Deadwood: The Next Generation

March 31, 2013 at 4:00 am (Cussed Dumbers)

cowboyFor the past couple years I’ve been working at the Waterfront store with Dr T. All good things must come to an end, and as is typical at Master P’s, it can’t end without a little drama.

At first I was worried, and asked Master P if I was in trouble? He mentioned something that irritated him recently, “but that wasn’t it. I just need fresh eyes and faces, stirring the pot.” While stirring the pot, he tossed out a rotten rutabaga. I’m the big Irish potato going into the pot to fill that space. Once this became clear, I stopped worrying so much.

I’ve rather enjoyed the lack of drama the past couple years. The Waterfront store is closest to a true grocery store experience in the Master P chain. It could close at 6 PM and no one would care much. Once the office workers commute home and the sun goes down, the customer base is mostly cocktail waitresses and homeless kids filling up on jerky and gummy bugs with their food stamp cards between rounds of PBR at the nearby pub. There are a steady stream of familiar faces, but they are scarce after a certain hour.

Which gives yours truly a chance to stare stupidly into space and ponder the whys and what-ifs of life. During my time on the Waterfront, I watched the HBO series Deadwood, and couldn’t help comparing some of the locals to characters on the show. Sure it’s vague, sure it’s a stretch, but since they took the radio away I only have my mirthly musings to keep me sane.

I start making parallels to my life and the shows I get hooked on. I was fairly well-dressed during my Sopranos period. I was scared shitless during The Wire‘s run, working at the Nightclub Store during a rivalry between two nearby hip-hop clubs. Pop pop pop every Saturday night.

With the MAX rolling past and the historic feel of the district, it wasn’t hard to step back in time. So, hitch up your garters and come along for the ride. It’s NSFW, politically incorrect, and hopefully the Fine Dining Establishment (FDE’s) can’t read English yet…

Everyone wants to be Al Swearingen. Sorry kids, my blog, I get to be Al. Don’t like it? Create your own copycat universe.

If you’re not familiar with Deadwood, you should watch the series before reading this. There is your spoiler alert. I waited until my regular readers got caught up before writing this. It is a hell of a show, and I wish it had gone on forever, but it experienced an abrupt and unexpected end. Much like my tenure on the Waterfront. Let us compare the two worlds…

First off, everyone knows the mayor is useless. (Not Useless, a character you will meet soon.) Played by William Sanderson, of Newhart’s Larry, Darryl and Darrell fame, his propensity for using ten-dollar words on fifty-cent ears impressed only the newest in town, and not for very long. We had one of those. We called him “The Mayor”. The Mayor has since moved along, getting an apartment out in the new ‘hood. He comes by to panhandle the platform once in a while, and looks horrible. He seemed healthier and more robust when he was sleeping in the doorway.

There are Irish bars and hip-hop clubs and the local Road Warrior tavern, but none create as much good will and mellow vibe as the Cannabis Club. It has changed hands a bunch of times, and is now being run by a family of Asians. It’s our own little opium den.

Oh, it’s not all good will and camaraderie. FDE, the restaurant we share a bathroom with, has often been less than neighborly. FDE has complained numerous times that we trash the bathrooms. One day the bartender chided me for leaving a faucet running. “It flooded the whole basement.”

“I haven’t been in there since 3:30 PM. When did this happen?”

“Oh, that’s right, I saw you come out. Never mind.”

Two days later, he’d locked his keys in the basement. He came to me in a panic, fearing he’d be fired. When I let him into the basement, did he thank me? Offer me a tip for saving his job? No, he went on acting like a smug prick who is too good to be talking to the help next door. His Asian boss calls him “the retard”. Even though he’s not Asian, or the least Asian of the crew, we call him The Chinese Cocksucker.

Yes, the word cocksucker became prevalent in my daily thoughts and prayers. Folks praise the authenticity of the dialogue in Deadwood, I can attest with personal knowledge that it’s true. My dearly departed mother, born close to 100 years ago, often complained that with her first Gypsy husband “every other word was cocksucker.” Of course, hearing my Jehovah’s Witness mother use the word cocksucker lit me up like a Christmas tree. I could never not laugh when she’d share that part of her life. Of course, in honor of my older brother’s father, I used the word cocksucker every chance I got.

Dr T? This was an easy one for me, though he may not agree. Charlie Utter, Wild Bill Hickok’s friend to the end. There’s a bit of a personal resemblance, but I loved his loyalty and ability to stick to his own code. One of my favorite scenes is when Charlie Utter stomps the pretentious crap out of a Jack-the-Ripper type.

I said I was gonna be Al in this fantasy, but in reality I’m more like Dan Doherty. Not afraid to get dirty, but would rather let someone else make the tough decisions while I party and chase hookers.

Who would Master P be? George Hearst. ‘Nuff said.

Uncle Cliffy could be Powers Boothe’s character, Cy Tolliver. Cy reminded me of Snidely Whiplash, and I’m disappointed Cy didn’t get to tie a damsel (or a useless hooker) to the railroad tracks. But then, that hasn’t happened at the Waterfront Store either. Maybe I can get Uncle Cliffy to tie Bart to the MAX tracks…

Calamity Jane would have to be Crazy Cat Woman Carol. While no nearby school is asking Carol to come in and share her fascinating stories with the children, (“I’ve been spending a lot of time with Antonio Banderas lately. He’s the president of Venezuela, don’t you know?”) she does add color to the area. A tinge of blue, every time she addresses some “cocksucker!”

I mentioned Useless. Yeah, he gets to be the Little N-Word General. Always scamming us for coffee, he’s tolerable in small doses. It’s like feeding a grizzly bear; do it once and never see the end of him. His scams are small time, and I’d enjoy his company more if he’d just shut up and go away. It’s the forty minutes of pontificating after he buys his coffee that makes my head explode. I bear him no ill will.

Art East would be Sheriff Bullock. Always getting roped into doing shit he’d rather not, applying common sense when it is at its highest commodity, etc… Art is packing up soon and moving on. Guess we’re both heading West…

My womenfolk would be a combination of Tricksie and Joanie Stubbs. Rain is a good mix of the two, actually. She is high fashion, like Joanie, but can cut you to shreds with her wit and snap, like Tricksie. Meg would be more like Alma Garrett; staying in her room most of the time with her cat and various tonics.

I loved that Geri Jewl had a part in this. She plays “the gimp”, and is always backtalking Al. This part would be played by Petunia, our coupon queef-queen, and Lucy, our adorably well-intentioned cleaning lady who works four hours a week dusting shelves. Petunia has a way of needing to be put in her place every now and then. I recently did this, and now wonder if that’s why I am heading to greener pastures. Lucy, on the other hand, is easily offended and often wanders up at just the wrong moment. Through no fault of his own, Dr T has been branded a pervert by her finding my old stripper catalogs, condom wrappers and other documents of deviance.

While I didn’t become obsessed with cocktail waitresses like everyone thought I would, there *is* a special one. She’d come every night just before closing for Marlboro Lights. (Never once called them Marbs, god bless you young lady.) While I have a full plate and she could do way better than me, I could end up seriously conflicted if she showed me any more attention. I will miss her a lot.

There are several I will miss. The Wine Lady, who comes in so melancholy and leaves with a grin. A recent transaction with her left Rain smoldering with jealousy; something I’d not seen before. We talked about movies, drug habits and death with dignity. (“Can you say morphine?”) I’ve seen her during my rare day appearances. It won’t be hard to find a bench on a sunny day and happen upon her.

MajorI have made friends with a couple dogs, including one that looked like my dog growing up, Major. After my dad “fixed” him, Major became gay as Paul Lynde, always trying to bugger the older dog. Tippy was nobody’s bitch. So long, little fella.

The upside is I’m only going eight blocks away. It’s another world, but those worlds frequently collide. Dr T will make his bank run about the time I start, I will get to say hello as he wanders past. I spent four years working the Nightclub Store, and tend to get a hero’s welcome each time I return. I hope that’s the case this time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get into character:

“That’s right, folks. Step right up! Big Al’s back on The Avenue, gonna slut up the joint… Get your porno, your inexpensive wine. Got something to roll that with, sonny? Need a light? Step right up…”

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