My name is Peck. I live in Novato, Ca.
I am in Peet’s Coffee, the best coffee house Novato’s got. Everyone is happy and graceful, and there is always Mozart, or an imitator of Mozart, coming over the speakers. A lot of twenty-somethings like to kick it here, as well as many fringe-dwellers who are at a later station in life. I’m down with them all.
There’s a fellow named Mike , who works at the Goodwill donation trailer across the street. He tests the humor of his supplicants and listens to mix tapes all day. He plays like Mississippi John Hurt on his Harmony guitar, and has homemade tattoos. One of them, on his hand, says “Dream of Freedom”.
There’s another fellow named Brandon, who’s 25, a little younger than me. He’s sitting outside right now, reading “Another Roadside Attraction.” He makes silk-screen shirts, studies graphic design at ex’pression college in Emeryville. He knows everybody, because he’s truly pleasant. It’s a gift he possesses, and gives freely of.
Mike possesses Mississippi. Without meaning to, he lives like the blues singers. I possess a copy of Moby Dick, checked out from the Novato Public Library, across a parking lot and a creek from here.
Another guy, whose name I don’t know, was part of a cult band in the 70’s. They were called the Flamin’ Groovies. He’s hip and compact. I went down to Red Devil Records in San Rafael, and bought a Groovies album. On the front cover, in a group picture, with much longer hair, was the guy.
He’s right next to me right now, balancing on one foot, looking into the communal newspaper basket. I bring my own newspaper, because I don’t like to be without my options. If I want to switch from the front page to the horoscope, by God I will. But that’s my type. The other type, the basket type, seem to think that my paper probably came from the basket too. So they sit next to me, and wordlessly rifle through my stack.
Across the street, there’s a yoga studio. Occasionally, a yogi comes through here in yoga clothes. This could mean a lot of things, but the common thread is the pants, that show the exact shape of their buns. Whether this is a product of function or fashion, I care not.
Across the back wall of Peet’s, there’s a church pew. Right now, that’s where I am, writing the first piece of THE SNAKE. Welcome to THE SNAKE.