Friday, February 27, 2015

For God's Sake, It's Just Milk You Prick

The usual: woke up, made coffee, drank vitamins and took potions, and then, when the pot was ready. . . I only had enough milk for one cup.  I am not a one cup sort of fellow.  Shit.  This would require a trip to the Quickie Mart for the non-organic "blue" milk.  But not yet.  Drink the first cup, read the news, act like it is just another day.  I made it through the Times on one cup.  Put on some pants, pull on a sweater, get in the car and drive.  The world is strange to me at that hour, the hour when school children are on the sidewalks, when decent people are going to their jobs.  I have avoided being out at this time for a number of years.  The air smells different, the sounds are hollow.  Today it was gray and cold.  It looked like Ohio. 

I pulled into the parking lot of the convenience store, a dirty, crammed, semi-organized version of a 7-11.  A rack of crooked magazines crammed into metal grids.  Rows and rows of candy boxes torn open, everything askew.  Dirty cooler windows with sticker ads, dirty floors.  It serves a certain population.  I grabbed the milk and approached the counter behind which a man speaking some Arabic language into a cordless phone did not look up or acknowledge me in any way.  I stood while he continued to talk.  I thought about leaving the milk and walking out, but I didn't want to drive to the real 7-11 which was just down the road.  Then I thought about bumping the half gallon carton onto the floor.  "Shit," I would say, "what the fuck happened?"  I would drop it on his side of the counter, I thought.  More dramatic.  A poor black man walked out of the back of the store talking to himself  and swishing water around in a gallon milk jug.  I looked at the incredible array of cigarettes behind the counter. 

The man finally rang me up without ever speaking.  He charged me a hideous amount of money for the blue milk.  He handed me back my change while still talking on the phone.  I figured he was helping to plan the bombing of a local tourist attraction or resort because I am that type.  It is in my DNA.  "Kill the brutes." 

Outside, the poor black man was squirting a yellow liquid onto portions of the sidewalk.  At first I thought it was an act of sabotage.  It looked to be piss.  But then I saw him slosh out some water.  The Arab had hired him to wast the sidewalk.  He looked at me with crazy yellow eyes.  His sweatshirt and wool cap were slick with human grease. 

The store took me back to another world, one in which I grew up.  Everything was wrong.  Owners were gruff assholes who took advantage of everyone as much as possible.  Stores were piled with things in the manner you might organize your garage.  The grids were off.  The materials were cheap.  Aesthetics were unknown.  Nothing was done that was not necessary.  Weeds grew in the dirt where there might have been shrubbery or grass.  There was sustenance without joy.  Cigarettes and beer and cheap wine.  Everything in life was scruffy and smeared, a blur of constant misery.  Candy for the kids.  Swisher Sweets on Saturday. 

It is everywhere still, everywhere, of course.  I think I must go there again, must learn to navigate in the fallen world.  It will prepare me for the coming apocalypse.  It is here now, really.  No need to wait.  I can do it, though.  I will become the leader of The Rat People.  You might not know them, but you will.  They are coming to your neighborhood soon. 

I am going to have to plan better.  I can't be leaving the house for things in the morning again.  It just throws off my equilibrium.  I think I'll stay home this weekend.  In the house.  Away from the rest of the world.

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