I am at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC, and about 30 miles from the town where I spent the first 18 years of my strange sad life. Lord, am I exhausted! This flight was booked for me for reasons I don’t wanna get into, and I’m here or was here for reasons other I don’t wanna get into— but anyway it’s way to early, about 4:40 a.m. now, and never in a trillion years would I have chosen a flight this early for myself . . . and in fact I cannot recall the last time I even had to be at an airport before 10 a.m. or so. Maybe 10 years ago or more.

Well: I will be back in Oakland before noon, which is something, and a benefit of flying west . . . but I first have to stop in Denver, because Southwest always sends me to Denver.

For the last 30 minutes I have been sitting here at my gate listening to Boris’s FLOOD real low and mellow-like, and have noticed a middle-aged woman in a black cape-like outfit staring at me near the windows, and she’s partially hidden behind a column with a dire expression on her face, which makes the whole thing that much more ominous.

Listen: I’m not even kidding when I say that I am so tired and so ready to believe any waking dream-image that dips into my plane of being . . . that I went on believing for way too long that she was Death Herself here to put me in handcuffs and take me to the other world. My fever broke when her teenage son approached her and said “GOT IT MOM” and handed her a bottle of water. Thought I: Can Death breed?? Do mother and child work in tandem?? or is this actually just a creepy flesh-and-blood middle-aged human woman who has nothing better to do than to haunt some witless chump with her dark gaze?? It was then I noticed she was charging her phone using an outlet on the column she had been skulking behind. Ah, well . . . another mystery solved I reckon, and high time I phoned a good doctor— one who accepts Big Huge Piles Of Cash in exchange for a back alley lobotomy and a one-way ticket to a permanent vacation from this godawful nightmare!

We’re about to board. California! and Oakland! Hey, I like that place.