Feast at Midnight

November 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm (Clairissa, Cussed Dumbers, Sweet sticky things)

It’s Thanksgiving, and I am at work. I am thankful for having the job that is keeping me away from home today.

Today I am the station agent. I’m working at the Waterfront store at a MAX stop. It’s not a busy stop on a normal day. I’ve had three paying customers in two hours.

Looks like I’ll be live-blogging the sound of crickets.

I asked to work Thanksgiving. I did so because I wanted a four-day weekend last week. I got my weekend, and was scheduled for Thanksgiving so others could have their time. Proof that no good deed goes unpunished? I am now scheduled eleven days straight. I’d be pissy if I minded that much, and can use the money. Any grumbling is preemptive; I don’t want anyone asking me to work for them on payday weekend. I’m bitching now so they know better.

Working holidays is a mixed blessing. Each store is different. The Nightclub store can be a shit-magnet on holidays. The nice people are at home, all that’s left are the folks that have already been kicked out for numerous repeated transgressions. Half the shift is spent yelling, “Get out!” or answering the phone. “No, we’re closed. I’m just here to answer the phone so you know that.”

I only think that. When I answered the phone, “Master P’s, open all night,” and it was Master P himself calling? I was hero of the day.

Now I just say “Master P’s: Open until midnight.” Saves a lot of hemming and hawing.

Hour 2:

“Hot damn, Red! You got hairy!”

Homeless advocate and major annoyance Useless was at the door. It always crushes him when I’m the worker. No free coffee, and I ignore him as he babbles incessantly. It still takes him twenty minutes to get the fact that I haven’t paid attention to a single word he’s said. After disrupting my train of thought for the fifth time, I sat down on a milk crate and stared stupidly into space. Five minutes later he stopped for a breath, went outside, mounted his bicycle and rode off in search of friendlier targets.

Hour 3:

Spent twenty minutes doodling on my time-slip, silently cursing the co-worker that trashed my Newt Gingrich picture. Imma find something of hers and rub it on my nutsack.

Finally, a customer. He’s buying a beer. If they’re old enough and can make it to the counter without falling over, they get it. We need the money.

‘Hood party in the upper deck of the Airport MAX. Chugging out of a Carlo Rossi jug. Looked to be about seventeen. Fortunately, it’s not *my* job to do anything about it.

I must say, KINK radio is playing the best possible music I could hope to hear at work on terrestrial radio in beautiful albeit rainy downtown Portland, Oregon.

At this rate I could live-blog every transaction. I will spare you that. Only one of us is getting paid to have all this fun.

Hour 4:

Dinner is cooking at home. I love hanging out with my family, but turkey day has never been traditional. We are a generation of TV-eaters, and couldn’t fit a dining table into the house if we wanted to. We have our comfy spots, and even the most formal dinners are rarely communal.

My sister is taking care of the wet work. “I’ll kill it, you cook it!” is the way. I gave her $20 and told her not to come home without a bird. She did. Jenni-O from the block.

The chopping block.

She will sleep while the bird cooks. The kids are on alert to wake her in the case of smoke or cat infiltration. (Little fuckers are nosy.) Bagel (because she’s denser than a doughnut) likes to drink directly from the kitchen faucet. Fawkesy (her moustache is dead-on Guy Fawkes) guards my bedroom door atop a cardboard box in the hallway. Fuzzball, a tiny female, sleeps atop the TV like Snoopy on a doghouse. Django sleeps wherever he wants. Neptune, aka Creamcicle, is the family cat-cop. He sits in the kitchen, awaiting a mouse stupid enough to enter our cathouse. The rest of the cats are underfoot somewhere.

I suppose I should get back on-point. I was talking about my sister when I got distracted by her cats. Did I mention my sister is the best? Simply the best. She’s honest, hard-working, a killer mom, and my lifelong best friend. I rue the day we have to part, and if there is an afterlife I WILL find her. There’s no way you could keep us apart.

Her old man is pretty cool, too. Bro, you’ve been my roommate for over two decades. I’ve learned to close the bathroom door, and not to eat mystery brownies in the crisper that aren’t mine. I’d talk about things you do that bug me, but I can’t think of any right now. Oh yeah, monosyllabic 20-question-style phone conversations. Elaborate more often, would you? I love you, man.

(sniff) Goddamn allergies.

That’s the second time I’ve puddled up at work today. Was talking to Art East, and Van Morrison’s cover of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? started playing. Flashes of Mizelle, Clairissa, my dad singing that to my mom. Went away from the radio, but customers came in. My eyes are red from drinking. Yeah, that’s it. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! (Breathalyzer available upon request.)

Ain’t love grand?

Hour 5:

Scruffy type deboards MAX. Sees me. About face! Back on MAX. Christ, I’m fearsome.

Another face emerges from the dark. He smiles and carries a library bag. “Delivering skid row to your door,” says Dr T. He pulls out a library book documenting the Old Town area of Portland, written when I ran the streets as a misfit teenager. I point out the place I ‘almost’ got a tattoo. I tell him a ribald tale of mischief that occurred at the Star Theater, back when it was a classic porno-house. I do some this-and-that, little things that are easier if you can focus for thirty seconds without having to check the sales floor. All eyes on deck! At ease…

I love my job, and love it more when co-workers are of my general ilk. I don’t have to explain things to Dr T the way I would Uncle Cliffy or Grinder. (Nor would they want an explanation.) The good Dr tolerates my nonsense, occasionally enjoys it. I am thankful beyond belief to have a boss that understanding and forgiving.

The EYE-talian from Kain-tucky made my day. We discussed hillbillies and how the French have hillbillies even more outrageous than the Wonderful Whites. This was confirmed by Mizelle’s husband. I made a wisecrack about Perrier, to which Dr T replied, “The French don’t particularly care for Perrier. They think it’s ghetto.”

“So, Perrier is like the Faygo of Paris?”

He laughed. “I guess you could say that.”

I did, and I will. I may never look at another bottle of Perrier without envisioning French Juggalos.

Thank you for the laughs, Dr. You have become a true friend, and you feel like family. That’s not a common thing with me.

Hour 6:

Three more hours. Folks are awakening from food comas and out looking for open bars. The underage strip club across the street is open. One of the kitchen guys just showed me their Facebook page. Going to look at the neighbors in their underwear. Back in a minute.

Ah, women. I’ve been floating through a single phase for a while. Spending time with both Meg and Rain. They are aware of each other, and I am honest with both of them. Both have shown me a good time the past couple years, although in different ways. Meg has become a good friend. Rain is and has been a bunch of fun. While it’s not always a smooth ride, it’s always an exciting one. We are in a state of transition. Things will shake themselves out eventually. Until then I am hanging on with all available toes and fingernails.

Thank you, Clairissa. You will always be my special friend. My hairapist. I love you like no other, because there will never be another love quite like ours. You make me feel special in a helmet-and-tiny-bus kinda way. Derp derp.

I’d love to thank all the women I like, find attractive and fun, but I only have a couple hours left. Probably should do some work.

Hour 7:

“Closing time… you don’t have to go home, but you can’t…stay…here…”

Closing up used to seem a daunting task. Now it’s part of a daily routine. I do more domestic stuff. (Gasp!) People have actually seen me working. For God’s sake don’t tell anyone. I have slothful reputation to maintain.

I’ve condensed the garbage. I usually take it out, but there’s a handful of receipts, one batch of coffee grounds and a three-day-old newspaper. It can finish filling tomorrow. Uncle Cliffy would have an aneurysm if I left an eighth of a bag of trash overnight. “Two fresh bags every shift!” Dr T will thank me for using common sense. (Especially since he had to swipe a sleeve of trash bags from Uncle Cliffy’s back room…)

Hour 8:

Winding down. The last train will leave in a few minutes, then foot traffic all but disappears. I lock up shop, secure all the safes, alarm the joint and make for the bus. I love being in control of my departure. If I miss the bus, it’s my own fault.

In summary:

We mean it, man!

There are too many people to thank in one shift. There are too many things to acknowledge being thankful for in my lifetime, but I try to be aware and grateful. I am a lucky man. I live in the best city in the best state in (arguably) the best country in the world. I am surrounded by the best of friends and the prettiest girls, and live with the best family imaginable.

Thank you, dear readers. Without you, I would lose inspiration. A big thank you to Art East, for keeping me technically relevant, and being there for a stable shoulder to lean on. And the comments. Deities praise your comments!

Soon, I will slither past the German Shepherd at my door, telling her to shush as she barks with excitement. No matter how bad my day, the unconditional love of Sandra the dog washes all the angst away. Good puppy!

After I’m home, when the kids are asleep and their parents are off working, I will pick the cold carcass of the turkey which died for our grins. It will be a simple conglomeration of meat, stuffing and gravy. I will have a huge four-legged audience as I do this. The five-second rule will not be in effect.

Nothing that hits the floor will last that long.


  1. Chortle said,

    Well done!

  2. Jeff said,

    I look forward reading your posts”EVERYTIME” I log on!
    You have brought me much joy over the years, sharing you’re antics and life in general.
    Yes my cyber-buddy, I can always count on you for a “UPLIFTING” and enjoyable read….Please keep them coming, as the nation depends on you to inform and entertain!
    Being Saturday, this OLD FART is off to Atlantic City to play some sluts, no make that slots……..No make that BOTH!

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