Crazy Bitch(es)

May 25, 2020 at 11:22 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

Once upon a time at The Mothership, I was working a particularly busy shift about 10 AM. In those days, a radio was not only okay, it was mandatory for keeping ones sanity. If a customer starts to ramble, or I choose not to be interested in their topic of the day, I could drift off to my special place, nodding in agreement to whatever they’re saying. Other times, I’d get busy and forget the radio was on. One such time, manager Whitney hurried over and snapped the radio off while the above song was playing. After the crowd left, he turned the radio back on.

“What was that about?” I asked.

He smiled and tipped his fedora. “That old lady you sold a coke to is the head of Metro. She was probably in here looking for something to complain about. While the song was apropos, do you really want to lose the radio over Buckcherry?”

Point taken.

But there are a lot of crazy bitches downtown…

Since the quarantine/pandemic/cornhole virus started, downtown has been more of a dystopian wasteland than ever. Fifth Avenue is a nonstop line of tents, with the massively unwashed sunning themselves on statues and barbecuing on the sidewalk. Trash gets collected, and reappears the next day. Fortunately, most of the camping happens in Old Town, so we only have about a dozen “residents.” They can be tiring.

The Happy Humper is one. She lives in a doorway next to the pharmacy, panhandling and yelling at people who don’t see things her way. She will mutter something as you walk past, when you’re a block away she’ll yell something at you, and when you’re about a block and a half away she’ll grab a stick or a 2X4 and pretend to come after you. By this time, one of her male stooge friends will have gotten up to “hold her back” so she doesn’t chase this person down and murder them. She does this several times a day, and yet magically no one has been murdered. By her, anyway.

The lottery brings most of the coherent ones. Since the bars are closed, there are no video poker machines, so the “professional gamblers” play scratch-off Bingos and “C-Words” all day. A never-ending sideways shuffle, spending $10 to win $4, they give their money back to the state a little bit at a time. Thanks to the fucking stimulus, they have been playing lottery all month. The only thing the bars have been good for is providing a canvas for the graffiti artists. And the picnic tables! Since the mall is closed, I have nowhere to go sit and stare stupidly into space, so I have been keeping the drinkers’ places warm while imbibing on a surreptitious bowl…

It’s gotten physical. My last work day I had to lock up for half an hour because a drunk woman with a granny cart wouldn’t leave. I had to shove her out of the store, and wait twenty minutes for a police response. (It took them another twenty minutes to get her out of the doorway.) I left before she did. I showed Giggles the police card with the case number for criminal trespass. She was ten feet, six inches from the door when I left for my one-day weekend.

Other times I wish it would get physical. Sheela is a rare bird, middle-Eastern and homeless. I’ve been getting bits and pieces of her story, and have learned more about her since she got arrested the other day. She’s got dimples you could pour a cup of tea into, and a warm, sweet personality. She also got arrested for Theft 2, so the radar is on full blast. She doesn’t steal from the store; she’s usually not wearing enough to hide anything. She gets out tomorrow, so I will be all ready with a coy, “Where have you been? I was worried when I didn’t see you for a while…”

Early on in the shut-down, I was heading to town on the MAX, probably doing a night lunch. I took the upper compartment near the operator, in front of an angry-looking young man and across from a young woman in a black hoodie. I heard her say something, but just ignored it. Figured she was bitching because I wasn’t wearing a mask.

She spoke again. “It’s good to see you, my very special friend.”

I looked over. I removed about fifty pounds, added back two pounds of dirt and a couple snaggle-teeth. Holy shit.

“Carol Junior?”

She smiled, nodding in excitement.

“Wow, I mean, really, WOW! You look wonderful.”

We only had a couple minutes, she was returning a dress to Fred Meyer and had to get off. She told me of getting her teeth removed, and new dentures on the way. She rattled off the names of a couple heavy-hitting psych meds she was taking, and told me her address. I showed her the silver band I still wore on my wedding finger, which always makes her puddle up. I quickly scribbled my phone number on the first piece of paper I could find, a bank deposit slip.

She’s not after money; the slip showed a balance of $666. (Maybe that scared her off.) We hugged, and poof! She was gone.

Sometimes there *is* a happy ending.

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