Monday, January 22, 2007

August Alley

Since the name of my protagonist is August Riordan and I write about San Francisco, you might guess I was intrigued to learn--via my friend Larry--that San Francisco has short one block street called August Alley.

Click here for a Google satellite map of the area on the highest magnification. And here is a photo of the start of the alley on Green:

I've already cranked a description of August's visit to a house on the alley in my forthcoming book Runoff--like so:
The neighborhood was a mix of Victorians, fake Victorians and blocky buildings from the 60s that weren’t fooling anyone. August Alley itself was clean and neat and the houses along it modest and jammed shoulder to shoulder, but well-maintained. I went along a narrow sidewalk, past a girl’s brightly-colored bicycle with teal and silver fringes hanging off the handles up to a sawed-off “pocket Victorian” with the requisite number.

It was painted blue with white trim and a redwood fence ran from the back of it to an apartment building next door, enclosing a miniscule backyard. A frost-bitten orange tree with stunted fruit grew in the yard, dropping a harvest of curled leaves onto the sidewalk. There was no one else in the alley, but the sounds of a hammer and a circular saw filtered down from construction going on in the top floor of an apartment house at the corner with Union. I went up two concrete steps to the door and pressed the buzzer. It didn’t produce any sound I could hear. I wadded up my fist and banged on the door. No soap. I stepped back to examine the front of the house. There were no windows facing the alley, but I could see the convex bubble of a skylight cresting over the edge of the roof line.
Strangely, that description corresponds very closely to my impressions from a recent visit. (See my earlier Notes from a Location post for more color.) As for what happens next in the story, all I can say is August Alley does not turn out to be very lucky for PI August Riordan.


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