“I’m thinking about not smoking any weed today.”
“Why the hell would you do that?”
“Just to see where my brain takes me.”
“Shit. I’m outta here. You’re already crazy. You’re like ‘I can’t get into the shower!’ ‘Fireworks gonna burn the house down!’ and shit. I’m outta here.”
“Weellll… I guess, if it’ll keep you around, I’ll take a few puffs….”
So I made a valiant attempt to NOT smoke weed, but was vetoed. If this is what it takes to keep the girlfriend happy, I guess I can do my part.
Happy Revolutionary Days: June 26-July 5. In honor of Freedom AND Diversity.
I have been accused of flashing a fake smile at work. I no longer have a choice. Like the Nightclub Store, my fake smile is now 24/7.
After months of preparation, cleaning and extracting, the last of my upper teeth were removed and I received dentures. Walton Goggins I ain’t. They got the size right, as well as the shade. (I have a grayish tint to my teeth, the assistant said.) I’m smiling pretty big, but that’s due mostly to drugs. After a brief chat with the dentist, she upped my Vicodin dosage. (“Just take two. The extra-strength pills are out-of-pocket. Insurance covers what you’re taking.”) I was happy about this at first, and grateful by the time we were finished.
I wish Stephen King were here to ghost-write this for me. Horror is his genre, mine is ‘musings of a smartass grocery clerk’. I found Mr King’s horror stories inspirational as a teen and beyond, and loved how he could make me squirm. I hope you channel that feeling as you read this, because there will be squirming.
If by no one other than me, as I remember the tray of sharp objects and the masked women…
My hippie outlaw lifestyle has become obsolete.As of midnight, marijuana became legal in Oregon. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m glad that something so dear to me, that has helped me get through this thing called life, can be viewed without the stigma it had while I was growing up. I usually write something like this on or around December 10. That was my big day in history. Due to all the big things happening in our fair state and city, I’m jumping ahead.
Besides, this upcoming December 10 will be the 40th anniversary of the first time I smoked weed. I’m sure I’ll have something to say about all that when the time comes.
If I’m still smoking…
After visiting Angel, it was time for responsibility. I don’t avoid responsibility. I try to make it work for me. To make it fun. That’s pretty much my life’s mission, to make fun out of misery. So why should visiting a hospital be any different?
Rain had been in the hospital for a couple days. I hadn’t heard from her, but that’s not uncommon when she loses her phone. (Which also isn’t uncommon; she loses an average of two phones a month.) When she called and left a room number, I figured I should investigate. The hospital is in the swanky part of town, it’s a hot gorgeous day, girl-watching should be at a premium.
Plus, I can peek into my girlfriend’s medical chart and see what’s really going on…
Angel: “Sorry, thought I told you. Friday was my last day. I’ve been transferred to Southeast.”
Me: “I knew you were thinking about it. Sigh, guess the only sweet chocolate I taste is this fine blunt here. I’ll hold out as long as I can!”
Angel: “I miss you. We’ll meet up soon.”
I knew it was coming, but I’d hoped she’d procrastinate, be overridden by management, etc… Fact is, after nine years downtown she was tired of the faces and places, and wanted a new view. They moved her to Eastport Plaza, which is not the white trash capital of the world, but not as diverse as our fine downtown.
I would be reminded as I caught the MAX, on my way to say hello…
I have a good rapport with most of the street crazies. (“Hi, Carol!”) They can have their internal conversations (and arguments) while getting a soda, and I don’t judge. If they seem extra agitated I may ask if they’re doing okay, but mostly it’s Live and Let Live. Honestly, there aren’t many places the mentally ill feel safe shopping. My store, with all its lunacy, is home for them.
There are exceptions. My biggest problems are with those who have self-inflicted retardation. Whether through drugs, drinking or stupidity, they are deficient enough to pass for crazy, and they abuse it. Which leads us to tonight’s cautionary tale…
DIY is big in Portland. That’s why I decided to pull my own tooth.
Full disclosure: The dentist did offer to pull it a couple weeks ago, when I had several back teeth removed. (More on THAT later.) But I didn’t want a Goober-gap in front, and it didn’t hurt too bad. I wanted to do the manly thing.
I shoulda listened.
It was a full moon, but we have those every month. It was the third day of the month, goofy check payday. Again, we have one every month. But it’s Rose Festival, and it’s the beginning of Summer. Stir it all together and whatdaya get?
I won’t share all the stupid shit that led to the first moment of my work day, but I was sorta-suffering from pulling my own tooth on the MAX the day before. (More on that later.) I had drank the last of my medicated vitamin water and popped a couple of Vicodin right before walking into work. I had Natasha as a co-worker until 6 PM, and Southie was getting ready to leave for the day. He was rattling off his laundry list of duties to be performed over the course of the evening.
I was organizing my cash register area when he walked in. Long gray hair pulled straight back into a ponytail, long Santa beard, maybe three front teeth, looked like he belonged on a bottle of vintage Mountain Dew. He carried a black garbage bag, talking and singing to himself.
I’d had problems with this guy numerous times. One night as I’d returned from lunch he fell in behind me and began cussing, talking shit. It was a rainy night, and as he diatribed, he hit a slick piece of sidewalk and landed with a crash. I turned and with a straight face said, “That’ll learn ya!” and kept walking. He hopped up in a hissing, spitting rage and cussed me all the way to the corner. Finally fed up, I locked eyes with him and began walking straight for him, like Jason does. He stopped talking and started walking. Cool. I took a right, and walked a block. Two blocks further, we crossed paths again. He startled, cussed me some more and began running. All the while cussing about Sarah Ferguson. I assumed he meant the royal one.
That was a couple years ago. I see him around, but we don’t hang in the same neighborhoods much. When he came into the store, I could have kicked him out, but I deferred to Southie. It probably won’t take this guy long to start acting up…
Hill-Billy addressed some nonsense toward Southie, who was giving instructions to Natasha. “He’s the clerk on duty,” Southie said, pointing at me. Goody. Southie went back to Natasha. Hill-Billy said something else nonsensical to Southie. Southie replied, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.”
“You ‘saw my penis glistening?’WHAT KIND OF DISRESPECTFUL COCKSUCKER ARE YOU?” Hill-Billy was in a stomping rage.
“You need to leave,” said Natasha.
“SHUT UP, PUSSY!” said Hill-Billy.
“Clean up your act, asshole,” said Natasha, and threw a cup of water at him.
“Time to go,” I said, and began moving around the counter. Normally Southie would have taken the guy by the lapels and expelled him into the street, especially with a lady present. I guess he wanted to see me bounce the guy. Okay. I was visualizing Southie admiring Hill-Billy’s glistening golden penis and trying not to lawl. Straight face, straight face…
I saw why Southie didn’t want to touch him. A greenish white glob of snot covered most of his lower lip, and he was projecting spit three feet with every ‘p’. He stomped and ranted and raved, entering and leaving three times. “And another thing…” He got far enough outside that I pulled the door closed and locked him outside.
“Bye…” I said. Waved my fingers at him and pulled out my phone. He flipped me off and walked away. Then jaywalked across the street to the block’s other convenience store.
“Well done,” said Southie. Natasha was giddy at the chance to help a homeless guy take a bath.
It was the beginning of a long and irritating day, but I was no longer irritated by a loose tooth. That was yesterday. Yesterday’s medications were what was keeping everyone alive today…
I should do that more often.
I’d planned for months to make my birthday a celebratory one. Not a party, just a day for me. I don’t seem to get those like I used to.
I love my responsibilities. I’ve never been one to suffer in a situation that wouldn’t work for me. I try to surround myself with friends that don’t irritate, steal or otherwise make my life more complicated than I do. And love them like I do, I must step away once in a while and have Just Me time.
Fortunately, my peoples don’t bug me, so my celebration was like another day at the office…
I can see him now, in Mouse Heaven, telling his story:
“Remember those church stories that crazy lady used to watch on TV? It’s true! (Hey, mice can watch TV.) I was trying to score THE CHOCOLATE from the Utensil of Death. I thought if I came from underneath I might avoid its jaws. It missed my head, but caught my front hands. I struggled, but I knew I was done for. When you die, it’s just like they tell you. You see the bright white light, a huge devil appears, and he takes your life. I was worried, because he was big and very red, with long red hair and glowing red eyes. You know what they say about seeing the Red Guy, but there was no fire. He seemed sad, in fact. He had that curved thing, but it’s not the thing used to harvest grain. It’s shorter, and not sharp. It’s a thing bad guys use on COPS. In fact it’s very hard. I looked him in the eye as he brought down the wand of death.”As I lay me down to sleep, I heard a rustling by my chair. Mice again? Rain has been visiting, so there’s probably a half-eaten bag of pork rinds hiding behind my desk. I heard squeaks. Did the mouse trap go off? If so, time will take care of my furry visitor. I closed my eyes. Man, that was a nice doobie.
More rustling and squeaking. Shit. I took off my breathing mask and investigated.
Sho’ ’nuff, a little furry buddy was thrashing around, caught by his front paws. It appeared he had maneuvered the trap onto a power cord, and was trying to eat the chocolate from underneath, so as to avoid the SNAP. His plan was flawed, and would turn him into a double amputee.
I hate it when this happens. I don’t like killing things unless they deserve it, and even then… I don’t dislike rodents, in fact I have had numerous furry friends over the years. (Bitch and Moan, Doc and Nasty, to name a couple of roommate pairs from back in the day.) But when they come uninvited and eat my chocolate, well, motherfucker, dyin’ time is here.
I’ve had the traps out, and I catch a couple, then it’s quiet, sometimes for months. Then one will wander through. (My bedroom is a part of mousedom’s underground railroad, it seems. To reach the promised land of the kitchen from the yard, you have to get past the red devil and his cat minions.) I have two cats who earn their keep in this department, and I like to help them out. (Hat tip to Django and Neptune, aka Creamcicle, who leave their torn trophies on my sister’s pillow.) I hold the bodies to their noses and “taunt you a seconda time-uh” in a French accent. I am the Mighty Hunter.
But this little guy wasn’t dead. He had this ‘Boy, I fucked up’ look going on. His front paws were trapped, likely broken. He wasn’t going to escape, and he wasn’t mortally wounded. Shit. I knew what I had to do. I was raised in the country, and dad taught me the code when it came to putting things out of their misery.
When I lived in Sandy, a well-placed round from a .22 long rifle would leave a hole in the carpet and a light on at the neighbor’s house. In SE Portland, it would warrant a SWAT response. I could smack him with brass knuckles, but that seemed too personal, and it was a difficult angle. I looked at the vast array of knives. I eat with those sometimes. I thought of my dad’s hammer, but it’s one hundred years old. It’s retired. I thought briefly about using the meat cleaver next to my chair, but it’s covered in love notes from Rain. (If I’m going to mess those up, it will be from killing something bigger than a rat.)And then I saw it. My burglary tool.
I’d found it in a discarded backpack while working at The Mothership one day, and it’s been hanging on my wall since. A pry-bar meant for pulling up floorboards and nails, bent in half midway, now perfect for popping residential windows.
Or for putting four-legged interlopers with little to no chance at a good life out of their misery.
I shined the flashlight at my target. He’d rustled around to where I had a clean body shot, so I took it. I brought the pry-bar down, sharp side away, and hit him hard, like trying to drive a nail in one hit. No sense dragging it out. I smacked him, and he looked at me. His eyes glowed red for a second, equal parts “You bastard!” and “Thanks, man. Thanks.” I left him alone. He no longer moved.
I thought I’d have a hard time going to sleep after, but I didn’t. I didn’t stop thinking about my little friend all day, hoping I did the right thing. He hadn’t moved since I’d hit him, so I got it right. I walked him to his heaven, the kitchen garbage.
Rest in pieces.