I Just Want…

June 9, 2023 at 10:21 am (The Easy Chair)

Finally, I get everyone out of the store. As I approach the door with the key out, one of the foil-heads runs up to the door.

“Sorry, I have to close for a minute.”

“Huh?” Slack jaw, droopy eyes.

“I have to close for a minute, and I can’t do that with people in the store.’

“But I just want a soda.”

“I will be right back.”


“Is that rhetorical, or can you really not hear me?”



“Well, you don’t have to yell.”

“Well, apparently I fucking do, because you keep saying,”Huh?”

I try to be patient. But this is how it is, nine straight hours of dealing with fully-grown four-year-olds. If I am working alone? It’s impossible to remain upbeat. I catch a shoplifter every five minutes, and maybe actually stop one once an hour. Help…?

Fortunately, Southie, a former manager and, as one foil-head described him, is a brawler, and loves chasing shoplifters. He taught me how to break a guy’s finger, legally, and best of all, he’s there almost the whole night. We are absolutely giving lessons in, as the kids like to say, fuck around and find out.

So, feel free to drop by for some gummys. Just be sure to stop by and pay on your way out…


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Something Nice To Say

October 23, 2022 at 7:08 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

I’ve been away for a while. (From here, the blog, that is.) I still write in my head, and spend a lot of time smart-assing on that format lusted after by Elongated Musket, but I haven’t had the time or inclination for extended bloviation. Simply put, I’ve had very little nice to say about the things I used to talk about so much.

Work turned into an ordeal. Between the pandemic and the protests/riots, my fun, casual way to pay smallish bills turned into a psychological nightmare. It’s no secret downtown has been on a downturn, and I’ve been there to witness and attest. My little piece of heaven is about the only thing open, besides bars and food carts, and the light brings the bugs.

Recently, the city revoked Master P’s food stamp authorization. Since then work has been better. WAY BETTER.

Because we took food stamps, everyone with an Oregon Trail card had a reason to hang around the store. They’d wander in for gummies, 99-cent sodas and the occasional actual meal. While they stood around outside, eating and socializing, the fentanyl dealers would pull up to the curb, do some business, and drive away. People died. (I saw three brought back to life via Narcan this summer.) We asked people to move away from the store. If I called police, they would come and people would move, but police have a lot on their plate these days, and the previous version of Clean and Safe was great, but they went home at 11 PM. The party would just be getting started…

We followed all the rules, religiously. Our registers are set up to filter out ANYTHING food stamp ineligible. Master P himself sat with every employee and watched the training video, (great discussion) and made sure without any doubt we knew the rules. The issue was not us, but I can see how it might seem suspicious. We started making a LOT of money on the food stamp program.

Because we are basically the only thing open, we sell a lot of everything to a very poverty-stricken crowd. They could walk to Safeway, but that’s a half-mile up hill. “Fuck it, let’s get some Little Debbie’s and an $8 frozen cheeseburger that takes five minutes to cook.” Once it’s paid for, straight to the line in front of the microwave.

This leaves a trail of trash, from the counter out the door and if I’m lucky to the corner where a garbage can sits. (It’s usually torn open, contents strewn about.) At 3 AM, I go out with a hose and push broom. I take as long as I want. It’s my only break. People wander up; if they are a normal customer I will unlock and let them shop. If it’s their fifteenth trip through, “You can come back at 7 AM.” They don’t need another fucking soda that bad.

I love the early hours, when there isn’t a pack of shits lining the wall by the sidewalk. I watch the rats run out and grab goodies from the trash bins down the street. The crows serenade me, off key. If the crowd is distasteful, I will go inside and lock up to mop, clean and stock. Work is perfect if there aren’t any asshole cussed-dumbers to interrupt ones train of thought. About sunrise, the deliveries begin, the garbage trucks start buzzing by. The Normals come out for coffee, and Mrs Brady shows up to set me free.

Without a food stamp buffer, most of the street people have no reason to be in the store. They pretend to read labels, but we remember who spends money and we tend to run the happy wanderers off quickly. Some come in, grab an armload like they are shopping, and just walk out. We recognize a lot of them, and are not shy about asking masked people to show their face. “You can put your mask back on. I just like seeing who I’m dealing with.”

If they say no?

“Funny how you’re only worried about fucking COVID when you’re in here…”

After about a month, the curb-dwellers and dirt-urchins have found different places to loiter. There are actual minutes between customers at night, which hasn’t been the case in at least two years. I find myself laughing and joking again. (It’s hard to have fun when you’re yelling at people every ten minutes.) But… just when you think it’s cool, you see someone’s eyes peering over the corner of a cooler bank, looking like they’re taking a leak in the doorway.


The eyes twinkled, and Festus stepped out to be seen. “What are you all worked up about?”

“Dude, some guy tried to take a shit there this morning.” (Inside the store.)

“I guess I better get busy,” tugging at his belt. I introduced him to my newest coworker, and violence was averted.

Giggles is on vacation, so I am on a nine-day work fun-run.

Front door key? Check.

Hose? Check.


That’s worn thin, but I have more than last week. See you when the sun rises.

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April 23, 2022 at 12:10 pm (The Easy Chair)

I hated that tooth when I was a kid.

It was rectangular and cockeyed, sitting kinda sideways. It stuck up a couple millimeters higher than the neighboring tooth, and went deep into my lip more than once. I eventually came to appreciate this lone weird tooth, and realized it might be what identified me in a plane crash or earthquake. I was glad it was of the remaining nine saved during the great dental excavation a half-decade ago.

A cracking sound in my jawline sent the original warning. It went from being able to move the tooth to being able to “do the compass points” to what amounted to a joystick with no spring left. Just a wobbly knob that felt like a nail in the gumline every time I bit wrong.

I’d been through this before. I started wiggling Ol’ Wobbly back and forth, side to side. The mask/bandana came in most handy; I could have my fingers in my mouth without being TOO gross. I made the most of bus rides and TV time. Night before last I almost had it. But if I was too forceful, I’d be in extreme pain and there’d be no sleeping.

I started in first thing yesterday morning, and I could almost pull the tooth down to a horizontal spot. Like a diving board for spittle! I was getting wonky from the constant low-grade pain, and regretting the thought of work.

As I wiggled from side to side, i started using a screwing motion, and felt a pop. I pushed forward with my tongue, and felt more give. Index finger on tip of tooth blade, I pulled forward. A final pop, and look what we have here!

Queasy looks from family members as I held out my hand saying, “See me smile!” I went from grumpy ol’ beastard to near-giddiness. I hadn’t realized how irritating that tooth was.

I rinsed the tooth, and my holey mouth, then texted Mister Felix. “I have something for you! I pulled my thing tool tooth (isn’t auto-correct funny?) this morning, and it’s coming your way.”

My buddy back east will turn my flat-blade screwdriver of a tooth into some form of jewelry.

I always knew I had a New York smile.

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A Happy Ending

April 17, 2022 at 5:49 pm (In Memoriam, Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

Happy Papillon Turner July 28, 2009-April 12, 2022

It is with heavy heart that I announce the passing of Happy, longtime companion of Dr T and Sunday Girl. He was 12 years old.

Happy had a long and checkered past leading up to his retirement at the T’s. Not much is known about his early years, but his later days were filled with love and companionship. (Anyone who doubts Happy’s ability to love should just watch him with his bed. ‘Nuff said.)

Happy is survived by Dr T and Sunday Girl, as well as the pitbulls and derelicts Happy protected them from on their nightly walks. He will be missed dearly.

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Say It, Don’t Spray It

April 7, 2022 at 2:30 am (Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

I’ve always been about the atmosphere. Late nights have always appealed to me; I couldn’t understand why more people weren’t night owls. Perspective: A lot of people are afraid of the dark. For some reason I am drawn to it.

I’m cautious, but not paranoid. I have a lot of years of good luck in my pocket, but that can be erased in a hot moment. Every time I leave the house, I wonder if it will be my last. It’s a brief flash, but it happens every time I head off to do the graveyard shift.

I walk toward the freeway overpass. A line of zombie RVs are under the overpass, camped there since last winter. Creepy looking from a distance, the feeling is enhanced by the rattle and hum of generators. Remember when they show up at the farm in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Yep.

The dogs like me, the humans avoid eye contact unless they are drunk, then they offer me beer and barbecue. I politely decline and make for the bike trail, where at 10:30 PM there are no wanderers. Thankfully. There are fewer places in the world where I can find a moment of quiet solitude. I take each one as I find them. Like the back corner of the bus, where I hunker down for the 14-mile commute…

I started doing the graveyard shift out of necessity. Giggles won’t work seven days a week, and NOBODY really wants to work it, but when folks don’t show, guess who gets to work graveyard?

“Can you work until 7 AM, and we’ll find you a replacement for tomorrow?”

That usually turns into “Can you work another graveyard?” So I do the two shifts Giggles doesn’t, plus my trademark Friday and Saturday swing shifts. I love the nightlife, I got to boogie, and working it instead of paying for it has been my bread and butter.

BUT… Graveyard isn’t the easy-peasy, busy-until-2:30/dead-until-sunrise shift it used to be. That national c-store chain I used to work for closed both downtown stores, and the Plaid closes at 10 PM. (Safeway stays open later. For shame, c-store pussies!) That has brought the beacon of light shining down upon our little store, about the only thing open after 7 PM. We now have all the riff-raff that used to live in the Occupy parks, as well as the tent dwellers and those who just drop their pants and shit wherever. A lovely crowd, I tell ya.

When it happens, I have a helper until 4 or 5 AM. Most times they call in sick, or don’t show at all. I have Bruno on the weekends. Bruno is great; he looks like an offensive guard for the Chicago Bears, is fun-loving as hell, and not afraid to confront ne’er-do-wells. But Bruno had an “incident” the night before, and I had concerns.

“Will I have the pleasure of the company of your rosy cheeks and bright red eyes this evening?” (Note: Bruno is not a partier.)

“Yup,” he texted back. “I’m a tough cookie.”

Thank god.

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Welcome to L’il Pepe’s!

April 4, 2022 at 7:16 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

Once upon a time I worked for a small chain of downtown newsstands. Evolving with the times, those four newsstands have turned into one small, mighty busy Quik-E-Mart. Until recently it was one of the few open businesses in the pandemic/protest ravaged city core. As life returns to normal, I forge on, trying to enjoy that which pays for my existence.

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Welcome Mat

April 1, 2022 at 12:09 pm (Sweet sticky things, The Easy Chair)

Say hello to my doormat.

Feral cats have been visiting us since we moved in twenty years ago. Some have stayed, most have moved on. The past few months, four special ferals have spent time in the back yard. A tom, two older mama-types, and the above-shown calico.

We call her Prego Lego. Because she looks like pieces of ten cats we’ve had trucking through the back yard.

Friendlier and more indoor-curious than the others, I had a feeling there might be a special bond when she walked up to me and announced in a Granny Clampett-like meow/roar that she was coming aboard. OOMPH! Ton o’ Mama Cat landing in my lap.

I was allowed to be her chair. I tried petting her, but that met with disapproval. She rubbed her forehead against my knuckles, and hopped down. Sister, standing by the back door, held out a pan of cat food, and she went right into the house.

Cat-napping success!

Sister had put together a large dog crate with blankets, food, water and all the other kitty hotel amenities, hoping to make an expectant mother less grouchy. New Cat was quite vocal about her disapproval of everything, but she seemed to be enjoying her new rule-the-roost position. Luna the dog and Trixie the old cat have no issues with her. They don’t even get offended when she hisses at them. Having never littered, dog and cat are probably grateful Lego is providing the new kittens.

Lego has calmed down considerably. It’s been a week now, and she seems to feel at home. She sits in front of my bedroom door when I’m home.

Is it because she likes me, or is there a warm draft coming through? The next hiss will be my clue.

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Las Quinceañeras!!!

April 1, 2022 at 12:10 am (Cussed Dumbers)

Superlatives? Check.

Hyperbole? Yup.

Adverbs? Wrestling them back into the suitcase.

Sarcasm? Suitcase bursting at the seams…

Howdy! It’s been a while. I think about writing every day, but the world, and my part in it, has been in flux, and I wanted to let the dust settle before documenting. There’s been a lot of change, but things are also a lot the same. “Think before you speak” was my dad’s advice; advice I should follow more often.

I still work at the same store, but it’s not the same. Fun became work, thanks to the pandemic and a condensation of Master P’s bodega empire. I plan on updating the scene over time, who went where, who went away, who went away forever, etc…

This site is fifteen years old today. It has become my diary. I leave it open, but I’m not looking for publicity or fame right now. I want to remember some of this stuff while I still can, and create a few smiles along the way.

You are most welcome to hang around and listen to me talking to myself…

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Plywood and Heartbreak: Year of the Mad Dog

February 10, 2021 at 12:45 pm (The Easy Chair)

The year of 2020; it was something, wasn’t it? I’ve been meaning to do a year in review, but I wanted to make sure I lived through it first.

So, how you doin’? At the risk of sounding smug, all things considered, I had a pretty good year.

I didn’t come out unscathed, though. My sister was walking past my open door, and looked in. “Are you okay? You look depressed, like it’s the end of the world…”

The woman knows me. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about both.

Before anyone gets too concerned, I’m not talking Taxi Driver stuff here. My usually chipper ass has been down in the dumps, for reasons shared by many. The pandemic, loss of loved ones, whether because of sickness or just plain life. I miss Rain. I miss Mizelle, who is still around but has been scarce since the airlines shut down.

I miss downtown. I’m still there, the last light on, but goddamn! It’s a never-ending maze of plywood and graffiti, with only drugged-out zombies and kiddie-bike-riding forty-year-old tweakers for company. On the rare night when the normal people come out? That’s when I remember why I’ve done what I’ve done for forty years. It’s fun!

That’s part of the depression. The sadness? The end of the world thingy? End of the world happens for people every day. When I was a young’un, I thought if I lived until sixty I’d have had a good life. (And I was right.) I’m in pretty good shape at 59, doing better than the sixty-year-olds my parents knew. My problem these days is… even in a best case scenario, I have twenty or thirty years left. Then it’s death, the one life event I’m not going to be able to squirm out of.

I’m not scared of dying, not that I’m in a hurry. I figure most likely the lights will go out some day and I won’t give a good goddamn when it does. My problem with it? I don’t want to miss out on all the fun!

I’ve been spending too much time what-iffing. I need to focus on the present, not the inevitable. Those first steps are the hardest, and my knee hurts. But once I get going…

Sounds like the bars are reopening this weekend. All my “drinking buddies” will be back, but I won’t recognize them at first, because masks, and they’ve all gained weight. (I’ve no room to talk, everything is tight these days.) I can flirt with girls who don’t have three personalities manifesting!

Time to get on the old sterile bus and roll toward the dirty sunset.

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Just Wear The F*cking Mask

September 3, 2020 at 12:12 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

“All right you motherstickers, this is a fuck up!”

“Mask on, please.”

“Gotta wear a mask.”

“Can you pull your mask up for me?”

“Mask. Mask. MASK. HEY! Ignore me and I REALLY WILL single you out.”

It’s the new “Welcome to WalMart.”

As you all know by now, we are in the brave new world, things have changed, and we all have to do our part if we want to survive. That includes wearing a face panty.

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