Judge ‘Flash’ Gordon, the town calls him. Flash has always had a thing for Linda Lou. No one understands it. The time she took the town’s fire truck out for a joy ride. Insisting that it had her tax dollars that paid for it. The day she decided to tie herself to the town’s only dump truck. Insisting that the one and only paid ‘garbage man’ who happens to be a woman named, Bee, had been going through L.L.’s trash. Sniffing her used panties and putting on her old and gently used nylons. All these times Flash, let Linda Lou off on her own personal recognizance. One day in court, I heard tell, he even asked her, ‘do you need help in getting your can down to the curb?’
What public servant does such a thing? Most of the townies believe he once dated Linda Lou and that she has some iffy photos of the two of them playing naked Twister.
I suppose it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the cat is back. Linda Lou has a restraining order keeping her from the other side of the house. I am, for the first time in six years, alone but not lonely. The sad thing is that I am now court ordered to do community service and anger management classes. L. L. gets to go live with Mommy Dearest and I get to drive old people to and from doctor’s appointments. Oh, and I get the privilege of spending an hour a week with Skanklin’s most upset and therefore, most wanted blue collar individuals. Twenty six hours of my life will sub-come to hearing about other people’s problems and their inability to deal with them. I have so much of my own shit to deal with. I really do not have time to help others with their lack of common sense.
When I had been a child, I chewed my tongue. I had been instructed by Mother to chew my tongue instead of suck my thumb. Sucking my thumb would cause buck teeth. And, as it was, I broke a tooth, smiling and diving, at the local community viral pool. The dentist bill had broke the bank and the gnawing on the digit, caused my dentist to have a heart attack. Right there in between spit and swish, he went down like a teenage boy on a first date. Dr. Bear! What a horrible, horrible, man! All smiles, body odor and halitosis. The parents had asked for a discount due to the traumatic experience. The parents had blamed my continued, sometimes out of my control, antics, on my original sin at the dentist office. The original sin? Not taking my thumb out of my mouth long enough for the ‘Bear’ to add a cap to my mouth of jagged teeth.
The poor man grabbed for the drill, pulled on the spigot and grasped his chest. In times of trouble, I will scream like Weird Al on acid. In the dental electric chair, I had encountered one of my first times of trouble. Screaming, grabbing, and some sort of post heart attack gizzum, ensued for what seemed hours. In actuality, the poor Bear went down in five. I left with half a tooth and to this day, I chew the tongue instead of suck the thumb.
The day I believed Towanda had left me. The minute I broke into Linda Lou’s house. The second Judge Gordon’s gavel came down, I have been chomping at what little is left of my 48 year old tongue.
No time like the present to get to work. Done with the piss pot. Done with the whining to persons and jaded authority figures who wear their sexual frustrations on their badge. Time to get to work and pay some bills.
My job, of late, cleaning up after the beyond, dead. Nothing too fancy. However, I work for myself. Which is the only way to go. The B’ yond Cleaning Co., established, 2010, is my baby. She is my brainchild.
One late spring day, shortly after my grandfather had decided to give Lucifer a run for his money, I lay back down on the grassy moss of the lawn at Sunnyvale Gardens. Sunnyvale is a wrought iron, overrun with weeds, cemetery. Quiet and filled with Irish cops that have died via a toxic combination of Hep C and a poor liver. Dead Joe came to an end the day before St. Patrick’s day. So appropriate for a guy who went face down into a bowl of Cheerios with a lit Winston in one hand and a can of Coor’s light in the other. Family rumor has it that Joe had been getting all dressed up in full, blow the dust off, beat cop uniform. He had plans to attend the Woburn St. Patty’s Day Parade. Stroll down Main Street with the rest of the retired, now in motorized Rascals and still smelling of last night’s whore. Jugheads with a father’s complex, cops!
As I recall, the cemetery had been nothing but brimstone built upon granite rock of Irish dead. Quinns in one corner, O’Shaughnesys on the left and Fitzsimmons down by the Port A Potty. What a cluster fuck! If I hadn’t been sober that day, I would have easily ended up at the Dougherty’s pot luck and yearly celebration of their dog dying. The grounds seemed to be a sad combination of ‘let’s get drunk and terrorize the dead’ and a convention of P.P.A (Pedophile Priests Anonymous). You would be hard pressed to pay respects to the dear departed, particularly if time had been of the essence. That particular spring day, I went back to find Joe. There had been too much yelling, screaming, swearing and praying, for anyone to speak at the funeral or wake. Too many angry Irish- Poles looking to blame God for their problems while lying about how much they loved my grandfather.
What a mess that place was. Plastic dollar store flowers on the stones, broken and stolen Mother Mary’s chipped and tipped on donated benches. I felt sick. Sick from the stories that filled my grandfather’s passing. Stories of his dedication to serving the public. Tales of his bravery while cooking for the masses during WW II. Sick from the trash he left behind. Even sicker of the rubbish mourners produce without forethought to how they are going to get rid of it.
Than it occurred to me. Trash, Irish, dead and me! Why not make a stand? I’d always been outspoken on the ‘use and abuse’ of Mother Earth. Here had been chance to make things right and make a little money at the same time. Sure, most of my clients were catholic churches. Indeed, it had been a perk knowing that I would have the first hand privilege in making the eternal lives of drunk priests, angry nuns and occasional bloated “Mick” housewives, a non living hell. But it was a dirty job that needed to be done. Day in and day out, I get to taunt all those who had come before me with the Grateful Dead cranked while quoting from the Big Book.
It may not seem like much to anyone else, yet, I am a firm believer in limbo. That many of us aren’t bad enough to go to Heaven and most of us haven’t seen the best of Hell, yet. Therefore, the pieces of property I clean, mow, pick a part and put back together again are filled with souls that can hear every word spoken. And, everyone knows that the Irish are as fearful of sobriety as they are of paying taxes and going to church on Sunday after wild Saturday night.
I love this job. Today I have Bloomer Hill on the schedule. Nothing much. Just a quick wipe-down of the stones, an update to the cemetery map and a quick trip down to the woman made pond filled with Coy. That one had been my invention. Who doesn’t like a free fishing hole after a day of mourning?
The Coy had been an easy purchase. Ding Dung’s Buffet had been recently foreclosed and right before the ‘man’ from the bank came, I paid Ma Dung a visit. Offering to help her with the influx of stray cats before the PoPo came down on her, she quickly offered up her farm of Coy.
The cats had been not a problem at all. I live alone. My dog needs company and obviously, Towanda needed someone or somebody to keep an eye on her. Currently my abode is a quiet happy home of 15 semi feral cats, one domesticated cat and a dog named, Bogart. Thank Christ the state has a free spaying and neutering program. The only problem had been in borrowing a few acquaintances Social Security numbers. No matter, I prefer my animals over people anyway.
Right here, right now, is just the beginning to the ‘shit’ one recovering addict will go to to right a wrong.
After having finished a day of putting a high gloss finish to Mrs. Urknot’s stone. The Urknot’s grandchildren had emailed my website to inform me of their trip into town. They were planning a get together/seance over the plot: B.Y.O.B and potluck supper, they informed me. Good thing, too. That family is known for not only trash talking their own, but trashing up the whole town.
After the stone refurbishing and my new household task of emptying ten cat boxes, I sat down with an O’Douls and a hand rolled cigarette. Closing my eyes to mindful thoughts, nearing a Zen moment, the portable rings.
“Is this Ms. Dewey?” inquired a haggard voice.
“Who else would be answering her phone?” I had asked.
Sometimes these telemarketers, appointment setters, the persons who live their lives on the phone, can ask the most obviously stupid questions!
The long and the short of it all? My first class in managing my anger with another person’s idea of how it should be done, would be starting tonight. I paid fifty dollars to be taught a new way of looking at my asshole neighbor. It will cost me time out of work. Gas for the moped isn’t cheap. And, to top it all off, I need to buy a notebook! Or, so I am informed by Madam Anger Manager! MAM, as I like to call her.
So much for self medicating via meditation. So much for slow cooking the corn dogs in the oven. So much for the one night a week dedicated to shaving the legs. Everything goes out the window when bad tempers are involved!