Paul Modic’s zine Gulch Mulch – Whale Gulch was Mendocino County-based. The website was lost 2018, recovered and archived by HAPA in 2020.



At the post office a barefoot woman was dancing in the parking lot on the wet wintery day. Her shortish strawberry-blond hair was over her face and her head was down; she danced in manic patterns along the pavement like some butterfly mating dance. When I got out of the post office she was still dancing and I went up to her.

“Is that a profound artistic statement,” I asked, “or some drug-fueled mania?” She continued dancing and moved toward me. “Let me see your face.” She looked up, pale with pink lips, her hands cold and red. She danced and I danced with her; she stopped in front of me and I took her in my arms and we had this kind of slow hug dance. I turned her around and held her from behind, picked up her leg and slowly swirled her around; I held her close, she was a waif, and I lifted her off the pavement and danced/carried her–I was getting turned on.

“How old are you?” I asked. Thirty-four. She looked up at me with her inviting pink lips, with just one little possible sore on the corner of her mouth, and I came very close to pressing my lips onto hers.

Ant then the cops drove up. “There were some complaints,” one said. They checked her out, the one with rubber gloves on gave her a sobriety test. She was rambling about this drug and that, these people and that location. The cop said something about her kids as he looked her up in his hand-held computer.

“Hey, I hope she doesn’t get in trouble because she was dancing with me.” I said. “She was fine dancing alone.” The cop looked at me. “What’s your name?” I told him and then said I would go over to the thrift store and buy her some socks and shoes.

“What size are you?” I asked. Five. I walked past the gauntlet of homeless travelers in front of Ray’s, found a size six and some warm socks, and walked back across the street.

“We could take you to the Eureka jail right now,” the cop was saying as Avery struggled with her socks. I prompted her, “Pull that sock on better, honey…okay, lace up the shoe, tie it tighter…okay…”

“So you got this now?” the cop said to me.

“What?” I said. “Hey, I’m not a saint, I’m going home. Well, maybe I should be a saint?”

The cops left, I left, and Avery was instantly scooped up by one of the denizens from Ray’s homeless wall.