Aunt Charlie and Uncle Newsom

The opening strains of the Captain and Tennille came on, and oh lordy, was I ever gonna make Bubba wish he had never set foot in Aunt Charlie's. Though I am very partial to "Do That to Me One More Time" and could see making Bubba very uncomfortable by inviting him to do so, the song was instead "Muskrat Love." I don't know if you've ever actually seen a muskrat, but they are hideous — large, wet rats with gigantic yellow teeth and the frazzled look of something freshly electrocuted. Why anyone would assign an ode to one of these creatures is beyond me.

The best part of the song is during the breakdown, when the Cap'n plays the keyboards like he is a randy muskrat in search of his mate, making it sound all squeaky and bubbly. I introduced said part by saying, "Cue rodent solo!" right into Bubba's ear. Ed Gein put his drink to his lips and slowly shook his head.

Well, I thought, this is kinda dull. Usually my effervescent personality wins over someone by this time, but this was an immovable stone garden of Tenderloin mopery. Perhaps this is what happens to people when they feel compelled to go out drinking on Mondays at noon. Aunt Charlie's is merely a booze delivery vessel, not a place to sit back and enjoy the company and the music. Still, did I really want it any other way? How else should a bar open in the middle of the day in the Tenderloin behave? It was perfect.

I thanked the barkeep and decided to let everyone out of their misery by letting them get back to their misery. On the corner I passed a huddle of buyers and sellers. A woman — who knows how old or young she really was — was swaying in her mismatched Skechers, her pupils shrunk to pencil points and her arms badly bruised. She nodded at me as Gavin had done. Or maybe she was just nodding. I mentally crossed myself like a good Catholic and headed farther up the street toward BART.

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