Monthly Archives: November 2005

I Have A Theory

Yes, I know I’ve been wrong with theories before (okay, so I was wrong about the healing powers of gibbon spit. Wipe your face and get over it) but this time I feel I’m on to something. My theory is that as the holiday season gets closer to its crescendo people get closer to freezer temperature IQ’s.

It’s as if turkey has some magical ingredient that covers otherwise rational people in a coating of Dumbasstic! (patent pending). I’m not even talking about the random gas machines that inflict a haze on my everyday. I’m talking people I’d have a conversation with and not once (not even behind their backs) have to fight the urge to solder their teeth together to stop them from babbling.

And here are my first two examples of this degradation into another Dumbasstic! holiday season.

A group of three or four people were chatting and it was a normal, adult conversation. Exchanging pleasantries and general chit-chat that I find so enlightening. As you know, by enlightening I mean nap inducing. Which is why I don’t mind it. Naps is good.

But then something went wrong. I can’t really put my finger on it. One second we’re talking about buying a loved one a long coveted gift and the next this group of fully employed and outwardly functional adults began discussing what superpower they’d love to have.

Next stop, Lithiumland. It’s double dose day!

I’m watching these people have, what would look like to anyone outside earshot, the kind of adult conversation you used to imagine adults having when you were a kid. But no.

And it leads me to wonder if that’s why we’re as screwed up as we are. Here we were as kids thinking our parents and their friends were solving the world’s problems but, in reality, they were moments from a fist fight because your father and the next door neighbor both wanted to be Big Dick Man!

I’m watching these people get into this conversation and, as was inevitable, someone asked me what superpower I’d like. I begged off saying I hadn’t given it much thought since I was six and wouldn’t want to rush into it.

I mean, what if I said I wanted to be Shit Diamonds Man without thinking it through? Sure, it sounds like a good superpower but I’m pretty sure it would sting like a bitch.

But they keep pushing. As a matter of fact, they begin to come up with superpowers for me. I smile and keep trying to sway this gelatinous mass into different, and hopefully more distant, directions. But they’re on a mission and you know how it is with superheroes. They keep battling until justice is done, wrongs righted, my wits at it’s last fraying end.

“Yeah, I think I know what superpower I’d like.” I look at this collection of smiling dimbles (yeah, I had to make up my own word. I just couldn’t think of one that captured the spirit of the thing) and say, “It would be to make you people stop talking to me.”

Hey! Whodathunk it! Turns out I already have that superpower!

My next example of the petrifaction in the mental state of humans during the jungle, jangle of the holiday season (scholarly ring there, don’t ya think?) has to do with this fully bundled woman. She’s got so much fur showing I thought I was watching a 70’s era porno.

As she’s unbundling herself on this first cold snap of what will be (if history is any indication) eighteen straight months of unbridled cold, she rubs each appendage she unearths. It’s as if her superpower would be Arms of Wood Lady just to warm herself up. After a few moments her vocal chords thaw and she begins to speak.

“Boy, it’s scary cold out there.”

Scary cold? I don’t know about you but I’ve never walked outside and screamed because Jack Frost was nipping at my nose with a hedge trimmer. If that did happen, okay, that would be scary. I’d even give you if it was freezing on the 4th of July. Yeah, that could be a little scary because something sure is going wrong cosmically.

But because it’s cold. In November. In New England. And the news was filled with ‘Hey, bundle up it’s gonna be a cold one!’ reports I don’t think I can give you scary.

If the cold frightened you after all the previous information maybe you should go home, grab a steaming hot cup of cocoa and throw it in your face. I’m sure the cold will scare you less after that psychotic episode.

“Scary cold?” I question the woman as she unsheathes her fingers. “That’s not scary cold. Scary cold is when water from a public toilet splashes up your ass.”

By her reaction I could see that my superpower was still fully functioning.

How was my morning?

I’m so glad you asked! It was a normal morning with one small difference. I was told I had to move three boulders. I’ve moved so many boulders/rocks/lawn mowers (yes, lawn mower. You see, for years the deep backyard was a dumping area for the neighborhood because the people who lived there before the people we purchased it from never went back there and didn’t care. The people we bought it from cared enough to put a lush lawn over all of this crap. Needless to say, we’ve been yanking out crap for a year and a half now.

When we first moved in I was down back while Terry wandered around the front. Suddenly I see what was going to be my future in front of me. Of course, I didn’t know it was my future at the time but that’s how future is. That tricky bastard.

At first I thought it was one of those tall ashtrays you used to see in movie theaters and hospitals. So I trudged over to it and gave it a yank. Yeah, I expected it to dislodge and I’d have a humorous story to tell all.

I, as you’ve come to know, am an idiot.

I thought my shoulder was going to rip from the socket it’s so fond of after all these years. I lean down and take a look at it. Nope, it wasn’t an ashtray. It was the right fender of an automobile. A 1950’s era automobile. Figuring it was just a piece of a 1950’s vintage automobile I leaned in and gave it a bigger yank.

Please see the paragraph above the last.

It didn’t budge. I brushed dirt away and kept giving it yanks. Nothing. This was going to have to be dug out before it could be determined just how much of the 1950’s era automobile was taking a dirt nap. So, I dust myself off and go tell Terry we have at least portions of a 1950’s vintage automobile buried in our backyard.

“What?” Was her first and expected reaction. “Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is buried there.” Was her second and, pretty much from my experience in telling this story, expected reaction. We didn’t do anything about it for a long time because there were other things to take care of. As you’d expect, when people basically bequeath a major section of their property to the wild the wild is just kind enough to accept it.

For the next year we pruned and moved and filled the back until it was no only passable but looking pretty nice. Terry would spend hours back there yanking thorns, tilling the earth, planting new growth. I would spend time moving dirt from one area to another, moving boulders from one area to another, sitting on so many thorns I haven’t sat down comfortable since last summer.

But the 1950’s era automobile was always the thorn we couldn’t get out of our ass. Friends graciously offered to assist in removing it while many more offered to stop by to watch us remove it in the hopes that someone (most likely me) had some kind of horrible accident during the removal of the vehicle and the interment of myself.

Terry spent a big chunk of yesterday moving and clearing and cleaning the area. Yes, we are going to fill in the back to make it even more usable but we don’t want it filled with anything except dirt. Nice, healthy, dirt (ya listening, Walt? Walt’s our dirty, I mean, dirt guy). No fill from other construction, no tools, and definitely no 1950’s vintage automobile.

She made a path so that in the event that the event takes place, we can safely haul the 1950’s era automobile from it’s spot without shredding the lawn. A perfect plan, if you ask me. But, there were a few little problems. Boulders. Big ones that Terry couldn’t move by herself. So this morning I went down back. I see two pretty close to each other that are large but I’ve moved their cousins before so they won’t be a problem.

But then there’s one leaning on the 1950’s vintage automobile. This one weighs as much as a 1950’s era automobile filled with shiny faced, happy 1950’s styling kids on the way to the malt shop. I assess the situation and know that if we are to get closer to solving the case of mysteriously buried 1950’s era automobile it will have to be moved.

But it sure looked like it wasn’t going to be moved much by me alone. I moved a small section of it (okay, I got it to move more or less due to its own weight and balance but, damnit, I get so victories these days I’m taking) but most of its girth was still making it impossible to further unearth the 1950’s vintage automobile.

I tried the old fulcrum bit and did dislodge it but not make much headway. Then Terry came down and together we pushed it away from the 1950’s era automobile enough to be rolled a couple of feet away.

“But I want it over there.” Terry says pointing ten feet away.

“But right now it’s staying there.” I say knowing it can be done but not with the amount of time

I have before I have to leave for work and Terry has to take Hilary to school. I’m also going to need a large fulcrum so while I’m thinking about what I have at work Terry is digging around the 1950’s vintage automobile.

Because the boulder isn’t in the way anymore it’s easier to figure out that this probably isn’t a full 1950’s era automobile. The shovel is hitting dirt where it should be hitting hood so I’m a little calmer about this. The thought of me and Fred and Davy yanking a 1950’s vintageautomobile up this hill under the watchful eyes of people with video cameras just hoping for a human tragedy never sounded all that appealing to me.

Fun, but because I’d probably end up the tragedy, not all that appealing.

Terry leaves to bring Hilary to a location of higher learning while I continue digging around the 1950’s era automobile. I find the end of the bumper; I find the side of the bumper; I keep digging. I lean in and start yanking. Dirt falls. My feet slip. I can feel the 1950’s vintage automobile part move for the first time since it was junked in what is now our backyard.

With a little more dirt moving and a lot more yanking the bumper slips free. I hold it up for a moment before tossing it behind me. I inspect the spot and see dirt. I’m happy because even when you’re a close personal friend of the dirt guy for almost twenty years, that shit’s expensive.

Well, I’d tell you more about the celebration we had; the joy we felt; the exhilaration of beating this thorn in our sides, but I have to go to work now.

Oh, and for you people disappointed because I didn’t hurt myself. Ha! You’ll just have to wait. But, trust me, it won’t be long. I still have to move that boulder that’s still sitting in the path. Yeah, even I’d fire up the old video camera for that one.


I have many conversation in my day of filled with morons, psychopaths and mental defectives. I don’t even want to talk to you about the people I have to deal with at work. That’s scary. But, because I have to write 800 words, I will.

At work there are all kinds of conversations. Inane, combative, funny, idiotic, boring, threatening, and sometimes diet altering. An example of an idiotic conversation I had was with this mouth-breathing, sloth-moving, fuckwad. He loaded a cart until it was about 8 feet high and then when he moved it about 4 feet of it toppled.

That, in and of itself, wouldn’t be that stupid. Sadly, it happens too often to even register on the meter. It turned idiotic because he’d place half a dozen florescent tubes among the things on top of the cart. Oh sure, it’s quite a explosion of fun. Unless you’re the guy who has to clean it up.

While I’m cleaning it up the guy is laughing. He’s picking up the not shattered crap and he says, “I fuck up but I can always laugh at myself.”

I dump the first dustpan on glass shards into the barrel and answer, “Too bad you give yourself so many opportunities.”

An example of a funny one was when this older gentleman with eight hundred dollars in change in one pocket and two hundred and forty seven keys from houses he hasn’t lived in for fifty years and padlocks he lost seventy years ago in the other was telling me a story. He considered himself quite the raconteur. I considered him harmless because, unlike so many others, his stories ended. At the three quarter mark of this story he sucks in his rather large gut with a deep, full breath and corkscrews his pants up to his tits. He didn’t want to. It’s the law!

The funny part came when he released his pants without the necessary component of releasing his girth to catch his sixty-eight pounds of pants. They fell to the ground and I was surprised spindly legs like those could keep him upright. While I’m thinking that he’s struggling to bend over to pull up his pants. I think they were too heavy for him while standing so it was a difficult struggle.

I’m laughing because, well, I’m only human. He’s flustered with a face as red as the devil’s asshole on six-alarm chili night. I stand there waiting for the completion of his story but he was in no blood pressure range to allow anything else out of his body.

And then there’s the dietary changing stories.

A guy comes in to pay and I’m doing the customer service, ‘How ya doin’?’ thing. I do it to give them something to do while I’m completing the transaction. I find if you don’t give them something to do they’ll end up asking something. It’s best to push them into their own orbit until I can shove them out the door. It works more times than not.

Today, sadly, was one of those nots.

The guy who, up to this moment, the most I’d known about his physical being was that he hand limbs and a head. Truly, this is all I want to know about most people. But this guy had a story and he was going to tell me. So I leaned back and listen to a shitty tale.

Not that it was a bad story, it was just about shit. Or lack thereof.

He tells me that he’s so impacted that the doctor is going to travel up the poop shoot down the Hershey highway until they reach sphincterville where they’ll pick up a package of colon blow. Why, thank you, stranger, I’ll ask my loved ones if we can put that on our vacation itinerary.

I was hoping the story winding was down (truly, how much further could it go?) so I wish him bon voyage on his crappy trip. It wasn’t. He had more packed in there just dying to get out of him. I didn’t mind hearing it because, unless there was a breakthrough right there, it was in the abstract for me. And then he uttered a phrase that will stick with me for quite some beers.

“It sucks. When I do shit it’s the size of peas. And not even those big peas.”

Only some of you know why that is such a distressing phrase for me. I love those little green spheroids. Well, used to. I’m not sure how I really feel about them right now. I’m going to have to regroup and hope that the next batch of peas served to me is delicious.

Why couldn’t he have said brussels sprouts or radishes? Why? Did he have to ruin peas for me?

An adult. . .

 . .fully grown, seemingly with faculties intact, just came in all atwitter due to the fact that they were going to a Halloween party tonight. The reason for their excitement was due to their costume. They loved their costume. Was consumed with their costume. I, on the other hand, was consumed with murderous intent.

As we neared what I hoped was the end of this burst of cancer causing sun she asked if I was going to any Halloween parties. I said that, in fact, I was going to one thrown by the producers of a movie review show I direct. We’re going to watch ‘Devil’s Rejects’ and drink ourselves senseless while tossing bags filled with
shit at any kids who dare ring the doorbell.

She didn’t take my faiths celebration of the holiday as seriously as I. But, being a believer, she kept moving forward because she had to know what I was going to dress up as.

“A less disgruntled version of me.” I answered. “I’m going for a softer, gentler Zell this season.”

She wouldn’t take that and had to know what I was going to dress up as. When I explained that the last time I dressed up for Halloween was when I could still jerk off with forefinger and thumb, she said that was unacceptable.

“It’s part of the holiday. You have to dress up!” She’s looking at me like the true believer she is. I’m looking at her like the true loon she is. “So, come on, you have to dress up!”

I stand there for a moment as she grins her snickers bar smile at me. I look back at her with the razor filled apple of my eye and say,

“Okay, I’m going to dress up.” She perks up. “I’m going as Lance Armstrong’s missing testicle.”

She got all unseasonal and stormed out of the building.

Well, bullocks to her.

The non-cancerous one.




A MAN dressed in normal clothes walks through a CLUB. Man walks up to TWO WOMEN. Man stands there for a moment before the Women look at him. The Women check him out before looking at each other and laughing. Dejectedly, the Man begins to exit the scene. The ANNOUNCER enters and stops the Man from leaving.

You’ve tried everything to meet the woman of your dreams, haven’t you?

The Man nods yes at everything the Announcer says.

You’ve been into house music, techno, hip-hip and even, for a short while polka.

The Man droops his head embarrassed.

You’ve been a metrosexual, a retrosexual, even a quadrasexual.

The Man looks up sadly.

Yet your life is still full of loneliness and despair.

The Man begins to droop his head again. The Announcer grabs him by the shoulder. The Man looks up.

Fret no more my friend. Have I got a lifestyle for you!



The Man is now dressed in country clothing with DIFFERENT WOMEN swarming around him.

Jethrosexual! That’s right, Jethrosexual. Follow our simple instructions, now even simpler since we discontinued using words with more than two syllables, and in less time than it takes to plow the north forty, you’ll be a Jethrosexual.



Man is having trouble putting on suspenders. A JETHROSEXUAL COUNSELOR takes over and show the Man how to put on the suspenders correctly. The Man becomes excited when he achieves success and gives the Jethrosexual Counselor a thumbs behind the suspenders with a satisfied pull on them.

Our team of trained Jethrosexual counselors will guide you through each and every step until you achieve the confidence of a true Jethrosexual.



Man swaggers up to the Women from the first scene. The Women check him out with renewed interest. The Man pulls a seat up to their table and sits on it sidesaddle.

We’ll teach you the fool-proof Jethrosexual conversation starters.

That’s true, ma’am. I not only have most of my own teeth but a double-wide that’s only been blowed away twice!

The Women swoon as the Announcer enters the scene. The Announcer looks back towards the success of the Man. The Announcer turns back towards the camera which zoom in to a mid-shot and smiles.

And he’s only halfway to his full Jethrosexuality. What are you waiting for? Call 1-900-B-Jethro now and in no time you’ll be the talk of the C-ment pond!

Announcer holds up an 8-Track tape.

If you call 1-900-B-Jethro right now we’ll send you, free of charge, our exciting and thought provoking Tao of Jethrosexuality eight track tape. See? You haven’t even called 1-900-B-Jethro yet and Jethrosexuality is already changing your life!

Announcer backs out of the scene to reveal the Man and two Women celebrating by clicking their beer cans together.

Call 1-900-B-Jethro now to release your inner Jethrosexual.

The Man smiles revealing missing front teeth.

You’ll be glad you did!

A BUMPER with ‘1-900-B-Jethro’ and ‘Become a Jethrosexual Today!’ superimposes on the screen.

Become a Jethrosexual. Call 1-900-B-Jethro today and start tilling all new fields tomorrow.


The Tale of the Tiniest Room

I don’t know why it happens. Just because I deal with people every day they seem to have this uncanny knack of talking to me. Now, I ‘m not conceited enough to think they’ve arrived here from some nincompoop nebula just to talk to me. I’m sure any unwitting drone carving out a meager living smiling at stumps with eyes would have sufficed but I don’t care about them. I am conceited enough to just care about me.

This woman starts a monologue the moment she enters. The thing that first attracted my attention was her topic. It had nothing to do with the goods or services I so unhappily provide. She was talking about her bathroom and it’s recent redesign.

Now, trust me, I’m old enough and have been in enough relationships to have been there during conversations about bathroom design many times. The problem is if it doesn’t directly involve the three things that have to do with my dick (to recap 1) Put the seat up. 2) Put the seat down. 3) Get the piss IN the toilet.) I’ve never heard a thing.

Sorry. But I don’t care if the towel matches the decorative, scented soap in a bowl. Why? Because I’ve learned, through years of trial and error, I can’t touch them. I don’t care about a gators cloaca for much the same reason. Can’t touch this.

For a portion of my life, when I was living (as I’ve been informed time and time again) like a heathen, my towels came from gyms, tennis clubs and hotels. And, you know what? They worked! I’d be wet, grab one, soon, I’d be dry. Success!

Why the stress about matching? If used properly they’re going to get stains on them you don’t want your guests to see. And you know what was great about my towels? When I ruined one, whether I used it enough to see through or had to wrap a murder weapon in, nothing calamitous would happen. I’d just go workout and get a new one!

You can’t tell me that’s not healthier for you than, as this woman did, walking around an aisle for ninety minutes holding a soap pump so you can match a specific purple or, more specifically, to quote the woman, ‘mauveberry.’

What happened to blue? Red? Hell, I’ll even give you a periwinkle. I think you women, oh yeah, I’ve got your attention now, are just making this shit up. You call us stupid but you don’t keep us appraised of the new rulings. Not that we’d follow them (we’re too busy figuring out the infield fly rule) but it would be nice, for once, not to be shocked with words like mauveberry. That really makes a guys head fall into neutral. We’re trying to listen but we’re out of gear and spinning our wheels. And it’s all your fault because the only thing rattling in our heads is,

“Mamamauveberry? Mmmmmmauvebeeeeerryyyyy? Mauvvvvveberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry? When did that get invented and who did it? It sure as hell wasn’t a guy who goes to the gym.”

So while my heads revving in neutral this woman is continually talking about her bathroom. Under threat of perjury (the comedy courts are extremely strict about this) I will state that she talked about this for over eight minutes. Eight minutes. I talked to a doctor operating on my hand for less time. I was just glad she didn’t redecorate her bedroom. If she spent eight minutes talking about the smallest room of her house I could only imagine the mini-series she’d make of luxurious organic linens.

Just when I was wishing I had one of my old towels to stuff in her mouth because it would not only shut her up but, due to the nature of the beast, would probably kill her with all the germs residing there, she began a new phrase.

“Bathroom coordinates.”

“Bababathroom coordinates. Bathroooooooommmmmmm coordinates. Bathroom cooorrrrdinnnnnnates.”

I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I had to speak up. I had to take a stand for my fellow man. I had to wave the filthy towel of fungus and get an answer.

“Bathroom coordinates?”

The woman looks at me and smiles as if, finally, there’s a man in the world who gets it (note to women: there isn’t).

“Do people need GPS to take a piss in your house?”

Her expression quickly changed to that of, ‘MEN!’ while she gathered herself and exasperatedly exited the building.

I must admit that, while watching her leave, I found that I’d learned something from her visit.

I’ve got to come up with snappy lines that piss people off sooner in most conversations.

Join Now!

If you’re not a member of the force you definitely know someone who is!

So pick your rank and tell the world that when you’re around there will be NONE OF THAT!

The Many, The Annoying, The Fun Police!

‘Built Moron Stupid’

I was waiting for the bus this morning and this guy walks out of the house in back of the stop. They’ve recently poured a bunch of those little rocks you know I now hate so much in front of their house. On an incline. Next to a major street. Can you say run off? The first big rain and this street is going to be made of cobble.

The guy gets into his car and drives over a three foot pile of these rocks. I’m laughing while thinking he’s reenacting a ‘Ford: Built Tough’ commercial. As he pulls this beast into traffic, blocking it both ways, he finally points his vehicle in the correct direction and pulls away.

Amazingly, as he passed me I noticed that he was, indeed, driving a Ford. I laughed harder.

A few minutes later, he’s back. And he pulls up but this time stops in front of the pile of rocks awaiting spreading into the upcoming rock slide. He jumps out and

I’m wondering if he went to the store or if he forgot something. I’m betting on the latter. He looks like a ‘Moron: Built Stupid’ kind of guy.

And I was right. He jumps out of the truck, leaves it running to waddle into the house to get his phone. Oh my, can’t be out of touch just in case someone needs to call and ask where you are. I’m sure that’s question #1 during cellphone conversations. I’ve actually been asked that question when called at home. See how ingrained that question is?

Nonetheless, as he’s walking back to his truck I notice he picks up speed. I’m thinking he’s going to do it. He’s going to have an Olympic moment and hurdle the three foot pile of stones his truck tore it’s underside going over.
He takes two steps and leaps. I watch him barely pass the pile, even with upturned legs. He comes to a fine two point landing. For a moment. One of his feet slips under all the other rounded stones that he’s kicking up like he’s doing a commercial for ‘Rocks: Built Slippery.’

The rocks are kicking out under his feet just like his truck tires a minute ago. The major difference being that the truck is made for things like this. His feet? Less so.

After two or three attempts, the inevitable occurs and he falls on his ass with his head slamming into the pile of rocks.

I hear him cursing the rocks and laugh. He stumbles to his feet, slipping each time his foot touched another rock. He finally gets up, brushes off his backside while walking towards his truck. Just before he gets in I watch as he brushes off the back of his head. I hear the solid plink of rocks falling back to their homes. I assume the plink is actually rock laughter.

He gets in the truck with a slam of the door. A moment later the truck is in gear and he begins to back angrily out of his driveway. His tire seemed to have other ideas because they spun for a moment before catching.

The problem is, while the tires were spinning, some rocks were dislodged from their homes and one of them, probably a rogue, flew further and higher than the rest and we both hear:


Yep, one solitary yet courageous rock made it from the streets all the way to the pinnacle of rock comedy. Right through a pane of glass. I watch as the glass slips from the frame and shatters onto the porch. I turn and notice that the guy is banging his head on the steering wheel.
After a bang or two he stops. Inspects his head and throws a rock into the middle of the street.

Slowly, this time, he backs out of his driveway, blocks traffic again, and pulls away.

The moral of the story is, it’s not really important that people know where you are every moment of every day. Especially when you’re ‘Built Moron Stupid.’

I’m Not On The Clock!

Although it’s happened in the past, the last time people were just a tad more covert about it. And they actually waited until I was getting paid to throttle me with their not so unique brand of insanity.

I was walking towards my office thinking the many things that snap my synapse once the building comes into view. Why didn’t I take that hit man apprenticeship when it was offered? Why does the pain behind my eye increase exponentially the closer I get to the building? What is that screeching behind me?

I’ll tell ya, that screeching was unnerving because it was a new affliction to begin my day. The rest? I’d probably miss them if they disappeared. I grab my head to try to pinpoint where the devil’s spit was coming from but the horrible squawk didn’t seem to be internal.

Oh gawd, that’s even worse.

I’ll take eye melting, throbbing headaches, and frayed nerves over someone attempting to speak with me. At least they know when I’ve had enough and it’s time to back the fuck off. The body is a wonderful thing. All I have to do is go to the basement, crank up the lathe, place my head on it, let the conveyor move it towards the blade and all the pain seems to dissolve. Even my aches and pains have better self-preservation than the ululating multitude who feel a need to be heard. By anyone at anytime. The problem is it’s often me all the time.

“You the storage guy right right right you the storage guy I know you the storage guy ’cause I saw you go into the storage place and I was here one day for about a ‘our no more like a ‘our an’ a ‘haf and I neva’ saw you come out so I figures you the storage guy you the storage guy right right right?”

I apologize for the lack of punctuation. I had no choice. I wrote it as spewed. There were no pauses, reflections, or recognition that I was reaching for a truncheon. It was a fire hose of a sentence. She ranted like ‘Roy The Smelly Prophet’ whose been telling all who pass for the last thirty years that the world will end today if we don’t give him a quarter. Her vocals were amplified as if she’d become overzealous and swallowed a bullhorn. But without a bullhorns inherent crispness and audio clarity.

She continued talking but my ears folded over as is their wont in moments like this. While she prattled on, I took her in. The first thing I notice was she had hair the color and consistency of lint. It was piled way up there too. Like it was fresh from the dryer and fully charged.

I tried to assault, I mean, stop her from talking by explaining that I was still on my time. That means I’m not getting paid. Which means I’m not actually the storage guy. I’m just a guy who’s going to learn the art of disguise and only enter the building through the back door. But she won’t hear of it. I have information right in my head, on the clock or not, I can impart so she can ignore so ahe can ask it thirty more times in just as many seconds.

I give in. I admit it. I wanted to get it over in the safety of a cold, hard, city street where, if need be, I’m sure no one would notice if she just ‘tired’ out and I helped her rest in the bus kiosk until the smell bothered someone and they called someone else. Actually much simpler than having to drag her out of the building. Cleaner too.

“I you’re the storage guy and I need something from you the storage guy.” Hey! Punctuation! See? I am having a good effect on her. “I need to store something and need it right now because I have to go I’m going to leave today I’ll be leaving so I need to put somethings in storage because you’re the storage guy.”

“Okay,” I answer slowly, clearly and without any of the rancor you’d expect from me in a moment like this. “What would you be storing?”



“My cats. I need to storage my cat while I go away to my sisters wedding that I’m leaving for today after I storage my cats.”

“Ma’am, you cannot put cats in the building.”

“Yes yes right right right that’s what I need I need to I really need to put my cats in storage because they won’t be any bother because I took care of all that bother.”

“Ma’am, I have to inform you that I am obligated to report any illegal behavior I see on this property. I happen to know the local cat cop and she’d turn on you like a rabid dog after one phone call.”

“But but it’s only for two days while I go. . .”

“Ma’am I don’t care if it’s for two fucking minutes.” Hey, I’m off the clock. I can tell anyone I want to fuck of with my pissed off face when I’m off the clock. On the clock? I have to smile. “You cannot store animals in a storage facility for any length of time. That’s from the Massachusetts State law I’d be happy to copy for you but doubt it would do you much good for anything other than wiping your ass.”

The woman stands there blinking. I don’t know if it’s Morse Code to the mothership or she’s communicating with her brain in the slowest form of communication possible, but whatever it is, it’s lasting some time. I take this opportunity of tranquility to begin to open the office door. I’ve said my piece and just want to go away.

“They’re just two little cats.” She says while my back is turned unlocking the door. I heard rustling behind me. She’s going through a bag. “They don’t make much noise.” I snap my head around and right there, two feet in front of me, is the woman standing there holding in her hands two stuffed cats. Not cute and fuzzy, get them off the bed so I can get some sleep, stuffed cats. Felines of mid-sized yet undeterminable pedigree not so fresh from a visit to a friendly taxidermist.

“They don’t make any noise, lady. They’re dead! And, being dead, I’m sure your sister wouldn’t mind them crashing the wedding. After all, besides not making any noise, I’m sure they won’t eat much either.”

She looks up at me. These two ratted cats dangling in her paws. He blinking becomes slower but no more focused.

“You don’t think she’d mind?”

“Hell no! What’s a family event without the entire family? Only half the fun, that’s what!”

She jams these nearly bald cats back into one of her bags while babbling about how much fun they’ll have at her sisters wedding. Oh, I’m sure everyone will find this wedding exceptionally memorable.

She thanks me (a satisfied customer and I’m not even on the clock for another forty minutes! That’s a first. And yes, I’m talking the satisfied customer part) and skitters towards the bus. But before she could get away I gave her a web site with what I think would be a perfect piece of clothing for her to wear to the wedding:

Free Form Summers

I have witnessed the sign that the frolicking, fun-filled, frivolity that once was the hallmark of summer has died an ignoble death. As with most bad news in these impersonal and cloistered days, it came in the form of a phone call not a messenger we could throttle to release our sadness no matter what that old saying says.

The harbinger of summers demise came on a sweltering day that reminded me of baseball games seemingly popping up out of the ether; hot dogs and hamburgers always within a grimy hands reach; having friends, good friends, true friends, real friends, tear sheets of burned and dead skin from your scorched back to throw on girls to make them scream and run away.

You know, a Tuesday.

But, sadly, I have proof those carefree days are a thing of the past. Like telephones that signal an incoming call by ringing (if I wanted a friggin’ song I’ll turn on a radio) and harmless jesting that doesn’t end up in lawsuits (I’m sorry, I can’t discuss the case at the present time).

The telephone rang and, forgoing my better judgement, I answered it. The caller was a fresh faced, cherub voiced, friend of Hilary’s. Oh, how sly these evildoers are. Placing this Molochian menace within the sing-song stylings of a young girl. But, before I knew the full intent of this message the damage had been done.

“Hi,” this rapscallion uttered. “I was wondering if Hilary was home?”

I responded that she was not available at this time. She was out enjoying what turns out now her last insouciant day of summer.

“Oh, that’s too bad. I was wondering if she’d be available because we’re going to have a water balloon fight at 3PM.”

A chill rippled through my head. My legs were weak and my head felt like a bubbling tureen of fetid cockaleekie. How can we continue in a world where something as spontaneous, no, something that must be as spontaneous as a water balloon fight is scheduled?

I envisioned parents chatting amiably as their children, with water retardant clothing covering officially sanctioned ‘Water Balloon Safety Padding’ and full face masks held in place by official ‘FunBGone WaterProof’ helmets with neck support, toss ‘InstaDesolving Low Impact Water Balloons’ filled to previously agreed upon levels and weights with ‘RapidDry Soft Water’ gently in the general direction (below the neck and above the belly button, of course) of other snaky serpents of stunted summers for their prearranged fifteen minutes of watery delight.

I hung up the phone and slumped onto the bed. I felt disoriented. The world didn’t seem to make any sense. Even the effervescent chirps of the swooping birds seemed forced and measured. I had to do something to right this impending downward spiral.

So I fired a filled to overflowing water balloon at my unsuspecting neighbor, Norm. It felt good to see his dripping expression of shock and bewilderment. Of course, when he later retaliated I took it in good natured stride.

I just wished he’d used a balloon instead of his shovel. But hey, what’s a little concussion and a few dozen stitches if I can keep the world filled with water balloon fights the way they should be? Free form and spontaneous.

Just like summers.