I always told him no one would ride in a black bus. Wouldn’t listen. Threw away his money to redo the fleet. Told him the bus came off like a hearse or some prison transport. Julius blamed the sun. Said he’d tinted the windows amber because people wanted to sleep between transfer points, cities where the railroad line dropped people off and where he picked them up. Places that were off the beaten track, someone running away from a deadbeat husband or on the way to rehab. None of that changed how the bus almost looked like a shiny beetle without wings. It was a free service. Julius was being paid by the county. Making peanuts. He kept telling me COB. I thought he had a disease, but he said, no, you idiot. It’s the cost of doing business. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m telling you the truth, I said, but he never listened, not until some guy bought a fleet of school buses from GreenValley District. The guy painted them bright orange and started to compete with my brother. That’s when Julius got another idea. He was going to design T-shirts so they looked like sweat was dripping beneath the armpits. I told him that was the stupidest idea I’d ever heard of. He said, no, you’ll see. People don’t want to work hard; they only want it to look like they do. Long story short. Julius sold the buses and made a fortune. Everyone thought the shirts were funny. The money lasted for a while. He never knew I had his back.
August 30, Oakland (Beast Crawl)
Sept. 13, Oakland (Nomadic Press)
Sept. 18, Berkeley (Poetry Express)
Oct. 14, Alameda (Frank Bette Center)
Dec. 10, SF, (Jewish Community Library)