The Open Door

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: marclevytoo

Big was standing in a patch of hybrid plants that reached nearly as high as his ginormous shoulders, a blessed but non-denominational union between spry old-timers, black Afghani and gorilla glue. Then he was standing on a heavy duty ladder to true the awkward angle of a PVC pipe on the roof of a leaning hoop house. A preference for symmetry, no matter how discredited, is hard to shake. Little in the preternatural construct known as one world, after all, is truly symmetrical, and least of all oddball humans. All you will get from that doomed species is a scattered bunch of denials. Big had heard enough tall stories to fill his head, often, but shook them off to get down to the real nitty gritty. Enough was more than enough proof for him. Then he was standing on his deck overlooking the uneven fields of Freedom, California beneath the Santa Cruz Mountains, performing a daily routine of tai-chi that was good for his mind, body, spirit, energy, and soul. At six and a half feet tall, and 288 pounds, Big performing tai-chi was a unique and special sight to behold. Then he was standing very still under a waxing moon and absorbing stray points of light. Wherever Big stood, which was anywhere he chose, doing whatever he was doing, and not only because was so big, Big belonged.


Later, he was the only man sitting at the lone round table at the Corralitos Brewing Company who felt that way. The others suffered from missed connections with mixed messages, sore thumbs left hanging by a crooked nail. Until Hector sat down.


He said, "I let myself in."


"The door is open."


"We're sitting at a table on an outdoor patio."


"So what else is new?"


The Unpaid Internet Content Provider chirped, "I saw the green flash last night."


Hector scoffed, "Not that."


"But I was wearing sunglasses. Does that count?"


"Everything counts."


"Not to everyone."


The Unpaid Internet Content Provider, who sparred on an irregular schedule as a junior welterweight against shadow boxers, and believed, belatedly, that he'd learned an important lesson from each of his many defeats, grappled no less than usual with his just as many unpopular opinions. Should I confess or shut up for a change? He claimed the writing for which he was unpaid helped to organize the disordered thoughts in his personality that did not play well with others. Too much fuss appeared too often. He was not one of those model students who learned all he needed to know in kindergarten, Most of what he learned in school was the same. His answers were wrong.


He said, "Says who?"


Hector, who was not as big as Big, but big still, reminded him, also often, "That's why you're unpaid."


Wisely, he conceded, "True that."


Thomas Wu, who tried so hard to be presumed an American born Chinese, though he was not, and had failed to quite pull it off in Sichuan, Hong Kong, Sacramento, San Francisco, or Santa Cruz, and learned as a mixed up consequence to value the higher consciousnesses he was yet to achieve, stepped up to the plate, also as a junior welterweight, to take one for the team, and avowed, "Not so fast."




"Who knows what until what happens."


Big was happy to drink to that, and not only that. He held out a small baggie and said, "Try this."


"Is it the ice cream strain that Carlos Santana recommends for spiritual enlightenment?"


"Do you smell the notes of blackberry?"


The Unpaid Internet Content Provider stuck his big nose into the small bag of business where it did not belong and submitted, "It smells like dirt to me."


"You're unqualified."


"Why, just because my nose has been broken a few times?"




"The notes I'm hearing in your hoity-toity berries are the notes of la-di-dah."


The crops of apples that used to grow in the fertile fields of Freedom, California, a feisty agricultural town with the greatest name in the history of the so-called free world that persists in putting up resistance against the annexation fixation of the adjacent larger municipality, Watsonville, soullessly named after a crooked Judge who was forced to flee the environs shortly after the first American Civil War, were now a mixed bag of nuts, fruits, and berries, although not for long. The wholesale price a farmer can expect to receive for a ton of apples is $200-$300, for strawberries $4000-$5000, for primo weed $1,000,000 and up. A farmer does not have to be exceptionally good at math to add and count that high. A farmer does not have to be an enlightened master of an instrument like Carlos Santana. All a farmer has to do is dig it while it's happening. It's a new law of nature. Coming soon: the biggest business in the so-called free world.


Hector, who ran panaderias in Watsonville, Salinas, Castroville, Seaside, Monterey, and Carmel was fine-tuning a line of edibles that would include Mexican pan dulce and conchas in an array of flavors, and not secondarily aimed to attract the interest of his beacon of light, Carlos Santana. Unlike an anachronism of a refugee writer seeking order from random constructs, he was highly paid, by himself. Born in East L.A., Hector had been sent to live by his overwrought mother with her family in rural Watsonville, to keep him away from where he was headed as a thirteen year old cholo, to jail. The transformation due to the blow-back coming from his big city 'tude did not take at first, but once he understood how he was being played as a juvenile by the local OG's who were not looking for a return ride to Soledad, he quit.


"You can't quit."


"Si, si puede."


"Ain't no game."


"Watch the score."


Now he made it a point to hire ex-cons who'd been to Soledad. Spiritless Soledad was a dismal shit hole of a prison at the bottom of a shallow pit in a shitty desert. It was close enough to the coolness of majestic Big Sur on the other side of the mountain to pulsate in the fetid heat from desperation. All the Sheriff deputies in Santa Cruz and Monterey County knew Hector as a hard-ass bleeding heart who threw a mean punch above his heavyweight level. One bakery or another was always near their reach for sweetness on the house. All he ever asked in return from cops was peace, love, and understanding. He greeted the pair of off-duty Watsonville cops who sat at a nearby table by name and nod. They looked tired and fed up as cops do.


He ventured, "Que pasa?"


"Que hay."


"That's what you always say."


"You asked."


"Not a lot."


"It still is what it always is."


"Goths and Visigoths."


"Guns and ammunition."


"True that."


"What are you drinking?"


"A Saison with local boysenberries."


"Sounds sweet."


"And bitter."


"Contradictions don't end at the door."


"The open door."


"Or on the other side."


"Of a figure eight."


"Hard to figure."


"True that."


Hector offered the bag of weed and said, "Try this."


"Mmm," the cop judged, "It smells like blackberries."
















Submitted: November 30, 2020

© Copyright 2021 marclevytoo. All rights reserved.

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