Seems like every store I work at has a Drunkass Dave. He’s the guy who lives in the doorway over there, or in the closet of the car wash, or sleeps in the dumpster behind the food carts. He drinks away the day, panhandling and milking human services for every available cent. He is a bum.Our Drunkass Dave at the Waterfront store had the unmitigated audacity to think he could run the city better than everyone else, so he got on the ballot to be elected mayor. (He managed to come in 13th.) As a lark, Master P allowed him to place a bust in the store window. It brought lots of conversation to the window, along with lots of people buying The Mayor, as he came to be known, dinner and cigarettes. Oh, and beer money. They give him lots of beer money.
We would not sell The Mayor beer. We don’t sell his kind anyway.
My first encounter with The Mayor involved him wanting to use my cell phone. When I politely declined, (“Go fuck yourself.”) he wanted to fight, and I 86ed him. He sobered up, apologized, and got a second life. Hell, I’ve been drunk and mouthy before, and been forgiven. He knows he’s on a short leash with me.
For the last few months The Mayor has been sleeping and pissing in nearby doorways, writing his political nonsense on the sidewalk, and being his usual pain in the ass. He spends almost all of his food stamps at the store, so we tolerate him. Dr T and I are the only ones who treat him civilly anymore, and our patience has worn thin.
Sunday night, I had the privilege of working with Weird Steven. It was like old times, harking back to the late ’90s when we worked together by PSU. My shift ended at midnight, he closed the store at 2:30 AM. When I returned the next day, there was a note attached to the lottery machine: “I caught The Mayor shoplifting.”
Could it be the end of another brilliant political career? Let the scandal unfold!
Weird Steven wandered in. “See my note?”
“Yeah. What happened?”
Weird Steven tells great stories. I wish I could convey his enthusiasm and theatrics, but alas, all I have is dialogue. “The Mayor comes in, buys a sandwich and puts it in the microwave. He goes to the cooler for a mayonnaise packet, and reaches back to grab a couple 59-cent Tillamook cheeses. He says, ‘I need a bag of chips’ and goes to the back, stuffing the mayo and cheese in his pocket.
“When he gets to the counter I asked him if he had anything besides mayonnaise and chips. He said no, just mayonnaise, and pulled the packet out oh so carefully. I reached into his pocket, pulled out the cheese and told him to get the fuck out.”
I called Dr T and asked if that was enough to 86 him. “It’s not the cost, it’s the idea. After all we’ve done for him. He’s outta here…”
All righty then. But what to do with his big concrete head?I’d had so much fun with it in the window, scattering empty beer cans, making a cardboard jail-cell to put in front of when he was incarcerated. I’d put a dunce hat on it, 3D sunglasses. I wanted to have it painted Peter Max style, by the lady who sells cards on the sidewalk. She hated The Mayor more than anyone. “What should I do about his head?” I asked Dr T.
“I’m giving him one chance to pick it up, then it’s all yours if ya want it.”
Heh. Let’s see if he laughs at this modification.
It took about an hour. He walked by and peeked in to see who was working, and saw his head. The grimace was priceless. He scurried away, then came back.
“Come to collect your head?
“Yeah. You know, this is a bunch of bullshit! I thought I was getting a mustard packet. That flowery son-of-a bit-”
“Give me a break. I wasn’t born yesterday, and neither was Steven. It’s over, Mister Mayor.”
He shrugged, took his concrete head and slinked away.
A little while later, I saw a police car pull up outside. It waited by the MAX tracks, watching something for a minute, then pulled up in a nearby parking lot. I could see the officers waiting. Was it for the young man standing by the magazines? He left, and the officers paid no mind. Hmm. I heard a street urchin talking and looking, so I asked, “What are the cops looking at?”
She looked up from playing with her pet rat to say, “That dude over there was busting the shit outta something and started walking away when the cops pulled up. They’re making him clean it up.”
I looked closer, and saw The Mayor picking up pieces of his freshly smashed bust, cussing all the while. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Have we seen the last of The Mayor? Doubtful. When Cher and The Cockroaches play the Rose Garden, The Mayor will be panhandling the line.
In summation, I’d like to paraphrase a line from RL Burnside: “I just handed him his head. It was up to him if it got busted or not…”