“So, what have we here?” Pete exclaimed.
Pete had encountered Justin, trailed by Nash, Stephanie, and Jordan, just inside The Connecticut Yankee’s short corridor entryway, next to a wooden shelving unit that held newspapers and flyers. He bobbed his head, birdlike, as he blocked Justin from moving past him in the narrow passageway. Justin bobbed back, in a more exaggerated fashion, raising his arms like wings.
“Hey, Inky,” said Justin. “How’s the old rag?”
“It’d be better if we had our cartoonist back!” barked Pete, immediately followed by a short coughing fit.
“Anytime you’re ready to show the male figure in all of its glory, Inky, I’m happy to contribute.”
“I don’t think my readers would appreciate a two by eight inch image of a schlong, if that’s what you mean,” Pete frowned.
“Just trying to be realistic,” said Justin. “And really, Sha-long? Is that a Chinese restaurant? Actually, shouldn’t I know that…” He turned towards Nash, grinning. “I’m Asian, right?”
Pete stared at Justin, and then sidestepped to Stephanie. “And who have we here?” he glanced at Jordan, and “and here?”
Rather than answering Stephanie tried to squeeze past Pete without touching him.
“I’m Jordan! Nice to meet you, Inky!” Jordan exclaimed, followed by a short bow.
“Pete’s the name. I publish The SF Lighting Bolt, San Francisco’s longest-running neighborhood newspaper. Don’t ask me to re-Pete it,” Pete bobbed at Jordan, who bobbed back. For several seconds no one spoke as the pair bobbed at one another, like two birds communicating silently.
“Uh, I hate to breakup this mating ritual, but we gotta go,” said Nash, pushing past Pete, bumping into Stephanie, which caused her to trip into Justin’s muscular chest.
“Wait, wait,” said Pete, staring at Stephanie. “I know you. You’re with that biotech company, one of the ones that wants to buy Chester’s property.” He swiveled his head towards the bar’s interior. “Is Chester here? Were you talking to Chester?”
“No comment, Inky,” said Justin, placing an arm around Stephanie, who winced. “Let me know when you’re ready to fight the powers of censorship!”
Justin opened the door, and the four crowded out. For several seconds Pete remained in the entryway, bobbing to himself. Then, he waded into the bar.
Each month the View publishes a chapter from Gold, a serialized tale of politics, capitalism, and corruption in San Francisco. Previous chapters can be found on the paper’s website, www.potreroview.net.