Jeff helped Minerva find some fruit, bread and cheese, while Doff contemplated waking up his sleeping companion. After a while, when Sammy snored so loudly that he startled himself and rolled over, Doff took advantage of the moment to push him all the way over, and continue rolling him across the floor. Sammy, prodigious sleeper that he was, did not wake up, and ended up lying on a large blanket that someone had stretched out on the floor next to the couch. Jeff, who had come back from the kitchen to see what had happened, hatched an idea, recruiting Doff and the two remaining guests to help him.
Heavy as he was, Sammy proved challenging yet possible to lift from the floor when each of the four lifters held a corner of the blanket. After some good-natured rolling back and forth, with no result, the four blanket-holders began some increasingly aggressive tossing of Sammy’s natural form in all its glory, a tossing that stretched the blanket’s fibers as much as it sapped the strength and strained the credulity of the tossers. When Sammy finally did wake up, he was in a very foul mood indeed.
“I was better left alone,” Sammy complained, “but as it was, more force was needed in the tossing. After all, if you are wearing shoes, you don’t fear the thorns, as they say, but my poor, sore, bare pompis cringed from fear of the floor, which they kissed through the blanket a little too often.”
“Next time, friend,” chuckled Doff de Chonez, “eat less and sleep less, for you have but one life to live naked.”
“It’s true,” replied Sammy, “but I also have but one butt, and between one buttock and the other, I’d better stay buttoned together.”
Minerva and the rest of the late-night revelers found mirth and delight in the banter between the two nudists-errant, and after a fresh and filling breakfast, the general spirits of the group were much elevated.
By that point, Eric had returned, and so our nudist heroes took their leave of Minerva and the others, and piled into Eric’s tiny two-door hatchback along with Jeff, dressed in his barista uniform, who sat up front with Eric. But just as they were pulling away, Minerva came running to the car with a bundle in her arms.
“Here,” she said. “The nude dudes will need these.” She passed through the window two large bright pink towels, nicely folded, that she had no doubt retrieved from the closet of her ex’s new partner’s sister.
“Thanks,” said Eric, passing the towels to Doff de Chonez and Sammy Panzov, and instructing them to sit on them, which they did, even though it was no small struggle to maneuver the towels in order to spread them out between their bottoms and the cramped back seat.
Soon they were headed north to San Francisco, and we, dear reader, shall leave them momentarily on said trajectory, in this way coinciding by design with a complete lack of information as to what, if any, conversation transpired in Eric’s hatchback, which, it is alleged, was a white 1995 Honda Civic, or whether any stops were made along the way, or to what music they may have listened while traveling, etc., such that we may return to consideration of the perspectives and preoccupations of those whom Doff de Chonez and Sammy had abandoned in their tiny central California hamlet, namely, the priest, and Dr. Nicholson, as well as Doña Mercedes, and also Teresa Dominguez, wife of Sammy.
Dr. Nicholson and the priest, who had not seen hide nor hair of their friend Donny Lopez, also known as Doff de Chonez, since the day they had scrutinized his library, which had been two days hence, had arranged to meet for lunch to discuss the measures they could take regarding his disappearance. The location they selected for this tête-à-tête, due to convenience as well as menu, was, as it so happened, none other than the Olive Garden in Modesto. Having arrived late, Dr. Nicholson had parked his vehicle and was striding energetically toward the entrance when he recognized a bicycle that had fallen against a bike rack. Dr. Nicholson knew Bare Glider well, since he had hoisted the bike into the back of his SUV not three days since.
Dr. Nicholson found the priest already seated at his table, shared the news about Bare Glider, and together they consulted Roger, the restaurant manager, who spared no detail in relating Doff de Chonez’s manic attack on the restaurant patron, and his brazen accusation of a stolen dress. Moreover, Roger informed them of an update: that very morning, Edgar, driver of the ‘denudery’ van, had made another delivery to the restaurant, and, in small talk with Roger, had informed him of his discovery of the naked stowaways, along with an account of their nocturnal adventure at Nepenthe. Upon understanding the two men’s urgency, Roger was able to obtain Edgar’s phone number, and, after a few text exchanges with him, the phone number of Minerva, who did not immediately respond.
The priest and the doctor ate their lunch in anticipation of some further revelation, and, fortunately, Minerva sent a text before too long, stating that her friend Eric was, at that moment, driving the nudists-errant to San Francisco. She provided Eric’s number, but when Dr. Nicholson attempted contact, there was no response, so he left a voice message.
After finishing their lunch and leaving a generous tip, the two men exited the establishment, squeezed Bare Glider and Low Rider into Dr. Nicholson’s SUV, and rushed off to spread the news. The priest drove straight to the home of Doña Mercedes, to whom he communicated these revelations, and who reacted with no small interest. The doctor, for his part, drove to where he guessed to be the home of Samuel Dominguez, where he found a note taped to the front door that read as follows:
Estoy en casa de mi hermana. If you don’t come home a richer man, you’d better at least come home a wiser one.
By the time Dr. Nicholson met the priest and Doña Mercedes at her house, Eric had returned the doctor’s call, explaining that he and Doff de Chonez and Sammy were on their way to Baker Beach, but that first he had to drop off a friend in the Marina District. Indeed, Dr. Nicholson had heard Doff de Chonez greet him loudly from the back of Eric’s car, confirming his presence. In light of these developments, Dr. Nicholson proposed to the gathered parties that, since he happened to have the afternoon off, he would set out right away for Baker Beach to retrieve the pants-free pair. Although the doctor asked the priest whether he wanted to accompany him, to which the man-of-the-cloth responded affirmatively, he did not ask Doña Mercedes, who took offense at the exclusion, pointing out that she, too, would like to go along. And so, after a few moments in which Doña Mercedes packed a few items, including towels, sunscreen, and snacks, the three of them set out on the two-hour drive to the beach.
And now, patient reader, we shall return to San Francisco, where, as it turned out, the coffee shop where Jeff worked was to be found right across from the picturesque Palace of Fine Arts. Eric parked, asking his backseat passengers, given their state of undress, to stay in the car, where he would return to them briefly with beverages, and then walked inside with Jeff.
|The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco|
“Lookest thou there, friend Sammy,” stated Doff de Chonez, pointing out the car window. “Behold the travesty of a joyous occasion impeded by an abundance of textiles.”
“It’s a wedding, Your Nudity,” observed Sammy, “and they’re wearing what people normally wear when getting married.”
“’Tis a sham wedding,” asserted Doff de Chonez, “when bride and groom cannot even appear before each other and their loved ones in their natural state.”
“Well, as I’ve often heard it said,” replied Sammy, “the bride who wears four petticoats has a lot to hide, and to that I’d add that a good cummerbund hides a good panzón… ¡Señor! ¡Cuidado! Look out for traffic!”
Doff de Chonez had flung the car door open and hopped out, right into the street, sans bright pink towel. Sammy quickly followed, and the two made their way across the street and over the lawn to the main pavilion of the Palace grounds, where the bride and her maids of honor were posing for photographs while the groom and the groomsmen looked on.
Respectful of tradition—it was a wedding, after all—Doff de Chonez stopped some ten yards from the women and, placing his hands as a cone to his mouth, shouted the following: “If thou lovest thy bridegroom with open heart and open soul, hide thou them not from he who would also open himself to thee!”
At this, the women broke their poses to look over quizzically at the two naked men.
“He means,” Sammy yelled, “show your posterior for posterity!”
Suddenly many voices could he heard on the breeze, from the bride and her maids as well as the groom and his men:
“What kind of weird hecklers are they?”
“It’s those guys from the Castro – you know, those naked dudes that hang out on the street corner.”
“Well, she wanted to get married in the city.”
“I’ve heard of those guys, but… I don’t see any Prince Albert. Can’t be them.”
Doff de Chonez, wounded to the core by these comments, responded at an even higher decibel level, “This Prince Albert of Castro, is not I! I am Doff de Chonez pa su Mecha, nudist-errant and righter of wrongs, with my friend Sammy Panzov, and we are here on a mission to correct misconceptions about nudity!”
“That’s a tall order, friend,” shouted the photographer. “I know, because sometimes I photograph nudes. The misconceptions people have are numerous and enormous. But… you know what? C’mon over and get in the photo! Let’s get your message across that way. Is that alright, Janine? Just for a few shots?”
“Uhm…” replied the bride.
“C’mon,” urged her maid-of-honor, sporting a silly grin. “Go with the flow. It’ll be fun!”
“OK, I guess,” determined the bride, smiling graciously. “Why not? Just a few shots.”
And so Doff de Chonez and Sammy hustled into the group, smiling and adjusting their poses in response to the photographer’s commands while he took another score of shots, in a few of which Sammy impishly raised the hem of the bride’s gown up to her knee.
The groom, a tad concerned, had come to stand just outside range of the camera. When the photographer finished, Sammy approached cautiously to share a word with him: “As I always heard it said, if you don’t lift the skirt of a bride, you don’t know what she wears under it.”
“You have no idea,” replied the groom, smiling, but with a harsh edge to his voice, “and I’d rather keep it that way.”
By this point, Eric had left the coffee shop, returned to the empty car, and walked over to the easily discovered location of his two passengers. With the bright pink towels in hand, he pinned Doff de Chonez around the waist, covering his loins, and then Sammy, and began to lead them away, with each of his hands tightly gripping one or the other’s towel and steering them by their hips, but not before the best man, having mistaken the naked intruders for indigents, hastily pressed a wad of bills into Sammy’s palm.
“Gentlemen,” Eric announced as they walked back to his car, “we’re lucky this is San Francisco. In so many ways! Also, there’s been a change of plans. My sister Sheila’s car broke down. I need to go pick her up at her workplace. Hop in! And if you don’t wear anything else, at least wear your seat belts.”