My City by the Bay (Chapter 5, Part 1)

Old Town

SLS

(Photo credit: wilcreative)

The stakeout began early, and the SLS was parked a fair distance away from Chestnut Grove. Dawn was on the brink of breaking and Sig started to squirm already. He was an active man. Kinetic energy was the best energy, and like sharks, stopping could be deadly. All of this frustrated Benelli.

“Cut it out!” She finally spoke up, as the leather creaked under the seat of his pants.

“What?!” The peevish tone meant he was fully aware of the problem.

“Can’t you sit still? We’ve got the whole day to watch for this guy, and you’re jumping around like a jackass.”

“Not even your posh seating can soothe my animal spirit, Benelli!” Humor was always a good way to diffuse friction, but it was only rewarded with a heavy sigh.

About 8 o’clock, the old woman began her rounds near the cemetery with a replenished stock of floral material from God knows where. Blues, pinks, oranges, and yellows bobbed up and down in the cafeteria cart keeping in time with each pot hole. As she reached the gates, a pause was made in order to look around. A surveillance of her own was conducted, as it appeared something wasn’t kosher to her.

Both detectives thought they were far enough away to be inconspicuous. Without saying a word, they slowly slid down in their seat. Shaggy and Scooby had nothing on these two. Being caught could mean bad news, as it seemed she took a liking to Tiny. If she were to mention anything, it could put both their lives in jeopardy.

The observation took only a few seconds and the lady was on her way. Neither Sig nor Benelli could be certain if they were found out. All they could do was wait for the person of interest. McGreavy was next to desperate for answers, probably because the mayor’s office was getting a stream of phone calls about the “cowboy” on the force. That would be Sig, or “the Dunking Detective” as the writers at the Phoenix called him. Lucky for Sig, the Chief always went to bat for his team. Always, even though he was extremely tempted to throw Pauly under the bus for getting stuck in an abandoned refrigerator during a kidnapping case last year. Internally, it was a whole new ballgame. Sig imagined himself getting clocked with a Swingline if he didn’t come through.

After an hour of the news and playlist critiques, Sig eased into his typical pseudo-intellectual arguments. Benelli closed her eyes in dread, as it always ended up somewhere in left field with him convinced beyond reason. These bizarre assertions, like the Kool-Aid man being a metaphor for Satan, left a rational person in perpetual state of confusion. The tee was set and Sig led the kickoff.

“You know the saying ‘be yourself’?” He rolled his head to the side, and let it rest on his shoulder.

“Yes,” Benelli sighed.

“Well, I was thinking that isn’t very good advice.”

“Why do you say that?” Benelli was letting the discussion take its course. Otherwise he would pout like a four year old with a melted ice cream cone.

“We are constantly ourselves.”

“What about people who put up a front and pretend to be something they’re not? That’s not ‘being yourself.'”

“You mean like Phileas?”

“If this has anything to do with me, I swear I’ll punch you in the face!”

“Not directly, no. This is more of a macrolevel observation. People who use disguises are still themselves.”

“Right, which is why they should ‘be themselves.'”

“They are that already. Being in costume does not negate the fact that they are still being.”

“OK, wise guy, what would you prefer?”

“I’m glad you asked!” Sig’s eyes twinkled as the candy shop was open for business. “I would say to others ‘accept who you are’ instead. It’s much more productive.”

“If people simply accept who they are, then what if they are accepting poor behavior?” In no time, Benelli was sucked into the whirlpool of Sig’s mind.

“We all have a despicable side to us. That’s what makes us human. Let us say, for the sake of example, that Pauly’s a homophobe.”

“That’s not much of a stretch, Sig.”

“Granted, but given the options of open acknowledgement and closet confidence, which would you prefer? There isn’t any middle ground. So, don’t get all wishy-washy on me.”

“Fine, I would rather have him be open about his beliefs if only to avoid passive-aggression.”

“Right! It’s less stress to repress bad feelings and have them manifest themselves into dirty pool.”

“Well then, Mr. Know-it-all, where is the progress in that? If we accept our ill feelings, there would be no unity.”

“Unity is an illusion as long as we all come from different walks of life. That’s not to say there couldn’t be a healthy amount of cooperation, but as it stands now, unity has too many variables in the way. That said, a person isn’t prevented from working on changing their beliefs. Never once did I say it was impossible. I merely suggest they accept themselves and not feign camaraderie. However, since you’ve broached that topic, I will say any useful amount of cooperation (non-common-enemy cooperation that is) will require an earnest effort from all parties involved.”

“I don’t follow.”

“What I’m saying is any marginalized group of people would need to provide positive support to the ‘offending’ party in question. That’s where the real progress is. Society isn’t a one-way street. A problem can’t be solved by focusing on one side of the equation. Right now, efforts for equality are based on bombastic shouting matches and political power plays throughout all levels of government. That is not true progress, and it sure as Hell ain’t unity.”

“What’s the plan then, Plato?”

“To support equality, the canonized population should not be left to its own devices. Equality is a push in the card game of life. The underdog needs to interface in an accessible manner with the other, and vice versa. The combativeness to acquire a ‘privilege’ will alienate those perceived to have it. Balance should never feel like it’s being bullied.”

“So, what, you want me to throw a cook out for Pauly?! That’s your answer for gay rights?”

“Perhaps… the fat boy does like hot dogs. I’ve seen him down a pack of Hebrew National like a bag of chips.”

“I’m not buying it.”

“OK, I’ll spring for the franks, but you’ll have to get a grill. I can’t afford that.”

Benelli rolled her eyes. How did they get from acceptance to hot dogs? She hated hot dogs.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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8 thoughts on “My City by the Bay (Chapter 5, Part 1)

  1. The Kool-Aid Man as Satan. He scared the bejesus out of me as a child. 🙂

  2. are you putting your whole book on your blog? Isn’t that risky? I am only asking as I don’t truly know. Thanks for sharing!

    • That depends on your point of view, Laura. As someone with a day job in a completely different field, this is recreational for me. Copyright law does allow for me to be silent on disclosure, but I put a reminder at the end of my work in case people forget. America has several reciprocal copyright agreements with other countries. That’s the best I can hope for in this situation.

      I would imagine professional writers with publishers and bills to pay should be more hesitant to post their work in its entirety on a blog. Without a publisher or contacts in the biz (you’ve worked with MTV; you know this is the clincher), what do I gain from withholding the story? A grueling time of shopping for a publisher? The joys of self-publishing? Having a book all to myself? While I genuinely write stories I want to read, I’m not opposed to sharing them with other people. It gets lonely out here in the fields.

      The reason I’ve started to write so late in the game is overcoming the concerns about making a go with it. Is it worth my time? I’ve finally convinced myself to simply write and let the chips fall where they may. Thieves are good at stealing material, but they can’t steal my creativity (if I could be so bold to call it that). If we’re talking the market value of literature here, a writer would have to ask the stingily serious question, “would it even sell?” So many long knives. So many con artists and swindlers, Laura. I’m drained by it all.

      • True…but I think if it means a lot to you, try publishing it…if it isn’t important, why not share it? Agreed indeed. 🙂
        I am working in freelance and doing some stuff in education…just trying to get my work out there, and don’t want it stolen. Just looking out for you sir. 🙂

      • I understand your concern as a writer. Thank you for the discussion. Ultimately, it boils down to the question of publishable material. Have you worked with publishers before? Does this come close to passing muster?

      • I haven’t read enough to say. I would say try finishing the book, and then query publishers. I have shown editors from publishing houses my stuff, and they did like it! I would consider doing a writing workshop though…or joining a writing group. It’s really beneficial and great support-wise!

      • Maybe it’s time I see what is available in the area. My cynical side is always skeptical of the resources here, and have dismissed the suggestion on many occasions. It’s not out of pure denial either. For example, the only meetups within an hour of my residence (via Meetup.com) are for scrapbookers, pre-k play dates, and TEA party activists. It does tend to jade one’s perception.

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