By Pete Moss
I am awake at 3 in the morning, almost always, cause it is my favorite time of day.
I am reading a story with allot of double and triple crosses, while drinking Mexican coffee with cinnamon in it.
I am wearing a warm sweater, cause it is cold and foggy outside the van.
My phone goes off.
It is Donnelly.
"Hey," he says. "Glad you answered."
"Can you get over to Oakland?"
"Yeah, I'm at Highland."
"I only got my bicycle. BART don't start for another hour and a half."
"What about your van?"
"It doesn't run good enough. Hate to break down on the Bay Bridge. I only fire it up enough to move it around when the parky pigs give me warning I've been in one place too long."
"It's Aunt Kate, she's dying."
I knew it. "Right now?"
"Yeah, her kidneys are shut down. The doc says she won't last another 8 hours."
"Shit. Well I'll be on the 1st train over."
"Thanks. It'll mean a lot if there's more than just me."
I get up and throw some together. Do you take flowers for someone on their deathbed? No matter, I don't know a florist open at 3 AM.
I ride over to downtown. The sidwalks by Civic Center BART station are actually kind of lively at 3:30 when I get there, what with the dope fiends and dealers and sex workers.
I don't mind the street characters. Until I spot Mindy. She gets on my nerves.
So I ride over to the 24 at 9th & Mission. I'm kind of hungry anyway. I order a Ham & Cheese Croissant.
Then Chalk walks into the 24.
"Chalk? God damn! Haven't seen you in a rat's age!"
"Is that you Pete?"
"None other. You still riding the cab?"
"You need a ride?"
"Actually....yeah, I got my bicycle."
"No problem, I got an Explorer, fold down seat and tailgate and everything."
"You sure no problem?"
"Shit I still owe you from that time in LA."
"What time....Oh, that time. I'm headed for Oakland, ok?"
"Yeah no problem. My cab is 2 doors down on 9th.
So I get my Ham & Chese and Chalk gets some green tea with those boba boogers in it. We go out and load the bike in the cab.
"Where to in Oakland?"
"You 'member Donnelly? His Aunt Kate is dying."
"Aw shit. You need to bring them some flowers."
"You think? On a deathbed? Anyway, where we gonna get a bouquet at 3 AM?"
"What? you forgot about the flower mart at 8th & Brannan?"
And barely 30 minutes later Chalk is dropping me off at Highland with a Gorgeous bouquet of lillies, roses, marigolds and some other blooms I don't the names of.