"Oakland, At Last (Chapter 1)"

-by Shayne Edwin

"Hey, you..."

A voice creaks through the grainy silence, disturbing Deth as he tries to sleep through the commotions of the city.

"Hey, you!"

Again, Deth is being summoned and while he knows it, he isn't very fond of the idea of waking up at this hour.

"Wake up, the world is at our fingertips!"

A small cat rests upon the headboard of Deth's bed. Not small like a domesticated cat, but bigger. And not big like a man or a young boy, just a bit smaller. Deth didn't know much about Oakland other than his name; which happened to be identical to Deth's hometown, Oakland, California.

Deth sits up in his bed, oblivious to the fact that it's 3a.m. and there is not a single shred of light in his room.

"Why do you do this to me?", Deth says rigidly.

"Because you need me, friend. We are friends, right?" the cat says.

"You know, I like to think so until you do things like this. What fucking time is it? Do you ever sleep?"

"No rest for the wicked, right? Friend? I've been thinking, and I'd really like it if you took her up on her offer. She was a looker, you know."

"Yeah, I remember. She's a looker and she's a very fast talker. I don't like fast talkers or talkers that throw their hands errantly around the room when you're having a conversation with them, doesn't show character..."

Deth stops mid-sentence, trying to collect his thoughts on what Oakland has just said to him, reveling in this quick instance of complete silence that only seems to happen but once a night.

"Wait," Deth says, "Why are you talking to me about this right now?"

"Oh, you know. I can't sleep, I don't sleep...what do you want me to say? You waste way too much time sleeping, anyway. You could be out there running around, kissing women, I mean, fuck, is there anything else more worthwhile?"

"Yeah, Oakland, you sleep. And you eat, drink, smoke and fight. That's what I like to call a night; I like to call that life. But I've never disturbed you when you're resting and if I have, nowhere nearly as often as you do to me."

"You know what, D.? You're not as fun when you're cranky. Can I get you something to drink? I think I'd like a drink..."

Oakland leaps from the bedpost, his sash flowing ridiculously in the wind.

Deth catches a look at the sash when he finally finds his glasses and switches the light on.

"Oakland...are you wearing a cape or something?"

"No," Oakland insists. "This is a sash. See what it says? 'Oakland'. Nice, huh?"

"A little over the top, don't you think?"

"Psh, you're just jealous you don't have a sash with your name on it, asshole. You know damn good and well you'd be getting so much pussy if you had a 'Deth' sash around your shoulders!"

"Whatever you say, Oakland. I'm too tired to argue."

Deth stumbles around his cramped studio apartment looking for his robe, a shirt, anything to cover his shame. He finds an old Talking Heads t-shirt his dad gave to him when he was younger and fights his way into it. He stares his apartment down with conviction looking for an excuse to drink.

Oakland calls out from the bathroom.

"Hey, D. Did you know your toilet's fucked?"

Deth knew. And he thanked Oakland for his assistance in this matter.

"No, I didn't. But that's just the kind of grief I need to feel right now so I can fucking destroy it with a beer or ten. Do you want one?"

"Oh, you already know!" Oakland purrs with confidence.

Deth sits at his warzone of a kitchen table. It's stacked to the bone with old newspapers, Time magazines, porn, coupons...the normal arsenal of weapons any honest, fun-loving resident of Oakland, California should have on their kitchen tables. Oakland hops onto the table, politely if not disgustedly, removing a magazine or two as he finds a place to sit.

Deth sips at his beer and starts to think about the last couple of nights he's had.

"You know, man," Deth starts to ramble. "The world is really against me on this. No matter what I do to get rid of something bad, boom, there it is again. Something newer, bigger, bolder to come right up and fuck me in the ass. It's fucking ridiculous."

Oakland, distracted by a copy of Perfect 10, tries to humor D. as he goes on about his various points.

"Dude, I know," the cat says insistently. "I know how you feel, and let me be the first to say, you deserve something nice! So take this phone number and do whatever you have to do to get your hands on this woman. She made you an offer and you should take it!"

"She didn't 'make me an offer', Oakland, she gave me her number and asked me to give her a call."

"Yeah, I know. But women speak in codes and I have it on good authority that 'give me a call' means 'fuck me...fuck me balls deep and with both your hands in the air'. Maybe that's just me, but I think it's worth a try either way. Balls deep or no balls deep."

"You cease to amaze me with your skills of chauvinism, Oakland. You're truly something else..."

Deth finishes his beer and goes to the phone. He picks it up, but no dial tone.

Oakland hops onto the window sill, "Oh, yeah, D. Your phone was cut off today."

Deth cries out a sigh of frustrated disbelief.

"Are you kidding me, Oakland? I gave you the money to pay for that three days ago."

"Yeah...about that. Turns out that landline phones aren't even that cool. I was talking to a couple 12 year old girls outside a school, don't ask me why, but I feel like the general consensus was, 'Hey, cell phones are cool now because it's not 1991 anymore.' So I took your money and bought that beer you're drinking, duh. Besides, we can go get a cell phone in the morning. You've needed a few upgrades in your life, anyway, D. And this is going to be the start of it. First, a cell phone...then, the world."

"I fucking hate you, Oakland."

Deth sets the phone back on the hook.

"I guess it would be nice to have a phone without a fat ass chord attached to it, huh? You're probably right, Oakland. Besides, I'd rather get drunk now and avoid responsibility and/or consequence that the future has undoubtedly promised me."

Oakland gets a big grin on his face, "That's right, D.! Let's have a drink. In the morning we'll go round up a cell phone and meet that girl, right? Some Cali-afternoon gangbang action?"

D. laughs, shaking his head.

"I fucking hate you, Oakland."

Deth walks to the bathroom to let go of some of his aggression only to remember that his bathroom is on the fritz.

"God. Damn. It.", Deth sighed.