Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Adelbrecht was QUITE displeased. Things should NOT be this way! Ever! Didn't anybody respect the needs of raccoons? He grumbled as he put back the trash-can lid, and wandered off, kicking the banana peels out of the way. Life used to be so much better!

Years ago he had happily lived behind the walls of Sherlock's Haven down on Battery Street, where reasonably prosperous business-men had gathered most afternoons to smoke high quality cigars and chat. In the ensuing haze, nobody noticed that one of their company was short and furry. As long as he acted calm and rational, and had opinions that were well-founded, it did not matter that he was a raccoon on a high chair.
Those were the days! Good times, babies.

The only one who knew who and what he actually was, was the owner. Who, in addition to being a connoisseur and expert on all matters related to tobacco, knew the fish trade in New York inside and out. It was good to talk about seafood after hours, before one of them went home and the other retreated to the space behind the boards.

A good man. A good place. Adelbrecht kept away the smaller vermin and frightened off the anti-tobacco activists; they usually screamed when they saw him, and either fainted or started exclaiming loudly 'stunts your growth', 'makes you grow fur', and 'big bags under the eyes and a haunted visage'. He preferred it when they simply passed out in fright, as otherwise they just wouldn't shut up. He was the perfect height for his body type, his fur was entirely natural plus many of the finest naked people had fur, and those weren't bags but shade-appropriate dark streaks that softened the glare, precisely like a football player.

You wouldn't call a football player ugly, would you?

Well then!

When the old gentleman retired, he sold the store to a family of space aliens. None of the new owners knew anything about anything, they kept talking about dietary supplements, and the regular customers bailed out for Grant's on Market Street. Reluctantly, Adelbrecht followed them.
At Grant's he found the lodgings less agreeable, and there was a beauty academy two floors above filled with squealing wannabe blondes.
Who objected fiercely to the smell of tobacco.

The ladies of the beauty trade held their perfect noses high in the air as they passed, and consequently did not notice that he was a raccoon. He would've looked up their skirts if they hadn't been so unappealing. Even getting their attention with a huge cloud of Nicaraguan exhaust fumes wasn't worth it.
Very unpleasant creatures, so bloody intolerant!
Snooty stupidity is not attractive.
It's like rotten fish.

Grant's lost their lease back in 2012. He presumed it was because of one temper tantrum too many, but he didn't bother investigating the details. Before the doors closed for the final time, he had already moved three blocks away and evicted the clan of crack-addicted possums underneath the MacDonalds on Pine Street, just a few doors down from a cigar bar that had a fine selection of Scotch, as well as several excellent stogies.
It would be the perfect place! Bar owners are a generous bunch.
And one glass of singlemalt was huge! It lasted for hours!
Raccoons, as you know, are very temperate drinkers.
He could dawdle all night on one Bunnahabhain.

When the MacDonalds also closed down, that hadn't been a problem.
He simply moved into the basement underneath the cigar bar, which they shared with one of the restaurants in Belden Alley. It always reeked of salmon there, and both the bar and the restaurant didn't question him.
By that time they assumed that he belonged.
He looked and smelled familiar.

The problem, as it turned out, was the bachelor parties. Honestly, there is something fundamentally flawed with the idea of introducing a soon to be married man to all the subtle pleasures he is foolishly giving up.

Over the next few years several such pilgrims started coming regularly, to drown their disappointment at having married beauty academy graduates with big breasts and small brains, instead of the mousy librarians with glasses, dark dark hair, and enormous sparkling intellects.
At the cigar bar they found a welcoming audience.

Actually, it was a far from welcoming audience, but being too dumb to have noticed that their handbag obsessed bottle-blonde wives-to-be with the fake tits lacked an iota of sense (and had the personalities of iguanas to boot), they just didn't read that "oh really, do tell" actually means "piss off you sad excuse for a man" when delivered in a snarky growl.
Too dim, too self-absorbed, too brutish.
A dreary and coarse crowd.

Ex-bachelors lamenting their own misspending of youth and their wives' misspending of money were an incredibly boring bunch of people.
Even if they hadn't been tied to superficial dingbats, the brilliant librarian-types would have shunned them. Dull, especially when not suffering.

Junior stockbrokers and programmers should NOT have existential crises. They don't have the intelligence or soul for such things. The poor dears can barely even think! The Good Lord help us when they try to use words of two syllables.
Most brands of cigars have complicated names; more than two syllables.
Same goes for many singlemalts.

"I take one of those Eye-lessons annagluss Glem Fickle!"

An Illusione cigar, and Glenfiddich. An exciting combination of criolla and corojo, with a rosado wrapper, which lends a creamy finishing touch to what will be a most enjoyable smoking experience. Plus a superlative Speyside eighteen year old, aged in carefully selected casks; it has a fruitiness, and hints of herbs. Altogether a superior product.

Both of these fine things are wasted on mere wastrels.

Even more if they're Marketing types!

The week that Oracle held its big dog and pony show was horrendous. Both the bar where he liked to perch on the counter, and the restaurants in Belden Alley nearby, had been crowded with geeks and oafs, and the one time he managed to find a seat out of the way of wingtips and Italian shoes, he had been cornered by a self-made-miserable specimen who should have remained unmarried, a borderline weepy dude.
Who was on his fifth drink, and third cigar.

The man kept him prisoner with his tongue far too long. He didn't escape till long after eleven o'clock, when the ex-bachelor slid to the floor, slack and insensate, drenched in sweat.

As he scurried over the limp body, he wondered if there would be any food left at that place that did fabulous mussels. Or just maybe he could get the Fresh Malpeck Oysters with Italian Mignonette & Horseradish. Or the Monkfish Braised with Mushrooms & Cherry Tomatoes!
Halibut? Sea Food Canneloni? Seared Scallops?
Crab Claws with Spicy Cream!

Nope. No such luck. The eateries that weren't closed were still filled with Oraculists and sundry other industry types from out of town, and some of the waitstaff were clearly at their wits end. The likelihood that getting a table would require an hour wait or longer, and that then he'd finally only find a high chair near the bathrooms, made him decide to fall back on the familiar habit of his kind: raiding garbage cans for fresh bread and cheesy bits. It was desperation!

Sourdough or Ciabatta, and California fromage!

And perhaps untouched anchovies.

From a salad.

He had seen some other ex-bachelors at the restaurant that did 'basket o bacon', and the mussel place looked like a typhoon had hit it.
It is sad when dining resembles trench warfare.
No hope here. Garbage it is!

It wasn't. Distinctly not. The Oracle Openworld attendees dined on company expense accounts, and devoured every last morsel.

The garbage cans that normally smelled so rich and fecund were devoid of sustenance. Perhaps the restaurants had simply "harvested" whatever they could to put in front of the tens of thousands of Oracle and Java users, experts, and developers, in sheer desperation at the crowds.

Two hours later, Adelbrecht was having a last cigar, up in Huntington Park on Nob Hill, with naught but high-priced callgirls for company. Despite his stylish fur coat, they did not accost him. Many were too exhausted from the mob of Openworlders to even notice a short fuzzy gentleman, and the fact that his cigar was a Cohiba Siglo VI (hecho totalmente a mano en Habana, Cuba - quite a nice illegal smoke, and hard to find) made no impression on them whatsoever.
They probably wouldn't have cared if he smoked a Henry Clay.
He suspected them of dye jobs and silicone.
As well as horrible taste.

He had eaten at the hamburger joint on Broadway, the same one that Anthony Bourdain liked. Good enough, but some yutz had hogged the bottle of Sriracha. He would have liked to have an entire puddle of it on a second plate to dip the bits of burger patty and bun separately into.
Rip-rip, dab dab dab, chomp. Very fastidious!
A good hamburger always tastes better if dis-assembled into its constituent parts, then carefully torn to paw-size pieces.
That is the sensible way to eat it.
Raccoon style.

Huntington Park at the top of Nob Hill is a desolate place. During hot weather, the soothing fog doesn't roll in to blanket everything in a layer of gentle grey, and the smell of dog poo and urine is almost overwhelming. Locals walk their chihuahuas and pomeranians there, and sneakily look around before deciding not to pick up after Fluffy, hah!
Adelbrecht utterly despised them
Small dogs are incredibly nasty little brutes.
He'd like to dropkick one down California Street.
Or bounce it like a basket ball before tossing it through a hoop.

He imagined how ironic it would be if he were cited for animal abuse.

"That poodle was a 'toy'! Surely it's called that for a reason?!?"

Nah, the judge wouldn't buy it. The fine would bite into his cigar funds, big time. Not worth it.

Besides, the icky little creatures weren't the problem, their owners were. What else could you expect of people who proudly boasted that their beauty academy education had landed them a rich husbandish thing, or the middle-aged captains of industry who would buy nasty little dwarf-canine turd factories for their big-breasted blonde trophies?

Some of the Fluffies were actually rather decent, despite having all the brains of a bag of hammers. When appearance doesn't work in your favour, it is good to have tonnes of personality!
Oh, and a waggy tail.

San Francisco was no longer a fit city for a single raccoon. He wondered what it would be like to find a mate. A small dark-haired furball with a sharp nose. Someone who possessed the intellect and peculiar interests of a brilliant librarian, but shared the same bad habits as himself.

Cigars. Whisky. Seafood.
And snarky wit.

Maybe he should light up another cigar.
While he toyed with the concept.

Was the bar still open?

He wandered off, a small indistinct fuzzy shadow in a hot dark night.
A faint trail of fragrant leaves hinted at his progress.
Somewhere a mini dog howled.
Horrid chihuahua.

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