There are five places of interest in Skanklin. The eat while you watch cinema, the two dollar store .
Two dollar stores are real! I like real. Let’s face it. Nothing useful is made for the cost of one single dollar. It takes at least two bucks to purchase a high quality vitamin!
Beyond the cinema and the ‘store’, there is the Gandhi-Mart and Catholic Used and Cheap thrift store, there is, Mr. B. Got. Mr. B. Got is a liquidator. If you need a magic eraser, a door stopper or a can of beer from India, the B is the place to go. Of
course, there is the other ulterior motive. There is Angel! Angel is no an angel. She is coarse like a piece of fine sandpaper. Her voice? Like a drunken sailor on leave. And, her smile tells of a life lead by lust and cookie dust! I have been in love with Angel since the day she rolled into town. Or, better put, got towed into town. Her Harley up on its pegs, looked like a jaded and broken mechanical horse. Angel, and her bike, had blown a gasket. And, until the day comes when the one only bike shop in town locates Angel’s ancient Harley and it’s blown part, the angel will remain in my heart and in Skanklin.
Glorious day! Angel provided me with not only a notebook. She provided me with the most sought after item in my world, her phone number.
I easily could have gone to the cheaper store. I most likely could have found a couple of pieces of slightly used paper within my house. But once smitten twice pushy! I jump at every opportunity I can to witness the Angel in action.
“Is that it, honey? Whatcha planning on writing?”
Words dripping with confidence and sex. I had been ridiculed by many friends. Harassed and bullied by acquaintances who knew of my crush. Every single one of them pissing in my Wheaties with,
“She ain’t no dyke!”
I have been known, back in my drinking days, to turn many a straight gal. I have also been seen running nearly naked through a few bar parking lots. Running like there would be no tomorrow from the irate husbands. All it takes is time and patience and I will get me a live Angel.
“I’d like to see your number in there, but I don’t see it. How much more for the notebook with the number in it?,” had been my reply.
Of course, Angel had smirked that knowing and self confident twitch of the lip. She took a pen from her breast pocket, nodded at me and jotted something on the inside cover of my newly purchased notebook:
“For a good time, call, Angel, 604-369-1289”
Fuck those townies. Screw all those straight and straight- laced pinheads down at Bunny’s Shave’ n Wet. I got the coveted number!
That friggin’ class. Tonight should be the night for learning about ridden hard and hung up wet women named Angel. Tonight should not be the night to stuff the mounting sexual frustration. The same frustration that tends to pent up bad thoughts. The same boxed negative feelings that, you guessed it, causes, anger.
I kissed Towanda good- night, I told Bogart he was to be in charge of the feline brood, kick started the ancient moped and headed down to the Unitarian church. Right around dusk, my town is different than any other town in the States. It glows neon and fades a dusty red in the rear-view mirror. The patrons of Skanklin stroll by holding hands and reminiscing about recent factories that have shut down. Out of nowhere, my small town is bearable and bright and something you dream about.
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!
Victoria sat back in her over the top, overly worn, found by the side of the road, Big Joe, reclining bean bag chair. With the precision of an avid Hippie, she took a long haul off the pipe, leaned back quietly, and tuned into 92.9, the oldies station.
Along the lines of her eyes were visions and thoughts, swirling about…like a Big Rubber Ball.
“What ever happened to that illusive, simpler time?”
92.9 was not classic rock. It did not adhere to Lynyrd Synyrd or Aerosmith. It wasn’t even close to those ‘other’ bubble gum stations. Stations that made vain attempts at similar ‘vintage’ music. Tunes from the 80’s!
Funny, Victoria, never really thought of, Cyndi Lauper or Adam Ant, as, old. But than again, she very rarely, thought of herself as…ancient!
92.9, if you were in the mood for silliness and fun, was and is the place to go.
‘Hello, Lamppost, whatcha’ knowin?’
‘Walkin’ in the rays of a beautiful sun.’
Stuff of Hall of Famers, such as, Unchained Melody, Blueberry Hill, and, Sittin’ at the Dock of the Bay…
With eyes closed, an a time out from the four legged circus that had been what Victoria and her wife called home, time slipped gently back. Back to the day before yesterday.
What an awful message her mother had left! Though, Victoria’s mother, Ann, had always summoned guilt. Particularly when it came to the ‘phone’ calls. Yet, somehow, without notice, Ann, mastered the fine art of Skyping guilt!
With fingers posed on the keyboard, feverishly writing nothing significant…Ann’s freckled face appeared on Victoria’s Chromebook screen.
An up close and personal visual, that was enough to scare the saint out of anyone!
“…she went into the woods. Maybe, you saw the police across the street. Two shots to the head in the backyard.”
Had Victoria known this neighbor of her mothers? No, not really. Perhaps, in passing, maybe a nod hello…she, the neighbor, always seemed, illusive.
No matter, the ‘neighbor’ and/or ‘she’ was making her impact felt on Victoria, current day.
“What happened to simple? Asking for help? Hadn’t Victoria known her share of persons…equipped with the ‘overly aware’ gene?”
The overly aware gene, being, those of us who have felt the need to take life into their own hands. For better or worse, no matter the attempt, most of those she knew, did not succeed.
In other words, they still clung about life, to this day. Wavering in the good light, never dancing in the darkness…
Still, with radio on, quietly coaxing too much thinking from Victoria’s, wanna be blank, mind…
Still, with the high lingering above, easing the pain, the shame, the WTF?
Still, with all these precautions…
the constant gardener called, the sensitive mind, dug up the following thoughts:
Why? Didn’t her husband know? Could he have stopped her? Fuck! Victoria, didn’t know when Megan tried. Or, maybe, she knew, but pretended to not be there…during the fallout. Did he throw his hands in the air? Like Victoria did!
Course, Megan still tinkers in the dark art of sadness. Not often. But often enough. Often enough that the blow to the stomach is still there. The crash of a large objects still makes Victoria shake and sweat and scream out-
‘Are you okay? Did you take your meds today?’
That poor woman, out in the woods, loosing what was left of a ‘simple’ life.
Funny, how the action of just one person, one almost stranger, can affect and effect the lives of others.
Victoria closed her mind down with the gentle nudge of her cat, Towanda. She managed to turn down the heat of yesterday’s sadness with the easy pat of a loving animal.
Slowly, drifting up to the stars, the room became a simple song. And, a simple song…became the room…
Think of your fellow man Lend him a helping hand Put a little love in your heart You see it’s getting late Oh, please don’t hesitate Put a little love in your heart
And the world will be a better place And the world will be a better place For you and me You just wait and see
Another day goes by Still the children cry Put a little love in your heart If you want the world to know We won’t let hatred grow Put a little love in your heart
And the world (and the world) will be a better place All the world (all the world) will be a better place For you And me You just wait And see, wait and see
Take a good look around And if you’re looking down Put a little love in your heart I hope when you decide Kindness will be your guide Put a little love in your heart
And the world (and the world) will be a better place And the world (and the world) will be a better place For you And me You just wait And see
People, now put a little love in your heart Each and every day Put a little love in your heart There’s no other way Put a little love in your heart It’s up to you Put a little love in your heart
This is the FINAL NOTICE of your member status before tonight’s fundraising deadline.
Answered President Obama’s call-to-action?
NO DONATION Suggested Support: $5.00
Since Boehner’s Republicans voted to sue President Obama, we’ve been working non-stop to back up the President with an UNPRECEDENTED level of support on the biggest fundraising deadline of the year.
That means we need to hit 5OO,OOO grassroots donations backing up President Obama since Boehner’s lawsuit. And we need to do it by midnight.
We’re almost there — but right now we’re coming up 17,947 short. And since we can only count donations that come in before midnight towards the goal, now is the time to act. Listen, this could make or break us right here.
Ruth — Can you step now to put us over the top?
MIDNIGHT DEADLINE: ALL GIFTS TODAY TRIPLE-MATCHED!
I want to thank you for the constant, insistent and ham fisted emails that have clogged my inbox and slowed my browsing speed to a stand still. First your wife asked me for money. Then you had Paul Rudd pestered me…’Hey, Ruth can you spare a c-note?’
After that the big guns came…Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and your dog, Bo, joined in:
President Obama needs you!
Obama is getting sued and we need you!
I’m pleading with you…donate and help Obama today!
Apparently the lack of response on my part, which was my way of being polite, has not sunk into your first African American President head.
My dog, Bogie, has two floors to manage and himself. We have seven cats that on occasion…act like the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine and/or the Texas border towns nearest those pesky aliens! For example, one cat avoids the truth…none of the other cats like her. She is an ass and knows it. Another cat, Towanda, believes the sun sets when she tells it to. She pays homage to no one. Her tyrant behavior causes others in the house to believe she is in need of medication and some sort of behavioral therapy…As well as, confession twice a day for the rest of her life.
Bogie, is not a smart dog. He tries but to be honest…We think of him as our little disabled child.
But when a cat fight breaks out in our land of misfit girls and boys, Bogie will Forrest Gump his way into unchartered cat territory and attempt to keep the peace. Sometimes this is with force…bad breath and barks that sound like a turkey being run over by an eighteen wheeler. Sometimes he will use decorum, offering a kiss to the women and a slap of the paw on the back to the boys.
Sir, I am sorry you are broke. I really am. But Bogie has more presence and back bone than the oval office janitorial chief’s of staff.
The entertainment portion of your tenure in office has been quite stunning…And, boy, don’t we all wish we could be Katy Perry’s number one fan.
The obesity problem that you and the Missus seem to obsessive over. You know…America is fat. Let’s feed our kids nothing but carrot sticks and tap water…Seems trite in comparison to the fact that those fats kids are eating up the publicity America’s poor should be getting.
Tea Party? We beat them! I thought we got rid of those bags in the harbor years ago. Need I remind you…The beverage of choice in the United States is coffee! Even Bogie knows that!
In ending, and in around about way, just stop writing. I’ve printing off all your emails and handed them to Bogie to shred. Yet, another job he is qualified for!
What I would like to ask is that you not want for money from others…But donate to your local Humane Society…It appears to me those ‘cats and dawgs’ would do a much better job of running the show.