He worked the crowd and hoped to see the man who tried to kill him. Divine Fury.
May 25, 2013
A VG Serial: Divine Fury
Saturday, June 19, 2004
ENZO LEE ARRIVED 90 minutes early to wander around the staging areas at the beginning of the Pride Parade. There were a dozen guys among the early crowd dressed in extreme drag – boas, sequined tights, six-inch glittering heels and makeup in garish splashes of reds and blues atop a Marie Antoinette foundation. They happily posed for photos as they made the rounds. Among those in full costume was a guy dressed head to toe as a gentleman fox, complete with a jaunty hat, necktie and cane. Big Bird was there as was a fairly accurate rendition of Snow White with a couple of dwarfs.
Lee made his way to the side street that held the vehicles for the grand marshal as well as the local politicians who never missed an opportunity to troll their names, faces and families before any sizable public gathering. Their chariots for this occasion ranged from Model Ts and pickups to classic Mustangs and modern Ferraris. He found Harper’s yellow Caddy midway down the block. It was mainly distinguished by the four uniformed officers stationed around the vehicle, as if daring anyone to do more than admire the car from 10 feet away.
He spotted Connors on the sidewalk. She had a radio at her ear and was already in alert mode, constantly scanning the entire street as she talked. She gave Lee a curt nod as she wound up her conversation.
“Hey. How is it going?” said Lee as he took a position next to her on the sidewalk and joined her casual scan up the street one way, then across to the other direction and then back again.
“Hmmm. How do I describe it?” said Connors. “You know those old Pink Panther movies? Where Peter Sellers comes home and his faithful manservant…what’s his name?”
“Cato,” said Lee.
“Right, Cato,” said Connors. “Cato is a goddamn Ninja or something. And he has explicit instructions to beat the crap out of Sellers. Just jump on him out of the blue. That’s how I feel. Like Sellers, waiting to get his ass kicked.”
“Well,” said Lee. “It was pretty funny in the movies.”
“Yeah. Excuse me for not laughing,” said Connors grimly.
“I understand,” said Lee. “I don’t envy you. Believe me. So, I thought I’d just work the crowd a little bit. Maybe I’ll see something. I spotted him in the crowd before. What should I do if I see anything? Just call your cell?”
“Yep,” said Connors. “I’d give you one of our radios if I could. But you’ve got my number. Just use your cell.”
* * *
Johnny Tram and Tina Valdez met on their first day at San Francisco State University. They were in the same English composition class. By the second week, they realized that they had mutual friends – not a huge coincidence considering they both had been raised in the city. By Halloween, they were an item and seven months later they still were inseparable.
It could have been any parade on a warm Sunday in June, a month after their last finals and two weeks into boring summer jobs flipping burgers and selling cheap jewelry. It was just a chance to be together away from overbearing parents and have fun without spending their hard-earned money.
They reached Market Street early, coming in on the underground Muni. They walked a block down the route before they came to a two-tiered bank of newspaper boxes. They were in one big block divided into eight separate boxes, painted a dark green and embedded firmly in the concrete sidewalk. The boxes formed a chest-high bench that extended ten feet along the curb. Johnny helped hoist Tina on top at one end and then jumped up next to her.
He sat with his legs dangling down. She was cross-legged. Johnny slid his leg under her hers and gripped her thigh while Tina draped an arm over his shoulder. They laughed, exchanged kisses and watched the flow of people while the street got more and more crowded.
Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.