Sunday, October 16, 2011

When it's Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh

Robert Stanford reporting live, from the Modesto Airport Business District.




Thus the story so far….

So the flower shop across the street has now disbarred me from boutiqing1, I am quite sure. It is a combination of the words “kidnapping” and “extortion” that they cannot seem to get past.

Either that, or the older man of the shop is quite shaken, scared and all the more offended, after I chased after him one day, in a performance designed to dissuade those that would defecate along the back doors of the office. Perhaps it was a mistaken identity, but either way, a shortcut to where again?

But that’s just what happens when you walk out onto the stage of that kind of a reality. You just don’t know what you will find. What you will face. Many assumptions will be made of involuntary necessity of survival. Depending on the situation of course. Or not.

And in the seemingly newly dedicated way, the “Mission District” has set about building up within their few city block domain. King of the homeless problem. Expanding the detox center - new life for good people. Well “Praise the Lord”.

I wanted to get some pictures, but the abatement crew that came to abate the asbestos in the building ruined my best shots. Who do I sue?

Interesting, the struggles the Modesto Union Gospel Mission has endured under the felinity and circumspect attacks of the La Loma Neighborhood Association’s assault upon the homeless in a Melville storyline manner with Mike Moradian at the helm. No matter, though. Just another contestant for the Robert Stanford Local Celebrity Death Pool.

I even have it figured out what I shall stamp in blood red letters across his apple pie face. I was going to use it for Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Kenneth Tam, but thought better to bite my tongue for the time being, in favor of coming back later for Tam with some interactive video of a rape scene from the movie Pulp Fiction. Therefore, I find it comforting and satisfying to use it to brand Mike Moradian’s portrait - FAGGOT.

It would seem that the Voice of Modesto's very own Less Nesman, Emerson Drake, has left the building, never to be heard from again? It’s all hush hush and on the Q-T - like that police report the publisher filed on his laptop and precinct lists. I certainly hope that when I am old and decrepit, that I do not see middle aged men as nothing more than a group of juvenile delinquents that neer do well, not paying attention to me in my poli-sci class. Mindy should really put him in a home now.

And of all days to day. I cannot get the thought out of my mind of carmen, standing there, with the Modesto Bee in one hand and holding his weenie in the other.

Probably because he will be sporting a hot-dog cart at his makeshift Italian diner hustling for votes with party poppers and kazoos - complete with a coned party hat that is just 10 sizes to small for him……..it’s his birthday after all. Today is the day2.

Of course what do I know, if I were still in the running for mayor, I would probably be selling out gay hot weenies at the Brave Bull trying to makes sure the marriage equality vote knew I was firmly in their corner. I figure they would just go along with the rest. Especially after those weenies. I know Kasey would let me do a Donna Summer DJ session if I showed up in drag. Or not.

Walking around the corner the other day, suddenly everything became unfamiliar and dark as the wind blew about handbills of announcement that only jimson root could tell. And an old lady with large hairs growing from her chin looked up from the cumbersome misused baby stroller and cackled, “How cum yoo not in jaaayle?”

I said nothing. I just kept trying to wake up and then I saw him. The old man that had once been so friendly now peeked up and over at me as he scurried inside to the safety of his building to be warm and protected from two words - “kidnapping” and “extortion”.

To get to the Vietnamese refugee camp or home, I have to cross in front of the Modesto Union Gospel Mission. Tempestuous it is. Once having to walk home from work crippled by my very shoes, I limped across the fresh tarmac, yet stopped midway. I looked down and took off the shoes that tortured me so. As I looked up and over, I saw a young man grinning at me. Or so I thought. I did not have my glasses and he was far too away for me to see. There may have not been anyone there at all.

“You’re quite an interesting character.” The youthfully beaming apparition said to me. Or not.

“Yeah, why is that?” I asked sharply, as though I had several cars to be lubing in Brooklyn, all the while, proceeding to take off my socks.

“You just are. You work at that bail bonds place, don’t you?”

“Why?”, I hissed. “What do you want?”

“Nothin, I just….”, and with that I briskly stormed away from him, unencumbered by ill fitting shoes as though I was born to walk through the Modesto Airport District without fear of neither needle, metal or glass.

Tonight the Brown Shirt NAZI guards of the Modesto Gospel Mission were even farther away. To me it looked as though they were rising up, preparing to shoot me down with .22 cal. pistols and then proceed to call animal control for a “pick up”. Or not.

Maybe they would whisk my body into the building and feed me to the homeless. One could only hope, considering the five million dollars they brought in for the year 2010, the gruel they currently serve those unfortunate enough to have to endure the sacrifice of their very Constitutional rights for a partial portion of a disgusting meal.

Here. You can have mine.

No, no. I’ll be allright (live longer). Cigarette?

Ducking into the safety of the Vietnamese refugee camp, it is in and of itself, the perfect camouflage. The perfect cover. The perfect disguise. Where everyone knows your name. Well, my name at least.

“Pollo. So they away take the man and the girl?”

“Everyone is out now. Yeah. But it’s all political. You know. Like in Vietnam.”

“I not joking now. You need be serious. I worry about you. You be careful.”

“It’s all political. Seriously. Everything is fine - they are lying in the newspaper”

“You want coffee Pollo?”

“Yes, please. You know, I would love some coffee. Some coffee would be great. Thank you. Yes. Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee”

The Vietnamese Refugee camp is on the Yosemite Boulevard, which is just a fancy name for a short stretch of the 132 interstate.

And here, along that interstate in this God Forsaken valley is this place. A place where Vietnamese hospitality is taken advantage of as though it were franchised.

A refuge from the rain, the cold, your problems or the police.

Not from me though.

I saw her grinning twice as wide today, from in the back of the camp, in the kitchen. It was the Den Mother. “Hi Pollo!”. Obviously relieved that I was not arrested and taken to jail along with “the man and the girl”. “You OK?”

“It’s political. It’s all political. You know, like Vietnam.”

“Pollo!” The other one snapped, “We not from Vietnam. We Cambodian.”

“Same thing. I saw Apocolypse Now.” I said smugly, as though I was tossing imaginarily long locks of hair across my other shoulder.

“What? What Pollo?”

“It’s a movie. It’s about the war.”

“Oh, the war. I little girl then. That long time ago. You want donut, Pollo? I give to you.”

“He don’t need more donut. He get fat now!” The Den Mother said, upon coming across to the counter to join us. “You OK?”

“I’m fine. Really. And so are they. This is not what they tell you it is. It is totally different”

“You promise? You don’t want donut? I sorry for what I said. You not fat. You need more more donut!!!”

Our laughter chimed as a reminder to me that everything was meant to be the way it is today, despite how uncertain it might seem all too often. As though there is no use to resist and fight for the preservation of moments such as these. Right Here. Right Now - a refuge. A home. A place free from those that would enslave, imprison and kill us without any recourse to the law for us.

Just like Vietnam.



1. Sorry, it was unspellable.

2. Actually, I wrote that last week. So it’s really not his birthday today. And yes he is still alive. But I got fifty says he won’t make to election - ricket’s - they move fast.




Copyright 2011 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

3 comments:

wayne2008sblogsite said...

I enjoyed reading this blog. The Donut Shop I keep imagining this like on the M*A*S*H* episode with Koreans selling goods inside the camp, the stereotyped version of Asians which we Americans know so well.


I just hope I didn't read this blog wrong and you're speaking about the family that were killed by the gang bangers.

Robert Stanford said...

Yes, yes the donut shop - did the picture not come through? Now suddenly I feel like Johny TV - from Willy Wonka right near the end.

Yes - that is pretty much what I was going for - the mash episode - I had to put the picture in though - it was just too descriptive of the outer disguise, and also I did not want to be to "out there" to actually draw attention from the American's that this is in fact a Vietnamese Regfugee camp. In disguise.

I believe that this is the third piece of a set that I have been working on.

One of the other one's is called "Gentle Be The Night" and that has to do with the murders of the V's - and it also took place in "the vietnamese refugee camp" -

And the other one is "I Wish It Were Federal Friday" I did some others, I don't know if they are online or not though.....

Jane Mendenhall said...

I will never look at that donut shop again. Even though I have been there multiple times. I seriously hope that somehow by the grace of whatever it Is that is up there that ur books get published. I will be the first one to read them.