the grill’s still lit. Don’t matter that it’s hotter ’n a pistol. Don’t matter that it flips over on its side and flames start gobblin’ up the canvas. ’Cause if there ain’t no spinners in that tent—no real spinners—there ain’t gonna be no re-vol-u-tion.
But it looks likes I’m gonna get thrown into jail anyhow. ’Cause I can spot ‘em through the smoke that’s driftin’ from the teepee: the biggest army of cops ol’ Pomeroy’s ever seen. It looks like they’ve come here to clear out the plaza: there’s gotta be two or three hundred of ’em, and they’re approachin’ the campsites all ramrod straight. Like maybe they got dicks up their asses. And high overhead, this police helicopter is blindin’ me with its spotlight. The damn thing’s makin’ so much racket ol’ Pomeroy can’t strum his guitar.
Well, it ain’t long before the cops start tearin’ down tents and puttin’ plastic cuffs on the protesters. And the protesters ain’t puttin’ up a bit of resistance—some of ’em are even smilin’ while the cops are tyin’ ’em up. But that all changes when one of the cops spots Pomeroy. The fucker points his baton at me, like he’s pointin’ to a bomb, then a whole bunch of cops start yellin’. “There, there, there!” “A shooter?!” “Worse! It’s that Pomeroy asshole—I know him from Frisco! We locked him up two weeks ago but he got out somehow!” As the cops close ranks, their voices get even louder. “He tried to rape Nora—he oughta be in jail!” “What’s he doing now?!” “Burning up evidence!” “GET HIM, GET HIM, GET HIM!” “Careful, Careful! The dude’s a beast!”
Well, ol’ Pomeroy ain’t goin’ back to jail without no fight. Fuck those Gandhi tactics. So when the cops try to mob me, I grab my guitar by the neck and start swingin’. It ain’t exactly the jawbone of an ass, but it damn sure does the trick. I knock down half a dozen of ’em—just like they were bowling pins—and all the while I hear Charlemagne shoutin’ through the smoke. “Just like Davey Crockett!” he cries. “Just like Crockett at the Alamo—knocking down Philistines with the butt of his rifle! Keep swinging, mighty Crockett! Keep swinging! The poets will forever sing your praises!”
Ain’t sure why that fucker’s still talkin’ about swingin’, but the cops are what’s worryin’ me now. With my arms getting tired and Old Betsy in splinters, I ain’t got no way to keep fightin’ ’em off. But ol’ Pomeroy ain’t beat yet. Before they rap me alongside the head, before they cuff me up and haul me to the meat wagons, I sing ’em three verses of Ants in My Pants.
They house me on J-Range—the disciplinary unit of the Santa Rita Jail. The place ain’t much but the acoustics are real. Ain’t nothin’ like steel and stone to amplify a fucker’s voice. So I keep on singin’ Ants in My Pants—all ninety-seven verses—and before I’m halfway done every fucker on the row is bangin’ on his cell door and singin’, “Doo doo doo.” Every fucker but one—this crazy-ass dude who keeps shoutin’, “GOD’S ANGEL WILL GET YOU, SIR!” But even the psych nurse—this big-titted bitch who’s dispensin’ downers—keeps snappin’ her fingers and singin’, “Doo, doo, doo.” And she tells me I’m gonna go far. So I’m kinda surprised when the range deputies fetch me out for a visit. Deprive them J-cats of Pomeroy and they’re gonna start a riot for sure. But that ain’t no skin off of Pomeroy’s side, so I let the deputies take me through the electronic gate and deliver me to the visitors row.
Pocahontas—whose visitor’s tag reads Kimberly Foxx—is waitin’ for me behind the partition glass. Bitch can’t keep away from me, I guess. And with her fine sculptured body and full pouting lips, she looks just like a statue of Venus. She’s clutchin’ the phone real tight in her hand—like maybe it’s Pomeroy’s Willie—but I gotta remember that chick has a dick. So I don’t say nothin’—I just sit across from her, hold the receiver to my ear, and let her talk in her deep-ass voice.
She tells me ol’ Charlemagne, who ain’t in jail yet, just gave me a promotion. He’s made me a two-star general. And she says I’m on the Internet now—I guess some fucker filmed me with an iPhone while I was knockin’ down them cops. She says Charlemagne’s father, a record executive, wants me to cut an album quick. While I’m still famous. That means Ants in My Pants will soon be climbin’ the charts. And she says I’m a hero for settin’ the teepee on fire—with smoke blowin’ everywhere, them Blac Block anarchists were able to escape the cops. So in a couple of days, Charlemagne is gonna set up a new encampment. It’s gonna be east of Frank Ogawa Plaza. Over in Snow Park.
When I’m done visitin’ with Pocahontas—or whatever the fuck her name is—the deputies take me to the attorneys’ module. Got me a shitload of charges, I’ll bet. But when I see ol’ Jessica Jimenez in there, swingin’ a sandal from her foot, I kinda forget all that. Whoooeee—now there’s a real woman. The bitch got toes like roasted almonds.
When she sees me, ol’ Jessica groans like a hussy and dangles her sandal back onto her foot. And then she looks at me with them hungry eyes of hers. “Head-ward,” she says to me. “Shame on you, Head-ward. This time you’ve gone too far, mi amór.”
Well, ol’ Pomeroy don’t feel like hangin’ his head. Not when he’s gonna be famous ’n all. But I gotta keep on ol’ Jessica’s good side if I’m gonna get out of jail. Good thing the bitch has a clit-on for me. So I sit down beside her and give her a big ol’ wink. “How much is too far, Miss Jimenez?” I say.
Well, ol’ Jessica acts like she ain’t too impressed—like maybe I got somethin’ in my eye. “Head-ward,” she snaps. “Must I tell you everything? Must I tell you not to burn down tents, knock down policemen, or consort with common vandals? Now your behavior is all over the Internet. Head-ward, those cockroaches are calling you the Hero of the Alamo.”
Ol’ Jessica draws herself a deep breath and then starts scoldin’ me in Spanish. Don’t guess I’ve ever seen her this mad—even for a Latina, she’s pissed. But that ain’t nothin’ some bologna won’t fix. So I thump my chest and scowl like a motherfucker.
“Ain’t that a crock of it?” I say. Gotta get her off the rag if I’m gonna score me some make-up sex.
Ol’ Jessica just shakes her head. She opens her briefcase slowly, like maybe it’s Pandora’s box, and she pulls out this pissant newspaper called The Berkley Slingshot. On the cover is Pomeroy swingin’ Old Betsy. The caption reads Crockett’s Last Stand.
Well, ol’ Jessica’s looks like she’s ready to swoon, but she keeps on scoldin’ me anyhow. “Head-ward, you are also in Organize, Direct Action, Rolling Thunder, and about thirty other nasty little rags. I should box your ears, Head-ward.”
Well, that ain’t the box I had in mind, so I tell it to Jessica straight. “Miss Jimenez,” I say, “you gotta get me out of here. ’Cause Ants in My Pants is gonna go big.”
Ol’ Jessica don’t say nothin’ for a while. The way she keeps starin’ at that newspaper, you’d think it was a wanted poster. But when she finally speaks to me her voice is kind of soft. “What are you talking about, Head-ward?” she says. “Are you talking about that vulgar little ditty that somehow got on YouTube? That song about living on sherbet and beating one’s carne? How far do you expect that to go, mi amór?”
Well, it sounds like that song has already gone big, and that’s why ol’ Jessica’s pissed. Guess she don’t want me snatchin’ up all that money and glory—not if it means sharin’ me with a bunch of groupies. The bitch has her own snatch to satisfy. And when she speaks to me again, she makes that real clear.
“Mi amór,” she says. “You are getting out of jail tomorrow. But not with my blessing. If I had my way, you’d be locked up for ten whole years.”
Well, gettin’ out of jail sounds good enough to Pomeroy even if Jessica don’t like it. But I still gotta get the bitch back in my corner. ’Cause I’m gonna need me a business manager when the cash comes pourin’ in. Someone I can trust. And there ain’t no one I trust more ’n ol’ Jessica—even when she’s madder ’n a hornet. So I bow my head—just like Oliver Twist—and talk like I’m beggin’ her for gruel.
“Seems I’m blessed anyhow, Miss Jimenez,” I say.
Ol’ Jessica arches her eyebrows—she does that when she wants to make a point—and then she talks to me real gentle. “Head-ward,” she says like she don’t want no one to hear her. “Not everyone likes publicity. The mayor, the governor, the police chief himself have asked that your charges be dropped.”
Well, I look at ol’ Jessica real close—like maybe I’m inspectin’ her for lice. And damn if the bitch ain’t blushin’. “Mi amór,” she mutters, her voice all throaty now, “you made the Oakland Police Department look very very bad. You made them look like novicias.”
Well, that gives ol’ Pomeroy his biggest charge of all. Maybe this shit oughta go to trial. Get me some real press. And some pussy mail too—just like ol’ Scott Peterson. That fucker gets three hundred letters a week from women who wanna marry him. Damn good way to lather up the groupies. But there ain’t nothin’ I won’t do for ol’ Jessica—especially when her tight little butt is on the line. So I nod my head and I grin like a fat cat. ’Cause I don’t wanna to show no disappointment.
“Can’t be embarrassin’ no mayor,” I lie.
Ol’ Jessica shrugs, reaches into her briefcase, and hands me this official lookin’ paper. I don’t need to look at it—ol’ Pomeroy’s seen a hundred stay away orders.
“You’re to keep out of Frank Ogawa Plaza,” says Jessica. “For ten whole years. That is the deal, mi amór. And if you want my advice, you’ll stay out of Oakland too.”
“That ain’t no problem, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “Ol’ Pomeroy follows the wind.”
Ol’ Jessica arches her eyebrows again, like maybe I went and goosed her. “If you violate the stay away order,” she snaps, “I will cuff you up myself. The police chief and mayor may have their agenda, but don’t expect me to sing along with them.”
Well, that kinda raises ol’ Pomeroy’s whanger—the thought of Jessica swingin’ a pair of handcuffs. But I sign the notice with a big ol’ flourish—just like John Hancock would’ve. And I hand it back to her. “Gonna give you a break Miss Jimenez,” I say.
Jessica takes back the paper and crosses her legs real tight. She’s pretendin’ she ain’t got no drool for my tool. “Head-ward,” she says coolly, “just how do you propose to do that?”
“Gonna make you my manager.”
Ol’ Jessica rolls her eyes. “I’m already your manager,” she says.
“Gonna pay you big bucks, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “Gonna make you so rich you’ll be dancin’ La Cucaracha.”
Ol’ Jessica kinda titters—guess the bitch can’t help herself. “I suppose,” she says, “you’re going to buy me a car as well.”
“Damn straight,” I reply. “Gonna get you a Hummer.”
Ol’ Jessica sighs and closes up the briefcase. “Head-ward,” she says. “I have never had a client like you.”
It’s six o’clock in the mornin’ when they let me out of jail. The sky is eggshell white and the streets are glistenin’ everywhere. Like pussies at a Pomeroy concert. And the rain ain’t let up yet. So I pull up the hood on my jail-issued sweatshirt and I haul ass to the BART station. By the time I get off at the Oakland City Center, the rain is slackin’ up. But the sky is still paler than a motherfucker.
Now ol’ Pomeroy’s got him a bit of a chill so I blow my nose on the stay away order. The paper ain’t good for nothin’ else—since they cleared all them shitkickers out of the Plaza, it don’t make sense to go back there. Not when I’m a two-star general, it don’t. And not when I got me an album to cut. So I amble along 20th Street in the direction of Snow Park. Like that fucker who’s slouchin’ towards Bethlehem.
When I get to Snow Park, I ain’t exactly blown away. There ain’t no more than forty tents there and the place is crawlin’ with homeless dudes. And a couple of the protesters are rakin’ up grass for the city. What kind of crap is that?! I ain’t sure why they even call it Snow Park. Unless they named it after all that speckled bird shit.
Well, it ain’t too long ’til this seedy little motherfucker comes runnin’ up to me. He’s wavin’ a black sombrero and he’s wearin’ a paper badge that says Occupation Police. If this is God’s angel, ol’ Pomeroy don’t have much to worry about. The fucker looks sillier than bat shit. “Who you be?” he asks. “Who you be? Who you be?” The dude must be watchin’ for undercover cops ’cause he’s too big an asshole to be one himself.
Well, I just stare at the pissant like I’m about to kick his ass. But suddenly he looks all relieved. “Oooooooo,” he says like he just spunked his pants. “You be Crockett.” As he runs back to the camp, wavin’ his arms and shoutin’ “Woo hoo hoo,” I feel kinda sorry for the dude. When the real cops come to clear out the camp, his’ll be the first ass they throw in jail. And it won’t be long ’til the cops show up—not with all them dispersal notices litterin’ the ground.
But this time ol’ Pomeroy ain’t goin’ back to jail. Got me a shitload of fans to take care of. Got me a shitload of money to stash. So I stand behind a tree lookin’ down on the park. And I study the place real careful.
Now the sky is gettin’ darker, but that ain’t no surprise. Don’t have to be no weatherman to know what’s comin’ down—ol’ Dylan said that before he started sellin’ women’s panties. And I can see the park real plain. I can see the cops joinin’ forces on Harrison Street. I can see the guitar players sittin’ by their tents, puffin’ weed and strummin’ shit. I can see the dudes with Guy Fawkes masks circlin’ the lawn with signs that say We Are Legion. If them fuckers are legion, I don’t know why they call themselves Anonymous.
No, it won’t be long ’til the cops sweep the park. But this time they ain’t catchin’ Pomeroy. Got me too big a contract to sign. Got me too much beaver to bang. So I stay stock-still behind the tree like maybe I been poured outta bronze. But don’t be mistakin’ me for no statue.
I listen. I watch. And I wait.
James Hanna is a published writer, a three-time Pushcart nominee, and the fiction editor of The Sand Hill Review. He has recently retired from the San Francisco Probation Department where he was assigned to a domestic violence and stalking unit. James’ profile and some of his stories may be found at Will Write For Food. Another of his stories is available online at Red Savina Review. James has completed his third novel, The Siege, which depicts a riot in a penal facility. It will soon be available through Sand Hill Review Press.