This week, a special birthday edition of FFO from T Fox Dunham
A 100% accurate account of his recent trip to San Francisco
A 100% accurate account of his recent trip to San Francisco
Mathew Louis Blew into San Francisco by T Fox Dunham
So Matthew Louis blew into San Francisco and cut off a CHP officer with his rusty Pinto after picking me up from the airport for my book release party. The greasy, hunched-over fiend drove with his knees, rubbing the steering wheel with his leather pants the way he’d rub the tits of an old girlfriend with a knee and leather fetish. He lit a new stogie and tossed out his old and soggy cigar, hitting the Highway Patrol’s windshield. The cruiser’s lights flashed and pulled up fast next to the Pinto.
“What the fuck?” Matthew asked. “This asshole wants to race!”
Matthew’s pet rattlesnake, Satan, shook its tail from its cage in the backseat. It struck at the cage, hitting its fangs, biting for me.
“You don’t race the CHP,” I said to my editor. “Either pay the ticket, or suck their cock on your knees like a praying priest.” I looked over at the cop. He’d shaved his hair and wore an eight ball tattoo on his gleaming scalp. The guy looked like one of those muscle-bound assholes who worked in an authority position just so he could fuck with people. At home, he probably had a dominatrix who paddled his ass with a police baton.
Matthew pushed the Pinto into the next gear and blew past the black and white cruiser. “He can suck this!” He passed a minivan and sped around the back of a truck, forcing his way into traffic onto the Bay Bridge. Fog flowed in, beclouding the city, turning the ‘scraper’s inchoate, and I wondered whether I’d also fade away, become less real, melt away into the mist. I grabbed the roof handle by the window and held on as the inertia threw me against the door then slammed my head into the seat. Blue-red lights flashed from behind us in the traffic, and Matthew clocked our speed over 100 MPH. “Suck my big Pulitzer pen! You cocksucking fascist.” He chomped on the cigar, not bothering to flick off the cinders, and brown juice leaked down his chin then mixed into the stray ash motes, raining down his leather coat and torn shirt. Matthew stank like a dead pig left to rot in the sun, and he didn’t bother brushing his rat’s nest hair, just let the greasy curls go wild. The thick and sour smoke burned my eyes, and I put my bandanna to my mouth. Matthew floored it. Traffic slowed behind us on the bridge, and we pushed ahead, nearly hitting a Harley. The CHP vanished in the traffic on I-80.
“It’s better to be lucky than smart,” I said.
“Fucking A.” He chomped the end of the cigar to a pulp. Saliva extinguished the soaked stogie, and he spit the checked tobacco wad out the window, hitting the guy on the Harley. The young shit gave him the finger. Matthew threw the wheel to the left, and the Pinto jumped the curb, hitting the biker and knocking him into the concrete barrier on the side of the Bay Bridge. The bike crashed, throwing the pilot into the wall. His teeth hit the metal railing, and a stream of burgundy blood mixed with white specs, the dude’s teeth, drained down his chin. Matthew cackled then hacked and wheezed from his emphysema. I’d been told my editor had lived at least forty years, but he’d lived them hard and raw, like Moses in the dessert for forty years. His vices had dried his skin to leather, and his right eye wandered, always searching. My editor lit another cigar. Satan rattled his tail in the cage.
“This smoke bothering you?” he asked.
“Too bad, pussy. I own your ass right now—your book. When you read tonight, you better kick their heads. If we don’t sell all these books, I’m coming for your ass.”
“I’ll kick them all in the chest.” I sighed and tapped my foot.
“Try the nuts,” he said.
“Men shouldn’t hit other men in the bullocks.” I played with the pocket-watch chain that dangled from my suit jacket lapel. I ran the chain through my fingers, back and forth, to and fro. Matthew growled then grinned, and cigar juice spilled down his chin. He raised his fist and punched me directly in my crotch. I moaned and hunched over in the seat. “Why in the hell did you do that?” I asked, still hunched. My balls throbbed, and a cramp squeezed my guts.
“You looked freaked out. Feel better?”
“Yeah,” I said. “A bit.”
* * *
So Matthew drove toward the Mission District, making his own lane down Market Street. Traffic slowed, oozing like mud flowing downhill. He hit the horn, and the Pinto sang high soprano. No one moved. Finally, he jumped the curb, gunned the car and sped past the traffic.
“Fucking losers!” he yelled out the window, and we drove by the vendors, the bank buildings, the skyscrapers and shops on Market Street. He turned back onto the street, and ahead, a green trolley barreled for us, riding the tracks with no possibility for deviation from its course.
“I ain’t moving, motherfucker!” Matthew yelled.
“Boss,” I said. “It’s on a track.”
“I don’t give a flying shit in a whorehouse bathroom.” The trolley rang its bell then squawked, crawling forward. I clutched the seat and checked the seatbelt fasten. We crossed over 4th street, and just before striking the trolley fender, it turned down the track onto 4th. The front of the Pinto scratched the car. “Pussy,” Matthew said, flashing both middle fingers. Satan rattled its tail.
* * *
We pulled up out front of the 50’s Mason Club where Joe Clifford and Tom Pitts waited. Will Viharo hung out inside, talking to his guests. Matthew yanked it over to the curb, into a NO PARKING spot and hit Joe’s car. He backed into the spot and aligned the Pinto so its ass hung out on Mason Street. I fled the vehicle, and Matthew got out, pulled up his leather pants, grabbed his crotch and took a swig off a flask from his pocket. He lit a new cigar and spit out the sloppy stogie onto Tom’s boots.
“Alright dumbasses. Unload the shit. And you’re buying the booze.” We looked at each other, shrugging, then we followed his orders. People who crossed the chief of Gutter Books ended up with slashed tires or in the hospital. One time, when an author defied his edits, he drove seven hours south to L.A. and burned down his house. He mailed the author the ashes of his manuscript afterwards. You didn’t fuck with the Führer of Gutter books.
We set up the book table, and Will and I prepared to go up and read for the audience. Joe carried in Satan and set the cage on the couch. The snake snapped at his fingers. Smoke swirled in the 50 Mason club, and the Mimosas flowed like toxic waste in Brazil. I finished reading the Street Martyr to the audience while Matthew sat in the back frowning and spitting at me. Will got up next to read from his book when the same California Highway Patrolman from earlier marched into the bar, pulled out his Glock and aimed it for the Boss. His eight-ball tattoo glimmered in the dim smoky light.
Matthew cracked up. “Can you believe this asshole?"
The Highway Patrolman fired, and the gunshot cracked the room, echoing against the walls and killing my ears. The Boss turned fast, and it flew over his shoulder. The officer fired again, and a bottle of rye exploded behind the bar. The crowd screamed. Will dove for the guy, but the cop aimed his gun low; Will backed off. The pause in gunfire gave Matthew a chance to act, and he grabbed the snake cage off the couch and opened the lid. He clutched the rattler by its head and yelled, “Meet Satan, you fucking pig,” then lobbed the snake at the trooper. The cop threw up his arm, and Satan struck him in his jowl, piercing his cheeks with fangs. He played rattle like a child’s toy as he pumped poison into the cop. The trooper collapsed onto a table, gun firing and lighting up the dark bar. Two chicks at the table screamed, and he reached to grab the table to help him up and instead grabbed one of chick’s dresses, yanking it down and exposing her freckled tits. She fainted, and the chick, the state trooper and Satan the rattlesnake tumbled into a pile.
“Shit, boss,” I said. “They’re going to come after your ass with a barbed dildo and some hot sauce. Mine too.” I knew they’d probably arrest me as well, and I’d meet with some accident on the way to the judge.
“Get your ass in the car, Fox.”
So we grabbed our shit, bowed to the ladies, and jumped into the Pinto.