A Nice Howaya Punch

February 11, 2019 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

“Aaaand stay out…”

Over the years I’ve worked at Master P’s, I’ve bragged that I’ve been punched/punched-at by no less than four different people, and have yet to swing back. I am proud of my restraint. (Also, I know enough about fighting that a misplaced move can leave you open to even more damage, so I am strategic about my attacks.) I’ve experienced minimal damage, come off like a cool cucumber, and still walk the night with minimal fear. It’s my world.

I am now the longest-tenured cashier, and behind only Grinder and the bookkeeper in longest-employed. Expected to lead the new hires by example, I have been given fewer trainees to baptize. However, some of the managers may need a Zen Refresher Course. Lately, shit and fan have been colliding, and managers are involved. Time to show them how to navigate these choppy emotional waters…

People complain about downtown, but in my humble opinion it’s WAY more livable that it used to be. Sure, there are panhandlers everywhere. Meth-heads wandering the night, crazy-eyed and stinky, raving at anything that flickers past their field of vision. They yell and scream at the demons in their head, snapping back to the moment when a voice breaks their psychotic reverie. Most return to the moment with minimal agitation.

Some need a bit more patience.

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Fast Food Workers…

December 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

“Oh shit, here we go again.”

Beer Runs

I was ringing up an old working-dude his daily reward, three tall cans of ice tea. (Alcohol content 7%.) A young man in a winter coat with the hood pulled up eased past us, headed for the beer cooler, grabbing two large packages, a 12-pack of Pabst Smear and an 18-pack of Henry Weinhards. As he headed back toward us, I told the old working-dude, “He’s gonna run with those.”

Customers react differently; some step in and clobber the guy for me, others just kick back and watch. (Which is about all I’m authorized to do.) As the young man approached the counter, I said, “I don’t suppose you’d mind setting those down until they are paid for?”

He grinned. “Of course! I’m sorry you even have to worry about such a thing. I was just wondering which was cheaper?”

I recognized him. He was one of the line cooks at Killer Burger, and he’d had a couple. He was happy and feeling his oats.

“Nice. Thank you,” I said. “The Henry’s is a better deal. Two bucks cheaper and six more cans.”

“Since this one is the better deal, I’m going to set it right here.” He put the 18-pack on the counter. “And I’m gonna take the expensive one AND RUN WITH IT!”

He took the 12-pack of Pabst and took off running. Yelling “I’m doing a beer run!” all the way back to the cooler, where he opened it and put the Pabst away. He stopped, scratched his head. “I think I did that wrong.”

His smirk gave it away, and I couldn’t stop laughing. “Dude, your technique needs work.”

He came back to the counter, paid his $13.79, and after giving me a two-minute tutorial on how to cook the perfect burger (“Next time, seasoning!”) took off running out the door, “I’m doing a beer run!”

I hope he didn’t get tackled by Clean & Safe. He’d be the one they’d catch.

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Tour of Doody

December 8, 2018 at 11:49 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

It Happens

Have you ever been downtown enjoying the Xmas tree, wandering with the Ale-festers at Pioneer Square, when nature calls?

I tell people I got my job just so I have somewhere to go to the bathroom.

Anyone spending time downtown knows a clean, comfortable, accessible bathroom is a treasure to be safeguarded with near-death-penalty consequences for anyone who causes a toilet to go away. If you go in to shoot up, don’t take a nap afterward. That’s what the park is for. Free up le jon, asshole!

Same thing with mess-makers. You’ve been locked in there for an hour, and then you emerge and hurry out of the business, casting a sidelong glance that emits guilt and shame. (Among other things.) When we go investigate why, we see that you put ten paper towels on the seat to protect your precious ass, then can’t get the whole stinky mess to flush so you leave a few friends floating at the pool. Oh well, someone gets paid to clean it up…

This is why we hate you.

But.

We don’t hate you nearly as much as those who just ‘let ‘er go’ wherever they are. Foul most foul! This is how we met the Dook of Earl.

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Those Magic Moments

August 29, 2018 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

Hall of Fame

As I approached the Pink Store, I noticed someone in a ventilator mask doing something to the front-door lock. WTF? It’s 10 PM, and union rules say… As I got closer I saw it was Mrs Brady’s husband behind the mask, with Grinder at his shoulder, supervising. Oh goody.

It was the final stop on the middle day of my three-day weekend, excepting this short shift giving lunches to the stores. I had been rolling along, smooth and sure, didn’t even have to open separate tills, just take over for whoever was working. Piece of cake! But all of a sudden I’m walking into a construction zone full of supervisor-types.

I repeat. Oh goody.

Grinder has risen! After a long bout of office work, he’s back to managing a store. When the city closed The Mothership, Master P bought an old corner store a few blocks away, in the West End. $20,000 in electrical updates later, the store has gone from rickety old bodega to somewhat snazzy snack shop. There was a lot of cleaning and updating to do, and after Southie finished dealing with the construction aspects, Grinder was brought in to pretty the place up.

Grinder is an early-bird, workwise. He gets in, gets his stuff done, and ducks out when possible, but when duty calls in the dark hours, he’s there with minimal grumbling. (The situation he’s dealing with gets plenty of grumbling, but the fact that he has to come out on his off-hours isn’t usually an issue.) He was in an exceptionally good mood this night. I figured it might have something to do with the fact that he was stuck overnight doing heavy physical labor, and the large travel-cup he was not letting go of for any reason. Pure speculation, of course…

I took over Carlito’s till, and made a few sales. Grinder and I chatted amicably; he heard tales of Dr T’s wedding and updates on all the buzz around the Nightclub Store. Igor dropped by, and it was like an employee meeting.

That’s when El Cunte walked in…

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On The First Day of Summer

May 6, 2018 at 4:20 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

Cinco de Mayo; it’s the beginning of our Xmas season.

Downtown is a constant beehive, although the past few years the sidewalk seems to roll up earlier than ever. I could take my break on 5th Avenue, sitting in plain view puffing on my one-hitter, eyeballing the occasional bus or MAX, and only see one or two shopping cart people rifling the trash for empties. That is standard from January through April. Nobody out for the hustlers to hustle.

But once May rolls around? Yeehaw!

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The Seven-Year Itch

May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am (Drunk and disorderly, On the road again..., Sweet sticky things)

“Hello, my name is Charlie and I’m an alcoholic.” And a drug-addict and all-around man-about-town.

I’ve been quiet lately, not feeling like sharing, or much of anything, really. Was dealing with depression issues for a bit, but like in my teens, eventually it evaporated. Depressed about what? Nothing more than the pressures and general shame of life. In the midst of the downtime, I’ve had some fun. It’s just that the fun evaporates as well, leaving me to my own empty (yet way-too-busy) thoughts.

My friends have been there for me. I drop in on Dr T. Dizzy and kitty Naomi are stalwart companions, giving me smiles and support. At work, Igor has risen to the top of the milk jug like fine cream, positioning himself to become manager-apparent. Doing such, we spend lots of time working together. I’d rather teach my boss what I want than have to make them figure it out.

And then there’s Wednesday, my day on the road. Mizelle and Lily show up about 9 AM, smiling and bringing sunshine on the rainiest days. I get up about 6 or 7 AM, putter and get my head ready for driving. Lately there’s been nothing to prep my head with, which leaves me in a weird limbo…

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Little Karmic Rewards

October 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

Shoplifting is THEFT

After last week’s shit-show, I was optimistic that work could only get better. That could also be wishful thinking. I went in with the best of intentions, not gonna let the bastards win, etc… They gave it their best shot, but in the end I declared myself the winner.

The path to weekend wasn’t without a couple bumps here and there. The first couple days, at the Waterfront Store, tested my patience. Scoring a buttload of pastries from the bakery cured my low blood-sugar, and allowed me to be a pastry-Santa. (Adding special butter gives my day a patient, easygoing feel.) I took a handful of cinnamon twists home, and dispersed the scones, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls amongst my co-workers. Igor was particularly grateful. He bought me a cinnamon twist the next day, and pizza slices from the classy joint across the Avenue. (NY-style, foldable, so good…) He’s also hung around during my shift, helping to alleviate attempted shoplifts. It’s paid off, in more ways than one.

Indulge me, if you please? Take a puff, sit back with your feet up while I brag about our crime-fighting exploits…

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A Bucketful of Pleasantries

June 13, 2017 at 11:00 am (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly, That's not funny...)

People often ask how I can tolerate dealing with the public. Sometimes I wonder myself.

Portland’s Rose Festival is coming to an end. It’s the store’s busiest time of the year. We get tons of business from the parades, festivals and conventions. We go out of our way to be accommodating, but we never seem to succeed.

Last night, my night off, I get a call from Voorhees. He’s mid-shift at the Mothership. Usually he texts me. A phone call provides a sense of urgency, so I answer. “Whazzup?”

“Dude, I just had a guy pull a knife on me because I told him to turn his radio down. He woulda cut me if I hadn’t locked him out. Fortunately I had my keys out. I’m waiting on Southie or Grinder to come open up. I am so done with this place.”

He had locked the door, and was pacing around inside. He’d achieved his threshold of madness.

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May Day Play Day

May 2, 2017 at 3:21 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly, Sweet sticky things)

May Day and I go back.

Over the past two decades, I’ve encountered big romance, lost said romance, gotten jobs, but the one consistent has been the protests. Every year there are May Day protests, and I end up in the middle of them. Unintentionally, for the most part.

It was a Monday, and the news warned of mischief and mayhem. There are always respectable protesters, the ones who bring their kids to teach them about democracy in action, or older folk recapturing the glory days of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. “Power to the peepole!” Of course they aren’t the problem. It’s the 25-100 black-garbed goons with Molotov cocktails, spray paint and chunks of concrete for the windows that get all the attention.

You know, the assholes.

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Mister Wolf Is On The Way

March 26, 2017 at 12:34 pm (Cussed Dumbers, Drunk and disorderly)

I was going to write about a head shop today. Instead I am writing about head cases and headaches. Work-related, of course.

I got up this morning, prepared to take it easy. I had errands to run, and I wanted to drop in on Voorhees and Dr T. They are working day shift at the stores I usually work, so we share ideas on keeping the stores livable.

Because lately, people have been assholes. But before I could even take a shower, I see a 911 alert on my Twitter timeline. The Nightclub store had been robbed!

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