I cut back on my meds, it’s daylight savings. Two smacked out 20-somethings took five minutes to board the bus. The rowdies had me crawling out of my skin. The driver had been 20 minutes down for a year. The “puppet” supervisors backpeddled four times on changing her route. Her relief driver scolded me for being an arbiter of righteousness, blaming low pay and management. The junkies took five minutes to get off (reboarding) and people missed their connections. My Paul Kersey attitude suddenly made sense to the driver, who “agreed wholeheartedly” (Howard Rosin of Highland Springs Resort in Beaumont) that the bus took three times longer to reach Chico than 10 years ago.

My agitated brain reeled in the orchards. The identical blossoms were rote. “Green tree…green tree…green tree” said Bukowski (his rationale for avoiding the rural). “We’re all going to die so why let trivialities get the upper hand,” he said, but my nerves took precedence over my mind and it’s so-called logic. I cursed the white pickups, loose dobermans, and street-borne tractors.

I took my burrito to an outside table, where the clerk nextdoor was on his cellular. I asked why they needed an external speaker for their customers, as it blared cheap rock. “Because it’s TOTALLY AWESOME!” chimed his girlfriend, emerging to prove me wrong by hanging there. After furtive whispers, they made out. The buff dude grabbed ass repeatedly. I stared at it in defiance, but he didn’t notice. (It resembled withered balloons, filled with oatmeal).

Finally, he mounted his bike and sassed, “Enjoy the music.” I heard Max G. Arnold’s Aussie-voice saying, “Don’t take the bait.” I asked who owned the place. “Johnny.” “Johnny who?” “Johnny Cash.” “I’ll find out!” “I’ll bet you will,” he countered with vindictive impertinance. “Go! Get out of here.” I pleaded to de-escalate things. “Have fun DYING,” he cryptically added. “Wiseass shithead….fucker!!!!” said my alter-ego. He bailed, but came back twice, like in my song, “Frat Fucks.” He wimped out, but I began to interpret his sage advice as a veiled threat.

I found three patrol units who were too busy citing a motorist and said, “Call it in.” After getting MY stats, they put me on perpetual “hold”; there was a stabbing. Later, they deemed me “complicit.” Luckily, I was too timid to ask a merchant to use the phone to yell at the CPD, so I railed against dog doo, heroin, and late busses to the Downtown Merchant’s association. They were all-ears as they were having a meeting that night about indigents. “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,” said May of Reality Records, beaming from ear to ear.

When I got home, I turned on Adam 12. The second Darrin Stevens (from Bewitched) had padlocked his suburban garage, so his neighbor couldn’t use his half of a boat two weekends in a row. Malloy and Reed returned three times, until Darrin killed the other guy with a fire extinguisher (he had a grappling hook). “He overreacted,” said Malloy.

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