A Prelude To a Storm


The View From My Seat

Some days, when the sun hits the smog just right, San Bernardino looks like the burgh in My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to The Black Parade “ video –with the Broken, Beaten, and the Damned looking to spend their EBT cards. Today isn’t one of those days as the skies are blue for the Inland Empire 66ers Season Ticket Holder Breakfast at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, California this morning — season ticket holders show up, obtain their tickets, buy stuff at the team shop, check out their seat locations, and shoot the shit with other fans. No one but the employees speak to me because I am HIM.

I don’t run in these people social circles, which is fine by me. These people drive in a different lane on the freeways as me, and I don’t have a problem with that. It was not always thus, but this isn’t a time or place for forgiveness — this is a city in its death clutches, writhing like a hobo who decided to end it by humping the third rail. There is no saving the hobo, but he ain’t dead yet, and right now the electricity is FLOWING through that substance ridden body, making it do the Herky Jerky until the heart mercifully stop beating.

First person I encounter today is Sergeant First Class of the Wheelchair Brigade. I would bet the 66ers lead professional baseball in season ticket holders in wheel chairs because when the bullets start flying in Berdoo, they often hit spinal cords. I don’t know if SFC was shot, or he was in some sort of industrial accident, but he has been coming to the games for years, and he talks a rather mean game. This morning, he is charming the team store cashiers with a story from his days of distributing vengeance. The cashier girls are eating up SFC’s story –– whether out of politeness or the fascination of batshit crazy, I am not sure.

SFC: I hate the Quakes.

Cashier #1: You know, we are having a promotion where we are giving away Quakes’ toilet paper.

SFC: I wouldn’t even wipe my ass with that. I had to slash the owner’s car a few years ago.

Cashier #2: You slashed the tires of the Quakes owner’s car?

SFC: Yep. With my knife. That dude wronged me.

Cashier #1 (laughing nervously) What did he do?

SFC: He had me tossed from my handicapped seat.

Cashier #2: Why?

SFC: Because I wasn’t a season ticket holder.

Me (to the cashiers): Excuse me, do you have any shot glasses?

Cashier#2: I am sorry. No.

Me: That needs to be rectified immediately. Who can I talk to about that? (nods at SFC). How’s it going?

SFC: (silent glare as I amble off to talk to those in charge about shot glasses)

I don’t doubt that SFC slashed a tire over there, but I doubt it was the owner’s – SFC was probably tossed from the game, then just looked for a nice car in the parking lot and WENT TO WORK.

There is not a great deal of beautiful people here today at the ballpark (another reason why I am ostracized) because meth sucks the beauty of people real quick.  A normal looking family finds their seats a couple of sections from us – they must be from a neighboring community as the 66ers draw from population centers another than Old Berdoo, Newbies.

After the ballpark, we will be off to the Railroad Museum at the Santa Fe Depot. Once upon a time, San Bernardino won the rail wars with the local towns, and the locomotive gods awarded great prosperity. Governor “Old Honesty” Waterman and Sheriff  Burkhart stared down Virgil Earp and his railroad goons in Colton, the good old Fred T. Perris found a route to build railroad tracks through the Cajon Pass, and that became Berdoo’s trump card in the Transcontinental Railroad struggles.

This history reverberates with the 66ers — every time the local nine scores a run, a railroad whistle blows. “Sound The Horn” is plastered throughout the stadium and has become the rallying cry of the fans. Santa Fe pulled out of San Bernardino a long time ago though, leaving behind an enormous smokestack and museum that is often overrun with model train enthusiasts, who are truly sick fucks more co-dependent on oral tradition than even baseball fans.

Irony alert – Madman Ricky Lee Fowler , a convicted sodomizer, would start one of the most destructive wildfires in San Bernardino history in Waterman Canyon. Fowler, who was reportedly bombed out of his skull, had demanded meth money from a relative, and lit a fire near the relative’s house in retaliation for being denied. This fire was the last straw for many of the city’s wealthy, who abandoned Berdoo, setting the stage for RAPID URBAN DECAY.

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