F**k Up ~ Part 3


I wheel my protest sign up to the 3rd floor. These sweetheart nurses are not so sweet now. "That is just ........ lovely."
I am halfway through Ob-Gyn when Miles catches up to me. "Goddamn it Roger! They'll fire you for sure for this!"
"I know, but Vince really needed this. Someone had to tell that swine off!"
"Security to second floor." says a voice from overhead.
"But what about the position this puts me in? I sure don't want to be the one who has to hold you for the sheriffs. Just put that away and get your ass off the grounds. And I think you need to find yourself some other place to stay..."
F**k uP
by Ronnie Prima
,"I've gotten all furry..."
--MORGAN (A Suitable Case for Treatment)
------------x/X\x--- TEXAS GOTHIC ---x/X\x------------
It takes me about five minutes to scarf down my sandwich and Fritos. I spend the remainder of the hour just sitting around the cafeteria, listening in on gossip and complaints about other departments- which aren't really that engaging when you don't know the principals involved.
The housekeepers eat theirs on the strip of grass by the back parking lot, meals that sometimes turn into elaborate feeds- Grandma dropping by with the kids, a basket of fresh tortillas and a big casserole dish full of something spicy and wonderful. The doors on your car hanging open and radio station XITO pouring out. It's really the right idea for lunch. Getting outside for an hour, away from the isopropyl air and harsh florescents. I'm sure I would be welcome to hang out with them, but the language barrier denies us all but the most labored ("You like eats chicken?") interactions.
The minute hand slowly completes its circuit. If this was a half hour break it would be that much sooner that I could get out of here every day. I keep forgetting to bring a book to read.
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I had only gone across the street to that ratty old barn of a pizza place with Tom a few times, because he would treat me, insisted on treating me, and it felt funny ............. It is one thing to beg for small handouts when you're homeless, but I'm working now and Tom is a fellow low-paid drudge, and I would have to spend like he did there to reciprocate.
"If that's all that's been bugging you don't sweat it! Shit, I thought you didn't like me or something."    
"Oh God no! That wasn't it at all!"
"Well I like you too, you're good company .............. And you see, I get a little extra ever' month. Not enough to live on, but something. It's free money, and my rule is to blow it any damn way I want!"
An $100 check each month (an insult compared to the big lump sums his siblings had gotten!) from some dead despised family patriarch, who Tom gets his revenge on by squandering it on all the vices the old man had been so critical of. Like something out of a Jim Thompson novel; a bad-blood situation, laden with foreboding- that promises plenty of double-crossing and mayhem in the chapters ahead.
We wash down our sandwiches or pizza with a pitcher of draft apiece. Mine tides me over pretty well, making the rest of the shift a lot of fun. But for Tom this mammoth cylinder of beer is just sustaining him until his next trip down to his locker. Several pints a day...    
Although it's not like were directing air traffic or handling high explosives. Tom isn't too likely to kill anyone but himself if he gets too blotto here. But that gin of his really smells, so he resorts to greater and greater quantities of aftershave to mask it. And as he grows duller and woozier and more aromatic the impression is that he's been guzzling Old Spice all day.
Vince can't possibly be that dense. Not with how he scrutinizes you, analyzing each cowed nod for hints of resistance, every utterance for double meaning or the germ of future insubordination. He must notice.
And it seems a useful bit of leverage for him to have over Tom, far too valuable to squander. Vince saves this ultimate threat---raising suspicions about Tom's drinking---for when he really wants to throw the fear into him! Reminding him how hard it will be for a man his age, with his spotty employment record to find a new job ........... as Tom stands sheepishly at attention, swaying like he's on the deck of a ship.
So anyway, across the street to Galactic Giraffe Pizza. 
This wacky countercultural name ("Were not really a business but just a fun loving pack of zonked-out crazies!") is already embarrassingly dated, but then so is their core clientele of long-haired rowdy motherfuckers,swaggering around the pool tables to scratchy copies
of ponderously philosophical rock epics by The Who and Jethro Tull.
No juke box. You pick out an album from the tiers of orange crates, and if the guy is not appalled by your choice he drops it on the turntable. 
The early Roxy Music album I had unthinkingly had him put on one time ("Hmmm .........    Nice cover!"), with those overwrought Norma Desmond vocals by Bryan Ferry was yanked off of there after about three minutes! What the hell was that shit?! 
It got me viciously mocked  by my fellow patrons ("Hey! We got a Tiny Tim record you can listen to!") and looked at askance over my next few visits...
But in truth the Giraffe is not the worst place to drink lots of beer. The crappy projector t.v. shines vague color nebulas onto the big concave screen, some game show that nobody is watching, the sound down too low to hear.
Tom gives me a devilish look and fires a deep gassy belch toward a trio of businessmen picking uncertainly at one of the place's limp undercooked pizzas.
I belch. He belches again...
The conversation has turned to Milty. Tom saying that while a couple of formidable hombres like us can stand up to that evil peckerhead, poor ulcer-ridden Milty doesn't deserve this kind of abuse!
"Yeah, it's a shame. But I was wondering ............. Where does he go every day, peeling out of the parking lot like that?"
"Well, his wife works too, at one of them tuna canneries on Terminal Island. Their place is halfway between here and there, dinky little house over on the West Side with bars all on the windows, and they both meet there for lunch ........... She's a mousy thing, and a nervous wreck just like him. Even kinda looks like him. And from what I saw she has an even tougher time at that job than he does. So they go home every day to eat and sort of I dunno, shore each other up, so they can get through the rest of the day ......... I went with him one time, and both of them looked like they was about to start bawling! Two pitiful peas in a pod."
"That must have been a million laughs."
He gives me a sharp look, like I was making fun of Milty's misery. "Well like I said, I went once. But it didn't look to me like they spend all their time sitting around crying. They got a sweet little terrier named Baby, and they do jigsaw puzzles together. They glue 'em, put 'em up on the walls when they're done. All of famous places around the world, that they say they want to visit, but probably wouldn't even if they could. Real homebodies ............The good Lord sure knew what he was doing when he put those two together. Neither one is likely to get puffed up and full of themself, being mean just to be mean. Or decide she's bored one day and just split- Screw you, Jackson! I'm outta here! Not like that rat-bitch Shirlee! You want the rest of this?"
As with previous lunches he slides his steel platter toward me, where half of his meatball sandwich was pushed to the far rim before he even started, like he had calculated how much of the space in his stomach he was willing to waste on non-alchoholic meatballs. I shake my head.
"Well then how about we split another pitcher. I'm buying."
Oh hell yes!  But then I notice the clock and grimace.
"Shit, you're right! We got just enough time to get something for work."
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
Down to the liquor store on the corner, where he buys a pint of "Giblets'.
He offers me the first slug and---despite a little nagging voice about "hard booze in the middle of a shift"---I take it.
Fuck you, Little Nagging Voice!
"Hey, not in here!" yaps the owner.
"Eat shit, wouldja?" snarls Tom, taking a big hit before he struts slowly toward the door. "Fella's money is good enough for these bastards but he can't even take a little taste! Like we're all supposed to pretend that it's not sold to be drunk- It's bullshit!"
Proving to himself that he can still be assertive and confrontational and ballsy for when he clocks in and crawls back under the yoke. 
On the glass door is a nearly lifesize vinyl sticker.
A lovely brunette in a contour-hugging backless dress, gazing back over her shoulder with vulnerable Fuck Me Baby eyes: 
He stands transfixed, door handle in hand. "She's something, ain't she?"
"Not bad. For a shill for the liquor industry..."
"Shit, who cares about that? With a body like that I don't care if she's the Queen of the Commie Vampires! Man, she's got a cute little toilet on her!"
"A cute what?"
"A toilet. Her dairy-air!"
I'd never heard this expression before. "That's sick!"
"What? You don't like her ass?"
"Her ass is great. But to call it a toilet implies ........ that's something you shit in, it's kind of-"
"Who said I wanted to shit on her?!" he rasps with sudden rage. "Where'd you come up with that? You're the one who's bein' sick!"
"No, I just meant the words we use have a- oh, nevermind!"
As quickly as he had taken offense Tom is grinning slyly, the door propped open with his hip, a lock of hair escaped from his tarry scalp and dangling, the bottle tilted absently under his chin like he is about to launch into a medly of Dean Martin classics.
The owner hollars, "Hey, get out of here!"
"EAT SHIT AND DIE!" we bellow in unison, then gape at each other.
We laugh like fools at our moment of telepathy as we head for the crosswalk.
"You're in rare form today, Tomas. You gonna go off on Vince like that?"
He considers this, like it is some brilliant new option I've hit on, that he doesn't mutter under his breath at least three times an hour. He grins savagely, "I'll do a lot worse than that he gives me any guff! I'm sick of that fucking pissant!"
But I think he came a lot nearer to firing on me just now when I criticized his choice of slang terms than he will ever be with Vince.
Since we're passing this pint back and forth we take the alley approach behind the Pep Boys and Rolling Thunder Car Stereo to the corner of the hospital property.
"I guess we can't go to Liquor Time anymore," I laugh.
"Naw, he'll forget all about that! By tomorrow I'll be his favorite customer again, s'long as I come in there spending..."
We finish the pint before we get to the parking lot. Tom sighs, "Oh well, I got another one in the car..."
x/X\x--- THE WAR OF THE WITCHES ---x/X\x
Big greedy multi-tentacled tumor where the spine hooks into the brain. He had been warned that it would be dicey, but without the operation he had no chance whatsoever. 
Weird to talk to someone facing that.
He had asked me, "Sometimes it makes you wonder. What do you think God has planned for me? For my life?"
I'd come dangerously close to giving him my honest opinion, but at the last second simply shrugged. I'm really glad now that I didn't say, "He seems to use most of us for fertilizer..."
That makes four of the ones that I had gotten to know. And this is just in the regular wings. Up in Intensive Care they're dropping like flies, but ICU is all one big closely-watched room that doesn't invite your hanging around to shoot the breeze with the moribund. You're supposed to do your cleaning as quickly as possible and then get the hell out of there....
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
When all this starts to get to you, there's one unit here that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Everybody is happy here! Happy mommies, happy daddies, nurses walking around joggling newborns in their arms, squeaking jibberish at them, these precious little things...
With so much grimness in every other corner of the place Ob-Gyn is an oasis; a refuge joy and hope in this clinical Land of Mordor.
And if anyone brings a serious problem into the ward we chase them out into the parking lot and club them to death with crutches and I.V. stands. How dare they try to bring the rest of us down in this happy, happy place!
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I had assumed somehow that everyone in the medical field would be a hard-nosed empiricist. Medicine being science and science having no place for mystical weirdness. And this might be true of most of the M.D.s ............. But I have had some neat conversations with some decidedly odd nurses.
Shelly has had "the gift" from childhood, brought her grandfather back from dying-on-the-floor while the adults were all running around in a panic. She was relieved---reading Edgar Cayce at fourteen----to find that there were other people like her. If I ever get a cold or something come see her; but she only tells special open-minded people here- so please don't blab it around!
She is careful to explain that it is really God doing the work. She never wants to let herself be seduced by pride and vainglory, like a certain spiritist nurse on another floor who she will not name, but whose powers---however superficially similar---come at a terrible price!
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
So I'm wondering if they know they have this crazy woman working here...
When I see Aaron, a physical therapist, doing something with numbersand Hebrew letters on a pad of paper in the cafeteria. He has this book: HOLY SECRETS OF THE KABALLA. 
He gives me a sketchy outline of the process, the numerological principals involved, but I don't really get it. And he says he's sorry he isn't able to be more specific about it with me but this is a thing you can't dabble in. You have to be 100% right with God, have the purest YWH-seeking motives before you delve into this profound Jewish mysticism, or it could drive you crazy or possibly even kill you. The Word is God, and the symbols on these few sheets of paper are more powerful than the world's combined nuclear arsenals!
He and Shelly had both been very friendly to me from the start, but I always sensed there was something I liked about them beyond their basic decency. What a neat couple of kooks! I fantasize a secret battle taking place between the good witches like him and her and those bad ones that Shelly had been hinting about.
Which finally erupts into a shooting war, with them flying down corridors blasting each other with blinding energy bolts while bystanders flee in terror and disbelief! Chaos and explosions, smoke and panic and wreckage...
The film version a huge hit, with your friend and mine a detestable Renfield type character, drawn into helping the Dark Legion by the promise of being made the absolute lord of an endless janitorial domain deep underground: "Sure you can have a 'break'-  on the RACK! Bwaaaaaah, ha ha ha!"
Until he ceases to amuse them and he is hideously, savagely betrayed- fed to the unholy putrid blobbity black whatever-it-is, his soul sent screaming down to Hell while the laugh track creshendoes mightily!
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
In the sorts of jobs I have worked it has rarely been my co-workers that got me down. Every now and then there would be one who was just a prick, but I tended to get along with my fellow employees; saving the bulk of my enmity for the public, as they strode in like contemptuous Kings of the Earth, throwing hysterical tantrums just because they knew they could- certain that our quisling managers would fawn and apologize and conduct interrogations, vowing to "get to the bottom of this" over the most asinine complaints.
But here the customers are so compliant, so docile and childlike compared to their usual public selves that you can't help but feel protective toward them. They're terrified, more vulnerable than they ever dreamed they could be.
Until it looks like they are out of the woods and they revert back into crass, pushy consumers. Like this elderly businessman with a phone on his bed, cussing out a subordinate of some sort with such insane vehemenence that I fear he will have a heart attack, four days after the one that landed him here. But by this point they are usually discharged, to make room for a new batch of sweetly reasonable sickies.
I thought I was learning this stuff, how to do a good job, considering how little knowledge I had arrived here with. It seemed like I was adjusting, making friends, and had learned how to maneuver around the man's warped psychology a bit better.
---xXx--- PERSONA NON GRATA ---xXx---
Just a dumb trivial gripe about who thought who was in error and who had said what to whom. I wouldn't even go into it except for the fact that this tedious exchange leads directly into the punchline of this whole drawn out muppet-caper.
How Vince told me to clean the second floor windows, the TV's and mirrors, do a linen haul, vacuum the second floor then start polishing the stainless steel surfaces in all four elevators. It seemed like a lot of work to do in one shift, but I figured he was just loading me up to aggravate me, so I merely nodded and set out to do as much as I could that day.
I had finished all the glass and started the linen run when Vince comes stomping up, furious- "Where the hell were you? What are you doing?!"
"You told me to do the patient's room's windows, get the linen, vacuum and do the elevators and then get back to you-"
"I said: Do the windows and get back to me. The linen and get back to me. Vacuum and get back to me. Polish the elevators and then get back to me!"
"No man, that's not what you said-"
"My name isn't man, smart ass!"
We had discussed this (whether his name was man or not-) several times but I would forget. He almost starts in on me, one of his tirades, but then heaves a great sigh and says with an irritable shooing motion, "Aw hell. You can't follow instructions, you go do what you want to do!"
"But that's not what you said-" I insist, but he has turned and stormed away.
What a fucking dick! Always blaming others for not obeying what he thought he had said (Hahn?! What's the matterwitchew? Why ain'tchews telepathic so's you kin decipher my incoherent babbling?!)
And now he is too pissed off to even yell at me. Which is a first...
But as long as I've already got the linen cart, I go ahead and haul the bedding and towels down to the chutes, then go find him. Ask him if he wants me to do the vacuuming now.
He snaps, "No, you can't follow orders. You go do what you want to do!"
I vacuumed and got back to him. Same deal.
This would have been the time for me to say: I'm sorry if we miscommunicated, maybe I didn't hear right. I know I get in such a hurry sometimes that I don't listen, but I really am
willing to follow instructions .............. One of those calm, legalistically worded semi-apologies that have worked with irrational bosses in the past.
But I knew that he would detect any implications---however diplomatically coded---that he could have been the one doing the miscommunicating and be grievously insulted. Nothing short of abject bloody-kneed grovelling would appease him.
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The next morning we line up and Vince relegates everyone's duties without mentioning my name.
"And what about me?"
"I told you what about you. I don't care what you do!"
"But that was yesterday!" I cry out as he walks off.
"Yeah. You know everything!"
O.K. fine, I'll find something. I will stay busy and work hard and he will eventually cool down and knock this nonsense off.
I finish the elevators, then decide to mop the concrete fire stairs and scrub the grime-blackened handrails, getting the accumulations on the insides of the curved brackets where they are bolted to the walls. Tell him what I had done and how nicely they had cleaned up.
He sneers, "Gee, that's swell! You really like sneakin' around them stairs, don'tcha?"
Then I polish all the steel plates that cover the electrical outlets and those over the holes for the centralized vacuuming system...
But there are only so many things I can think of on my own, and other people have been assigned all the regular chores.
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
The next day I help the Mexican women strip the bedding and load it into the plastic sacks. Run it out to the hall hampers for them.
They are glad to have the help. They titter at my clownish pantomime, hunched forward like an ape- "Check it out! This is Vince: Gahhh Booga Booga! Yapyapyapyap!! Whurzat, whurzat, whurrrzat-Roseeeeeetaah?!?"
I run into Tom and Milt on one of my increasingly frequent breaks. Milty asks me, "What's going on between you and Vince?"
"It seems like he's getting ready to can me."
Milty gulps. "Really?"
"I gave up trying to figure out what that twerp will do next," frowns Tom, "But you're probably right. And probably tomorrow, the end of the week."
I go catch up with the girls changing the bedding again.
Vince is there, yelling at them for letting me assist them earlier. Then he turns on me: "They don't need your help! There's two of them here as it is. This ain't the damn WPA, with twenny guys standing around leaning on their shovels, goldbrickin'..."
"Then what do I do?"
His face reddens, "How many times do I gotta tell you. You go do what you want to do!"
This is useless. "Fine. I will..."
------------x/X\x--- PYREX VICTORY ---x/X\x------------
THERE WAS A NICE LITTLE AUDITORIUM  in the basement, down at the end of the hall past the payroll office. It had modernistic cushioned seats and a floor that sloped down to a small stage in front. I had been sent down here twice to vacuum and polish the retractable kidney-shaped desktops alongside all ninety-six seats.
At the back of the stage was a bank of those new greyish-white vinyl notation boards that you have to use special eraseable pens on---interesting but of no real use to me---and an ancient slate chalk board in a cumbersome wooden frame on wheels. The chalk board was mounted on a central axle so you could flip it over to show the other side, and in the long scalloped tray beneath it was a pile of colored chalk- to delineate the different organs and nerves and things. The board and chalks were essential to my following Vince's orders and doing EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO...
What I have wanted to do since about the vert first time I saw the thing.
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I prop the auditorium's side exit door open with an eraser, cross the street in my turquoise scrubs and pick up a six-pack of tall Ranier Ales.
Tom's predictions about our reception at Liquor Time had been half right. The guy accepts our business now but scowls in disgust the whole time, like the petulant little twit he is. I had no intention of saying more than good day to him, but he so pointedly tunes me out that I lean in much too close to him and confide: "Goddamn hands are shaking! I've got an operation to do in fifteen minutes. Those damn siamese twins again! Take us apart ......... Put us back together .......... No, take us back apart! I really wish they would just make up their freaking minds!"
I slip back down the little side steps into the auditorium, pop open a beer and pick up a piece of chalk. Dick or Asshole? Asshole or Dick? Both are fitting, and each has its merits. I flip a quarter...
And with the six colors I create a circus poster on the thing, identical on each side, the text in a variety of razzmatazz lettering, some of it in a three dimensional block-lettering effect, all gussied up with scrolls and starbursts and harlequin-cuffed pointing hands.
And while these simple graphics don't really do it justice, allow me to give you an illustration:
 COME ONE! COME ALL!  
The  Amazing
It takes three beers to finish. Crude and juvenile and not even remotely clever, but there is no time to wait for deeper inspiration, and a no-class bastard like Vince demands that any advertisement for him be as graceless, unfunny and stupid as he is.
In a framed oval inset at the center I draw a grimacing figure with a high, bald bullet-shaped head the same diameter as his neck.
And beneath it, contained within the undulations of a festive banner: HE'S SUCH A STUPID PRICK!
Damn! These giant sperms I drew geysering from his brain hole on one side have ruined my masterpiece. They make it look messy, and you can't really tell what they're supposed to be. But there is no time to redo it now...
I grab my last two beers and wheel it over to the elevator. Head up to the third floor with it. I don't want to disturb the patients in ICU so I only take at as far as the nurses station there. 
These sweetheart nurses are not so sweet now. "That is just ......... lovely."
I wheel it down to the other third floor wing.
"What's this?" asks an older nurse there.
"My letter of resignation."
"I would say so..."
On the second floor I run into Tom and Milt. Milty is afraid to even be around such anarchy, but I have clearly made Tom's day. He guffaws until he coughs. "That's him alright!"
Miles catches up to me after my trip through Ob Gyn, where the sudden tension in the air has set off a chain reaction of screaming babies...
"What are you doing? Are you nuts?! They'll fire you for this!"
"They were going to anyway! Vince has officially declared me invisible; Like he rewrote the world and I'm not in it!"
"But this is just cutting your own throat! It's stupid! There's no way I can help you when Ted and Katie find out about this!"
"Yeah, I know..."
"Damn it Roger! Don't go freaking out the patients! I can't let you run around here like some head case!"
"No, I mean it. I'm done .......... But Vince really needed this! You've seen how he treats people! Someone had to tell that swine off!"
"You should have waited for him to fire you. You probably have a little unemployment coming, from all the jobs you've worked, but you can't collect it if you keep quitting them!"
"Security to second floor." says a voice from overhead.
Miles is torn. This is like one of those classic old John Ford films, the one with the upstanding law man and his reprobate outlaw of a brother. Miles loves westerns, so I start to tell him.
"This isn't a movie! You think this is all so goddamn funny, but what about me? What about the position this puts me in?"
Somehow this isn't turning out like I had imagined. With the exception of Tom nobody is cheering me on, or even grinning surreptitiously over my inspired antics. "You're right, shit! I didn't think about that. I guess I'm just an asshole."
He stands there. Doesn't correct me.
"Security to the second floor!"
We both know that the summons is about me, and he has already caught me, but as in that same old cowboy flick he uses this as an excuse to let me slip past: "You better just get out of here! They probably only want to fire you, but just in case I don't want to be the one who has to hold you for the cops!"
"Sure. I'll go put this away on my way out."
"Just get your ass off the grounds. I'll see you tonight,  but I can't pretend this didn't happen. You're probably gonna need to find some place to stay."
The voice echoes down the hall a third time. "You better answer that."
Miles heads for the pack of nurses standing at a safe distance over there, to explain that he has reasoned with me and I am leaving now.
"Well, thanks for everything," I mumble after him and wheel my display to the elevator. I pull my last can from my pocket and inhale it on the short trip down. And I really am leaving, but I'm taking the scenic route. I manage to make a hasty circuit of the first floor: The pharmacy area, cafeteria and admissions before Injectorama Dickhole catches up with me...
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
Vince had heard somethin' screwy was going on with that damn can't-follow-orders screwball was been running up and down stairs and corridors looking for me. But somehow---I take this as clear evidence of karma---he kept missing me until I'd visited every last corner of the building. 
I'm in the lobby, where the people clustered on these couches had assumed that I was wheeling in some sort of hospital announcement. Until they get a good look at it and my reckless Fuck It All smile and become alarmed. Who is this lunatic and what is he doing?!
Now Vince comes screaming across the tiles: "Hey-hey-what's-the-what's-the-damn-deal-here-what're-you-doin'-with-the-blackboard-that's-for-the-doctors-the-DOCTORS-it's-sposed-to-always-stay-down-in-the-"
I wheel it to face him. Rachet, rachet!
A noise starts low in his throat---a horrible animal sound---and I steel myself for some insane physical assault! But then his face collapses, the dominance he had so long taken for granted short-circuited by what is clearly an "I Quit" gesture. His suddenly having nothing over me...
Tears, an agonized groaning chopped into small pulses by his shaking, his body folding in, convulsing in emotion, and then a damburst of sobbing! He looks at me, at this message I had so laboriously constructed, at the gawking crowd of employees and visitors, the grief and horror in his streaming eyes making him seem frail and ancient. He cannot speak, cannot believe this is really happening. That scores of people had seen this monstrous act of ridicule! Those two raw holes imploring me: WHY?!
Then he trudges away, his steps tottering and uneven, his head hanging down like his neck can't support it. The laugh track peals maniacally...
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
He was supposed to yell and curse, to scream and call me names! To act in a way that would show everyone he was everything my placard said he was and clearly deserving of such a stunt, as I cake-walked out the door in wingy~dingy derelict triumph!
Then I would follow up that Raniers with shots and shots of tequila, entertaining the patrons at Giraffe Whatever Billiards with a colorful re-enactment of this marvelous deed; bad wine and river ducts being alright for regular drinking but when you escape from a job like this it's time to splurge, do something a little more memorable.
Even if he had jumped around yelling until he flew apart in a gory shower, it would still have been his own supreme assholishness that had done him in, his own damned fault! But his crying like some infant who was orphaned just minutes ago in some unbelievable massacre has made this triumph of mine totally joyless and ugly. I feel like the biggest piece of shit in the Universe...
So instead Miles escorts me somberly out to the sidewalk ("You said you were leaving. I guess this shows what your word is worth!") and the river bed is the scene of my grim and solitary victory celebration.
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
I get back to the house well after dark. Ted is in the garage, playing his guitar, but from how quickly he puts it down it's clear that he was just waiting for me... 
"You're shifaced. What a surprise."
Needless to say I am not invited in for a movie or a meal or a game of Scrabble. Ted is a blur, I'm nodding, trying not to puke.
His tone is reasonable. I have ........ however many hours it takes me, he says. As soon as I get my check or sundown tomorrow, whichever comes first.
Yet he and Katie are not furious the way Miles is, their take on this being: "We always knew you were a washout, and now you're out of here. It's no skin off our backs..."
x/X\x--- EYE-POP (Reprise) ---x/X\x
Chittering sparrows greet the sunrise. A huge bottle of vodka sitting here, unopened. Ted has left it for me as some kind of sarcastic kiss-off gesture.
No wait- I bought it. With the last of what was in my wallet. It's way too big to take around town with me today so I pour some into this plastic Sprite bottle.
I could probably use the bathroom and might even get a shower this morning, but facing Katie in her pajamas through the half-open front door seems like too much negotiation too early, so I decide to hurry over to Sambo's to shit and wash my face there...
But as I approach the diner it's pretty obvious that they're closed. The big boxy plastic-panelled sign is missing from the tall post, and another sits up on a flatbed truck. A winking pink pig in a chef's cap: Hambos.
"What happened to Sambo's?"  I ask one of them.
"Went bankrupt."
"But they were always packed!"
"The chain was what went out of business. The owner of this franchise bought this one. I guess he'll be open once they change the menus and everything..."
Thus closes a shameful chapter in American history. I just wish they had waited until I could go to the bathroom...
A long uncomfortable walk down to the Denny's across from the new Lakewood Mall, where I ignore the CUSTOMERS ONLY sign on the restroom, and then I cross the street to the mall itself. This fine cool morning Mr. Anonymous and I are sipping raspberry schnapps, on a bench out in front of the plywood construction barricade. 
I don't tell him my hilarious story about yesterday, or say much of anything, but just nod along with his newfound Bob Marley fixation- everything Rasta this and Babylon that. Imagine his surprise at discovering that he was not just some dipshit drug dealer but a priestly dispenser of a hip and groovy new kind of Eucharist...
Marley's music is the exact opposite of Jim Morrisons, straightforward and populist and full of optimism, and it's sweet enough in small doses.
But if this guy is going to go around trying to talk like a Jamaican---as he seems to be starting to do---it's going to be hard to take!
At 9:00 I bid him, "See you later, mon"; find a phone and call Pig Weenie.
"Yes, I have your check all made out, you disgus-"
I hang up, go straight to the hospital and down to her office in the basement. Making no move to fetch me my check, she starts giving me shit about what a miserable louse I am and poor, poor Vince...
I tell her to shut up, call her a diseased sow that wouldn't even make decent dogfood- I can't believe how insulting I was! She wants to be the one who is on the attack here, but through sheer rage and momentum I don't give her the chance.
She shuts up and gives me my check. I snap it up, and instead of signing the proper space at the bottom of the tricolor carbon-paper sandwich she pushes at me, I scrawl
down it in big block letters, spit on it and storm out!
I immediately realise I was overcompensating like mad with this behavior, trying to drown out my sense of guilt over having made Vince cry yesterday. All of her sins and his combined cannot excuse such cruelty!
But as I head back to the stairwell there is this portal, a gap in the wall where the office part of the basement---carpeted, with pinkish wallpaper hung with bland seascapes---opens into the ugly concrete part I had been going to every morning...   
Where I see Vince with one of the girls from housekeeping. His words are drowned out by the roar of the engine for the building's vacuum cleaning system, and as he points and scowls and flaps his arms I notice that even his Italianate hand gestures are crude and flailing and lame- a far cry from the pithy accentuations most Italians seem to effect. 
Poor Marta is blushing crimson through her brown skin, head bowed, her expression one of pure misery, wishing she could just disappear, could drop through that trap door to the Center of the Earth... 
And Vince never does see me, even though I watch them for a long time. He is in his glory, oblivious to everything but the thrill of destroying a human spirit! He's being such a tyrannical pig---and enjoying it so immensely---that my little stunt again feels like justice, and any remorse I might have felt is cured forever...
--------x/X\x--- KABALLA LIQUOR ---x/X\x--------
I HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA where I'm going to stay tonight, if they haven't changed the schedule of when the sprinklers come on.
Miles had said he was willing to do me one last favor and help me cash my check when he gets off work today. I am keyless now but they've left the garage unlocked for me.
My new backpack is over in the corner. I'll take it with me in the truck and step directly out into my new phase on foot after we do the bank. I have some hours to wait but have this vodka + am chugging it hard.
Getting all lopside and sloppied but what they going do? ~~~~kick me OUT?
Looking around the garage. A new calendar up there, actually current.
A cathedral at night, spotlit by colored lights. This couch is still here, some tires + stuff, but it's a lot more empty in here with Ted's guitars and amps and even his bike having been pulled into the house ......... So that these two former possessions of mine really stand out.
My childhood furniture, naught but mocking maple, ignobo-mobobius fate AND EXCUSE THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF ME IF THEY WEREN'T  GOOD ENOUGH FOR KING LORD MY-SHIT-DOESN'T STINK, Ted and all his fuckworth pretentions, like they have to be kept out out here with all the junk + trash + shit + bums; and if he is
so disappointed in them he shouldn't have to get them-
And so huzzah this one last hilarious inspired deed, which wouldn't have even occured to me except how he did the guitars .......... like I would really go and mess with them, like carrying a vince-sign makes you a rip-off all of a sudden, they should damn well know me better than this, and I'LL GIVE YOU REALITY NOW!
But my folks were right they had been well-constructed, and take a lot of effort to smash up properly...
_ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ ._ .
Miles blows up when he gets home and sees. "You fucking ingrate!"
But at least I made it easy for him. He doesn't help cash my check or give me a ride but just points down the block. I have to walk to a place on Spring Street, the north slope of Signal Hill, above the trench of the San Diego Freeway and in the shadow of this big refinery, another swell friendly establishment called PARADISE LIQUOR (Ever notice that the closer to some locked-down Wino Hell a liquor store is the more blissfully evocative the name?), where they cash paychecks but charge you $20 off the hundred, even though you have identification, and the guy---a perfect clone of our old Liquor Time nemesis, right down to the bow tie---acts like it is still barely worth it to him, since he has to look at you.
They got their rip-off 20%  but I'll be seriously God-damned if I will spend another dime here, so I buy my libations at Safeway across the street, in the shadow of the monstrous natural gas tank with the steel cylindrical framework encircling it, train wheels pressed to an array of vertical rails around the skeleton's inside so the tank can rise and fall with
however full it is. Weird place to have a Safeway...
And even weirder than a supermarket in such scenery is the travelling carnivore that has set up in its parking lot. Ferris wheel, Octapus Ride, a token midway. I buy a string of tickets, try to win some crap, drinking Olde English thru a straw in a cup so now HEY I'm full of natural gas...
In heaven the names of the liquor stores alone are enough to get you drunk. One slit-eyed half a glimpse of single transcendent godscript letter and---WHOOP!---you're on your ass.
And now, wouldn't you know, I'm going round and round on this deal! And round and round and round!
And now I sort of hang here, and---HEY!---now the other way! Round and round
and round and round and round and round...
This Tilt-O-Whirl's bound for glory!
~~~ For Anais Ninja ~~~
ray of
black light
on the cheap
white polyester
fabric of the world.
12/07/2001 /// Major and much needed rewrite finished 10/2008


All good me man, sweet, neat

All good me man, sweet, neat and to the point.

But where is the rest?

Get up on that horse again.

But yeah, it happens.. suddenly one is finished.
Like the story was, had, a life of its own.
A fleeting thing, letting it flow until it was done.
Nothing to do with a 'literary ending'

It's kind of sad though, what I read here was very good.
I will see if you have done more.

Good luck to you.

Fiction year and all stories

Fiction year and all stories of the fiction are collected for the current time. The partial usages of the ivory research review are assured for the mixing of the goals. The nature is played for the fans and followers of the fiction lovers in the current period.

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