So, out I went, keys in hand. Across the way, we have a new tenant in the building. For the sake of this story, I will call her Debbie, because that's her name and calling her Ms. Retard would be mean. Well, Debbie was standing on her porch as if she'd been standing guard. "Excuse me!"
If I haven't mentioned this before, I have the makings of a good recluse. This neighborhood has a tendency to double that need, mostly because if I must engage in verbal intercourse, I prefer not to feel my partner is in massive need of protection against my use of multisylable words. I'm not saying I'm a genius, I'm saying that one point I got screamed at for showing off because I used the word, "suffice" in a sentence. I am of average intelligence I admit, but remember, in the land of the blind, the one eyed woman is king.
While I was tempted to use my deafness to my advantage and pretend I didn't hear, I figured that might be a far stretch, because our new neighbor was really screaming. (Another interesting note. The less money you have, the more likely you are to scream. I can shout beautifully when provoked, which should have told my parents from day 1 that I was doomed to not go as far as they did in life.) So, I looked up and said, "Yes?"
"Where are you going?"
"To the methadone clinic. My dealer got busted last night. Why?"
"Is there any chance you could take me to Wal*Mart?"
Well, it just so happened I really was going to Wal*Mart as well as to one of those megaultra do-it-yourself hardware places. It might have been Lowes, it might have been Home Depot, I get them confused. So, I figured I was trapped. She is a young girl with a useless boyfriend and a child, she might need something really important. "Okay, c'mon over."
She makes me wait for almost half an hour to get ready.
We finally take off. First, she pops out the casette I'm listening to (ELO) with a delightful comentary on my taste in music. "Ew, this sucks" and tunes it to a radio station that is playing music that was composed fifteen seconds ago, by folks who really sound more as if they are chatting in a monotone voice rather than singing. You know the type of music I mean, don't you?
I'm just sittin' doin' timeIt's not that I hate that type of music, well actually, I do hate that type of music, even though I have a secret like for Eminem at times. But I really hate it when someone gets into MY car and determines that we should listen to THEIR music. So, I switch the station to the classical one and give her "a look"
Got nothing t'do so I wrote this rhyme
my girlfriend is pregnant and I don't care
We live in Woonsocket, we'll go on the welfare.
She shrugs. "how long are you going to take at the clinic?"
"I'll skip it today. If I start shaking and vomiting, don't worry about it. It's a normal side effect."
"Ha ha, people told me you're funny."
"Who, I want names!"
"Just people, you know. Like Dan next door."
"Ah. Okay." Ever since I've known Dan he's been pretty much drunk the whole time. I figure he wouldn't know funny if it bit him on his ass. So, I'm not exactly convinced the neighborhood thinks I'm the next Dennis Miller.
We finally get to Wal*Mart. I need diet pepsi, conditioner, catfood, and three pastic drawers I can stack for my desk. She needs diapers, toilet paper, some CD's, new shoes, cleaning supplies, crackers, magazines, cigarettes, soap, furniture, a large aquarium, a third world nation, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves and a goddamned partrige in a freaking pear tree.
After way too long in Wal*Mart, we finally make it through the line. Yah! We go outside and load up the car. I'm not kidding about the aquarium, she really bought one. So, we cram the car.
As we're getting in the car, she says to me, "Can you take me home before you go to the home place? I don't need anything there."
Her place is about four miles away, through massive traffic. The home place is right across the street. "No, Debbie, I can't do that. That would be a waste of gas, which I have to pay for. I'm sorry, Debbie, you're stuck."
She fumes as we drive the many miles across the street. "I hope this doesn't take long."
"Me to, Debbie."
Now, what happened in the megaultra doityourself hardware store, just added the final touches to my afternoon and assured me that if I'd been smart, I would have stayed in bed today. This is getting long though, so I'll finish the adventure
Me and Fumin' Debbie go inside the store. Now, I admit I'm pretty much out of my element in these places. My ideas of home repairs usually involve masking tape or posters. I'm not kidding. When they boarded up one of the windows in our place and put sheetrock over it, rather than patch it up correctly, I bought a nice big poster of Vegeta and slapped it right over that wall. Looks nice, you could never tell that under it, you can see sheetrock and bare slats of wood. However, I did just finish painting my room, using one of those double textured rollers and two different colors of paint. I did put eighteen billion coats of white paint on my trim. I did hang up new curtains. So, I'm feeling a little less intimidated in this place. "Yeah, I can handle this!"
I have a board cut. You can do that, did you know that? You can go and buy a perfectly nice peice of wood and they will cut it to whatever size you want. And, you can even buy a peice of clear plastic to then put over your board. Again, they will cut that.
After, I stroll over to the paint department. I guess Fumin' Debbie and ignorant me sent up some type of vibes, because as I'm looking at paint (Spray paint) I get approached by a clerk.
I'm very odd. I like clerks that act as if they have one goal in their life and that is to get you what you need as fast as possible, to get you the hell out of there. If I need help, I want this person to understand that I'd rather be getting my nipples peirced with a fireplace poker than to hang in this store. I want to get my crap and get out. If I could, I'd steal what I needed, just to avoid the lines. That's the mentality I have. I don't want a chatty clerk who wants to bond with me. Hey, just cause you're stuck in this store, doesn't mean that I am. Give me the help I need and let me go. Most clerks in this area appreciate this attitude. Cause let's face it, many store clerks act as if they'd really love their jobs with a passion if it weren't for us annoying consumers coming in and disturbing them.
But, you do have the rare clerk who just won employee of the month. The guy who everyone loves. The guy who acts like he's got all the time in the world, and he'd like nothing more than to spend it with you. The guy that won't be happy until he feels he's fulfilled every one of your shopping needs this afternoon.
I hate that guy.
Guess which type of clerk I got today? Wait a moment, I can't call him a clerk. Someone like that must be properly titled. He is... a sales associate. My heart is racing now.
He comes strolling up. "Beautiful afternoon, isn't it ladies?"
Fumin' Debbie smiles. She so easily taken in by fake charm. I fix a baleful stare on Mr. Sunshine and shrug. "It was a great afternoon till my probation officer called. "
"So, what can I help you charming young ladies with today?"
This clerk is young enough to be my child, easily. Debbie is probably five years older than him. He doesn't even shave every day. Yeah, he's rackin' up the big points in my eyes.
"I'm with her," Debbie says. "She's the one who needs help."
I smile at Mr. Sunshine. "Lots of people tell me that."
"Well," he says (and I am NOT making this up.) "Lots of folks need help but are afraid to admit it. No shame in admitting you need help. After all, there are no stupid questions, right?" And then he winks as if he's God and just imparted some valuable pearl of wisdom upon my stupid, fevered little brow.
I'm thinking to myself, Must fight... urge... to... strangle..."
Debbie grins. I'm sure she's been waiting all her life to hear that, because I'll bet she's the queen of stupid questions. Now she has a snappy comeback to toss right back at 'em. "Oh yeah? Well a clerk at this hardware store told me there's no such thing as stupid questions!"
That'll stop 'em cold in their tracks now, won't it?
Mr. Sunshine has warmed up now. I guess in his little world, the growling coming from my throat is a sign that I really want his guidence. I must work on this, because I want it to come across as it truly is. "Go away or I shall castrait you so you will never have to worry about breeding in your life."
He grinns. "So, what's your name."
"No, really, what's your name?"
Debbie opens her mouth. "That's just a nickname, her real name is-"
I interrupt. "Darq."
Debbie wisely shuts up, probably because I've also stepped on her foot, rather hard. Did I mention I probably have a good 70 pounds on old Debbie, and I'm wearing regular shoes and she's in flipflops?
"Okay, Darq it is then. So, what do you need, Darq?"
"For peope to stop annoying me."
"Ha ha ha!" Mr. Sunshine has a hearty, happy laugh. I hate it. "Oh, don't we all feel that way. But, Darq, what home projects are you currently involved in?"
"Well, I just finished repainting the dungeon, oops, excuse me, I mean the basement. I now need to get some spray paint to paint this board." I hold up the board to show him.
"So, Darq, what do you plan on using this board for?"
"It's kinda personal. But I know I need a paint that isn't toxic to human skin and won't come off when swooshed through the air at great speed and applied to someone's buttocks. But, maybe that's too much information for you?"
"Hah hah hah!" Mr. Sunshine looks at Debbie. "Our Darq is a funny one, isn't she?"
Debbie nods. "Yeah. Dan next door told me she was funny."
"So, Darq, what are you really using the board for?"
"The truth is much stranger than the lie I just told you. Can't we just leave it at that?" Meanwhile, I've found a color I like and have picked up a can.
He snatches it from my hand and reads the back carefully, as if he's studying the menu for the last supper. "Darq, this paint will probably suit your needs, but you'll want to get a clearcoat for when you're done."
"I won't need a clearcoat, I have a peice of plexiglass, I'll be putting on top of it."
"Well, Darq, the clearcoat will be-"
"I don't need a clearcoat." *Glare*
"Well, Darq, as I always say, the customer is always right. Okay, this paint should suit your needs. What other home improvement projects do you have planned?"
"Well, later I'm going to be painting the bathroom in our place. But my husband and I are still in debates over what color. He thinks white will be nice, but I'm opting for a nice, bright, red."
"Red's a hard color for walls. It has a tendency to be a little bright, Darq." *pause as light dawns.* "Hah, that's a good one, bright, Darq. Is there a reason why you're thinking of red, Darq?"
"It hides the bloodstains so well."
"Again with the humor. You really are a tresure, Darq. Has anyone ever told you that?"
"My last victim did, towards the end. But I think he was just saying that hoping I wouldn't kill him. God, it's so annoying when they do that. Takes a perfectly enjoyable hobby and turns it into crap. Their job is to hide in the basement and cower in fear. It used to be that victims knew that. Not now a days, they try to be your buddy, your pal, in hopes you'll take mercy on then and spare their lives. I haven't spared anyone yet, why do they think they'll be the first?" I paused to shake my head. "I know my Mom and Dad never had these problems with their victims. But then again, they came from an age where folks knew their places. Where serial killers did their job and victims knew the proper way to act. By the way," Again I paused, to look at his nametag, which surprisingly did not say, "Mr. Sunshine." "Martin, you've been great help to me this afternoon and I'd love to repay you sometime. Would you mind telling me where abouts you live?"
Debbie is staring at me, biting her lower lip. Martin is looking a bit nervous. "We're not allowed to give that information out to customers."
"But Martin, we've become friends in the time I've been here. You and I are pals. I mean, you've been calling me, Darq, right Martin? And I'm calling you Martin, right Martin? You can tell me. It'll be our little secret. Trust me," Pause again and give him a long, slow, wink and a big happy, smile. "No one will ever know you told me. No one."
"I have to go... I'm needed in.... the back!"
Debbie was rather quiet throught the checkout line. As a matter of fact, she was pretty quiet on the ride home. I like it that way. I put the ELO tape back in the player and cranked it. She looked out the window, chewed her nails, and shot me worried glances every once in awhile.
I might actually paint the bathroom red now, just so I can invite her over to see.