Will There Be Cake?

Let’s suppose, for a moment, that you’re an engineer who’s created a machine that allows you to travel through time. You’re engaged to the girl of your dreams, who’s completely unaware that you once used your marvelous invention to save her life. Let’s also suppose that your best friend; a person you grew up with, the person who will be filling the role of best man at your impending nuptials; has always harbored secret feelings for your fiancée. Unbeknownst to you, in a fit of jealous rage, your best friend accesses your time machine intent on changing the past.

This best friend, knowing all the trouble you and your future wife have gone through to find the perfect wedding cake, goes back in time and kills the baker (after you’ve placed the order, but before it could be completed). He doesn’t just stop there; he also slaughters the chickens that laid the eggs that became your cake AND the cows who provided the milk (setting off a new wave of cattle mutilation hysteria across the nation). He does all this in the hopes that the stress of your cake search will put a strain on your relationship, leading eventually to an acrimonious break-up.

To his dismay, all his plans; all the horror and bloodshed; avail him not. Your relationship remains as strong as ever, and the wedding goes off without a hitch. At the reception, the best man looks over and sees sitting on a side table like some horrid beast, THE CAKE; not cake, THE cake.


 

And THAT’S my problem with The Flash season finale. It’s been bugging me for months now. Barry already altered the time-stream once when Wells killed Cisco, pretty much establishing the rules for continuity in the series. Once Eddie shot himself, Wells isn’t the only thing that should have vanished. No Eobard Thawne replacing Harrison Wells means no particle accelerator means no meta-human spawning meltdown in the middle of Central City means NO FUCKING FLASH. If next season doesn’t involve some bullshit about “Oh Barry, the time-stream is schizophrenic now because EVERY SINGLE FUCKING REASON YOU SHOULD HAVE BECOME THE FUCKING FLASH NEVER HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE!” I’m going to be sorely disappointed. Eddie Thawne being a “wildcard” and a “coincidence” doesn’t really fly with me, that just sounds like lazy writing. It’s a damn shame too, because I really enjoy this show. I’ll still watch it, but I’ll always be a little bitter.

I’m glad that’s out my system…

You Get What You Give

For the past few weeks, I’ve been attempting to be a nice guy. Instead of allowing people to wander off of the lot, then having their cars towed, I’ve been stepping outside and warning folks, giving them an opportunity to find somewhere else to park. Yesterday, my Friday, I informed an old man and his daughter, and after a brief, nonsensical argument (“Whatdya mean we can’t park here? It’s a handicapped spot!” “Yes sir, but it’s a handicapped spot for this business, not wherever the hell you’re going.”), they got back into their car and left.

About five minutes later, as I stood behind the counter talking to one of our regular customers, the door opened and the elderly gentleman stepped inside. Walking to the counter, he pointed his finger at my chest and exclaimed in a deep, gruff voice, “You ever fucking threaten me again, and I’ll make sure you don’t live long enough to regret it.”

The customer and I exchanged bemused glances, and I retorted with, “Okay Grandpa Munster, whatever you say. Why don’t you hustle your ass back to your car before you die of heat stroke.”

“You think I’m playing with you, you fucking prick? I’ve never taken shit from you or your kind, and I’m not gonna start now.”

I didn’t really know how to react; this guy was at least late sixties, early seventies, no matter how spry he seemed. He wasn’t demented, senile, or anything like that; he was just an entitled, moneyed old bastard.

“What the fuck you mean ‘my kind’, motherfucker? Get the fuck out of here, now. Go watch that Whitey Bulger movie preview again, take a nap, something, just get the fuck out of here.”

“Yeah, stay behind that counter, you little faggot-ass bitch.”

(I KNOW, RIGHT?!)

“I don’t see what’s wrong with being a faggot, maybe you’re just bitter because back in your day it wasn’t socially acceptable and you had to marry –EW– a woman. Now in your old age your saddled with some ungrateful, greedy-ass children who can’t wait for your bitter, repressed ass to die.”

The woman I assumed was his daughter is standing outside with a mortified expression on her face, my customer is watching the entire scene with a smile, and I can’t help but occasionally snicker as this guy gets madder and madder.

“Suck my dick, you fucking faggot,” he yells as he grabs at the crotch of his pants, “your mom did, and she fucking loved it.”

You ever see that look in someone’s eyes when they know they’ve just made a horrible error in judgement? Obviously, something in my face reminded this guy that he was just a rich as fuck old man, and not the bad-ass mafioso he made himself out to be.

“This has been fun, but if you say something about my mom again I’m coming over this counter and beating you to fucking death. You hear that, old man? Call me a faggot, threaten me, whatever, you’re more than fucking half-dead as it is; but I shit you not, one more word about my mom and I’m hitting the panic button and you’ll be fucking dead before the cops get here. I’ve even got a witness who HEARD YOU threaten my life. So take your fucking old, angry ass the fuck out of my store before you get blood everywhere.”

That’s the point when his daughter decided it would be wise to intervene. She opened the door and grabbed her dad (still just a guess, may have been the world’s oldest trophy wife, I dunno) and began tugging him outside. “I’m really sorry about all this.”

“You weren’t sorry the whole time he was in here feeling his fucking Wheaties, bitch. Fuck your apology, get this old prick the fuck out of here, now.”

Once they were gone, the customer and I had a good laugh and it went back to business as usual.

A few people have indicated that maybe I should feel bad about treating an old man like that. To those people I say:

I’ll just go back to towing cars.

Stuff…

image

Today, S. starts grad school. We got out of bed way earlier than we usually do on a Saturday, had a few sips of coffee, then stepped out onto the lanai to have a cigarette. After a few minutes of smoking in silence, I realized something was amiss.

“Huh,” I remarked, “my bike’s gone…”

“What?!” Glancing over to where my bike usually sits, chained up next to hers, she replied, “Yes, it is.”

“Do we, uh, call the cops?,” I asked.

“I was just wondering that myself.”

“And say what?,” I inquired. “My two (maybe three, I’ve mentioned my problem with time before) year old, non-descript, black mountain bike has been stolen.”

“Yeah, I kinda thought the same thing. Hey, there’s a bottle of water! Whoever it was left a bottle of water.”

“I doubt the police would fingerprint that bottle to recover my bike, and your bike is still here; I don’t think this was some organized criminal gang of bike thieves, probably just a crime of opportunity.”

“Hmm,” she mused, “I wonder if it could’ve been the old tenant.” The previous tenants family had been evicted for a few reasons; the most important ones being flagrant drug use, and a near-constant police presence due to their delinquent son.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought; them or someone who knows them. You can’t really see into the lanai from the street, the car and shed haven’t been messed with, and your bike is fine. I figure someone was chillin’ out here, saw the chance and took it.”

The thought of someone just hanging out on our lanai skeeved us both out. It actually bothered me more than the fact that my bike was stolen. We’re going out tonight to get some sort of noise – maker for the screen door, that way we’ll know if it’s being opened.

“On the bright side,” I laughed, “the brakes are kinda shot, and there’s a really good chance that someone hauling ass on my bike might fly right out into traffic and get wiped the fuck out.”

“Why didn’t you tell me the brakes were bad?!”

“They weren’t bad, I just disconnected the front brake and made sure the back brake was really loose; it’s the way I like ’em.”

“You’re handling this remarkably well.”

“It’s just stuff, right? I mean, it bothers me that someone was on the lanai, but it’s still just stuff. I forgot to chain my bike up, I forgot to lock the screen door.”

“And,” S. said thoughtfully, “we can pick you up a new bike tonight after school and work!”

Exactly!

I like to consider this proof that I’ve grown as a person since I’ve been clean and sober. The old me would have had his entire day ruined. I would have probably taken the day off work, grabbed a bat, and scoured the neighborhood looking for my bike, or I’d have come to work in an awful mood and taken it out on the idiots who come in all day. Nowadays? Meh, it’s just stuff. Not to say I’m ambivalent about the fact that it happened, but in the grand scheme of things it’s really nothing. I dislike “stuff” nearly as much as I dislike people.

“My Astrologist Told Me I Should Buy Some Scratch-Offs”

S. hit one out the park on Facebook the other week. George Takei, like most of America, was infatuated with the idea of the “homeless piano man” from downtown Sarasota. Amid all the feel-good comments (“this makes my heart soar”, “beautiful, simply beautiful”, “so inspiring”) and furious liking, she managed to squeeze in her own two cents. I don’t have it in front of me, but it went something like:

All you stupid motherfuckers have fun patting yourselves on the back for talking about how awesome and progressive this is; meanwhile, this is the ONLY homeless person in downtown Sarasota with a bench to sit on. Nearby condo associations and business owners colluded and influenced the city council to remove all the benches from local parks because ‘homeless people sit there’. We’re the WORST county/city in the country when it comes to dealing with the problem of homelessness. But yeah, this is fucking wonderful…

[Paraphrased; all foul language mine, she don’t cuss that much, she’s nice like that]

Unfortunately (not really), the powers-that-be underestimated the homeless populations ability to do things like (duh) sit on the fucking ground. The only thing this accomplished was that now NO ONE has a place to sit down in the park.

Fast forward another week or two; residents and merchants from one of Sarasota’s “up-and-coming” neighborhoods, the Rosemary District; home to the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter and Resurrection House (a faith-based non-profit that provides assistance to struggling people and families); pretty much explode at a monthly meeting. Select quotes available from ABC 7 include such gems as:

  • “You say they’re people, they’re not people. They don’t have the same rights as we do. They’re abusing their rights.”

AND

  • “We need a legal way to arrest these people for overtaking our neighborhood.”

I’ve tried and tried to figure out another group of people who these statements could be made about without generating a giant clusterfuck of a social media campaign. Homosexuals? Muslims? Women? You should try it too, it’s “fun”.

Then, last week, seemingly out of nowhere, the homeless people were just…gone. They used to line the block that The Sally is on, staying close in hopes of getting one of the limited beds for the evening (the shelter is strictly for nights, during the day the homeless are sent out to fend for themselves. beds are provided on a first come, first served basis). All their meager possessions spread out on the sidewalks; lawn chairs, bicycles, mattresses. A huge crowd of people, just gone. What happened to them? According to the city and The Salvation Army, they’ve been “helped”. The police got rid of the drug dealers who were taking advantage of a captive audience, so the ones with substance abuse problems moved on; the Sally provided bins with padlocks so people could store their possessions and not have to spend all day guarding them, leaving them free to go out and look for work or spend time with family/friends/etc.; they evaluated some on a case-by-case basis, determined how best to meet their needs, then did so…blah-blah-blah.

So how come every fucking homeless person I’ve talked to about this miraculous event says the exact same thing? “We were trespassed from the property, and they said if we go back they’ll lock us up.” Why are there now gatherings of homeless people in areas there previously weren’t?

 

 

For The Record…

S. is having a sort of shit day at work today. Her mom and (step)dad were kind enough to drive a bunch of her stuff down from Baltimore this week, including her record player. I figured I’d cheer her up a little by going to our local, much-lauded, small business type record store and picking her up a surprise. (Don’t tell her!)

I truly believe that “vinyl people” may be the only culture more insufferable and obnoxious than “comic people”. The only other customer in the shop when I entered, who insisted on talking in a loud, radio-announcer style voice and loudly voiced his displeasure when the clerk’s attention wavered in my direction. I know how important his stack of ten-cent 45’s are to him, because he won’t shut the fuck up about them. Between his ranting about the superiority of the record store where he’s from in Fuckbubble, Michigan, and his dismay at the fact that the store doesn’t carry a particular brand of special plastic 45 sleeves, it took about fifteen minutes for me to receive any assistance. This, in a store the size of our car port. And once I did…

“I’m looking for something by Ryan Adams, preferably ‘Live at Carnegie Hall’. Can you point me in the right direction?”

“Bryan Adams.” He literally did that thing where you act like you’re trying to stifle a derisive snicker, but you don’t actually give a fuck if the person hears or not, because if someone earns a “stage snicker”, they deserve to know they’re being mocked. “Bryan Adams would be right over…”

“Not Bryan, man, Ryan. Ryan Adams; The Cardinals, Whiskeytown, R-Y-A-N Adams?”

“Oh, I’ve never heard of that. I’m just filling in for the owner, he won’t be back until around 5.”

At this point, I’d given up and wandered over to the punk/new wave/synth section. I was flipping through, starting at “A”, when he came back over to continue the conversation.

“Is it more mainstream? We don’t really carry a lot of things that would be considered (I shit you not, he did air quotes as he repeated) ‘mainstream.’ That would probably explain why we don’t have it.”

Heading back to the “rock” section, an act which only required that I turn 180 degrees, I started pulling records out of the shelving. “Probably not as mainstream as, say, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (6 albums here), or The Rolling Stones (17 albums!), or Prince (who I fucking love, but who I definitely consider ‘mainstream.’ 8 albums), or Green Day (only 2, but still, mainstream as a motherfucker), or The Animals, or Elton John, or Billy Joel, or The Police, or Floyd (all of whom have their own sections, in this hip little, not-at-all mainstream holy land of vinyl), but more mainstream than The Dwarves (back to the punk section now. 3 albums), or Joy Division (11 albums), or Leatherface (god damn it, as much as I want this discography there’s no way in hell I’m giving these bastards 80 dollars of my money). Forget about Ryan Adams, I’ll find it elsewhere (whereupon it occurred to him to interrupt with “We may be able to order it.” Yeah, guy who looks like the creepy doctor who worked for Wolfram & Hart on Angel, I can fucking order it too. The internet is magic, ain’t it?!) “How about Mike Patton? Anything by Mike Patton?”

“Hmmm, Mike…Patton?”

“Mike Patton. Fantômas? Tomahawk? Peeping Tom? Lovage? That Dillinger Escape Plan album?! General Patton vs. The X-ecutioners?”

“Are those albums?”

UGH

“The lead singer from Faith No More. Do you have anything by Mike Patton other than 3 Faith No More albums?”

“We have some Tool…”

“You know what? Fucking forget it, I’ll take this Beach Boys and this first pressing of Stankonia. Ring me up so I can get the fuck out of here.”

SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES!

Grind…

Everyone’s assholes, I don’t even give a fuck anymore. The entire world, especially this country, is going to shit because people are either too stupid, or too worried about offending others, to stand up and say, “Maybe the problem is y’all are just fucking retarded.”

Is your kid a whining, hyperactive, complaining, misbehaving little waste of oxygen? It must be ADHD, that’s what the doctor, who’s making money off of you AND the pharmaceutical companies, said; doctors wouldn’t lie, right? It couldn’t possibly be that you’re a bad parent; never correcting them, letting them subsist on a diet crammed full of sugar, telling them over and over again just how fucking special they are. The thought alone is ridiculous! It has to be a disorder, there’s no way that Billy (or Mandy, or Jaden, Kimber, Sam, whatever you choose to name your fucked up little spawn) could just be a spoiled, selfish little bastard.

Who here’s been on probation? I have! It’s not fun. It’s not supposed to be. It’s a way for the legal system to keep an eye on you and make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, I.E. NOT FUCKING UP. I had to make arrangements with my employer, because every Thursday I had to make my way downtown (on public transportation, no less) and meet with my P.O. I did it, and I made it work, because the alternative (jail, motherfucker) wasn’t attractive in the least. If you’re on probation, chances are you’ve broken the fucking law. In my humble opinion, you’re happy ass should just be glad you’re not sitting in a fucking cell somewhere. From the article:

Judge Gordon declined, through a court spokeswoman, to be interviewed for this story. But in court, she offered Ms. Holmes a glimpse of her reasoning: “The whole idea is to see if you can do things like follow rules, because if you can follow rules, then that gives the court some hope that you can do things like obey laws.”

You know the worst thing about being locked up? There’s someone telling you what to do every minute of every day. If my continued freedom depended on being able to produce signed slips of paper, you bet your silly ass, come hell or high water, I’d manage to keep track of those fucking papers.

(This isn’t to say the legal system isn’t fucked up; it is. Most times these days, in cases like this, it seems like it’s just a way to extort money from normal, honest, hardworking people. I also have a HUGE problem with people being sentenced to faith-based recovery programs, church and state and all that. The fact remains, this woman broke the law, she didn’t do what she needed to do to remain free, and she paid the price. This isn’t a story about a maligned, innocent victim; it’s a story about someone who didn’t do the minimal shit they needed to do in order to continue enjoying their freedom. This is especially relevant to me because I just discovered that a friend (of S.’s), a straight, white male (not that it should matter, but every-fucking-thing boils down to race to so many people these days I figured I’d throw it in there), JUST served sixty days and had his license suspended for the exact same thing. His lawyer (not a public defender), like any good attorney, even requested PBJ, to no avail. So fuck you, spare me, actions have consequences. If you’re not willing to pay the price…)

AMERICA! Where you can be too rich to face the consequences of your actions, but not too crazy

Pretty soon, no one (unless you’re poor, or crazy, or just too subversive) will have to accept consequences. Won’t that be a perfect fucking world.