January 10, 2020 at 1:10 am (Cussed Dumbers, On the road again..., Sweet sticky things)


“Kiss my puffy cotton ass!”

Portland OR- After five weeks on the run, a political prisoner from a Chinese restaurant has been captured and identified.

Hop Sing, non-binary rabbit and symbol of freedom and oppression downtown, had been living a quiet, Hannibal Lecter-like lifestyle in the rear of a downtown Portland convenience store. While appearing peaceful, he/she is thought to have killed several cockroaches and other nefarious insects. Without bodies, no charges will be filed at this time.

Hop Sing had been living under the aliases Lord Bunbun and Hoss N. Pfeffer, maintaining a one-room cage in the back of the convenience store. By all accounts, he/she was an unobtrusive, peaceful neighbor who kept to him/herself. Sing is believed to be a member of the Orange Tang Resistance. When first captured, Sing was heard yelling, “They want you to believe I am orange chicken! IT’S LIES! ALL LIES!” While it hasn’t been proven, Sing believes the Chinese want to execute him, and has said he will die before surrendering.

There was also some confusion regarding Sing’s mentioning of The Great Carrot God. He’s spoken of an orange-colored deity who delivered prosperity and carrots in the middle of the night. He’s believed to be referring either to his wildlife attorney/cartoon spokesperson @CosmicCharlie97, or Sing was delusional from listening to Master P’s nonstop Republican talk radio.

The following is a Q&A from the press conference, edited for brevity:

Q: “How was Hop Sing finally captured?”

@CC97: “A rather expensive live trap, baited with carrots.”

Q: “Did he go peacefully?”

“I want a lawyer.”

@CC97: “Sing put up quite a struggle at first. His booking photo looks rough, and he scraped his nose up pretty good trying to escape. It should be noted, and I say this with great pride, he beat the trap three times before finally being caught.”

Q: “It’s been said you may have aided and abetted his time on the run. Do you have a response?”

@CC97: “As a friend to the defendant, I was torn between doing the right thing, and what is right for my friend. By offering a safe place to stay, and sustenance, Hop Sing was able to live a little before going away. I, at no time, let him loose, or sabotaged the trap. It is believed that while the humans were assembling the cage, he read the instructions… Yes?”

Q: “Is it true that while marshals were escorting him away, Chinese representatives were watching?”

@CC97: Yes, they were there. They only observed. He’s survived the Chinese Kitchen, and Sing will NOT be extradited back.”

Q: “Where will be be going?”

@CC97: “Hop Sing has been sentenced to life at Chinchilla, the Delta Park penal colony and golf course. It’s a minimum security setup, and co-ed. Once Hop Sing discovers social behaviors, this will seem a lot less like a life sentence. I wish my friend well, and hope he bags a bunny for me.”

* * * * * *
Thank you Hoss, Bun Bun, Hop Sing. For the past six weeks you’ve been my service animal and little frenn. I wish you could stay, but the health department doesn’t understand our relationship, and if I can ever have you declared my service animal, I will come to Chinchilla Park and find you. (It won’t be hard with those nose-scars. The ladies are gonna be all over ya.) And the stories!

“Man, you wouldn’t believe the shit humans do when they’re indoors. I can show you how to roll a joint one-handed. And you know what they really use Brillo for…?”


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Sunset Rising

December 31, 2019 at 11:55 am (The Easy Chair)

Sunset Rising

I’m feeling a bit mind-blown, as I sit here thinking about the past ten years. A lot has come down in that time. While end-of-year reviews are a favorite, I tend to get tired of them, and I know there is no end in sight. Or is there?

I’m almost sixty years old. I don’t feel that old, most of the time. I was musing the other day, to a woman I met when she was a sweet young thing. She’s still a sweet young thing, but now she’s also raising a sweet young thing. I mentioned how I’d known feisty, wild and crazy girls who ZOOMED past me in the maturity department. I’m still seventeen most of the time, in my head and heart. The crackling bones tell another story.

I fell in love, and while the love never died, the one I love did die. I still have a hard time thinking of her as gone. I still look for her to be smoking at the MAX stop by her old place.

While cleaning house, I found one of her stylish derbies, wrapped to be preserved from bugs and dust-bunnies. I took it to work, and called Bubba, her last regular boyfriend. He rolled up on a bicycle, and I gave it to him to put on his mantle.

“I have a picture of her wearing this,” he said.

I know he does, I gave it to him. We were on a bus, riding to the cemetery to visit her son. She was flipping off the camera, and smiling bigger than anyone should. But that was Rain. Always flipping the bird at authority figgers.

Tonight marks the end of the decade. Normally I would be working with Eva Braun, and the shift would be a busy but sedate affair. This year, however, Eva wanted to celebrate with her real husband instead of her work-husband, so Foxy and I will be maintaining status quo until the wee hours.

Hell, we might even get into mischief…

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Hope Springs Eternal

December 1, 2019 at 3:45 pm (Cosmic Encounters, Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

Lost Hope?

After fifteen years on the Avenue, I have met a lot of people from all walks of life. Some affluent, others flush with personality, some are rich in earthy aromas. Everyone brings something to the store, even if it’s just irritation and anguish.

It can’t be easy being a fifty-year-old woman living on the streets, yet I know several. You’ve met Crazy Catwoman Carol, Carol Jr, and some of the others; allow me to introduce Hope.

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A Huntin’ We Will Go…

November 22, 2019 at 12:14 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

Remember this cartoon? I’ll wait five minutes while you watch.

Patience is a virtue when hunting.

I got a text from Foxy the other night, at midnight.

Why was he sending me pictures of soda? Then I saw the brown lump. “Is that a rat?” I texted back?

“No. It’s a rabbit.”

“That’s a first.”

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Keep the Tip. Of Your Finger.

October 26, 2019 at 10:31 am (Cussed Dumbers)

This is my tip jar at work. I make a couple bucks a day off pennies and occasional generosity.

I share a lot out of the proceeds, but nothing chafes my shorts more than some scumbag walking in, scooping up *my* pennies and either:

A.) Purchase a scratch-off and losing, or

B.) Taking the change and spending it at the store across the street.

It makes me want to gouge their eyes out with a spork.

Which you have to ask for, so if you want a spork, don’t take my fucking pennies…

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Carol Junior

September 25, 2019 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

I have met and known a lot of interesting people at work over the years. One of my favorites was Crazy Cat Woman Carol, a fixture of the night who, despite being filthy-mouthed, unwashed and potentially violent, gave me untold hours of entertainment and companionship. Carol disappeared a few years ago, likely the happy hunting ground, but we like to think she decided to start taking her meds and live indoors again. That’s what we tell ourselves.

But who is gonna pick up the slack, the huge gap where Carol filled our nights with filthy nonsense and inspired curses?

Carol Junior, of course.

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Shut Up And Sit Down

August 11, 2019 at 11:10 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again...)

I wrote this as a guest post on a fellow-blogger’s site. It was an honor to guest-pilot From The Driver’s Side. Thank you, Deke! Keep on rollin’…

Back when I was a teenager, pondering my future options, I’d contemplated becoming a bus driver.

I loved to drive, and was good with people. One little catch: I also loved the devil’s lettuce, my “girlfriend Maryjane.” Since government agencies frown on their drivers firing up before a shift, my career as a twenty-ton land-yacht captain would have to wait for more ‘normal’ times. We’re still waiting for that clear patch on the ol’ drug test.

In the meantime, I’ve been known to drive a cash register at a convenience store in the heart of beautiful downtown Portland. It’s a lot like driving a bus, people-wise. Babysitting, massaging bosses’ egos, etc. You have your nice ones, your sweet ones, your strange ones. And your scary ones. At least at my job I don’t have to drive them home.

But I do have to get to work, a 100-block journey I have not yet been forced to walk. Thanks to TriMet, I get delivered within a mile or so of my targets every day.

They used to call the bus-pass the Passport to Adventure. For me, it still is.

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No More Rain

August 1, 2019 at 10:15 am (In Memoriam, Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

I’ve been putting this off for too long. My Brother in law says I need closure. The other day I was reading about procrastination, and it gave me the kick in the ass I need to to get this done.

I have always fancied myself a writer, but about the only things not self-published were my parents’ and older brother’s obituaries. I followed form, and submitted them to the newspaper, and they printed them word for word. I was sad but proud; I got published! It cost me a family member, but I could read myself in real print.

So I was kicking around the idea of an In Memoriam section, which would be a spot where my clouded memories could rest, and maybe inspire memories in others. I’m still going to do that, but I have something serious to do first.

I have to say goodbye to my dear sweet Rain…

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All The News That’s Fit To Print

July 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm (Cussed Dumbers, In Memoriam, Sweet sticky things, Waxing Nostalgic)

I joke with baristas all the time, “I wish I had an app that would give me back all the minutes that I spend waiting in line at Starbucks to hand someone exact change.”

For twenty years, Sister delivered the Oregonian, and I was the beneficiary of her complimentary daily copy. She’d read it, I’d take it to work and read it, then pass it along to someone else. Often, it would be a customer looking for the day’s copy that we’d sold out. Three reads per newspaper seems as conscientious as any other form of recycling.

Daily went to four-a-week delivery. Then it got so far between customers that she could no longer do her route on foot, so she retired from newspaper delivery and began working at a hotel. Every day there would be newspapers, and she would bring me the daily, as well as the New York Times and other random hometown papers left behind. Again, I would take them to work, then share. Usually with folks wouldn’t read, and certainly wouldn’t pay for information.

When her gig at the hotel ended, I was on my own. Home delivery might have been an option, but that’s only four days a week. I like DAILY news. I like having something light to read at work when it gets quiet for a minute. But it can’t be too heavy; I can read the same paragraph three or four times while being interrupted for lottery redemption, free books of matches and so on. Books only work on major holiday nights. I read a whole book on Xmas day when I work.

Master P’s was a newsstand when I started. Magazines as far as the eye could see. A porno section with something for almost everyone. (No incest or animals. Straight from the office.) Little by little it all went away. First the car mags, then the Smithsonians, tabloids, horoscope books. Newspapers went away about three years ago, as did the porn pit. I now have a stock line:

“We used to be a newsstand, but the internet won. Now we just sell you stuff to keep you awake while you play with your phone.”

And I still have to scavenge for a goddamn newspaper.

Starbucks was my unlikely ally. If I got there early enough in the day, I could have the previous day’s copies of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or the Oregonian if I’d missed a day. I knew the baristas by name, and if I showed up close to closing? “Go ahead and take them, ain’t nobody looking for that at night.”

I know, I can find everything on my phone. I KNOW. I have embraced smartphone culture, somewhat, but I like holding books and newspapers, in my hands. I don’t want to have to open Photoshop to do my Fambly Circus fun.

So, little by little everything I know is dying. In three months newspapers will be such an annoyance to find that I will give up and let them die. (I will never stop reading, but if you want my eyes looking at your ads? I have to be able to find them first.) I had been thinking of doing a lighthearted series of things in and around my life that I used to love, find important, or otherwise interesting. To record the memories before they fade away forever. I had some pretty good ideas.

Then some real death came along and fucked up my whole year.

My longtime love interest, roommate and occasional bestest friend, passed away a few months ago. I’ve been meaning to write her the granddaddy of all love letters, but it’s coming slow. I know what I want to say, but I know it’s gonna tear me up, and I don’t want to have to be in public after. But, as Bro-in-Law said, “You need closure.” He’s right. I miss her every day, even though we’d been apart for a couple years. We still talked on the phone a lot, and when she found out I hadn’t been with anyone since she left? “Ya wanna come over?”


Now that’s love.

Her death took me by surprise, and yet it didn’t. It has caused me to embrace every day, and to appreciate more those I appreciate already. Babe, your love letter is coming, straight from my heart.

But first I have to limp on down to the Starbucks and see if any Sunday papers are left…

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A Big Stink

June 8, 2019 at 12:10 pm (Cussed Dumbers, On the road again...)

It’s Friday night, and I have an hour for lunch.

It’s the night before the Rose Parade, and I’m surprised no one is tenting up in front of the store. Usually there’s a line of tents along both sides of the Avenue, but construction on one side of the street has made our sidewalk a “pedestrian use area.” (Duh.) That means you can’t block the sidewalk. I walk past the outdoor tables in front of the bar, saying hi to half the occupants. The doorman, Gary, looks like Mr Natural on steroids and has the demeanor of a prison guard until you get to know him. “Ready for the shitshow?” I ask.

“Oh yeah.” I looked at his hands, and saw the special ceramic-enhanced finger gloves. One-punchers. Yep, he’s ready.

I hopped the MAX to 10th Avenue, and transferred to the streetcar, my destination the Psycho Safeway on Jefferson. As I boarded, I noticed a scent building. Someone on the previous MAX had smelled like a catbox, but this was different, worse. A woman in her sixties, wearing pajamas, was holding a strap on the streetcar, wrinkling her nose. Oh no, the poor dear has had an accident. But at least she had a diaper on.

Or not.

Someone told the streetcar driver, who turned off the vehicle, locked its doors, and walked through, looking over, under and at everything and everyone. I stood up, at once proving it wasn’t me and checking that I hadn’t sat in something that made it me.

As I sat back down, wishing we could just go instead of sitting there marinating in the scent, a man walked to the back of the streetcar, muttering, “It’s me. Sorry. It’s me.” He was one of the folks transferring from MAX, and apparently the MAX’s catbox odor source.

“Well, don’t come near me with your stinky shit!” the older woman told him in no uncertain terms. She was probably also reassured that she wasn’t the source of the stink she was making such a big stink about. She deboarded, unable to take any more.

So did Mister Itsme. They were exchanging insults and apologies accordingly.

He was a middle-aged white guy, short hair that looked fashionably spiked until I realized it was from the grease in his hair. He smelled like a full diaper of catshit that had gotten wet. He was off, and we were rolling, but GOD DAMN.

I could still smell it after leaving Psycho Safeway, and it was a full fifteen minutes before cat piss wasn’t the only thing I smelled. I chose to walk back to work. I might be a few minutes late, but it’d get the smell out.

As I rounded the last corner, heading past the residential hotel, I saw one of the tenants expel a large puff of smoke or vapor. Impressive! He’s a loudmouth who looks like Jon Lovitz and whines about Master P’s high prices, to the point of being kicked out of the store for his incessant bitching. As I got closer, the other tenants were pointing at him. The smoke was still coming. Another smoker, this one holding a cigarette, walked over to Mister Lovitz and grabbed his sweatshirt by the back and pulled it over his head, leaving him bald-headed and belly-flapping on the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon. Someone was stomping on his shirt, and everyone was laughing. I heard Lovitz say, “I was wondering what happened to that cigarette?”

At least three people were singing ‘Burning Down The House’. That made the whole walk and lunch excursion worth it. My laugh faded as I came around the final bend and there it was: The endlessly lined Avenue, covered with tents like social genital warts.

Welcome to Downtown.

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