Change The Names

Not only did we change the names to protect the innocent, but we’ve changed them to condemn the guilty.
So, instead of just keeping Monica Smith’s name out of the papers for writing bad checks, which was all just a big misunderstanding and a simple math error by the bank, we’ll put Christina Bloomgarden’s name in there for drinking up and gambling away all of her kids’ college funds.
What? Monica wrote those bad checks to Christina when she bought Christina’s old car? So the college fund thing all her fault, not Christina’s.
Stop the presses. Change the names again!

Sun in your eye

My friend got married in an outdoor chapel this weekend.
Everyone was worried about the weather. Would it be too hot? Would it rain?
It turned out to be a nice sunny day.
The problem was, the seats faced West, and it was an evening ceremony. So by the time the bride and groom were exchanging rings, everybody was staring right into the fucking sun.
When the preacher asked if there were any objections, I stood up and filibustered the ceremony until the sun was down and we all could see.
The families were pissed, but the photographer thanked me.

Village of Idiots

Sappy has been the village idiot of Martinsdale for over forty years.
He’s the best village idiot that Martinsdale ever had, and Martinsdale has had a lot of good village idiots. Especially since the factory was built and began dumping all those chemicals upriver.
Folks from the government tested the water supply, and they gave those chemicals long funny names that nobody understands.
Sappy must have gotten a double dose of the stuff. He drools and howls and poops his pants better than anybody else.
The government threatens to close the Martinsdale factory. But we need the jobs.
Especially Sappy.

Showdown In New England

The Library wants to build an expansion.
The Y wants to build a pool.
There’s only money in this town to build one of them.
The Y got the jump on the Library, holding bake sales and dances.
The Library offered up naming rights. The Y’s donors called to ask that their checks not be deposited just yet.
Nobody was sure who called out who, but the next day, two directors faced each other on Main Street at high noon.
Donors lined the streets, placing bets and making pledges.
The pool got built. The Library expanded.
So did Boot Hill.

Freddy’s Fat

Freddy’s fat.
People called him Fat Freddy.
Well, not me. I called him Fred.
But others, they called him Fat Freddy behind his mile-wide back, and to his big fat face.
Nobody invited him anywhere.
So, Freddy shaved his head.
“Gonna call me Baldy now?” he said.
Nope. They still called him Fat Freddy.
So, Freddy took cooking classes for a year.
He got really good at cooking.
Now, people call him to invite him over for dinner.
“Come cook for us,” they say. “Come join us.”
But that’s not joining. That’s serving.
So, we go out for sushi together.

They tell you their stories

The judge gave me community service.
So, I’m serving the community in the old folks home.
Cleaning bedpans, washing towels and sheets.
People who have nothing better to do than sit, wait, and pray.
They tell you their stories.
We met in school.
He had the coolest hat.
I’d just come back from the war.
Sometimes, it’s not so nice.
He drank.
He hit me.
He brought this on himself.
And now they wait. They feel guilty for needing to go home to shower. Or sleep.
I do too, because whatever they leave behind, I’m bringing to the pawn shop.

The Deepest Sleep

You know how some people need noise generators to help them sleep? Rain, or seashore sounds, or a rain storm?
A fan sometimes does the trick.
I need the sound of the stock market trading floor. That cacophony of phone calls and shouting traders and ringing bells lulls me into a pleasant slumber, and I wake as rested and fresh as a new person.
The more brutal the trading day, the better the sleep.
But I want more.
A friend says they can score me an old recording of Black Tuesday.
Will it take me so deep, I won’t return?

Everywhere Data

Wireless phone companies are always showing off their maps of high-speed data coverage.
They all have every major city covered. And most have the major freeways covered.
It’s the suburbs and smaller cities which make the difference, I guess.
The prices and family sharing plans don’t really matter to me. I’m on my own.
And I don’t talk to folks much, either.
Just the data matters.
Unlimited data.
Sweet data.
As for power, I charge up in restaurants and truck stops.
Or solar panels when I’m off the road.
Anywhere. Everywhere.
I’m crushing candy.
And nothing’s going to stop me.

The Business Of Delivering

I ordered a bunch of books, then I ordered a car adapter kit for my phone.
It was sent in two boxes, both of them due Friday.
They made it to Houston Friday morning.
One was delivered before noon, but the other gave me a weather or natural disaster delay alert. Delivery Monday.
The weather was beautiful, and there were no natural disasters. So why the alert?
Okay, so the other package was delivered in the afternoon, and they apologized for the delay.
But I refused to accept the apology. Because they’re in the business of delivering packages, not lies.

The Broken Man

The university built a stadium for a hundred thousand, and DeWayne filled it every game he started.
Brought back 2 championships, too.
He said he wanted to go pro early, and the university said they wanted one more year.
“Or do you want your tutors to talk?”
He stayed another year.
They handed him a degree in finance, but when his pro days were over, he had to declare bankruptcy.
Cars. Jewelry. Houses. Child support. A crooked advisor.
It all brought him down.
What his entourage didn’t steal, the IRS locked up.
He coaches his high school now.
And weeps.