Storytime: A Simple Explanation.

June 8th, 2011

No, what’s with that face you’re making? Don’t give me the silent treatment here, I don’t take passive-aggressiveness well at all, young lady. I’ve been waiting tables in holes like this part-time on and off for years, and you lose patience with bull pretty damned fast.
Really? Oh for goodness’s sake, you need an explanation for THAT?
Well, if you insist… what the hell do they teach you people in schools nowadays. Here, budge up and let me take a sit-down.

So, the issue started when I woke up five minutes early today. I shut off my loud-ass alarm before it could go, and unbeknownst to me, my upstairs neighbour sort of relied on that to wake her up for work in time – I think her name is Stephanie or something. Anyways, she slept in for two hours and only woke up when her cat bit her arm so he could get some breakfast, and didn’t check the clock until she was done waking up, kicking him, and feeding him.
So Stephanie went in to work – hours late – and when her boss saw the scratch marks all over her arm and heard her half-assed excuses for the time she thought that Stephanie was the burglar she’d had to chase out of the store after-hours last night – landed a good buncha punches on the intruder’s arm with a stapler. Boss-lady’s a bit paranoid and jumpy and living on more caffeine than sleep (comes with running a coffee shop, I guess), so she just freaks out in Stephanie’s face, Steph yells at her, and then before anyone really knew what was going on half the office was fighting the other half. Total sum of injuries was in double digits.
Well, one of the secretaries there – Charlotte, I think – was just about due for lunch break, so she takes advantage of a built-in excuse to leave and heads out for her bagel early. But the morning rush hasn’t really died down yet and she gets stuck in a crowd, where some crazy dick steals her purse. That’s even worse than it sounds because she was planning to pay her sister back that big loan she took out before she had to have Charlotte’s kneecaps snapped later in the evening.
Hey, you got a light? Thanks.
So, Charlotte needed ten thousand dollars, and she needed it fast. So she went to her bank, tearfully pleaded with them, was redirected to the ATM, and, well, went a little postal. Ripped off the closest cashier’s stocking, threw it over her head, and held her hostage with one of those horrible little pens they make you write with in there until they opened up the vault. The whole thing was over pretty fast, except for the car chase. Charlotte doesn’t have a license – she’s environmentally conscious and uses public transportation – so it started off a little rocky, but by the ending nobody’s speedometer was in double digits anymore and the highways were being cordoned. Pretty satisfying all around, I say, especially for the officer that finally took her down – Margaret, that was her. Never “Marge,” was real firm about that – “sounds like margarine or the Simpsons character, or maybe a withered little ninety-year-old lady with prune breath.” Yeah, Margaret shot out her tire, let her skid into a barricade, and then handcuffed the arm that was still working. Poor Charlotte. At least her sister took pity on the whole thing and decided she’d learned her lesson enough – and I think she hired a lawyer for her free of charge. Said she’d make a good getaway driver once she figured out braking.
Margaret didn’t take the whole thing that well at all; she went straight to the bars after work, got real maudlin, and ended up going home late with three other women. One of them – Candice? – got up at five in the morning to take a piss and tripped over…uh… was it Margaret’s cat, her own feet, or both? Both. Yeah, both. Anyways, she tripped on them and managed to set off the fire alarm, which put me (this was my apartment building, didn’t I say?) and about a hundred other people out on the streets a bit early and pretty damned surly. And to make matters worse, one of the girls with Margaret ran into her friend-with-benefits in the crowd – Tammy, yeah – and Tammy got all snide and snippy. Bit of a prude, she always was. A very good hypocrite though, as the girl pointed out. Well, that turned out a mite uglier than it might’ve, but Margaret still had a pair or two of cuffs lying around (can’t imagine why, can you?) and the whole thing was smoothed over fast enough.
Tammy wasn’t a fan of her jail much, and she used her call for a lawyer. Of course. Problem was, her lawyer was busy with Charlotte. And when she told Tammy so, well, Tammy broke the phone. And guess who got called in to fix it the next morning, huh? My sister, Antoinette. And guess who found her ex-girlfriend in a cell for punching up half a bar? Antoinette. Hey, while you’re at it, guess who hadn’t told her ex-girlfriend yet about the ex-girlfriend part? Antoinette.
Got a smoke to go with this light? Aw, thanks, you’re a sweetheart.
So they started fighting. A few snide remarks, a few hurtful comments, and by the time half an hour had gone by the phone was half-fixed and ignored and they were screaming – Antoinette about how she’d never called her back after she let the iguana starve to death, and Mary about how Antoinette had always been too fat.
And after that Antoinette felt so betrayed and used that she just snapped out the first thing that popped into her head, which was that Mary’s quasi-incestuous relationship with her step-brother that she’d confided in her was in fact non-incestuous because she knew for a fact that he was adopted, which just about completely ruined the whole thing for Mary on the spot. Poor kinky thing crumpled like cardboard and started crying, and that got Antoinette booted out.
Now, since she was tired and cranky, she phoned me up to whinge about it. Only now I was busy working my other job, which involved driving, and I ended up rear-ending some SUV-driving twit who decided that slowing before braking was for the little, insignificant people. Put my fist in her teeth and cracked a knuckle, so me and the car both had to go separate ways for repairs.
While I was at the hospital, the doctor received a phone call from Stephanie – her best friend – about how she’d just been fired, got depressed, and perked herself up before the surgery with a hit of something she’d written her own prescription for. She must’ve slipped a bit too much, because she sort of confused me for someone else, put me under anesthetic before you could say kiss-my-ass, and I woke up with my wisdom teeth removed and my knuckle still swollen, but with a bandaid on it. The doctor was sorry, and gave me some meds to kill the swollen mouth and stop the drooling a little. So that was THAT problem solved, only my goddamned shiftless coworker needed a pick-me-up and swiped ‘em while I was in the bathroom five minutes ago. Not a problem, I think, sure I can cope. Except on the trip between the kitchen and your booth here I think I gained five pounds in pure saliva, and it was either drop it in front of me or spray it in your face.

And that’s why I spat in your eggs just now. Christ, why’s it so hard to get young people to understand something so simple.


“A Simple Explanation” copyright Jamie Proctor, 2011.

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