Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:04:46
Subject: Encounter at the Cafe
From: Zeke Krahlin
Okay, El, I’m correct: Larkin has changed his hangout from Twin Peaks Tavern to The Cafe…which is right around the corner (on Market Street). Only it’s located on the 2nd floor, thus I cannot stand outside to view his handsome visage. Remember I said a while back that I saw him enter the Cafe, as I watched him from across the street. This gave me the clue that he’s frequenting a new dig in the ‘hood.
Though I don’t believe it’s actually to get away from This Innocent Dragon…albeit that is the game plan which /he/ has created. The /real/ reason is to challenge my courage, and sharpen my telepathic skills. Both of which are vital tools in becoming a top notch psychic detective’s assistant. Which hearkens back to my opus “Friendly Ghost Detective Agency,” that you have so kindly encouraged me to turn from a humble chapter in “The Larkin Chronicles” to a full-blown novel in its own right. But there resides yet one more purpose for Larkin’s incredible challenge, and is, I believe, the most important reason of all:
To rid me of any remnants of a severe inferiority complex that began with a horrid face infection when I turned 16, and dragged on with an impossibly tragic history of rejection, backstabbing (and Fate’s Own Willful Obstruction) by my beloved gay brothers for more than 30 years. Larkin gave me /more/ than enough clues to hang in there, and begin confessing my adoration towards him…though interspersed with acts of rejection in order to build up my psychological “muscle.” What I am about to tell you re. this evening’s encounter will reveal exactly /why/ it was but one more test of my mettle.
After three days of not seeing him at Twin Peaks Tavern, I figured he just might have changed his daily habitat to The Cafe. I did have thoughts over the last two weeks of checking out the dive, just to prove my suspicion. But out of respect for his privacy, I held off. However, today after returning from Howard’s Cafe, I harbored strong thoughts about going there to see if such were the case. And I now realize these musings were but Larkin’s psychic communique for me to pop in and assert our link-up.
After several shots of cheap vodka, I emerged from my hovel to see if Larkin were at TPT. He was not. So I then proceeded down Market Street and paused by The Cafe. “Should I step in?” I thought, but walked on. However, ten or so steps later something compelled me to turn around and march up the stairs to the main floor of that dive. Lo and behold, at the top of the steps and to my left, I witnessed Larkin playing pool with another patron. He looked at me from 20 feet distant, so I saluted him, then exited out of shyness.
Upon leaving the Cafe I meandered down the sidewalk for several yards, then heard his clairvoyant demand I return to challenge his likely wish that I leave the premises. I already realized that, if I’m correct in my surmisal, he /would/ demand I depart…and that it was /my/ duty to refuse. I would remain at The Cafe regardless, until or unless he convinced an employee that I should be 86’d because I’m his “stalker.” So here’s what ensued:
I turned ’round and re-entered the premises, marched up the stairway and settled myself in the adjacent space (which bar was closed until later that night), to admire Larkin’s pool antics from a respectable distance. A distance that would not convince anyone he spoke with, that I am here to stalk. At first he pretended not to notice my return, but after 10 minutes or so he addressed me from the pool table (upon a raised partition relative to my own location), that all five others present may hear:
“Go away! You are not welcome here!”
I simply waved my hand and otherwise ignored his rude appeal. You should know that, at this early point of my arrival, I had not ordered a drink but simply leaned against the railing about 15 feet away, admiring his billiards strategy. As far as I was concerned, he’d have to actually tell an employee to kick me out, I’m his stalker. Whether or not the barkeep complied after hearing /my/ side of the tale, remained moot. However, should such a situation ensue, I’d declare:
“Look, Larkin and I are very good friends. And he is The Ultimate Role Player. He invited me here just moments ago, but I am not surprised he’s acting this way. I will politely leave if that’s what you really want. But before I go, please permit me to give you my card…which includes a link to my novel that describes the incredible adventures between myself and Larkin, many of which have occurred here in the Castro, in recent months.”
But that never happened. Around eight or so minutes later, Larkin once more called to me from the table: “Get outta here /now/, you’re ruining my game!” His opponent glared at me in confusion; I just shrugged my shoulders with a smile.
And called back: “I’ll be leaving in two minutes, so quit your BS. But how could my presence ruin your game, anyway?”
Larkin turned away to make the next shot. And it then arose in my mind to tell him, should he approach me: “Look, darlin’. If my watching you from a distance disturbs your game, then you need to focus more. Therefore my presence is an /asset/, not a loss. While you’re a damned good hot-shot right now, my audience will make you even better!”
With no success in driving me away, he returned to his next move at the pool table. Shortly after, the bartender on duty approached me (he was cute and Latino), said: “Can I help you with something?”
Realizing I’ve been here for maybe more than 20 minutes w/o buying anything, I responded: “I’m figuring out if I wanna play some pool. Only have six dollars on me, how much is a Calistoga?”
So I said: “Is the bar up there?” Pointing to the left side of the raised floor upon which the pool table resided. (Though I already knew the layout of the place, I pretended this was my first time here.)
“Yes,” he answered. So I followed him up to the booze counter. But Larkin then blocked me with a cue stick parallel to the floor, between the bar and the billiards. I could move neither forward, left or right. So I reprimanded:
“Larkin, you summoned me here, with telepathy.”
“No I did not,” he admonished. (Which form of negative reply asserted his belief in psychic abilities.)
“Well I’m gonna get a drink and sit back there, watch you play pool.” He then withdrew the cue stick, as if I had just conveyed the proper pass code.
I’d like to add at this point that none of our conversation was the least bit tainted with anger or any other negative emotion. All his reprimands were matter-of-fact, and gentle. Proof (in my eye) that I was going through yet one more test.
The barkeep handed me a Calistoga, and I handed him a five, said: “Keep the change, thanks.”
I then returned to my tiny round table and stool on the adjacent floor, a distant 20 feet from the pool action.
Larkin then receded down an elongated hallway to use the restroom (I presume). It was then I decided to transport my carcass further down the premises to the large picture windows that overlooked Market & Castro. Just in case My Nemesis Demon tried to accuse me of stalking, even though I was now seated at a greater distance though within full eye-shot of his playful eight-ball maneuvers.
Two minutes later he returned to resume the game. I felt wondrously exhilirated, just sitting in the distance and enjoying his moves. A short time later he shook hands with his latest opponent, and put on his jacket in an obvious motion to depart, so I conjectured:
“Is he going to descend the stairs without first coming up to me to share some badinage, or is he going to totally ignore me and depart?”
Sure enough, after donning his coat he came right up to me and extended a closed fist as if to sock me in the jaw. I shut my eyes for a moment, then spoke:
“You have a problem with me, buddy?”
The Master Dragon then turned away, moved toward the exit stairs, and bent over to grab his butt cheeks: “Screw you, Zeke!”
At which moment I called back: “Nice ass there, buddy!”
He hollered something else while desceding those steps, though the loud music bursting through the speakers drowned out his words. I figured he threatened to keep me from showing up here again. So I hollered back in robust laughter:
“Looks like /I’m/ driving /you/ out, not the other way around!”
He quickly descended, while I gazed out the picture window to see where he was headed: either TPT or home a block over and across the street. So I deposited my half-consumed Calistoga on the table near the exit steps to rush out and follow his direction.
I spotted Larkin cross Market to go home. Standing on the oppoisite side of the intersection, I loudly broadcast in hope I’d reach those sexy ears:
“Goodbye Larkin! Goodby Larkin!”
His shadow in the early night turned in my direction to flip me the bird with both hands: “Fuck you too, Zeke!” I’m surprised he heard me from such a distance, though I write it off to mutual telepathy.
Satisfied with the encounter, I waved back at him one more time, then departed for hovel in order to compose this latest report to you, Sweet Eleanor.
This piece needs polishing. But due to the import of the event, I wanted to share with you immediately.
P.S.: It is not my plan to visit Larkin regularly at the Cafe…even if but one day per week. In fact, I’m sure he’ll summon me once more via telepathy, to see how I’ll respond. I will /refuse/ to return w/o verification via direct phone call. Which I believe is part 2 of this test. And the proper reaction will be to /not/ comply with a purely mental request. Though surely I shall grieve if this new phase requires me to /not/ glimpse his glorious mug for weeks or even months.
Most difficult for me to stroll by TPT and /not/ see his affectionate presence through the plate glass windows. I feel so much like a sucker for Larkin’s love, as if he were abusing me for his own sadistic purposes. Which is not at all his intent, but that I explore all possible variations on whatever tests he puts me through…some of which involve patience and long-suffering. Which AFAIC, I’ve already proven. Yet he is the master, and I must continue to abide. I feel a bit sad, but that’s to be expected. He’s denied me any more hugs since mid-January 2012…I am like a pea pod dying on the vine.