The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 126
Sybil had been there when I first got the news about the house. “Of course rents have gone up,” she said, putting her coffee mug down gently on the patio table, “but if you’d quit smoking…”
Me: I don’t want to quit smoking. You’ve SEEN me when I’m not smoking.
Sybil: (Laughing) Another possibility, then, is that I make the down payment on something and you pay me rent?
Me: (Astonished) Yeah? Wow. But… I’m an omnivore, remember?
Sybil: (Laughing again) Well you have to trade SOMETHING!
Me: But it’s the same kind of trade… look, if I wander off into the wilderness—if I do the thing that feels right—the trade is the opposite. Taking the cats to the pound, putting them in cages, letting them wait around to be murdered completely neutralizes it.
Sybil: (Her happy compromise bubble popped) Well…
Me: Yeah. ‘Well’ is right.
Still, she looked. Everyday I got email forwards of potential properties. I could smoke outside, she said. And I didn’t have to become a full vegan, like her, just a vegetarian. A reasonable trade, I concluded.
Most of the scattered little houses were off twisting, nameless dirt roads 20 miles east of 29 Palms in ultra rural Wonder Valley—the area I wanted to move to originally. Word through the real estate grapevine was that if you were ever going to buy out there, buy now. Why? Price war. Why? Because hipsters from LA were snatching up everything around, renovating, turning these dumps into Airbnb vacation rentals, quadrupling the usual profit.
As the gods would have it, one of the people doing the snatching was a former boss, Davis, whose more glamorous clientele decided to leave him and come with me when I started my own interior plant and floral design biz back in the mid ’80’s.
Far crazier and ironic, however, was what I learned through Liz: that her husband, Pablo, was Davis’ lead cleaning and maintenance tech.
“Dude,” I said, running into Pablo maybe a week later, “that’s just too weird, man, you and Davis, my history with Davis.”
Pablo: No, it gets weirder. I mentioned that you and I were friends, right, and—you know how it is with these aging gay guys—he kinda gets all pale and shaky, then he gets in my face, almost, and says: ‘Don’t ever say that man’s name again.’
Me: No shit?
We threw our heads back, cackling.
Strange, though, the relentless cycle, its unparalleled memory, the unhurried swinging of the Sacred Wheel.