Numbers of Nuts

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


The Capitol Corridor Express pulled out of the Santa Clara Amtrak Station at 6:48 AM on a nameless Wednesday. It started to fall behind schedule before reaching San Leandro, and more so at Jack London Square in Oakland. Big was unconcerned with time but not the cramped space. The far smaller Unpaid Internet Content Provider was less so. He was eating the homemade granola with sunflower seeds and pecans in the bowl of homemade yogurt he brought in from home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He finished swallowing before the train stopped in Berkeley. Digestion was something else. Contradictions still held sway. Big, after blocking the aisle in Milpitas to stretch his extra large legs, ate two large breakfast burritos from Hector's on Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville, and felt ready to stand tall and be heard. Topped off at six feet, seven inches, Big nearly always stood tall. He had not prepared a formal speech he felt any need to practice. That was just like Big. As nearly always, he was going to wing it and cast a high flying shadow. The Unpaid Internet Content Provider more so. And less so. That was just like him, too.

 

He said, "What I could use is a comprehensive theory encompassing everything that fits."

 

Unsurprised, Big replied, "What are you trying to be right now, a smart guy?"

 

"Apparently not."

 

"Just your usual smart-ass self."

 

"It's best to cook with the ingredients you've got in the cupboard."

 

"We're in, we're out, I'm not hanging around to schmooze after your incendiary remarks."

 

"I won't take me long."

 

"Hah."

 

"Maybe once I get going I might need stopping."

 

"One punch is all it will take."

 

"I'm hurt."

 

"Count on me to stomp hard on your brakes."

 

"I may opt for taking a dive."

 

"We'll mostly be hanging out, waiting."

 

"They will take your picture."

 

"I won't shrink."

 

"Too bad Arnold is not still Governor. You could compare big to big."

 

"I'm bigger."

 

"He shrunk."

 

"I never had to be pumped up. I never had to carry a gun."

 

"Humans are the only animals to plan their murders ahead."

 

"You don't have to bring that up when we testify."

 

"Their own funerals too."

 

Big was wearing one of the two finely tailored dark suits he maintained in a large walk-in closet, custom fitted from a silk and wool blend by Bobby's Fashions in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Many bland heads looked up as he entered the garish green Assembly chambers to find his place at a long polished table. The Unpaid Internet Content Provider stood close enough behind him to whisper into his ear. Technically,he asked, although it was not a question, "Did you ever think you were hearing the voice of Nina Simone but it turned out to be Bobby Blue Bland?

 

He was wearing one of the many pairs of used jeans he owned, mass produced by huddled masses yearning to be free in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His t-shirt recognized a monetary contribution to KSQD in Santa Cruz, listener supported radio for the Central Coast at 90.7 on the FM dial. He rubbed his hands with dirt as he tippled on his toes in the on-deck circle, and took a few practice swings with a fake Louisville Slugger on which he had the loosest of grips. The smiling squid on the front of the t-shirt looked too much like a worm, and the color was all wrong, but though faded, it was as clean as it ever was.

 

First things being first, Big was called upon to lead the charge of the good guys by following the spectacle of an unctuous huckster who was wearing a hat, a collar, and a walrus mustache turned backwards. The pickled barrel of a man carried an abridged Bible in a tin holster and whipped it out like a carnival grifter with a tricky draw of short straws. He'd learned how to sift and winnow for his alternative truth from the shopping cart of tubby Donald Drumpf, and his crude, oily sons. It was stacked with polished cans of typical pork and beans and an elite Haagen-Dazs flavor containing salty, shriveled nuts and pickled pig snout, achtung schwein. He was old enough to remember the enjoyment of shooting hippies full of buckshot for clean, wholesome fun. No one could ever prove his youth was wasted. He was certain due to the consummation of a close encounter of the eerie kind that his only God approved.

 

"I'm not one of the colored fornicators here who is going to hell," he insisted with no urging.

 

Sloppy facts just like that kept the agenda steamrolling right along. Everyone covered in slime had an agenda. Churches paid no taxes, although Big did big time. Some of that time was wasting away. The ground water, too.

 

He announced, "First things first."

 

All he wanted was a fair shake from the hidden hands cupping the dice before a roll. He paused briefly for the rebirth of a breath of fresh air to return from hiding in a recess of the chamber before he snatched the moment. He claimed it was no surprise that right was not wrong. He provided evidence with the beat of rat-a-tat tom-tom. Backwards on bended knees was not a smart way to gather speed on the runway before taking off. Numbers were outed and named. He was clear, precise, concise. He accused. He proved. He was sartorial. He was done.

 

The Unpaid Internet Content Provider approached the situation differently. He was a rambling man who came to ramble. He began his oratory by crying out loud for Pete's sake, "Let us commence the call and response with a quote from the deep well of sister Fontella Bass...You gonna keep on foolin' around now, baby...You're gonna mess up a good thing."

 

A lone Assemblywoman from Compton got it and felt the spirit. She stood and clapped her hands and perhaps that was a tail feather shaking. It was as much of an opening as the Unpaid Internet Content Provider required. He was accustomed, and inured, to having no one pay attention to him. Released from the shackles of achieving success, he felt the freedom to say what they say you can't say.

 

"I say let the bees be bees."

 

He waited for the buzz to subside before adding, and not for the first or the last time, a clincher, "There is no distinction between a beginning and an end from the view inside of a figure-eight."

 

"Exactly what point are you trying to make, sir?"

 

"I don't respond to being called a sir, sir."

 

"This assembly will not tolerate any taint of sarcasm and disrespect?"

 

"That's just gravity pressing down on the density of your heads."

 

"Do you think this is some kind of a joke?"

 

"Not the funny kind. That would be gravity rising in righteous indignation from the dirt and inducing clods of tears to cloud your stormy eyes."

 

"I call out of order."

 

"I call jokers wild."

 

"I call for the Sergeant-at-Arms."

 

"I call your Sergeant-of-Arms and I raise you a Lieutenant-of-Legs."

 

"Remove this man."

 

"I call for absolutist freedom from religion."

 

"Don't let him get away."

 

"Do I look like a sir to you?"

 

The minor kerfuffle that ensued was brief and unremarkable. Jacks of hearts won't ever trump aces of spades. No apologies were exchanged or accepted. Cheaters only believe in justice when they come out ahead. The Unpaid Internet Content Provider paid his small fine by slapping down a wad of filthy lucre on the spot. It was worth it. All the small fines collected by all the small governments go into the kitty for the benefit of all the small governments that cheat. Garish green paint does not grow like soft moss on trees. The Unpaid Internet Content Provider did not have to read all about it the next day in the local newspaper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, because he no longer read the shred that used to be the local newspaper.

 

He said, "We have time to stop at Fieldwork for a fresh brew."

 

"Time enough for two."

 

Who ever said the struggle for freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California was going to be groovy? As the last stop at the end of the western frontier, California has always been marked by crumbs left on the trail by bandits and thieves. Land, water, and inalienable rights have been stolen, swindled, sold, resold, and re-stolen for centuries to remind. Nuts are the new now crops planted and grown in the vast parched valley with the same stolen water filling infinity pools and banks in Beverly Hills. It takes 1900 gallons of water to grow a single pound of pistachios, walnuts, or almonds. Big pays the tab owed by the nut farms for the water he does not receive. A pound of his weed sips 90 gallons of the ground water from under the land he owns. California walnuts and almonds are very very popular in Shanghai. Profits are very very high. Pumps are setting world endurance records. More crazed farmers get nuttier ever day. More pools get infinitely filled to splash and spill over forever.

 

Finishing a good to the last drop mocha brown ale, Big speculated,"What's next?"

 

The perpetrator of the latest crime for which he expressed no guilt or remorse gestured to his sassy double IPA, and said, "I'm sticking with the stubborn ass-kicking mule that carried me this far."

 

 

 


Submitted: January 28, 2021

© Copyright 2021 marclevytoo. All rights reserved.

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