Crazy Cat-Woman Carol vs Swamp Thing

October 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing

For the past five years or so, one of my favorite customers has been Crazy Cat Woman Carol. I use the term customer loosely; she has been kicked out of the store by most of my co-workers, including my manager, Southie. She was finally 86ed for real the other day, and as you might guess, she did not go quietly.

Lately she has been sleeping in the doorway of the restaurant next to the store. When it opened, and they put out planted trees and faux shrubberies, she walked up and said, “My, I love what they’ve done with my living room!” She laid out her blanket and curled up on the sidewalk amid the cacophony of a busy downtown sidewalk and went to sleep. She’s been doing it for almost a year, and it had been going well. So well, in fact, others decided they wanted to sleep there.

Enter Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing’s real name is Richard, and he is nice enough, but he belongs in a rest home drunk tank, not on a sidewalk at midnight. He wallows in his own filth, shits wherever he feels like, and doesn’t bother unzipping when all those dollar-coffees kick in. (Festus has his own nickname for Swamp Thing: Piss in Boots.) I never see him drinking alcohol, or I could have him busted, but he is usually inebriated to the point of immobility. He has decided that Carol’s spot is big enough for the both of them.

Carol is not of a like mind.

For those of you who haven’t met Carol, she first came on the scene a while back, when Agent Starling roamed the streets, and nobody knew our tiny 60-year-old enigma. Carol is about 4’10”, has chin whiskers and is missing a front tooth. She doesn’t get to bathe often; I never smell her, but you can see her hair from a block away and mutter an “Eww…” I’d say she’s always pleasant, but that ain’t exactly so, and your mileage may vary. Rain and Angel both hide their face and skirt around her as quickly as possible. They are hardly meek women, but Carol’s verbiage can be ferocious enough to make them run.

Carol will come around about the time the restaurant closes. I’d let her come into the store, give her a cocoa or coffee if she wanted it, and she’d go stand in the back. “I’m gonna go talk to the magazines for a while, hon.” And she would. As I did my chores, she would give a public discourse to the faces on the magazines. She’d be quite good with a focused agenda.

I would watch her, but she’d never steal. There would be times she’d offer a dollar for coffee, and I’d tell her to use the dollar to get something to eat. She’d say, “Thanks, hon,” then walk over and grab a Little Debbie’s and walk out. Not exactly what I had in mind, but for 75 cents I’m not filing a report.

The owner of the building, Mr Edamame, hates Carol as much (or more) than the traveling road warrior wannabes that were hogging the sidewalk a summer ago. We got rid of them, why can’t you get rid of Carol?

Because Carol has a whole piss-pot full of personality. That’s why.

“Frank Sinatra has 473 trillion dollars in his back pocket. You know how he does that?”

I waited, expecting a conspiracy from beyond the grave, with space ships and microwaves. Her response? “Credit cards.” I keep a poker face with her most of the time, but I couldn’t help laughing. She appreciated it.

I had to get her back. When she dropped a small packet of cashews on the counter and offered me a dollar, I said, “Well, I can plainly see your nuts.” I got a genuine belly laugh that still warms my heart to think about. Her look said, “You love me. You really love me.”

The new restaurant, and the office workers that arrive at 6:45 AM, are not as fond of Carol as I am. I’m guessing, from the stories, that Carol is not a morning person, and Swamp Thing’s non-existent toilet manners have caused the boil to pop. They had to go. Okay. Festus has enjoyed running off Swamp Thing, and I encourage that, but I asked them to leave Carol to me.

The other day, it was monsooning outside, and Carol was under the overhang early afternoon. When she saw me, she came in and went back to “talk to the magazines.” It was ugly out, and as long as she stayed mellow no one should care. Right?


As I went to count in, I joked to Carol, who pointed to a picture of John Wayne. She began telling me what a prick he was. I told her, “I always wanted to hear John Wayne sing Michael Jackson’s version of Rockin’ Robin. ‘Diddly…diddly…deet. Pilgrim…” She laughed, and the office door opened.

It was Southie, and he was not amused. “I thought we agreed she was 86ed?”

“I thought she was okay if I kept an eye on her and she behaved.”

“Charles, I admire your big heart, but do you want to come down here at six AM and hose the shit and other fluids off the sidewalk? And you know we caught her spitting in the magazines?”

Eww. “I did not know that. Well, I’m out of defense. Sorry Carol, you gotta go.”

Carol took the cue and started for the door, but now everyone was a cocksucker. There goes your quiet afternoon…

“All right John Wayne, you aren’t like them, but you’re gonna be shot by…” My fate faded into the pattering rain as she headed out the door. She stood outside and cussed the world in the rain. She had especially nice things to say to the folks trying to sit outside the restaurant. “You know that’s boiled baby they’re serving here?…” The restaurant owner came to intervene, and she cussed him out as well.

When night fell, I snuck up next to her sleeping head and set a 20 oz cocoa.

A few minutes later, I hear Carol, swearing like I hadn’t heard in a while. I poked my head out, and the office people, restaurant people, and Mr Edamame were all out front, with Clean & Safe. Clean & Safe told Carol good night, and walked away. Mr Edamame was apoplectic. He came to me, “Where are they going? Get them back here!”

“There’s really nothing they can do. She’s not in front of my store. Let them deal with it.” I pointed to his other tenants.

There had been a water pipe break in the building, and maintenance was there to straighten it out. I told the head janitor about Carol. “She won’t bother me. We’ll step over if we have to.” He was enjoying Carol as much as I was.

And even Mr Edamame, who once told me he was a former member of the Israeli secret service and could have me greased with the snap of a finger, couldn’t keep a straight face when Carol lit into him. It was like watching a drunk Lou Pinella chewing out an umpire after his second ejection. She was, as the kids say, all up in his grill. Carol was at her ferocious best, and while I couldn’t hear what she was saying, I could see Mr Edamame suppressing a smile. Poorly. The corners of his mouth were twitching like a tweaker post-hit. He gave up and left, and Carol curled up on the sidewalk. All was quiet when I went home.

Last night, I was lunch person. It involves giving lunch breaks to clerks at all the stores. As I swung past the Nightclub Store on the way home, Carol was outside. “Hi, hon,” I said.

“Hey, John Wayne, if I gave you some money, would you buy me a corn dog?” She was serious.

“We don’t sell corn dogs, hon.”

“A burrito, anything? I got money.”

“What kind of burrito you want?”

“One I can eat. I don’t care. Charge me $5. No, charge me $10.” She gave me a twenty.

“I’ll be back.”

I cooked a burrito, gave her all the change, and offered her taco sauce packets. “Never eat that stuff, I’ll tell you why later.” I can’t wait. When I offered her a free e-cigarette, she declined. “The cetalyne in it makes your eyelids droop, and after about thirty years you turn Asian. That’s why there are so many around now…”

As I left I stopped and filled a 20 oz cocoa. Festus followed me out the door. I walked up to Carol, and said, “Damn it, I don’t have enough hands. Would you hold this?”

I handed her the cocoa, and walked away.

Festus watched it all unfold, smiling. He looked over at Swamp Thing, who had scammed a wheelchair from somewhere. “Okay, Mister Asshole John Wayne. I will wait ten minutes for you to be gone, then I’m pushing Swamp Thing into traffic…”

“Carry on, soldier. I didn’t see a thing.”

Cue John Wayne riding off into the sunset.

“Thanks, John Wayne!” shouted Crazy Cat Woman Carol.

“See yuh lay-ter, Pilgrim…”

1 Comment

  1. Hollywood_Reporter said,

    Very entertaining read!
    Someone from Hollywood will be contacting you shortly.

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