Friday, June 24, 2005

Minuard Foundation 7: Busted

The weekend after our foray down south to meet our potential adopters, Bob and I headed over to our friend Charlie's house to watch a boxing match. We arrived to find a dozen people already in stitches on the floor, and a livid Minuard standing by the fridge.

Charlie had been so taken with the flyer that he'd stuck it to his fridge with Cox Cable magnets, which were one of the many benefits he received for selling soul sucking television programming to the underprivileged (see also Terry Taylor). He'd promised to take it down whenever Jim was around, and since I actually had the term "Minuard Foundation" on my answering machine, I made a calculated guess and concluded Charlie's attention span regarding the flyer was roughly equivalent to Jim's mental acuity regarding my answering machine message.

I felt really bad for Jim, I really did. He had the flyer in his hand, and his face was going red, and everyone was laughing at him.

His mouth open. It closed. It opened again, and his fist crumpled up the flyer, then dropped it in the trashcan. Jim was very, very pissed.

"What...the fuck...was that?" he hissed at me, as he stalked past me towards the door. "Strippers..." is all I could manage in return, which caused further eruptions of mirth from the peanut gallery. They did their best to appear serious when he glared at them in turn--but eventually it was too much, and Jim stalked out the door, followed by hoots of laughter.

Which is what he does, when he's that mad, and I appreciate it for what it is: an attempt to not commit violence on my person. If you're still reading this, Jim, thanks for not kicking my ass.

I'm sure we all stayed around and guffawed as we watched the boxing match, but I don't remember much of it. I knew the other shoe was gonna drop, and it wasn't going to be pretty. Bob and I left around 1am, and he was back on my doorstep by 2:30. "They kicked me out," he mumbled as he shuffled past me to the fridge. "Said we were assholes."

Which, yeah, we probably were.

"Did you tell him about the strippers?" I asked in return.

"Nope. Didn't have time. Looks like I'm stayin' with you."

For the rest of the summer, Jim refused to take our calls, see us, or go anywhere we might be. Initially, he refused to have anything to do with anyone who had been a part of it at all, but it soon became apparent to him that every single one of his friends had been in on it in some form or another. He was forced to back down from that, else he face a lifetime of having to make new friends, which is not an easy task for any of us. I received regular reports from mutual acquaintances of threats of bodily harm from Jim, but didn't worry overmuch about it. He was being a dick, but you sort of get used to that kind of behavior after a while, and I didn't really think he'd punch me if he saw me. Still, Bob didn't take kindly to being tossed out, and I got tired of hearing these threats as often as I did.

The rest of the summer was spent on the back porch with Bob. Whichever of us got home first would stop and get the quarts of beer, and we'd sit on the back porch, drinking out of paper bags and listening to the bums rearrange their pecking order on the other side of the fence.

Bob moved back to Tulsa early that fall, and soon enough another Oklahoma winter fell upon me like a think black blanket. I tacked plastic sheeting and quilts to the north windows, started cooking big pots of stew, and decided my winter project was going to be educating myself on the differences between merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The days passed quickly in my little apartment, and I busied myself with fish and wine and probably a girl or two, but I was alone (and a little lonely, I confess) when the knock came, just before Thanksgiving.

I opened the door, and there stood the Minuard, twelve pack in hand. I handed him my glass of wine, which he drained at a draught, then broke open the beer and handed me one, still on the cold kitchen step. "I have two things to say to you," he said. "Fuck you...and...I'm sorry...I guess...but you really are an asshole."

Which was more than I expected, or needed, but I guess it was something he needed to say. We retired to the living room, where the opening strains of the Star Trek theme were emanating from the tube.


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