Chapter Forty

 S/S/Sensitive stuff

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“Whoever runs the 
table gets to play 
the tune.”

          “Sheeit, that Bird could blow, true school—know what I’m say’n?”  

          “Not like Saint John…”          

          “Whast alto or s’prano sax got t’do wit tenor, huh? Gimme some a dem damn chips…”

          “Awww, ’Trane went jumpin’ the rails wit his spiritify hip trippin’—just like Miles do.”

          “Thast whacked—Bird was cooked at the end, man. ’Trane was just leavin’ the station. Plus Bird cold attacked the sax, some baaaad-ass tone. But ’Trane caressed his horn like a lady love.”

          To my mind, what was hashed out, chewed over, was done, hunger aside. So sally forth, we did, as the pitched grind of that knife-sharpening wheel kept tune with the music now flooding across the Palace grounds. That truck-bed blade honer synched as well with the drone of a Putzmeister compressor pumping cold concrete into an imposing corner renovation, a pivotal house where Bay Street zigzagged across Baker—scaffolded to death, hard-hat zone, matching yellow Porta-Potties, locked and loaded.

          This three-plus story brickface behemoth looked defiantly out of place among the outer Marina’s codified residential architecture, a curiously darker toned fortress, temple to masonic tradition, tuckpointed to perfection.

            Further west of Baker, fog heaped more thickly over the distant Presidio treeline, backdropping this short, stately block of Bay Street—an orderly pride of more Spanish mission-style strongboxes and bungalows, alternately a wall-tight formation of off-white or pastel. Two to four stories, these once-modest stuccos reborn as trophy palazzos were more expansive than most other Marina District homes, and hideously more expensive.

Civil litigators lived here now, neighbors to investment bankers, cosmetic dentists, and elder surgeons who had laid their scalpels down. All were guardedly tending flower beds in the overhanging shade of their de rigueur red-tiled crowns and rooflines, flipping their charming cupolas, wringing hands heatedly in bay and cathedral front windows at the syncopated congestion below.

 “Lady? Talkin’ Pres, nigga…”

 “Pres, shit—Lester was too light in the loafers,” said another, eyeing a pair of passing holistic hookers, out here trolling along a lily-white walk of outdoor shame. “Playin’ his bitchy riffs…phrasin’ and sub-honks all over the road…”

“’Sides, William always had him by the sack, jack.”

           District homeowners could rightly fret over the usual parade of weekend tourists, let alone the JazzStreet gathering of today. Unsettling as were the double-decker diesel tour buses and their loud muralled advertisements, this over-amplified music and the aficionados it attracted were about as welcome as the annual Blues Festival over at Fort Mason Center, or electrified Dylan at Newport ’65. But there was no gainsaying the locals’ everyday view, how these stylish Mediterranean hatboxes and cash registers lorded, stood steady sentry over such normally placid, historically hallowed grounds. On the other hand, those East Bay gangers weren’t bangers at all, but a quintet from the Oakland Jazz Conservatory who made that quick Chestnut Street getaway because they were chasing after their equipment van. Beyond catching their favorite ’Trane, the brothers were preparing for their tribute to Sidney Bechet. Having got right properly down here in allegro time, they were chillaxing now, rolling up on this brassy, harmonic open-air bash. They’d spread out on Raider blankets, chaise lounges and stadium seats across the sunny lawn, with their cooler drinks, po’ boy hogies and big fat stogies—waiting out the set lists, livin’ largely oblivious to their sideswipe show back outside Chestnut Liquors. At least until the blue uni’s showed up.

That dented Isuzu Trooper was parked crookedly nearby. And damned if the SFPD badges hadn’d tracked them down, callin’ them out, on the cabbie, codger and trashed walker. Once the ‘Jazzbros’ were hip to the wipeout, they vowed to make it right, score the old man a new stick, and hand deliver it to him at SF General, directly after their revue, and would dedicate an encore. Case closed, the patrolmen copped a compensatory cigar or two on their way back to the squad car. Justice served or denied: whatever, I’d had my share of run-ins with ‘the street’ in the recent past–as in too quick to judge, sight unseen. And for sure wasn’t about to be yankin’ these bloods’ gold-plated chains over a tipsy old walker about now.

“We’re talkin’ pure pan modes and scales, Elroy—‘Trane’s intense three-on-one chord progressions, goin’ thee to flat nines, layin’ down sheets of sound…stone copa-SETIC…” With that, the Jazzbos were back to speaking a different, in many ways higher language: hard to decipher, yet they sure seemed to know their chops.

“Gimme Sonny Rollins anyday, sucka…Coltrane just riffed on for hours wid’ all them fuckin’ multinotes and turnaround three-measure lines!” 

Here, JazzStreet had taken to the park—the Palace of Fine Arts, to be exact. This scenic venue of the citywide jazz fest was devoted to something of a John Coltrane Memorial Sax-Off, with the likes of Dave Ellis, Dayna Stephens, Sherman Irby and George Coleman taking the Palace’s indoor theater stage by turns, taking the outside spillover crowd by storm via massive banks of stacked JBL loudspeakers.

 At the moment, the Ministers of Sound held sway, over from their Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church, running through powerhouse improvisations on Trane’s ‘Spiral’ and ‘Cousin Mary’ etudes. As we pushed further through the grounds, we could soak in Walter Blanding’s distinctly disparate phrasing and tone of haunting ‘Naima’ segueing into a nervy ‘Mr. P.C.’. These seemed to be but a few of what lounging, finger-snapping buffs called ‘My Favorite Things’.

“So, I believe I hear methodical discordance in your ‘madness’,” said Reese Paulen, the jazz rap not stir frying his veggies all that much.

   “Christ, who wouldn’t go mad trying to conjure up with a Mideastworthy resolution to that mess over there,” I refocused, dialing up the heat, while compartmentally harking back to L.T. and his devotion to the soulful beat. “But can’t quit now, not when we could be curing some cancer here.”

  “Hmmm, in some respects, that is music to my ears,” doc scoffed, tapping the flashing button on his earpiece as we moved on along. “Nevertheless, take a number, Herr Schweitzer, get in line. And bring something to read while you’re at it—something good and long, a real doorstopper.”

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           This setting had impacted us the moment we turned a corner into the Baker Street zag. After so many blocks of hard Marina District concrete, a flood of wide-open greenery came along garden fresh and iridescently inviting. Still, the rolling lawns and sweeping blue skies could only play a supporting role to the imposing, figure-ground formation presiding over it all. Here, now, rounding that street corner was like happening upon the Vatican after a parish of neighborhood chapels and chantries. Outsized, strikingly out of neighborhood scale, larger than life today, born of another place and time: Nevertheless, the Palace of Fine Arts welcomed us with classically open arms.

Palace of Fine Arts

           “Well, I’m not just blowing smoke about it.” The breathtaking scene allowed me to exhale,  collect myself, then soldier on, like when once forced marching through steamy Carolina backwoods on Ft. Bragg maneuvers. “Like I said, I’ve done some reading on this Mideast peace process, too—all the way to UNSCOP in ’47…”

          “Then you know what a Rube Goldberg deal that Partition Plan was from the start,” Paulen seemed to tune out the music altogether. “Yet one the new state of Israel could live with at the time. Alas, the same could not be said for the Arab League.”

          “But the General Assembly did have the proposed Jewish state go from a few scattered settlements to, like, over 50% of Mandatory Palestine,” I said, stretching some more at the small of my aching back.

          “Problem was the U.N’s working schematic,” doc said. “That calico map was shoddily drawn up with inscrutable borders, a crazy quilt of zones touting around one another. There it was, however, something to work with, including guaranteed rights and an Economic Union. So Israel signed on, even though Prime Minister Ben-Gurion really wanted the entire territory. Palestinians were lame-brained to arbitrarily shoot the plan down and start a guerilla war over itconniving Arab support or no.”

          “But Resolution 181 was a big concession to swallow overnight—leaving Palestinians barely 43% of what they’d known as their homeland. Upper middle class Arabs were ousted by expulsion orders and IZL/LHI intimidation, a newbie Jewish state getting most of the choice coastal lands.”

          “Look, I evidently want peace there more than do Palestinian Arabs, if you look at their self-defeating resistance and hostilities. All I see is utter ineptitude and intransigence on their part—the record speaks for itself.”

          We descended along a winding asphalt walkway, past alternately full bloom cypress and skimpy, propped-up sycamore trees, around giddy Euro tourists and timorous rubes from flyover country with pocket digicameras at arms’ length, framing fellow travelers in their viewfinders, centered against a backdrop of the mossy lagoon’s double kidney shape, its solitary bare-pipe fountain gurgling and gushing 20 feet straight upward in clearly recycled overflow, set against the Palace rotunda itself.

          Hungry sea gulls glided in like seaplanes for water landings behind a choral group gathered for a portrait against a lagoon backdrop, photo assistants fluffing blouses and re-cocking the horned alpine hats key to their local chapter shoot.

          “Dunno, doc, how can a two-state solution be negotiated when one side is always the hammer, the other the nail,” I asked, stabilizing, reconciled to nailing this approach down, pound it in firmly, for better or for worse. “Better yet, how do you explain Camp David, 1978? Arabs did shake on that, didn’t they?

          “Hmph, Carter twisted arms with a grin and a prayer to get that handshake photo-op,” Paulen said, looking my way as if recalling our CU-Boulder confabs back on the Pearl Street Mall. “That’s how I remember the Accords—such vaunted peace theater to force Israel and Egypt to finally play nice in the Sinai. Israel would not budge on captured territories, however, and look where it got Anwar al-Sadat.”

          Another sinewy young runner breezed past us as we pressed along the undulate walkway that followed the gentle contours of the Palace’s lagoon. Paulen looked to follow her sleek black swoosh, whereas I rather more focused on a scarlet-plumed cabaret dolly in a red and silver Folies Bergere bustier, vamping down waterside for her buzz-cut snap shooter boyfriend—echoes of an antiquated era, Coltrane or no.

          The brothers up around that park bench seemed to nod in agreement with my take on her somewhat provocative fan dance, particularly once JazzStreet’s live music feed chord changed to intermission. For a moment, I could almost see Janis up curbside, wailing, slugging Southern Comfort in fur vestments atop her psychedelic Porsche.

          “Egypt aside, the problem remains Palestinians, especially when you reflect upon what erupted in October, 1987,” Paulen continued, glancing over his shoulder at that runner’s fleeting contours. “A bloody intifada because some poor Israeli driver lost control of his delivery truck…”

          “Plowed into a Gaza refugee camp, didn’t he?” I re-engaged his steely stare. “Besides, Palestinians were already agitated over shady Israeli land buys and becoming prisoners in their own land—as in 200,000 in Israel’s jails.”

          “And you’re suggesting such accusations justified riots, tire burning and bomb throwing from Gaza to your West Bank and East Jerusalem? Let alone a misguided uprising by Arafat and the PLO that lasted six years.”

          “And you’re saying that grassroots civil disobedience justified sending Israeli forces out to ‘break Palestinian bones’, hit them with tanks, tear gas, stun guns and rubber bullets?!”

          But that gorgeous, hard-running distraction just left us dawdling behind a blue-haired local matron bent over, nosing her yellow wheelie walker, gruffly spreading bread crumbs from its metal basket, her wingtip heel-dragging husband at turns coaxing her forward motion, dutifully swatting away the pigeons flocking overhead. We veered impatiently into the next leftward curve, facing another, bay-ward flank of Mediterranean-style mansions across Baker Street, overlooking this entire Seuratonic setting.

          One after another, these were conspicuously more palatial spreads: richer color schemes, fine artier, go-for-baroquier facades, wider balconies. Broader lawnage was laced with pom-pom topiary and sculpted bulb-shaped shrubs; from copious flowerbeds figured by gnomish statuary, provincial flags poled up and flew on prideful display. Clearly impressive, to be sure—save for the tour buses.

sr dingbats

          “Well, at least Intifida 1 resulted in Oslo 1,” I continued, mood elevated by the splendor, however momentarily. “With Slick Willie’s help, that is…Nobel Peace Prize material, the whole bit…”

          “Clinton’s prodding and parameters is more like it, grabbing Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin by the shoulders.” Doc seemed marginally less enthralled. “All well and good, but Oslo commitments were no match for the ensuing political resistance and stonewalled negotiations. Despite Peress and Yossi Beilins best efforts toward Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian statehood. Those PLO hoodlums just had to engage the Shamir government’s peace overtures, and hold their own elections as a means of ending the violence. Instead, they refused to negotiate, this after the infamous Covenant of Hamas called for the utter destruction of Israel.”

          “While Israel refused to even speak to the PLO,” I countered. “So nearly 1,200 Palestinians end up dead through that impasse, along with 160-some Israelis, by 1993. But the stonewalling came from both sides, didn’t it? And once the far-right ultra-Orthos took peacemaker Yitzhak out, all bets were off…”

           A newly arrived Happi Trails motorcoach docked on the Bay Street side, disgorging a full load of hurried Asian tourists, who streamed down past strumming sidewalk buskers and the jazz crowd—itself now spreading thinner as those theatre combos took five or split the scene altogether. Taiwanese visitors filed toward the lagoon, multi-generations giddily taking pictures of one another, framing in a mid-pool fountain, or a number of those squawking green parrots that had landed on a thick clump of pathside bushes, their brilliant red heads pecking busily at the shrubs’ sweet white flower buds. Up on Bay, that pink and white tour bus idled in wait, diesel smoke spreading, nearby neighbors and that confab of jazz brothers fuming even more.

          “Still, Israel improved economic ties and began releasing 5,400 non-terrorist prisoners in May, 1994,” doc noted, with increasing agitation. “While the IDF withdrew from Jenin, Jericho, Nablus and Ramallah in good faith. Even Gaza, which Arafat took over. Again, with the concessions and accommodations, and what did Israelis gain in return?”

           “Another shot at Oslo, right? A rewriting of the Palestinian Covenant minus its vow to destroy Israel. More safety and security for Israel, protection of Jewish holy sites, tighter crossing points from the West Bank to Gaza,” I said. “So what was the beef?”

          “There was no proverbial beef, that was the problem,” doc sneered, with lectern elocution. “Oslo 2 is best remembered as Arafat’s folly. Palestinians never actually complied with major provisions on the Covenant or National Council, or accepted the Jewish state, so what was the point to it all?”

         “C’mon, Oslo 2 bought Israel some more time, settlement building-wise,” I cracked. “It was all a charadeland for peace became pseudo peace for more and more land. The West Bank map was starting to look like a sausage-mushroom pizza by September, ‘95, with Israel controlling its water supply. Without, that is, moving an inch on final status agreements.”

          Day tripping inner city kids streamed and screamed out of double-parked Ford Escapes and Chevy Tahoes, bounding down gently graded lawns, leaping over rust iron brown bushes and bristled, needly shrubs to water’s lapping edge. There, they tossed popcorn out to snow-white swans deep double-dipping into algae-filmed water. Brattier whelps reached on hands and knees lagoon-side to try grabbing the fatter swans and geese by their long, uncinal necks.

          The mid-pond fountain gushed and gurgled, yet often was paltry at best: a solitary pipe shooting reclaimed water feebly skyward, sadly stripped of the dancing iron maidens who had encircled it so long ago. Still, top billing undeniably went to the San Francisco landmark backdropping that fountain; the whole idyllic scene took me back to nerve-wracking lunchtimes at Chicago’s Art Institute, lost in ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’, pointillistic masterpiece that it was. Only here, a goulash of languages and the Palace de resistance could be chromoluminaried in, as well.

          “And yet PM Netanyahu deigned to sign the Hebron Accord with Arafat, face to face, in early ’97 –paying dearly in the eyes of his Likud Party,” Paulen went on. “That Protocol triggered 80% IDF withdrawal from Abraham’s very birthplace, a city Jews have lived in since biblical times. They’d incurred Arab wrath and pogroms over the ages, and now were an even smaller minority. Israel soon released even more Arab prisoners and promised permanent status negotiations. Did all that stop Palestinians from demanding 100% Jewish withdrawal? Hardly—nor did the attacks on Hebron’s Jewish settlers and holy sites end there. Wye River agreements yielded no better Palestinian responses a year later. Neither did Sharm el Sheikh in ’99, despite Madeleine Albright and King Abdullah prodding away, waving the bloody flag of U.N. 242 and 338. So how Bill Clinton thought Camp David 2000 would result in any more progress is beyond me.”

          “A little too little, I guess, a little too late…“ I struggled to process all that, swallowing hard, cranial muscles tightening, with torque wrench force, jaw clenching at the hinges, neck locking, scalp vice-gripping up and down around my fronto-insular cortex.

           “Still, you cannot deny that PM Ehud Barak advanced an earnest plan there,” doc said, as we walked further along the lagoon, pigeons scattering in waves. “He simply wanted to jump past previous interim agreements and settle permanent status issues, once and for all. What was Arafat’s response to this eminently fair two-state proposal? He threatened to unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood if all his preposterous demands were not met. Namely, a one-state solution, total refugee return and immediate Israeli withdrawal back to the green line—nothing less. In a word, hopelessness …the putative PLO leader was no peace partner, he was an obstacle who offered no legitimate proposal of his own.”

           “Arafat claimed the summit was premature, that he was being overly pressured, that Barak was just offering a warmed over plan that would deprive Palestinians of good land and water, and relegate them to cantons of territory under de facto lsraeli control. Lands divvied up on a 9:1 ratio in Israel’s favor, at that,” I said. Hopelessness? Hopeless to whom, hopeless for who, hopeless by who, for chrissake?

          “Barak was prepared to withdraw from over 90% of your West Bank, I’ll have you know,” doc stared through me again. “Moreover, virtually 100% of Gaza…”

          “Keeping about half of their settlements, which caused the bloc discontiguity Arafat rejected, while maintaining sovereignty over both sides of the Green Line, airspace included,” I replied heatedly, trying to articulate like he could, yet wondering if I was starting to wave the red, green and black flag my own self. “Aren’t those barriers akin to loosening the leash but keeping a tight grip on the choke chain?”

          Knowing better than to overpush a high note, I shunted across the walkway, plopped down on the nearest park bench, eyeing Paulen as he paced lagoon-side about the needled juncus rush, fiddling with his earpiece, either connecting with a cohort or shooting blanks to the breeze. It was getting so I was about going: No way, they couldnt pay me enough to keep this up. But ultimately unsure either way, I gazed squarely ahead, faced with the Palace’s iconic neoclassical rotunda, then doubled down despite it all.

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          Party to the Marina, yet a world apart: This mother of a monument must have stood 140 feet high, a circular marvel of soaring arches rising to a stone garlanded entablature, to a waist band of sculpted friezes topped by a massive coffered, custard/tapioca-colored dome. The Beaux Arts Palace’s centerpiece bore a weathered tawny patina, intricate 13-foot Latin vestal urned plinths basing tall terra-cotta support columns crowned with spiral ribbon-scrolled capitals. Dancing damsels, angels and centaurs cast in high plaster relief strategically shouldered a towering loggia originally inner paneled with allegoric murals and sculpture.

          “What more could Barak do, and maintain some semblance of security?! Besides, the PLO was demanding full right of refugee return retroactive to 1948, a demographic flood that would have doomed Israel’s character as a nation.”

          “Character?” I marveled at the sight, as though viewing the Palace for the first time—forgetting the personal…history. “Palestinian negotiators were thinking more about basic human rights and existence—reclaiming their lost homes and villages, based on U.N. Resolution 194.”

          “Barak agreed to fund refugee compensation, didn’t he? In any case, the principal couronne d’ epines was Jerusalem,” Paulen said, across the walk, paying the Palace little heed. “Arafat absurdly demanded that the Temple Mount and entire Old City come under Palestinian sovereignty. He was out of his keffiyeh…”

          “Aww, so do the Israelis, no matter what Barak put on the table. Witness their hold on the holy sites, East Jerusalem and its outlying districtsdemand the city as its sole capital,” I countered, gesticulating in kind. Arafat just wanted some real authority over their future capital in East J, not the contrived ‘custodianship’ Israel served up…”

          “Look, Ehud Barak cited Jerusalem as an international city then, and recognized that some partitioning of quarters so sacred to different faiths was inevitable,” doc replied. “The Israeli offer reflected those complex religious and historical realities. He acceded to Clinton’s last-gasp proposal on dividing the Old City and adding U.N. Security Council co-governance. It was Arafat who wouldn’t budge an inch.”

          “Arafat argued all the concessions were coming from the Palestinian side…even while he agreed to curb the violence, work to reel in Hamas.”

          “He was unwilling to yield on further Arab claims, much less final status issues—was just an empty military playsuit with plastic medals who made no concrete counter offers.”

          “He was an elected leader looking after Palestinian rights and dream of a state and better life, at least back to ’67 borders.” Yo, ease up—balance and perspective hereyou were even saluting ersatz Chairman Arafat now, or what?! There had to be an easier, less troubling way.

          “He was a ineffectual fraud bent on stalling and scuttling the talks altogether, rejecting the best chance the Palestinians had at an enduring two-state solution,” doc spouted, shaking his finger at me. “And yet Barak did give peace one more valiant chance, as the Bush Administration was taking over in 2001…”

          “You mean he desperately pinned his re-election on it, right?” Gettin’ to him, finally, there was that anger of his, bubbling up like untapped crude.

          Extending left and right from behind the Romanesque rotunda, in a similar creamy travertine finish, were the Palace’s spread wide muscular arms. Detached, slightly disjointed, these graceful colonnades swept north and south in a broad arc around the lagoon, supported by fluted Corinthian columns, now more or less as overgrown with low shrubs and climbing fir and sycamore trees, as was the rotunda itself. Capping the open-air columns’ lengthy cornice were a series of humongous stepped planter boxes, the four corners of which were adorned with ‘weeping ladies’ to water hanging vines, clear out to the colonnades’ angled, knuckled tailpieces.

          Tightly backstaging the Palace’s semicircle formation was a solid-walled gallery, science museum and theatre at opposing ends. I could now hear a Coltrane classic being outdoor loudspeakered from the latter during JazzStreet’s intermission. Over the squawking of famished seagulls, the screams of kids chasing after them, clearly and vividly reigned ‘A Love Supreme’.

          “Nevetheless, Barak saw to it refugees, repatriation, settlements, Jerusalem—everything was on the table at the Taba Talks.”

          “But you can’t say Palestinians didn’t come with offers of their own, despite Arafat’s misgivings,” I insisted, picking up again on doc’s sun-sparked sapphire ring. How reminiscently familiar, that blue-black stone and setting. “It wasn’t his fault we had a new president and Israel was facing its own elections within weeks. That the peace process lost its honest broker and Israel tossed Barak ballot-wise.”

          “His cynical rejectionism certainly didn’t help matters along. And although some progress was made on permanent status issues, time simply ran out, and he smugly walked away empty handed once again.

          “Close, but no cigars, huh,” I sighed. Had to get on track, or untracked, however that trope went…had to get with the goods and go… “Can’t lay all that at Palestinians’ feet though. Their negotiators said they just needed another six weeks to really finalize it…“

          “Meanwhile Arafat was cooking up a second intifada that paved the way for PM Ariel Sharon’s election and hardline clampdown. Barak and Kadima were goners, leaving Israel divided, left and right.”

          “But I saw where Sharon actually pulled the intifada trigger when he marched on the Temple Mount and declared Jerusalem Israel’s undivided capital. Arafat didn’t exactly fare well, himself. He could have faced a Gaza death sentence if he’d accepted one sentence of Israel’s Camp David proposals.”

          “Let’s face it, he had grossly miscalculated in the PLO’s suicide bombing of the Park Hotel’s Passover diners. Israelis said, ‘enough, never again’. So Ariel Sharon isolated Arafat in the remains of his Ramallah HQ. Yassir, that is where he took ill and deteriorated, prisoner of his own making.”

           “Until…”

           “Until a dead-cat bout with AIDs, or something like that, in a Paris hospital. While Sharon struck back against Palestinian cities and camps. There’s irony in there somewhere…or at least geopolitical karma.”

          “R-r-right, either that or a Mossadditive dose of Polonium 210,” I replied. “So since then, Israel has delayed any permanent negotiations for years, as their settlements have grown and grown.”

          “You’d like to think that, now wouldn’t you,” Paulen shouted after me. He squeezed his pocket phone, adjusted his earpiece, before turning away in animated conversation. “Wait…hold that thought a sec, Herbert. Soak in more of the culture here, why don’t you…”

          “Yeah, right.” Who needed this shit? I could just go climb the Lyon Street staircase, or count the steep 202 Baker Street steps back to Pacific Heights. Ugh, then again, I could have stood a bit more of a break from the housequake uphill. Besides, I could hardly stop our feint and parry-fest now. Trying to digest docs history seminarhow we got here was devolving into how we got mired here, basically wallowing in my default mode network. When all I was trying to do was light his fire. Just had to make sure it was on his time, on his dime. Whew, that music—uncoupling my train of thought. Whoa, dont go runnin off the rails again…yeah, blow, train, blow. “I’ll totally suck it up…sit here, figure the whole thing out…”

Care for more?

    Chapter Forty-One. Remedies and 
   resolutions volley about, playing
   the Palace to its logical coda…