Pomeroy and The Rights of Man
by James Hanna
In “Call Me Pomeroy” (Empty Sink 1), Edward Beasley, a street musician on parole for statutory rape, joins the Occupy Oakland Movement of 2011. Edward, whose street name is Pomeroy, does not join for political reasons but to get on television, land an agent, and score a million dollar recording contract. In a tussle with the police in Frank Ogawa Plaza, Edward knocks down half a dozen cops with his guitar before being arrested. This earns him the admiration of the Blac Block anarchists, particularly their leader, an English dude who calls himself Charlemagne. Having filmed Edward’s tussle with an iPhone, Charlemagne posts it on the Internet. He also makes Edward a “two-star general,” declares him a hero of the resistance, and says his father, a record executive, will give him a recording contract. Edward’s manhandling of the cops is so embarrassing to the City of Oakland that his parole officer, Jessica Jimenez, drops all charges to avoid further publicity. Nonetheless, Edward has found his way back to jail.
I told you how I joined up with the Blac Block Anarchists at Occupy Oakland, those fuckers who wear them Guy Fawkes masks and smash shit up. I told you how the cops raided Frank Ogawa Plaza and how I got put in jail after knocking some of them down with my guitar. I told you how them Blac Block Anarchists loved my music, especially Ants in My Pants, and how I ended up on the Internet after knocking down them cops. I even told you how Charlemagne, this English fucker who leads them anarchists, made me a two-star general and told me his father in Manchester was going to give me a recordin’ contract. Don’t know if any of that means shit, but what the fuck. Ol’ Pomeroy likes to tell stuff.
What I ain’t told you is why I’m back in the Santa Rita Jail. How I was arrested again after Jessica Jimenez, my parole officer, sprung me for beatin’ up them cops. She told me to keep away from the protest movements, but I ain’t back in jail for attendin’ no protest. I’m back in jail for takin’ a piss. For unzippin’ my pants in Oakland’s Snow Park while police were clearin’ out the last of the demonstrators there. This cop came up to me and said, “Oye. Aren’t you that Pomeroy asshole? The one who beat up all them cops?” I told him, “I ain’t doin’ nothin’, officer,” and I held up my hands to prove it. Well, the cop, he just shook his head and said, “Hanging ten is not doing nothing. We call that indecent exposure.” I said, “Ten on the slack is pretty damn decent,” but the cop didn’t see the joke. But I didn’t make no fuss as he cuffed me up and led me over to the meat wagons. ‘Cause they don’t keep dudes in jail too long for airin’ out their Johnsons. Not in Oakland, they don’t.
Well, they got me back on J-Range for now. With all them nut case fuckers. And the craziest of them all is sharin’ my cell. He’s this skinny little twerp that I know from Frisco—a dude who sells Spanish Fly down in the Tenderloin. I think it’s only soda water and egg dye, but the dude sells a lot of it. That’s why he calls himself Sam the Poontang Man. The fucker also knows somethin’ about books ’cause he’s always quotin’ Shakespeare and Rod McKuen. When he ain’t jackin’ off, that is.
Now there ain’t a whole lot to do on J-Range so I go back to singin’ Ants in My Pants. And them J-cats, they all remember me from last time. So it ain’t long ’til they’re chantin’ along—singin’ “Doo, doo, doo” while I’m makin’ up new verses. One of the verses goes kinda like this:
Now I’m back inside the pokey
“Doo, doo, doo”
But I ain’t a stayin’ long
“Doo, doo, doo”
Cause my groupies wanna grope me
And I got a ten-inch schlong.
But I won’t dance.
Got ants in my pants.
No, I won’t dance…
Now ol’ Sam the Poontang Man ain’t chantin’ along with ’em. He just starts applaudin’ me while I’m singin’ and all. But his applause is kinda slow—like maybe he’s tryin’ to trap himself a fly. And his eyes are so bright that he looks like Charlie Manson.
“Hey, man,” he says. “Ya got one minute left.”
“A minute left outta what?” I ask him.
“Yer fifteen minutes of fame. That’s all them Oakland cops are worth.” The dude starts grinnin’ like a ghoul, which kinda puts me off my beat. ’Cause his teeth are so crooked he could eat an apple through a picket fence.
“I’m an up-and-comer,” I tell him. “Gonna get me a contract with Apple Records.”
“You a hit man or something?” the fucker asks me. “That’s the only kind of contract yer good for, I’d say.”
Well, the dude is startin’ to piss me off so I give him the ol’ Pomeroy squint. “You sayin’ you don’t want no encore?” I ask him.
The asshole just looks at me kinda funny. Like maybe I got somethin’ in my teeth. “Don’t matter a damn what I want,” he says. “’Cause there ain’t no second acts. Not in American life anyhow.” The fucker starts laughin’ and shakin’ his head. “So ya may as well be a hit man, dude. Hell, yer built like a brick shithouse.”
By now, I’m ready to whip the jerk’s ass. But there wouldn’t be no challenge to that. So I just glare at him instead. “If there ain’t no second acts,” I say, “how come I’m back in jail?”
Well, the fucker keeps smirkin’ and shakin’ his head. “Where else ya gonna get a captive audience, man? Ya got fifteen seconds of real fame to go.”
Well, I’ve just about had it with the dude, but I decide to give him another chance. “A chiseler like you got no audience at all,” I say. ‘Less you wanna lather up my groupies for me.”
The fucker just keeps laughin’, like maybe he’s touched in the head.
“It’s you who’s in a lather, man. ‘Cause ya know I ain’t mouthing no smack.”
Before I can lay the fucker out—give him a smack in the mouth—I hear the cell lock jump. A coupla range deputies have come to get me. They’re sayin’ I got a visitor.
When I get to the visiting room, I see Pocahontas waitin’ for me. I told you about Pocahontas—she’s this tranny chick that’s Charlemagne’s squeeze. But that don’t mean she ain’t silly for my Willie—my music drives all bitches wild. If it weren’t for the partition glass, she’d be rippin’ the jail-issued pants right off me.
Well, I hold the intercom phone to my ear and I don’t say nothin’. Don’t want the sound of my baritone voice to get her any randier than she already is. So I just sit there and let her do the talkin’.
She tells me Charlemagne and his anarchists are at Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento. Says they’re camped out with the demonstrators there: the students protestin’ tuition hikes, the taxpayers protestin’ the bank bailouts, and the veterans protestin’ the war in Iraq—Bush’s colonial war, they call it. She says Charlemagne wants me in Sacramento quick. In case the cops start bustin’ heads. She says if I beat up a few more cops, Charlemagne will make me a three-star general.
Well, I just sit there and I don’t say nothing. Hell, Pomeroy fought in a colonial war himself. Served two tours in Nam for that Johnson fucker and had me a good ol’ time. Pried a fortune in gold from the teeth of dead Cong and dipped my Johnson in prime Asian snatch. So it don’t hurt a man to be no mercenary. Not if he’s gettin’ some gravy for himself.
But I don’t do nothin’ but sit there and grin. ’Cause ol’ Pocahontas ain’t done talkin’ yet. She says Ants in My Pants is makin’ a splash over in England. She says Charlemagne’s father, this big shot at Apple, has already made it into a CD. And it’ll score higher ratings than Grateful Dead albums.
When she’s finally done talkin’, I give Pocahontas a wink. Gonna have me a royalty check to collect. Gonna have me some grateful groupies to score. So I tell her I’m gonna be out of jail soon. And I’ll see her in Sacramento.
When I’m done visitin’ Pocahontas, the deputies take me to an attorney room—a room what don’t have partition glass. My parole officer is waitin’ to see me there—good ol’ Jessica Jimenez. I told you about Jessica Jimenez—she’s this hot-blooded bitch who oughta be a stripper. ’Cause her tits are bigger ’an grapefruits and her ass is as tight as a drum. But Jessica’s kinda touchy and all—that’s ’cause she’s a Latina. And today, she looks like she’s got PMS. So I don’t say nothin’—I just take a seat and stare at her alligator pumps.
“Head-ward,” she says to me finally—the bitch likes to use my real name, Edward. “Head-ward Beasley. I should pistol whip you, señor. Haven’t you had enough attention as it is?”
“The attention’s just gettin’ started,” I say. “Them groupies gonna wear out my weapon.”
“Is that why you took a rest stop, señor?”
Well, I cover my mouth so she don’t see me chucklin’. And I look her straight in the eye. “Got me a pistol myself, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “It comes with a ten-inch barrel.”
Ol’ Jessica kinda blushes and opens up her field book. Her fingers are thinner ’an asparagus spears. “Just what do you think you are?” she mutters. “A caballo?!”
Well, there ain’t no doubt that the bitch wants my Johnson. But ol’ Pomeroy needs her for bigger things ’an that. “I’m a horse you oughta bet on,” I say. “’Cause I want you to be my manager.”
Ol’ Jessica sighs and puts down her field book. Her face looks kinda weary and her breasts are heavin’ hard. “Head-ward,” she snaps. “How many times do I have to repeat this? I’m already your manager.”
“Want you to manage my groupies,” I say. “Want you to count up my cash. I’ll make you so rich you’ll be dancin’ La Bamba.”
Ol’ Jessica smiles, but her smile is kinda thin. Like maybe I insulted her. “Head-ward,” she sighs. “I know you’re a wonderful musician. But is somebody conning you, señor? Somebody who wants to take advantage of your brawn?”
Ol’ Jessica covers my wrist with her hand. Her palm is cooler ’an an apple, but her lips are glistenin’ and hot.
“That’s why I want you for my manager, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “You keep things on the up-and-up.”
Now Jessica’s startin’ to frown so I know she’s gettin’ pissed at my jokes. And you don’t want to be pissin’ off a Latina. So I cover my crotch so she don’t see my woody and give her a Pomeroy grin. “Gonna give you a stake in my future, Miss Jimenez. Gonna make you a one-percenter.”
Well, ol’ Jessica, she just keeps glarin’—like maybe I’m talkin’ her down. “Mr. Beasley,” she snaps. “You need to keep your steak in your pants.”
“Gonna make you rich, Miss Jimenez,” I say. “That’s what I need to do.”
“And why is that, señor?! So I can fiesta and siesta all day?! And drink margaritas?!” Damn if the bitch ain’t touchy. But instead of slappin’ my face, like it looks she’s ’bout to do, she places her hands over mine. You never know how a bitch is gonna act. Not when she’s starvin’ for your Marvin, you don’t.
Jessica clutches my hands with her long cool fingers—clutches ‘em real tight. And she stares me straight in the eye. “What you need to do, mi amór,” she says, “is to stay away from those demonstrators. They’re only using you, Head-ward. What you need is to get out of Oakland. The policia have your number.”
The bitch opens her field book and pulls something out. It’s a ferryboat ticket back to San Francisco—a one-way ticket. Her eyes glow like candles as she puts it in my hand.
“We’re dropping this charge on you, Head-ward,” she says. “Your pistola is not a weapon. But if I see you in Oakland again, I will lock you up myself. You are much too big for your britches, señor.”
They let me out of jail at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. So I head on down to the Oakland Ferry Dock with a couple of anarchists they also let out. And Sam the Poontang Man. For all his jive-ass talkin’, the fucker was only serving thirty days on a trespass charge. The dude got himself busted for sleepin’ on the steps of Oakland City Hall.
Well, it turns out Sam is an Iraqi vet as well as a bit of a philosopher. It also turns out also that he’s scared of cats. Every time one ’em crosses our path, the dude flinches like a motherfucker.
Finally, I say to him, “What the fuck, dude. For someone in your line of business, you don’t have much tolerance for pussies.”
Well, ol’ Sam shakes his head like he’s kinda ashamed. “In Bagdad,” he says, “cats eat bodies. Don’t matter if yer an American or an Arab, man. If you buy the farm in Bagdad, and yer buddies don’t scoop you up quick, the cats are gonna eat yer body.”
“So you kept some fat cats happy,” I joke. “Ain’t that the reason you went there?”
The dude pinches his nose and blows loose a bugger. “Them fat cats will never be happy,” he says. “They’re stupid-ass dudes trying to snatch up the world—make it their goddamn colony. Fuckers so greedy they see enemies where there ain’t none. It’s just like it was in Nam there, dude.”
“Had me a good time in Nam,” I say. “Scored me a whole lot of Asian snatch. Shot me a whole lot of gooks.”
Ol’ Sam shakes his head then spits on the sidewalk. “I was right about you, dude. You are a hit man.”
“Gonna have me a hit on the charts,” I say. “Gonna get me a contract with Apple.”
‘Ol Sam shakes his head and starts laughin’ again. “Whoever told you that,” he says, “wants you to be their goon.”
Well, I’ve just about decided to whip the dude’s ass. But he hands me a roach he’s got hid in his pants—a roach he musta snuck outta jail. And then he starts singin’ this Dylan song. “They took a clean-cut kiiid. And they made a killer outta him is what they diiid.”
For a punk ass hustler, the fucker don’t sing bad.
Now all the way to the ferry dock, ol’ Sam keeps singin’ that song. “They said what’s up is down. They said what isn’t is. They put ideas in his head that he thought were his. They took a clean-cut kiiid…” And them anarchist dudes keep noddin’ and clappin’ like maybe he wrote that ditty himself. “Right on, dude,” they keep sayin’. “Tell it like it is,” they keep sayin’. Well, ol’ Pomeroy, he just keeps his mouth shut. If the warmongers made a prick outta Sam, they didn’t have far to go.
As we’re walkin’ through Jack London Square, ol’ Sam stops his singin’. And he starts lookin’ around real nervous like. Them anarchists dudes start lookin’ ‘round too. Turns out Sam and them anarchists have all got stay-away orders from Oakland. And they all got ferryboat tickets to Frisco. They been given twelve hours to get outta Oakland or end up back in the slammer.
Well, there ain’t no cops around so Sam lights himself up another roach. And then he looks at the statue of ol’ Jack London. “That dude was an oyster pirate,” he says. “That dude was a nature faker. And he’s got himself a statue.”
“You’re a bit of a faker yourself,” I say. “Sellin’ that fizzle water to the tourists.”
Ol’ Sam, he just spits and keeps suckin’ his roach. “You read Vonnegut, man? You read Cat’s Cradle?” The fucker don’t know that ol’ Pomeroy reads. That I worked in the library at Quentin. That I’ve read Paradise Lost a dozen times. And Joyce’s Ulysses a dozen times. So fuck Kurt Vonnegut. That’s like eatin’ a box of Crackerjack when you want yourself a steak.
Ol’ Sam makes a gesture with his hands. “Now ya see it. Now ya don’t. Cat’s Cradle, man. That’s why I got my own hustle. That’s why I stopped fightin’ with the Veterans’ Administration. Veterans’ benefits,” the dude tosses his roach and spits. “Now ya see ‘em. Now ya don’t.”
Well, ol’ Sam starts tellin’ me how he ended up in the Army. About how he joined up to get out of jail. About how he killed himself a dozen towel heads so’s to beat a punk-ass drug charge. “Man,” he says. “They gave me the American Freedom Medal.”
Well, now I’m suspectin’ that dude’s full of shit. ’Cause they don’t give no medals to pissants like him. Not big-ass medals, anyhow. Those go to valiant fuckers—the dudes who throw themselves on grenades. And to them hawk politicians who vote for them wars—like Hillary Clinton did. Hell, I wouldn’t kick ol’ Hillary outta bed even if she does have thick ankles. Pomeroy likes ’em feisty.
By the time we get to the ferry dock, that smart-ass fucker is singin’ again. “Well, it’s one, two, three, what are we fightin’ faw. Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn…”
“Dude,” I tell him, “you are full of jive. ’Cause Country Joe was before your time.”
Well, the fucker just laughs and hocks himself a loogie. “For a man who’s run outta time,” he says. “You’re haulin’ some jive yerself. Ya really think you’re gonna be a pop star, man?”
“’Ol Pomeroy’s in for the long haul,” I tell him. “I ain’t gonna be no flash in the pan.”
Well, ol’ Sam, he just keeps on laughin’. “’Cept for hangin’ out yer Willie,” he says. “Ya got no flash at all. Not ’less ya expand something else. Yer fifteen minutes of fame, maybe.” The dude pulls a bottle of fizzle water from his pants—that shit he’s been sellin’ to the tourists. He shakes the bottle hard so I can see the water bubblin’. “If yer gonna kick authority in the teeth,” he says. “Ya may as well use both feet.”
Well, by now I’m ’bout ready to brush the fucker off. Tell him to haul ass. ’Cause the only time he opens his mouth is to exchange feet. “You think I ain’t read Marx?” I ask him.
The fucker starts whoopin’ and slappin’ his thigh. “Man,” he says. “Keith Richards said that.”
The dude shakes the fizzle water in my face—“Now ya see it,” he says. He opens up the bottle and empties it into the channel. “And now ya don’t.”
As we follow the commuters onto the ferryboat, ol’ Sam starts hatchin’ up a plan. “If ya wanna stay famous,” he says, “ya gotta occupy something yerself. Someplace public—so you can say you liberated it in the name of the people.”
Well, now it’s for sure that the dude’s full of shit. ’Cause the women aboard the ferry are givin’ me the eye. Like they want me to occupy their pussies. So I tell the dumb ass, “I gone public already. Got my song on the Internet. Got me a contract with Apple.”
Ol’ Sam, he just snorts and starts waggin’ his head. “Cut the crap, man. Ya wanna be another Woody Guthrie? Or some clown who liberated his woody?”
Well, the fucker starts dancin’ right there on the poop deck and then he starts singin’ this John Lennon song. “A working class hero is something to beeee…” Now women are startin’ to eye him too so the fucker keeps right on singin’. Even after I drag his ass to the sundeck, he keeps on singin’ that John Lennon song. “There’s room at the top, they’re telling me stiiiiillll. But first ya must learn to smile as you kiiilll…” And them anarchist fuckers are dancin’ along behind him, snappin’ their fingers and sayin’, “Right on!”
Well, I’ve just about decided to smash the dude’s nose. Don’t mind him ravin’ and hootin’ an’ all, but I can’t have him jivin’ with my groupies. ’Cause that stupid-ass fucker sings pretty damn good.
“Dude,” I say finally. “Quit floodin’ them pussies with your singin’. That’s Pomeroy ass you’re tryin’ to steal.”
Well ol’ Sam, he starts hootin’ all over again. “Open yer eyes, man. Lend me yer ears. It ain’t just pussy ya grab at the flood.”
“Ya think I ain’t read Shakespeare?” I ask him.
“I don’t think ya read him too good,” he replies. “’Cause all ya been doin’ is shakin’ yer spear.” The dude hocks a loogie over the gunwale and watches it hit the water. “On such a full sea we are now afloat.”
“Ain’t nothin’ to liberate on this ferry,” I tell him. “Ain’t nothing to occupy but pussy.”
Well, ol’ Sam, he just looks at me kinda profound. Like I’m that Grasshopper dude from Kung Fu. “Not if we snatch us the whole fuckin’ boat. Hell, man, we could sail it to Sacramento.”
“That ain’t my kind of snatch,” I reply.
“Ya sayin’ this boat ain’t a public place? Ya sayin’ it ain’t a taxpayer rip-off?—what with its fucked up schedule and all. Ya sayin’ ya don’t wanna be on the news again?”
“I’m sayin’ I can’t score no ass in jail. ’Less I wanna grab me a fairy in there.”
Well, ol’ Sam, he just hocks himself another loogie. “What are they going to do to us, man? I’m a war hero who can’t get no disability pension. And yer a man of the people, dude. At least that’s what ya were yesterday.” Ol’ Sam shakes his head and starts laughin’ again. “It ain’t just pussy ya grab at the flood. Read yer Shakespeare again, man.”
Ol’ Sam, he starts struttin’ around on the sundeck. And he goes back to singin’ that punk-ass song. “Yes, a working class hero is something to beeee. Now ya wanna be a hero, you just follow meeee.”
Damn, if ain’t easy to snatch yourself a ferryboat. All I hadda do was barge into the bridge when there weren’t no pilots in there. All I hadda do was announce a bomb threat over the PA system—and watch them commuters all chargin’ ashore. All I hadda do was fire up the engine while them anarchists cast off the mooring lines. And before I know it, the four of us—me, Sam, and them anarchist fuckers—are cruisin’ down the San Leandro Channel without no care in the world. ’Cept maybe that police helicopter dartin’ behind us like a dragonfly.
By the time we putter out into the bay, the seagulls are shriekin’ like banshees. ‘Cause the harbor patrol is on our ass too. A fleet of punky-ass speedboats skippin’ along in our wake. “CUT YOUR ENGINE!” a bullhorn keeps blarin’—but ol’ Pomeroy don’t cut nothin’. Instead, I give ol’ Sam the wheel and make my way back to the stern. And there I take me a big ol’ piss. Shoot me a stream so golden and tall it looks just like a McDonald’s arch. Hell, a good strong piss is better ’an sex. Lasts longer too.
Well, by now we’re crusin’ past Treasure Island—that man-made mound fulla subsidized housing. We’re headin’ for the state capitol, says Sam. Gonna join them protesters in Sacramento, he says. And he says we gotta re-name the boat ’cause it now belongs to the people. We can’t be callin’ it no Captain Jack—the name that’s stenciled on the bow. So I grab a can of spray paint from one of the anarchists—the paint them dudes use to write Fuck This Bank. And after I dangle myself ’longside the bow, I scrawl a new name on the boat. I name it The Rights of Man—’cause ol’ Pomeroy knows his seafarin’ books. Hell, I look just like Queequeg from Moby Dick. I wanted to name it The Pequod, but I couldn’t remember how to spell that.
Well, after I get myself back on the sundeck, ol’ Sam starts laughin’ like a motherfucker. “Maaan,” says the dude like I never read Melville. “That’s the name of the merchant ship they stole Billy Budd offa. Them British warmongers who wanted to make him into a killer. And when he knocked off a dude who really needed killing, they hung him from the mainyard.”
Well, ol’ Pomeroy, he just starts shakin’ his head. Hell, that Billy Budd fucker deserved to be hung. If yer gonna frag yerself a gung-ho officer—the kind that’ll get your ass killed—ya can’t be doin’ it in front of your captain. Wait ’til the jivester’s asleep then toss a pineapple into his quarters. That’s how we handled ’em in Nam.
A half hour later, we’re passin’ San Quentin and enterin’ the San Pablo Bay. And them anarchist farts are struttin’ about on the sundeck. The dudes are wearin’ their Guy Fawkes masks and shootin’ the bird at the harbor patrol boats. And ol’ Sam gets ahold of the spray paint can and writes Dude, Where’s My Country? on the sundeck. That’s so the news helicopter hoverin’ above us can see that we got us a message. Bet he stole that phrase from Michael Moore, that prick who makes fuck you movies. If ol’ Sam ain’t more careful ’an that, he’s gonna get sued for plagiarism.
Well, ol’ Sam, he radios the harbor patrol while I keep on steerin’ the boat. He tells ’em we’re on a mission. He tells ’em we took back a piece of the country. Liberated it in the name of the people. Ain’t sure that includes them commuter-ass fuckers, but what the hell. ’Cause the sun is shinin’, the bay is glitterin’, and whitecaps are boilin’ like twats. Ol’ Pomeroy’s havin’ a good ol’ time.
An hour later, while I’m steerin’ the tub past Point Pinole, ol’ Sam turns the radio on full blast. And damn if we ain’t on the national news. This broadcaster bitch, who sounds like Barbara Walters, is sayin a buncha vandals have stole the San Francisco Bay Ferry. She’s sayin’ they wired it up with explosives and that seafarin’ craft had better beware. Guess the harbor patrol musta spoke to that bitch. Hell, they’re cruisin’ a half mile behind us now ’cause they don’t wanna get blown up.
But the bitch don’t mention ol’ Pomeroy at all, and that kinda pisses me off. Ain’t no sense in being a man of the people if that don’t sell you no albums. But if a fucker don’t ring his own bell, ain’t nobody else gonna do it. So I give ol’ Sam the wheel and I grab me the can of spray paint. And I hang from the bridge with only one hand—just like Quasimodo, the hunchback of Norte Dame, mighta done. And I write ANTS IN MY PANTS right across the bulwark. So folks’ll know Pomeroy’s aboard.
Well, ol’ Sam ain’t a fucker to be outdone. ’Cause after I slide on down from the bulwark, I notice him out on the sundeck. He’s got the PA mic on an extension cord and he’s singin’ Wake Up Little Susie in this big ass voice. ’Cept that he’s changed the words around some. But his voice is so loud they gotta be hearin’ him halfway to Sacramento.
Well, ya’ll fell sound asleep.
Wake up little Susie and weep.
The game is over, it’s four o’clock.
And yer in trouble deep.
Wake up, little Suuuusie.
And them anarchist fuckers are dancin’ behind him and singin’ out, “Ooo La La.”
I ain’t told you yet how we came to the mouth of the Sacramento River. How we bobbed about first in the Carquinez Strait ’cause the tide looked kinda low. How we sunk anchor ’til the following morning and waited for a full sea. One we could take at the flood. And how them police helicopters kept buggin’ us all night long. With their goddamn flutterin’ overhead, ol’ Pomeroy couldn’t sleep for shit.
Well, ol’ Sam turns the radio on full blast when we’re finally cruisin’ the Strait. And that broadcaster bitch is still runnin’ us down. She’s tellin’ the whole damn country how we’re nothin’ but a pack of thieves. How we’re pretendin’ to be like Robin Hood so’s we could steal ourselves a boat. The way she keeps runnin’ her mouth and all, she’s gotta be achin’ for a snakin’.
Well, soon we’re passin’ Semple Point and headin’ on under the Carquinez Bridge. And damn if the bridge ain’t fulla people. They’re holdin’ up signs that say Where’s Our Country? And they’re cheerin’ us like motherfuckers. So I cut the engine and ease the boat dockside so’s we can let a few of ’em aboard. And before I know it, The Rights of Man is packed with patriots. There’s Tea Party fuckers and NRA dudes an’ they’re bringin’ us a keg of beer. There’s horny bitches with God Hates Gays buttons who’re given’ ol’ Pomeroy the eye. There’s Christian Coalitioners with anti-abortion pins and fuckers with buttons that say Close Our Borders. There’s even a raincoat wearin’ dude whose pockets are fulla candy—case we all get hungry. By the time we’re headin’ back on up the Strait, we got us a goddamn freedom boat.
An hour later, I swing the boat portside and steer it up the Sacramento River. And half them fuckers are blind drunk. That’s when ol’ Sam and me decide to have us a concert. So we rig up the PA system on the sundeck while them anarchist dudes steer the boat. And then I start singin’ out Ants in My Pants. And before I know it, the whole damn boat’s singin’ “Doo, doo, doo.”
Well, they sold us up the river
“Doo, doo, doo.”
But we grabbed ourselves the boat.
“Doo, doo, doo.”
So no matter what they figger
We’re a gonna stay afloat.
Yes we’re havin’ us a party
“Doo, doo, doo.”
That we never will forget.
“Doo, doo, doo.”
Everybody’s hale and hearty.
And the twats are soppin’ wet.
Now ol’ Sam, he starts jitterbuggin’ while I‘m beltin’ out the chorus. And then he starts makin’ these boogy woogy sounds. And before I know it, everyone aboard is cheerin’ like it’s the Fourth of July.
Well, I won’t dance.
“Boogaldy boo hoo hoo”
Got ants in my pants.
“Scobaldy scoo woo hoo”
No, I won’t dance.
“Hubba, hubba, bubba hey”.
Got ants inside my pants.
“Hoy, hoy, hoy, hoy.”
Now next thing I know, ol’ Sam snatches the mic right outta my hand and starts singin’ his own damn verses. And the crowd keeps on singin’ out, “Doo, doo, doo.” Drunk as them fuckers are, they probably don’t even know what they’re listenin’ to. But that don’t stop ’em from hollerin’ along while Sam keeps singin’ his shit.
Well, they sent me to the boonies
“Doo, doo, doo”
Where I hadda kill and toil
“Doo, doo, doo”
’Cause our leaders all are loony
And they wanna steal the oil.
But we’re gonna kill their fables
“Doo, doo, doo”
Gonna put ‘em in the ground
“Doo, doo, doo”
Fuck the women if yer able
’Cause we’re Sacramento bound.
And that’s what we were doin’—latherin’ the twats up and singin’ like shit—when those anarchists ran us aground.
I ain’t told you yet how the sound system died after the hull made a noise like an elephant screechin’. How we sat on a sandbar twenty miles south of Sacramento and couldn’t hook nothing back up. I ain’t told you how I gunned the engine like a motherfucker ’cause the boat wouldn’t move for shit. And how them cock-hungry bitches aboard all wanted to keep on partying. So I hadda sing them broads Ants in Your Pants without no fuckin’ mic.
Now half an hour later, this fleet of flatboats pulls alongside us—boats that are jack full of cops. There’s maybe fifty or sixty of the fuckers—all of ’em soaked to the skin. And before ol’ Pomeroy can sing the next chorus, them drippin’-ass fuckers are swarmin’ onto the deck. They musta figured we didn’t have no bomb—not with all them sunshine patriots aboard.
Well, it ain’t no big surprise when ol’ Jessica climbs aboard too. Guess she musta spotted me on the news. Guess she couldn’t keep away from no Pomeroy concert. ’Cause I ain’t never seen her more pumped for my stump: her tight ass dress is clingin’ wet and her thin pointy heels look sharper ’an weapons. And the bitch looks ready to rip them heels off and start swingin’ ’em at the groupies.
Well, the cops, they start grabbin’ folks left an’ right an’ frog marchin’ ’em to the flatboats. But the trouble don’t come to a head ’til Jessica snatches my wrist. ’Til she slaps a handcuff over it and starts pleadin’ to me in Spanish. “Ay, mi caballo,” she cries. “Ay, mi amór. Yo te quiero, yo te quiero, yo te quiero.” At least, that’s what I think she says.
Well, them Tea Party dudes, they start growlin’ at ol’ Jessica. ’Cause they don’t want no Mexicans tellin’ folks what to do. And when one of ’em calls Jessica a wetback whore, that’s when things come to a boil. It ain’t long after that ’til all hell breaks loose—’til folks start shovin’ back at the cops and the cops start crackin’ skulls. And that raincoat wearin’ fucker, he’s singin’ “Yank me doodle” and peltin’ everyone with candy. Damn, if it don’t get crazy as hell.
Now the deck is so packed with elbows and assholes there ain’t much room to move. But the cops grab Sam the Poontang Man anyhow. And then they start passin’ him overhead, like the crowd does with Garth Brooks at one of his concerts. And ol’ Sam he keeps on singin’ as the cops keep passin’ him along. He’s singin’ Wake Up Little Susie again. And he’s singin’ it like a motherfucker.
Well, yer movie wasn’t so hot.
It didn’t have too good a plot.
Ya fell asleep. Yer goose is cooked.
Yer reputation is shot.
Wake up little Suuusie.
And long after they pass ol’ Sam over the gunwale—long after they rev up a flatboat to hustle his butt ashore—I hear his big ass voice.
I ain’t told ya yet how I pulled me a Quasimodo. How I saved ol’ Jessica from them Tea Party fuckers after she kicked one of ’em in the groin. ’Cause when that drunk ass fucker started rubbin’ his balls, demandin’ she make an apology, the rest of them dudes start shovin’ her back and forth. An’ accusin’ her of swipin’ an American job.
Well, by now ol’ Pomeroy’s tired of them fuckers. Hell, that’s prime ass pussy they’re messin’ with. So I grip me the handcuff chain, the one still danglin’ from my wrist, and start swingin’ the loose handcuff at their heads. And after I brain two or three of ’em, I grab ol’ Jessica and toss her over my shoulder. Just like ol’ Quasi done with Esmeralda—that Gypsy spinner the church was gonna hang.
Well, ol’ Jessica, she starts cussin’ like a Spanard and tellin’ me to put her down. She keeps callin’ me puerco an’ imbécil and a lotta other Spanish names. And damn if that don’t hurt ol’ Pomeroy’s feelings. ’Cause Latinas ain’t shy about cussin’ you out—especially when they’re achin’ for your bacon. So ol’ Pomeroy hops on over the gunwale with Jessica still on his back. And then I drop her in waist deep water. Hell, the bitch could use a drenchin’ just to cool her crotch.
Well, ain’t nobody payin’ attention to us as I hustle ol’ Jessica ashore. ’Cause The Rights of Man is startin’ to sway from all them fuckers on it. And it looks like the prow’s got a big ol’ crack and will soon be suckin’ in water. But ol’ Jessica don’t give a shit about the boat—she just keeps on mutterin’ in Spanish as I follow her ass ashore. Then she plops herself down on a sandbank and starts to rub her feet.
“Head-ward,” she murmurs, her voice all feathery now. “Head-ward, I’ve lost my shoes.”
She’s wigglin’ her toes in the sand while she’s talkin’, and the soles of her feet are all cut up. But I crack me a woody anyhow and I give her a big ol’ wink.
“Ya gotta be my manager now,” I tell her.
Ol’ Jessica, she just starts shakin’ her head like maybe I’m talkin’ smack. “Mr. Beasley,” she says, her voice now cooler ’an ice. “Are you completely loco, señor? Why on earth do I have to be your manager?”
“That’s why I saved your butt,” I say. “That’s why I saved ya like ol’ Quasimodo.”
Ol’ Jessica don’t say nothin’ for awhile. She just keeps starin’ out on the river—starin’ at The Rights of Man. And damn if that tub don’t look ready to sink. “Mr. Beasley,” she says to me finally. “Must everything be a fantasy to you?”
“A fantasy saved your ass,” I say. “And you got an ass worth savin’.”
Well, ol’ Jessica buries her face in her hands. Like maybe she don’t wanna see me no more. But when she lowers her hands, her eyes are bright with lust.
“Get out of here, Head-ward,” she hisses. “Get out of here now—vaya. I’ve had enough of your caca for one day.”
Well, I guess the bitch don’t trust herself, but there ain’t time to screw her anyhow. ’Cause when the cops finish bustin’ them patriot assholes, they’re gonna come after ol’ Pomeroy. So I pick me the handcuff lock with this nail that’s lyin’ in the sand. And I hand the cuffs back to ol’ Jessica. Don’t want the bitch to get in no trouble for losin’ state-issued equipment.
Well, it ain’t too far to Route 84, which is a straight shot to Sacramento. So ol’ Pomeroy, he takes off at a trot. ’Cause I got me more verses to sing. I got me more beaver to bang. An’ I got me a check to collect.
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’ novelette, Call Me Pomeroy, was the Editor’s Choice in the inaugural issue of Empty Sink Publishing. Another of James’ stories, A Second, Less Capable Head, was published in Empty Sink 4. James has recently completed The Siege, a novel about a hostage standoff in a penal facility. Empty Sink Publishing Executive Editor E. Branden Hart and Red Savina Review Editor John M. Gist profiled The Siege in author interviews. The Siege has just been released on Kindle and will be available in paperback in June.