I like a good crime report as much as the next voyeur. My tamer friends wonder why I have the citizen app on my phone, bleeping me alerts about the various heists, disasters and high jinx that make up the background hum of the city. I suppose I feel safer when I know what is happening around me. If you are aware, then you have some chance of not falling foul.
San Francisco has a particular edgy charm to its crime, a rhythm to its dangers and disasters that abides by festivals and celebrations. The great Candy cane Heist of Christmas eve 2020, involved a man using a sharpened candy cane as an offensive weapon whilst trying to rob a drug store, in a delightful tale of elf gone wrong, or tales from the North Pole, cops edition. There is Machete man who roams the same stretch of road, carrying a machete, scaring the daylights out of people, but never seemingly escalating to any actual cutting action. Should I ever come across Machete man, Ive resolved to think of him like a Batman on acid, SF style, or teenage mutant ninja turtle cosplayer. There is an alarming undulation of alerts telling you about shootings. Peep peep. It is also comforting to note, that in many cases people survive these seemingly random acts of violence, and end up with holes in their legs and arms, no doubt bewailing the costs of ambulances and doctors, drugs and surgeries.
Sometimes, however there is no such happy endings. Bullets fly hitting buildings by accident, drive bys and gang intitiations, drug crimes where gold teeth are removed as well as bags of cash, and sometimes what appears to be out and out warfare, make me uneasy. Still you get up and walk outside. You try to avoid the Tenderloin, and keep your wits about you. It is not nearly as bad as it might first appear.
Or at least I didn’t think it was, until I saw the Clown. Rainbow clown wig, disheveled, but firmly glued in place, tattered black pants, but a teeshirt that was paint soaked almost as much as blood splattered, and his face paint smeared across his face, not so much someone out for fancy dress, but more a man living and dying in the street circus of Union Square. Ill state for the record, I do not like clowns, I do not trust clowns I do not ever need to be up close to even the most innocuous Pierrot. To me, this was a nightmare made flesh, at 11.15am, on the cruel, crazy streets of San Francisco. I was not willing to suspend judgement, nor to hang around. I simply had to cross the road towards him, and give him the big swerve that I mainly reserve for nonmaskers, and pcp casualties. He lurched coke crazed towards me, as I fixed my eyes on Noah’s great rainbow, and strode purposefully past him. Lord, wont you buy me a Mercedes Benz, or at least make the buses slightly safer, reopen the cable cars, so I can skip through some parts of town by road not foot.
Of course he walked past me, on towards his next hit, and I power walked down the hill, thankfully downhill, back to the place I stay, threw myself in past the doors, capitulated to the huge standing thermometer in the lobby, wrote my temperature and times in the book, and flew up to my room, where I locked the door from the inside, heaving gulps of air, finally able to remove my mask.
Candy Cane criminals, the Walgreens of clockwork eternal robberies, day in month out, Machete man and the flaming poop bags, pimps and cars of people smoking from glass pipes, whatever man, whatever, just no fucking clowns, I beg you.