I have a Freak Magnet. My whole adult life, if there are freaks in the vicinity, they will, according to some fucked up law of nature I can’t even begin to fathom, make a bee-line right at my personal space, and then subject me to a full and uncensored display of their freakishness. And I am continually flabbergasted at the ratio of Freaks to Non-Freaks, here in my little Oklahoma town. They run the gamut from run-of-the-reality-show freaks, to full-on, radioactive psychos, as I hope to demonstrate with the following samples of my recent life, here in Freak Central.
It was a little bit overcast the other day when I decided to go out on the town (procuring the weekly Rolaids supply from Wal-Mart), but I had my shades on anyway, just because…I dunno…that’s how I roll. In any event, I’m walking across the parking lot at Chez Wal and there’s this guy sitting on the hood of his car staring at me. He’s wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, combat pants, a cap advertizing a local mud-logging concern, and smoking a cigarette. As I walk by he says:
“Hey! Don’t’cha think it’s a little dark for sunglasses?”
“I don’t know,” I answered, with a sigh. “Is it?”
“It’s too dark for sunglasses.”
The tone of his voice suggested that he was as sure of this fact as he was that the Earth is flat. I don’t often have smart-assed responses ready to go on the instant, and I didn’t really this time, but I took a crack at it anyhow.
“You know?” I said. “I was hoping the Guy Sitting on his Car at Wal-Mart would bestow upon me each and every one of his clever thoughts concerning my wardrobe. My sleep tonight will be dreamless. Thanks. You SO totally rock.” He looked at me like a dog eye-balling a page of differential equations, and went back to smoking.
OK. Not too freakish, right? Sure, but read on. The freaks are only getting warmed up.
Two nights ago, I damn near got into it with another freaky douchebag, this time at my job. I work as a projectionist at the local movie theatre, and sometimes, on a particularly busy night, I get roped into helping out at the concession stand. I was pouring sodas for a couple, but, since my sketchy past has left me with the attention span of a fruit fly, I’d forgotten what they ordered and needed clarification.
“That was a root beer, and was it a Coke or a Diet Coke?” I asked.
“Coke,” the lady said.
I’d just started pouring the drinks when the male half of the duo says:
“Sounds like somebody’s calling somebody fat.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Sounds like somebody’s calling her fat.”
“Whoa, dude,” I said. “You’re gonna get me in trouble for something I didn’t say.”
“Diet Coke? Sounds like somebody thinks she’s fat.”
“Man, that’s not even what I was talking about.” I looked at the lady. “You know that’s not what I meant, right?”
“I know. Don’t listen to him.”
The guy glared at her, little volcanoes in his eyes. “Shut up.”
“Look at me,” I said. “I’m the last guy should be calling anyone fat.”
“Same with him,” the lady said. “If he stepped back from the counter, you’d see.”
The guy snatched one of the sodas and shoved it into the woman’s chest.
“Here,” he said. Then he gave her a little shove toward the auditorium, adding, in a voice that oozed chivalry and good will: “Move your ass.”
It’s not like I want my little town to be invaded by platoons of metrosexuals, stinkin’ the joint up with their CK-1 and their ennui, but come on… Let’s at least try for 1960, huh?
And here’s a tale of freakiness perpetrated not just on me, but on anybody who happened to come into contact with it. Call it anonymous freakiness.
I’m once again in the local Wal-Mart, lookin’ for pants. Find a pair in my size and head for the changing cells. Inside, I kick off my shoes, drop trow, and start unhooking the new pair from the hanger. About that time I glanced over at the mirror. And then glanced again to make sure my first glance hadn’t glanced off something and gotten me confused. But no. No confusion.
There on the glass was a foot-long smear of blood.
A clothes-changing mishap had befallen someone, and the fucking gargoyle had wiped his coppery discharge on the mirror. I mean, what the hell is that?
I decided Wal-Mart could keep their pants and, after checking to make sure I hadn’t sat in anything exciting, handed them over to the dressing room lady. I also mentioned that she might want to get in there with some 405 and a rag, and explained why. She gave me a skeptical look, had a peek for herself, and came out shrugging.
“Huh,” she said, as if commenting on the price of plums, “it is blood.”
And now, to close this missive, here’s a story of freakishness that goes beyond. Way beyond.
I was recently set up on a blind date of sorts. “Of sorts” because I sort of knew the lady and so wasn’t entirely blind to the sitch, if you see what I mean. In any event, we met at a local steak place and had a pretty nice meal, along with a couple of drinks and a bottle of wine.
Now, you’ve all been on dates, yes? And so you know that a moment arrives at some point over the course of any first date—the make-or-break moment, where you think to yourself, “Yes, I could see this person again,” or “No, I’d prefer not to.”
My make-or-break moment arrived just about the same time as the check, when my date demurely turned away from me, removed her upper dentures…
…and proceeded to blow food from them into a napkin.
Then she popped the plate back in, secured it with some solid thumb pressure, and turned back to me.
I was home eleven minutes later. And my dreams, friends, were troubled.
So, can there be any doubt as to the existence of my Freak Magnet? Oh, I think not. See, all of the above proofs happened within a mere eight-day span of time. I shudder to think what next week might have to offer.