Saturday, January 27, 2007

Follow up to "When it Rains"

You may remember the entry regarding my son urinating all over the bathroom. My daughter sure did, as evidenced by her writing assignment at school:

In case you need translation, It reads:

"Dad! Mason Peed all over the bathroom! Dad was very mad"

This resulted in my first unscheduled talk with my daughter's teacher.

A Bit of Fiction

One of the pleasures of blogging is your audience is world-wide. Therefore, no matter where you go, you're likely to know someone in the area to down a couple of beers with. This week I did just that with someone I knew only through the internet (from Aside from pleasant conversation, the meeting was largely uneventful and nothing really happened that would warrant a blog entry. So I decided to just make shit up.
I was in darkest Indiana. I was tooling along a desolate stretch of nocturnal highway that was illuminated only by my Pontiac Vibe’s one working headlight. There were no stars in the sky above, no houselights showing from across the snow covered corn fields, not even the hint of a headlamp betraying the presence of oncoming traffic somewhere in the distance before me. I was in Hoosier Hell, the kind of place where werewolves probably roamed the countryside and cannibals could probably be found lurking beneath those secluded covered bridges that were so picturesque when the sun was shining. I was in a place that where one could go to find great barbecue, marry a close relative, learn to square dance or descend headlong into irreversible insanity to a soundtrack mercilessly provided by John Cougar Mellencamp.
I knew nothing good could come from where I was going or what I was trying to do, yet I could not bring myself to turn back. I had to go on. There was an entity lying in wait for me up that road that I had to face, and with it, a new experience to be crossed off of my “Things to do Before I Die” list. I was going to meet an internet stranger for the first time.
Having never done something like this before, I was a little apprehensive about the etiquette of meeting someone I only knew over the realm of cyberspace. I didn’t know if you were supposed to introduce yourself before clubbing your new acquaintance over the head and stuffing them into the trunk of your car or not. I had no idea if licking was a faux pas among internet social circles or if it was expected. I didn’t even know which side of me was the most camera friendly in case my evening was destined to end with an unexpected appearance on Dateline: To Catch a Predator. I was just too new at this and without any guide to reference, I was going to have to wing it. The person I was about to meet however, was not going to have to wing it.
Hammerhead had been a fixture on computer message boards longer than I have even been on the world wide web. He had claimed to have met several internet acquaintances. I say claimed since there are few on the message board we both frequent who have either owned up to this or have survived to tell the tale. Unable to learn from the first hand accounts of others, I was forced to assume the worst and had to get him before he got me.
I arrived at our rendezvous point at just after seven and surveyed the parking lot in an attempt to garner some clues as to what kind of maniac could be readying himself to pounce upon me once I walked inside. I found nothing so I peered inside the bar to size up the natives. There were six men in the bar area, two in the restaurant portion, and another half dozen staff members, mostly female, scurrying about the various tables.
So who was my mark? It was unclear. According to Hammerhead’s profile, he was a huge hulking man with a thick neck and a buzz cut and there was absolutely no one in the establishment who matched that description. This was no surprise though, since everyone lies about their appearance on the internet. If I had to guess, in reality Hammerhead would be a petit and shapely blond haired woman, standing no more than 5 foot one inch and weighing no more than 98 pounds. One of the waitresses fit that profile perfectly. Since I had spoken with Hammerhead by phone, all I had to do was confirm that she had an awfully deep voice for such a little woman.
At first glance, the waitress appeared fairly harmless but looks can be deceiving. I went back to my car to properly equip myself for my encounter. Before I walked into the door of the bar, I had stuffed my pockets with a tazer, duct tape, four tablets of a popular date rape drug, an electric carving knife, a set of furry handcuffs (I’m not weird or anything, but do you have any idea how expensive the unfurry ones are?), a .44 magnum tucked into my sock (note to the ladies: I have VERY big feet….in case you ever wanted to ask me to dance with you or anything) and a breath mint. Walking with a stride of complete self-confidence that only the sufficiently armed possess, I strode into the bar ready to engage my opponent.
When I stepped up to the waitress, she was talking to a customer so I hung back for a minute so that I did not interrupt her. Then I looked at the customer she was speaking with, a huge hulking man with a thick neck. If he had had his hair done up in a 1960’s vintage Ku Klux Klan buzz cut, he would have been a dead ringer for the internet Hammerhead. Then I heard him say “Jep?” in the voice that I recognized on the phone and my heart sank.
I was quite disappointed. Not only was he nowhere as cute as the little waitress I had first mistaken as him, the man was very large. It was going to be an awful lot of work trying to get him into the trunk of my car. All I could do now was hope that our meeting would not come to that. Little did I know that back on the message board where we had met each other, he had already started an auction and was taking bids on my car, clothes and dismembered body parts. Subliminally, I must have picked something up that betrayed this because as we were shaking mits, I slipped my free hand into my pocket and set the tazer from “stun” to “fry his deviant ass until his left testicle pops like a kernel of corn stuck in a microwave”.
After exchanging pleasantries, we took our seats at a high table opposite the bar. I then tried to order a Labatt’s, but for the seventh time since I entered Hoosier Hell, was told that the bar did not carry any. I should not have been surprised since I have visited several primitive societies in my lifetime and none of them ever had a bottle of Labatt’s set aside on ice, patiently waiting for me to discover their tribe and claim my prize. There was no reason that the natives of Indiana should have been any different than the Limbezi tribe of the Solomon Islands in this respect. Granted, the indigenous people here traded their grass skirts for polyester leisure suits and their bongo sets for cassette tapes of “Little Pink Houses”, but when it came to beer, I was unmistakably among savages. I settled for a Sam Adams.
As soon as our libations were laid out before us, we toasted Zug and embarked upon the usual small talk two people who do not know each other banter on about upon first meeting. Stuff like “Where are you from?”, “What brought you to Zug?”, “What’s your Social Security Number?” and “How long do you think it would be before anyone noticed that you went missing?”
At some point I was fidgeting with my lighter (we were in a non-smoking restaurant) when I dropped it on the ground and bent over to pick it up. When I got back into my seat, I noticed that my beer was suddenly bubbling over the mouth of the bottle, spewing a white frothy foam all over the table. From the exhaustive research I had done before leaving my house I knew this to be a signal among the internet stalking community that was equivalent to the sports phrase, “Game on”.
As Hammerhead raised his bottle and offered up a toast, I feigned clumsiness and knocked my beer over as I reached for it, spilling the tainted brew all over my host. As he was distracted by the mess I had made all over him, I grabbed the GHB I had stuffed in my pocket and threw them into his drink. It was a freshmen move, and Hammerhead picked it up right away, bumping the table with his gut while he wiped himself off. I was quite disappointed as I watched his drink fall to its side and then roll off of the table. Round One then came to its anti-climatic conclusion.
Round Two did not begin until the waitress had replenished our libations. As we were talking, Hammerhead’s breathing appeared to grow more difficult and labored. He then started complaining about his asthma and pulled out an inhaler. As he slipped it into his mouth, I noticed that there was a hole in the back of it that was aimed directly at my jugular. I shifted to my right just as Hammerhead squeezed the device, which sent a blast of air and a little dart out heading right for me.
Right behind me, a line of the restaurant’s staff was parading down the aisle behind a girl holding a small birthday dessert, clapping in unison to some neo-nazi birthday chant. The dart from Hammerhead’s inhaler whistled past my right ear and imbedded itself into the ass of the cake-bearer, dropping her like a stone face-first into plate of hot fudge brownie before she was trampled to death by the line of people marching behind her.
The stakes had now been raised, so I reached into my pocket for the tazer, which was stuck behind the roll of duct tape. As I tried to wrench it out however, the bitch went off, striking me in the left thigh. As I faded into unconsciousness, I dreamt that I had fallen into a giant bug zapper, which made my left testicle burst like a piece of popcorn.
When I came to, I found myself naked and tied to the fender of a rusty old Ford pickup truck with two tree branches stuck in my ears. We were pulled over on the side of the road and Hammerhead was having a conversation with a local police officer. I was very cold and noticed that my nipples had grown very pointed which kind of fascinated me. As a man, I am usually fascinated by female nipples, but my own seem to suffice finely if I have nothing better to do. As I faded back into darkness, I heard the officer say something along the lines of, “THAT is the ugliest deer I have ever…Oh God! No! No! Aaaaaghhhh….”
The next thing I knew I was in a dark damp basement. Hammerhead was hovering over me wearing a miner’s hard hat with a lamp attached to the front of it while he shaved my chest. Muffled by the trunk he was trapped in, I could make out the cries of the police officer, pleading to be set free. After noticing that I was awake, Hammerhead said, “Why hello there! You’re not supposed to be awake yet!” He then pressed a handkerchief filled with ether over my mouth and sent me back to sleep.
When I woke up next I was back outside, still naked and fascinated by my own pointy nipples. There was a note tattooed on my chest that read, “You might have gotten the drop on me if you hadn’t tazered yourself. You have real promise Jep. Better luck next time! Give me a call when you’re in town. By the way, I picked up the bar tab. Drinks are on you next time. - Hammerhead”.
The trip home was long. As I said before, Indiana is a primitive society and sexual equality is somewhat of a vague notion. If I had been a naked woman trying to hitchhike home in the dead of winter, I’m sure I would have been picked up in no time. As a tall, bald, beer-bellied man however, nobody bothered to even slow down. They just laid on the horn, rolled down the window and yelled, “Get outta the road ya #&%!@ pervert! And quit playin wif yer man-boobs!”

Monday, January 08, 2007

When Grannies Attack II: This Time It's Personal.

Yesterday, I had to go to Wal-Mart to get two items for this morning’s breakfast: eggs and bread for French toast. That was it. Just eggs and bread. Having three kids, I am basically required to go to Wal-Mart virtually every day for milk, so I knew precisely where the eggs and the bread were. At most, I expected to spend no more than five minutes in the store. Run in, grab my loot, burn through the check out line, goose the greeter on my way out and then peel out of my parking spot while trying to hit the pimply kid corralling the carts who hit my car a couple of weeks ago. It could be done. In fact, I’ve done it three million and one times before.
Unfortunately, Sunday nights however are absolutely packed at Wal-Mart. In fact the lines at the speed lane at the side of the store were so long that I opted to hike all the way to the other side to see if they were any better. As luck would have it, the lines at the self-checkout were even longer, BUT, the lone speed lane on that side only had one person being waited on. Before anyone else caught on, I shuffled my way over there and took my place behind a woman that I would guess to be in her late forties and though she was in one of those complimentary electric shopping carts for the infirm, I was unable to discern anything physically wrong with her. Inside of thirty seconds however, I was able to determine that she was psychologically fucked. And now, having committed to take my place in line right behind her, so was I.
Murphy’s Law of shopping states that the more of a hurry you are in, the more mathematically challenged, financially desperate and socially retarded the people in front of you in the check-out line will be. I was in a pretty big hurry. If I didn’t get out of there soon so that I could eat dinner and help the kids finish homework, I was going to miss The Simpsons. As expected, the lady in front of me was trying to mentally add (out loud) every item rung up so that the clerk had to move at the speed of a retarded garden snail debilitated by an industrial accident, barter every canned good as if she were grocery shopping in an Egyptian bazaar and speak with about the same amount of courtesy as a Department of Motor Vehicles beurocrat on a bad acid trip. As the long lines at the self-checkout next to me started moving with almost German efficiency, I began to feel my blood boil.
The breaking point came as the clerk rang up the last item. The green price tag on the can of vegetables was a little crumpled so the lady thought the price was $0.69 instead of its actual $0.89. This set off a wave of indignation in the lady, who threatened to refuse to pay for the can out of principle. The clerk and the customer than went head-to-head over the can of vegetables while me and the several other people who had by then jumped into this line began rolling our eyes at each other.
Finally, the witch relented. She pulled out her purse while lecturing the clerk on false advertising then debated the total price before finally writing out the check. Heavily agitated, she threw her purse towards the cart in front of her buggy but missed. Instead she hit the handlebars, or rather, the controls on the handlebars that power the cart she was riding.
Now, I had seen her throw her purse down but immediately afterwards had ceased paying attention. I did not realize that she had accidentally thrown her cart into reverse and sent it rolling right for me. I was not clued into this until I was startled by the rear bumper guard striking me in the left foot.
Now, I had had a run-in with one of these contraptions before, so I knew how dangerous they could be. Luckily, I was not hurt. Un-luckily, I was startled and as anyone with the smallest iota of common sense can tell you, it is not a good idea to startle someone who is much taller than you are. Especially if he is holding onto a dozen eggs.
All it took was an involuntary squeeze. The lid of the carton sprung open and a single egg was launched just high enough to clear the edge of the packaging. Trying to save it, I violently lurched my arm with the carton forward to catch it. I did save that particular egg but in the process, launched four others much, much higher than the original.
One egg glanced off of the woman’s arm and fell harmlessly, but messily, to the floor. That was the only one that missed. One broke off of her other shoulder, one hit her in the nape of her neck, spilling yolk down the back of her shirt while the last disappeared somewhere down in front of her. I did not see it hit, but I heard it break somewhere out of sight.
At that point, everything went still. However much I had fantacized about egging an ornery shopper in what was essentially a wheelchair, never in my life would I have ever mustered up the gumption to actually do it while stone sober. All I could do was stare at her in horror while she slowly turned her head around to see who had just turned her into an invalid omoulette. Expecting her to start screaming for security, I was preparing to flee when she looked up at me and meekly said, “I am so sorry.”
Flush with relief, I apologized profusely back at her while everyone else in line stifled spasms of laughter. I even offered to help her clean up, but she waved me off and said she had something in her purse to wipe it up with. As she spoke to me, she stuck her hand inside and found what was left of the fourth egg. The contents of her bag had taken a direct hit. That pushed me right to the edge, but I did not bust up myself until I got back into the car (with a fresh dozen eggs). It was there, while trying not to laugh so hard I had a heart attack, that I realized the spiritual significance of this event. I had a religious experience.
I do not go to church very often. In fact, I avoid it by all means possible. Still, it has become blatantly obvious that not only is there a God, he loves the hell out of me and enjoys my sense of humor. How else would I not only have gotten away with egging an ornory invalid in a crowded grocery store, but got my victim to apologize to me after I had finished?
I am now thinking about starting a cult.

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