The Beach on the Corner

“Dude! Then the lady throws the apples down and starts cussing out everyone in the store. It was crazy. There she was damn near naked, wearing fancy underwear and parts of some Cosplay costume. Fucking tossing apples around the store.

Everyone was ducking. If they poked their head up they would get hit with an apple. I was hiding behind the dry bulk area, laughing my ass off.”

 

Did anyone do anything, I asked.

 

My brother answered, “Not a thing. What could we do? She walked in and went directly to the produce section and when the manager approached her she started throwing apples. I was coming off break and walked in to this mess.”

 

That’s insane. What character was she dressed up as? I hope it was Sailor Moon. Is Sailor Moon still popular?

 

“How the fuck should I know? Am I the crown prince of Cosplay?”

 

You’re right, you’re in to Furries.

 

“You’re a dick. Anyway that is not why I called. Guess who called me last night?”

 

Wait, what happened with the lady throwing apples in the store?

 

“Nothing. The cops came and arrested her. She screamed crazy shit as they took her in. I think she was on something. I bet she was at that rave down at the beach last night. Those rich kids party all summer down here and throw all kinds of themed parties. One night it’s Cosplay, another night it’s Pimps and Hoes, and the next is Jersey Shore. Which is funny, cause these asshats are straight up the West Coast Jersey scum. So, guess who called me last night? Well, they did not call. They messaged me.”

 

I have no idea. Was it from distant past or recent past? Guy or girl?

 

“Fuck it, you’re not gonna guess it. It was Big Tim.”

 

Big Tim…

 

I had not thought about him in almost 20 years. Seriously, Big Tim, I thought he had died or was in hiding in South America or something.

 

What’s he up to, I asked my brother.

 

“I have no idea. He wrote to ask for forgiveness. He lives in Washington State. He has a couple of kids and is married.”

 

I sat there silent for a while. My brother was on the other end and kept saying my name, over and over. I was stunned. Hearing his name brought back a lot of memories. Nothing bad, well say for that prick, Todd, who sucker punched me at the arcade. I have a lot of good memories that flooded back. Things I had not thought of in years.

 

“Hey! Dick! Are you there? Did you hang out on me?”

 

I hear my brother’s voice and it draws me back to reality and from my past. “That’s crazy”, I say. Are you gonna call him? If you do tell him I do not hate him and whatever forgiveness he is looking for from me he has it.

 

“I will. Well, I gotta go. I need to get back to work. That crazy lady messed up the store really good.”

 

I said, “Later” and hung up. I sat there silent in thought with my past creeping back up on me. The faces were the first to return. Then the names to match the faces. Then the memories flooded back in.

I saw Big Tim’s face. He was a mountain of a man. He was at least six and a half feet tall and well over three hundred pounds. He was a big ball of muscle layered in protective fat. He was the most loyal person I knew. He stood by his friends, always.

He did not drink much. Which was good for us. We drank a lot. He protected us. In an overly simplified way he was our Lennie. We loved him for it.

We used to hang out at his house all the time. He had a pool and a covered patio where we would assemble all summer. It did not hurt that he was only two blocks from the mall. We loved going to the mall. It was our palace.

Big Tim was the glue for so many folks. The circle of friends we had all orbited around him and his house. There was Jermaine or “Big Willy” as he liked to be called, who was the star linebacker at the local public high school. He had a big heart as well. He and his brother, Chico, lived across the street from Big Tim. Chico got in to trouble a lot. He was a schemer and dealt the drugs he did not use himself.

There was Thor, who lived in his mother’s garage. He could live there as long as he kept up the pool and tended to her prized roses. He sold shoes at the mall and slept with most of his co-workers. Seriously, he was the first bi-sexual person I knew.

Brian (AKA, Fredrick) was an Iron Maiden loving hesher that lived a few houses down from Big Tim. He was a few years older than us and drove a supped up Chevelle. He thought he could play guitar. We would listen to him play so we could drink his beers.

There was Mike. He looked just like John Oates in his heyday. He was the only one of us with a mustache. He and Brian rocked mullets. Only Mike had the stache. He worked at the mall and was a really nice guy.

There was the D & D crew that played at Big Tim’s every Friday night. Jason and Robert. Robert was the Dungeon Master and Jason was the resident Salacious Crumb. Robert was the smartest person I knew. He was pursuing a career in robotics. He was our age and already in college. Jason was pursuing a career as a professional soccer player. His only problem was he lived in the US where no gave a shit about soccer.

 

Then there was the parade of Big Tim’s older sisters friends. It was as if every stereotype and assumption the late 80’s and early 90’s made were friends with Big Tim’s older sister and her aqua GEO Storm.

Hulk, Golf, and the Antics of One

The sun peaks through my blinds and grazes my face. Its warmth is welcome feeling. I stretch like a cat and reach for my phone. I notice I missed a call late last night. I am no longer  a night owl. I try to get to bed by 9:00PM most nights.

I am not familiar with the number and check the voice mail left by this mysterious caller. “WHOOOOO WHO! Answer the phone mother fucker! It’s Mon. We’re at The Crown hanging out. Where are you? Get your sorry ass down here and hang out.” Then there was all kinds of commotion, yelling, cussing, & general riff raff. Then they hung up.

I was pleased to miss the call. I did not want to go out last night. I am exhausted. I work at the damn bar anyway. I quit drinking a few months ago. I get out of bed and put on my shoes and go outside the dorms to a picnic bench. It is about 8:00AM on a Saturday and the campus is really quiet. Most of the residents are sleeping.

I pull out a cigarette and light it. The cool morning air surrounds me as the cigarette smokes collects around me, creating this highlighted cloud around me of toxic cancer causing exhaust. I love smoking. I smoked for seven years before I quit in 2001, right before 9/11. August 27, 2001 at 8:47AM I quit for the first time.

Then in March of 2005 I picked it up again. I never intended to start smoking again. It was almost a n accident. I was a missionary in Kenya and many of the men I traveled with smoked. They said it was mostly cause the smoke kept the mosquitos away and lessened their chance of getting malaria.

So, I began to carry a cigarette in my hand to keep the mosquitos away. Then a few trips to a smoke filled Nakuru and I was smoking again. I love smoking.

These early Saturday mornings offered a respite from the rigors of class as well as from the intense Austin heat. I enjoy them. I love the stillness that surrounds them. This silence was broken by joggers, a random UT student, and the occasional seminarian looking for their mail. I was its smoking watchdog.

Out of no where I heard, “What’s up mother fucker!?” It was Mon. What was she doing up this early. They had to have stayed out late. Her voice message was left around 12:30.

She pulls out an American Spirit and joins me on the bench. “Watcha doin’?”

I continue to make my toxic cloud and offer up, “Nothing. Just enjoying the morning.”

Mon proceeds to share about the antics of last night. That Jensen got the bar to sing “Dreamweaver” when it came on. He stood on the table tops and pluck starts out of the imaginary sky. Then “Bohemian Rhapsody” came on and the bar broke out in that tune lead by Forbes doing a strip tease to the rockier parts. All in all is sounded fun.

Mon then invited me to go play golf with them. I don’t play golf, Mon. The last time I touched a club I was rocking a Happy Gilmore at the driving range and broke 2 rental clubs. The place was some where along the 101 Freeway in Calabasas. The owner let us bring in a cooler full of beer and shot all night. I am not a fan of golf.

Mon begged me to go along. I would complete the foursome, Jensen, Forbes, Mon, and I to go golf? I agreed but demanded that I drive the cart and I was only carrying four clubs like a golfing ninja.

Mon told me to hurry that Jensen and Forbes would be there any minute. I ran inside showered and put on my best golf attire, cargo shorts and a t-shirt that read, “Show me your TETS!” that I got made after I passed Winter Hebrew Camp. I bolted out the door to the waiting crew.

There was Forbes in his hillbilly four-wheel drive, raised monster truck playing Rush or Journey with Jensen jumping around the bed of the truck performing his version of Ka Mate to the music and Mon still on the picnic bench smoking that god awful American Spirit. I walk over and climb in to the extended cab. Mon puts out her Spirit, Jensen climbs in to the cab and we are off like a rocket.

The Last Night of 2007 in the Stitt Library

I have worked here in the library for less than a year now. It has been an interesting time. The Mondays with RTQ and the Wednesdays with MF Dees have provided some fond memories. Y’all have read about some of them on this very blog.

This being the last night of the year of our Lord of 2007 MF Dees and I thought it was apropos to celebrate the evening with some sort of milestone or marker if you please. We decided to not check out any books this evening. In an Ebenezer like move we locked down the shelves of ye olde Stitt and fashioned a sign proclaiming that the library was no longer able to lend its contents due to an accounting error by one Bob Cratchet.

Giggles ensued. Some snickered and jeered. But dear friends it was Dees and I that leered! We went on our way so merry and gay. Scribbling and writing the papers that were due. People passed and went on their way. But not one book was checked out thus this day.

The juniors dared not step foot in the night toward the library as it stood o’ so bright. A few middlers were there with exhaust. Seeking confidence that all was not lost. The seniors present were only but two, Dees and I present would have to make do.

Wishing for a fireplace in this space, we lamented the fact that we were cold. Out of no where like a fierce crashing bear. Someone was standing with book in hand seeking to liberate it from this land.

Dees and I looked at each other with a puzzled and perplexed look. We gazed at the sign which was made with great care, to ensure it that it was indeed still there. Back to the fellow with the book.

Have you read the sign was our general reply. Which was meet with a blank stare. I need this book for a paper that is due, will you please not make haste. For I have not a second to waste.

Did he not see the sign that is there, placed with gentle tender care. The library is not here to lend any of its stuff this night. Please take your hand away, I asked with delight.

You may beg or plead I will not be swayed. Not one book shall leave here under my eyes. He steamed and stammered and started to speak. Then there it was fleeting his breath it did reek. I stood up from the stool I was sitting in. I leaned over and pointed you freak!

He backed away and clinched his fist. I offered my chin so he would not miss. With all might and glory he did unleash, his hand sent flying in hyperspace. I blocked it with the same book he tried to liberate…

I startled myself as I woke up. With drool on the desk and red of my cheek. I laughed at myself for what I had dreamed. A battle royal that happens in the Stitt. That is not possible after that last time the robots attacked RTQ and I.

I was dreaming and stuff. It was not real. I thought to myself. Man I need to go home and watch Farrell’s Elf.

But seriously folks we don’t want to check out the books. So do us a favor tonight and stay away from here. Perhaps we’ll close early and go get a beer.

Just another night in el biblioteca…

It is 5:45 pm
RTQ and I are board. So what do we do? We call up some friends and decide to have a Texas style luau in the reference room.

6:10 pm
We make a fire in the old chimney in there and get the coals going real good. We prepare the side of beef to roast. We prepare sausages from Elgin, Brisket from Leander, ribs from LLano and Luling. We got potato salad from Yokam, ice cream from Brennem, and even corn from somewhere in Oklahoma.

6:35 pm
Folks began to gather at the circulation desk for festivities to begin. RTQ stands on the desk and offers up a roaring speech. The masses get hungrier and more determined to celebrate with glorious passion. Rainbow Peppermint hollers into the air, “Lick yer chops, it is going get ugly up in here!” It was received with laughter and a massive “Whoop!”

7:10 pm
The fire is roaring and the libation is in full effect. We dance the meats upon the flames and do the twist as our singed forearms seek shelter from the holy heat. The smells of roasting meats fill the air with merriment and adulation surrounding us the celebration went on. The tables and chairs were filled with revelry and revelers all making sure that joy was felt in these days so broken with stress and longing for rest. Prayers of joy and thanksgiving where sent up. Poems of Gods goodness were read. Songs were sung in praise all for this roasts merriment days, as they were here, they are upon us.

The chants of “rest, rest, my good and faithful servant”, rang up from the crowd. Smiles and glee fashion us a people of joy and pure gratitude. Someone called one professor, then another, and then more. All were invited to Stitt to be joyful and praise God.

7:30 pm
There are now 150 people in the library filled with joy, liberty, spirits, and soon meat. I see Deans not of the James variety. There are student from UT and surrounding kingdoms. I see man, woman, and children all thankful and warm. There are residents and non residents, along with those in between. There is joy as far as the eye can see.

7:47 pm
The police show up…RTQ has worked some magic! The fuzz stay and join in the fun. They are totally McLovin it up! The roasted meat in waifing all over the biblioteca. I am loving this night. I am told that Damien Rice is in town and that we should call him up. I call bullshite and someone makes a call that I assume is bullshite.

8:30 pm
I am fully engaged in the festivities when a meek little Irishman comes to the circulation desk and I ask him to sign in and show ID. It turns out to be Damien Freaking Rice! I called bullshite and it was true. See what happened when you assume! I angle to receive Freddy Kitchens blunt force trauma to the south side of me. OUCH! Mr. Rice is announced and preforms an acoustic set as we all delight in his melody and passion. He swoons even the most hearty of lads.

He plays for the rest of the evening. He did an amazing duet with Foscoe of “Redemption Song.” There was a beautiful rendition of “Come thou Font” and “Hey Jude.” It was splendid!!! I am the luckiest boy in the world.

I sure am glad I came to Austin Seminary rather than Princeton, McCormick, or Columbia. When did y’all get to see Damien Rice preform in the biblioteca and eat such tasty meats?

10:00 pm
RTQ and I close the biblioteca after cleaning up. We depart and thank God again for the wonderful evening.

Another night in biblioteca

Tonight I am working on my paper on postmodern understanding of a call to ministry. It is been a wonderfully fulfilling experience to research this topic. I have loved reading the stories of all the contributers. Anywho, RTQ keeps trying to get my attention.

First he blows spitballs in my general direction.

Then he makes that noise from Dumb and Dumber.

Lastly he jumped on my back and demanded my attention. He tried to get me in a choke hold and then into a guillotine choke. I began to lose air and almost fell to the ground. I flipped RTQ to the ground.

I call out my magic words…cloak me in righteousness oh, Lord!

Suddenly I am clothed in my mecha battle suit. I charge at RTQ an lay a barrage of rockets. RTQ rolls away and pops up also clothed in a battle suit.

He fires a laser that takes out the circulation desk I have been hiding behind. He then flies up and fires round after round of small arms fire at me. I burrow underneath the title floor and pop up in the second floor and charge at RTQ with my vibrosaber and cut through the copier. RTQ bolts to the door. I cut him down with a flying fist of shame. RTQ bloodied and hurting lies in a pool of blood.

I claim victory and return to the smoldering desk and type this little ditty…BOOM!!!

RTQ just fired a thermo seeking TEVA bomb. It is on its way towards me…

I am sorry for destroying the Stitt. No need to come into work tomorrow. For MechaRTQ and Robo McVulgar have laid waste to the biblioteca…

One night in biblioteca

RTQ learned how to make a widget. I think it is a widget to read the unsuspecting minds of those ever threatening Sasquatch hunters that roam the night air of Austin. I thank God for men like RTQ that wrestle the things that go bump in the night.

Rainbow Peppermint (a new addition to this sage in the biblioteca) came in and photocopied a bunch of stuff in Greek, Latin, and/or Sanskrit. I think she is writing a dissertation on the things people make up when they do not understand a language. She tried to talk to us about the high price of sour milk in southeast Asia and the effects it may or may not have (this opinion wildly differs according to ones political persuasion) upon the southern Ural mountains. I personally think she has had a bit too much wine.

I shared this opinion with her and she laid into me like a sailor. It was one profane description after another. She expelled vulgarity like she was a waist gunner mowing down folks in one of those war movies. I sat there shocked and dismayed. I could do no more. I put up my thumb and bit it. She went crazy!

“DO YOU BITE YOUR THUMB AT ME SIR?!? ” She replied.

I returned her volley with, “YES! I bite my thumb. Sir”

“DO YOU BITE YOUR THUMB AT ME SIR?!? ” She replied.

“Yes, I bite my thumb, but at thee?” I offer.

“DO YOU BITE YOUR THUMB AT ME SIR?!? ” She exclaimed in a raucous voice that was filled with every bit of heaven and hell. A voice so loud God arrived to quite the disturbance in the biblioteca.

“Lo, my thumb is bite but at thee?” I deliver a peace offering…

With the sailor exhausted from sailing the vulgar ocean of plenty she returned to the foreign study of language of yore.

RTQ I noticed crawled from out of the desk. He really climbed out of the desk drawer, from whence he was hiding during the vulgar barrage from Sailor Peppermint. He excused himself and went to the kitchen to microwave a corny dog. I asked him to microwave me a burrito. One so hot that God could not carry it. His reply was, “Then how am I supposed to bring it to you out of Christian love? If God can not carry it then certainly I, a humble book servant am not worth or equipped to handle such a task.”

Then a voice from heaven spoke up and said, “RTQ I have chosen you to microwave that burrito and it is I your Lord God that brought you out of Oklahoma that shall provide you the strength and thermal prowess to lift that burrito.

So RTQ did microwave that burrito and bring it to me. I pray for the strength and fortitude to eat that burrito…thanks be to God. The burrito has been vanquished.

Even Rainbow Peppermint rejoiced in this.

See you next week or Wednesday here at the biblioteca.

*all names have been changed to protect the innocent. If there are an coincidences of any living people then seriously I have not worked hard enough to protect those people and they should be chained to a tire for the remainder of their life.

It is 7:33 pm…

I am sitting at the desk of circulation in the Stitt. It is hauntingly quiet. I am writing a few papers and dreaming of sleep. It was robot night, but it got changed to mask night. Next week perhaps “Taco Night.”

An FYI…Freddy Kitchens came by to brag about the Corny Dogs he just ate. He tried to rub it in and a bum tripped him and picked his pocket. Freddy tried to run after him but was a little disoriented from the “bum rush” and he bumped into the DVD display and stepped on and broke a copy of “Mona Lisa Smiles”.

RTQ and I tried to get the guy but RTQ fell over a copy of “The Notebook” and I was taken out by a VHS copy of “Sister Act 2”. Thus the bum bailed with Freddy’s chapstick and 45 cents in change.

RTQ, Freddy, and I closed up early and went for Corny Dogs.

A night at the desk (part 2)

Then I think to myself,” you jackass! Be human and engage her. She is hurting.”

I look over at my shoulder and there is a little horned fella sitting there. He grins at me and flicks the ashes of his gigantic cigar. He then tips his bowler hat at me and winks. He fucking winked at me!

My head is spinning. I begin to sweat. A lot, like when you slather your body with Vaseline and top that off with saran wrap, then jog a few miles. My tongue was parched. My heart thumped Brass Monkey. Then her crying stopped. Just plain stopped. I snapped out of Wayne’s World and sort of smiled as I met her eyes. They were beautiful. They were blue and deep. They were swollen from tears.

She kind of smiled back. I quickly looked to my shoulder and I noticed the little horned guy with the cigar just disappeared like in the cartoons. POOF! He was gone. She smiles at me with deliberate intention.

Choked and recovering from tears she offers her name…“my name is Cassia.”

Gareth…

She sits down near me in the empty chair. Then she wipes her eyes.

Gareth, am I pretty? You can be honest…

You have beautiful eyes.

Thank you. Would you stand me up on a blind date?

My mind races…I go back to the period of my life when I left my number in scores of hymnals and Bibles. What was I looking for? I attempted to go back there, to that place. I was hurting. I needed someone. It did not matter who or what. Just someone. To listen. To care. To be there.

No I answered. I would not stand you up if you were my blind date.

Could I be this person for her? Does she need someone?

Cassia, did you want to go on this blind date?

Yes…[a long pause takes place]

My mind wanders back…back…back. I remember my worst date. It was terrible. She worked at the GAP and I interviewed there. During the interview I decided that I was going to pursue this woman and not the glamorous fashion job at the world’s fair trade outfitters. I gave her my number and walked out. She called me that night and we decided to go out the next night.

I picked her up at her apartment. It was nice and cozy, nothing to write home about yet it was awe inspiring. We went to my favorite Mexican joint. A few beers and the house plate special later we sat there. No conversation. No spark. She excused herself to use the restroom. I waited. 20 minutes rolled on bye. 30 minutes came and no sign of her. I went up to the hostess and asked her if she could go and look in the restroom. She came back and informed me no one was there. I went back to the table and ordered a two more beers and asked for the check. When they arrived I chugged them, belched and paid the bill.

Cassia…I get off in 45 minutes. I am not blind…perhaps we can get a beer?

That would be nice Gareth. I will wait here for you.

My mind wanders again. I am unable to truly focus on the tasks at hand. I am sort of excited. She is pretty and those eyes keep haunting me. I notice a sweet smell in the air. It is emanating from her. She smells good. I feel heat on my brow…I sweat again. This time it is from excitement and a bit of embarrassment. I guess I should thank Ferguson.

A night at the desk…

The air is still and sort of heavy. It is laden with moisture and a near tropical warmness. I am alone with my thoughts at the front desk. I am just waiting for a customer to serve. I have all my duties down. I know exactly what to do. I just need someone to assist. I am an assisting mutha f$@ka!
Wait here comes someone…(Good Evening, May I help you tonight?) Her response, “yes, I am looking for Ferguson Lewis. I am supposed to meet him here for dinner.” (Dinner? Here? Ok. Is he staying here?) She says, “I am not sure. I am just to meet him here for dinner.” (So you do not know if he is staying here…could he be a student? [In my head I am thinking you fucking idiot! Who comes to eat at the seminary cafeteria for dinner…especially at 9 pm!] I will look in the guest log…he is not here as a guest and I am sure he is not a student here. What does he look like?) She says, “I don’t know. I have never seen him before. This was to be a blind date.” She slumps down and starts to pout. I see the tears beginning to well up in her eyes. She looks at me wanting me to comfort her, tell her she is beautiful or something. I can’t. I want to disappear. I want to leave. I cannot deal with a crying woman. This is my kryptonite. I am fucking weak; man…I look around avoiding eye contact. This chick is gonna cry.
She finally gets my attention and the fucking gates open up. She wails like an exile on their way to Babylon. She does that gasp, sort of breath, weeping thing. It was like ten minutes and she is still crying…I try to sneak out from behind the desk [I thought about hiding under the desk but I am a big man and I am not too swift.]. So I sneak like that fucking ninja I am. And WAM! I get caught she sort of stops crying and asks me, “am I pretty?” I got to my happy place. Oddly I am reminded of the period of my life where I would go to random churches and leave my phone number in random hymnals and Bibles in various pews in many sanctuaries across Los Angeles. I was desperate. I was very desperate. I sensed this kind of desperation on this woman’s breath. I reach out to her and say, “it’s gonna be ok…I bet he shows.” [I my head I am wondering why this chick came here. I bet she is looking for a husband.] She is dressed well. She is not bad looking and she seems very nice. She matches here accessories and outfit well.
I am exhausted to just be around her! I need to bail out of here!

To be continued.