Well! Sunday is my last day here in the great state of Virginia. Or didn’t you know? Through a series of strange coincidences, or whatever you want to call them, I ended up finding a basement apartment in the Oakland Hills. And because this is California, where there aren’t really any proper basements, and what with this house being set upon a hill—it’s not so much a “basement” as it is a lower floor built into a grassy hillside. In that sense it’s sort of like a hobbit house. See, my friend Leyla has inherited their grandmother’s house up there, and dear Mitch lives there as well, because of course he does. They have told me enthusiastically that I am more than welcome to live with them, and so how could I not?

FOR THOSE WHO CAME IN LATE: Mitch and Leyla helped me plan both the KERMIT FUNERAL and the KERMIT RESURRECTION. Here’s Mitch building Kermit’s coffin while Leyla digs his grave:

. . . and here’s Leyla (and Laura!) during the Resurrection:

The two of them also used to run PIPEFEST:

. . . and every Fourth of July for about as long as I can remember, I have gone to Leyla’s parents’ house for SLAUGHTERMELON:

(pictures by tombo~)

Point is, I have known those two gorgeous jerks for many years now . . . for about as long as I’ve been in Oakland, even. So why not dwell beneath them in a sprawling house in the Oakland Hills? The place has a fireplace, for god’s sake, and a deck overlooking trees and flowers, and so on. And when it rains, and there is mist in the hills, it looks very pretty. Nearby are a few parks, some of them quite large—and the largest of which has sheep living in it. It’s quiet up there and it is a good place to walk around at night. Yes, of all the ways I could possibly return to Oakland, this is definitely the best way.

I have my own entrance beneath the deck and everything, so I can come and go as I please. And two windows which point out towards the trees, and built-in bookshelves, and wooden walls, and a little office, and on and on. . . .

So Dante and I are leaving on a jet plane first thing Monday morning, transferring in Denver, and then getting in to Oakland at exactly noon. Mitch is going to pick us up at Oakland Airport and drive us up into the hills, which is a place I’ve always wanted to live, and now, by the grace of the Almighty Himself, I will. I have already sent myself a mini-fridge and an electric kettle and a coffee maker, because I’m going to have a little tea and coffee station (lol), what with my staying up until four in the morning, and not wanting to go upstairs and disturb everyone with my boiling water needs. Of course I have also sent myself three strings of purple Christmas lights as well.

And because I am absolutely insane, I have already rented a van to be picked up two hours after I get in, with which I will use to rip on over to my storage unit in Berkeley, right next to 580 and the San Francisco Bay, to finally retrieve my earthly possessions. It cannot wait until the following day. See, I haven’t had a bedroom in over a year. Not since February 11th, 2020, when I left Berlin! And I haven’t had a desk since then either. So of course I want these things as soon as possible. I have the van for three hours, so I figure I may as well ride over to IKEA and pick up a mattress and a platform bed too. I want to SLEEP in my OWN BED that very night, OK?

I’ll take pictures as soon I have the place set up. It’s gonna look real hot by next week. And once I have everything in its place, I’m going to order a 75″ TV and chill until fall. I’ll wake my ass up at eleven in the morning and put on my robe and drink coffee on the deck above my room, and gaze out at the mist in the hills . . . listen for the gentle bleating of sheep . . . wait for my Austrian passport to get approved . . . pull down my bathing suit and stick my ass out at the world. . . . You know, that sort of thing. What else is a fine American like myself supposed to do in these dark and final days of human civilization. . . ?

Come on up and see me sometime. Lord knows I’ll be awake all night, and it would be good to see someone again. I get a covid test every two weeks, so you know I’m OK. I mean what the hell. What do I even do? I live like Howard Hughes anymore . . . even more so than before.

Tomorrow I will perform the final ritual, which I do every day here in Virginia: I get coffee at 7-11 and drink it in the parking lot of the little square in my hometown, and then I drive down some country roads to just look at stuff as the light fades in the sky. I have done this about a hundred times now, what with my being here for three whole months. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I had intended to stay for six weeks, and now look at me. It’s not so bad. I got something out of it, I think. But now it’s time to go back to California, which is where I belong. Yeah.

It snowed early Thursday morning and all through the day, so last night I ate a gummy and got a cup of coffee and went walking near the place where I spent the first eighteen years of my life, and saw my old high school and the places nearby where I used to hang out. I wanted to walk around before the snow melted. I don’t know when I’ll ever see this place again, or why I would return. No one I know is here anymore and what family I had has either died or gone away. What good it did me to return to that empty place, I can’t say. And anyway it just felt like something I had to do, so I did it. It was very cold out and I heard no sounds other than my own boots in the snow. The sky was clear and the stars were bright. I took these pictures and then thrust my hands in my pockets and walked back to the car. Well, good-night everyone.