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Not a lot of news but a continuing story

June 14, 2012

 

Here is the continuation of the story about my marijuana wholesaler friend.  There is one more section to go.  I guess I could have made the first installment a little shorter and this one a little longer?

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Also a new development regarding SMR (Small Mountain Rambles), I am negotiating with Joe Acheves (owner of Accent Graphics, a print shop on Alberto Way, here in Los Gatos) to actually print the book here in Los Gatos, at a slightly smaller size but with a great improvement of quality over the web based publishers I am now using.  More on this is a few days.

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Continuation of:

A Horse, A Boat and Our Own Dr. Manette

 

 

Much more than the other wait people at Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant, Sam pulled me in under his wing. I’d go on road trips with him or him and his girl friend, a gorgeous, intelligent blonde who knew when to have fun and when to be serious. Money was never a concern, he always had plenty of that. We’d go to concerts together and to movies. A few times we shared week long camping excursions and a few nights at the top of the Mark in San Francisco. Sam turned me to some things I’d have never experienced except by his favor. Sam may have been a crook, but he was a good crook and he was, as well, good.

One night Sam took his girl friend and me to the Alta Mira Hotel in Sausolito for dinner. The Alta Mira sets on the top of cliff right in the middle of the very small and very upper class town of Sausolito immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was famous for its splendid view of the San Francisco Bay, it’s five star food and its first rate staff. For me, it was priced way beyond anything I could ever afford, but Samuel didn’t even blink about the expense and we had a magnificent meal. We drove down to Sausolito’s main drag, found a place to park and walked several blocks to the “No Name Bar.” As we walked in, Tommy Smothers (of the Smothers Brothers) waved at Sam and as we sidled up the narrow space between the crowded bar and the one over-filled string of cocktail tables on the opposite wall, Sam was nodding and waving to this celebrity here, that columnist over there. He seemed to know everyone. The girl friend and I trailed behind, she sometimes whispering familiar, famous names in my ear as we made our way. Holy Toledo, what was this place, with such a concentration of celebrities all at one place, all at one time?

We secured a small table in the tiny patio out the back door of the building, it was very crowded as well. The vibes here were amazingly good, many smiles, much laughter, the beautiful people at their very best. I could get used to this, I thought to myself. I spent the night gazing the bar, the stained and etched glass, the classy, beautiful women, young and old, and eccentric dudes showing off, so casually and confident. What a place!

We were among the last tables to leave. Sam knew all the bartenders by their first names and he tipped them each as we walked out. As we made our way back to the car down Bridgeway (the main drag) I was chattering like a banshee, all hyped up on Irish Coffees and this new elixir derived from “close celebrity proximity.” Sam and the girl friend were telling me occasional anecdotes regarding the different folks we encountered earlier in the evening. But, all of a sudden, everything changed. They both fell silent and girl friend laced her arm around mine and she steered me off the sidewalk and across the street. We were walking towards the elephant statues at the small park in front of the yacht harbor. Sam quickened his step and continued up Bridgeway under the occasional street lights coloring the thick fog.

We turned the corner of the the last building we passed. The girl friend stopped abruptly and hunched down a little and paused. We both stood stock still then she whispered, “Damn!”

“What?”

“Sam spotted a narc that’s been tracking him.”

I remained silent. All this was way out of my league and my heart was pounding. When Sam was around, a little piece of this dread was always present. Now it filled our heads. I stayed quiet and still, that much I did know to do. The girl friend was weighing the situation and I stayed quiet. I waited, I didn’t move. She fiddles with her little black purse and hands me a hundred dollar bill.

“I’m going to get the car. Wait here. If I’m not back in ten or fifteen minutes go back to the No Name and call a cab. Have it take you to an all night restaurant in the City (San Francisco). (Remember, no cell phones for another 20 years). If you can’t get anyone from Santa Cruz to pick you up, use the train or the bus to at least get to San Jose. Now wait here.” She disappears into the glowing fog.

 

I’m left in the dark with my pounding heart.

 

 

The car returned within five minutes, I opened the door and slid in and she took off in one smooth flow of motion, as though it had been choreographed. Nothing was said and as I stared at the side of her face I could see that tears were swelling up in her eyes. I turned to the windshield and kept quiet. She didn’t need static. Half way across the Golden Gate Bridge she starts talking,

“Samuel has this emergency plan all worked out. We’ve had to use it several times before.” she pauses to wipe a tear off her cheek, “But it is so damn scary. I hate it.”

I have absolutely no idea what to say.

“I don’t know if I can go through this again.” she says and I think of all the good times we’d had together. “Why did we ever have to meet?”

As we got off the Bridge I waited to see if she was going to take the freeway home, through San Jose or was she going to take the scenic route down Highway 1. Lucky for me, she got off at 19th Avenue heading to the coast road, Highway 1.

She never got into a real cry but when we were making it down off Devil’s Slide into Half Moon Bay, she pulled the car off the road and asked if I’d drive. I tell her sure, it would give me something to do, maybe get my mind off things. We swapped places and once underway, she immediately fell asleep.

 

 

When I got to Sam’s house I parked next to my Volkswagen and turned off the engine. The silence roused the girl. She sat up full of sleep, rubbed her eyes and looked round, her fresh face immediately clouded over. She looks at me full in the face and grabs my hand,

“Ed, you have to stay with me until this is over.” I hadn’t even thought about anything beyond just getting to this cottage, just to get the girl home. I hadn’t even thought about what would happen after that. I had to think for a second, . . . I could swap shifts at Manuel’s. I was committed to nothing else.

“Sure,” I answer her.

For the next couple of days she never left the cottage, never even venturing far from the phone. I would run down to Manuel’s to get a few meals but mainly stayed close by the girl. Every now and then she would get into a mild crying jag, but for the most parts it was silence, silence and waiting. For me, this was the worst of settings, I prefer activity, productivity. I just hate to do nothing but wait and worry. However, sometimes, that’s all there is.

During the late afternoon hours of the third day, Sam pushes open the front door to the cottage and comes in. He obviously had been through a few hassles. His hair was tousled, his hands and face were filthy and all he had on was a t-shirt, levis and tennis shoes. His pale but deep blue eyes told us he was very weary but he was all smiles to be home.

“Robert brought me home” is all he could say before the blonde had him wrapped up in her arms. They hugged in silence for the longest time, bringing tears to Sam’s eyes. The only thing for me to do was get in the Volkswagen and head for my home. On the way to my car I remembered the hundred dollar bill. I went back and hung it from the note nail on the door.

When I went to Manuel’s for my next shift, Robert told me there was an envelope for me behind the bar. I retrieved it and opened it. There was a note wrapped around two one-hundred dollar bills, the note reading “you earned it.” Sam and his girl had gone on a short vacation.

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