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 27, 2016
ZYZZYVA Fall Issue Celebration
Location: 7 p.m., City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Description: Readings from Issue No. 107 contributors Lori Ostlund, Austen Leah Rosenfeld, Ann Cummins, and Christopher Adamson, plus recent contributor Heather Altfeld. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/2b8t3O2October 5, 2016
In Conversation with Vanessa Hua
Location: 7:30 p.m., The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco.
Description: Hua, the award-winning writer and author of the story collection "Deceit and Other Possibilities," discusses her work with Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free. For more info: http://bit.ly/2auWKLhOctober 15, 2016
ZYZZYVA Fall All-Stars at Litcrawl
Location: 6 p.m., Dolores Park Cafe, 501 Dolores Street, San Francisco.
Description: Readings by contributors Earle McCartney, Caille Millner, Dominica Phetteplace, Octavio Solis, and Deb Olin Unferth, hosted by Managing Editor Oscar Villalon. Free. For more info: http://sched.co/7vp4
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