Sunday, August 21, 2011

Love & Death

Love and death. We pursue them both. We flee from them both. In a nutshell, it is the push-pull of these two states of being that sums up human existence.

So, it’s a good thing we can laugh at them, don’t’cha think?

THe AfricaN BrIDGe

About two weeks ago, Love (yes, that’s Love, with a capital L), as it has so often done in the past, hawked a thick, wet loogie on my shoes. Chalk up another one in the Loss column. I wandered around feeling befuzzled for a few days, cogitating on how it had come to pass that, once again, I got the gooey end of the poo-stick. I mean, I realize that I’m something of an acquired taste—like retsina and bagpipes—but come on!

Then I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and take a stab at getting my ass back into the saddle. And since I am new to this city, I reasoned, and know a grand total of three people, why not do the thing up right and register my bona fides with an online dating site. Don’t they run those commercials about their members, who, with little or no effort, always find That Perfect Someone? I know they do, I’ve seen them.

Anyway, long story short and all that, I picked a site (more or less at random, I must admit) slogged through their 9,000 page questionnaire, described to them roughly what I sought in female companionship, uploaded a pic or two, and sat back to see what happened.

Which, for the first two days as a grand total of absolutely nothing. Then I got a few nibbles, from women who obviously hadn’t carefully read the info I’d posted (i.e. the rabid anti-smoking Christian who “winked” at me), and then I got someone who seemed, not only to be able to read, but also to be interested. A couple of vanilla emails lead to an e-date in the cozy environs of Yahoo messenger.

When I logged in at the appointed time, she had selected the “tumbling hearts” background for our chat window, which I thought was sort of endearing. Ten minutes later anything “endearing” about our encounter had dropped from the thing like an engine block at a demolition derby.

What follows is the more disturbing tail end of our interaction, pasted verbatim from the chat window, but with certain portions altered the protect the privacy of the crazy bitch on the other end.

HER: Have you been in the OKCity longer?

ME: Longer?

HER: Long time?

ME: No, not long. Just a few weeks.

HER: This is imPortant to me. Because.

ME: [After a pause] Bcause why?

HER: Because. wHen I am go with a man. When you are R my man (which I cincerely HOPE!!!) I must look after all of You concerns and needs.

[At this point a needle of trepidation began sliding into my brain.]

ME: OK. I’ll let you know when I have a few needs that need looking after.

HER: Because.

ME: Because?

HER: Anything you Wish to TaLK about. I am hERe. That is MY job. AnY of Your conCERNS, are now MY concerned.

[Now I was wondering if she was some species of cyber-hooker looking to get me into a naughty dialogue. Christ knows I had better things to do than that…]

ME: That’s nice of you [thinking fast, now], but I have a deadline, so we’ll have to pick this up later.

HER: Your ThouGHhts must are NOw my thoUghts.

ME: Yup. You mentioned that.

HER: Because. I can taLK about anythinG.

ME: Awesome. Like I said, I hate to cut this short, but I have some work to do. Talk to you later.

HER: WHEN? I MEAn that Rickard. WHEN?

[Well, Elvira, I’ll tell ya. Never again in a million, trillion fucking years.]

ME: Day or two. Shoot me an email.

HER: Two weeKs is PERFECT!


HER: I am in Nairobi, NOw build THe AfricaN BrIDGe. In tHE Okcity in two weeks!HE

ME: Great! Email me then. By.

HER: Byeeeeeeeeeee!

And I X’d out of the chat before she could come up with anything else to say.

The next morning I removed my profile from the website. I can meet crazy people without paying a monthly fee, maybe even some crazy people who have control of their Caps LoCk key. Instead I’m just gonna start hanging around the grocery store on Saturday evenings. Might not meet anyone interesting, but I can buy some soup.

Dead Man Walking!

In only took me a day or two to discover that the apartment complex I’ve moved into doesn’t have the greatest reputation. I was chit-chatting with the liquor-store guy the day I started moving in, and when I mentioned where I was renting, he visibly started, and wanted to know if I’d lost my mind, living in a place like that. I told him the truth, which is that it didn’t seem all that bad to me and that everyone I’d met so far had been very friendly. He didn’t believe me, but so what.

That evening I discovered that my dishwasher was missing the basket thingy you put silverware in, so I wandered over to Wal-Mart, figuring is anyplace sold such an odd replacement part, they would.

I was tromping around the hardware area when the most amazing thing happened. A clerk actually came up to me and asked if I needed assistance. That’s never happened to me in Wally World before. Not once. I told hthe guy what I was after and he shook his head, saying I’d be better off at Lowe's or Home Depot. Then he asked the obvious question: why didn’t I just tell my apartment manager. (I hadn’t because I figured they would shitcan my request three second after hanging up the phone.) The clerk then asked where I lived. I told him the name of the complex.

“Jesus Christ!” he burst. “You have a gun and a flack-vest?”

I laughed good-naturedly. “The gun yes. No vest though.”

“No vest?”


And this Wal-Mart clerk with food on his blue shirt threw his head back and howled: “DEAD MAN WALKIN’!” Then he giggled.

I giggled too, hewing to my good-naturedness. The clerk went off to help someone else, or whatever, and I paid for the few items I had collected and went home.

On my way up the walk I passed several of my co-residents. Smiles and “hellos” all the way around, and I entered my apartment content in the belief that opinions are, indeed, like assholes, in that everyone has one, especially the assholes.

Two days later a guy in the building next to mine shot his girlfriend six times in the chest and attempted to hide his crime by lighting her corpse on fire.

I could smell the smoke in my bedroom.

Oh well. Twelve months isn’t that long. Not really.


Friday, August 12, 2011

My Magnet is Alive and Kicking

I have officially (almost) relocated to my new digs, far from the Wilds of Oklahoma, and right smack into what you might call the Wilds of Urban Oklahoma. And the big news is…? My Freak Magnet is alive and kicking. Gus the Football-Playing Disney Mule didn’t kick like my little ‘ol magnet is kickin’ these days. Ready for the update? Read on, my fine friends. Read on.

A Trip to the Mall

I’d been here about a week when the urge to see a movie came upon me. Lamentably, I selected that puddle of cinematic ass juice called Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but that’s another tale for another time. The closest theater showing the thing was inside the nearby megamall. I got there too early, due to one of Fandango’s more playful attempts at providing showtimes, and, finding myself with time to kill, went on a wander about the place; three full stories of gaudy commerce.

On the second floor, I rounded a corner just as a quintet of teen- or twenty-something Okie Urban Oddities exploded from the interior of some sort of sports-wear hut. And I mean exploded. They were heading somewhere with a sense of purpose, and I’m betting it wasn’t the library. And no matter their destination, they looked silly as shit. They were all tall and gangly, like junior varsity basketball players. Each wore knee-length NBA shorts, and baggy NBA jerseys with words like Thunder and Heat and Knicks stenciled on them. White unlaced leather high-tops completed their ensembles, except for one other item. All five sported huge—huge—white straw cowboy hats, with brims so wide you could farm mushrooms under them.

And they ran into me. They ran into me, onto me, and around me, each reeking worse than the next of Axe body wash and unleavened testosterone.

They passed as quickly as they arrived, like a bony storm front, and I was willing to let their rudeness slide until the last to go turned and said, “Whoa, watch it there, big ‘un.” His tone suggested he’d routinely employed the exact same sentence at other points over his life’s short journey, most probably in a pasture.

“You ran into me,” I said, coming to a standstill and squinting at them, mostly because their outfits demanded squinting.

There passed about six seconds of guys-sizing-up-other-guys behavior, and I could see in their eyes and body language that we were sharing a similar pattern of thoughts. To wit: they wanted to kick the shit out of me, but even though there were five of them, I was bigger than any two put together, and none of them had the sack to wade into such a melee, one where the outcome was sure to be little better than ten-to-six and pick ‘em. So, after a few shared glances, they took the prudent course and made to depart. But not before one of them, I couldn’t say which, offered some humorous take on the situation, at a quiet, passive-aggressive volume, that set a couple of his pals to giggling.

Grumbling, decided to press my advantage.

“Hey!” I barked.

They stopped in an ungainly clump and turned back to look at me.

“Are you little faggots all on the same dance team or something?”

Not among my better rejoinders, I know, and not the nicest choice of words, but what made it a moment of sheer perfection was that, just as I said it, three very pretty young girls strolled by, heard me, saw them, and burst into that brand of high-pitched, mocking laughter that only teenaged girls can produce.

As one of the boys actually blushed, all five beat feet in the opposite direction, toward a place, I am sure, where they hoped to be free of cranky old fat men and mean girls with smooth, tanned legs.

And then I was punished for my happiness by The Transformers. Fuck.


I frequent pawn shops. They make me smile most largely. And it’s not all rusty power tools and golf clubs. either. You really never know what you might unearth there next. Just recently, for example, I purchased a fine family of Filipino day-laborers, for—seriously—like half the price of a Chinese set. OK, kidding aside, pawn shops are a positive trove of goodies. Wish the same could be said for some of the people who dawdle about them.

There’s a nifty little locally-owned shop a mile or so from my new digs. They had a sign in the window advertising DVDs for two bucks each. Couldn’t pass that up, so I popped in for a closer gander. After selected five or six flicker-shows for my later popcorn pleasure, I circumnavigated the store, scrutinizing the stuff that was up for grabs. And—Holy Hannah—there it was. A knock-off of da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” framed in bright yellow and pink Neon! Wicked pissah! I immediately coveted it, with a covetousness I usually reserve for ’74 Cadillacs, and girls in Catholic-school skirts.

Oh, but then…tragedy. The shop wanted $375 dollars for it! Fuck me! Bunch of greedy cocksuckers! And thus was I forced to do nothing but stare longingly at it, thinking of how my new walls might have been so honored by it’s dangling from one of them.

And then, a voice from behind me, low and elderly: “That’s blasphemy.”

He was about five feet tall, neat and tidy, and well into advanced years. He frowned with ease, like the frown had become, over the years of his intense religiosity, the default position of his facial muscles. One could imagine him wearing the same expression while he gnawed the heads off Easter chicks.

I didn’t like looking at him. First, because I was afraid he was going to keep on about “blasphemy” and all that shit, Second, because, despite his spick and span appearance, he smelled really bad, and Third, because—and this is so fucked up—his tongue was purple. I don’t mean a little bit purpleish, man. I mean PURPLE. Like a chow’s tongue. Merry-Pranksters purple. Been-goin’-down-on-Violet-Beauregarde purple.

My eyeballs leaped from my head and made like Superballs all over the tile. I guess the old guy thought I was reacting to his “blasphemy” remark, and thus somehow felt emboldened to gimme another dose of Jesus.

“What’s wrong with this country.” He poked a finger at the painting. “Disregarding the Shepherd. Making a mockery of Our Savior.”

I hate it when religious people speak in capital letters.

“He Died for Our Sins,” the old gent intoned, his B.O. clouding around us like a swarm of no-see-ums, his purple tongue dragging across his dry lips.

“Yeah?” I said, kind of loudly, too, I guess. “And then he came back to life three days later. Big fuckin’ deal.”

His eyes went all funny, like I’d maybe stuck my dick in his ear and given it a good jiggle.

“Also,” I continued, as he sort of silently worked his mouth and egregiously exhibited the freaky fucking purple thing inside it, “keep your religion to yourself.”

I started toward the counter with my movies.

“And,” I snapped, now really pissed off, for reasons I still don’t understand, “take a fucking shower. You smell like an unlaundered cunt.”

And I went home. And I popped in a DVD. I’d never seen it before. It was Tron: Legacy.

Punished again. Fuck.