The Crashing of the Mothership

January 12, 2018 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Waxing Nostalgic)

After 34 years, Master P’s main store is closing. After a long, hard-fought battle with the landlord, (the City) he let out a big sigh and closed the doors last week. Downtown’s infamous late-night c-store is no more.

I peered through the window of the Mothership. Art East was winding up cords from the security cameras, and storing them in milk crates. I used my key to come inside. The first thing I noticed was the quiet.

“Wow, the sounds of silence. It’s amazing how quiet these places are is when you don’t have thirty to forty coolers running.”

“Yeah, and how funky-smelling it is with the door closed for a week!”

The dusty smell was pervasive; the aisles have been emptied, rectangular squares of dust marking their previous location. An old copy of Busted! Magazine was on the floor. I was tempted to grab it, but Art was using it to protect his jacket. I settled for the Wall of Shame, a poster collection of mugshots, of whom half the people were still coming around. It would make a nice addition to profiles of the shitbird contingent at the Nightclub Store.

Viewing Backward

I haven’t worked the Mothership much, just an hour’s lunch here and there. Like a cub reporter getting sent to Troutdale to cover the ice storms, if you want to work at Master P’s you need to be able to handle the Mothership. It’s the major leagues. I’ve done my time. Last decade, for a couple years, I would work three day shifts and two swings. All super-busy shifts, and mostly all by myself. Once acclimated, I loved the fast pace and edge of the place.

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, SURPRISE! You cannot dream up these behaviors. They are the behaviors that give Portland its weird reputation. Epic tales of public masturbation, sometimes involving employees! Deranged women peeing on the floor ala Regan from The Exorcist. Violent thieves beating on employees, and the occasional return of the favor. I have a marcarena story. Nudity! A nipple flash has paid for a cup of ice, and I’d give her a thousand free refills. Employees have been arrested, (20 year-old DUII warrant) had heart attacks, (twice, at age 34) been beaten with drumsticks (on Xmas!) and followed for blocks by twitchy meth-heads. (Me. Almost beat his ass.) So many stories, and that’s just inside the store. The block-long canopy covering the sidewalk has its own myriad sketchy, scary tales.

Art and I reminisced. “Remember when President Obama was elected? I have security video of that night.”

I nodded. “Didn’t I have short green hair?”

“Yes! Channel 12 news was there all night. There was the dumpster fire, and all that video I still have? I’m gonna upload it and share with the world.” He paused and looked around the empty store. “As soon as I finish with all this shit…”

The door rattled, and Master P let himself in. “Well hello, Charles! What brings you by? I thought you were off today.”

“Yes sir, I am. I saw Art puttering around and thought I’d come in and take one last look around. To say goodbye to the place.” I gave him a sympathetic look. “How you doing?”

“I am beat. It’s been a busy week.” He shared his short-term plans for the week, and the comment, “I’ll bet by the end of the week the whole area will be dotted with tents.” He’s right; they’ll have to cyclone fence the place, and then patrol it…

I let them get back to business. Master P locked me out.

Earlier when I’d came by, I’d seen Master P sitting inside the empty store, using his laptop and making phone calls. It must be pure hell for him, like losing your firstborn. He made it 34 years, and would make it that many more if the city hadn’t closed his doors. He’s got a stiff upper lip, and he’s already looking forward. But I hope at some point he gets royally drunk and has a good cry. I hope he quaffs a pint and sheds a few for me.

It’s gonna be weird not having The Mothership to drop in on. Strange not to have to dread the last lunch, and the eternal hour it took. But…

There’s a chance the Mothership may reopen in the same spot. We have been invited to apply just like everybody else, and if we agreed to cut our floor-size in half, and quit selling alcohol, I’m sure we’d be a lock for the place. These terms are unacceptable. His stores are jam-packed with product, but it’s the presence of booze that gets people through the door. So, we’ll see.

The Wild West End just got a whole lot less interesting.

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1 Comment

  1. ArtEast said,

    Elvis has left the building.
    But hey, we’ve still got the ‘Ken Darby trio’!
    Rest in Pepperoni’s P.O.M.
    Maybe she’ll rise from the ashes one day?
    Peterson’s 2.0-The Reckoning-2019

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