The events described below were set into motion when I received an email from Lauren Lopez informing me of the existence of a compound of albinos living in Alum Rock Park. On October 2, 1999, I visited the park to investigate what I assumed to be an urban myth.
I took the long drive up Alum Rock Avenue, basking in the ambience of the vernacular architecture of Marks Hot Dogs and the curlicue-parapets of businesses in the Little Portugal neighborhood. It was Saturday morning, and I did not feel the need for a gun. My trusty Minolta was at my side, and would serve as a formidable weapon if called upon.
As I drove past San Jose Country Club, I could see the idle rich* in the distance, hacking at golf balls on an emerald, ever-so-carefully-maintained fairway. I dearly wished to be one of them, but I seemed to have a job to do. I drove on to Alum Rock Park, and paid two bucks to a park ranger, who waved me in.
The first odd thing about the park is the famous "rock" itself. Well over a hundred years ago it was dubbed "Alum Rock" because it was believed to be impregnated with Alum. It was later discerned that it was not Alum, but Manganese. It is perhaps too late for "Manganese Rock Park" to catch on.
I was keen on investigating reports of un-dead albinos streaming down the slopes of the canyon, after sunset, to whisk away children and poodles lost in the gloaming.
*"Idle rich" used with artistic license. Idleness usually does not go hand in hand with amassing large bins of money.