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Impractical Seriousness

Free "Bob" Oster

Having been evicted by my housemates from the 24 room stone mansion that we were sharing, I was taken into the garage of the soon-to-be Libertarian President of Maryland. His grounds occupied a double lot in 1 of the more expensive neighborhoods in B-More city - with the house fronting on 1 street & the garage fronting on another. The deal was that I could live there rent-free for 5 months if I'd convert it into a guest house. The 5 month period being from November to March, & the garage being basically a cement shell with no windows or electricity or heat, my new home was at least as cold as the outside & considerably damper. Therefore, 1 of my 1st concerns was to remedy those 3 lacks.

Unboarding the garage door windows & covering them with plexiglass panes was easy enough. Running a long extension cord temporarily took care of providing electricity until a more substantial system could be installed. An electric heater helped a little with the 3rd problem - but its effective radius wasn't more than a few feet.

In the meantime, my Libertarian host had been having neighbor problems. The occupant of the lot flanking the garage, a man named Bob Oster & his family, had previously complained about the behaviour of the Liber. In 1 instance, a night-time display of fireworks had roused displeasure. It was the household joke that Oster was upset because he ordinarily dreamt in black & white & the fireworks had introduced unwanted color.

Well, Ol' Bob had realized that I was residing in the garage next door - so he put in a complaint to the neighborhood "improvement" association that my host & I were violating the zoning laws. This complaint, in turn, wended its way to the Libertarian President to-be & we duly pretended that I was really living in the main house (which I eventually did - but not before B.O. could cause more trouble).

Given that the electric heater wasn't very effective, an available wood-burning stove was installed in a somewhat last-ditch attempt to make my habitat a bit more bearable for me.Unfortunately, the stove had to be vented (or I had to be asphyxiated) which meant that Ol' Bob could tell that more foul play was afoot fetish. This time it was the fire department that was called to the rescue. Illegal installation of a fire-hazard (or some such). Hence was my primary source of heat removed.

Another member of my household, Casandra (spelled with 1 "s" for numerological reasons), proposed a grafitti campaign as response to Oster's intrusiveness. Thinking that such a seemingly staid member of the bourgeoisie would be embarrassed by being associated with any controversial group (except the rich), a take-off on "leftist" grafitti (with our "target's" name inserted) was decided upon. Given the basic unit of "FREE -----" to work with, the 1st idea was "FREE BOB OSTER" written along the main freeway leading from his home to the downtown area where we hoped he probably worked. We figured that this could be interpreted in 2 desirable ways: 1st: that Bob Oster might be a political prisoner for radical activities (highly unlikely for the neighbor we knew) & 2nd: that Bob Oster needed to be liberated from his own inhibitions. All very neat..

Bringing into play my involvement with the Church of the SubGenius at the time, I decided to elaborate on the basic formula by changing it to "FREE THE "BOB" (IMP)OSTER" - thusly impishly combining B.O.'s name with that of the Church & Foundation's founder - with the former implied to be a cheap, & unsuccessful, imitation of the latter. If I remember "correctly" (any 1 version of anything being so-called "objectively" correct being a "dubious" concept in my opinion - but that's a different story..), some people saw the grafitti & realized that I'd probably written it because of the SubGenius content. Others I talked to about how much trouble this Bob Oster guy was "causing" me.

Within something like 2 weeks, a man with the name of Oster was murdered & it was fairly big news. Several things made it uncannily bizarre. The victim resided in the same neighborhood as the B.O. that the grafitti referred to & I did. The victim's nickname was "Bob" - connecting him with the grafitti! He was an assistant District Attorney - connecting him with the legal system & hence with the prison implications of the grafitti! He'd even been the District Attorney for a day or so, when the reigning D.A. moved onto a different position, but had declined the "honor" - perhaps feeling politically uncomfortable with it? - or maybe just avoiding the work load. His probable route to work was along the expressway where the grafitti was written! He'd been murdered by a hitch-hiker that he'd picked up at Wyman Park & killed by in the vicinity of a certain bar not very far south of there.

What wasn't mentioned in the newspaper but was easy enough to read into the situation by those familiar with B-More was that Wyman Park is a popular gay cruising area & that the neighborhood where Oster was killed is where a popular gay bar with a quasi-S&M reputation is located. Cynics might say that "Bob" Oster had been too liberated from his inhibitions this time.. When the news got around that a guy named "Oster" from my neighborhood had been murdered, 1 of my ex-housemates (who'd participated in evicting me on the ostensible grounds that I was "too violent") came up to me & said "Why'd ya do it, Mike?". He may've even been serious..

A few days later, a suspect was arrested in the victim's car somewhere in Ohio trying to visit his girlfriend. I never followed the case but I vaguely remember the suspect's being a "meat-rack" teenager - meaning 1 of those guys who gets paid by older cruising guys to have his cock sucked so that he can get enough money to buy drugs for the night. It seems to me that when he was questioned about why he did it he said something like "I dunno." Maybe I should write to him & ask him if he'd ever seen Casandra's & my grafitti.

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