The Usual Suspects
The following is a cheat sheet detailing some of the recurring characters. All are real people, but the names have been altered to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. A few people have been morphed into a composite. Those characters tend to receive the brunt of my written aggressions.
Dr T- Work supervisor, designated drinker, friend. Has babysat Hunter S Thompson and rassled Courtney Love for the attentions of a stripper. He makes going to work fun.
Art East- Computer technician, master painter and vidiot. Tirelessly answers my stupid questions and encourages my goofball behavior. Priceless.
Grinder- Store manager. We have a history. Raised in East County as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have crossed paths decades later, neither on the path to salvation. We love each other like brothers. (The Robinson brothers from The Black Crowes come to mind.) Grinder is the best, but he hates my mischievous tendencies. Somehow that just encourages me…
Clairissa- My object de lust, longtime friend and hairapist. She is collecting my body parts, and we share custody of a dead frog. It just gets weirder from there…
Mizelle- Only the woman who saved my life once upon a time. She scared the old man out of me and taught me how to live again. I’m like her creepy uncle.
Agent Starling- Clean & Safe officer assigned to the area of the stores. A police officer in training, I think she’s going to go far in law enforcement. She’s getting a headful of streetlife education hanging around me…
The Porno Queen- A woman I’ve known indirectly for twenty-plus years. Former co-worker, she distributed adult magazines wearing blue rubber emergency gloves to “keep the filth off.” Her nickname is ironic.
Meg- Friend introduced by The Porno Queen. She lives near my work, and we pass the time of day doing very little. And enjoying it.
Uncle- My nearly-90-year-old uncle, my mother’s younger brother. He was a sailor in Pearl Harbor, and a train conductor for Union Pacific for decades. He took a shining to me, and has been a role model and friend as well as a father figure. Hang in there, Uncle!
Ms T- My cousin, and Uncle’s Granddaughter. Kindred spirits, we escaped religion (and other things) with help from a bottle. Now, we are a two-person bi-coastal support group.
Melony- A composite character, but usually referring to a buxom blonde bartender who resembles a healthy Melanie Griffith. We *love* her…
Uncle Cliffy- Composite character of co-workers who know everything, listen to nothing, and talk over me like I’m not there. They decry the internet because they know everything. They also know everything about computers, except how to find Google search on a Firefox page. When I work alone, I prefer to be by myself. Especially when Uncle Cliffy is around.
Giggles- Co-worker of the most unique kind. His name comes from punctuating every statement with a high-pitched giggle. He responds to everything one says with “I know.” His eating habits are famous; his bathroom activities infamous. (Busy hands are happy hands.) He’s a non-converted Jew with an Episcopalian background who eats kosher and vegan except when sandwiches and soups are involved. In all, a good-hearted fellow, and dependable.