17 Engels, Marx, Mel Blanc’s mistress, Alley Oop

Ross Valley was the only homeowner under forty in Kent Woodlands that the old-timers with the really, really good properties didn’t call a little twirp. He heard that on the grapevine. It was flattering. It made him feel at home. The acceptance came for a lot of reasons, but one revolving in the superstructure like Twyla Tharp was the deal maker or breaker. Ross didn’t mess with the women, not their spouses, their daughters, or more likely, their granddaughters. He was between wives but not houses, and they didn’t begrudge him his “4 by 40” because he evinced so much respect for the latter. And he was friendly, like the whole world was when the old coots grew up. They always were glad to accept his drop-by invitations for coffee poolside – even their wives were were glad, and it glowed – because often there was a familiar covergirl or actress on the premises who was just as congenial as he. Some casual glamor, a touch of L.A. which was no problem for the old-timers because they were Californians, not one of the contemporary pinprick personalities all about the county.
Ross wanted to give something back beyond his fidelity to the original vision of Kent Woodlands. He’d kept the perimeters nearly what they were when he acquired the house. Some critical improvements, not enlargements, obviated the taint of petrification. But he was stumped. Ordinarily, he’d make the call and the Frisco Ninja would be on the case. But Frisco was busy with his mission of getting the straight women of San Francisco off their P’s and V’s – Prozac, Paxil, Valium, Vicodin, ad nauseum. Nubile in the crazy Members Only city, they walked around in a fog.
The phone rang.
“Thanks, be-a-b-be-a-be-a-bea-baby,” he smiled. The careful stuttering was part of the ride. His companion starred in a major studio film, just released, as Mel Blanc’s mistress.
He accepted the phone. One of his “ears” presently was sipping coffee in downtown San Anselmo, and listening to town talk. There was a baby who was a stone motherf_____ with a flyswatter. Like a little Alley Oop. “He’s the toughest man there is alive!”
Ross’s first thought was about the conversation last Sunday with old Mr. _____ and his lovely wife, _____. He thought, too, how the Frisco Ninja’s mission seemed indefinite.
The old duffer had gotten quite exercised, quite pointed, yet with certain nicety of form which respected his wife’s slight morning headache. The intensity in his voice increased, but not its volume, to not disquiet the basic assumption underlying the flagstone deck as well as the natural intention of roses, lemon trees, bougainvillea and the oaks near and around the pool: “Kent Woodlands’ Covenants, Codes, and Restriction’s are well conceived, very well written. But how are they enforced? That’s right. How. Are. They. Enforced. Period and punctuation point!”
Ross wanted to give something back to the community, to their respect for elbow room and decent taste; in short, to the cause of “the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms” not just “that single, unconscionable freedom – Free Trade.” Which latter the punks, with their 10,000 square feet proposals, rushed squealing to for help.
He shook his head fondly. “Ah, Karl, Frederick . . . the Kent Woodlands Property Owners Association needs you.”
His starfriend applied her fingernail lightly to Ross’s bare shoulder, like stardust.
“A penny for your thoughts,” she said, with no particular motive for staring besides looking at him and listening.
He loved her that moment for not trying to start a conversation about David Hockney’s show at the LACMA, as one of the provincials closeby yonder might. So far away, anyway. Here was a clear and beautiful morning ten miles as the bird flies from the Pacific Ocean, north of the Golden Gate.
“Andrew Guss,” he answered. “You might be hearing about him someday.” He knew it was already filed. None of the people Ross Valley counted on, even for pleasure, frittered things away.

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One Response to “17 Engels, Marx, Mel Blanc’s mistress, Alley Oop”

  1. MOD Says:

    Oh yes! I knew there had to be some movement into the Woodlands area. Nicely done. Smooth transition, and what dish! As before, I want more.

    I see the CA arc forming: Hollywood, K Woodlands and Saint Anselmo [with a stopover in Frisco]. Wow.

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