Wait, Madam! There is comedy in your purse

Spread the word! Rich wears women's underwear (No, not THAT word!) What I meant was, spread the word that this BLOG makes polio string cheese come out all of your orafices. And if it doesn't, lie to your friends and say it does. Rich is tired of sucking scrotum to get ahead, and he wants a real job, one that pays. So come on in! I have Hot Pockets in the fridge

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chapter 2

Margaret didn’t much enjoy her sleep that night. The park bench was rather hard and rigid, which caused her to get one hell of a neck strain. Oh, and then there was Nickels who kept squirming all about and scratching just when Margaret was getting comfortable. It got to the point where Margaret had to put Nickels to sleep (by cutting off her air supply until she got sleepy) just to get a decent night’s rest.

The night air was cool against her symmetrical face, and she constantly sucked some of it in whenever she wanted to cool herself off since she was so hot from her temper, which was fuming. The voice at the top of her mouth wouldn’t shut up after she found herself outside. And actually, it was the voice that woke her up in the first place. “Oh, now you want to talk to me?” Margaret asked the roof of her mouth angrily, “tough luck, sugar plum, you’re just like the rest of them, you talk big but then you leave me high and dry when I need you the most, feck off.” But the voice wouldn’t just “feck off” and it constantly reminded her why she was stuck in this predicament in the first place.

“Girlfriend,” the voice would say, “You know why you’re stuck out here, don’tja? It’s cause a that skinny, Ghandi impersonator over in the supermarket. You ain’t just gonna take this lying down, are you?”

And then Margaret blinked her eyes four times and said, “Well, yeah, I am” before she dozed back off to sleep, squirming on the bench trying to get some rest. She went to sleep very quickly after that and had dreams about stray dogs lapping at each other’s private parts for as long as she slept.

And it was all quite peculiar, really, because how she wound up out here in the first place, she couldn’t tell you. One moment she was peering up at the black encroaching stain on her roof, the next, she was staring up at the twinkling stars in the sky. This transition—from house to bench—made Margaret believe that she had somehow mastered teleportation in her sleep. “If only I teleported myself to somewhere swank like the Taj Mahal or someplace like that,” she said, talking out loud again—she really had to learn the novelty of keeping her thoughts to herself.

What was even more amazing, though, was the fact that nobody tried to touch her while she slept. Don’t think that’s amazing? (Then you’ve never been to New York before). Maybe you’ll think this is, then—Margaret was sleeping on the bench in just her bra and panties. (See? fuming hot, it was burning her up inside).
Eventually, though, one man DID try to touch her. But it was a police officer. His name was Officer Martinez.

While she lain with her back to the world, her yellow panties with the bunny rabbits skipping across her rear mocking the unhappy world, Officer Martinez, with a mustache that curled like a Ferris wheel, knocked on the edge of the green bench with his night stick.

Under the orange light of the park lamp, his sallow face was almost a heavenly shade that created an angelic appearance, almost like a halo around his slightly pudgy head. And in this light, one could almost mistake him for St. Francis of Assisi. That is, of course, if he wasn’t donning the badge and the po po clothes. His teeth could use some improving, too. When he smiled, his teeth were as yellow as the sand in the Mojave Desert.

“Hey, hey you,” he said, knocking all the louder, making a quick thud noise against the hard bench to wake her up but also making sure he didn’t whap her in butt, which was rising and falling along with her backside. “You can’t sleep out her wearing that.”

And that’s when Margaret’s subconscious got her in trouble again, because it was at that moment that Margaret, barely awake and still in her REM state, gave Officer Martinez the same obscene gesture that she would often give her mother back home when she used to be told that it was time to get up for school. She gave Officer Martinez the finger. Unbeknownst to Margaret, the wrist that so proudly held up that finger soon had a handcuff coiled around it. The truth was, Margaret was going to go to jail for a crime she didn’t even consciously commit. Poor Margaret, this happened to her a lot.

***

When she woke up again, she was in the back of a car. Turns out she had teleported yet again! this time to somewhere more comfortable and with much better music, which was Steely Dan. Margaret could get used to this; it was much better than being on a park bench. But when she turned over, she noticed something that wasn’t all hunky dory. Behind her back were her hands, which were bound together. “What the fuck?” she said, you could imagine her surprise.

“Hey, hey, hey, it’s that kind of language that got you back there in the first place, lady,” said a voice that she wasn’t familiar with. It had a Latin tinge to it, and it was kind of high pitched, kind of shrill. It definitely wasn’t the voice at the roof of her mouth, which was very deep and brassy. That voice sounded like a female jazz singer’s voice. And besides, that voice came from the roof of Margaret’s mouth, this voice came from behind a metal cage on top of the seat, and

Ohhhhh, now she got it…shit, how the hell did she get arrested this time? She hadn’t been in the back of one of these since she was 14, except, this time, the circumstances were a little bit different. For instance, this time she wasn’t being held down and raped. Also, this time, she was wearing a…what was this? A potato sack?

The face behind the cage turned to her as if he knew what was on her mind just as headlights outside dragged their way across his hairless cheek. “Yeah, it’s a potato sack. It’s all I had, and you’re lucky, too, ‘cause you were just about butt naked out there when I picked you up.”

And that was all he had to say. Margaret felt like screaming.

As they pulled into the police station, Margaret stared up at the metal roof of the car and could see the orange glow of the city rebounding off the ceiling in front of her. Something wasn’t right—besides her life. It was something else that she couldn’t quite put her poking fingers on, something like…

Nickels!

Margaret sprung up as quickly as possible while in handcuffs, her hands bound together making it a challenge to get up as the metal incisors bit into her wrists. But when she got up, she saw her cat sitting up attentively in the front seat while the cop kept one hand on the wheel, the other petting her head. Margaret’s eyes were embers as she saw his slim fingers feeling all about the holes on her cat’s patchy backside. She didn’t like anybody else putting their hands on those holes.

“Butt naked in the park with a cat with mange,” Officer Martinez tsked as he shook his head left to right, “lady, you’re something else, you know that?” And with that, he stopped the car. Officer Martinez got out of his side, opened the door for Margaret and dragged her into the well lit station that looked like the entrance to an Emergency ward.

It looked so out of place and awkward in the cityscape around her that Margaret asked groggily, “Are we still in Brooklyn?”

“What? You think I was sent to pick you up from Washington or somethin’? Of course we’re still in Brooklyn.”

Without thinking, Margaret uttered, “This place has changed,” and said it so low and drearily that Officer Martinez almost didn’t hear her.

“Yeah, we’re starting to crack down.” Martinez said snidely, defending his unit. “Back about a year ago, we’d probably just let you sleep out there like that, but the city’s trying to renovate and clean up the garbage, you know?”

He pronounced “garbage,” “gaa-bage.”

“Are you calling me garbage?” Margaret asked, not in an angry tone, but more as just a question that she desired to hear an answer to, but an answer never came.

She took that as a yes.

After 49 steps (Margaret counted) they were at the front desk in the police station. Margaret could see herself in the tiles beneath her Reeboks. She looked terrible. Had it really only been one day? Her hair was all ratty, and her face had already grown four distinguishable wrinkles in them that weren’t there this morning. And she actually looked like she may have lost some weight as her face was beginning to look gaunt and slim.

But to prove it was still her, she performed a little Margaret litmus test. As Officer Martinez signed away for her, Margaret stuck her tongue out at her reflection and wiggled it around. The reflection stuck its tongue back at her and wiggled it; too, making it look like the reflection was licking the floor. Margaret smiled.

Good, she was still alive.

***

“So, where are we headed to now, Officer?”

“To a holding cell,” was his response.

“And for how long?” she asked, her eyes the color of tired.

“Stop asking questions,” he said, but then thought better of this and decided that there was no reason to be mean, so he revised his statement. “Until tomorrow morning, which is…” He then stopped and stared at his watch.

“An hour.”

The holding cell was small and like the cells you see on TV in black and white on shows like the Andy Griffith show. When he dropped her off, he wiped his forehead with a kerchief in his breast pocket before he closed the gate as if to say, “I’ve done far too much work for one day,” and then he went to his desk which was literally only eight paces away. He sat down with his back to her and he started writing out his plans for the tailgate party he was having over the weekend.

Outside, the barred windows in Margaret’s cell made the world look as if it was trapped in its own little box, the lemon meringue sun beginning to peak its way through Margaret’s new digs. And as it crept through, she began to stomp on the yellow trail that clung to her floor. Margaret liked having her own space and didn’t want any other body or THING in there with her, well, except maybe Nickels, of course.

After a solid fifteen minutes of stomping (and Officer Martinez ignoring her), she tired herself out and sat on the small bench in the corner. She rested her head against the gray cinderblocks behind her and sighed, the sun just wouldn’t go away.

***
In her cell was a toilet that was blocked by a small, one walled stall so Officer Martinez couldn’t even get a looky loo inside if he wanted to. With a yawn, Margaret caught a whiff of something and brought her arm to her nose. She smelled the potato sack she was draped in and it woke her up. It smelled like New York City hot dogs.

And you know what else often smelled like New York City hot dogs? Nickels! And the smell of her potato sack got her into thinking about her cat again. “Hey, copper man, where’s my cat?” Margaret asked, her voice sounding much more chipper than a person behind bars should sound.

Officer Martinez turned around in his chair, the legs scraping against the gray pavement beneath them. He looked over the side with his shoulder and peered down at her with discouraging eyes that said, “Why are you talking? You shouldn’t be talking.”
And then he turned back around in his chair and continued to plot out his party.

Not a good eye reader, Margaret persisted being annoying.

“Hey, copper man, I said where’s my cat?”

He turned around again, this time with very wide eyes. Had he just heard what he thought he heard?

“That was YOUR cat?”

“Yes, officer, her name is Nickels and she’s my best friend.”

This woman really WAS crazy, Officer Martinez thought. How could ANYONE possibly love that ugly ass cat? Officer Martinez turned back around in his seat and began scribbling something on a yellow form of paper. Margaret thought he was writing down this pertinent new discover, but what he was really writing was his next draft pick in his fantasy football league. His interest in Margaret was already fading into nothingness. His back talked to her, “Oh, I thought it was just a stray. Well, we’ll see,” he said casually. “I’ll have an answer for you in the morning.”

Margaret sat back down on the bench and fell asleep instantly, hoping morning couldn’t come soon enough, and it really couldn’t. Fifteen minutes later, Officer Martinez woke her up. It was morning.

“So, I talked it over with the higher uppers,” Officer Martinez said, Margaret’s bleary eyes directed at his crotch when she woke up, “and they said you can’t have the cat back if you’re homeless.” And at the sound of the “h” word, Margaret was up like a race dog. She rushed to the gate and clung to it, her fingers wrapped around the bars. Homeless? Was she really homeless? She hadn’t really thought of it like THAT before. She didn’t really have time to think, really.

“What am I going to do?!” Margaret pleaded to the bars. Officer Martinez took seven quick jumps back to his desk, his hand already reaching in his pocket for his pepper spray. “Hey, calm down lady, calm down,” he said. He didn’t expect this lunatic to do THAT.

And then she said without even thinking, “You can’t take Nickels away from me, she’s all I have.” And Margaret had never really thought about this either, but it was true. Nickels WAS the only friend she had. She was the only one in her life who actually stayed around for the abuse.

Officer Martinez, now taking three steps forward, but still keeping his hands at his sides, his fingers still lurking into his pockets for that pepper spray, had calmed down. His heart stopped pounding so much when he remembered that there was a whole ton of reinforced steel keeping her away from him. Still, he kept on his guard—he didn’t know WHAT this woman was capable of.

“Well, if you can manage to garner the money to find yourself a place to live and can provide us with the papers to prove it, THEN you can have your cat back.” Officer Martinez answered. “But until that day, I’m afraid that your cat is going to have to remain here at the station. You have a week to find yourself a place. After that, the cat’s going to the pound.”

And with that, Officer Martinez stood by her cage, pulled out his key, and unlocked her door. And as she walked out, his eyes jumped to her hands, which were still behind her back, handcuffed and turning blue. “Hey, hey, hey, wait up!” he shouted. “Let me just take those off your hands, heh heh heh.” he joked, his chuckle laced with worry. And as he took them off, he waved to her back and then wiped off his sweaty forehead with his forearm.

“Phew,” he said.

If someone had caught her with her with her handcuffs still on, he could have gotten in big trouble. He was so busy staring at her legs when he brought her in, though, that he completely forgot to take them off. Whoops, he thought, well, you can’t be perfect all the time. And then he turned around and went back to his desk. He spent the whole rest of the morning plotting out his perfect line-up.

***
What the hell was she going to do NOW? Her shift at the PETORIUM wasn’t until tomorrow and she only had seven days to scrounge up enough cash to get her poor, lovable, irreplaceable cat, Nickels back. “Think, Margaret, think!” She said, again and again loudly. And then, like a Sylvania light bulb going off inside her brain, a thought popped into her head like a bubble (or an aneurysm) right at that moment. “My parents!” she shouted out loud, causing a flock of birds by a penny pond to take flight.

But that thought was quickly dismissed. Her parents were off limits now ever since Donavan was painted in the picture, leaving her all the way off the frame. And besides, she didn’t even know where her parents were anyway. They said they moved, so that meant they could be anywhere now. Even Québec, which was for some reason clear in Margaret’s mind as the place they must have moved to.

Margaret shuddered at the thought of Québec—Québec was cold!—and thought about other means to make money. And it was at that moment, a moment where the onrush of pedestrians just crossing the street had reached a fever pitch of noise, that the voice on the roof of her mouth began to talk again, this time, with a solution: “Kill that wiener at the Shop Rite who knows karate and get your money back.”

And as crazy as it was, it was still the best idea she had heard all morning (Learning to play saxophone and playing it in the subway just sounded silly in retrospect.)

So that was the plan for the morning: exact revenge and take back what was rightfully hers—the stolen money and the envelope opener. Hell, she might even be able to get a much better haul today. It was a Tuesday, which meant that more people would be playing hooky from school and work. It made a whole lot of sense, really. Why the hell didn’t she think of it earlier? That voice in her mouth sure was a Godsend. Thank God for Godsends.

And today, with the crisp sun pounding on the pavement, the streets were much fuller with the hustle and bustle and hell and smell that New York was known for—the smell of commerce. But as she walked, she wondered what the hell everybody was staring at. Whenever she would pass somebody, it didn’t matter who, they would always look at her up and down, chuckle, and then leave with a last look back at her. Did she have some kind of disease or something? But then Margaret realized what it was.

She was still wearing the potato sack.

When she left the station, no one was at the front desk and her mind was so preoccupied with her dilemma that she forgot to even ask what the hell happened to her clothes, meaning, that for the past two hours, she’s been sauntering around Brooklyn looking like a freak from Idaho. No wonder people would pass her with a gawking expression.

This was just great. She very well couldn’t walk around like this all day, what would the Asian tourists think? So she decided to do the next best thing to actually buying clothes, she decided to steal them.

The Laundromat was pretty packed, but not with people, but rather with names. Every machine in the place had a name, and every name seemed to fill that machine with that much more life. Margaret checked her watch; it was only 8:30. The Shop Rite she was heading to didn’t really fill up until 9, so she had plenty of time to take what she needed.

Margaret shimmied out of her potato sack and tossed it to the ground. She now stood in just her bra and panties again, which were starting to stink as they clung to her pale skin. A woman, sitting down and reading a curled up magazine looked up instantly. She then looked both ways just to see if anybody else saw what she saw, and then ran over to Margaret and threw a beach towel around her body.

“Are you out of your mind?” The woman screeched. She was very short, about 4’9, and was wearing a Twin Peaks promotional T-Shirt with a shower cap. If anybody was out of her mind, Margaret thought, it was this lady, but Margaret didn’t say a word, she just stood stock still. The woman looked like she could be in her early 30s, with her lavish olive skin and lack of make-up, but the shower cap kind of threw Margaret off. It made her look like she belonged in a senior citizen home. Or an asylum.

“What do you want?’ Margaret asked, “I was just about to clean my clothes.” This was a lie. The correct statement was, I was just about to steal YOUR clothes. The woman tightened the towel around Margaret and blew air through her teeth. “You can’t just stand around in your underwear like that.”

AGAIN with the underwear? What did everybody in this city have against underwear? Was it the small shit stain?

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” she exclaimed, her tiny hands making sure that the towel was secure. “What if a little keed walked in here and saw you like that?” She asked. The Laundromat was empty, and there was nobody else there except for her and Margaret.

But before the awkwardness of silence could set in, there was a DING! in the distance—a dryer had just finished drying. Margaret was now going to collect whatever clothes she could find, and she didn’t even care if none of it fit her, anything was better than waddling around in a potato sack.

“Excuse me, I have to get my clothes now,” Margaret said, her head upturned. She was tired of this woman and wanted her to leave her alone, so she began to walk away, the woman’s hands still holding onto the beach towel. “Hey, hey, hey, wait up a minute, lady, slow down, my legs don’t move as fast as yours.”

Margaret sauntered over to the dryer and passed a Pedro, a Dustin, an Avery, a Mickey, a Latoya, and a Betty, just to get to the dryer she was heading to, but there was no “Margaret,” and this troubled her—they could have at least put a Maggie in or something. It definitely livened up the place up, didn’t it?

It wasn’t until Margaret began taking the clothes out physically that the woman began to realize what was going on.

“Hey, hey, hey, do you know whose laundry you’re taking out?” The woman asked in an irate tone.

Margaret turned her head back, her cheek a little red, and said, “Yeah, of course, mine.”

The towel woman got angry, she even let go of the towel. “No, no, no, no, no,” she said.

And Margaret replied, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” and then continued to take out the clothes, hallelujah, hallelujah.

And it was at that moment that the towel lady made one of the biggest mistakes she could have possibly made—she stomped on Margaret’s foot. Five minutes later, the towel woman was laid out on the ground unconscious and penniless. She was also left with a broken nose and a dryer that was completely barren. Margaret even took the dryer sheet that accompanied the clothes. She was thorough with her stealing.

The Shop Rite really wasn’t all that far away from the Laundromat, which was a good thing, since these garish and tiny clothes just weren’t cutting it. They were small, ugly and uncomfortable, and felt like how Margaret felt on the inside. When she finally got to the Shop Rite, she pushed her face against the glass window and gritted her teeth. There he was all right; that four eyed, little freak.

He was smiling and scanning coupons like nothing even happened yesterday, and this aggravated Margaret even more. “That little prick,” she said, “he probably forgot about me already.” And this left a sour taste in her mouth and set her on an even deeper edge of vengeance. This time, it was personal.

So Margaret stormed in through the automatic doors seething while customers moved out of her way when they saw her hunched forward with clenched knuckles and split hairs. By the cereal aisle was the manager with the football player’s nose again. He looked on edge and as if he would jump at the slightest sound of a fly by his ear.

He had a big bruise on his forehead, and this perplexed Margaret a great deal since she didn’t remember ever hitting him in the forehead. But then she thought that whatever damage she must have done to him must have gone all the way up his body and reached his head. She smiled at the thought of how mighty she was.

When the manager saw her pass, he jumped straight into a display of Corn Pops and screamed, “Security!” as loud as he could.

But she wasn’t listening to his incessant cries; she was storming over to the register where the karate champ was stationed. And as she walked over to him, every head in the store turned in her direction.

They might not have known the already historic feud that had already been built between them, but they definitely knew that something exciting was going to happen, and they stopped pushing their carts and shut up their babies as Margaret bull walked over to the skinny clerk.

If the OK Corral existed today, it would be localized in this Shop Rite, right here, right now as the tide turned frightful. And one shopper even began to whistle the theme from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” when she moved, his shrill sound emphasizing her mission...SOMEBODY was not leaving here today in a conscious state.

When the security guard finally came, the lumbering pile of flesh huffing and puffing, the store manager put his hand up and told him to let it go. This was between Margaret and the master.

Margaret turned her head to the security guard with a vicious look, and this made him scream. Once again, Margaret smiled at the thought of her power.

But with her head turned, she didn’t notice the flying shadow that was coming straight at her way. When she turned her face back in that direction, there it was, a flying foot right in her face. The karate master believed whole heartedly in the element of surprise.

“Hooooooooo!” He shouted as he landed a foot right on her cheek, shattering a permanent tooth and leaving her spinning around in circles in a sort of whirlpool affect that left the store turning in a sort of explosive blue and yellow blur.

Margaret hit the ground hard and slid into a display of Chips Ahoy, her back skidding on the green and white tiles.

Everybody in the store ran towards the action like flies to a light that will electrocute and kill them. They were absolutely fascinated by this woman in the small clothes and the skinny guru with the quick fists of death.

“You’re back for more are you?” the skinny mustached man asked, his fist taut and ready for breaking bricks if they had to. When Margaret shook her head and got back her bearings, she steadied herself and readied herself for combat.

“Why’d you take my money?” she said, wiping a bit of blood from her busted lip with the back of her hand.

“That money did not belong to you, “he said. “It was ill gotten and stolen. You are to learn from your mistakes.”

“But I wasn’t able to pay my rent and now I’m living on a bench in the park.” Margaret said, bolstering up her anger. “And now I need that money so I can get my cat back.”

“You should earn your money like me,” the mustached man said as he spread out his arm to his register. “Only then can you feel proud of what you done.”

“I don’t have time for that crap, now just give me the money back and I’ll be on my way.”

“No,” the mustached man said, his eyes cut like slits. “You will learn through pain that your way of living is no way to live at all.”

“Fine,” she said, and that was that.

Margaret cracked her neck and tightened her fists, the mustached man began to do a kata and stretched out his legs, they were going to engage in combat.

“I am happy to trounce evil,” he said as he bowed.
Margaret bowed too, her long hair draping over her face, but for no apparent reason at all; she reached over and took a packet of Mentos as she did so. She opened it, swallowed one, and then took out another, chewing on it, and then spitting it the floor. Yuck! Plain.

“That shall be the last thing you shall ever steal,” he told her, and he got into mantis position.

The audience was now cheering and punching the air even though nothing had even happened yet. All the same, they were ready for blood.

“Are you ready?” He asked, his leg now behind his neck.

“Ready? I was born ready,” Margaret said, her knuckles now cracked and ready. He just stood there when she ran full speed ahead, his arms crossed and his face expressionless.

“Yeeyeeyeeyeeyeeyeeyee!” Margaret shouted in fury, giving out her best Xena impression before she lunged forward and got hit in the back of the neck with a chop followed by a trip that sent her gliding across the floor.

And as if out of nowhere, he was on top of her, slapping her in the back of the head like a monkey while he hopped up and down, his hands relentless. “Are you ready to leave this place, evil spirit?” he asked, the sound of her head sounding like a cantaloupe being assaulted by a million grubby hands all at once.

“Never!” She shouted, and flipped him off, her clothes almost splitting down the middle.

He then did seven flips in the air before he landed on his feet again. Everybody clapped, except Margaret, who was now rushing at him again, the world around her a blur. But at that very moment, up in the sky was the mustached man, he had the apocalypse on the bottom of his store regulated sneakers. And as he soared in the air, all Margaret could see was the shadow above her head. And that was the last thing she saw grace her peripheral vision before she wound up waking up in the hospital.

***
When Margaret woke up, all she saw were white tiles and a square light fixture above her. She was staring up at the hospital ceiling. When she turned her head, which sent a shock of excruciating pain down her spine, she saw that the patient next to her, an old woman with no teeth, was smiling at her. “Those are some of your teeth in that jar, darling” the old lady said while she cackled. And she was right. On Margaret’s bed side there was a covered cup with some of her teeth in. The karate master had knocked four right out, the ones near the back.

Margaret weakly winced and then put her head back against her pillow, staring up again. She then acknowledged that she now only had six days left to get back her cat and then drifted off into sleep. With her eyes closed, she waited out the long stint of annoying fireworks behind her eyelids, and finally got some rest when all the colors eventually faded to black.

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