3:00 A.M. A dense wet cloud grips the asphalt over an ancient marsh, the Marina. Mostly young professionals, fresh families, and a few original relics inhabit its Mediterranean row houses, white, yellow, blue, brown, and even an occasional pink or maroon stucco, four stories tall with ubiquitous sidewalks and protected back yards. This is a sticky dream for all those erector sets in the Midwest. A quaint, close-knit village surrounds a commercial high street with everything a small community needs, a grocer and butcher, a general hardware store and multiple pharmacies, as well as neighborhood grown restaurants and dress shops, even a smoke shop. Coffee bars compete with dive bars and lounges for the minutes between the nickels and dimes of day or night.
Quiet, the fog absorbs all sound like cotton candy melting in your mouth. Summer is the season of fog in San Francisco, and the late night carouse, revelers and regulars, locals and tourists, old money and barely dry follow the cycle of a monthly moon or paycheck.
Josie is making her way home from Dinky’s Bar on Chestnut. She’s full of pink ladies, gin and lemonade, and gravity is imposing its fancy on her progress. She lives on Divisadero in a small one-bedroom condo with parking. It’s fresh for the neighborhood; the Loma Prieta shake and bake, tumbled and burned the original 15 units. She paid cash from her husband’s life insurance. Six weeks ago, Frank choked from an allergic reaction to strawberries and chocolate sauce. The sauce was made with peanutbutter.
Frank’s latest pet, a 23-year old barmaid, sharp curves ahead with fresh tattoos, blue eyes, and an innocent eager glance loved to dress up for him in period costumes, hats, and jewelry. She wore all or one at a time, and Frank was more than happy to oblige and fund her. Frank was always eager with the opposite sex in whatever fantasy, as long as he was at the center. Champagne and strawberries, Frank licked the sauce off his pet’s surreal chocolate bodice. Her boss, one of Josie’s barfly friends of a friend, gave her the recipe.
Josie gave up policing Frank’s chastity, and was glad to have the time and budget to chase her own Eros, bartenders, dance or yoga instructors, tourists, conference attendees, or salesmen. If he is cute, and younger than Frank, any karma sutra is almost enough, including the prey’s buddies or pets.
Josie’s hickory walking stick is two-thirds her age. He’s tall, light and blonde, balding, and just got laid off from a Jamaican mortgage company. She stumbles and laughs too loud. He catches her as she presses her breast hard against his arm and watches his eyes light up.
“Fresh,” Josie pecks him on the lips, and rights herself.
She grabs his hand and wraps his arm around her, and places it on her round full bum. She twitches her gluteus as they weave-walk down Divisadero to her condo. Her red fingernails (a little too perfect) taps the door code, turns, and smiles at him. She motions her head and eyes toward the handle; a lady never opens a door in the presence of a gentleman. Stick opens the door and Josie grabs his hand and pulls him into the lobby. She pushes him against the wall and pulls his head down to hers, moans, and thrusts her tongue into his mouth. Garlic and gin, her hickory puts his arms around her shoulders and works his way to her ass. He cups and squeezes, raising her off her heels. Josie moans.
She grabs his crouch and he pushes his tongue into her mouth. A flush of pink, her hickory is breathing hard, and Josie grabs his hand and pulls him up a flight of stairs to her apartment. She pulses his lips again, as he clutches the nape of her neck. Josie turns and takes her keys out of her purse. Hickory swats her on the behind, and she giggles. The knob turns before she has a chance to use the key.
“Funny, I thought I locked it.” She says to herself.
“What JoJo?” He asks.
“Nothing, nothing,” Josie pushes the door open, turns around, and pulls him in with both of her hands, giggling. The room is unusually warm, and Josie wonders if she left a window open, because the fog has followed them inside. Shuffling backward, she leads her stiff hickory to the bedroom, and pulls him on top of her on the bed. She opens her legs, moans, and pushes her tongue into his mouth. He laughs and fights it back.
“Whoosh,” a puff of hot fog rises over them and Josie opens her eyes. She breaks off the kiss and focuses on the ceiling.
“Oh my God,” Josie says and turns in the direction of the gust.
“JoJo?” Hickory says, turns his head to follow hers, and his eyes dilate.
“No!” Josie yells.
Before she can scream, “whoosh, whack,” a loud gasp fills the room with a guttural sigh, and the steel bed frame cracks in two towards the floor with a loud thump.
Abby, the downstairs neighbor, bangs on her ceiling with the broomstick she keeps in her bedroom just for such occasions.
“Bitch,” she says and thinks, sounds like she broke her bed. “I hope she broke her ass.” Why the hell does she have to be so damn loud in the middle of the week? How does that skank cougar catch so many?