Jeremiah watches and keeps the count; he has always done so.
Did you think Jeremiah abandoned his post after the last notes seeped out of the crumbling building and soaked into the parked cars along Steiner Street, tangled with the early morning feral cats patrolling Post? Walked away as if his job was done?
Foolish to think so.
On that first day after the SF Dark Star, Jeremiah slept late. He still had a “1” posted in the number section of the banner by mid-morning, though. This was his task; it had just begun and had been going on for quite some time.
He watched the city come and go, boom and bust: San Francisco was always beautiful despite her chill, and still gritty no matter how much cash flowed up and down Market.
Jeremiah watched men and woman fall in love, marry, raise children, die: all without an SF Dark Star and this saddened him. Would he be the last one left? Were there no more encores left in the evening?
He was there watching during the Big One, the 9.2 that broke and burned California. The Golden Gate was his hero: four cables snapped, that’s all–she braved the cataclysm and earned herself a scar. The Oakland bay Bridge, on the other hand, collapsed instantly. Thousands died in simply the most horrifying way you can picture. Jeremiah tried hard to concentrate on the silver lining
Keep the days straight, an eye on the horizon, an ear to the ground, a shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, nipples to the polling place: watch and keep the count, Jeremiah. Watch and keep the count.
There were men all around him at first and the guy selling blue jeans and white t-shirts must have been doing some business. And there were more men and more. And then there weren’t as many. Jeremiah had no idea where these men were disappearing to, but it must have been overflowing. Perhaps there was a Dark Star there. If there was, he would hear.
Jeremiah watched the men and women and children of San Francisco leave, supplanted by guys. Workers. Callow punks who talked about disrupting society. Jeremiah knew about disruption: the SF Dark Star.
Everybody’s going to want a dose.
The techies left right after the money left; San Francisco was ceded back to the whores and merchants who founded her and the city went back to smoking dope and sheltering runaways. Jeremiah liked it better this way, but he was not a critic. He watched, kept the count.
Jeremiah was there for the Robolution, when the city more than held her own as it turns out that anyplace built on a series of 20 degree inclines is eminently defensible. He was there for the Hobolution, when the homeless people started punching dicks for social justice.
He was there when the AI that runs the trolley cars became self-aware and the cars leapt off their tracks and started humping each other.
Could an SF Dark Star have helped ay of these things? Jeremiah believed so, but it was just belief. There had been so very many days since the last SF Dark Star.
There would be another, though. There’s always another SF Dark Star.
Jeremiah watches and keeps the count; he will always do so.