Monday, June 06, 2005

Grant Risdon's Flat Earth Roadhouse

Tonight’s menu is named after a local legend and outlaw, Grant Risdon. Grant showed up today at the store with Rose, our folksinger. He is going to do a prose set tonight: “A Whale of a Tale” and play castanets for Rose. Grant was born and raised in the Valley, but has stayed away for years to avoid bad company and temptations. It seems the bad guys are all dead or in jail, so it is now safe for him to go back to the hills.

The first Grant Risdon story I heard was from Lance McClair, the former mayor of Seaside. Lance was a psychiatric social worker forty years ago and had the Risdon brothers as clients. The experience helped him immensely in his future career: on more than one occasion, Lance arrived to find Shone holed up in the barn and Grant in the ranch house, exchanging gunfire. As soon as Lance appeared, they would both shoot at Lance! Luckily they were usually so self-medicated that their aim was terrible. Still, Lance learned to drive his VW Beetle crouched down by the clutch, yelling: “Goddammit, Grant! Goddammit Shone!” Lance had an irrepressible sense of humor (Don Butts always called him the black Howdy Doody) and never bothered to call it in. I think he was proud of the odd bullet holes in the Bug. Nowadays there would be SWAT teams everywhere.

Grant finally fell majorly afoul of the law a few years later. His girlfriend (!!) ran off with a 19 year old kid. Grant laid in wait across from Wills Fargo and took a shot at the kid. He missed, as usual. In frustration he fell back on his trusty hatchet and ran across the street and whacked the kid once or twice. He then jumped on his horse (!!) Cachagua and rode away into the hills.

This was a relief to local bartenders: both Grant and his horse had been 86’ed from all the local watering holes. Grant and the horse got along so well that Grant would forget that they were two different creatures and ride right into the bars. In another famous pastoral moment, Grant and Cachagua rode into the health food store in the Village, where upon one of them took a dump next to the register. The hysterical owner was not mollified when Grant pointed out how organic the steaming pile really was.

Grant was hiding out in the hills for three years after the hatchet incident, living in the Indian caves of the Church Creek divide. He is probably the number one authority on the many petroglyphs there, if anyone ever cared to ask him. He avoided the law, but was no stranger to the locals, trading rattlesnakes and venison for hay and supplies. Finally, his teeth got so bad that he allowed Jim McNeely to negotiate a surrender: dental care for incarceration.

On the big day, Jim and Lizzie got Grant mellowly lubricated. Unfortunately, the Sheriff took forever to drive out to Jamesburg, and Grant left the mellow place behind, and started to think about reneging on the deal. The arresting deputy was Luther, one of Monterey’s original two black sheriffs. The other black deputy was Pat Duval, famous for his singing voice and his diplomacy. Luther was known for neither.

The final confrontation found Luther, grumpy and pissed off at the long drive from Salinas, facing a staggering Grant who was slashing at the air with his Bowie knife: “Goddamit, Luther! Go away! I’ll take out my own damn teeth!”
“Get in the goddam car, Grant.”
“Luther you take one more step and I’ll make a wetsuit outta you!”
Luther just smacked Grant upside the head with his pistol and that was that.

Nowadays Grant lives down by the Wharf in Monterey, and is clean and reasonably sober. He has a 27 year old girlfriend who is “built like a shit-brickhouse”. Obviously, given the size of the shiner Grant is sporting today. Grant still plays piano and guitar, and has a good following as a painter. His brother Shone did not make the 72 hole cut: he was found dead in his cubby under the Wharf last year.

Grant is being booted from his apartment by the Housing Authority next month for too much piano and too much sarcasm. He is off to see the world….rumor has it that it is not flat after all, and Grant wants to experience this first hand. I am not sure the world is ready….

1 Comments:

Blogger Joey B said...

Well, I had dinner Monday night at
Grant's big shindig with Gary, Morgan and my wife Bonnie. Best time ever and I really did keep waiting for Cauchagua to come riding throught the door on his own. Makes KPIG's moose turd pies seem calm by comparison. And if his 27 year old hard body girlfriend is Rose, well, just keep singing "You can't always get what you want" and Grant may live to be 200. Only problem is that he will have so many more chicken crossing the road lines that he may become intolerable. As the Governator says, "I'll be back."

7:43 PM  

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