This is what happened. I’m driving my car at midnight. I figure for a city that never sleeps midnight isn’t when anything dangerous is going to happen. I’m heading home. Where I’m coming from doesn’t matter, but in the interest of getting down all the details let’s say I was coming back from visiting this girl. Now that I think about it, everything that happened afterward could have been because of this girl. She spent the night fawning over me. “You are so smart,” “Where do your stories come from?,” “How do these ideas come to you?” were the phrases she kept repeating all evening. The light is about to go red so I speed up a little. For a second I debate between accelerating or braking. I accelerate. The next stoplight a block up forces me to halt. I lowered my window, put out a cigarette. I can’t help but notice a pickup truck with all the advantages of a green light going for it choosing not to move but, rather, choosing to block my path. Out comes this dude with a long weapon, very long. Actually, he wasn’t some dude, he was just a kid, and a really young kid at that, but in that moment I’m not worried so much about his age as about the weapon he’s carrying. As soon as he’s out of the truck, the pickup peels out. He comes closer to me and yells, “Out of the car, cabron!” Feeling a little nervous here, and talking to him from the car window, I say, “Gypsies don’t read each others’ palms.” The boy’s eyes get big like he’s trying to figure out what I just said. “Get in and toss the gun in the back before the blues get here,” I order. “No, no, no, cabron. Out of the car!” he says a touch nervously, while hefting his weapon, which to be perfectly honest makes it look like he’s a guitarist about to launch into a song. He points it at me. “Stop bullshiting. Throw the gun in back and get in. This one came with a prize. I just pinched it and it has a bottle of wine, but you’re slowing me down, and soon we’ll both be fucked.” The boy knows I could be lying, but a patrol could be passing by any minute. And upon seeing his massive firearm a shootout would start that would most probably end with the law’s bullets knocking him to pieces. Anyway, in case he wasn’t aware of this, I made him aware of this entire possibility. He hesitated, looked around, and saw his colleagues’ pickup was long gone. He doesn’t have many options. “Put the gun on the floor in the back so no one sees it,” I tell him as he opens the car’s back door. “Sit up front so we can chat.” The kid puts the gun in back, gets in the front and relaxes. Who the hell would have thought such a great night could be fucked in an instant, inviting a little narco to take a spin around the city. Though, truth be told, the night hadn’t been so great. Cecilia wasn’t the brightest, and she wasn’t one of those girls who tends to get cajoled on the first date. That sort of paradigm means shit to me. I wouldn’t have thought she was easy if she would’ve given in on this second date; what’s more, I wouldn’t have thought she was easy if we’d done it on our first. But no, she had to be tight like that, tight and dumb.
ZYZZYVA EventsSeptember 18, 2015
Fall Issue Celebration
Location: 7 p.m., Diesel, A Bookstore, 5433 College Ave., Oakland.
Description: An evening of readings from Issue No. 104 contributors, including Caille Millner, Mauro Javier Cardenas, Molly Spencer and Joseph Di Prisco. And featuring past contributor and special guest Kathleen Alcott, author of "Infinite Home." Free.September 22, 2015
In Conversation with Lori Ostlund
Location: 7:30 p.m., The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco
Description: Ostlund, an award-winning author and contributor to ZYZZYVA, discusses her novel, "After the Parade" (Scribner), with ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free. More info: http://bit.ly/1Js5VkLSeptember 30, 2015
Dashiell Hammett: From Detective to Detective Writer
Location: 6 p.m., Mechanics' Institute, 57 Post St., San Francisco
Description: A conversation about Hammett with "The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett" author Nathan Ward, private investigator David B. Fechheimer and The Dashiell Hammett Tour's Don Herron; Moderated by ZYZZYVA Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free to ZYZZYVA subscribers. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/1ERg09UOctober 19, 2015
In Conversation with John Freeman
Location: 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
Description: Managing Editor Oscar Villalon talks to author and ZYZZYVA contributing editor John Freeman about the launch of his new literary journal, Freeman's. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/1Oe2rH1
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