Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dreams of a Novel

I tend to have really weird dreams--dreams that I seem to wake up from and fall right back into when I fall asleep. This one seemed to last for a long time, although it's kind of hard to say for sure, but it got me thinking about another writing project. A big one.

It was a dream intense enough to make me want to get out of bed, actually, but laziness did prevail, as well as the knowledge that I'll probably be up for all of tonight and tomorrow as well (we're billing again, which was supposed to be done tonight, but I just don't see it happening). Now it's gone, for the most part, as is my motivation. 'Swhat I get for eating egg foo yung right before bed.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Goodbye, Skidmark

Our chemical applicator quit this morning. This is a good thing, don't worry, because he's one of two people here who consistently get on my nerves just by opening their mouths. He's mindbogglingly stupid, which is kind of scary considering you have to be certified by the state to spray pesticides.

Dude is dumb. I mean, wow. I can't stress this enough, I can only give examples:

Two months ago, we sent him to cut down and spray a vacant lot. "Take a weedeater," we said, "and cut everything down before you spray it with Roundup." Off he went, across town, and arrived at this vacant lot with very little issue (this is a point for him, actually, but I digress). Then, as if he's used up every single ounce of common sense that he had, he just sort of mentally shut down.

Skidmark: "Jeff, this gate is locked."

Me: "Are you sure it's locked? It's never been locked before."

Skidmark: "It's locked."

Me: "OK, go next door to the grocery store (which is actually a small Asian supermarket) and find Tri. He'll unlock it for you."

Skidmark: "..."

After about fifteen minutes of fruitless efforts to get him in the right door (really, folks, there are three things on that street: Tri's shop, Tri's lot, and a post office, in order from west to east. It's not rocket science.), I relented and called Tri.

Me: "Hi, Tri, would you mind stepping out and unlocking the gate for Skidmark?"

Tri: "Hi Jeff, it should be unlocked."

Me: "Well, our guy says there's a lock on it."

Tri: "Yes, there is a lock on it, but it's dummy locked."

Me: "That would explain it. Thanks!"

[dummy locked, incidentally, is a technical term for when a padlock -looks- locked, but isn't actually snapped shut. Effectively, it looks locked if you're driving by at 10 mph, or, as the name implies, a dummy.]

Me: "Cory, Tri says it's not locked. It looks locked, but it's really not."

Skidmark: "..."

Me: "Got that?"

Skidmark: "Oh yeah, man, it looked locked."

15 minutes passes.

Skidmark: "Hey Jeff, I, uh, I forgot my sprayer."


Two weeks later, he pulled out his spray hose about fifty feet, then got back in the truck to radio me that it was raining. Indeed, it was raining, so I told him to "pack it up and come in." He did the latter, but forgot to roll up his hose, resulting in the loss of a spray gun and fifty feet of high pressure spray hose.

A few days after that, he somehow got his spray hose wrapped around one of the side mirrors on the truck, pulled it off, and then drove over it when he left.

I could go on, but I won't.

Why am I calling him Skidmark? Why is he no longer here?

About a week ago, he called me on the phone, from his cellphone. This is not SOP, so I was already pissed at him because it meant, in his case, that he'd fucked up. Sure enough, he didn't want to talk to me, he wanted to talk to my boss, the owner. Now, while the Man was here, I wasn't about to turn the phone over (after all, I -am- the GM here. Anything you tell him you can tell me, right?), so after a little hemming and hawing, we had the following exchange:

Me: "What do you want, man? We're busy here."

Skidmark: "I, uh, I need to go home and change my, uh, underwear."

Me: "..."

Skidmark: "Don't tell anyone, OK? It's kinda embarrassing."

Me: "Yeah, definitely."

Well, shit (couldn't resist, sorry); I can not tell just about everyone, but there's no way in hell I can't tell the Man. I mean, it's his company, right? And it's not like I can actually not tell anyone, right? C'mon. I'm human.

Unfortunately, my boss's humor runs strong towards dick jokes and farting, so on Monday or Tuesday of this week, he replaced Cory's name on his daily list with "Hershey." Classy, huh? Hey, whatever--if it makes the guy easier to get along with, I'm all for it. Cory didn't bat an eye, all week.

Last night, I got the Man to change his name to "Skidmark." Again, I'm weak willed when it comes to this sort of stuff, especially when I can't stand the guy to begin with.

This morning, ol' Skidmark got extremely bent out of shape at me about the whole thing, called me a motherfucker, and gave his two weeks notice. The Man, who happened to be nearby, decided to play it to the hilt (I think he really feels bad when I get screamed at, for some reason) and basically terminated the guy on the spot. Sweet.

So sayonara, Skidmark. Take it on the heel and toe. Bring me back my spray boots (this guy couldn't even remember to change SHOES after a day of spraying), take yer goddamn headphones, and dangle. And if I get some sort of unemployment bullshit from yer ass, I'll make sure everyone at the agency knows your sphincter doesn't work.

As a result of this, all the other slackers we've got here (and there are many) have all been on their best behavior today, which unfortunately won't last through the end of next week. Ah well. Maybe I'll fire La Gallina, just to finish off the year right.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Story of Kim 9: Epilogue

I don't think I've ever been so glad to get to the end of one of these things, kids, which means I've got to think long and hard before I start another one. This is a story that "Edward" and I still tell periodically, and I'll probably have to take some shit about next time I see him, so expect some changes if you're unfortunate enough to reread this here in about six months.

What happened to Kim? She's still around--I actually came very close to getting in a fistfight with her new boyfriend several years ago over the whole situation. I suppose she's still got some hard feelings.

She actually paged me several times over the months after this story took place, wanting to be "friends" and wanting to know if I was "still mad at her." Truthfully, I'm not mad at her. I really couldn't get too pissed at her, even at the time--she just didn't know how to deal with drunk lunatics like Edward and me. Out of her element, you might say--she should have stuck with pot smoking grunge dudes, who seem to lack the dark angry streak Ministry and Skinny Puppy elicit from us so well. And, in the end, I think she did.

Tiffany would be the logical next choice for this blog, if a) I wasn't sick of these kinds of stories, and b) I didn't genuinely still like Tiffany, despite all the weirdness the intervening years has brought us. I still see her, in other words.

Janiece was a real piece of work, whose story is a cautionary one to all of us. I'd list the morals of her story for you, but since it hasn't been told yet, perhaps I shouldn't. It wouldn't make any sense anyway.

I guess, since my life seems to revolve around sex and drugs, and I'm all tired of sex, I could go back to find some sort of tale of my halcyon days living with "Jim," back when we bought acid from the gay hairdressers next door. Hmmm...

I'm also getting to the point where I've forgotten exactly what I've written, or touched on--for instance, the gay hairdresser thing also involves my relationship with Becky, AKA Janice, but I know I've written about her somewhat, so I need to go back and reread a lot of this stuff.

Hell, I got my ticket info in the mail from the Burning Man people yesterday--perhaps I should spend the rest of the year cleaning up the Burning Man 2000 saga, and see if they want it. I don't know. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Story of Kim 8: Edward's Journey

When I answered the door, I was met with a curt nod and request to pay back the money Edward had loaned me the night before. We drove to the ATM, Edward plainly pissed the fuck off and me wishing I had never, ever gotten involved in this. After I got him his money, we drove around for a bit, picked up some beer, and discussed the matter.

Edward was hacked off at me because I wouldn't take him home the night before, and most likely a large part of that was the way I told him I wasn't going to take him. But once that was out in the open, we decided to grab some breakfast and talk it over, so off we headed for New Orleans Cafe.

Where Kim was currently eating breakfast. Shit. I didn't need this--I barely managed to restrain Edward from leaping from my vehicle and doing god knows what to either her vehicle or her person, but in the end we made it out of the parking lot and headed over to the Chinese restaurant, which always seemed to be open. We ate noodles at 10am, drank Budweiser from cans, and caught up on the events of the night before.

It's never been clear to me why Edward leaped from her car in the first place, except that she was annoying the shit out of him. That's enough for me, generally, and Edward's a little less tolerant of bullshit than I am.

Anyway, after he walked back to my place, he actually tried to go to sleep on the couch, but was mad about the whole situation and wanted to go home. So he started walking.

[The whole family has a weird tendency to go for volksmarches, drunk, in the middle of the night or early in the morning. His brother Don does it all the fucking time, several times with me in tow.]

I lived a couple of miles off the highway at that time, so it was a simple matter of turning left at the driveway and turning left again at the onramp, then straight on til morning. But like I said, cops don't like drunk, underage pedestrians here, so it was simpler than it sounds.

Sure enough, Edward said, a cop pulled up beside him before he'd gone a mile up the highway.

"What's the story?" asked the cop.

Edward looked over at him, cold, hungover, and pissed. "Walkin' home."

"Yeah?" replied the cop, "you been drinkin'?"

"Uh huh, I just found out my best friend fucked my girlfriend, so I'm walking home from his house."

"Women trouble, huh? Where you live?"


"Get in the car, I'll give you a ride home."

And the fucking cop DID! Or, strictly speaking, gave him a ride to the Edmond city limits, which was only a mile from Don's place, so he woke Don and got a ride back to his house, where he jumped in his car and drove straight back to mine.

How can you not love a story like that? He didn't seem too mad at me anymore, either, so we grabbed a couple of six packs of Primo and sat out on the front porch for a few hours, watching the sun climb and the leaves fall across the street.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Story of Kim 7: No Sleep At All

I wasn't sure how long I had before Edward made it back to the house, or if, in fact, he was coming back. I couldn't help, though, so I went back inside to wait for the next episode of weirdness to occur.

Janiece and the dope smokers left somewhere around 3am, I guess, and Tiffany and I were finally alone. We talked for a while, me mostly listening (again), and drank a little wine. Somewhere around 5am, things started to get...amorous...

I remember this, and I remember thinking that I could probably "have" this girl if I wanted to. And maybe it was the pot, maybe the events of the evening, but I began to wonder if...if I wanted it.

See kids, while Tiffany told some entertaining stories, she had run through her entire catalog in two and a half nights of what I now recognized as high-speed chatter. I might have been oversensitized by Kim, but I began to doubt whether or not I could actually see Tiffany on a regular basis--and once she started telling me the same tales of Zozobra, I realized I was in for trouble. She was into me, and I was already flinching at the sound of her voice.

Thus, the seed of doubt was planted, or maybe it gestated from a seed of attraction too swollen and hungry to be wholesome. By the time the door burst open, admitting a wild haired and red eyed Edward, I was positively glad for the interruption.

At the time, Edward was doing a lot of "mixed-media" art, and being basically unemployed, found his media wherever he could. This meant that he had a habit of picking up anything shiny that crossed his path, so by the time he'd walked to my house, all of his pockets and both of his hands were completely full of, let's face it, junk. Upon his entry, he sat in the floor and began sorting his plunder.

I decided I'd had enough of just about everything. I informed Edward that I wasn't in any shape to take him home this evening, and since Tiffany was probably going to stay for a while, I'd lend him my blankets so he could sleep on the couch in the living room. I could tell this didn't go over very well, but there was no way in hell I was going to risk a drive to Edmond at that hour, and given all the craziness of the evening, I didn't feel I could ask Tiffany to take him home.

So off he went to the living room, and back she and I went to kissing without taking clothes off. I knew that by sunrise, she would be gone, and I could avoid her calls thereafter. In the meantime, I tried to stay on the right side of the line, sexually.

I think everyone has a few emotional triggers buried in their libidoes. Simply put, you don't do "this" unless you feel "that," and "that" is generally all wound up in what you think your partner (or partners) is feeling. It's a pretty inefficient system, but not an easy one to streamline. My situation was simple: I felt like if all we did was kiss, or at least, if no major sexual activity occurred, I could be OK with never talking to her again.

So I felt like I was finally on top of things, so to speak. Crazy people were either gone or asleep on the couch, warm girl in bed, but not going to stick around. Out of beer and wine, but almost sunrise, and was I ever ready to go to sleep.

Thus, I was pleased when Tiffany noticed the brightening in the windows and headed out to start her car. I was less than pleased when she came back and asked where Edward was. Edward was gone.

Well, shit. I kissed her goodbye, checked all the obvious hiding places in the house and in the back yard, and figured he'd walked down to the payphone and called a ride. Time for a well deserved nap.

Approximately 2 minutes after my head hit the pillow, there was a knock at the door. I ignored it, then remembered I hadn't locked the door, just in case Edward had gone off to sleep in the park or something. I crawled out of bed, grabbed that E&J and, thus fortified, answered the door.

I was greeted with a shirt in the face and the screeching voice of Kim, "THERE'S YOUR SHIRT, YOU SON OF A BITCH!"


Her car door slammed by the time I got the shirt untangled from my whiskers and my pint, and squealed out of the driveway, scraping its fiberglass bumper on the slope.

I went back to bed.

What seemed like 15 minutes later, another knock on the door. Awesome. It was Edward, and he was very angry.