The Usual Suspects
The following is a cheat sheet detailing some of the recurring characters. All are real people, but the names have been altered to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. A few people have been morphed into a composite. Those characters tend to receive the brunt of my written aggression.. Updated October 24, 2015.
Dr T– Work supervisor, designated drinker, friend. Has babysat Hunter S Thompson and rassled Courtney Love for the attentions of a stripper. He makes going to work fun.
Rain: Longtime friend and love interest, shares my single bed once in a while. It’s complicated.
Clairissa– My object de lust, longtime friend and hairapist. She is collecting my body parts, and we share custody of a dead frog. It just gets weirder from there…
Angel: Longtime friend and occasional co-worker. An ebony goddess, if she ever gives me the word we’re dropping everything and running away to Florida. Or a cheap motel, whichever is closer. She needs to marry me before I get TOO old…
Dizzy: A girl from the neighborhood, keeper of cute cats and more facts about South Park than I will ever be able to remember. Smoking buddy every chance we get.
Meg: Friend of the Porno Queen, longtime drinking buddy, except I don’t drink. I love her, but she’s a challenge…
Art East– Computer technician, master painter and vidiot. Tirelessly answers my stupid questions and encourages my goofball behavior. Priceless.
Festus: Work sidekick and all-around good guy. Spent so much time around the store helping me catch thieves that Master P gave him a job. Of course, whenever we look like we’re enjoying work too much…
Grinder– Store manager. We have a history. Raised in East County as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have crossed paths decades later, neither on the path to salvation. We love each other like brothers. (The Robinson brothers from The Black Crowes come to mind.) Grinder is the best, but he hates my mischievous tendencies. Somehow that just encourages me…
Southie: Manager of the Nightclub Store. Former military strategist and hotel security supervisor, numbers runner and wiseguy. Solid.
Uncle Cliffy– Composite character of co-workers who know everything, listen to nothing, and talk over me like I’m not there. They decry the internet because they know everything. They also know everything about computers, except how to find Google search on a Firefox page. When I work alone, I prefer to be by myself. Especially when Uncle Cliffy is around.
Giggles– Co-worker of the most unique kind. His name comes from punctuating every statement with a high-pitched giggle. He responds to everything one says with “I know.” His eating habits are famous; his bathroom activities infamous. (Busy hands are happy hands.) He’s a non-converted Jew with an Episcopalian background who eats kosher and vegan except when sandwiches and soups are involved. In all, a good-hearted fellow, and dependable.
Crazy Catwoman Carol: Notorious homeless woman that roams the streets of downtown and NW Portland, talking the most unique brand of nonsense imaginable. “My husband is Paul Newman, my son is Brad Pitt. Paul runs the FBI, Brad runs the CIA. But lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with Antonio Banderas,’cuz he’s the president of Venezuela, don’t you know?” She punctuates her ramblings with a caustic, “Have a nice day!”
Mizelle– Only the woman who saved my life once upon a time. She scared the old man out of me and taught me how to live again. I’m like her creepy uncle.
Agent Starling– Clean & Safe officer assigned to the area of the stores. A police officer in training, I think she’s going to go far in law enforcement. She’s getting a headful of streetlife education hanging around me…
The Porno Queen– A woman I’ve known indirectly for twenty-plus years. Former co-worker, she distributed adult magazines wearing blue rubber emergency gloves to “keep the filth off.” Her nickname is ironic.
Uncle– My nearly-90-year-old uncle, my mother’s younger brother. He was a sailor in Pearl Harbor, and a train conductor for Union Pacific for decades. He took a shining to me, and has been a role model and friend as well as a father figure. Hang in there, Uncle! RIP Uncle Eldon 1922-2011
Misty– My cousin, and Uncle’s Granddaughter. Kindred spirits, we escaped religion (and other things) with help from a bottle. Now, we are a two-person bi-coastal support group. RIP Misty 1957-2013