Poison Spur on the March

Last Saturday, I went on a pilgrimage to Kayo Books with my pal Betty. I hadn’t been there in over a month and was looking to pick up some fodder for upcoming reviews on the site. Granted, there were a number of books I already bought and had read but haven’t reviewed yet but I figured I needed some fresh source material just to maintain my sanity. Rereading Asylum – or Hell? proved to be a painful exercise and I felt no desire to repeat that.

I agreed to meet Betty for breakfast in the Tenderknob at 11 and stroll over to Kayo after. I woke at about seven and puttered around until it was past 10 and I had to jump in the shower and hop on a bus pronto. When I got down to the bus stop at 24th and Mission, it was just past 10:30. I figured I’d make up there in plenty of time since the schedule posted in the bus shelter said a 49 would come by every nine minutes. Well, I should have taken into account that this was Muni and while the posted schedules make for lovely decoration, they have little bearing on when the buses will actually arrive.

This left me a good 15-20 minutes to amuse myself by watching the sort of street life that congregates around that intersection. There were the usual drunks and crackheads shuffling along like extras in a George Romero zombie flick and the obligatory street preacher shouting fire and brimstone into a bullhorn in rapid-fire Spanish to a captive audience of none. There was also a Scientology table and I have to tell you, the booth babes saddled with working my neighborhood were a haggard and homely bunch. They weren’t as lumpy as Revolutionary Worker spokesmodels tend to be but if they roped in any recruits that day, it wouldn’t be because of their looks.

It’s hard to imagine how Muni buses have such a hard time staying on schedule, until you ride on one. Some of the delays are unavoidable. For example, it’s impossible to know beforehand how many passengers are going to be riding, which stops they are going to be getting on and off, and how many of them have mobility problems. Then, of course, there are the off-their-medication riders who pay their fare with nickels and dimes while insisting on telling the driver about the Secret of the Universe before finding a seat next to me.

In light of all this, I should consider myself lucky that the bus arrives at all.

When the bus had worked its way through the Mission and was crossing over to Van Ness, I got a call from Betty. She told me that she too ran into some unexpected Muni delays. She apologized profusely and I let her, failing to mention that I was going to be late as well. I can be a cad like that sometimes.

Eventually, we both got to the Tenderknob, ate satisfying breakfasts at the Grubstake, and then walked down Polk to Post Street and turned left toward my Mecca, Kayo Books. Betty is quite the bookworm but had never been there, so I took it upon myself to go on about the place at great length about the sleaze, mysteries, novelizations of “Kojak” episodes, and other treasures to be found on the shelves. She stayed quiet and listened, which was most unlike her.

My primary interest was of course sleaze so when we got there, I made a bee line to that section in the back of the shop. I had promised myself I would only buy four books that day. There was no point lugging around a huge load of paperbacks and cutting spending valuable drinking money just to fill my shelves with books I might not get around to reading for a month or more, let alone finding time to review.

While I try to limit book purchases to a few at a time, Betty has sworn them off entirely. She fears if she added any more to her current collection, the sheer weight would give way and she’d fall into the apartment of her downstairs neighbor, a registered sex offender with lots of back hair.

She chose instead to amuse herself by reading passages from various books that caught her fancy. She also livened things with impromptu games of Show and Tell, calling my attention to coffee-table volumes of fetish art stocked by Kayo, including a collection Eric Stanton’s work (which I already own) and of Tom of Finland’s (which I do not).

I took this as a cue that she might be getting impatient so I figured it was time to make up my mind and buy some damn book rather than agonize over it all day. I think I did pretty well. For my reading pleasure, I can look forward to murderers, a dominatrix, teen lesbians, and a hillbilly rape cult.

Life is good.

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