S.G. Browne

Lucky Bastard San Francisco Blog Tour – The Kitchen Sink

Welcome to the penultimate post of the Lucky Bastard San Francisco Blog Tour. I always used to get confused by the word penultimate, thinking it sounded like it should mean something along the lines of “better than ultimate” or “super duper.” But now I’ve finally figured out what it means and how to use it in a sentence. As a writer, that’s a fairly useful skill.

So here were are, in the next to the last entry for the virtual blog tour, and rather than picking a single location, since there are so many of them remaining and I just don’t have the time to do a blog post about all of them before Lucky Bastard comes out next Tuesday (can I have a Woo Hoo!?), I decided to combine them all together in a single post.

We kick things off at  the Green Street Market on the corner of Green and Laguna at the edge of Pacific Heights, where Nick stops in to buy a pack of Mentos. It’s also where his day starts to get complicated. Not because of the Mentos but because of the Asian woman in the red coat. I don’t know if the proprietor of the grocery store/deli is named Sam and has a shaved head, but he does in my book.

Next we have Tommy Wong’s undisclosed hideout in Chinatown. Since not even I know the location, it’s represented here by the Lucky Cats in the photo up top. While the Lucky Cat is actually a traditional Japanese sculpture, it’s a ubiquitous staple in Chinatown gift stores and in Chinese restaurants and shops to help beckon in good fortune. That’s what the Lucky Cat is doing. Not waving but beckoning. Depending on which paw is raised and who’s doing the interpreting, the left paw raised brings in customers, while the right paw attracts good luck. The Lucky Cat appears several times throughout Lucky Bastard.

In another chapter, Nick is dropped off in North Beach on Broadway in the strip club district, across from The Hungry I Club, The Roaring 20’s, and Big Al’s—which used to be an adult super store selling skin magazines, edible underwear, and porn videos but which is now a deli and grocery store that peddles a more traditional kind of salami. Next to Big Al’s is The Condor Club, former hot spot featuring the famous Carol Doda that claimed to be the world’s first topless and bottomless entertainment venue when it opened in 1964.

Nick also contemplates his problems as well as a girl in a bikini in Huntington Park at the top of Nob Hill, goes into the Searchlight Market on Hyde and Union to pick up some Advil and Mentos (he’s got a thing for Mentos), has lunch and one too many Bellinis at Scala’s Bistro with the cute and vexing Scooter Girl, and meets with wanna-be gangsta rapper Bow Wow on Market Street across from the Westfield Shopping Center.

Those of you who have read Fated might catch a reference to a scene that takes place in my second novel at the Westfield Shopping Center. Nick also mentions the full name of Fate’s alter ego.

Finally, we visit Union Square, the only other iconic San Francisco landmark that appears in Lucky Bastard. Nick comes through Union Square on a couple of occasions—first while following Tuesday Knight after she leaves his office and again when he goes into Caffe Rulli and poaches luck from a douche bag on a cell phone. Not to be confused with Alex the Vegan Douche Bag, who is Nick’s personal chauffeur.

By the way, in the photo of Union Square on the right, that’s the Sir Francis Drake Hotel towering above Saks Fifth Avenue, with Harry Denton’s Starlight Club perched atop it. As The Starlight Club appears in several chapters and plays a somewhat significant role in the novel’s climax, that’s where the Lucky Bastard San Francisco Blog Tour will come to an end on Friday.

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