The Journey – Part 3

If you need a refresher click here parts 1 & 2.

I slowly saunter back down the stairs I moments ago hurried up. I’m heading to the food court. Specifically, this one bar there.

I’ve never been in this one before but I’ve been in it’s sister bar in the city. To all the hip, happening people in the know it’s called TITS. Because when you put the full title of the bar into initials it spells tits. Good enough a place to drink I’ve heard from many a child.

I now have fifty minutes to kill. A cold beer and a warm ball game and I’ll be just fine. My girlfriend who is going to meet me in a bar on the other side will sooner or later figure out I missed the bus. She’s good like that. I pull up a chair, order a beer and proceed to attempt to forget the last hour of my life.

I’m sitting there watching the ballgame when a guy sits next to me. He’s making so much noise I know he wants to get a conversation going. Hey, Starshine, go talk to someone without a homicidal hair-trigger. You’ll thank me later. He asks for the beer menu then proceeds to read it for five, six, seven minutes. I’ve been tracking tight seconds for so long I’m starting to sweat thinking about how much time he’s wasting.

He motions the bartender over to make his choice. They’re out. Sort of funny. He and the bartender go back and forth. He finally picks another. Damn! This is getting funnier. Strike two. The bartender begins rattling off the beers they do have but he goes it on his own with his third choice. Boy is my mood elevated right now. I’ll admit to being a little tweaked when I missed the bus. But this guy’s utter failure to pick a beer is cheering me up.

Thanks smelly hippie!

After a short time a woman sits to my right. I don’t engage her, she doesn’t engage me. My most successful transaction of the day. She orders two drinks and the bartender questions her. She explains that her husband is on the way. I sit there silently while three time beer picker loser boy pulls what looks like leaves and roots out of plastic bags. They are all meticulously handled so they must have meaning to him. Which he desperately wants to explain to me as he shakes and holds the plastic bags aloft. Ah, back off, pinecone, I don’t have time for another cult.

After one beer he left. I asked the woman if she said her husband was coming. She said that she did so I moved over. I would have moved over without saying anything but I didn’t want her to think she smelled. That’s what a gentleman would do.

Her husband arrives and he is psyched. He has some amazing news and he just can’t wait to lay it on her.

“I made some reservations for our vacation.”

“Where?” His wife enthusiastically replies.

“At camp sites all over the place.”

“Why would think I’d like that?”

“It’ll be great!”

And for the entire time I sat there he tried to explain to his bride how great it would be to camp out. And for the entire time I sat there she pretty much told him it was a stupid idea and that he should just go shit in his hat.

I never met these people and, even without her objections, I knew it was a terrible idea. Every time she’d ask a good question like, “What are we going to do for a tent?” His response was,

“Borrow it from so and so.”

“Stove?”

“Borrow it from so and so.”

“Sleeping bags?”

“Borrow it from so and so.”

Not a man of the wild I take it.

I chuckled as I paid my tab knowing if that outdoor adventure every materialized she would spend the rest of their lives together reminding him just how horrible it was.

After an hours wait I’m finally on the bus. In ninety minutes or so I’ll be where I’m supposed to be and my weekend will begin. I’ll walk into the bar, say hi to my girlfriend who will tell me she’s starving, I’ll say hi to the bartender who will return the greeting but his will be better because he will have a beer in his hands for me, then, if I’m lucky, I’ll have to associate with few people after.

What I’m really looking forward to is getting home, seeing the cat and opening up a beer and relax for the first time today. My girlfriend, who has been down there all week, said she’d have some beer in the house waiting for me. Now that’s the way to start a day off. I put on my MP3 player, turn that sucker on and sit back and enjoy the ride.

We get to the destination without incident. I jump off the bus and start walking back from whence I came because, a few minutes ago, we drove by the bar I’m meeting my girlfriend in. Don’t even ask, they won’t think about letting me off there. I’ve asked a few times.

I don’t mind the walk. I get to be truly alone for the first time all day. I’m not surrounded by the sounds and smells and silly schemes of people. It’s just me and the sidewalk. I turn the corner and see the bar. I pack up my MP3 player and get ready to make my entrance.

When you open the door people can clearly see you enter but you can’t see them. It’s that dark a bar. So imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I hear,

“Who the fuck said you could come in my bar?”

It is the face of someone I haven’t spoken to in over a decade (with reason) next to her husband I haven’t spoken to in six years (no real reason – except she’s usually with him). They’re not bad people just annoying as fuck. And what do I truly need after this adventure? That’s right! Someone I avoid at home because she’s as annoying as fuck.

I can feel my body slumping as I walk in the bar. The woman jumps up and gives me the usual big hug and kiss. I wave at my girlfriend as this is happening. She gives me a look that’s half ‘I feel your pain’ and half ‘fuck you! I’ve been putting up with this for almost two hours now.’ I feel her pain.

I chat with the guy with the wife talking over us the whole time. I’m on autopilot. Trust me, it can seem like I’m there, engaged, witty, conversational, but the reality is I’m home with a cat and a beer wishing I had my own helicopter. And bar.

After who knows how long they exit to go to dinner. An invitation we declined due to a previously planned arrangement (I mentioned cat and beer right?). They make us swear we’ll meet them back here tomorrow night for some more cheerful bonhomie. I sincerely lie and say I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my few hours off during a week.

I finally get to chat with my girlfriend (who tells me she’s starving. You’ve been down all week. What did you do? Wait for me to get down here to eat?), tell her a cliffsnote version of this story (she is not a fan of my work) and we go get something to eat. The entire time, in the back of my head, all I’m thinking is, “Soon I get to go home for cat and beer.” That’s enough to get me through this journey.

After dinner we head home and the first thing I do is play with the cat for a moment. Give him some food. Scoop his shit. You know, bonding. I take off my shoes before heading to the refrigerator for the time in this journey I’ve been looking most forward too.

She forgot to buy beer.

So I create a immediate option B for the start of my weekend by putting this journey behind me and go to bed.

The End

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The Journey – Part 2

If you need a refresher click here part 1.

Yes, a shuttle bus. I didn’t know it but the station is being worked on so we’re being shuttled to the nearest station. Some people at this juncture would pack it in, not strain themselves to push on. But most people haven’t had my collection of head trauma. I rush outside to be met with a bus with more people in it than many small towns. But I shove myself into this mass and writhe along with my fellow chattel.

I regret not having checked the time while I was in the train station. Now I can’t make myself crazy calculating ETA’s. Instead I focus on the number of red lights we hit (all of them) and the interesting fragrance wafting from at least one of the passengers behind me. A combination of milk about to spoil and a wet muskrat that has recently been sprayed by a skunk.

By the time we get to the next station I know I’ve lost some time. I race up the stairs and see that I’ve lost probably five minutes. I now have fifty-four minutes to get to the end. That’s not good. I race up the stairs, once again slam my card against a reader to spend more money and hustle down to the train.

If there was one there. Shit. I stand on the platform, like everyone else, and wait. I look at the journey and see that I need to pass eight stations, change over to another line for two stops then go up two of the longest staircases you’ve ever seen (that’s what happens when you climb from under the ground. You have to travel some distance) and hustle through two buildings (with two more staircases) until I get to the bus stations ticket office in fifty-two minutes.

This does not bode well.

Three long minutes go by and a train slowly pulls into the station. And within seconds of the door opening the platform is over run by humans with suitcases. Is a suitcase convention in town? Two out of every three people lurching off the train has a suitcase. I juke past a small woman with a giant suitcase she’s having trouble controlling and get into the train. Okay, we can leave now.

But we can’t. There are more suitcase people still on the train attempting to gather up all their suitcases and get off the train. It’s a tsunami of suitcases. Waves and waves of people pass by dragging their suitcases with varying degrees of competency. One woman is pulling her reticent suitcase as if she’s dragging a petulant child. It’s rocking to and fro and making high pitched grinding sounds. But they keep coming.

They must have all alighted the train because the doors close. I quickly check the clock and four minutes has passed. Forty-seven minutes. Not undoable. But it’s not up to me. I am at the mercy of any happenstance. The platform is now devoid of luggage.

So what are they waiting for? Go already. If I took a vote I’m sure 100% of everyone sitting here would say, “Fuck my fellow man, they can get the next damn train.”

But we sit there. Doors open. While              time            ticks            a                  way.

Finally, after four more minutes, we start moving. We’re moving and that’s good for me. Not awesome good but fair good. I know you’re wondering why only fair good. It’s because the train is going six miles an hour. I’d forgotten that the train company added a station due to a large shopping and living center popping up in a once barren wasteland. Oh do I long for the days of that barren wasteland when we’d roar past at breakneck speed. But now it’s a chuga-chuga of a children’s book choo-choo.

We finally pull into the station as gently as a bomb squad technician removes an explosive. Faces glide by as if I’m walking past them. Slowly. With a limp. The doors open and more humanity spills in. Don’t you people have anything better to do? It’s a nice day. Wouldn’t you rather be outside instead of entombed in this metal tube rolling down a track? I know I don’t but some of you bastards sure as hell do.

The train picks up and we’re off. The next station. The next one. We’re making some time now. I get to the stop where I change trains and see that I now have thirty-five minutes to finish this last section. I have to walk across a concourse, get to the train, get off the train and then bust my ass to the bus station.

I’m trying to slip myself through the gaggle of people lollygagging around. It’s as if they’re never seen a homeless guy tongue kissing his pet squirrel before. Fucking tourists. Move it along, Jon Boy! Don’t start getting homesick now. Every time I pass a clock a minute passes. It’s going to be tight and I know it.

Walking across the concourse I notice the guy in front of me. His movements caught my attention. We’re walking on a tile floor that is exquisitely decorated (if you ignore the innumerable unrecognizable stains grafted to the floor) with lines of smaller tiles creating a dividing line. I’d never really thought about this floor before (the aforementioned stains only a small reason for this slight) but it is obvious this guy has.

He stutter steps and steps over every line. Does he not see them as just more tiles? Is it an elaborate game of step on a crack, break your mother’s back? Sometimes he smoothly glides over the lines but then his stride goes a little off and it’s a quick soft shoe until so he can deftly avoid the horizontal tiles. It was quite fascinating to see this glimpse into this guy’s psyche. And it sure made me want to sneak up behind him and give him a pair of wet willies. I’m sure that would have placed him in an hours long fetal position.

I arrive at the next train platform. Half an hour. Tight but I have a good feeling about this. Which was dashed when I got the news that the next train will be along in four minutes. So I do what any person in my position would do. Look around for that goofy footer to test out my wet willie theory.

The train pulls in and we go on our way. Slowly, very slowly on our way. Are there slow children playing on these tracks? Why are we going to damn slow? But we get to the next station. One more and I begin my last push. I’m planning ahead to try to cut off seconds. Old ladies? Turn them into human slinkies if one gets in my way. Someone asking for directions? Five finger death punch to the throat.

While I’m going over my choices I notice a problem. To my left is a twin sized baby carriage blocking that exit. Huddling around the precious cargo are the parents, grandmother and another little cherub (in this situation cherub means obstacle). No problem.

I’ll hit the right egress.

Mother of syphilitic vixens! A gaggle of bicyclists. What are you doing here? Are you just showing us you have these fancy bikes? Showing them a less annoying form of transportation? You have wheels, use them! I look left, I look right. Who in my way hits the ground tonight?

As luck would have it both potential obstacles must have felt my impending evisceration because both ends parted and I could let them go one living their relatively annoying lives.

I get off the train and head towards the bus station. I’m so close but also some vital minutes away. I glance at a clock. It’s 4:55. Twenty minutes left. It’s been awhile since I’ve done this but I do remember it being a rather time sucking walk. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Through the train station, up the stairs, across something, through a thing, down a hallway, it’s as if I’m my own character in some dumb ass video game. I can feel the minutes tick past as the hit the largest of the staircases. As I’m moving towards it I survey my options.

The escalator is action packed. There is a gaggle of roughly thirty people in a tight knot just starting to hit the start of the escalator. I can’t get tied up in that. So I look way up, I mean skyscraper neck crane here, to the top of the stairs. I have my path. Joining me on the stairs is one other guy. He has a lead so that gives me a goal. I’m not only going to beat those lazy escalator people up to the top I’m beating this guy.

And it was harder than you think.

But I did it. I blew past the escalator and the hideous people who reside there on my way to the next staircase about a thousand yards away. It’s a smaller staircase, about 3/4 the size, and I hit it as if I’m being chased. I can feel myself slowing down about midway up. But I can also see something rising up with each step. The top of an analog clock. Each step reveals a little more of the actual time. I see the big hand. The most important hand to me right now. A few more steps and it shows me that I have six minutes to get to the bus station.

Very very tight. Tighter than a tick in a fat guys stomach roll.

I hit the top of the stairs and do what comes naturally. Run.

“No running.” I hear, seriously, eight strides in. I stop and turn to face where the sound came from. A transit cop was standing beside a pole. Just waiting for me my paranoid side says. “You can’t run in here.” He’s being cool, very matter of fact. I’m walking past and it dawns on me.

“Oh, I get it. Some weird ass bald guy racing through a crowded train station could make some people nervous.” The cop laughs and nods. I smile at him as I walk past. “Maybe if they didn’t play the ‘see something, say something’ jingle every ninety seconds people wouldn’t be in such a panic.”

“You have a point.” He says as I continue on past.

I go through the food court. Zigging and zagging around people going in four directions. I hit the door to the train platform that will lead me to the bus station. I see people filing towards me and make the right adjustments around them, beams and garbage barrels. But I’m still moving, still on my way.

I hit the first of three staircases. Complete. The next one is bigger. Then another long walk to the final staircase which is the biggest one in the bus station. I’m walking as fast as one can while thinking, “Don’t move too fast. You’ll panic the weak ones and never make any bus.”

I get to the top of the stairs, move right and head to the ticket counter. I see the clock a hundred feet before I reach the ticket counter.

5:15.

Right on time!

My idiot side says.

But I trundle on. I go up to the counter and ask the guy if I can get on the bus that I know is loading passengers as we speak.

“No. Ticketing is closed. There’s another one at 6:15.”

You don’t say, turd muffin.

“We couldn’t try?”

“It’ll take about five minutes to even process the ticket. By then it’s sure to be gone.” Without irony, pity or sarcasm he says,

“You want one for 6:15?”

I think back on the journey I just experienced and say,

“Fuck it. I’m going to get a beer.”

End of part two.

The Journey – Part 1

The plan is for me to get out of work on time, hit a bus, a train, a train and a bus to start my weekend at the beach. Now that doesn’t sound all too taxing. Pretty much a lot of sitting. It’s not until you add a few factors into the mix when things can turn hairy.

Things such as I have to catch the first bus ten minutes from the time I close for the day. The stop is only two minutes away so the only thing that can go wrong is customers. If one of those bastards lingers after hours, even after my not so gentle exhortations, it’ll make me miss the bus. So that’s the first obstacle. There are others until I get to the final bus. Late trains, getting caught in heavy but slow foot traffic that you just can’t find a spot to blow past, your own failure to keep up a hefty walking pace, and please don’t have me run into anyone I know while I’m foot bound. It happened once and the person was so pissed (or so they said in an email I looked at days later) after I said,

“Hi. Don’t have time. Say it to me in an email.” While blowing past them.

From the time the first bus leaves I have one hour and five minutes to accomplish this task. And it all begins back at work.

It’s thirty minutes before closing. I see that people are getting closer to wrapping up their day in plenty of time. I begin shutting down my day counting off the minutes. Now I know anything can go wrong in this time period (and by wrong I mean some idiot comes in) but, at this moment, all cues are in place.

Sixteen minutes to closing the front door opens. I say bad words in my head. I say more bad words in my head when I see who it is. Please, let me explain my heady outburst. Yesterday this same person came in asking to buy boxes. Simple, cardboard boxes. I point him to the display that he just walked past. He wandered over, stared at the five choices then went about inspecting said boxes as if they were the Hope diamond. Checking all angles, thumping it for some unknown to humans reason, shaking it (huh? As my Zen master Wong says, “Empty boxes contain no sound. Why the hell are you shaking it, jackass?” Wong’s a good Zen master but he has a pretty short fuse).

He then puts the box he wants on the counter. An unnecessary step. Do you know why? The name of the box is plastered across the front of the box. Say the name and the box whore will go gather it. I don’t need to see the physical manifestation of  the box. I am aware of what the damn box looks like, jackass. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

After he places the box on the counter he says, “I’d like. . .”

And then he spends the next twenty seconds (and I am not exaggerating) staring at the box. Twenty seconds. Do you know how long that is when a person is staring at a box? It’s twenty fucking seconds too long, let me tell you. Don’t believe me? Stop reading now and stare ahead for twenty seconds. You started to lose it after ten, didn’t you? No? It wasn’t that long? Okay, send me your address. I’ll visit you and punch you in the head for twenty seconds. Do you think it’ll fell long then? Glad you got my point.

So this is the obstacle I have between me and bus #1. He comes in and I see what transaction is going to take place. I estimate a time and feel his completion of it will fall within a comfortable spot. Which proves what a fucking idiot I am.

My first inkling that something was about to go awry was when someone grabbed the doorknob to my office. In my experience when that happens someone is panicked. First because they’ve never touched that door before and second because the door they have always opened to discuss issues with me is right next to it. After a beat he opens the correct door, sticks his head inside and says,

“I forgot my keys. I have to go back to my house.”

I don’t panic. I’m no rookie. I look at that guy and say,

“You really are a fucking moron, aren’t you?”

No, I didn’t say that! That would be rude! Correct, but rude.

Instead I looked at the clock, twelve of , twenty-two minutes to bus #1, and say,

“You have ten minutes.” He swiftly exits and I continue moving my work day closer to completion.

Three minutes to closing and the group here completes their task and waves me a grand goodbye. Two minutes to closing the front door opens and the key forgetting box inspector enters. Wordlessly (Zen master Wong taught me that. “If you can’t say anything pleasant to another remain quiet and seethe.” He really is full of wisdom) I guide his entrance to the building. I lock the door as he goes about his task and I end my day.

And wait.

I’m watching him on the camera and he’s moving. In a sloth like manner. But it’s still movement. Two past the hour. Eight minutes to bus #1. Four past the hour. It looks as if he’s nearing completion. But he stops. Why are you stopping? Please don’t think about why you’re stopping. I sure as shit don’t have time for that level of contemplation. Six past the hour. He reaches the front
of the building. I begin to tidy up after him and quickly get to the absolute end of my work day. Eight past the hour I am out the door. Two minutes to go two minutes. Piece of cake.

Unless the bus driver, as often happens, decides to leave a touch early. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned the corner just in time to watch the bus pull away. But I don’t think that will happen today. I have faith that I can make it.

If this damn customer would stop talking to me! I’m trying to get past but he wants a little chat time. What he doesn’t know is, as mentioned earlier, I’m an on the fly chat off expert. My feet don’t stop as I wittily respond to his statements but, possibly before he knows I’m gone, I’m in the street heading for the first of many finish lines.

I turn the corner and the bus is there. The traffic is in my favor so I dash across the street and get to the bus just as the driver was reaching for the lever to shut the door. I calmly slap my card on the reader, the ching of money being spent is heard and as he pulls away I glide to my seat.

I now have sixty-five minutes to make it to my final bus.

The ride to the first train station is rapid and uneventful. We’re making good time. I’m counting down and we’re on schedule. We pull into the first train station and I rush in, turn the corner and notice that all the turnstiles are blocked off by temporary fences. This stops me in my tracks, obviously. I look around trying to see what the issue is when I see it. The sign that is the bane of the harried commuters existence.

“Station closed. Shuttle bus this way.”

Not a shuttle bus?!??!?!?!

End of part one.

Beach Balls

It’s a beautiful day and we’re spending it on the beach. That’s nice but it’s not awesome if you’re me. Don’t get me wrong, I like being on the beach but I get sunburned shoveling snow in January. My shaved head is lathered and has a baseball cap on it. I have a Julia Child basting a chicken amount of SPF 4000 on my entire body. I have an entourage of three each carrying an over-sized umbrella to cast a shadow twenty feet around me. And I have a cabana boy fanning the sand in front of me to cool it down before my arrival.

So, yeah, I love the beach.

My girlfriend likes to toss around the Frisbee. She also has this habit of tossing it seven kilometers away from me so she can watch my gazelle like countenance dart across the sand. Of course, that was then. Now that I’m old, it’s more like a Zell like unformed shape a cracking and a popping and a huffing and a puffing across a tiny swath of sand hoping not to sweat off one dollop of sunscreen.

We’re just hanging out, breaking a law or two, having a fun beach day. One of the things we like to do is, of course, people watch. You see all sorts on the beach. Some you wish you hadn’t but that’s part of the fun. I was once on a tropical island when this Buddy Hackett looking guy came up to me and asked me a question. My eyes were closed as he approached so I hope you can imagine my surprise to first see his dick. Now I didn’t expect that on a clear Monday morning. Later that same day I walked into a beach bar and saw two women sitting on the same normal sized chair and they weren’t touching. They were so thin they had to be tethered to the bar so they didn’t blow away in the gentle breeze.

My girl and I are walking down the beach talking about current events.

“Did you see the bathing suit on that woman?” My girlfriend asked about a woman inappropriately wearing a Junior Miss one piece.

“Yeah.” I said.

You can’t get more current than that.

During our walk we happened upon a guy sleeping on a beach chair. He looked rather comfortable except for one minor detail.

“Are that guy’s balls hanging out?” I inquire.

At this my girlfriend stopped. Being a medical professional she had to assess the situation. Once she did her intake she responded with a rousing,

“Yes.” Then we went on our merry way.

What else could we do? Sure I could have approached the dude but how do I broach this subject?

“Excuse me, fine sir, but while strolling down the beach just now I couldn’t help but notice at least one of your testicles has become, how does one say? Unmoored.”

I’ve done a lot of things but this one was a little outside my area of expertise. I’ve told friends things have been untoward with their personal vessel but walking up to a stranger and saying,

“Dude, your balls are going to look like fried meatballs if you don’t jam ’em back in your shorts.”

Has many potential outcomes but not one I could imagine coming out fine for me.

So we walked on figuring a friend would come back from the water and toss a towel over him or, after taking a few pictures, wake him to let him know. Or maybe someone around him would make sounds to wake him so he can gently take care of business.

I also gave thought to some of the sunburns I’ve had and did shiver thinking what would have happened if any of them contained my balls. I don’t think the medical profession advises one to tear a layer of skin off ones scrotum. Would be an interesting story though.

About twenty minutes later we’re heading back. Now I know you may find this hard to believe but I almost forgot to check on ball boy. I know, if it was you you’d be able to think of nothing else for the next week. But weird shit happens around me all the time and this was just another one.

But, at the last minute, I did remember so shot him a quick glance.

He is going to be one unhappy camper tonight.

Dueling Grandfathers

A guy is chatting about his grandfather. He tells me his grandfather’s glass eye used to freak him out.
 
Without thinking I said, “That’s nothing, my grandfather had a glass leg and wooden eye.”

A Day At The Beach

We were at one of those beach side bars enjoying the day as we often do on our days off. The sun was rippling off the water causing diamond like glitters throughout. A smooth and cool breeze caused the high shimmering sun to brush gently off my face. We were far enough away from the water so the splashing waves seemed like comforting murmuring conversation. A couple of kids ran down the street excited that they’re sure they saw a shark.

I know if you close your eyes you can transport there and enjoy the moment. Nice, isn’t it?

But if you do, I’ll have to add one more piece to the summertime puzzle.

And their names were Bethany and Madison who were also enjoying this pleasant summer day by ruining it for everyone within a fifty yard radius.

Sadly for me I was at ground zero for the onslaught. At first, because they were sitting next to us, people turning around to give them the stink eye thought there was a possibility we were with this backing up dump truck of a duo. They were ‘ON VACATION!’ and they sure as hell going to let everyone know. Every member of the wait staff who walked past tried to make a subtle, laid back attempt to take the bewailing to a level more befitting this serene scene.

But even the manager walking over and, still gently, chiding them to chill they let him know this was their well-earned vacation and they were going to express themselves freely. They were young, dumb and, potentially later that evening, full of strangers cum and they wanted everyone to know it. They were here to strut their stuff and Rupaul would have nothing on them. I was keeping an eye on them because of the level of activity going on.

They were going through their bags pulling everything out slamming it on the bar. One of them (sorry, they looked so much alike I couldn’t tell which one was Bethany and which one was Madison) made sure to slap down a platinum credit card so the staff could see her father was someone who wanted her out so much he’d give her a ‘go anywhere’ card. And I know it was from him because I could read her name and the company was named Michael The Same Last Name As Bethany, Inc. Paying attention (or as some people would call it snooping) is a vital skill in my world.

Finally the manager knew he had to do something. How did he finally know? A four-top and two other couples pretty much got up at the same time to leave. Even he knows four middle aged customers are going to spend more than a pair of Bethany’s and Madison’s. He walks up to them, puts his hands on the bar, leans in gently and says nothing because Bethany jumped right in with a full blown,

“What the fuck do you want?” The manager just stands there. I guess that’s a reaction new to him. But she’s not done. “If we’re bothering you so much we’ll just fucking leave this piece of shit and never come back.” The manager is still standing there probably thrilled that they themselves were actually going to bounce themselves out of his establishment. Bethany picks up her 75% full  frozen beverage and starts pounding it.

And it was as frightening as you’d expect.

Fluid was dribbling down both sides of her cheeks. Gobs from each side caught up and puddled in her deep suprasternal notch. It was like watching a dog trying to drink water that’s sprayed from a hose. Without taking a breath she polished off the icy contents. I figured she wouldn’t get a frozen headache because that malady erupts in brains and she’s showed no evidence of having formed one of those.

“Good enough for you?” She sneers as ice particles melt off her face and drip to the floor. While this was going on the fast thinking bartender grabbed daddy’s credit card and swiped it to hasten this journey.

She stands up as the bartender comes back with a few napkins and the credit card bill. Bethany sneers at the bill as if their mishandling of this situation is the cause of her self-inflicted consternation. She quickly doodled on the check ignoring the napkins as a dollop of beverage fell where the ‘t’ should have been in her name.

She looks at her face in the mirror and sees that it’s not only wet it’s streaked the color of her drink. She looks at the bartender, still holding napkins, then the manager before turning her head and wiping her cheeks and mouth on the sleeve of my t-shirt.

Yes, homicide was the first thought that passed my mind. I searched the bar for a nearby weapon. It must have been pretty obvious to anyone looking at me, excluding the clueless Bethany, of course, because the manager grabbed my elbow and started wiping my shoulder fairly vigorously. While holding down my arm with some force. I looked at him and nodded. He knew I wasn’t going to disembowel her with a lobster cracker. But I could have easily placed my hand on one. The bartender continued to move all objects off the bar as Bethany and Madison exited the bar complaining about how THEIR VACATION was now ruined.

With my target off my radar I calmed down quickly. The manager is still wiping my shoulder but I waved him off. Worse things have been wiped on me, believe me. After a few seconds of sitting there silently the entire place started laughing. Which allowed everyone a chance to ease the tension and slowly go back to enjoying this beautiful day.

Buy And Sell You

That’s an interesting concept. Let’s forget about the whole ‘ain’t that slavery?’ part of the equation because that would just make this exercise ugly. Let’s concentrate on the what brought us to someone saying to someone else,

“I could buy and sell you.”

It’s never a good situation. It’s never a situation when you’ve run out into the street to save their tottering grandchild who escaped during a moment of distraction from their mother. You never hear,

“I will buy you out of your current work-a-day life and sell you to the highest bidder so as you will live in a heretofore unimagned life of luxury. And, if I find not a suitable purchaser, I will retain you for my own even if I have to sell my own children and rent out my grandchildren to a lesser god to make sure your all dreams and wishes are fulfilled.”

It’s always some pumped up braggart who isn’t getting the attention he (and come to think of it, I’ve never heard a woman say it) feels he deserves. It happened to me recently. I was out with some people and it was a night of warm conversation and other boring platitudes. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice. But who wants to hear people talk about their jobs? And that’s what they’re going to talk about. Most people hate their jobs so what kind of story is going to come out of that?

“And then Brenda said, ‘Capital idea, Mr. Smythengen. Only a great, wise and noble gentleman, such as yourself, could have conceived of such a brilliant plan.’ What an ass kisser she is. And she’s not in the department that now has double the workload. I hate my job. And Brenda.”

After sixty or seventy seconds of that I’m ready to kill the messenger.

I never get into work discussions (unless the story is hilarious). I always say, “Good. Nothing new.” I even said that on the day I had to physically restrain a drug-induced psychotic woman so she’d stop bothering another customer. And I said customer not patient because I don’t work in a ‘go restrain this person’ field. Generally.

After everyone has barfed up their hating work stories someone asked me to tell a specific story. It was a story I’ve told many times including here. It’s a funny story and I don’t mind telling it but I hate to be called upon to unexpectedly perform. It’s not part of the flow of the conversation. Add to that the ‘tell us a story, Chris’ part of it is off-putting. I mean, yeah, I know I can tell this story in a funny manner but, it’s not a story for everyone.

Necrophilia and coming out of a men’s room with a strange woman isn’t a story for everyone.

But, I tell it. Mainly because I didn’t want to hear one more Brenda story. I get laughs where I should and dismay in the correct places. After I finish people are reacting then one person said,

“Ah, you think you’re all that.” I just told a necrophiliac/men’s room with a strange woman story. I obviously don’t think I’m above much. “I could buy and sell you.”

“How much?”

“What?” I can already feel his buyers remorse.

“How much? What’s the going price? I mean, I could give up my current life if someone was willing to put up some cake. What’s the going price for a stud like myself?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You just said you could buy and sell me. To do that, first, you’d have to buy me. So I’m just wondering what that price would be?”

“Are you nuts? It’s just an expression.”

“No,” I redirect him. “It’s not. It’s a statement that monetizes my worth in regards to your perceived worth. Which, as stated, you are worth so much more than I you are willing to pay to make me your property. So, what am I worth to you? I know my girlfriend would like to walk out of here with cash sans me. So what’s the opening bid?”

“You’re insane.”

“Me? You’re the one willing to illegally, in a public place, purchase another human being.”

By now the guy is flustered so I know I have mere seconds to get this to a close.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll set the price.” I stop and think for a second. I can see his flee instinct pushing him. “Seven hundred eighty-six thousand four hundred twenty-seven dollars and thirty-nine cents.”

Everyone is quiet. I smile and look around. “Okay, anyone want to top that bid?” No one says a word. I know some of them want to say something but they’re going to stall their eagerness to jump in to see how this ends.

“Huh.” I say to my new owner as I slide closer to him. “The buying part is easy. But the selling, well, the selling is a bitch for such a rare commodity as I.”

I look him in the face. He pissed. I’m happy. Funny how often those two things intersect in my life. “Guess I’m yours now.” I lean closer. “And you’re fucked because I drink a shitload of Heineken.”