#52 San Francisco, 1993

by Sean Beaudoin, Guest Writer

All summer, the little taco truck. Paper plate, pickled carrot. Two fish, two chicken. Load up on free pico, grill dude eyeballing me hard. Sandles, jeans, no shirt. Sidewalk, alley, bus stop. I wandered around, got in fights, mostly lost. Slept in a room with a boiler, six roommates, sixty a month. Temped when I could get it. Long slow cubicle shifts, stitches in my hairline. Cuffs rolled up, proving something to the boss. Dude said his name was “Mr. Green” but everyone knew it was a lie. Back then, you could thumb out to the ocean from anywhere downtown. Sand still hot, water freezing balls. Sharks feed at dusk.

Midnight and I could never sleep. The bar’s entrance was old bathroom tile. Sumiko had a black bob and horsey teeth. Was a D-list celebrity way back in 60’s Tokyo. She’d get up on a table and sing if you asked enough, faces reflected in the legs of her mirrored pantsuit. She whispered into the microphone, traditionals, pure at heart and a karaoke backbeat. Eventually she lost the place, misplaced a rent check or spent it all on face cream.

I once saw her stepping from a cab. Bought her a plate of tacos she didn’t eat, pink lipstick and pink tights. Big Jackie O glasses. She asked was I doing okay and I told her just fine. See, I’d met a girl at the park. A girl who believed in me. Named Ellen.

“Eh-lah?” she said.

“Ellen” I said.

Sean Beaudoin is the author of You Killed Wesley Payne, The Infects, and the forthcoming punk band diary Wise Young Fool (Little, Brown, August 2013). His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the Onion, Salon, and Spirit—the inflight magazine of Southwest Airlines. He is a founding editor of the arts and culture website TheWeeklings.com, and frequently ends his bio with an ironic or self-deprecating personal comment.

Teen rocker Ritchie Sudden is pretty sure his life has just jumped the shark. Except he hates being called a teen, his band doesn't play rock, and "jumping the shark" is yet another dumb cliché. Part of Ritchie wants to drop everything and walk away. Especially the part that's serving ninety days in a juvenile detention center.

Telling the story of the year leading up to his arrest, Ritchie grabs readers by the throat before (politely) inviting them along for the (max-speed) ride. A battle of the bands looms. Dad split about five minutes before Mom's girlfriend moved in. There's the matter of trying to score with the dangerously hot Ravenna Woods while avoiding the dangerously huge Spence Proffer—not to mention just trying to forget what his sister, Beth, said the week before she died.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.

1 comment:

Flutterby said...

So much great imagery packed into one short piece!