The skunks were feeling it, but good. What a day to bump up and waddle and thump in the foothills of rounded mountains. The babies were stinking dirty and cute as polecats. They were practicing precise aim from tiny assholes at tiny targets with no wasted motion. Lift and fire, repeat as needed, no sweat. I knew they were not going to budge, no way, not for a squatter with questionable property rights like mine. They had discovered a mother lode of termites to lap up that were no less tasty than black ants. They had been digging in the dirt while it was happening before my private stakes ever touched ground. My imprecise asshole was good for little more than the basics. Deep digging like that doesn’t get well done without vision, stamina, and purpose. I was lucky to get out of there with my skin alive.
I stepped back and began to seek out a new destination on solid land. There had to a second best spot on my side of the San Andreas Fault to bury the box I carried in my arms. The box was heavy. It contained secrets of the dirty war waged by regimented robots from Silicon Valley and the lackeys they employ against the indigenous freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California. The secrets were awaiting the inevitable exposure of the dirty tricks ratcheted by secret agents and thugs to unfold, because that’s what secrets can’t help but do, unraveling like a snagged thread of sensual silk turning into a bottomless pit of unctuous polyester, due to muckraking revelations rumored to be released via reliable Internet sources any day. I’m not saying I knew anything about it, because I like to play my paranoid cards close to my chest, but those fucking robots and lackeys were going down. After the unjust termination by my political handler from the cushiest job I had ever bagged what better outrage was left for me to revenge? If no more banh mi, no more filthy lucre, then no more injustice with peace. The logic was glowingly bright and simple, like an outhouse beacon overlooking dangerous rocks on the shores of the nineteenth century. My determined mind was made up.
I skipped the gory details of the conspiracies perpetrated against me when I relayed the news of our sad demise as semi-freelance employees to my stalwart comrade, the Unpaid Internet Content Provider. I waited until he was fortified by a grande sized mug of brown beer with a touch of garam masala and a scintillating afterbite of habanero pepper. To my surprise, he seemed to take the cataclysmic news in stride.
“It turns out I may not need to eat banh mi every day as a minimum daily adult requirement.” he admitted.
I said, “But still.”
He said, “I can see where you’re coming from, though.”
How poignant and sad, I mused. The social fabric, tattered, torn, and unmendable. Grilled pork banh mi, commoditized and devalued. What’s next, mightier mouse burgers on soiled buns frozen on assembly lines by the dozen? Conveyor belts with ball-bearing strap-ons? I felt compulsively forced all over again to blame the soulless robots and their lackeys for all universal woe. And not only outrageously for that. Look at all the lube spilled. Next, they will probably steal my ironic thought and turn the compulsive insight into a merciless commercial algorithm.
I for one cannot be too surprised. It’s the same old story. One bite out of one apple is never enough. Then it turns to mush. We all know it. If not, why not? Perhaps your eyes have become stuck on elevator exposees in trendy sleep mode. Once The Man gets what he wants out of the woefully sad and poignant international proletariat, the international proletariat becomes ironically devalued in the twisted, calculating eyes of The Man.
I remained immersed deeply in the woeful implication of my thought, still carrying the box in my arms, when I inadvertently bumped into my nominal former semi-freelance employer hanging out beneath the indigenous all-natural wind chimes in front of my door, Lt Guv Gav Newsom of California, photogenic face of AUMA, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
The honorable Lt Guv Gav had apparently arrived early for his regular holistic surfing lesson at Pleasure Point that was taught in tandem by the spawn of my loins, the teen twins. How ironic to look once again into the sheen of his smartly manufactured coiffure. Don’t tell me appearances may be deceiving. The touch-ups at the tips were still stunning. Prop 64 was still in the bag.
I said, “Sup.”
He said, “Just the man I need to see.”
It occurred to me that he might technically believe that the stolen contents of my box might rightfully officially belong to him by right of some bogus law he technically administered. Hah. I tried like all fucking heck to bear him no malice even if he was a soulless politician responsible for untold ironic woe. I put down the box but did not touch his suspiciously proffered hand.
As it turned out, though, in this one isolated case only, my thought may have been technically in the wrong. He claimed to have no knowledge of any unfolding circumstances leading to a sum of woe that needed to be exposed within the campaign for freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California. He deeply remembered all the neat and nifty words I had fit into his mouth for massive swallowing statewide. He had come, in fact, to apologize in abject fashion for any unfortunate consequences of prior mistakes made, the third most basic building blocks of the multiverse, all of which were the sole renegade responsibility of my former political handler acting alone, and to beg me to return once again under the spreading wings of the fold. Sort of.
“How was I supposed to know that the one political handler I specifically chose among all others to manipulate your unique circumstances would turn out to be a robot who was caught with thumb screws exposed in an illicit bathroom scandal while wallowing in a warm pool of spilled lube?”
I believed every word. I could feel the soul of his political acumen in the remarkable sincerity. I said, “Ugh.”
He said, “My thought exactly.”
I said, “That’s one thought that just about does it.”
He said, “One exactly.”
“I forgive you.”
Fuck yeah, I forgive, no problemo. A few simple cliches, oil, spit, tongue, vinegar, a cinch to pull off. It was hardly any more difficult than, “I’ll call you.” And voila. No rubbing up against sensitive skins that might chafe in the clinches and grow cranky and sore. Lt Guv Gav proved under ideal laboratory conditions to be no more contagious than the side effects from any other prominent social disease. I could neutralize the excess acid with the mitigation of extra hot peppers, extra briny carrots, and extra tangy daikon, no problemo. A little more extra never hurts. Then it’s back to riding the old twenty mule team gravy train loaded with the next endless boon of filthy lucre and roast pork banh mi.
He concluded, “All you have to do from now on is call for free delivery.”
“We can go on from here as if nothing ever happened.”
“A brand new robot will answer promptly to service your need.”
“Ah, thit cha.”
“Plus cha lua.”
“I’m glad we were able to have this little small talk.”
“That’s what win-winners are here to do.”
“You’re such a real bro.”
“We’re like so cool and chill we’re like the coolest organic cucumber picked by UFW labor in the San Joaquin Valley under the burning sun only short people close to the land can withstand.”
“My thought exactly.”
“Be sure to stay in touch.”
“Until the next time then…”
I waited a few extra minutes until he was out of sight before I found the perfect spot to bury my box. The ground was hard but I was tough. Because the next time is never too far away.