By Pete Moss
"Well I need a computer or a tablet or something. I have to connect to the internet," says Spela, on the train.
"So I can delve into the historical status of our house."
"I mean, your house, the house, whatever it is!"
"So you are joining the stay-and-put-up-a-stand party."
"....yeah, I am."
We get off the BART at 19th Street in downtown Oakland. There's not an overwhelming number of shopping options in downtown Oakland. But we do manage to find a store that has phones and tablets, both new and used.
After some looking around we buy a used Lenovo for $89.
Then we take the bus. I don't really know Oakland all that well, and we don't have internet connection to look at Google maps or call Dragen to pick us up or check bus routes or schedules. But we eventually make it back to the house. Pedro seems to know the way better than Spela and I. We walk most of it.
Pedro walks along for a bit then stops and sniffs the air and looks around, then looks at Spela and I and starts walking and we follow.
Back at the house the Packard is nowhere to be seen. The windows are boarded up. There's new scorch marks too.
But there's the unmistakable sound of electric power tools coming from in the house.
Spela and I look at each other then hurry up the walk.
Spela shouts out something in Croatian and Dragen shouts back. The front door swings open and we duck inside.
"What is this contraption?" I say, stopping short. "It looks like a bicycle powered generator."
"That's 'cause it is a bicycle powered generator," says Dragen.
There's a skinny Japanese guy pedaling the generator, which makes a humming noise. There's cables running across the floor to a couple of batteries and a tangle of more cables running to a fuse box and some other appliances.
"This is Yakuza," says Dragen.
Yakuza stops pedaling and smiles. He holds out his hand and bobs his head.
"Ohio Gozaimasta," he says.
"He doesn't speak any English."
Yakuza has rather elaborate sleeves of tattoos on both his arms. A small Japanese female comes out of the back of the house and sees Spela and I and bows deeply and says something in Japanese.
"That's Yukio. Yakuza's wife. They're Japanese tourists. They found us on AirBnB and asked to rent a room for a month. I showed them what a mess the place is but they didn't seem to mind. They hadn't moved in half an hour and a truck pulled up with that bike powered generator," says Dragen.
Yukio has gone back into the back of the kitchen and now Grigori appears. He says something in Croatian.
"What he say?" I ask Spela.
"He says lunch is ready," says Spela. But she is already hooking up her Lenovo. Soon her and Yakuza are poring over it. Getting it booted up, connecting it to the Wi-Fi running off Yakuza's phone.
I am very hungry after all. I leave Spela and head into the kitchen where Grigori has a bowl of deep red soupy stew with chunks of beef and onion and a blob of sour cream.
Yukio is learning how to break down and clean Grigori's old shotgun. They don't communicate verbally cause they don't have to. Yukio is very dexterous and the shotgun is not a complicated machine. Anyway they don't have any verbal language in common.
I devour the spicy beef stew/soup.
Then go back in front.
"Well?" I say to Spela. "Any luck on anything historical?"
Spela doesn't look optimistic. "Maybe, I don't know. One of the founders of Hells Angels might have lived here for a few years when he was a little kid. What's Hells Angels?"
"It's a bike club," I say.