Stolen Wallpaper

Words but a whisper, deafness a shout

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Location: Zeeland, Michigan, United States

Hi. I wish I had a job selling squirrels. They're so furry, and give you toothy grins. Unless they're rabid, in which case they will eat your face off and then find the rest of your family. That's not so good, I guess.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Falling Out of 2006

He left the bathroom. At work. Immediately tripped over the rubber-backed rug and fell on his ass, knee scraping on the concrete. Printed on the rug in giant block letters: "Be Cool! Work Safe!"

Monday, December 18, 2006

Now That's A Tasty Pickle

He was so tired. Sweat dripped down his nose and onto the lenses of his glasses; he set down the knife, took them off, and wiped them on his big red loser-shirt of shame. It was 5 AM, and he was nearing the end of his shift as a night stocker at Meijer. $7.50 an hour, at the age of 30; life was devolving backward. No more money, no more sex, no more fun. This job, Saturday nights, was penance for burning all that damn gasoline over the years. One day off a week, and he usually went over to his mother's. Apply L to forehead and affix securely.

He was working aisle 6: ketchup, mustard, soup, salad dressings, assorted condiments. Up the little ladder attached to the cart to put things on the top shelf. Down on his knees, squinting at the tiny tags, trying to match the six digit product codes on the shelves to the cases of product. On his knees now, knees hurting like a bitch in fact, unable to find the slot where this stuff goes for the life of him, head pounding sweat pouring gawd I gotta lose some weight. Finally he turned to the guy working a little further down, and said, "hey, where's the polish dill hole?" Only after it left his mouth did he hear how it sounded. The other guy actually let his jaw drop in disbelief, then let out a series of guffaws. Blushing profusely, he had no option but to turn back to his work. Unintentional ethnic slander was just another part of the price he had to pay for his youthful transgressions.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back To The Future

Down the hill, round the rill, Pickles and Flea,
And following fast is Fossil and me.
Leap, Lily, leap! With lumpishing jump,
Deat old Potater is caught in the pump.
But here comes Motater with scissors and twine
To cut off the coattails in time for the wine.
So it's back to the home, and home from the hunt
Come Measle and Chester and Nostril and Blunt:
To go there together to gather in glee
While the lamp of the evening lights limply the lea.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

I Got Pictures, Candy, I'm A Lovable Man

He drove. Slowly, carefully, suspension creaking and groaning from all the extra weight it was ferrying. It was July, he was about wrung out from the oppressive heat, and all he wanted to do was give up and go sit in the house in front of a fan to wait for the liquidators. But for some reason, he persevered.

There had been a massive recall at Bil Mar: several people had died of listeria poisoning. The factory was shut down; since he was part time, he was shown the door till it was safe to pack meat once more. To make ends meet, he was delivering phone books. Every day, he drove to the warehouse, loaded up his car, and headed out to a different neighborhood. Every book had to be stuffed in a plastic bag; the good routes had hooks attached to curbside boxes that he could hang the book on, and the bad routes had mail boxes or slots up on the house. At these homes, he was supposed to get out of the car, walk the book to the front step, and set it down gently. Since he was getting 27 cents a book, this was not exactly cost effective. So he tried mightily to hustle rural or suburban routes with the handy hooks. If a route he delivered was discovered to be substandard, he could be docked or even not paid. It was a lousy-ass way to make a living. Most of the other people who were doing this job worked in teams, or had children-slaves to stuff bags and run to doorsteps. He was flying solo. Of course.

On this day, at about 5 PM, he was dead tired. He'd delivered all the books he had bagged in the front and back seats, but could not remember for the life of him whether he had any more bundles of books left in the trunk. A small boy was passing on a bike, here on this subdivision street. No sidewalks, no curbs, rural mailboxes. He rolled down his window and popped his trunk. "Excuse me. Could you please tell me if I have any books in my trunk?"

The boy was about eight. He looked at him, then at the open trunk. His eyes got wider and wider; his mouth opened, and a wail began then spiraled into panicked shrieks. He turned his bike and pedaled away as fast as he could, shrieking.

He hadn't exactly thought it through, had he? It had never occurred to him that instead of appearing to be what he was, a dead-tired dead-broke redneck in a beat-up Buick trying to earn an honest living, he had appeared to this small child as a sweaty, leering kidnapper. He decided that this particular route had better be finished another day, as he did a U turn, burning a bit of rubber as he fled the scene of the non-crime. Why couldn't anything ever be easy?