Moms complain about how hard life is, and the kids just don't understand. Creature comfort goals, they only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see. My thoughts all seem to stray, to places far away. I need a change of scenery.
-Boyce and Hart, Pleasant Valley Sunday
It's been peaceful and pleasant this week. My case of the blues lifted fairly quickly; the fact that about everyone I know is having a far harder time of things than I am makes my blues quite different, Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I've been worrying about and feeling sorry for my friends.
Well, mashing my hand in the door Monday morning as I was leaving for work wasn't pleasant. My Mondays are like Aurthur Dent's Thursdays, I can't seem to get the hang of them. And I think I was a little hung over Monday.
I retrieved my car's left front wheel and its new used tire, and it sat in my trunk for a few days, as my hand hurt too much to change it. I finally had Charlie change it for me in exchange for buying her a pack of cigarettes. She owes me a bunch of money.
As I was at work the phone rang - it was Charlie, who was having a bad day. It was the first anniversary of her mother's death. Her mom was a year older than me, and died of lung cancer. Charlie's mom was bald from chemo when I met her, and I attended her funeral. It was one of the very few times I ever saw Charlie in a dress.
She'd been waiting for a paycheck, and her boss had been avoiding her. I think she's been fired. So she was at the Blue Grouch, and I told her I'd bring her some McFatsfood and loan her some (more) beer money.
Tami was there, which ironically made me happy, as she was the best person to be with Charlie on that day. Her mom died a few months before Charlie's mom.
Tami was red as a beet. The blonde dumbass had been swimming with Linda the day before, and had fallen asleep in the sun. She and Charlie were pretty drunk. I left Charlie her near-food, and loaned her the beer and cigarette money, and the money for the broken window, and then went back to work.
The phone rang all afternoon. Around two Linda called and asked if I would take Tami to the hospital and Linda to JW's after work to shoot some pool. I said yes to both; Tami was really sunburned. As hurt as I was and angry at her as I was, she was in obvious pain, even drunk. And the fool had been in the beer garden with Charlie, since you can't smoke in a bar in Illinois and Charlie smokes those damned things that killed her mom. They'll probably kill me, too, even though I haven't been a butthead since 1999.
I stopped by Ralph's to pick up Linda and Tami, and Tami said she'd used an aloe plant Ralph had and didn't need to go to the hospital after all. "I know you hate me and never want to see me again," she said, "but could I talk to you for five minutes? Alone? Please?"
I reluctantly agreed, told Linda I'd be back, and went to the Grouch with Tami. I've mentioned before that this is a cartoon city; the Blue Grouch is owned by a guy named "Smurf".
"You win! I really really miss my best friend", Tami said, crying. "I'll give you what you want."
I don't believe it; I think she's trying to scam me again. "I need some time away from you," I told her. "I need time to heal. We'll be friends again but I've made up my mind that the 'home for wayward women' is closed for good. I'm not going to let anybody not related to me stay there any more unless it's a girlfriend in a monogamous relationship. I get too attached and wind up hurt. It happened with you, and with Amy, and even with Linda and Charlie."
Both Linda and Charlie had spent a week or two at my place last summer. Ralph had kicked Charlie out, before Linda moved in with him, to make room for "Samantha" and "Mary", a couple of prostitutes. The eighty six year old WWII veteran is the guy who introduced me to most of the whores I know, including "Kay" and "Annie". I consider Ralph to be one of my best friends.
Charlie had moved in with Lance, and that only lasted one night. Lance is a violent wierdo, an ex-marine with a foot fetish who likes to wear women's panties, and he's in love with Charlie, and stalked her most of last summer. I let Charlie move in with me. Two weeks later she got herself arrested for a traffic ticket. She'd not had any money and was sentenced to community service a year earlier for driving with an expired license, and halfway through the community service her mom had been diagnosed with cancer and Charlie forgot about the community service. There had been a warrant for her arrest, and one night I was drinking with Linda and Amy (this was before Linda's stint in Dwight) and Charlie didn't come home.
Linda got a frantic call from Ralph; Charlie was in jail and he didn't know why. Visiting Charlie in jail a couple of days later I learned she had asked a policeman where she could find a pay phone, and he asked her for ID, saw that there was a warrant and hauled her in.
She moved in with another guy after she got out of jail a week later. Apparently she, too, felt that we were getting too close, as the last thing we had done together was cuddle on the couch watching a movie. Later the hardass Charlie told me "God damn it, I hate you, Steve. You turn me into a powder puff girl and I swore I'd never be like that!"
Linda moved in with me when Charlie went to jail, then with Ralph after Ralph's whores, one of whom was a reformed junkie, had gone on a "double date" and left the old man alone. Charlie moved back in with Ralph after the guy she was staying with threw her out.
To a hooker, a "double date" is when you pay to have two women at once. It's very lucrative for the prostitutes, each of whom get paid two or three times what they normally would. I never saw the sense of it; I only have one dick, why would I need two women?
Wow, I really digressed this time, didn't I? All this happened over a year ago. But as I said, I told Tami she wasn't moving back in, took her back to Ralph's. Ralph's in the hospital in intensive care, his appendix had burst.
Linda and I went to JW's to shoot some pool, and Charlie called Linda wanting some help. There was a slumlord that wanted to hire someone to clean out a house he had evicted some poor children and their poor parents from, for cash money. Linda said "yeah ok but I'm shooting some pool right now."
Charlie showed up with Tami, and I gave the two of them the ride to the Ghetto. It turned out to be right next toor to where the DEA and the FBI and the local cops had violated our Constitutional rights last summer! The slumlord was who Linda and Charlie were visiting at the time; apparently they had done some cleaning work for him then, and they were there to get paid for it.
Linda wound up breaking an electric meter while removing a screen door. I wound up back at my house drinking with Tami. Too drunk to take her back to Ralph's, I let her crash for the night.
The next day after I got off work her sunburn had her in extreme pain. She was crying from the pain, and Solarcaine and naproxin wasn't helping, so I took her to the hospital.
She has second degree burns over a very large part of her body. The doctor told her he didn't know how she'd gone so long without visiting the hospital, and gave her a shot of morphine. She was stoned to the gills from the shot when I got her, and I paid the pharmacist for her prescription for demerol and let her crash again at my house that night.
I shot pool again with Linda last night. She had gotten to visit her infant, and had pictures. I swear, if babies weren't so cute the human race would have gone extinct a hundred thousand years ago. Linda's going to talk to Ralph's daughter to see if I can visit him, and she and I are going to the movies tonight.
I miss the old bastard. We're good friends; we drink together, and loan each other money when needed. I'm afraid I'll never get to see him again. Ralph's the oldest person I know, although far from the wisest. He's even a bigger fool when it comes to women than I am.