Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bwana Dick

First - there must be good coffee, yes, no matter what else, even before inspiration you must have good coffee and what Hemingway called “A Clean Well Lighted Place.” I’ve been anticipating this morning so I made some small preparation for it the day before. A couple days ago I found a used milk steamer at the Salvation Army for two bucks and it chuffs out steam like an old locomotive. And then there’s the creaky old Krupps espresso maker I bought in Panama fifteen years ago when I got my first ever paycheck. I set out my yellow pad and a pencil on the table. I love the simplicity of paper and pencil, like a musician tuning up a wooden guitar.

There’s a message on the answering machine. I hit the play button. I want all distractions out of the way before I seduce the Muse.

“Awhl – LO mate. Naw, it’s Mick ‘ere. Naw listen, you lit'el swine. Keith sez you ‘aven’t returned ‘is calls. You tryin’ a' make us beg, luv? Cos we won’t you know. But look ‘ere, we’re ‘avin’ a party nex’ week. It’s on St Moritz, 'idn't it. Kin you come? There’s these Brazilian’ girls, they’re just dy-y-y-y-in’ to meet you. I can't hold 'em off now, can I? No. So don’ le' us down. Now tell yo’ peepul to ca’ muh peepul, an’ just get on wih-it. Ta.”

Beep – a woman’s voice says “End of Message.”

These guys have been bugging me for a week. Mick wants to be my guest blogger, and he just won’t leave me alone. I promised Macca I’d give him a chance first, but since Jacko kicked the bucket McCartney’s gotten tied up in litigation trying to get the Beatles' catalog back. Mick and Keith got to wait their turn until I hear back from Paulie first. I try to get along with everybody but it’s a rough world out there.

Now espresso, the making of espresso coffee is an art and a craft. You must use whole beans. Not ground. Coffee goes stale as soon as its ground, and espresso in particular because of the high acid. You must use the Italian or Latin roasts over the French roasts when you can, and you must choose the beans that show oil present on the bean surface to expect the proper crema in the finished cup. First – we preheat the holder. I start by boiling some water in the microwave, there it is, and now the coffee holder and the one shot filter are immersed in the hot water to heat them while the old Krupp fires up.

I plug in the steamer and wait for the red watch light to go out on the side, there it goes, which tells you it’s ready. Now the beans go in the grinder hopper, a burr grinder mind you, not a low-rent blade grinder which grinds unevenly and can’t give you the genuine espresso grind. I give it a buzz with a number 3 setting. Below that it’s too fine, like Greek coffee, above it too coarse and then there’s no crema.

Brazilian girls?

Good, now I load the espresso into the holder, tamp it down tight with a twist. The twist tamper packs the grains and squeezes the air out. That will force the crema through the filter. Ronnie my huge old orange Tabby comes into the room and bites my leg to get some attention. I take out a little can of something called “Savory Salmon Feast” which looks like it might be interesting on a cracker with some brie. I load his dish and set it down and he settles in and starts lapping at it. Now the coffee. Now the moment. The scene. The Bean. The Buzz. The act of creation.

The doorbell rings.

Damn I’m losing time. Angels in Heaven gasp. The human race is waiting breathlessly for what I will reveal.

I open the door and there's that busty lemon tart who’s been lurking around the mailbox with binoculars for days. She’s wearing tight clingy suit slacks with a distinct butch tone around the cuffs and a low cut Vittorio Macchiato cashmere with a plunging neckline and a small turquoise pendant, calculated to draw attention to the fact that she’s definitely not wearing a bra. Either that or she’s trying to sneak a pair of cantaloupes in under her clothes.

“Yes? Can I help you?”

She looks a little wounded but quickly recovers her look of rich bitch vulnerability. “Don’t you remember, darling? Our interview?”

“Interview. . . interview. . .”

"You are C.Sanchez-Garcia. Don’t try to deny it. You are C. Sanchez-Garcia the greatest American erotica writer of the Twenty First century. The one who doesn’t do interviews but said you’d do an interview with me . . . under the right ‘circumstances’ was it not so expressed? Hmmn? Or were you drunk? How many Nobel prizes for literature have you won? Or do you even pay attention anymore?"

“I know you. You’re Vicky Vague. Vicky Vague from Vogue.”

“Britney Von Klockhammer to you, Boy Wonder.” She holds up her arms for an embrace and an air kiss. Its all so tedious, these people. When that doesn't get a rise, she leans on the doorway, looking petulant. I hold my ground and wait her out. She runs a forefinger up my T-shirt and glances down to see if it's having the desired effect. “From Vogue.”

“Come in, I guess.”

“Thank you.”

Hey - there's a camera crew behind her. That cramps my style with the ladies. “You don’t need those guys.”

“They’re union.”

“I’ll do your interview,” I say, running a forefinger up her cashmere and glancing at her nipple nubs to see if it makes the desired effect; it does. “But we must be alone together. Circumstances, as you say.”

“Oh, well then. As you wish.” She smiles wolfishly showing her back molars.

I close the door after her. She tackles me like a hawk nailing a bunny and wrestles me down to the carpet. In one tug she has the cashmere down and buries my face in the hot Himalayan valley of her bared chest. "Now! Here! Beast!" she yells in my ear. "You're mine - humptastic literary boner pony!! Ride me! Roman stud! Make me your love slave! Thrill me! Own me! Sit on my face! Make of me the secret love-whore of your next novel!”

Until she sees what her knee is resting in. “Ewww!”

It's an orange pool of undigested Science Diet and blades of grass from the back yard. Ronnie's doing.

“Yeah, that's just my cat Ronnie, that’s how he gets rid of hairballs. But let’s get back to that boner pony thing.”

“Real writers don’t have cats ralphing on their carpet.” She gets slowly to her feet with the dignity of an iceberg. I pass her a paper towel to wipe her pants off. "You won't see cats unloading hairballs on Updike's carpet. Charlatan!”

“Updike’s doin' the dirt sleep, toots. The only thing he’s banging is that big typewriter in the sky. What would you know about dikes anyway?”

She slugs me and tucks her breasts back in. "Real male authors don't own pussies– they stuff them!"

“Well, that’s all right.” I say, “Listen, I need to get this blog thing out. Coffee?”

“ I suggest you clean up after your cat.” She slams the door on the word "cat".

Alone at last me, Ronnie and the blank yellow pad which has begun to lurk.

But back to the espresso, the secret stuff of life. The brew machine is hot. The ready light is out. The interviewer is gone. All that's lacking is the inspiration. The revelation. The brilliance. The Muse. The Boner Pony. The Ultimate Validation of Existence. “The Work” as we true writers, we grimly serious writers refer to it among ourselves. The Work. We brilliant, but deferentially modest writers are reserved with the uninitiated - oh did you like that little piece? Really? Oh no, it’s something I knocked off during lunch. Just a scribble really, nothing at all ah hah hah - but amongst the inner circle of our sensitive kind we all know about - The Work. The Work is waiting. Yes. The Grimly Serious Work. Waiting. Okay. This is it. Here we go. Gonna work now. Gonna work on The Work now. Serious. Like any second now gonna work. So let's do it, okay. Okey-dokey. Working. This is it now for sure. I'm gonna do it now, see. I’ve got the pencil in my hand now. Any second gonna do The Work. Watch this.

But just one more thing.

I put a demitasse under the spout and turn the heavy black knob. At first nothing happens. Then a single black drip. Then a gloopy explosion that sends a jolt of lightning down the wall outlet. There's an explosion in the garage where the breaker panel is and a smell of roasting plastic. The wiring in the wall has caught fire.

“Come on Ronnie, got to go.”

We run outside and just after a half an hour the fire trucks pull up. Ronnie and I take a seat on the bumper of the pumper truck and watch them soak the last smoldering ashes of the walls as they fall in. St Moritz with Mick and Keith and those wild Brazilian Girls Who Are Dying To Meet Me is starting to look pretty good.

Next to me one of the firemen sips coffee from a Styrofoam cup. “Got any more of that?"

“Sure, kid.” He points a thumb at a big Coleman thermos next to a hose rack. I pour a cup and pick up a clipboard next to it. The Work. The Serious Writer can work anytime any where he finds himself. The True and Serious Artiste will not be stifled by circumstance. What’s good enough for James Joyce is good enough for me. I begin to write my blog.

"What's that?" says the fireman, looking over my shoulder, probably on the alert for lawsuits.

"In certain circles I'm a highly noted writer." I say. "I'm blogging for my legions of nubile female fans."

"Anybody I heard of?"

"C. Sanchez-Garcia, my good man."

"Kinda stupid name is that?"

"Guess you don't read much."

“Now, if you was Nora Roberts. There's a writer."

"Roberts. She's so twentieth century."

"Holy shit!” yells the fireman.

“Now,” I say, “I’m often compared to early Bukowski –“

"Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!”

“Yeah, well. We live pretty near the airport.”

“It’s a flying saucer! It’s a whole shit load of flying saucers!”

I look up where he's pointing. The common proletariat is always so freaked out by the small stuff. The sky is filling with alien spaceships. One lands on top of the smoking embers of my home. Sitting next to me, Ronnie watches for a moment and loses interest. He licks his chest. He's been around. He's seen worse.

The flying saucer opens and a thin green man in a silver suit emerges, stalking towards me on matchstick legs. “We saw your fiery beacon from space earth man!”

“Well, it wasn’t really meant to be a beacon.”

“You are C. Sanchez-Garcia, the world’s most sought after erotica writer, sexual fantasy object to women of all ages.” It was not a question.

“Guess you got me there, buddy.” I say, sipping my coffee. “What’s the deal? Book contract?”

“You must come with us.”

“You want to be a guest blogger? Take a number, bub.”

“Our planet is dying. We are abducting a few select males of superior virility and intelligence with high functioning verbal skills and a vast sampling of large breasted young women of prime breeding age to be part of our emergency program to re-populate our dying world.”

“No shit?”

“You were requested by our leader, specifically.” He hands me a pair of photographs. I whistle, I can't help it.

“Wow! Her?? Are you kidding with that shit?"

“She is the leader of our breeding program. She refers to you by her pet name for your unusual reproductive endowment - 'Bwana Dick'.”

“Jesus, I can't believe it's her. But I can see it, you know, it makes sense. She has that Spock thing going on when she wears a pant suit. What would Rush Limbaugh say?” I hand back the pictures. "When do I start?”

“The Swedish Bikini Team awaits you even now.”

“It’s tempting.” I look at the flying saucer perched in the smoldering ashes across the street. I look at my coffee. I look at my cat. “What do you think, Ronnie? You got anything better to do?”

He sniffs my hand. He meows.

Why not.

(Originally posted Novmember 11, 2009)


  1. “Real writers don’t have cats ralphing on their carpet.”

    I beg to differ. Mine did that only a few minutes ago.


  2. Mine does it all the time. I don;t know of any other animal that deliberately eats something it can;t digest in order to make itself vomit.

    I don;t want to get in the habit of posting previous stuff, but this one just fit the topic so well.


  3. The picture of the Bikini Team is the perfect finishing touch. This is hilarious, Garce.