I was chatting with Officer Paul of Clean and Safe outside the Upscale Mall. The sunny weather, upper 80s in mid-April, had the loonies out in full force. I wasn’t working on this fine afternoon, but a walk downtown seems like work. Everyone knows me.
Officer Paul rode off toward the river, hmm, was something afloat?
The public’s attitude of late is like things that float.
In a terlet.
Sitting amid the scaffolding adjacent to the building was a homeless kid that looked like Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. He got up as soon as I went inside, snagged the bottle and sniffed it. “Hmm!” He shrugged and took a swallow. Then another. He went back into hiding.
I went back outside, and walked over to him. “It’s just Coke and Sprite, in case you’re wondering what you’re drinking,” I said.
“Thanks for telling me. I’m actually glad it’s not beer. I’m hung over as fuck already.” His big, raggedy smile was contagious.
Then a familiar face walked past. My little sister! Through a series of coinkydinks, her first attempt at applying for a job since 1988 was a grand-slam home run. She is now working in the housekeeping section of a swanky downtown hotel, keeping hours similar to mine. I’ve been known to meet her buses at random times, and sneak her into the bowels of the Waterfront Building late at night, albeit just to use the bathroom.
Any mischief in the basement is reserved for Rain and brave co-workers.
A lot of hiring and firing has been happening at my work. I haven’t had to train yet, but I encounter new faces in odd places. One guy was my freight help on Wednesday. On Thursday I was called because he had “been arrested for jaywalking and being held in $15,000 bail.” As Master P said, “He needs to be more forthcoming on why a jaywalking ticket costs fifteen grand.”
There are two attractive female new-hires. I am behaving myself.
I am behaving myself.
It seems like I’m on holiday. Maybe it’s just scheduling quirks, or the fact that Rain has been gone and I’m finally starting to decompress. I pick up every shift offered, making the check fluffier. I was stressing, until I looked at a calendar and realized I’m two weeks ahead on my bills. (Barring death or dismemberment, and we don’t want any of that.) Gots to pace myself. Behave myself. Stay healthy.
Rain took me to the store last night, and spent $81 on stuff I need in the day-to-day. She plans like a prepper, watches the deals, and hooks me up with stuff I always need. Flonase! That shit is expensive! I have a full four-month supply ready for when my current one runs out.
Denture materials? She bought the 120-day supply of effervescent tablets, which is about nine months worth for me. Polident, not the generic stuff. Yes, Virginia, there is a difference. She looked at the Fixodent. When I told Rain, “I have enough glue” she got the giggles.
“I don’t know why I find that funny.” She dabbed at the corner of her eyes.
Three economy-sized bottles of 91% isopropyl alcohol. For bug control, bong-cleaning, and emergency flushing when the fucking cats peel out on top of my foot. Cat scratch fever, duh duh, duh.
Viva paper towels. Because some things are worth it. I don’t bitch when she demands Cottonelle toilet paper, as long as I have Viva for my jizz-rags. We live large when it comes to paper products.
Buy one, get one half-off. Hello, ibuprofen! I greet every day with 1,200 mgs of generic Advil, since 1990. I would be an old cripple without it. Thanks to my baby, I haven’t paid for pills (the legal kind) in a couple years. And I won’t have to, until at least September.
Angel got a new job. It sounds like my nephew might be working at the neighborhood Freddy’s. The weather is turning around, I feel the need for yardwork. (That feeling is enhanced by the notice from the city to clean a few things up. Oh-kay…)
But first, I have a couple of lunch shifts to cover. I’ll be missing the Cubs home-opener, but there are 150+ games to go. Maybe a matinee tomorrow? Who am I kidding? Days of the Cubs as daytime TV drama are long gone. MLB network has lots of games at random times, so I will adjust accordingly. I still dream of a Cubs-Mariners World Series.
Time to make the doughnuts…
Back before Elmo fell from grace, when a customer would complain about high cigarette prices by declaring, “Oh Jesus!”, Elmo would respond with “Your God Won’t Save You Now!” I found this hilarious, but controversial, and it’s his line, so I left it to him. Lately I’ve been tempted to resurrect it.
Then there are the dumb-shits who come to town to get drunk and cause trouble. Careful what you wish for!
“From Pete’s? Sure! If nothing else, I’ll eat the crumbs off the top.” It has this sugar/crumble topping that outshines the moist, chocolate cake-body. Yum.
“I have had a bag of it in my fridge for about five days. It’s still moist, but the topping looks a little sweaty. It’s still good! I’ll be right back.”
Hmm. What sounded delicious now sounds like a re-gifting opportunity…
Some of the biggest arguments come from the smallest sources. When I worked at the store with digits in its name, the biggest problems came from people not wanting to pay A NICKEL for less than perfect photocopies, (“I know it says I made thirty copies, but only this one came out!”) or the amount of popcorn in a fifty-cent bag. (“The other guy gives me 650 kernels, you only gave me 589!”) Still astounded by people’s cheapness after thirty years.
At Master P’s we don’t have popcorn, photocopies or postage stamps. (“You charge fifty cents for a forty-four cent stamp? Is that legal?”) But we do have matches. Maybe the last place downtown that still hands them out. Free with smokables, a nickel if you walk in off the street and ask.
Tip: They are free if you say please, or are even polite.
Pushy much? We will fight you to the fucking death for that nickel…
Long as I got my crystal Jesus,
Riding on the counter of my store…”
Yes, last night, at 7:24 PM Pacific Coast Time, I found Jesus. He was sitting in a box of energy bars.
I don’t know if this was a pack-rat thing, where someone was hungry and decided to let the Lord turn opportunity into overpriced compressed granola, or if some random wandering tweaker forgot the trinket he was fondling. (Tweakers like to fondle inanimate objects, play with gadgets, toys, etc…) During a sweep of the store, where I retrieve things squirreled away and return them to their rightful spot, I found this clear gem.
Immediately I texted Dizzy. “Meet Glass Jesus! My co-worker says he’s early.”
Earlier in the week Dizzy and I had discussed Christianity, and how the most “Christian” people tend not to be Christians. “As Christ would have it,” I replied sarcastically to some one-liner.
“Perfect! We need to start punctuating all sentences with that. ‘I have a raging case of anal warts, as Christ would have it.'”
As I moved from store to store, I came across Stretch, local barfly and drinking buddy if I ever drink again. “Hey, Charlie, how ya doing?” Stretch always has a booze buzz on, but he was especially drunk, and what’s that in Stretch’s hands? A baggie? “Hey, Charlie, you want some weed?”
Stretch reached into the baggie, pulled out a pinch and noticed a girl in the group wrinkling her nose. “It’s okay,” he said. “I’M STERILE!”
“Come and get it ladies,” I said. Stretch found this funny, and gave me an extra bud. A group of Blazer fans were disembarking from the MAX, smiling at this information. I looked both ways in case a cop was driving by, then realized it’s not illegal to give weed away in plain sight in the city of Portland. (It barely was before legalization, but the cops still look.) I took my handful of weed and carried on. Thanks, Jesus! The Lord giveth!I texted Dizzy when I got back to the Waterfront Store, “Coming for a visit?”
“I came down and you were gone. Boo!”
“I was out doing the Lord’s work. You should come visit. THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU! As Christ, well, you know…”
We even ended up hashtagging our texts with #ACWHI, although I mistyped it as @ACWHI and found a suspended account. Woohoo. An underground Christian cult I have been unwittingly sucked into the vortex of? Probably a marketing thing. The lord works in mysterious ways.
When I arrived at Dizzy’s for break, I asked how her night was going?
“Oh, I’m laughing about Jesus too much, but it’s distracting me from all the outside noise. Do you know earlier I heard some guy yelling at the top of his lungs, ‘I’M STERILE!'”
“That was Stretch, and he gave me about two grams of bud. As Christ would have it.”Undoubtedly I offended a couple of my more religious cussed-dumbers, as Christ would have it. There was some debate as to whether it really was Jesus, or Osama bin Laden, or Christ the glass-jawed yokel. When I got Jesus home, I investigated further and discovered Jesus has a hollow bottom. (Insert Judas joke here.) Brief experimentation revealed that Crystal Christ holds the same amount of medicated cough syrup as my teeny-tiny shot glass.
Therefore, as Christ would have it…
I drinketh the blood from the ass-end of Jesus. #ACWHI.
There are a lot of new people at work. Last weekend I told people I wasn’t memorizing any new names until Monday. I saved three spaces in my lump of cranial Swiss cheese. One quit, one gave notice, and one has diarrhea.
One of the newbies has promise. He’s the former fiancé of another new hire, and more on the ball than usual. Yesterday he was called to work just as he arrived home from work. He did an about-face and worked until midnight. Then came back for day shift.
Lord Diarrhea called in again. Southie was running the operation, as Master P and Grinder were taking long weekends. After exhausting his options, he called the new guy and left a message: “Can you work three more hours?”
There was no answer. I told Southie, “The last thing I said was: “Don’t answer the phone. ”
Oh well. After fifteen -hour days a kid needs a nap. He was smart enough to let the call go to voicemail.
A few minutes later, after Southie had called or texted everyone possible, an alternative had been found. It cost Southie an extra twenty bucks cash, but the shift was covered. I texted Festus, who was in the cashier protection program. (Day off.) “You can come out now, it’s been taken care of. ”
Southie retreated to the office, and I patted myself on the back for resisting a more managerial position. It can be lonely at the top.
A few minutes later, as I was texting Festus the gossip, I noticed a blur in my line of vision. What’s this, a Big Mac?
Nope. When the new kid was finishing his long-ass day, I had shared a fair portion of my cinnamon roll with him. It was a free one that Weird Steven had dropped off. “Free is a very good price! ” as Tom Peterson used to say. The new kid agreed, and I told him of some of our roadkill victories, and especially where he could a good deal on cinnamon rolls. I thought no more about it until I saw the flash.That’s no Big Mac, though it probably has as many calories. What that is, is a $4 cinnamon roll that costs $2.50 after 3 PM. I share this only because if I don’t stop eating them I will once again weigh 528 pounds.
And now the night is in transition. It’s already dark, and the wine thieves are wandering like zombies.
I don’t care. Anything to keep my mind off that cinnamon roll. .
Ah, lovely Sunday morning. Spent most of the night curled up next to my lovely girlfriend. We went out for Saturday night dinner. I spared no expense, we dined IN at the Taco Bell on 50th & Powell, and I bought a 12-pack! I ordered incorrectly, so we didn’t get to try the Dorito-flavored tacos, which was my intention. Oh well. Rain was okay with that, and it was more of an event than usual for us on a Saturday night.
Saturday started with a four-hour work shift. I’d just finished my week, but folks quit, and it was payday, so we were short-staffed to the extreme. Southie was stuck working the day shift at the Nightclub Store. This cuts deep into his college football-watching time, and a crabby manager is less than optimal, so I offered to cover for a few hours. As long as the night guy shows up.
I was blessed with a four-day weekend, minus a four-hour lunch shift smack-dab in the middle. When the cats are away, the mice will play.
Southie went on a two-week vacation, leaving the inmates in charge of the asylum. There are usually enough veterans to keep the children (new hires) in line and behaving. But, that’s like dealing with six-year-olds. You have to be firm, persistent and loving.
Then there are the Dirt Urchins, who act like retarded four-year-olds. They need to be spanked like sorry-assed stepchildren.