Fire Trucks and Bridges

June 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

It seems like a same-thing-different-day situation, that work thing. Human behavior doesn’t surprise me, rarely shocks me anymore. I’m still at it, still having fun. Thank god summer is here; work has been sorta mundane. The sun is bringing the goonybirds back out, and I’ve been watching…

Last week was fire truck week. I saw at least one response on the block every night. The first, and most notable, involved El Cunte, a bane to downtown merchants. A fire truck pulled up to the pay phone outside. El Cunte was sitting on the curb, holding his neck like he’d been cut. Could we be so lucky? Nah, he wasn’t bleeding. Several police cars pulled up, focusing on the area in front of one of the bars. The cops were talking to a bouncer.

They strapped El Cunte onto a backboard, put chin-holders on his neck and duct-taped him still. After he was loaded into the ambulance, I walked over to the group of officers. “Sorry to interrupt, but we have a long history with that guy, including several trips to court. If you need any info on him, I could help?”

The officer in charge replied, “Nah, we know him too. He’s a piece of shit looking for a payday. Hey, I know you!”

“Hi John.” We’d spent some time fighting crime at my last place of employment. “You’re looking well.”

He laughed. “I’m looking old. You’re looking well…” We both had business to attend to, so I went back inside the store.

As I watched through the window, I heard more shouting. One of the street people was yelling at the bouncer, something about how his “old black ass could stomp your punk ass into the cee-ment!” The old guy’s girlfriend was pulling him away. She was mid-30s, and would be attractive if she took better care of herself. (And paid a little more attention to her fashion. One should wear full-length pants, and not tennis shorts, when you have a urinary catheter bag attached to your ankle.) I stuck my head out the door, getting a sneer from the lovely couple as they scurried off, before the bouncer lost his temper again.

One of the bike patrol rolled up. “Damn, I missed it. Did you see it?” Everyone knows El Cunte.

“I don’t even know what happened. I just saw them haul El Cunte off.”

“Great, there’s another six grand in unpaid medical bills trickling down…” He shook his head. “I’m going to see what I can find out.”

He returned a couple minutes later. “Here’s the bouncer’s side: He was watching the door, and El Cunte comes up and starts rummaging through the ashtray, making a mess. The bouncer told him to knock it off and move along. El Cunte told him, ‘Fuck off, I’ve got a knife and I’ll cut you!’ Well, Matt’s a mixed-martial artist with combat training. You threaten him and he reacts. He had El Cunte five feet off the ground and horizontal before he slammed him into the sidewalk!”

“Ouch! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy…”

A little later, I watched a shirtless guy get pepper-sprayed as he flailed around drunkenly, trying to punch a cop. That’s bad for your health, guy… That tied up the intersection for half an hour.

Around quitting time, I was waiting for my relief to start when a rather boisterous Native American man about six-foot-six and three hundred pounds came in, heading straight for the beer. He was walking and talking okay, but I could tell he had been drinking. The two big questions were: Is he too intoxicated to sell to? and Will he pop the beer open the minute he gets outside? Please just behave…

“I’m feeling Irish tonight, so I’m drinking *like* an Irishman tonight.” He put a large bottle of Guinness on the counter. “How the fuck are ya, Irish?”

“Fine, how are you?” I was gauging his response as I wiped the condensation off the bar code. (Cold Guinness, a sin I know, but some folks like it that way.) How you respond often determines whether I can sell it to you or not.

He ignored my question, coming back with one of his own. “What’s your favorite bridge?”

“Huh?”

“Your favorite Bridges? What’s your favorite TV show? Is it Sea Hunt?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about…”

“You look like Beau Bridges! If you had more hair I could call you The Dude, but not with that haircut. You look more like Beau. You sure as fuck don’t look like Lloyd Bridges…”

I put the beer in a bag, took his money and edged him out the door with an eyeroll. It was a Jenny Craig moment for me, being told I looked like Beau Bridges. The last time I was clean-shaven, people said I looked like John Candy. That’s why I wore a beard for fifteen years. If he was tipsy enough to think I looked like Beau Bridges, (beer makes you pretty!) I probably shouldn’t have sold it to him. But, flattery will get you everywhere, and he worded things just right.

If he’d called me John Candy, he’d be bunkmates with El Cunte right now…

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