The locals haven’t a clue as to who he is or why he appears in their little Fresno-adjacent community on the first day of the year, but sure as clockwork, the stranger will arrive in the early hours just past sunrise.
He’ll tramp into town, staring wild-eyed and gesturing frantically at anyone who passes within ten feet of him. But the most bizarre aspect of his behavior will be his incoherent ramblings.
“Bob Dylan, Osaka, Japan, March 6th,” he’ll mutter under his breath as he shuffles into the bakery and buys a triple-layer chocolate cake. “Eddie Money, Las Vegas, February 9th. Service charges, ticket stubs, SFX, Jo Dee Messina, Indianapolis, March 9th, roadies…”
His ranting will grow louder as he goes into the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk. “Insane Clown Posse, January 10th, Cincinnati. Mother Hips, Frisco, February 24th. House Of Blues, on sale dates, all ages show, local sales tax…”
He’ll take the chocolate cake and milk to the busiest intersection in the community, where upon arriving he’ll strip off his clothes until he is standing stark naked at the center of their town. “Meat Puppets, Jacksonville, January 24th, tour bus, groupies, contract riders…”
He’ll raise the chocolate cake to his head. “Robben Ford Santa Ana, February 9th,” he’ll yell out as three layers of chocolate and enriched flour crashes down on his noggin, smearing frosting over his face and ears. “Duran Duran, February 1, Moscow,” he’ll bellow while pouring the entire gallon of milk over his head. Aaron Carter, Boston, February 20th…”
Throughout the day he’ll flick milk-soaked chunks of cake at anyone unlucky enough to pass within range, while at the same time screaming out tour dates and box office stats. “Tina Turner, number one for 2000, sound checks, Will Hoge, New York, January 13th, ‘N Sync number two, scalpers…”
Some people think he’s a retired booking agent or personal manager who, during his career, had to baby-sit one artist too many. Others think he’s a promoter who went native, while still others swear that he was once the editor of the now-defunct concert trade rag, Non-Performance Magazine. “The Derek Trucks Band, Anaheim, January 24th…”
So remember, if you live in a small community adjacent to Fresno, stay far, far away from the crazy man with the cake, milk, tour dates and concert stats on this first day of the new year. He’ll be gone by tomorrow, and once again it will be safe to walk the streets of your town.
And we’ll have our boss back.