Original framed Mask by Dakan – $2500




Chapter Two


“She walked up to me so gracefully 

and took my crown of thorns

Come in, she said I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.”


Saturday Morning around 9 am:


Once out the door and on the sidewalk, a breeze whips up the heavy raindrops, causing Lucky to turn his head away. He thinks maybe staying in bed would have been a better idea but then moves on down the road. He thinks about the would-have-been canceled parade, prancing down Burnside on his black stallion, a bare-chested Blackfeet warrior, leather breeches and eagle feathers, yelping war cries, how it would have turned more than a few heads. Today all heads are turned down, avoiding puddles.

Lucky dodges the downpour by ducking into overhangs and eaves, skirting the puddles and jumping away from traffic spray, thankful for his boots, his long coat and hat. The thinks of Fred Astaire’s famous song, “dancing in the rain.” It lightens his spirit for the next fifteen minutes until he arrives at the cafe.

Mary Jane’s Cafe & Bakery is one of Portland’s trendy old town neo-hippie eateries. For him it’s the best place in the world for a rainy-day breakfast. The cafe is packed, with half a dozen people waiting to be seated. Jill, his all-time favorite waitress, had anticipated his arrival by putting a reserved sign on the two top at the front window. The hostess points him to it. Jill left a note: “Lucky Two Crows. Master Detective. You can’t fool me.” He hangs his wet long coat and hat, sits, and prepares for great food and the un-orchestrated entertaining ambiance.

Jill appears at his table as if seeing Lucky there was a surprise. She sets down a full pot of hot Guatemalan coffee and pours him a mug. “Well, look who the cat brought in. What’s it going to be today, honey?” she asks, knowing he always orders the same thing, and the answer has nothing to do with food.

He starts in, not singing, just saying what was on his mind when coming here, “I’m laughing at clouds, so dark up above. The sun’s in my heart, and I’m ready for love. . .”

“Too easy! On a day like today! Dancing in the rain. Fred Astaire,” Jill answers, shaking her head as if he should know better. She graduated as a music major and music trivia is the game they look forward to playing. Lucky would start out with the first line of the lyrics and she would have to name the singer and sing another line of the song,

“I’m singing in the rain. Just singing in the rain. What a glorious feelin,’ I’m happy again. I’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain!” Jill sings in a voice only Lucky can hear, while twirling around once, and then laughs, charmed by what a flirt the handsome Indian is. Her reward for winning is the same big tip he always gives her. No matter what the menu price, she’ll write on his tab $15. He always leaves $20.

Jill excuses herself to put in his order for The Skillet, an oversized cast-iron skillet piled with tenderly cooked herbed potatoes, three eggs over easy and sautéed organic vegetables; rainbow peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms; the whole cornucopia, which arrives ten minutes later.  On the side are four thick slices of pre-grilled heavily buttered fresh homemade sourdough toast, with Oregon blueberry jam. This morning he has plenty of time to relax and take it easy; to think of another rainy-day tune. The downpour outside the window makes the meal that more delicious. The coffee tastes like black gold. He’s content, happy to be exactly where he is.

He thinks about his team. Surely, they have mixed feelings about the cancelled gay pride parade; disappointed not to be marching and yet happily safe and secure, inside and not out in the storm. The parade will be rescheduled. After the rainbow, the sailor boys in short shorts will spin their hula-hoops under blue skies that say, “You’re welcomed to come out . . . today.”

Regardless of the weather, Lucky figures his team will all show at work around ten, wondering about his Plan B. He has no Plan B. Only Plan A minor; to enjoy his breakfast, as he is, thinking of the lyrics to Stormy Monday Blues . . . “the eagle flies on Friday, Saturday I go out to play . . .”

But not today.

Staring out the window, Lucky remembers that when something doesn’t happen as planned, it’s always a good omen; a sign that whatever it was, needs more work. He now remembers Dylan while thinking of Jill, wondering if he can stump her with the first two lines;

“Suddenly I turned around and she was standin” there.

With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.

She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns

Come in, she said I’ll give ya shelter from the storm.”

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