memoirs of a poet, chap 1.1

16 Apr

Chapter 1.1 – Decisions Made In Haste Can Often Make Your Colon Bleed or How Retrospection Needs Glasses

From 10AM until just after 4PM I did nothing. Other than several trips to the refrigerator for beer and the requisite trips to the toilet to piss it all back, I browsed the Internet in search of the perfect naked image. It didn’t take long until I lost interest in that endeavor and found myself staring blankly into space. My mind may have continued to work, as some suggest it does during black staring, but I have to recollection or context.

I just sat.

My apartment is enormous, mostly due to poor planning on the original builders part. The bar went up in the 1890s with the second floor used as storage. Just after World War II a returning GI bought the bar and wanted to build several apartments but ran out of money. The next owner gave a builder carte blanche to do whatever and the space ended up being two apartments, one (mine) gigantic, the other (no longer used) no more than the size of a closet. When I purchased the bar both apartments had fallen into disrepair. It took several months, cases of cleaning products and the services of a dozen day workers to clean it up.

A sudden thought of my so-called “Golden Parachute” formed in my brain and I did some simple math. Turns out the amount would sustain me for five years if I did things right, lived within my means and didn’t over buy dope. Actually the thought of a “Golden Parachute” paid out to me made me laugh. Springing from extremely humble origins no one in my life thought I would make far, except my mother and that’s a mother’s job, to have faith in a wayward child. Somehow I made it through a four-year degree program in ten years. By the time I madeit to my Junior year I figured out I actually enjoyed college, specifically co-eds, parties and hookers. The only thing I had “golden” in life came from a hooker named Tami, in Las Vegas, after too much speed and tequila. She made a half price offer and when I hear half price I cannot resist. It’s Pavlovian. Like a bell and salivating, I hear the magic of “half-price” I am there. Although my dealer never says it, the cheap bastard. Anyway…I paid to find out what Golden Shower meant and after a long regular shower, I decided to limit exploration into my curiosities. A few years back a hooker offered me a Hot Karl, but I knew better than to say yes before Googling the term. BTW- You don’t want to know.

Around 8 PM I awoke from a blissful slumber sitting perfectly upright and holding a half empty bottle of beer. A shower seemed to be in order, so I fulfilled that need before dressing in dark levi’s, a random tee-shirt and black Van’s tennis shoes. I checked email one last time before I went downstairs. In the course of seven hours I had another one-hundred and forty-seven messages. With a bitter sigh I shut the machine down, flicked off the lights and locked the door.

Before I took the big time CHEMICAL SALES MANAGEMENT job I bought the bar/apartment from a friend of a friend. Up until then I had never heard of Toad Suck, California but quickly fell in love with it. The townspeople took to me as well and I settled in. Those were the days before the Bribe and the change in the freeway offramp. Times were not easy and the bar became a money pit. I had to take a job to pay for it and the decision did not come easy. Although I am an excellent sales person, a generally reliable employee and horrifyingly loyal, I hate work. Most people do, I think, but it is a necessary evil. A headhunter contacted me, I did the interview and got the thing. Before a few months had passed I found myself BOSS in the Western United States. The Company paid me so much money and expected so little I actually felt guilty. That passed. Yet, I hated the job and I realized that I hated working for someone else, especially in BIG BUSINESS.

In order to find Happy I bounced the front door at the new Strip Club off the highway. There are the obvious perks and the not-so-obvious.

On the obvious side is the ease of access to naked women. As the years went by the women got better looking. Word got out that the Strip club paid well and girls from Vegas came over to work weekdays. Looking at the not-so-obvious I got to be a complete and total dick ON PURPOSE, rather than unintentionally. Being a big guy at 6’5″ and in decent shape, I didn’t mind the occasional brawl. Most of the male clientele were pussies, punks and perverts. Few put up a fight. When the Marine’s came to town I played nice and used my meager powers of persuasion to keep them in place. That and I knew how to cheat during a fight. My old man taught me the tricks of the trade. His years in the Navy served him well.

“Hey Jack. What’s doin’?”

“Not much, Tim. Not much. Maybe not enough.”

“I hear you.”

Big Tim and a gaggle of his cronies crowded around a table. Tim ran the Tow and Stow as well as Quickie Lube, Walt’s Radiator, Fannie’s Quick Fill Gas Station, and Maude’s Stationary. All of his establishments did surprisingly well, despite the relative smallness of Toad Suck. At 37 registered citizens one might conclude that a sustaining economy would not be possible, but one would be completely incorrect. Thanks to William Carlos Williams State Penitentiary, Morton Feldstein State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and Baroka Indian Gaming and Casino Toad Suck did well.

Along Highway 72 we had nine hotels and motels, a bevy of fast food establishments and four national gas stations. A couple of local businessmen, myself included, had Bribed local Cal Trans officials to alter the exit ramp to take travelers directly downtown, temporarily bypassing the road side businesses. The bulk of the road warriors dropped their money into places owned by Big Tim, Fat Earl or myself (I own the bar I live over and still worked for the MAN.)

Every weekend all the hotels and motels would fill with visitors going to see loved ones at the prison or hospital. The population would swell to a couple of thousand. During Summer months we did even better. Naturalists, tree huggers and the outdoors type flocked to the hills and valleys around Toad Suck, eager to get back to it all. I never understood it, but they paid in cash, purchased a lot and complained little.

I stepped behind the bar and had a short conversation with one of six employees I had. Danny Mick stood six’ seven”, weighed less than 180 pounds, did more speed than any human should subsequently working twelve hour shifts without blinking. He was a warrior. Five days a week he showed up at 10 AM, and walked out at 10 PM.

“How’s your d-d-d-day been, ma-ma-man?” Danny also stuttered like a motherfucker. When I first met him I couldn’t understand a word he said. Then he started tweaking and the stutter stopped. During his many attempts to dry out the stutter would return, but he still worked the twelve without complaint.

“Okay, Danny.”

“I’m g-g-g-good, but I n-ne-ne-need some dope, ya-ya-ya know?”

“I thought you were quitting?”

“Na-na-na-not so m-m-m-much.”

“Ah,well I’m clean, my friend. Sorry.”

“No pra-pra-pra-problem, heading over ta-ta-ta-ta the Stri-stri-strip club.”

“That would be the place.”

I watched Danny walk away, waving as he went. If I wanted to I could blame him for my own introduction to meth but it’s all about freedom of choice. No one pushes you, forces you, or holds a gun to your hold. As they say, you make your bed…actually in my case I rarely make the bed, so a new metaphor might be in order.

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