Oh, man, did we ever drop the ball this week. After promising not to be late again with this week’s story, here we are publishing two days late. And, if that weren’t bad enough, we also missed publishing on one of our oldest and dearest reader’s birthdays! As well as my own nephew’s birthday. That’s a lot of dropping the ball.
So, first off, we wanna say happy birthday to Joseph Thomas Decesare. We don’t know if he even reads the stories or not, but his mom does, and his dad does art for us, so we’re pretty sure the message will get to him.
Secondly, and this is pretty awesome, we want to say happy birthday to Lisa Rebeca Fernandez-Fredericks (we don’t remember if she’s ever officially used the hyphenation, but it amuses us to make her name as long as possible). This is particularly awesome because this week’s Classic Story is directly associated with her, and the only Story of the Week ever based on a true story. A brief history, and then we’ll get into it: We were in college and I went to visit Lisa (and Roxie, who you may recall me mentioning here, like, dozens of times). Problem was that they had tickets to go see a show and couldn’t get me ticket, so they left me alone to hang out in their apartment on Friday night. No big deal except that at some point in the evening, some random, unknown, MONUMENTALLY DRUNK fellow knocked on their door and I had the misfortune to answer thinking it must be a friend of theirs. He came inside and proceeded to do such fun things as call me Steve and pass out on the couch. I managed to get him out of the apartment before Lisa and her roommates got home, but only just. Of course, they thought the story was hilarious when they got home and, since there was no vomit to clean up or anything (how the guy held it in – unlike the character in our story -, I’ll never know), there was no harm done. Then two weeks later, I decided to write a faux-noir story based on the incident, which brings us to this week’s offering, “On The Corner.”
One final disclaimer: this dude who came to the door had a typical drunk college male’s remarkably foul mouth. In the original story, I reflected that by using many, many curse words to reflect the true story my fake one was based on. Since our readership is much larger these days, and generally family friendly, I have decided to break the rules just a little and edit this story for it’s second appearance. I have therefore replaced all the curse words in the story (not the introduction), even ones I normally wouldn’t censor (like “damn”) with more family friendly words. Therefore in place of the “f” word, we get the more clinical “copulate.” In place of the “s” word, the more childish “poop.” In place of the “g-d” word, we get the more Firefly-centric “gorram” (hands up, Firefly geeks!). “Damn” becomes “darn” and so on. I think it’s pretty funny this way, and it makes the joke about finding the word “butt” offensive even funnier to me. Maybe I’m wrong. Feel free to let me know what you think and, for pity’s sake, let’s get to the story now!
Subject: ON THE CORNER (story #7)
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 94 19:56:22 EDT
BRO-MAN’S STORY OF THE WEEK
Well, hey there kids. It’s Monday again, and we all know what that means. The beginning of another hellish week of dragging my sorry ass through the turmoils of . . . . Sorry, sorry. I mean, It’s time for another swell story!
This week, the story will be told in first person. I thought that might be interesting. Not that it contains any autobiographical information at all. Nope, nope, nope. Um, it’s just a literary thing.
ON THE CORNER
It was Thursday. I was standing on the corner smoking a cigarette (see how un-autobiographical this is?). The rain wasn’t just soaking into my trenchcoat, it was soaking into my skin. And, boy, did that feel weird. I took a drag and looked at my watch. It was a quarter to . . . No, wait, that was my pocket change. My watch was a Seiko. I dropped the butt (that’s cigarette butt, of course, for anyone who gets offended at the word “butt”) into a puddle and listened to it hiss. It sort of reminded me of a snake. Except that it didn’t look like one at all.
Suddenly, a man stumbled around the corner. He was talking to himself and walking like he was three sheets to the wind. That’s when I saw that he had apparently stumbled through somebody’s clothesline a few blocks back, and he actually WAS three sheets to the wind, and a T-shirt, and a pair of boxers.
“Steve!” he called out. I figured he was talking to someone else, cuz my name wasn’t Steve. “Steve!” he called again, and lurched across the street to stand right in front of me.
He smelled like too many mixed drinks that hadn’t mixed well. I looked at him a minute, and then said, “My name ain’t Steve.”
“I’m so wasted,” he said. Brother, that was news. I almost hollered to stop the presses.
“Look,” I said, “why don’t you blow? I’m busy.”
“Man, I just wanna . . . make a phone call. Burp.” He looked at his feet, and I thought he was gonna drop a stomach-full.
“What do I look like, an operator?” I pulled out another cigarette. I had a feeling I was gonna need it.
“I just need a copulatin’ cab,” he drooled, “just call me a cab.”
That one was too easy, so I decided not to touch it. “Call your own darn self a cab,” I said, “I ain’t got time for you.”
He sat down on the curb and moaned. Well, poop, I thought, this guy ain’t gonna go away. So I turned around to the pay phone behind me and grabbed the phone book that was hanging there. “You care what cab company?” I asked. He belched and sort of made a retching noise, so I took that as a no. I started calling cab companies, and, wouldn’t you know it, every single line was busy. Just my luck. “Look,” I said, “nobody’s answering.”
He didn’t say anything. He was passed out.
Well, fine, I thought, that’s just fine, I’ll just leave him here and . . . Wait a second. I can’t leave him here. He can’t be laying there when . . . Poop. I picked up the phone and tried again. The fifth call I made went through.
“Bob’s cabs.” the voice said.
“Yeah,” I said, “I need a cab on Brandon.”
“Okay,” he said, and hung up.
I looked at the phone for a minute. What was this tool planning on doing, driving up and down the whole street all night ‘til he found me?
I decided to call back, but just then, my new best friend woke up, got up, and threw up.
“Copulate . . . cab . . . where?” he croaked.
“I called ‘em,” I said, “but, uh, they’re gonna be up the street a bit. You better head that way.” I pointed up the street, and he made a valiant attempt to look where I was pointing. I got tired of it and gave him a shove. “That way.” I said.
“Steve–” he said.
“Look,” I interrupted, “call me Steve again, and I’m gonna deck ya.”
“Where’s the gorram cab?” he whined.
“It’s THAT way,” I said, pointing again, “now you better hurry up or you’re gonna miss it!”
“Please,” he said, putting his arm around me, “can I just stay here tonight? Just on your floor?”
I pushed him off me. “What, do you think I live here? We’re on a street corner, for Pete’s sake! It’s the middle of the night, it’s raining, you just puked all over the place and you think I live here?”
“Where’s the copulatin’ cab?” he asked, as if I hadn’t said anything.
I grabbed him by the shoulders. “Look,” I said, staring into his vapid eyes, “you gotta get out of here. You can’t stay here. Do you have any idea why I’m here?”
“Copulate . . . brrrft.” he said.
“I called you a stinkin’ cab, now that’s all I can do. You wanna take a hike, now?”
“I’m so tired,” he said, “I’m so copulatin’ tired.”
“I care,” I said, and let go of his shoulders. He fell on his patootie, and made a string of retching noises without hacking anything up. It was almost time. I couldn’t be playing around with this mug any longer. If he was still here when . . .
“Steve,” he said, and stood up. So I socked him in the mouth.
“I warned you,” I said, as he hit the deck.
“Grrfh.” he said, and sat up. “Hey,” he said looking up at me, “what’s your name?”
I turned and looked at him. “What’d you say?” I asked.
“Copulatin’ . . . cab . . . copulate. Steve.”
I was about ready to bust. If I didn’t get this guy out of here before . . .
It was too late. There she was.
She came out of the deli across the street. All the lights were out, and she was nothing but a silohuette, but I knew it was her. And she saw me.
I looked down at the wet bar sitting on the ground and felt red hot rage course through me. There was no way to get rid of him now. She’d seen him, too.
“Gorram . . . copulate. Bleerchfft. Where the copulatin’ . . . glp. Cab? Copulate! No. Steve?”
She crossed the street, and walked right up to me. I was sweatin’, let me tell you. This wasn’t going off as planned. Not at all. Thanks to him.
“I’m so copulatin’ tired . . . “ he wailed as she stepped over him.
She looked me in the eye. She knew why I was there, but she wasn’t going to let on. That would be too easy.
I braced myself.
“Hi, honey!” she said, and wrapped her arms around me, “what are you doing here?”
“Um, I came to walk you home from work.” I said, and smiled sheepishly.
“That’s so sweet!” she said, and gave me a kiss.
On the ground, Jim Beam said “where’s th-hic gorram copulate?”
“Who’s that?” she asked as we walked away. Man, I was so embarrased.
Well, we hope you enjoyed this little departure. Notice the kiss at the end? I told this wasn’t at all autobiographical.
P.S. I never punched the guy in the mouth, either. Creative license and all that. 🙂