Fiction: Gold, Chapter Five

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“Oifff,” exclaimed Nash, as he pulled his keys and wallet out of his pocket and dumped them in a bright blue bowl sitting on the bedroom dresser. 

“Hard day with the mayor, or did you just celebrate your 80th birthday?” asked Justin, who was sitting on the bed, stuffing marijuana into a vaporizer.  “Or maybe that’s your mating call.  If it is, count me out.”

Nash grinned, reached into his other pocket, pulling out business cards that’d been thrust on him by City Hall visitors; what was he supposed to do, paste them into his Rolodex?  He deposited the cards, along with a handful of stray coins, in the bowl.  Mixed in with the change was a small, slightly bent, red dot.

“Come over here, baby, and we’ll make things right,” said Justin, wiggling his eyebrows.

Nash and Justin had met a few years earlier, when both were attending the San Francisco Art Academy.  Justin, tall, muscular, with a shaved head, had been leading a workshop on how Asian men were depicted in the media, particularly in graphic novels, which was mostly not at all. 

“Even more invisible in the media are gay Asian men,” Justin had said, looking straight at Nash, “I intend to change that, with my series of erotic graphic novels focusing on the adventures of Gasia, a traveling Asian-American homosexual who’s packing more than just a suitcase.” Justin paused and scanned the room, before resting his gaze back on Nash.  “He’s also packing a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Revolver!”

“He packing that in his front pocket?” a heavily tattooed student shouted, to a few snickers from the crowd. 

The workshop ended with a smattering of applause, followed by a mixer featuring Costco-sized tubs of Sabra hummus, alongside carrot and celery sticks and cheap wine.  Nash had found Justin locked in a small knot of students, which Justin dissipated with a few waves as Nash walked up.

“Packing a large pistol, eh,” Nash had teased.  “Subtle.  Very Dirty Harry, except maybe more Brent Everett than Clint Eastwood.”

“You no likey?” parried Justin.  “He leaned closer to Nash.  “I’m taking it all back, all of those nasty, naughty double entendre and so-called curse words the vampire overlords liked to use against us.  My graphic novel is going to feature the arch-villain, Fudge Packer, hard as rock, with a fist like a hammer; Fagala, the Jewish drag queen who loves ‘em and leaves ‘em…dead.  And of course Faggot, whose mere glance can burn a hole through your soul…or worse!” 

Nash felt Justin’s breath on his face.  It smelled like the future.

“You have a way with words,” smiled Nash.  “Though I do wonder what’s worse than a hole through the soul.  You any good at illustrations?”

“Oh, I’m graphic all right,” said Justin, pushing out his beefy chest.  “Would you like me to show you?”

“I’m all about graphic,” Nash had said. “Particularly if it comes with the right words.”

“Um, Mr. Hall,” a short, dark-haired student with gauged earlobes reached up to tap Justin’s shoulder.  “I heard your lecture, and don’t quite agree with your…”

“Disagreement is the heart of the dialectic process,” said Justin, without turning around.  “Excuse me, but this young man needs my assistance.”  He threw an arm around Nash, and ushered him through the crowd.

Back in the bedroom, Justin breathed out a stream of dopey vapor. 

“Ah, refreshed,” he said

An hour had passed since Nash got home from work.  The room was mostly dark; illumination leaked in from a streetlight outside the bedroom window.

“I thought you were going to throw a rock at that sidewalk lamp,” said Nash, sleepily.

“Well, I did throw a copy of A Thousand Shades of Gray at it that I’d picked up off the sidewalk, but it was too limp to do any damage.”

“Is that the weed, or is there some kind of reddish glow over there?” asked Nash, waving his hand towards the dresser.

Justin squinted.  “No, not the weed.”  He got up from the bed and stepped over to the dresser.  “What’s this,” he asked, the bent red dot inhis hand was pulsating a soft red.

“We have data coming in,” announced Stephanie.  She was standing in front of an array of touch screens.  In front of the technology was a plastic bobble head figure of Taylor Swift nodding rhythmically at a similar figure that looked like Cher, as shaped by the South Park guys.

“What is it,” asked Jordan, yawning.  “I thought you were monitoring the King of Siam, or some such grand personage.”

“No, this is from an unaccounted for sensor,” she said, tapping at the screen.  “Last used on the mayor.”

“Where is it now?”  Jordan stood up, stretched, and stumbled towards the coffee pellet machine.

“Seems to be in Potrero Hill,” Stephanie said, looking at a Google map filled with different colored specks.  She tapped some more.  “It’s picking up strong particles of THC, and something else…”

“What else,” said Jordan, over the low buzz of the coffee dispenser.

“I don’t know; it doesn’t seem to be strongly attached to any body part.”  Stephanie stared at the screen. 

“Spermatozoa,” she said, flatly.

“Sperm?”  asked Jordan, lapping at his café latte.

“Yes,” said Stephanie.  “It appears that someone just ejaculated.”

“You mean on the med-dot?  That’s gross.”

“Perhaps,” said Stephanie.  “We need to find out who has it, and get it back.”

“I don’t think I want it back,” said Jordan, as he leaned over Stephanie’s shoulder to examine the tiny red dot pulsated just east of Highway 101 on the Google map displayed on her screen.  “But I guess it’s not up to me.”

“No,” said Stephanie.  “It isn’t.”

Each month the View publishes a chapter from Gold, a serialized tale of politics, capitalism, and corruption in San Francisco.  The first four chapters are available in the paper’s November issue, which can be found at