Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Worth the Trip

Because she will be making the entry private in a day or two, I want to direct you to Kim's final installment in the story of her times with "Eldorado" -- "ED" for short -- the San Francisco vice cop who figures in many of her stories of life on the streets. Be advised that, although the content is decidedly NC-17, it has some very funny moments and makes for great reading aloud.

While I was monitoring the midterm in my English 380 class this morning, I searched "Eldorado" on Lexis-Nexis and found all manner of interesting material confirming that he'd be the perfect candidate for one of those gritty, rise-and-fall films about police life. It always trips me out when I find documentary evidence for someone's personal stories, particularly when they are as filled with drama as Kim's tend to be. It brings home their reality in a different way.

I've been thinking a lot, in conjunction with my documentary course, about the way major historical events are refracted through individual lives. The moments when the private record is briefly tangent to the public record are sites of tremendous energy transfer, Hoover Dams of difference:
Me and ED went on like this for a while. I lived in the Baywood Motel and worked the streets. ED pretended to believe that I lived in South San Francisco and worked at the airport. A couple of months into our thing, all hell broke loose in San Francisco. Some crazy homophobic cop Dan White went on a rampage in City Hall and murdered Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. I was at ED’s the day after it happened. ED was all shook up.

“He was a good cop,” ED pleaded about Dan White. “He trained me. He taught me everything I know.”

I bet.

One night not too long after that I was sitting in a booth at Pan Pan on Geary eating eggs and toast. Some old guy in a suit came over and sat next to me. He pulled a little velvet jewelry box out of his pocket and opened it. A little diamond studded gold heart was in it.

“I’ve been watching you,” the man said. “You’re just like this heart. Pure gold. Here, I want you to have it.”
I was sitting on the living room rug in our Pennsylvania home when regular programming was interrupted to give word of the Moscone and Milk killings. I can feel the coils of Colonial-style braided wool pressing into my legs and thighs as I recall the moment. If my pre-teen memory serves me correctly, Dianne Feinstein came on the television, looking dazed in front of the cameras. Everything was a shade of gray. Now, the recollection of that special report overlaps with a question I don't want to work too hard answering. What was Kim doing that afternoon? It sure as hell wasn't watching television after an action-packed day of elementary school. And yet, we've lived and loved together for fifteen years despite that Grand Canyon-sized divide between us.

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