[Tom][Colophon][More Travel][Manual Control]


It's not just for breakfast anymore


Oakland, Murder Two

Rrriiinnnngggg, rrrriiinnnggg, 

"Hello? Heellloooo. Oh, hi......I'm sorry, what? Hmnn.....uh huh...yeah it's a joke, hey, hold on a sec..." Beeeeep, and then a woman's voice, "Please leave a message after the tone." 

Huh? I hung up and dialed Neil again.

Rrriiinnnngggg, rrrriiinnnggg,

"Hello? Heellloooo. Oh, hi......I'm sorry, what? Hmnn.....uh huh...yeah it's a joke, hey, hold on a sec..." Beeeeep, and then a woman's voice, "Please leave a message after the tone." 

That bastard. I wonder how many people thought it was really him on the phone. Well, not this monkey! I began to speak into the message machine; "Oh hi Neil.....what? Uh yeah....six thirty, she's really cute I'm sure she'll like you.....no don't worry about it....wait I'm going into a tunnel, I might lose you....." Click. I was hoping Cecelia, his wife would hear that one.

Next, I called him at the house. Cecelia answered. "Hello?"

"Hey Cece! What's up with you?"

"Oh nothing much, just making dinner."

"What is it? BBQ chicken?"

"Uh no, lasagna"

"Oh...I really like your BBQ chicken." Really, I do. I really do.

"Oh thanks"

"Don't feel bad about not making it tonight, I don't think I could make it for dinner. Anyway"

"Uh...OK Tom, maybe some other time, are you outside?"

"Yeah I'm waiting for a bus."

"What are you doing?"

"Well I was headed to the city, dinner, opera the works. You know, I'm a high roller, high roller waiting at a bus stop."

"I can tell. Hey Tom, I know you're going out to Sweden when your in Europe, so... go ahead and give Freda a call"


"I'll give you her number. You can go out with her, but don't have sex with her."


"Well, she told me she likes you and thinks your cute, but.... she's kind've, well, a dirty girl." Oh how awful!


"She likes you and it could happen. She has kind've a reputation for sleeping around."

"Uh, OK, sure." I couldn't think of anything to say. All I could think about was a beautiful twenty-two year old bad girl from Sweden that is attracted to me. I mean, gosh, she's even blonde! And here is one of her best friends telling me she sleeps with guys she's not exactly in love with. I was almost trembling. My skin was starting to bubble. A bubbling cauldron of joy.

"Hey, is Neil there?"

"No, he's not back from work yet."

"OK, can you tell him I called? Maybe I'll try his cell phone."

"OK, I'll tell him you called in case you don't get his cell."

"Oh, here comes the bus, Thanks, talk to you later."


I got on the bus.

The bus driver greeted me with a smile,  "Hellloothere, how are you"

"Hi, fine fine, how are you?"


I found a seat a little past the middle of the bus. I put on my head phones and KMFDM. We pulled up to the next stop and BOOM! It sounded like a car hit us, I turned and looked, no car. The woman across the aisle was looking out the window and shaking her head. 

BOOOMMMM! I saw his head outside her window. He was yelling something at her. BOOOM! He was hitting the bus. The driver pulled away about as fast as a bus can do things like that. BOOM! He stopped running after us. The people in the back of the bus were going nuts. I took off an ear phone.

"Shit, what the fucks up with that guy?" It was a guy in the back of the bus, asking the girl.

"I don know."

"What did he want?"

"Fuck, I don know, he was these problems and he takes them out on me."

"You know what? I think he's crazy."

"Yep, he's got problems and he takes them out on whatever's around."

"You know what he needs...he needs a job...and he, he needs to stop smokin that shit."

"That's exactly right, that's right, he's got these problems, doesn't know what to do with them, hands them to me."

"You his girl friend?"

"Not anymore!"

Well! I put my head phones back on.

It reminded me of another cultural experience I had in Oakland about ten years ago. I was eighteen. I was going to a show at a now defunct club called the Omni. 

Back then when the reast of the country had gone to twenty one, the drinking age in Oakland was still sixteen. That night my friend Doug and I parked kitty corner to a liquor store about ten blocks south of the Omni and I got out of the truck leaving Doug to his Fang tape which sounded real good loud. It was night time and kinda cold. I wrapped my over-coat in tight.

When I got inside the liquor store I noticed a rather buffed looking African American gentleman in a rent a cop uniform and mirrored sunglasses standing just inside the door. He had a big bobby stick. He made me a little nervous, so instead of a six pack, I picked an orange juice out of the refrigerated section.

I took it to the corner and handed it to the clerk. 

I nodded toward the security guard and said; "Is he security?"


I got my change and walked out. I was half way across the intersection when I noticed two young African American gentlemen decked out in sporting apparel run around the corner behind me. I took a couple more steps and then I heard someone yell; "STOP PUNK!!"

Punk is something I am still use to being called. I turned and looked back to see an older African American gentlemen, also decked out in sporting apparel, run around the corner holding a hand canon. 

I could see the gleam of the street lights on the colt forty five just before the discharge. BANG! BANG! BANG!

Everyone in the street was diving behind anything that appeared capable of stopping a bullet. A garbage can here, a doorway there. Everyone except one man, standing in the middle of the intersection with his mouth hanging wide open. 

That man was me.

To this day I don't know if he shot over the kids heads on purpose or not, but a second later both kids were over a fence and gone. 

The guy with the hand canon looked around quickly and then ran back the way he had come.

I stumbled back to Doug's truck. I got in and slammed the door.

"Man, did you see that!"

"See What?"

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