Merry Christmas, Cayucos ne’er-do-wells

December 22, 2019


Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 


The holier-than-thou crusaders of Cayucos, who recently saw fit to tear off the empty beer cans decorating the little nondescript fir tree in front of the south lot, must understand that so-called ne’er-do-wells are sensitive people. I know this because, as a person long suspected of being a ne’er-do-well, and at times admittedly existing as a full-fledged ne’er do well, I become slightly incensed when being accused of being a ne’er-do-well.

Now, about the boys who hang around the South Lot late afternoons and evenings, who have also been accused of being ne’er-do-wells by the holier-than-thou crusaders of Cayucos: They are not really ne’er-do-wells, though a man named Patrick, who might or might not be the only unemployed person of this crew, could argue that he lives quite joyously under the moniker of ne’er-do-well, because, well, Patrick seems joyous most of the time. Though when he did discover that the holier-than- thou crusaders ripped his prize beer cans off his carefully decorated, dwarf-sized, raggedy fir tree, he was aroused, and more than miffed.

Patrick and the boys, who took tremendous pride in their creativity as they attached one empty half quart beer can after another in purposely haphazard fashion on said tree, meant only to celebrate the
Christmas spirit in Cayucos in the best way they knew how.

They had no idea they were outraging the holier-than-thou crusaders of Cayucos, and provoking them into furtively skulking around in the darkness, long after the ne’er-do-wells scattered to their vans and hovels, and destroyed their little contribution to the lights and ornaments popping up all over Christmas crazy Cayucos–a time when the holiest of the holier-than-thou crusading Cayucans feel an obsessive ownership of Cayucos and are most vulnerable to hate the ne’er-do-wells lurking so nearby, where they seem to be having a great time drinking beer, laughing and tossing balls to their dogs, high-fiving, hugging, and, of course, attaching empty beer cans to their beloved yet pathetic little tree.

What the holier-than-thou crusaders must understand is that these people are not ne’er-do-wells. A couple of them own their own businesses. Even the ones living in their vans are employed. None of them have ever been seen half as drunk as those exiting the Tavern or Schooner’s Wharf or any of the restaurants in town where wine and hard liquor is consumed with piquant dishes.

Basically, these are just a bunch of guys who aren’t particularly ambitious, yet, at the same time, they partake in enough of the work ethic to survive and possibly enjoy a little comradeship, a kind of looking forward to spending valued time with buddies.

“Why the fuck would they want to do this?” Patrick asked, pacing, clearly agitated after discovering the barren little fir tree. “Well, the holier-than-thou crusaders’ kids might see this tree after observing the big beauty across the street, and be scarred for life by the sight of it,” I tried to explain.

Another lanky blond kid, gainfully employed, surfboard atop his SUV, said, “Assholes. That tree wasn’t bothering anybody. It was a fun tree. It was our tree.”

“Well, this is fantasyland,” I said. “Especially this time of year. Perhaps the little tree was taken as a sort of anti-Christ image. The children would certainly be scarred by that.”

“We loved our little tree,” Patrick said. “I’m bummed.”

Patrick is kind of the centerpiece of the so-called ne’er-do-wells. Every group has its leader, even so-called ne’er-do-wells.

As I stared sadly at the now barren little fir tree, and learned that Happily Homeless Dave wasn’t the only person to receive an “open container” citation from the police these last few evenings, I thought of asking Patrick to lead a charge in re-decorating the tree, since one little session of beer drinking could possibly fill the tree with joyous empty beer cans.

But then I thought, the holier-than-thou crusaders would probably have sentries patrolling the lot into the wee hours, ask the sheriff’s department for extra officers in this emergency of sacrilege, and might even collect a band of their sanctimonious ilk and tear the poor sad tree from its roots so that, never again, can the so-called ne’er-do-wells of slumberous, serene Cayucos decorate their little tree.

“Merry Christmas, ne’er-do-wells”

Godless Heathen

I like your writing style but I can’t be sympathetic to the type of people you write about. An adult, no matter how “free spirited” or non conformist they may be or how much of a grizzled old town character they are, are simply being immature when they decorate a little tree with empty beer cans and then get mad when someone kicks away their cans. They act like mischievous 12 years olds and the sad thing is they don’t seem to have enough self awareness to see how silly they are.


In my family, my dad’s side always decorated the Christmas tree with empty beer cans. It was a family tradition. And if you tried to kick the cans off the tree you’d have a whole buncha drunk uncles and a drunk grampa and dad coming after you. We also used to play a game outside called “Kick The Can”. Just sayin’. FYI.


I lost interest after, “holier than thou…”


It means “characterized by an attitude of moral superiority.” I looked it up.


Are these the same holier-than-thou Cayucans that are in charge of the falling apart building at the base of the pier?


Yep they are, and refuse to pay for public infrastructure because they hate the idea of anyone benefiting off of social taxes or using THEIR PRIVATE beach.


Just be glad you got a beach. In Missouri we ain’t got JACK SQUAT but FLOOD and MUD!


Just be glad you got a pier. In Missouri everyone owns inner tubes and inflatable pool toys. Know why? Cuz it FLOODS ALL THE TIME!


Would you shut up about Missouri flooding? What does that have to do with this?


Because I live there now. I was once a prominent SLO County Liberal but got run out by all the holier-than-thou conservatives from Bakersfield and LA who bought up all the homes so that there were no more granny apartments to live in which drove rents up which forced me to move to MISSOURI WHERE I’M UP TO MY KNEES IN FLOOD!!!


Either real estate agents furor, or some holy do good wealthy transplant and their gentrified million dollar view and whole – foods ideology and smooth jazz; the worst jazz. I enjoy these short story viewpoints, from folks of yesteryear on the central, used to be lost coast.


Henry Miller hates rich Boomers and himself and his Hipster wedding venue, so disgusting. That was a ransack shanty shack when I was young, trout fishing and poke polling for cod, if any of you “transplants” get any of this indigenous chat. The rich folks killed our lost coast, killed the Salinas River, killed Atascadero Creek. Killed the Steelhead. It’s dead, thank you vineyards and Firestone Walker African cartel Justin Vineyard billionaire dollars sucking up our wells dry.


The smooth jazz is what gets me. They play it in the Morro Bay McDonald’s. It’s one of the things I DON’T miss about Morro Bay.


There’s more to life than alcohol.


I agree. But people are funnier when they’re on alcohol. In my opinion. I become a social butterfly when I drink. I walk up to strangers and say things and I haven’t been beaten up yet. And you would drink too if you lived on the Mississippi where it FLOODS MY APARTMENT!


Yeah, yeah, yeah……

Blah, blah, blah…………….

Anybody else getting tired of these pointless rants?


Nah. It’s good entertainment.


Not to wealthy ears who want some Step ford Wives Babylon.


I think that is insulting to women everywhere who want to wear 8 bracelets around each wrist, a lot of perfume, wear very thick red lipstick, carry HUGE purses, have two Golden Retrievers, and want to think and act how their husbands want them to. To each his (or her) own.


I think they have a point. I think the point is that people should be able to decorate their Christmas trees any way they want. It’s a personal right like freedom of guns or ownership of speech. The liberals used to protect our rights but not no more. I was once a rabid SLO Coast Liberal but now I’m not so sure, not with my town flooding all the time and FEMA doing nothing about. Thank you, Nancy Peloski.


The ramblings of a ne’er-do-well.

And ramble, ramble and more ramble.


This is a news site and a valuable one. Could we do without the profanity in the gratuitous auteur life stuff, please. Everybody would understand the use of a$$…., for example.


Or, just “G-D” for goddamn, and “M-F” for the other one.


I really like these dispatches. I used to live in Cayucos (for only a couple years) and wrote a blog there as well, although it was more self-reflective — or quickly grew from a humorous critique of the world outside me into something emotionally substantial that I hope to work into a memoir. I would probably be classified as a gentrifier but I’m completely with you on the sanctimonious fucks that spoil the vibe! I’d still be living in New England I wanted to be subject to a Protestant work ethic and need to conform.

As a writer, I’m shocked and offended at the mean comments people leave on these posts. I’m all for speaking one’s truth obviously, but it takes a courage most cannot muster to put your writing out there. I think your writing is very good and you’ve got great material, and blogs are a great way to get a “first draft” going. Cheers.


Stepford wives and husband’s echo is backed with money…money….money…sin…sin….sin….greed….greed…..greeed…hate…hate…hate..