Chapter 1

Sharp Park Part 1

By GREG MAFFETT | Published: July 17, 2010

Sharp Park

Sharp Park is located somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been there, I know it. But as is often the case, I’m a little hazy on the details. As I was piecing together this story from a gentleman holding a cardboard sign at a freeway exit in the North Bay, I was hoping that this was the place with the 9 hole golf course that I used to play back when I was in the service. That course was at one time owned by a Scottish Gentleman. The Gentleman, much like Sir Sean Connery, had something of an unevolved view of the fairer sex. This guy built a course with only Blue and White tees. He didn’t believe women belonged on a golf course and as such he made no accommodation for them. My response to this revelation was somewhere between stunned and ecstatic when I heard that a man this close to the oh-so-politically-correct San Francisco made this play, well it was a good day. But that course I now recall is in McClaren Park. And as you will eventually see, that beloved park would not service as the title for this story. A story that I acquired for a dollar and a touch of TB from that gentleman on the median strip in Benicia.

Dave

Hi!

I’m Dave. Dave, that is an inoffensive name. We have never had a President named Dave. That is huge. I’m Dave, I blend in.

I once had aspirations. I had hoped to be a Glen. I thought about changing my name. I heard of a Glen Ford. Kind of guy who probably did quite well with the ladies. A leading man. But that was not my aspiration. No, I did not want to get the pretty girls. I did not want to be the big hero that saved the day, won the war or gave his kidney to save a life.

All I ever wanted was to ride a sea turtle. That was it. That is all that got me up in the morning. The idea that today might be the day that I’d be 10 or 20 feet below the surface of some pale green tropical waters. I’d see myself cruising along at the speed of sea turtle. I’d feel the pull of the turtle, its hard shell digging into my fingers as I tried to keep from slipping off and missing the ride of my life. That was all I wanted, ever. I never got it. Or I haven’t got it yet, if you want to be less pessimistic.

I’m not sure what I want to be. I just know I’m here today sitting on a park bench on a warm, no hot, actually sweltering hot day. For now all that matters is that I’m in a hot place and I’m not riding a sea turtle. It does not look like this will be a good day. I think I’m a long way from water, tropical or otherwise. No wait, I can see water. So I’m close. But I can tell by the color it is not tropical. Wrong color, very cold.

Cold like the mountains I worked the mountains once. There were no sea turtles there. But it is how my life works. I wake up and do what I’m told. And I was told to go into the mountains and patrol them. So I did. Then I was caught in an avalanche. It was loud and I was buried under 30 feet of snow. When you are buried under thirty feet of snow, any rescue would be a miracle. Miracles don’t really happen. That was it for that job.

You are probably wondering how I got from there to here. I wonder about stuff like that too. I sometimes have trouble knowing what happened and what I think happened. I like it here in the park. No avalanches, just nature and nice people. It’s nice here. If you are a person who likes nice, you would like this place, I’m sure of it.

Every now and then life has to break some eggs. I’m often that egg. I’m philosophical about it. Being philosophical means that there is not one thing I can do about it. So you know, it is like that more often than not.

And here I am today. Not riding a sea turtle on the downside, but not getting buried under an avalanche either. Terrance and Jane are walking up the hill today, their three sons following them. We’ve never had a President named Terrance either. I’m sure we never will. We like to say anyone can grow up to be president. Even though a Dave hasn’t, I think one could. But a Terrance, no.

President Terry? It’s not right. It’s not like he has some deep dark secret. That the kids aren’t his. That he had to give Jane some tablet and then had his brother come over and do the work of getting her pregnant. He really does have a job, or had one as a professor. His business trips were legit. He’s not living off his father’s inheritance. His father really is his father. It’s not his uncle. It’s not like this is a family tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. Those are all nasty lies written on the toilet stalls at USF. Sour grapes from junior professors that never got tenure are the suspects.

Look at this guy’s wife, that is all you need to know about Terry boy. Jane is a piece. Amazing, in fact. That would have been a much better name for her. She carries herself like, well, like she carries her basket. Always bountiful. She is always showing kindness to people out of her basket. Look at her as she spreads a blanket under her favorite tree and opens her basket. All kinds of goodies appear for the family. And there is more.

She pulls out a plastic bottle with clear liquid, a small loaf of bread. She gives the plastic bottle the fair haired son. The long, lean one gets the loaf. The tanned one hangs close as always. The blond one and the thin one approach me with their gifts. I have to partake of the gifts or I‘d be rude. I take a sip of the fluid in the bottle and suddenly I feel much, much calmer. I bite into the bread and see herbs. Let’s say the herb is rosemary. Yes, we’ll say that is what this is. I’m feeling much better now. Much.

I can feel the sea turtle’s shell starting to pull against the inside of my fingers. My body is loosening up. It’s not so warm any more, a nice chill is settling over me. I smile at the two boys and tell them to thank their cantaloupe kindly for the bliminee bippity boop.

They start to walk back towards her. She is smiling with motherly pride.

Bird

A small black bird lands in a tree above the park bench that Dave is resting on. She looks down and sees Dave face down lengthwise on the bench. His fingers are gripping the boards at the far end of the bench. His body is rising and falling rhythmically as if a wave were passing through him. Nearby, a family is a enjoying a picnic. She settles in comfortably and quietly becomes part of the scenery.

Terry

Terry here. That’s Dave over on the bench. Perfectly average guy, Dave. Average height, weight, looks. You could put him anywhere, dress him however you like and he’d fit in. Anywhere but on an NBA court. He wouldn’t fit there. I would. I’m 6’4”, 220 pounds of solid muscle. Ok, 210 solid, 220 not entirely. But I could be, just a matter of focus, desire. I have that, Lots of it. Most of it is directed at the lovely piece I call my wife when I’m talking to faculty members and donors. But when I’m home pounding her into a coma, I call her my lovely piece. She arches her back and makes happy noises every time I say that. Or pretends to. Doesn’t really matter, does it? Fiction, non-fiction? People worry over petty details that don’t matter. They should just be screwing their brains out around the clock, you ask me. The time here is too short to waste it on worry. Get your hoo-hoo’s and ya-ya’s together. Bump some uglies.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Dave. Only thing un-average about him is his mind. Best on earth. He was my research partner for years. We owned the economics stage on this planet. Everything we said, everything we wrote was holy. Dave found the underlying drivers for numerous economic phenomena that were previously inexplicable. But he thought there was a reason for everything, so he didn’t know when to stop. He never knew when to kick up his heels, relax and bury himself in some voluptuous grad student. That could have saved him, I used to think. But in his lucid moments, even now he has some, he tells me there never was anything that could have saved him. He was doomed, life was an avalanche constantly crushing his chest.

We keep him alive, I think. We bring him back when he’s gone. Jane is almost as smart as Dave, she may be the second smartest person on earth. When Dave finds some new substance to get addicted to, Jane figures out the cure to weans him off it. That is what is in the bread and the bottle. The herbs in the bread and whatever liquid is in the bottle are Jane’s fix. She knows a lot about chemistry. More than a lot, actually, more than anyone. That is safe to say.

Dave lives in the park, has for the last few years. It’s the outdoor movies that seem to cause the most trouble. Last year it was ski movies. This year it’s the BBC series on nature films. He really took to the segment on the sea turtles. Whenever he’s buzzing and you ask him how high he is, the answer is always ‘not high enough’. He’s a big picture guy, always thinking if he can get far enough away, he’ll be able to see the edges. He thinks that is where the answers are.

My kids know the answers and they are only teenagers. Maybe the film festival will show a film on teenagers soon and Dave will ‘get it’ and come back to do some more good work. Right now the only good work being done is the work I’m doing to the Missus. I miss Dave. We ruled, we really did. I wish to god he’d come back from his tripping and do some more work.

Squirrel

A squirrel dropped an acorn from its perch above the picnic. It quickly scrambled down the trunk to retrieve the prize, pausing briefly to sniff the aromas wafting from the blanket set on the grass. On the way back to its perch, its tail nearly brushed Jane in passing. She appeared not to notice.

Jane

Fucktards.

Except for Dave and my boys, I’m surrounded by fucktards.

Jane smiled sweetly at the children and offered them some grapes.

How in the fuck I make it through a day without killing every last one of the assholes on this planet is beyond me. The shit I am surrounded by day in and day out, just trying to achieve one simple task. This task was all my grandfather had in mind with his eugenics. Repopulate the planet with something other than fucktards.

“Terry, dearest, would you mind opening the wine?”

“Terry?”

Christ, where did he wander off to now? He was a long shot. Dave and I are the two smartest people on earth. Terry can’t even crack the top 100. He’s a borderline fucktard. Yet the gene sequencing indicated that there was a chance. That I could go that deep into the pool and maybe get the mutation the family has been looking for. One of these three kids might evolve into the first person ever to have an IQ over 300. They keep growing every year, intellectually.

No one would give live birth to a 300, we’ve known that for decades. It’s a prolonged gestation for the kind of mind we were hoping for. So we took the chance. A load of Dave’s and a load of Terry’s, mixed ‘em up and set them loose on three of my eggs. Obviously Terry’s made it to Sliver, he is a half foot taller than the other two. Gold and Bronze are Dave’s, they have to be.

Though in truth we haven’t sequenced them yet to be sure. We are waiting until we breach 300. I ‘had’ the kids when I was nine. Of course I didn’t ‘have’ them, my eggs were harvested early enough that there wouldn’t be any scar tissue. Kids heal like nobodies business. Now there is no ugly when I’m working the bikini. I am a fucking Barbie Doll. Perfect tits, ass and everything.

Sure I was plain Jane as a child, but fuck me, when I blossomed the world took notice. And they haven’t stopped. My ass is my passport to any meeting I want into. It really is that simple. I don’t fuck. That is so beneath me. All men want me, all the time, of course they do. Yes, I can pound nails with my ass, but I don’t do manual labor of that kind either.

Rutting about like a sow? No, no, no, not me. Sometimes I let Terry lick it just so he can go to work smelling like sex. I’m not entirely inconsiderate of how difficult it must be for him. I don’t care in the least, I just understand and in the big scheme of things, it helps if people think that we are doing it. It is what gets my ass in meetings.

The triplets are 17 now, on any given day one of them can score over 210 on an IQ test. Next to me and Dave, they are the smartest people on earth. We are all waiting for one of them to break 250. Though the Monte Carlo simulation that I ran through showed it possible that a discontinuity could occur, one could just jump from 210 to 300 overnight. So who knows, we are out there, far past reason.

Dave is out there too. He went as far as his reason would take him. Now he has to dream to push his head as far as it can go. He pushes it past reason into a world where answers do not go from A to B to C. They hop, skip and buck. And Dave, god love him, he holds on and rides it out. He can’t do that alone, he needs me to help him travel. And that means chemically altering his head to get to places he couldn’t visit otherwise. And getting him back, of course. Places like on the back of a sea turtle.

Really, no one knows where Dave goes when his mind takes off, but he does come back with the goods eventually, unlike the rest of the fucktards riding this planet with me.

“Anyone care for chocolate cake?”

Three hands shot up on the blanket and a grunt was heard from the woods.



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