Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

July 19, 2016 at 9:11 am (Cussed Dumbers)

Mrs Brady had her backpack on and was heading for the door when she stopped and said, “Oh shoot, I forgot to take out the garbage. I had better…”

“Don’t bother. Seriously, I won’t fill up a can the whole day.” There are chores we are expected to do every shift, but if the chore isn’t pressing, and the person coming on says ‘Don’t worry about it’ we usually don’t worry about it. Mrs Brady, however, has a way of turning molehills into mountains.

It brings out the red in my eyes...

It brings out the red in my eyes…

“It’s my job. Are you telling me not to do the trash? I don’t want anyone saying that I don’t do my job.”

“Jesus, nobody’s saying that, about you anyway. It’s no big deal either way, it’s just that those trash bags cost a buck-fifty each, and I can save five or six bags a day doing it my way. I have a system.” I attempted a a reassuring smile, but that probably looked worse.

“Is this about losing lottery tickets?” I’d told her about a stash of losing lottery tickets we kept in back for tax write-off purposes. She was convinced we had some nefarious scheme afloat, otherwise why would I be so protective of the garbage? Hell, I don’t even know. I have about three things I actually enjoy doing during my night, and she fucking does them all at 2 in the afternoon.

“It’s just that I have a system and a time and a way of doing things. If you do trash now it looks like I haven’t done my job later.” She wasn’t the only one who needs a job. My eye rolls had to have been audible.

“Well, I’m going to do trash now,. You can always do it at your regular time.”

“Whatever.” I went outside, wanting a cigarette ever so badly.

I got busy, and she left without saying goodbye. I took a deep breath and chose to put the whole stupid situation out of my mind.

At that moment my phone buzzed, a text message from Mrs Brady. “If you want to help Dr T cheat on his taxes, there’s some lottery tickets in the office garbage I forgot to tear up. You can have those.”

It’s a good thing she was blocks away. I would have punched her. I texted back, “I don’t dig through the garbage for him or anybody, but I do keep the wet and dry garbage separate IN CASE I HAVE TO. Please forget I ever mentioned garbage.” If I didn’t love my phone so much I would have hurled it into the ocean.

From downtown Portland. …

I need a distraction. It’s getting to that point of the summer when the Travellers remaining are aggressive and obnoxious. Funds for summer programs are used up, school is out, and all the festivals that bring the money downtown are done until November. It’s just you and me, kid. And you want to fight?

Will I get the lucky red bank bag? We had a red bank bag years ago, and I obsessed over it. The new one appeared a week ago, and I was its first user. I haven’t seen it since. It’s something to look forward to. God, I need something to look forward to. I’m working alone today, or so I assume. Uncle Cliffy has a helper, a dude with a comfort dog. I hope he’s done by the time I get there. The dog is afraid of me.

But it does give me an opening to tell one of my favorite cruel jokes: What does a dog with a hare-lip say? “Mark! Mark!”

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The Territories

July 15, 2016 at 11:15 am (Cussed Dumbers)

"You're fired!"

“You’re fired!”

Every now and again Master P likes to do what he calls “stirring the pot.” (To which the employees yell, “Leave our pot alone!”) Basically he moves everyone a quarter-turn. It gives people perspective on what they put other people through.

Mrs Brady has moved up quickly in the organization, attaining full-time status and a position next to management. With that comes responsibility, which she takes seriously. I like Mrs Brady, we work well together, but I hate it when she bosses me around. A gentle education is in order.

When I stopped by for coffee at the Nightclub Store, Mrs Brady was working the register. She’s almost exclusively been working at the Waterfront Store, with occasional emergency reliefs at the Mothership. She’s competent, easy-going to a point, and not hard to look at. The past few weeks we would work together at the Waterfront on freight day. We team well.

It seemed unlikely that we would be butting heads…

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Cheap Lessons

July 7, 2016 at 5:49 am (Cosmic Encounters, Cussed Dumbers)

Happy pills?

Happy pills?

As the saying goes, you live and learn. There are lots of hard lessons in life; some come with a dear cost, others come cheap.

We should learn from all lessons, but the cheap ones bear minding. Sometimes we get off lucky.

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In The Long Hot Summertime…

June 30, 2016 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers)

Jaywalker Crackdown

Jaywalker Crackdown

Though Master P’s stores are always busy, summer is when we make the money. I’ve been through the cycle eleven times now, and this year is nothing new. I see the same bum piles and traveling scammers, and while the faces change, the behavior stays the same. Loud, rowdy and always on the edge of madness. We are Ground Zero for keeping Portland Weird, and will even sell you the tee-shirt to prove it.

I’ve been getting lower than usual hours, just coming off a three-day weekend. Yesterday, a Wednesday, is a typical work day for me, and having it off left me wandering about. Since I had nothing better to do, I hopped the MAX for the first of three trips downtown…

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The Bum Picker

June 26, 2016 at 10:40 am (Cussed Dumbers)

Bum PickerI tell people I don’t do my job for the money, but for the entertainment. While that’s not entirely true, it’s close. I have to do something to make a living, and running a convenience store at night is a surefire passport to adventure.

The end of the month sucks on the Avenue. Everyone is on the hustle, including yours truly. I keep an eye open for bargains, and help those desperate on occasion, because what comes around goes around and you never know.

Others are more predatory. Like in nature, some predators are more fear-inspiring that others. Some have brawn and speed on their side, others have to rely on stealth and cunning to get their dinner. I got to witness a first-class example of this yesterday afternoon.

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House of Cards

June 21, 2016 at 10:10 am (Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

Everything is falling apart at once.

Everything broken

The other day in the shower as I combed my hair, the comb snapped. I went to trim my beard, the guard on the trimmer busted into pieces. I’m afraid to masturbate! (<– Hat tip to Rodney Dangerfield.)

I wish this were the extent of my turmoil, but afraid that isn't so.

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The Law of Gravity

June 12, 2016 at 6:27 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

Pop a Rotsy!

Pop a Rotsy!

What goes up, must come down, as Sir Isaac Newton discovered and Alan Parsons warbled. For every action there is a reaction, as well as the occasional consequence.

Some people have had to learn this the hard way.

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Down In A Hole…

May 1, 2016 at 5:30 pm (Cosmic Encounters, Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

“Well, I been down so goddam long, that it looks like up to me…” –The Doors, 1970.


I’ve been meaning to write an objective piece about depression, but I’ve been too bummed out.

Among others, my nephew Tony and Robin Williams have been depressed to the point of suicide. I went through that in my teens, and have been okay for about forty years. Lately though, the heaviness has returned. I’m not suicidal, in fact I’m hopeful. My depression is drug-related. With Robin and Tony, I’m not so sure.

My dalliances with opiates have led to some side-effects. “It’ll never happen to me” isn’t something I tell myself. I’m too smart to think I’m the one unique person who can use major drugs without succumbing to the consequences. But I do pay attention, and when the bad outweighs the good, I take the appropriate steps.

That’s the plan, anyway.

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Duty Calls

April 27, 2016 at 11:20 am (Cussed Dumbers)

Salmon St FountainI remember when weekends meant the drinking started Thursday, the acid got dropped on Friday. (After work.) Saturday you drank yourself down from Friday night, and Sunday you slept all day so you could string two sentences together on Monday.

Times have changed.

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With Friends Like This…

April 20, 2016 at 4:20 am (Cosmic Encounters, Cussed Dumbers)

It had been an honest to dog three-day weekend. The sun was out, it was almost 90 degrees as I stepped into the Waterfront Store, ready to start my work week. I said hello to Mrs Brady, who was running about like a headless chicken. Freight had just arrived. “I’ll be here until six, we’ll get it done!” Her attitude is usually sunny, and we work well together.

I said hello to Uncle Cliffy, who grunted and said, “Boss wants to talk to you before you start.” His ominous tone gave me no concern. A chat with the boss is usually just that.

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