I might as well irritate you with my phone photos as I do (fewer and fewer of) my friends. I couldn't send this to C.C., of course, as he's locked away in a sanitarium eating vegetables and drinking water. He has probably gotten through the DTs by now, but I know they will never let him leave. But let me back up, for this was the end of the tale, not the beginning.
Tale? I really don't have a "tale." That would require an exposition, conflict, rising action, climax, and resolution. All I've got is just a bunch of lines.
But let me think for a minute. Maybe I can craft something. Let me make a theme around which I can structure this. Uh. . . life can be disappointing, and yet. . . sometimes you get what you need. O.K. We need a protagonist. Me. I'm always a good one. Exposition. I started November with a resolution to be more active. I would be shedding my slothful ways. Alcohol consumption down, healthful liquids aplenty. And it began well. Up early, I'd written my blog post as the sun rose. I eschewed all internet searches of things bumping around in my head. I put on my music station and began picking up the house. I stripped the bed and got the sheets and pillow cases in the wash. When this song came on, I rushed to add it to my music library. Oh. . . of course, I sent it to a friend.
I needed to hide my two weeks worth of laziness from the maids. A week's worth of mail, various shirts and sweaters, and camera gear, lenses, cases, strobes, bags, tripods, and cameras, cameras, cameras. Not because I have been using them. I had to move them to get into a cedar chest so that I could look for something. They never put themselves back.
When the house was straight, I put on my gym clothes and strode out the door. It was early, at least for me, and it felt good to be out in the not quite fresh morning air. It was warm and humid. Not a hint of crispness. Within blocks, I had a sheen. My torn meniscus was warming up, but not quickly, and I limped my way off my street to the bottom of the big rise. A long gradual hill, if you will.
"C'mon fat boy, pick up the pace."
I may have to get my meniscus trimmed. I'm still trying to rehab it on my own. Not working so well so far. But by the end of the walk, my knee was a bit more flexible, a bit less painful.
I got to the gym earlier than normal. This was great. There would be plenty of day left. I would get started on the list of projects that has been mounting. But. . . my gym buddy was there, the one I like best. He's all Tennessee redneck, but a sophisticated Hollywood version of one. Sort of. He's a bad ass, runs ultra-marathons, owns a fight gym, goes to MMA camps. . . . But we get on well. Too well.
I saw a woman walk to the front desk. She was very pregnant.
"See that woman," I asked my buddy? "Let's tell Donny that she was in asking for him." Donnie is a real cocksman, he says. He claims to have "been with" most of the women in the Y.
My buddy was down with that.
"We need to get Tisha in on this."
Tisha is the object of desire for most of the men at the Y, young, pretty, and in possession of a J-Lo butt. She works the front desk.
"Hey, Tisha. . . come here if you can," my buddy called. She came over to where we stood. "You tell her," he said.
"O.K. Remember that pregnant woman who just came in? If Donny asks you, you just have to say yea, you think she was looking for him."
Donny has been crushing on Tisha and I got her to give him her phone number, so this was o.k. She laughed. She was in.
My buddy liked this idea.
"You won't believe this," he said. "When I was leaving the other day, I saw Donny in the parking lot. He had finished working out and was leaving. . . and he was wearing those tights! I'm not shitting you. I rolled down my window and called to him and he got all embarrassed. 'I'm going to play volleyball,' he said. What the fuck?"
We can't figure out the purpose of those man-tights that a couple fellows wear under their gym shorts. They can't be for support and they have to be hot as hell.
"We'll call them his menstrual tights," I said. "We'll ask him if he's been retaining water."
This is the dipshit dialog that slows down my workout, but hell, I hardly talk to anyone else and this is why we get along so well. Just a couple of fucktards. But after working out in the criminal steroid gym most of my life, I'm pretty good at this shit talking.
When Donny came in a few minutes later, I was looking at him with a shit eating grin. He knew right away that something was up.
"There was a woman in here asking for you."
He looked hopeful. "Really?"
"Yea. She was about seven months pregnant."
"It's probably mine," he said with no apparent distress.
I didn't bring up the menstrual pants.
Just as I was finishing up, my buddy said, "Do you think they'd let us work out with pads in here? I could bring in some pads and we could hit for an hour or so."
Where this came from, I wasn't sure. I'm guessing that since I can't run, he thinks it would be a good cardio workout for me.
"I don't know."
"I've got everything at the house. I've bags and pads. We could work out there."
My mind was racing. I haven't locked up with anyone since my accident. It scares me to think about gettin hit in the ribs or going to the floor and rolling around. But I wanted to. There is just something about banging with someone that feels good.
"Donny asked me the other day what I would do if he got me in a headlock. I told him, 'Go ahead. Put me in a headlock.' Here, do it, I'll show you."
I wasn't sure about this at all, but what could I do. I grabbed his head with my left arm and locked it in with my right.
"See, most people would try to pull away," he said, "but that would be the wrong thing. You want to go forward."
Which he did. Then, as he spun me, he hooked my leg with his foot and started to tumble me backwards, but he stopped before we hit the ground.
"Grab me from behind,' he said. This went on for awhile as I learned how to break holds I never planned on using against anyone ever. No doubt, though, he was good and scary.
"You should come over and we'll just hit the bag, throw some kicks. . . ."
It was fun muscling up with him. Am I gay? Maybe I will get a pair of those cute little tights.
Seriously, though, I am considering going.
I did not get home as early as I wanted, and as I approached the house, I saw that the maids were there. My day was going south. What to do? An a.c. guy was scheduled to come sometime after twelve, but I didn't know when. He would call first, but my phone doesn't ring if I don't have you in my call list.
I decided to get lunch. I went to the little pita place off the Boulevard to get a tuna pita with sprouts, cukes, tomato, and cheese. But it was busy and the place was short staffed. The door was open and the room was muggy. I sat at the counter for a long time. My sandwich came, but my drink did not. I tried to eat slowly, but I was more than halfway thro ugh my sandwich before I got my mango juice. The restaurant was filling up with old, pushy women. Imperious women. Demanding women. And one young woman who looked as if she had been Photoshopped. She was self-absorbed, it seemed, and placid. I didn't want to look at her, but. . . I mean. . . .
"Mohamed, did you forget my order? Where's my food? I ordered. . . . "
Sandwich gone, I sat for a very long time waiting to pay. Everything was taking too long. The day was getting away from me.
Oh, yea. . . I guess this is the conflict portion of the tale.
When I got back home, the maids were gone. I thought about going up to scrub the screened porch of the apartment, but I felt grungy, so I jumped in the shower.
After which I didn't feel like scrubbing. Besides, I was waiting on the a.c. guy to call. Maybe I could just get a short nap.
By three, the a.c. guy hadn't called. I woke to the tenant's call.
"Have you heard from the guy yet?"
"Well I need to go to the bank. I'll be back shortly."
By four, there was still no word, so I called my mother.
"I won't be over today. I'm still waiting on the a.c. guy."
I always feel bad when I don't go to visit with her, but what could I do? I decided to pour a rum and coke and smoke a little cheroot. The cat was on the deck when I went out.
"Hey, baby. . . do you want some food?"
She can be quite chatty when she wants something. I filled her bowl and sat down at the table. We ate and smoked and drank together.
Five o'clock. No call. I decided he wasn't coming, so I ordered some takeout sushi from the place on the Boulevard. I stopped at the hardware store which was only a block away to get some a.c. filters. As I walked down the aisle, I passed a locked cabinet with b.b. pistols. I wanted one. I looked at the price. Cheap enough. I ended up buying a Daisy CO2 BB Pistol and a big bunch of bbs. Call me crazy.
When I got back, the cat was still on the deck. As I set out dinner, I think she could smell the tuna, but I knew she wouldn't like the spices. She didn't leave until one of the neighbor's dogs came up to beg. He's a good dog, an Australian sheep dog, but he scares the hell out of the feral cat.
"Sorry. . . sorry," said his owner.
"No worries. He just wants to beg."
The dog didn't want to c'mon, though, so he came up and got him.
Six o'clock. The tenant is going to work out.
"I don't think they are coming," I said.
"No. If they call. . . . "
Just then my phone rang.
"Sorry we haven't gotten there yet. I apologize. The technician has one more job and then he can come."
I looked at the tenant.
"O.K." she said.
"Alright," I told the lady on the phone.
I cleaned up the remains of dinner, poured a big worm killer, and sat on the deck. I decided to load and shoot the BB gun. Jesus Christ! The thing was scary. This wasn't anything like the BB guns we had when I was a kid. With those, you pumped some air into the chamber. Kids played army with BB guns all the time. When you got shot, it stung like hell, and if you were shirtless, you'd get a pretty big welt. But this thing. . . you wouldn't want to get shot with this. It was kind of scary.
I have to admit, though, the goddamned thing brought out the redneck in me. I wanted to shoot the place up.
The tenant called.
"Listen, maybe you should reschedule for Wednesday. No. . . tomorrow is no good for me. Maybe they could come Thursday."
"When I was on the phone with them would have been a good time to say that."
"It's just that he's going to have to go in and out in the dark. . . I just think. . . . "
"Yea. Like I said. . . . "
The phone rang again. It was the a.c. guy. He said he'd be over in half an hour. O.K., I said, let me tell you why you are coming.
"It would be better if we rescheduled, then."
I texted the tenant and told her I rescheduled for Thursday.
Not much of a tale. Resolution? I was a static character. I sat in the darkening air having much the same day as I have been having. My new November start had begun badly. Worm killer gone, I knew I would not be drinking any healthy liquids. I had not developed. I had learned nothing.
I wish I could write like Joyce.
"My body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires. . . . Gazing up into the darkness, I felt myself a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger."
Vanity, vanity. . . all is vanity and chasing after the wind.
I need to take a lesson.
Who among us does not prefer a little varnish on her truth? Arrangement, emphasis, enhancement—these are the difference between a crafted work of memoir and an unreadable data dump. Only those who never get their nose near a book demand “just the facts”—
I'm afraid this has been a data dump. There is still a lot of November left. I'll try harder.
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