I sit at a workstation all day
moving things around on the screen
between people coming over to talk to me about absolutely nothing
because I obviously had nothing better to do (Yes, that’s right. I’m actually talking about you).
Still, I suppose it was good for the occasional chuckle.
There was always a free giggle at the laughing factory.
One of the sales team came to my desk
sat on it, leaned over and asked me how I was doing
but more so like,
“How have things been for you? Any changes? You still with the same girl?”
“Good. Yes. No.” I replied but he still sat there unwavering and determined on having a conversation.
“What happened to the girl? She was really something.” He pursued. He seemed genuinely concerned.
Realizing that this was going to be more engaging than I had initially anticipated I dropped what I was doing, swivelled my chair around to face him
and starting talking
as he sat there
on my desk
in his salesman suit with his salesman tie
and that salesman smile.
It actually wasn’t a bad conversation.
Maybe sometime I will invite him over and we could discuss life on commission and the rise of commercial exports from China.
I ended the day trying to chop all of my pens into pieces with a box-cutter before my co-worker dropped me off at the mechanics.
“Who told you to come now?” Mechanic Mike said, exaggerated and comical as per usual. Mechanics, they had a sense of humour. Fuck, they had to. I mean, have you ever been to one of those places where they fixed cars?
I was also developing a tendency to stamp whatever their occupation was to the front of people’s names. They love it: Mechanic Mike, Bartender Billy, Pederast Paul, Sexy Suzy (yes, as far as I’m concerned, it was her job).
“I said I would be by at three.” I replied, but I was used to this. I had cars fuck off on me all the time since I’ve had my first and I knew that the labour portion of the bill was completely dependent on how things went and judging by Mike’s face I knew that things weren’t going so well.
Last time I was here was a month ago when I had a flat tire and had to get towed so I came back and bought a donut and jack so I wouldn’t be as helpless next time. The next day I found out one of my good friends had a bad accident and I hated myself for not going to see him. I’m so sorry. The next day a friend passed away. My mother was battling radiation treatment and my father had to go in to something removed from his eye. Oh, and a house had exploded down the street. It just exploded. Mostly I had my head lodged in a book that I was editing for so much of my time that it was driving me crazy crazy crazy…
“What is it, a tie-rod?” I asked.
“No, a bushing. Mike’s been battling with the damn thing trying to get it off for the past hour!” The other Mike said. The third Mike was in the back of the shop changing tires and listening to Ozzy.
“We’re waiting for a bolt to come in.”
“Car won’t be done for a while. You need to be somewhere?”
“Just home. Can you run me an estimate?”
“Sure. hold on.”
As he ran up the total I really wished I had some pens and box-cutters or some dolls to rip apart while listening to Marilyn Manson.
“Three-hundred and ninety eight. Tax included.” I love how they said that.
“Four bills for a bushing?”
“Okay, that’s much better.”
“You want to take my car for the night?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”
That was definitely a fist in the gut but at that point my worst ailment was winter. Yeah, I know that I live in Canada. Go fuck a polar bear. If I had to go through one more colourless, overcast, bitingly bitter cold day I would end up dead inside forever and back at the Homewood Health Centre reduced to a vegetative state with a permanent grin stamped on my face and drool collecting on my chin as two bored orderlies carted me off down the hall:
“Oi, what’s this one’s problem then?”
“Seasonal disorder. Drinking problem. Delusions of Grandeur.”
“Full set then. What set him off finally?”
“A bushing? Oi, we’ve had a lot of those come in this year. Well, let’s take him to the common room and set him beside the ping-pong table and let him reminisce back to a time when he had balls. Then we’ll go have a smoke and talk about Rhonda.”
“Oi, sounds go.”
“Oi! Oi! Oi!” They said in unison and clicked their heels.
The mechanic’s car had the radio set to a country station. I cranked it up as I drove home. It made me feel at ease with all things in general. Fuck, this shit actually worked! Look for me at the Stampede Corral hitting up a cowgirl from here on in. I’m fucking converted.
Four-hundred for a bushing…whatever, I’ll absorb it, but fuck man…fuck.
I pulled into the driveway.
My neighbour was standing in his open garage.
As I got out he looked at the car and said,
“What? Did you get demoted or something?”
“Yes,” I replied, “by my mechanic and in life lately it seems.”
I complained about my car. He complained about his jeep.
Very neighbourly, I’ll tell you.
“They just get old and things start to fall apart inside.” He left me with.
For some reason I thought that he was now talking about me.
I went inside and looked at my face.
It was haggard and angry in the harsh light.
I didn’t like it.
I went to the fridge to get something to eat
listing off in my head everything that I needed to do before the day’s end
but then I saw the bottle of Scotch
sitting there all lonely on the shelf with a label that read:
“Drink all of me right now. Give in.”
Good thing I wasn’t staring at the bleach.
It had such a compelling argument
that really spoke to me
so I grabbed the bottle instead and
took a hardy swig on my way to the garage
where I sat down
packed a pipe
lit a cigarette
and wrote this.