Pictured: two young men who will never, ever get laid again.
This is some fine tobacco. I have been smoking it all afternoon and into this deep dark Oakland night. No snow tonight—no, they say it will never come. For god’s sake, why would it?
We have been warped on guerrilla sake and fermented arugula for days now. The tobacco is a new addition. John picked it up this afternoon on his way through Berkeley, from a tobacconist who will not allow us to smoke inside. That’s just the way it is in that godforsaken city, and we’re not going to challenge them. Hell, if we did, they’d have us in the lotus position with pistols pointed at our heads for the rest of our lives. We’d be dead men, for all intents and purposes. So we don’t question the rules: we take the money and we run.
In this case the money was tobacco.
In Virginia, where we were born and figured things out, tobacco is king. Always has been.
Last night, our kinsfolk collected us from this dark place where we dwell and took us to a fine new eatery on San Pablo Avenue. They had met the owners (we think (if it actually happened, we have chosen to believe them)), at a wine tasting in Napa Valley. The owners had said, “Come on by.” And so, hours after we had drunk the last drop of whisky we had in the place, we took a handful of barbiturates (god knows which) and were whisked away, not far south, to Uptown, which for some is a nice enough place, and for others is an invasive tumor which Oakland is sick with all over.
Maybe none of that happened. We did go to a restaurant. We’re sure of that part. It was called Mockingbird, and the decor was bright and crisp and the menu was small and probably perfect. It felt strange though, sitting there a few blocks from the Greyhound station where a man in terrible sunglasses had once asked me for $37 US dollars so he could get to Las Vegas. Another time I’m pretty sure I witnessed a birth on that sidewalk. I was on my bicycle, going someplace on an important errand (always important), at 15 mph, so maybe it was a mock-birth. It’s Oakland, man. Who knows.
Things are changing, I reckon. Mockingbird is new and beautiful. I am glad it exists.
I myself puff had the house pasta, which was good fun. John had strips of something—an animal, maybe, not too long ago—and the best-tasting French fries a man could ever hope for. Everyone except me drank merrily from the wine that had been hand-selected, days earlier, from a winery in Napa Valley—and I sipped a tall glass of water and pawed at the black rings under my eyes with whatever free hand I had available.
Pictures were taken for the matriarch in the east. John and I were caught off guard; the night was getting colder and our minds were dim. So we posed naturally, which is to say we didn’t pose at all, leading to the abomination you see at the top of this post. We look like a couple of psychos who live off caffeine and stay up until 5 am every single god darn night.
In all likelihood, no sensible person will ever love either of us again. Especially if they’ve seen this picture. Our future was already doomed and I have doomed us further (and faster) with its publication.
It’s a damn funny place, this world.
Mockingbird is great. Try their desserts.