The Shite Meister

“There’s an ass for every seat” — one of my Dad’s favorite lines (not that he made it up, but he sure USED the hell out of it!) — came back to me as I was cleaning out the litterbox this AM (4 indoor cats, not that it’s any of YOUR fuckin’ bidness!). I did the quick math — almost every day since I was 7 years old (gee, that’s 51 years, Dick!) I’ve been cleaning out a litterbox or three; now that’s one collective big mound o’ shite right there!

Like most middle-aged men who have some vague modicum of “Puritan Work Ethic” SOMEWHERE in what’s left of their psyche (and if you were born of depression-era parents, you’re GONNA have some of that PWE in your brain-soup, no matter HOW hard you try to drink it into quiet oblivion!), I do question my relative “worth” as a contributor in society (as does Peggy, about a dozen times/week!).

Bam — it occurred to me in a flash of cat piss-smell induced clarity that, for pretty much my entire slacker life, I’ve been cleaning up the shit of others; now THAT’s gotta be worth something, right?!

The 51-year litterbox cleaning run has most certainly been my “Raison D’etre”, but I would be remiss if I didn’t factor in the 3-4 years of cleaning out 3 horse stalls and one cow stall weekly (Mom went through the “Green Acres” phase when I was ~6-10 years old; yours truly got to shovel a stadium-full of equine and bovine shite from 1962 through 1966).

And we always had a dog too — before swinging a leg over the riding mower, highball in one hand and Marlboro in the other, Dad would bestow the critical task of “mine-sweeping” the yard on little Dick — woe is me if I DARED to miss/ignore a SINGLE morsel of dog poop!

If I DID, a precisely-applied brogue to the butt brought me back to my reality — “Now you get to clean that mess o’ shite from that mower deck & blade, Boy — not NOW, but RIGHT NOW!” Many was the night that I prayed to the imaginary “Big Man Upstairs” for a move to The Concrete Jungle, where lawn mowers were as rare as 15 year old virgins; alas, t’wusn’t to be…

Other than lifetime litterbox duty, I thought I was “in the clear” after moving out of the house (at 18 years old, but that’s a whole ‘NUTHER Oprah; stay tuned for THAT Wayback Visit); Mom & Dad did a “The Clampetts” and moved down South in ’76, and I had myself figgered for a lifetime of NO dogs, horses, cows, and any OTHER damned creature that I’d have to shovel shit behind; not so FAST, boy!

For reasons unknown to this VERY day, I moved from The Garbage State myownself after graduating Magna Cum Lager from Rutgers in ’78 — right down to within an HOUR of my parents! “Whatever you DO, don’t throw me in that briar patch, Brer Fox!” As luck would have it, Dad landed up with colon cancer, which he of course LIVED THROUGH (further proof-positive that only the GOOD die YOUNG!) — the recipient of a fine colostomy bag which he wore on his right hip for another 10 years of living.

Enter “The Shite Meister” yet again! Why? Because by then, Dad was too old to properly “tend to that THING” on his hip, and Mom would categorically NOT even acknowledge its very PRESENCE, being the proper Boston Society Girl that she was. Sooooooooooo…after a few futile months of trying to teach the old man how to take care of his “appliance”, all the while having their entire house smell like a pig sty because he couldn’t/wouldn’t do so, the burden of twice weekly maintenance fell on MY shoulders (figuratively-speaking, of course).

Which brings up another point — ANY man that has to change another person’s SHIT BAG with any degree of regularity gets a “bye” in the “I never have to prove my manhood in ANY other way, even if I live to be 152” club. Never EVER thought that *I* could do such a thing; and frankly, I didn’t do it alone — my good pal Jacques Daniels was right there with me!

Out I would drive, twice/week — one hour each way — to change that “thing”. And lemme tell ya’ something ELSE — there ain’t a whole big line o’ folks waiting to change out colostomy bags on smelly, nasty, foul-mouthed old men in Smalltown USA — I don’t care HOW much money you offer up!

So just call me The Shite Meister — I’ll answer to THAT! Now ‘scuse me — my 24 pound Man-Coon just launched a 7 inch mudsnake in the litterbox — I gots me some WORK to do!

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“Ours is Prettier!”

So, Peggy and I are sitting at the Newport Beach Country Club last Friday evening, having dinner & drinks with one of my highfalutin clients and his Trophy Wife (she was prolly pretty hot back in the day); we’re all in our 50’s age-wise, for the record. She ain’t too bad-lookin’, but she’s a few Botox treatments and a facelift “behind” — that’s how they roll out here, doncha know; gotta keep up with the mythical “Joneses”.

Background: Mssr. Highfalutin made about a bubillion dollars back in the 90’s, sold his company to an overseas interest, wrote into the contract that he would stay on board for 5 years as the HMFWIC (that’s Head Mutha Fucka What In Charge for the uninitiated), proceeded to do absolutely NO-THING but go into the office at around lunchtime, then go to a 2.5 hour lunch, then come back to the office and scratch his balls (’cause that’s what men DO!) for a couple hours, then go home at 4PM — and that was on a BUSY day!

It was a good play — the overseas consortium that bought him absolutely could NOT tolerate this behavior — “Uh, Mssr. Highfalutin — don’t you think you’ve been missing a lot of work here lately?” “Oh, I wouldn’t say I was MISSING it — but thanks for asking!” So they “bought out his contract” for about ANOTHER bubillion dollars, which he happily accepted; ever since then, he’s been living the life of leisure — the yacht, the cars, the country club membership, the collecting all manner of vintage “cool stuff”, etc.

Thing is — you can’t swing a dead cat out here in SoCal without knocking down TWO DOZEN guys like this! Anyway, we’re finishing up dinner, we get our after-dinner espressos — when some Barbie-doll PYT sees our hero sitting at the table, shrieks out his name, comes running over to the table with open arms, and slaps a slobbery wet one in the general vicinity of his pie-maw; then she turns to Trophy Wife, giggles, waves, and prances off…

Now — three out of the four of us at the table are slack-jawed; I don’t know about YOU, fair reader(s), but that don’t happen to ME too much! We’re all lookin’ at Mssr. H, especially TW — she’s about to bus’ a seam outta her last facelift with her look of accusatory inquisitiveness.

“Well — what was THAT all about?!” she queries. “Oh her — that’s just my mistress”, Highfalutin says with a shrug & a casual wave-off. “Your MISTRESS?! Well — you can COUNT ON hearing from my lawyer first thing Monday morning” Trophy Wife snorts.

“O.K. — if that’s the way you wanna play it…” Highfalutin says with (another) shrug & wave off. “Of course, things being what they will, that means no more country club membership, no more new Mercedes ever’ year, no more summers in the French Riviera ever’ other year, no more tennis lessons, and like that…”

Table gets silent; Peggy & I look down at our respective footwear — UNCOMFORTABLE!

Just about then, the elevator door to the club mezzanine opens up — out strides a barrel-chested, tanned, late-50’s Stud Bolt, complete with late 20-something Barbie Doll hanging on his arm — our table collectively swings our glance over in unison.

Trophy Wife to Highfalutin: “Hey — isn’t that our friend Jack?” she asks. “Yep — that’d be him” Highfalutin answers, as he offers up a wave to Jack. “Well, who’s that on HIS arm — that’s not his WIFE!” TW exclaims. Highfalutin squints, then answers: “Nope — that’s Jack’s mistress”. TW looks back over at the duo, focusing in on Barbie. “OURS is prettier!” she says.

There it is; once again, it’s all about your priorities, ain’t it?

The “Wheels” of Commerce, Part Deux…

[see Part 1]

…So — after scratching our respective ball sacks, looking around in EVERY possible direction including UP, then looking stupitly at one another for about 30 seconds, my buddy straddled his bike, looked me in the eyes, then looked down at his vacant bicycle seat — I knew the drill.

I parked it on the seat, stuck a foot on each of the protruding bolts of the rear axle, and off we rode — him standup-pedaling the whole way to my house, me holding onto his hips — all “Homo Rules” temporarily suspended.

He got us home safe on “Old Trusty”, we said our goodbyes — then I waited ’til 5:00, when my Mom got home from her crappy, miserable job — so SHE could drive me around my paper route in her 1960 Pontiac Bonneville $400 car that had ~200K miles on it and was pretty much rusted through up to the door handles — think John Candy’s car in “Uncle Buck”.

O.K. — here are the “implications” of this — I am out one bicycle; my WORK bicycle — my means of continued commerce. THIS means that for the next 30 days or so, I’ve gotta wait for Mom to get home (at least Monday-Friday) from work before the papers-the papers (bonus points given to yourself for recognizing THAT reference!) get delivered to my esteemed clientele.

After delivering that day’s Newark News, Mom drives me directly to the local police station, where I report the theft to Chief Blintz — who took all the information down with all the interest of the cop in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” when Pee Wee Herman reported HIS bike stolen.

After he finished yawning & writing, Mom asked him how soon I could look for the return of my bicycle — he looked at her like she had just spewed out a bout of Tourettes. “Uh — I’d say there’s exactly TWO chances on your son getting his bicycle back — Slim & None — and I think I just saw Slim goin’ into the GreyDog Station…” Funny guy; about as funny as a man with a wooden leg in a forest fire…

So — Tuesday — paper delivered to Robert Zambino two hours late — Big Goomba looking at me with vitriol.

Wednesday — paper delivered to Robert Zambino two hours late — Big Goomba looking at me with MORE vitriol.

Thursday — paper delivered to Robert Zambino two hours late; as I walk back around behind the protruding taillights of the Bonneville, inhaling the overrich exhaust fumes that have certainly taken ~3 years off of the tail end of MY life — which is O.K., since I’ll just be pissing & shitting my own britches again for maybe 3 LESS years — thanks Mom! — Big Goomba starts waddling across the skreet; as I sit down on the cracked red leather, he raps his overfat knuckle on the driver’s window — Mom tentatively rolls it down ~2 inches. “If you don’t mind too much, Mr. Zambino would like to have a word with your son…”

I instantly void my bowels — lucky the seats were Scotchguarded. I look at Mom, she looks at me — we gulp in unison. She gives me one final look — the same look a Mom gives her son when he goes off to war; as in — “I may never see you again, so lemme look at you this ONE more time.”

I get out and follow Big Goomba across the skreet, he opens the driver’s side rear suicide door (aptly-named, I’m thinkin’) and I slide into the non-cracked, non-Scotchguarded black leather. He then throws his right arm over the back of the seat and proceeds to back the Linquine all the way UP the driveway — all the while me wondering just how many guys have taken THEIR last rides in this same back seat.

We back into the four-car garage, Big Goomba gets out, opens my door, and ushers me out to the rear patio area — where a guy is seated on an outdoor recliner, (yesterday’s) Newark News COMPLETELY obscuring his face, two more carbon-copy Big Goombas standing silently, one on each side of the seated dude, arms folded in front of each of them. Big Goomba #1 then says: “The paperboy is here, Mr. Zambino.”

As I look down at my left pant cuff and shoe to see if there is a warm urine puddle forming there, my little brain flashes to the “Cowardly Lion standing in front of Oz” scene. I continue to stand at attention for what musta been 3 whole minutes, wholly locked in place by the twin gazes of Goombas #2 & #3. I don’t DARE to look around at the back of Mr. Zambino’s house, at the Olympic-sized swimming pool that we’re right next to, at the three cabanas at one end of the pool, or at the three shiny pairs of IDENTICAL Moreschi shoes that these Goombas are wearing — nope; I just look straight ahead at nothing, and count off what must surely be my last few minutes on this man’s Earth.

Then, after the three minutes’ silence, out from behind the newspaper comes a heavy New Jersey Italian accent: “Every day for the last TREE years, I been getting my paper at TREE-fifteen. Now, the last TREE days, I been getting my paper at five-fifteen. What’s the story I wanna know?”

I pretend to “process” this; in reality, I’m desperately trying NOT to shite myself, piss myself, or pass out like the aforementioned Cowardly Lion — pretty much in that order. I speak (more like “stammer”): “Well, Mister Zambino sir — my bicycle was stolen on Tuesday sir — so I gotta wait for my Mom to get home from work so she can drive me around on my route sir — I guess it’ll be this way ’til I can save up for another bike sir.”

Three minutes of silence go by — Mr. Zambino is processing — finally: “Did you go down to the police station and tell Chief Blintz about it?” “Yes sir.” Three minutes, then: “What did he say?” “Chief Blintz said I had exactly two chances of getting my bike back — Slim & None; and he thought he just saw Slim goin’ into the GreyDog Station — is what Chief Blintz said, Mr. Zambino sir.”

This elicits the very slightest of smiles from the two Big Goombas — I’m glad THEY thought that was fuckin’ funny! Three more minutes go by; Mr. Zambino processes, then gives The Executive Order: “You tell Frankie what your bike looked like.” That was IT — my one and only encounter with either Zambino brother.

Frankie — Big Goomba #2 — takes two steps forward as a pen and small notebook appears from his right inside suit jacket pocket — I tell my new pal Frankie EXACTLY what my bike looks like. He writes it all down, takes two steps back, and then Big Goomba #1 magically reappears, ushers me back to the Linquine, drives me down the driveway, gets out, opens my door, and “waves” me out — I walk back to Mom’s Bonnie with the biggest rush of relief I’d ever had in my young life…

Friday comes and goes, Saturday comes and goes, Sunday comes and goes, Monday comes and goes; Tuesday afternoon — I get off the bus after school, I walk down my driveway, I turn the corner — and THERE, in front of the garage of my house, is MY bike! Not somebody else’s, not a new bike that is “like” my bike — MY bike. Moral of the story: “Don’t disrupt the wrong man’s daily newspaper reading session.”

The “Wheels” of Commerce Interrupted (Part 1)

“12 years old — Time for you to EARN!”, says Dad in-between highballs, as he serves up my birthday cake on that memorable day; pay no attention to the cigarette ashes in-between the candles…

My Dad was always big on “Birthday Proclamations”; in retrospect, they were NEVER EVER what you would call “Good Proclamations” neither — at least from MY perspective! Translation: “Happy Fuckin’ Birthday, Son — Now go get a job so you can keep me in highballs & Marlboros…”

At the time, I wasn’t aware of “Sweat Shop Labor” in Third World countries; nor would I have CARED — all’s *I* was worried about was that my childhood “free ride” was OVER!

After scratching my nappy, buzzcut-haircut-by-Dad-to-save-money head for a few minutes, I figgered that maybe I could hit up one of the Muntz boys and offer to “buy out” the local paper route. Now I don’t know how the whole “paper route thang” works TODAY, but back then, the daily newspaper was delivered by a kid on a bicycle.

The Muntz boys had a CORNER on the Newark News delivery in our area — there were FIVE of those rat bastards, and they passed that route down from one to the next, keeping it in the family; it was my first experience with the concept of “nepotism” .

Miraculously, I was in luck — the brother that had the route was ready to “hand it down”, and the next brother in line for the “Newark News Delivery Throne” wasn’t interested.

I made an offer, an ONEROUS “first and final” counteroffer was tendered, and I accepted. Hell, I had to work that route for six fuckin’ months before I put the first nickel of “profit” in my jeans; oh wait — in Dad’s highball glass. And yeah, I had to “pay it backward” to Dad for the six months I wasn’t FEEDING that highball glass too…

See — here’s how it worked — this dude named Al Kowalchik would drive by my house every day in his Plymouth station wagon with a bubillion miles on it, stop, open the three-foot square “box” that had been placed in front of my house, and deposit three-four banded sections of newspaper within, then lock it back up, take a gulp from his whiskey flask, and head off to the next poor child laborer’s box in another town.

I’d get home from school, open the box with my key, wipe the cigarette ashes off the banded sections (was there ANYONE who DIDN’T smoke back in the 50’s & 60’s I wanna know?), and haul ’em into the house, where I would cut the bands and proceed to “assemble” that day’s newspaper from the respective piles — National news, Local news, Sports section, Classifieds section.

I would then fold ’em into thirds, so that I could reach behind me as I neared each orange Newark News plastic paperbox, which was attached to each person’s U.S. Mailbox post, and quickly shove it into said box without dismounting.

Every other week, on Fridays, I would get my 91 cents/week times two, which was (usually) left IN the paperbox; sometimes I’d have to go knock on one of my patron’s doors and shake ’em down for my $, since many of them were either A). Sleeping off a hangover; B). In the throes of a spousal argument; C). Didn’t have the $; D). All of the above.

Part of my route just happened to include a pair of brothers of Italian decent — one was in “the construction bidness”, and one was in “the paving bidness”; I’m gonna let you readers make the quantum leap as to what their REAL bidness WAS (hint: they lived in suburban New Jersey, they were Italian, they lived in unusually large houses, there were always a bunch of cars parked in their finely-paved driveways, they were scary-lookin’).

After I’d been delivering papers at their houses for six weeks without being paid ONE time from either one of ’em, I asked the Muntz boy that I bought the route from about it — “How comes I’m not getting PAID?!” His reply: “Don’t worry about the Zambino* (names changed to protect ME from landing up in the trunk of a rented Town Car out in Longterm Parking at LAX) brothers — just keep delivering, and look for a “special envelope” around Christmas time from each one of ’em.” (Insert smile here.)

What was particularly interesting about the one brother — Robert Zambino, was that his house was at the top of a hill, with a L-O-N-G, exquisitely paved SINGLE carwidth driveway — that thing musta been a quarter mile long, and disappeared behind the house. Ever’ day at 3:20-ish I would get to his paperbox — there waiting for “me” at the end of the driveway was a suicide-door Linquine Continental with a 300+ pound mook. As I rode off, I’d look over my shoulder — the goon would get out of the car, waddle across the street to the paperbox (there was NO mailbox on the post — who knew?! Can you say “Mailbox bomb”? Sure, I KNEW that you COULD!), fetch the paper, get back in the car — and then BACK the freakin’ Linquine ALL THE WAY BACK up that quarter mile driveway! Funny stuff…

So one Tuesday, my best buddy and I decide to ride our bicycles to school instead of riding the bus — our plan was to stay over after school and shoot some hoops in the (vacant) school gym afterwards — which we did, parking our bikes around back of the school in the bike rack. Now my buddy’s bike was nuthin’ fancy — single speed, 152 years old, rusty — pretty much a piece of crap. MY bike, by comparison, was pretty nice — 3 speed, front and rear handbrakes (no coaster brake HERE!), front & rear lights, and THREE newspaper racks; hell, it was my “company car”.

Anyway, we come out of the gym after 90 minutes of shooting hoops, and MY bike is GONE! Some ya-no-dick half a piece of shit musta stolen it.

Sidebar: If you’ve never had a bicycle, car, or other conveyance that you own(ed) stolen from you, here’s what happens: You come back to where you parked your conveyance; you’re laughing, happy, prolly w/a friend or loved one. You come to the spot where you KNOW you left it — no conveyance. You look up and down the skreet — Nope. You look BACK at the spot — STILL nope. You repeat this nonsense 3-4 times — STILL nope. You commence to scratch your balls, ’cause that’s what boys/men DO — STILL nope. Your balls feel better, the rest of you DOESN’T. (To be continued…)

“M’ah Baby LOVES me!”

Time to clamber back into The Wayback Machine yet again — today we’re setting it for 1976; destination — the Suburban Transit Bus Station in New Brunswick, NJ (sidebar — We used to answer the phone “Bourbon Transit”; insert light snicker here).

I worked there ~30 hours/week, cramming that in with varsity athletics and a VERY half-assed attempt to actually GO to a few classes (I cut 67% of my college classes — I was competing with a few other notable slackers, and the competition was FIERCE!).

I usually worked the 1PM to 11PM “second shift” on Fridays, along with my friend Will, who was THE most laid-back black dude on the Planet Earth; I think he only BREATHED in & out twice/hour!

Anyway, we used to meet at the bar right next door to the bus station on Fridays to eat lunch and have a coupla beers BEFORE work — working at a bus station is categorically NOT something that you want to do WITHOUT getting your drank on first! We’d meet at the bus station at 11:45AM — the weekly paychecks rode down on the bus from North Brunswick — the “Local” that went into NYC.

We’d grab our checks, have Agnes cash ’em for us (she was “The Boss” — think Joan Fontaine in “Johnny Guitar”; it may have been Suburban Transit’s bus line, but it was AGNES’ bus station…), then we’d go next door and “get our heads right” for ~1 hour before the onslaught we referred to as “the genital public”…

Now — if none o’ you mooks has ever BEEN in an urban bus station, or actually RIDDEN on an urban local bus, I would advise you to do so — the people-watching is INCOMPARABLE!

In addition to the ever-changing cast of vagabonds that came & went through the doors, there was a “cast of regulars” — there were several hookers that lived in Jersey but worked the 42nd Street “circuit” (you could always tell a hooker — she’d ask when the last bus left NYC that evening, and when the first bus left out in the AM).

If they were having a GOOD day, they might rent a room and stay through to the next morning; if bidness wasn’t so good, they’d hit that last bus out in the evening (actually, early morning — 2AM) and sleep in their own beds, then get up at around noon and go do it again.

There were a PILE of guys that went into the OTB betting parlors in midtown, and another pile that went to one of the various horserace tracks in NY — you could tell THEM too, ’cause they always came in with their NYC newspapers open to the sports page, pencils over their ears. There were a couple of pimps that accompanied their girls — these guys worked some scams of THEIR own too.

And there were a couple bookies; guys that carried bets for the local riff-raff, and went into the city to be close to the action; it’s one of them that I’m gonna talk about…

I can call up this guy from my memory banks like it was yesterday — imagine “Huggy Bear” from Starsky & Hutch, and you’re pretty much there with me, looking over my shoulder.

Personality-wise, imagine “Foghorn Leghorn”, O.K. — got it? This guy would hit the door of the bus terminal with both hands, pushing it wide open, come striding in like he owned the place, mouth going a mile a minute.

Agnes would visibly “wince” at the sight of him — he would immediately command “center stage” as he strode through the small terminal on his way to the Men’s room all the way in the back. Then he’d saunter up to the glass and order a round trip ticket to New York, usually from Will — Will would slide it through the small opening under the bulletproof glass, then old Foghorn (I never DID learn his name) would turn around and announce his plans to his captive audience of patrons — “I gots me some STRONG action today at Belmont Park — who wants in on some of my winners?”

He would then proceed to ALWAYS bum a cigarette from some poor bastard, and go talk to “Lou” — the broken-down alcoholic Dispatcher over in the far corner; Agnes would roll her eyes at us and shake her head in despair…

So me and Will are hanging at the bar, eating our grilled cheese sangawiches and drinking our beers in pre-shift silence; Will never talked too much anyway, and today was no exception.

In strides Foghorn — he walks past our booth and raps his knuckles twice on our Formica tabletop as he swaggers by with some PYT black girl on his arm; she couldn’t have been over 18, I’m guessing he was late 20’s. He sat down on an open stool at the bar after parking his lady friend on a stool directly to his right — he ordered drinks for both of them, in-between his incessant, 85 decibel blathering.

You gotta understand something — a guy like this is just a TRAINWRECK — on the one hand, you do not WANT to look at him, see him, acknowledge him, or listen to him; on the OTHER hand, he’s just too loud, too boisterous, and too colorful to ignore!

Anyway, he is in rare form this day — making his “proclamations”, carrying on with exaggerated hand motions as he blathers to the patrons (even that ALL of them moved AWAY from him within five minutes of his parking his ass on the stool) and the “captive” bartender, who keeps checking his watch to see how much time he has left before HE can clock out and start drinking hisownself!

Meanwhile, his (new) lady friend is clearly “out of place”; she wears a look of bewilderment, wondering what she’s gotten herself into…

Now HERE is where it gets BETTER, boys and girls! About 10-15 minutes after he and his young lady friend show up, who walks in the bar but his WIFE!

Yep, this dude’s married — wore a ring an’ ever’thang. We didn’t KNOW that she was his wife when she walked in, but it was pretty easy to figger out, ’cause suddenly the air got as thick as 3 week old cottage cheese.

She parks it to the right of our duo, with one empty stool in-between her and his lady friend to her left. Can you say “squirming”? As she calmly orders a drink and lights a cigarette, PYT looks like her barstool has become a short order griddle!

Is Foghorn concerned? Hell NO he ain’t! He begins stroking PYT’s hair, shoulders and back in an exaggerated show of affection; Wife glances over at them both, then picks up her drink. PYT squirms, Foghorn reassures, Wife drinks.

What happens next happened INSTANTLY; and yet, as I play it over in my head, it seems to have happened in slow motion. Foghorn takes a small automatic pistol out of his coat; he holds it up for all to see, then he slides it down the bar, where it stops just in front of Wife. Did we really see this?!

Foghorn then begins to banter: “My Baby LOVES me — my Baby would NEVER do anything to hurt me!” (See “Brass Balls” entry below). Wife looks down at pistol. Wife looks over at smiling Foghorn and squirming PYT. Wife looks down at pistol again — then grabs it up with her left hand in a FLASH, points it at forehead of Foghorn, and pulls the trigger!

Bang — the SOUND! Jesus Henry Christ — the SOUND of that pistol discharging in that narrow bar was like a 90 caliber CANNON! The smell of gunpowder hit our nostrils just about the time that Will & I BOTH take respective swan-dives under the table; I still have a faint rug-burn mark on my left cheek.

Foghorn slides off the barstool, and we get to see him convulsing on the floor about 8 feet from us — he’s flopping around like a mackerel, the heels of his brogues rat-a-tatting out their last Morse Code message on the tile floor. His sphincter relaxes, and our nostrils are greeted with the smell of shite now mixed with gunpowder.

PYT is screaming as ONLY a black woman CAN — “Lawdy lawdy LAWDY!!” After maybe 30 seconds, Will and I cautiously poke our heads up like a coupla prairie dogs — Wife had put the pistol back down on the bar and calmly picked up her drink — I believe she DID finish it in the 90 seconds proceeding Foghorn’s demise and the arrival of New Brunswick’s finest scuttling through the front door to usher her, handcuffed, into an awaiting squad car…

“M’ah Baby LOVES me” — looks like Foghorn lost THAT bet!

“You Gotta Have Brass Balls…”

Is there a mook readin’ this blog who HASN’T seen “Glengarry Glen Ross” I wanna know? If so, please either — #1. Stop reading this entry IMMEDIATELY and go beg, borrow, steal, or just download it with a mission on your mind; or #2. Euthanize yourself IMMEDIATELY…

O.K. — I’m speaking now to those fair readers who HAVE seen “Glengarry Glen Ross” — I see you smiling now, ’cause you KNOW where (at least this next paragraph) is going — the movie-stealing 7 minute, 9 second speech given by Alec Baldwin to the sales team.

Now, if *I* was Alec Baldwin, I would be sitting home right now, cross-legged on my velvet throne, eating some cheap, disgusting but instantly-gratifying breakfast cereal (can you say “Count Chocula”?), getting high 6 times/day, and “holding court” for my never-ending stream of loyal subjects — with THAT scene on the Big Screen Tele running on an endless loop behind me — occasionally looking over my shoulder, pointed at said Big Screen, and saying — “I did that…” — followed by me grabbing a section of leg flesh/pajama pants up near my crotch with one hand, grabbing another section of leg flesh/pajama pants just above my kneecap with the OTHER hand, and saying — “This doesn’t look too BIG on ME, does it?!” Because as far as Dick Jones is concerned, THAT man don’t need to do ONE other THING in HIS life if he lives to be 152 years old — he did THAT, and that’s THAT!

Assuming we’re all on the same page here, we remember “the punchline” to that scene — where Mssr. Balled-Win brings a huge set of brass balls suspended by two cords out from behind his open briefcase, hanging in the anatomically correct place — Fuckin’-A RIGHT! The Sales Game IS a tough one; if you’ve never done it, you just don’t know, and if you HAVE, then pat yourself on the back right here & now, ’cause nobody else in the house will!

Yours truly Richard Jones has — started with selling seeds back when I was a kid (does anybody ELSE remember those ads in “Boys Life” and other mags?), through to working a “phone room” for a few months in college (where I learned the expression — “Fuck ‘im; who’s next?!” that you said out loud 952 times/day, after reading your canned spiel NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FOUR times/day and being cursed at, hung up on, and generally brow-beaten by the peeps on the other end of the line, whose lives you’ve invaded), and finally on to my first “real job” after graduating college way back in 1978 — working for an office equipment company that sold dictating equipment (Yeah, I know — you gotta look THAT one up; don’t feel too bad) to all manner of offices/businesses/practices. Doctors and lawyers, bidnessmen (and women), and many others used to dictate into a recording device (stationary and/or portable) their thoughts, ideas, and even correspondence — then the secretary would “transcribe” that into a letter, a bullet-point reminder letter for the boss, etc.

So off they send us to “Sales School” for two weeks in Chicago. Sales School consisted of 2 hotshot, Alec Baldwin-type dudes who would tag-team the class of ~15 of us mooks (men and women) for 10 hours/day, giving us a collective mind-dump of all the things that do and don’t work in “the sales cycle”; followed by in-front-of-the-class role playing/sales scenarios for the last 2-3 hours of every day (followed by ~8 hours of drinking in various Chicago bars every night, and trying to stay out of prison, the hospital, and the morgue).

You wanna talk “Tough Love” — it don’t GET no tougher than THIS, kiddies! It’s like “Boot Camp For Salesmen”; 1-2 people “washed out” within the first 4-5 days — the rest of us poor dumb bastards got through it SOMEHOW, then were unleased into the Wild, where ~50% more washed out within 90 days. Anyway, one of the days’ sessions included a discussion about “trying to win over” the sales prospect when you were in his or her office by noticing something personal in the office — a spouse/family photograph, the big swordfish on the wall over the dude’s credenza, a moosehead (think the scene in “Arthur” w/Dudley Moore & his potential father-in-law) on the wall — you get the picture.

Anyway, the premise is to make a comment about the personal item that you’ve picked out, hoping the dude will “relax”, think you’re a “good guy”, and start talking on a personal level to you; in essence, you’re hoping that he “likes” you, so that when you sink your fangs into his neck and ask him to write a check for $2K+ for a bunch of shite that he really doesn’t need, ever’body won’t feel so bad about the carnage…

So there goes Dick Jones, released into The Wild with a brainful of sales techniques, a silver tongue, and 22 years of “Jersey Street” in his quiver — like a Stranger In A Strange Land — The Deep South.

What in the BLUE FUCK am *I* doing in The Deep South, you wanna know? A whole ‘nuther Oprah, for a whole ‘nuther blog entry. First day on the job; Boss say — “Go call on ‘the good list’…” — which is a list he handed each of us of bidnessmen that were either current or past buyers of OUR brand o’ shite — the assumption being that at the very least, we wouldn’t get the door slammed in our face, and have at least a 90 second opportunity to trip on our respective dicks BEFORE we got the old heave-‘ho back onto the skreet.

After 3-4 hours of knocking on doors at office buildings, depression sets in; Dick Jones is nothing if not impatient at 22 years old. I stop in a local watering hole for a sangawich and a beer (which I proceed to cry in alittle), muster up my Cowardly Lion Courage, and head back into it — Osterman Textiles — Rock Hill, South Carolina; Joel Osterman, HMFWIC (Head Mutha Fucka What In Charge).

I sweet-talk his secretary with the suggestion of a little “pickle-tickle” after work (yeah RIGHT!), and she ushers me in to Mssr. Osterman’s office, which is approximately the size of Gordon Gecko’s office in the movie “Wall Skreet”.

As I walk the ~100 yards from his office door to his desk, his head is down, nose buried in his “work” (I’m thinking he’s got the current copy of “Penthouse” behind that big sheaf of papers he’s acting like he’s studying on; I know *I* would!); I take the liberty of sitting down in one of the two chairs in front of the aircraft carrier that is his desk.

Not a word comes from behind the big sheaf o’ papers for about 2 minutes; then he puts the papers down, looks at me in a way that only a transplanted NYC “rag man” CAN look at someone, and says — “Yeah, what are YOU peddling today that I don’t WANT?!” (Nose goes back in papers, but not before I THINK I get a glimpse of Miss August).

“Well Mr. Osterman, my name is Dick Jones, and I’m with Sparrow Fart Bidness Products…” “Don’t need any; got summa your shite right here in the bottom drawer; never use IT, so I don’t want any MORE!”

Time to pull out for an “establishing shot”: It’s after my first morning of tripping on my dick for 4 hours, it’s after 3-4 beers at lunch, it’s me thinking I ain’t cut out for this game — I’ll be turning my notice in to-DAY and summarily heading BACK to that bar, so…what-the-fuck! I espy a large portrait of a woman on the right corner of his desk, pointing mostly at him, but somewhat visible to me — I lean over and snatch it up; the papers go back down on the desk — NOW I’ve got Mr. Osterman’s attention! ‘Cause he’s looking at me like — “Did this yuck just PICK UP the picture of my wife? Is this yuck HANDLING the picture of my wife? I’ve KILLED for less!”

Meanwhile, I act like I am studying the picture intently — I’m turning it up, down, and sideways in my hands, appearing to “study” the picture with a quizzical look on my face. 30 seconds go by — him watching me in slack-jawed amazement at my GALL; me puzzling over the studio-quality picture of his beloved.

Then I look him dead in the eye — “Is this a picture of your wife?” I ask. “Yeaaaah…” he replies. “Well it’s funny — I’ve got this SAME picture, except in MINE, she’s got the donkey dick in her mouth…” Time FREEZES.

The air is instantly sucked OUT of the office; there’s him, me, the picture, the wall clock behind him, Miss August — all in a vacuum. I’m looking HIM dead in the eyes now — waiting for his response. I’m watching the second hand on the Seth Thomas — 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 seconds — nothing; not a fuckin’ PEEP.

Then — 45 seconds, I shit you not — after I uttered the “Donkey Dick Comment” — he says: “You got THE biggest set of balls of ANY man that has EVER walked into this office; whatever you’re sellin’, I’m buyin’ today!”…

$2,200.00 later, Mr. Osterman was the proud owner of a pair of “Time Commander” dictating machines — the second-highest priced set in the fine Sparrow Fart line of office equipment — and I head back to the bar, rewarding myself with the afternoon off for a job well done!

“You Gotta Have Brass Balls”, kids…

Gum – Who HASN’T stepped in it?!

Riddle me THIS, Batman — Is there a man, woman, child or dog above the age of 4 that has NEVER stepped in a nice, big, sticky piece of melted gum in their lives, I wanna know?

No; did NOT think so!

So I get outta my 14 year old SUV yesterday morning at the Albertson’s (grocery store, for those of you that don’t know); I’ve got my “purposeful” mindset goin’ on, ’cause I’m the Hungarian Houseboy — and as ANY proper Hungarian Houseboy knows, goin’ to the grocery is one of his JOBS, doncha know.

For me, I usually look forward to it; consuming goods & services is Job #2 for me, right behind cleaning litterboxes, scrubbing out toilets, and all the general houseboy tasks that I’ve assumed the duties of in order to try and justify my meager, miserable (from the outside lookin’ in), mundane-minion middle-aged Slacker existence — while all the REAL men are out there killing mastodons and dragging them home for their fam-balies to feast on.

So there I am — purposeful glint in eyes, focusing on maneuvering my way through the gauntlet of abandoned shopping carts (“Who can be BOTHERED pushing one’s now-empty cart another TWELVE FEET to the awaiting Cart Return — I got somewhere *I* got-to BE!”), half-assed parked HUMONGOUS Soccer Mom SUV’s (“Who can be BOTHERED parking straight-in — I got somewhere *I* got-to BE!”), mindless brain-dead MOH-RONS with their gaze permanently affixed to their iPhone screens while they’re walking through a parking lot full of MOVING, 3 TON Soccer Mom SUV’s (“Who can be BOTHERED to actually LOOK where they are GOING while they are walking — I got someone *I* got-to TEXT!”), when IT happens — FUCK ME!

Taz’ right — I step in a big, sticky, melted-to-EXACTLY-the-right-stringy-consistency, gob o’ gum. “Life turns on a dime”, as our friend Mssr. Big Steve Himself King said in his fine tome “11/22/63” — and that’s ‘zactly what happened to ME.

Stop EVERYTHING, go lean up against the vacant Cart Return rack (after pushing a coupla carts aside that were SEVEN INCHES from said Cart Return (“Who can be bothered…”ah, you know the rest), take off shoe, put socked foot down on nuclear-hot asphalt for 1/100th of one second (D’uh!), and examine “the damage”.

As the French would say — “Merde — Quelle Messe!” Out comes the pocket knife, as I begin whittling away at the Abstract Art Sculpture that has been created, like MOST Abstract Art Sculptures — “by accident” (sorry MoMA!).

Luckily, no one who passes by even NOTICES my semi-embarrassing situation, since they’re staring intently at their iPhone-delivered text messages…

Which brings me (at last!) to my POINT; to wit: Assuming for a minute that EVER’ man, woman, child and dog above the age of 4 HAS stepped on someone ELSE’s spit-out-on-the-pavement-with-absolutely-NO-REGARD-FOR-ANYONE-ELSE wad of gum (or maybe even stepped in their OWN on their return trip; or is that just TOO much to hope for in the way of Karmic payback?), then why in the name of Sufferin’ Jesus Christ would you spit your fuckin’ gum OUT on said pavement?!

Rhetorical question, I know — and why *I* refer to “them” as “the genital public” — the Defense rests, your Honor…