Jack Boulware

       The day already feels claustrophobic. Gotta get out of the house. I walk the several blocks to the ATM to deposit a check. Next door is a gym, where guys are always working out in the picture windows so all of us can see the spectacular views of their rippling deltoids and washboard guts. Since the gym is a few blocks from the Castro district, it’s guys only. Today is the first day I’ve ever seen a woman inside. She’s pretty buff.
       My friend Chuck calls from his trailer home in San Jose. Chuck makes a living doing radio interviews across the U.S., talking about his weird collection of strange and disturbing crap. His latest find is a facsimile of the original paperwork to authorize the dropping of the A-bomb on Japan, officially signed by the pilot of the Enola Gay. Some guy has apparently tracked down the retiree, who must be in his 80s, and struck a deal to have the duffer sign copies. I mention that this is pretty sick, and Chuck says, “It’s real sick,” with a chuckle.
       I go for a long drive around the city, listening to the new Iggy Pop tribute CD. There’s a surfer cafe down by the beach. It’s pretty quiet. One guy in a windbreaker sips from his cup and stares out at the darkening waves, two dogs lounging under the table. I ask the counter guy about all the incidents of surfers flashing skin as they change out of their wet suits, annoying the neighbors with their nudity. It’s been all over the news. He says he’s never heard of such a thing.
       I park at a vista point at the beach. Raccoons are digging stuff out of a garbage can. The sky is deep blue, but not yet completely dark. The fog layer drifts over the Golden Gate Bridge at a consistent height. A girl pulls up in a gray car, steps out and walks to the railing. She swishes her thick mane of hair in the wind like a perfume commercial. She also sways from side to side, as if drunk. In exactly one and a half minutes she is back in her car and driving off. Whatever it was that made her contemplate the ocean, she must have figured it out pretty quickly.