New Year’s Eve

Jesse is a 41 year old working class Mexican Indian/Irish Italian mix. Below average height, muscular, and very dark, sporting long hair. He has a violent past and an intimidating aura.

“So it was New Years eve, and I was at the old Funhouse, back when it was called Zach’s, right there by the Space Needle. All the black gangbangers would hang in the parking lot of the McDonald’s right there, and the Seattle Police riot squad was lurking around the corner, some shit always popped off on New Years.”

“There was a tradition at that bar, at midnight on the new year, everybody would throw all the furniture out onto the sidewalk. When we went out there later to get the furniture and take it back inside, some gangbangers started talking shit. There about 10 of us and at least twice that many of them. There was a pack of these ghetto black bitches, instigating most of it. One of ’em spit on my friend, and this chick who was my friend, she knew how to fight, she just instantly kicked the bitch in the head, knocked her out. After that, it was a very chaotic scene. Another one of the ghetto bitches came at me with her spike heel shoe in her hand. Tried to stab my eye out. Only thing that saved me was I was wearing a top hat, and the brim shielded my eye from that spike.”
“I punched the bitch in her face, clocked her good. Her boyfriend started coming at me and I just charged at him. I don’t know what I did to scare him so bad, I was pretty fuckin’ drunk, but he decided at the last minute to turn around and run away from me.”

I’ve seen Jesse go savage before. I suspect that the other gentleman had never seen a wild Apache on the warpath before and figured discretion was the better part of valor.

“He ran into a car, and I smashed the window with my elbow, I was fuckin’ goin’ for him. The car started driving away, and I had to let go of him. Like I say, it was a chaotic scene. Full on brawl. The cops were on the scene almost instantly, helmets and shields, and the owner of the bar yelled at us to all come inside.”
“We just went back to drinking like nothing even happened. I was shit faced.”
“The next morning, I woke up in the backseat of a car on the other side of town. My whole arm was purple from breaking the guy’s window with my elbow. I tried to open my eye and it was the most painful shit ever. My cornea was damaged from that bitch’s shoe. I woulda lost my eye if I wasn’t wearing that top hat. I had to wear sunglasses for the next six months.”

This is actually one of Jesse’s more tame stories. I’ve known him for 26 years and can vouch for the authenticity of his anecdotes.

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“Hey baby. How you been?”
“I miss you but I still dont trust you. But I do miss you.”
“You’re smart not to trust me.”
“I’m just suspicious of you.”
“Know who I’m suspicious of? I’m suspicious of these young alt-right kids.”
“Yeah, well you’re suspicious of everyone.”
“There’s a kid at the gas station. Always talking about politics. I get to bullshitting with him, I’m there everyday ya know? He uses all the phrases, asked me if I was ‘woke on the JQ’. Well, come to find out, six months ago he was shooting heroin and banging trannies. Just saying I dont trust these guys. Politics is the new religion.”
“Yeah I can see that. You know, I saw your ex wife yesterday. She was wearing a hijab. I don’t even wanna tell you what she said about you.”
“I didn’t care what she thought about me back when we were married. Why would I care now? Anyway, the hijab don’t surprise me. She got some tattoo awhile back that was a bunch of Arabic letters. The feminists never were really very smart.”
“They make the rest of us women look bad. What even is feminism?”
“Vaginal hegemony is what is is baby. You know the ancient Romans had a saying. Even if a woman ruled the empire, she’d still need a man to change the oil.”
“I don’t wanna tell you, but you’ll think it’s funny so I will. I saw her at that clothing store we both shop at. Plump Patty’s. And she was telling Plump Patty that the only thing you were good at as a husband was sex. Said you were the best she ever had. Then she looked at me, wanted me to say something. You realize this is the third time other women have tried to have this conversation with me. You wonder why I don’t trust you….why are you laughing?”
“Baby, I’m sorry, but the idea that the ladies at the plus size clothing store are talking about my sexual prowess is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week.”
“You still spending the night on Wednesday?”
“Yeah. Want me to rent a movie on the way over?”
“No, let’s watch that liberal politic show I told you about. I like it when you make fun of my politics.”
“Ok baby. See ya then.”

Clyde

Clyde is a working class white man, born and raised and lived his entire life in South East Portland. He is approaching fifty years old, is of below average height, handsome, muscular, and smiles a lot. I didn’t set out to ask him about violence, but after asking if he watched the Fury-Walleen fight, the conversation drifted towards personal experiences with violence. I let him do the talking, and asked questions here and there.

“It’s lawless around here alright. Didn’t used to be. I’ve had the cops beat the shit out of me pretty good back in the day. Now, they let you off without even a beating. You know, Portland cops used to have a reputation for being brutal. You didn’t want to fuck with them. That’s all changed now…..”

People have the habit of throwing around these terms, beat the shit out of, beat the hell out of, beat the piss out of, when they don’t really apply. I’ve been guilty of it myself without realizing that I’m doing it. Getting your nose broken and a couple black eyes is NOT getting the shit beat out you. That is just a beating.

“I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I came from a pretty abusive home. I got beat at home everyday as a kid, and then I’d go to school and the first person who looked at me wrong, I’d drop my books and it’d be on. I grew up fighting, spent my whole life fighting.” Clyde has previously told me he studied boxing for a time and was a standout wrestler back in school.
“I used to go out looking for fights. It’s what I did for fun. All through my 20’s and 30’s.” I ask if he would target men he knew he could beat, or if he looked for guys that would actually give him a good fight.

“I had little man’s syndrome.”

Being a big guy myself, I know what this looks like from the other side. I like Clyde, but make a mental note to never go out drinking with him. His smile says a lot.
“I was driving downtown and some asshole in a Corvette cut me off and said some shit out the window, told me to pull over. I get out, and pretty soon I got him down, I’m on top of him, on some bushes, just smashing his face in.”
“The cops drive by and see what’s going on and pull me off of him. One cop gets me up against the wall and starts screaming at me, calling me a fucking punk. I push him off with one hand and start walking off……and then, BAM! This pretty little blonde cop brought her nightstick down on the top of my head. There were six cops there, and they couldn’t get my arms behind my back. They did a Rodney King on my ass. They beat me with their sticks until I was unconscious. They cuffed me and shackled my ankles, then took me to a private cell in the county jail. Once I got there, these six cops beat me with their sticks, kicked me all over, and didn’t quit until they got tired out.  I was still hogtied.  I passed out and then a couple hours later, they came in and did it all over again. I was saying shit to them the whole time, I shoulda just shut up. They gave me the worst beating I’ve ever had. They finally let me out and I never got charged with anything.”

I ask if he ended up hospitalized.

“No, I probably should’ve gone to a hospital. I had a pretty serious concussion. Both shoulders were separated. I was black and blue all over. Couldn’t get off my couch for a week.”

“I don’t hate the cops though. It’s a tough job. But they shouldn’t have done that to me. It was brutal.”

Clyde’s story is compelling to me. First of all, because it’s true. He’s not a bullshitter. But it also raises some relevant questions about life in Portland. The cops have their hands tied. They are under a microscope by the liberal city council and black church groups that are the defacto oversight committee. The county jail is basically a drive thru window, get printed, get out, no charges. There is an undercurrent of lawlessness that is kept in check only by the demographics and relative affluence of the city’s inhabitants.
For now, I think that I will go ahead and say that I’m in favor what of the liberal cop haters have accomplished. I don’t need the pigs to protect me, and I sure as fuck don’t need them bashing MY head in. If the only two options are mild anarchy or living under a police state, I’ll take my chances with anarchy.

The Great Escape

I had been gone from my group of homeless youth for a month or 2,
riding the rails.
When I came back to Seattle my good buddy Erek told me I’d better have that case of beer I promised him.

What case of beer?

Well, Erek was always meeting girls and fucking them. He claimed over 900 before he died in his 30’s. No small feat, considering he was a drunk bum who once went 2 years without showering or changing his shirt. His nickname was Filthy Erek.

“You told me you’d buy me a case of beer if I introduced you to a big titted fat girl, as long as you fucked her that first night”, he said.

I did vaguely remember saying that in a moment of drunk despair.

Right about then she came walking around the corner.

Trust me dude, it’s a sure thing, he whispered.

She was a homeless kid too.  Junkie parents, ward of the state. She recently ran away from a foster home. She had even given birth to a kid of her own a couple years before, snatched away by the state of course.

After being together about a month, I got arrested and went to jail for 3 months.

When I got out, she announced she was pregnant. I was in the doctor’s office with her when he confirmed she was indeed 2 months pregnant.

I was in the condemned vacant crack house with her when she had a miscarriage on the bathroom floor.

We eventually scraped up enough money for a cheap room on the 8th floor of a crumbling building on 42nd and University Avenue.

She got too crazy for me.
She’d get hysterical and try jumping out the window, started shooting up meth. Trying to stab me with steak knives…

When she would get nutty like that, I’d walk downstairs and buy her a can of Sprite then dump about 2 or 3 capsules of benadryl in it.
Say,
“Here ya go baby, I got you a soda. Just relax and have some Sprite.”

Her ass would fall asleep and my ass would take off and get drunk.

One time I fucked a homeless chick and caught scabies, gave it to her. Chicks just know when you’re cheating.
“I know you fucked that homeless skank and brought home these bugs!”
Of course I denied it.

Another time, she was all horny and I had just got done snacking on some anejo peppers. I got to rubbing her pussy and after awhile she jumped up and started screaming, ran into the bathtub and began digging in her snatch.

The tub was filling with cold water,
She was desperately fingering her pussy,
Screaming
“You motherfucker! You put a jalapeno in my pussy! You sick fuck! I’m gonna kill you!”
I tried explaining that there must have been some hot stuff still on my fingers left over from the peppers, but she wouldn’t listen. It took 10 minutes of me laughing and her digging before she finally felt safe there wasn’t anything inside of her.

About a month later I quit my job and bought a bus ticket to the east coast.

As I sat on the bus looking out the window,

I decided that it was the most expensive case of beer I’ve ever bought.

A Righteous Man

“Woo lookie me, I got cracka Joe’s tie on!”
The mouthwash was gone and the old man was smelling super minty, dancing around my small livingroom, clearly intoxicated. I quit keeping alcohol around the house for exactly this reason. Old Stevedore was 122 years old. He could easily pass for a spry 70.
“Stevedore, we gotta talk buddy.”

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if I’m a modern day slave owner or running an unlicensed nursing home. I think about these things late at night when sleep won’t come.

“Whatchoo wanna talk about SASQUATCH?” There’s that attitude again.

“Look here. I’ve been hearing about some burglaries in the neighborhood. All within A BLOCK of here. The THEIF is stealing some very odd items, Steve.”

The old man gave his best impression of being shocked and offended, wide eyed innocence, totally over the top.

“The old lady across the street said her back door was left open and all that was taken was some cajun seasoning.  Three doors down, that nice family said their little girl’s guinnea pig was stolen, and the intruder left foot prints all over the floor. Bare foot prints.”
The barefoot old man was keeping mum for now.  He was cagey alright.

“The lesbians on the corner said they came home and found a turd on their bed. A TURD! That’s a goddamn hate crime man!  Those bitches were on the channel 2 news last night! They’re actually gonna INVESTIGATE that one! And by the way, where’d the necktie come from huh?  I’m not going down for your shit! All these burglaries somehow happened when I was at work.  I’m gonna have to put you on the Chinese mega bus and send you to Mr. Jimmy until things cool down.  So please, no more ‘hittin’ a lick’, ok?”

“Look hea big man. You ain’t been home none too much lately.   It’s jus habin a lil fun.  You been getting up in some pussy ain’t ya?”

“Yeah, I been getting my share.  I know I ought to be around here for you more.  You’re the only I can trust these days.”  It was true.  I had recently started having some good luck with the ladies.  The best I’ve ever had in fact. Averaging two a week.

“You think it’s just coinkydink dat all ob a sunnen you jus fell out da pussy tree and hit every bitch on da way down?”
It’s true.  This lucky streak of mine was unprecedented.

“It ain’t no fuckin’ coincidence, my man.  I’m handsome and charming.  I look good, I smell good, and all the women wanna fuck me because I’m so goddamn masculine. Besides that, I also believe the gods are rewarding me for being a righteous man. I’m like Oddyseus, dude!”

“Fuck you Oderiferous, fat fuckin’ fish eyed weasel! You ain’t shit! Stevedore is why you been gettin’ lucky wit dem hoes!”

“What are you saying, you old piss smelling black methuselah?” Something told me he wasnt bluffing. But how? He didn’t have the money to pay them, did he?

“You remember when you caught me diggin’ in da backyard? You said I looked like a spook under da full moonlight? That shit hurt my feelings, fat man.”

“I didn’t mean it like that. You know me. I ain’t like that.”

“Hmph. Anyways, I was burying your nasty old underwear. And a lock of yo hair.”

Oh shit.
Guess that explains the mojo hand and the black cat bone next to Stevedore’s pallet.

“You gotta undo it man! These bitches are making goddamn wedding plans before I even pull my dick out! I got em calling my job, one of em slashed my damn tires. I’m just lucky there’s a used tire shop close by or else my ass would be on the bus right now.”

“Oh! On da BUS you say! Yo fat ass can’t ride the bus, but you expect poor old me, one hundred and twenty two years old to ride from casino to casino, listening to all dat jibba jabba, my old bones creakin’, I ain’t gonna do it!  I can’t!”  The crocodile tears were first class.

“Can’t you just turn off the goddam voodoo spell?  One of these lonely bitches is gonna KILL me!  You dont have to take the mega bus. I’ll get you a greyhound.”

“Ok big man. Dat’s mo like it.  But I still want you to do one mo thing fo me.  We gots to go to Big Tammy’s Salon and get some hair outta da dumpsta.”

Just then, a guinnea pig ran across the floor in front of us.

Flowerday Papyrus

Most of the grave markers were old. Old for around there at least. Here and there were some new ones, shiny black stone polished smooth and laser etched with almost photographic quality portraits. All those ones were Russian immigrants.
“Hey, look they misspelled this one. Happily m-e-r-r-i-e-d for forty seven years. Doesn’t sound very merry to me.” Jimbo and Meridith were still getting to know each other. Jimbo always liked walking through graveyards. “You know, one time when I was a kid like 16, I was tripping on acid and I went walking through the Evergreen Washelli cemetary over on Aurora. I sat in the grass and smoked cigarettes and now and then I’d put my ear up against a tombstone to see if I could hear any voices from beyond.” Merideth thought about that for a second, then asked, “So did you hear anything?”
“Yeah. Sounded like when you put your ear against a wall and hear people talking in the other room, real muffled like. I was also high as a kite.”
Merideth was pretty with makeup on, but too fat and not enough tit. Jimbo got lost for a second thinking about Doctor Frankenstein, and how he was rarely happy with any of his women. How he wished he could take the face from one, put it on the body of another, tits from this one, personality of that one. Jimbo knew he wasn’t perfect himself. His main weapon was humor. He wasn’t really very handsome or charming, but he did have an intelligent type of weirdness that baffled them and they’d usually stick around for awhile before they either got bored, or he chased them off.

Out of nowhere, Jimbo tells her, “Heavy metal album covers are the true artistic expression of our culture. The Greeks had their vases and sculptures, the Egyptians had their bas reliefs, the yer-oh-pee-awns had their masters of the brush and canvas. We have Megadeth album covers.”
“Megadeth. Ha. That’s almost like my name.” So much for conversation.

Jimbo spotted a work truck under a tree with a big pile of dirt next to it, and a contented looking Mexican sitting on the tailgate staring at his phone. He liked most Mexicans. They tended not to be sticklers for the white man’s rule of law, happy to overlook minor crimes that didn’t affect them personally. They knew how to mind their own business, an admirable trait in his estimation.
He hadn’t fucked Merideth yet, and thought about maybe trying it here. Should have brought a jacket, he thought to himself. She may not want her bare ass on the ground…
As he was formulating a game plan, Merideth interrupted him and said, “I think I’m gonna steal this gravestone.”
It was small, one of the smallest ones here, not much larger than a standard brick. “It would look cool in my livingroom.” And with that, she bent over and pulled it from the ground, then put it in her purse. You never know what a woman may have in her purse, he mused.

“There’s probably a hundred reasons why you shouldn’t do that.”, Jimbo told her. The grave marker said IRWIN FLOWERDAY, 1822-APRIL 27 1906.

Jimbo fucked Merideth indoors that night. Her ass looked like mashed potatoes, and her inner thighs were discolored a slight brown, but she had a nice plump clitoris, and there was a certain amount of chemistry between them. After the sex Jimbo licked her pussy, and she followed him around like a dog for two weeks after. All good things must end, and this one did like all the rest. He always reminded himself when he met a woman that every relationship they’d both had up to that point had failed.

About a month later, Jimbo was reading a history book about ancient Egypt, and came upon a reference to a 3,600 year old papyrus. It was a sort of anatomy textbook, a forty yard long scroll. It was called the Flowerday Papyrus. Named after Irwin Flowerday.  Small world indeed, Jimbo thought to himself.  He checked the birth and death dates of Flowerday and they matched up alright.  This Flowerday chap made his bones robbing graves for trinkets, and trying to outswindle the local swindlers. He was a two bit hustler, and as far as egyptologists go, he was a bargain basement one.  Now, a hundred and some years later the tables got turned and his headstone is sitting in a fat women’s apartment next to her cat’s scratching post.

Sometimes, Jimbo thought, if you pay close enough attention, you get to laugh along at the universe’s jokes. The only kind of justice any of us can ever hope for is the poetic kind.

Burien part 2

Seattle has been a boom town since the mid 1990’s. From my teen years through my twenties I spent no small amount of time earning a few coins on this jobsite or that one, usually as an unskilled hand, a throw away day laborer, young and strong and large and not betraying even the slightest hint of intelligence or trustworthiness. The foremen and skilled tradesmen looked down on me with contempt and suspicion. My fellow day laborers and I may as well have been Bombay sewer rats in what I perceived to be a modern day caste system. I found that no amount of good attitude or hard work would ever win me a real full time construction job. A driver’s license, a pick up truck and a high school diploma seemed all but unattainable to me, those being the prerequisites for full time construction employment. Even in boom times there are winners and losers, as there always has been, and most winners are unwilling to permit a loser entry to their club. So, I dug ditches or packed forms for minimum wage, unloaded trucks, or stole anything that wasn’t nailed down when there wasn’t work to be had. It’s all who you know, and I didn’t know ’em.

But why all this about jobsites, you ask? Just to mention that it was a construction site adjacent to the music store being the location where my accomplice and I drank pilfered beer that summer evening and concocted an impromptu plot to raid said music store. The way we figured, it would be a piece of cake to clean the place out and turn a tidy profit.
My partner in crime that day was Mr. Clarke, he who fell asleep under the sink, he who I barely knew, and he who would soon reveal his lack of character.

The music store’s backside faced the I-5 freeway. Across the freeway on the other side was a green slope heavily cloaked in trees and brush.
Having surveyed the terrain, we immediately procured two large duffel bags and two large camouflage tarps from Mr. Clarke’s family home, then set to work cutting the cyclone fence behind the store, eliminating the need to climb it later. We then stowed the tarps on the other side of the freeway, under the trees in preparation for our dastardly scheme.
It was well past midnight, traffic was light, and running across the freeway was a breeze.

Back at the construction site now, I noticed a chunk of concrete weighing about thirty-five pounds, laying a mere fifty feet or so from the front window of the music store. Full of cheap beer and reefer, I take the lead, and after carrying the chunk over, I toss it with all my might at the window.
BOUNCE!
I try again.
BOUNCE!
I wasn’t expecting the window to be made of such tough stuff.
After a few more tosses, a small ding appeared. With the claw end of a hammer I went to work on that ding, tearing a hole and then widening it to permit our entrance. It took a lot longer than I would have liked, but after much sweat and toil, it was of an acceptable circumference. I made sure not to disturb the foil security wire around the outside edge of the window, as I knew that doing so would break the circuit and trigger an alarm.

I’d like to point out right now that this music store wasn’t a mom and pop outfit, but a chain store that had a reputation for being less than honest. I was somewhat picky about who I liked to steal from.

In we went and out we came, making four or perhaps five trips to our camouflage tarps across the freeway. The last trip out, my inebriated eighteen year old self caught a sharp edge of the broken window and sliced my leg wide open, broke the window even more, and sounded the alarm. It was extremely loud, 100 decibels or more.
Back across the freeway we go, with me bleeding like a stuck pig.

Within a matter of minutes, safely tucked away under the camouflage tarps, we saw the spot lights and the strobes. Then we heard the dogs. The dogs led their masters to the cut fence and went crazy. They smelled blood alright. These canine sleuths knew exactly where we were, but the cops never did cross the freeway. Mr. Clarke and I dared not even whisper. We breathed shallow and moved not a muscle for over an hour as the dogs barked and the men shone their lights. The incessant barking of the police K9 rattled our nerves and made us both know what it feels like to be the hunted.

They finally must have concluded that we absconded in a truck.

The idea that we were concealed not one hundred yards away was just too absurd a notion for the police to entertain. At first light, we each took a duffle bag and walked away in separate directions, looking like nothing more than two pitiful young homeless men, not worthy of a second glance. I made two more trips to retrieve my share of the booty, and headed back up to North Seattle. Putting some miles between me and the crime scene seemed like the thing to do. I knew of a man who would pay cash on the barrel head for guitars and the like, and I had a good friend who would gladly store the items until arrangements could be made. I had no plans to return to Burien, or see Mr. Clarke ever again.
Mr. Clarke wasn’t much of a criminal. He lived in a large house with his parents, his father was a well respected preacher, his mother a teacher. I think this may have been the first crime he ever committed. He stashed his share of the loot in his bedroom at mommy and daddy’s house.

The temptation to brag and show off ill gotten gains to his middle class peers was too much for him to resist.

One of these friends of his was the son of a King County detective who just so happened to be assigned to the music store case. Life is just full of coincidences. Within 48 hours the jig was up.
He ratted me out with a quickness.

Pretty soon, I’m in an interrogation room with the detective. He tells me what they know and how they know it. If only I were to surrender the stolen merchandise, all would be forgiven. Case closed. My instinct tells me to dummy up, but I’m also thinking, what good will that do? They’ve got me.

I take a chance and play along. Play the part of a nice middle class white kid. Really lay it on thick.
I tell him what a relief it is to finally be caught, the heavy burden of my guilty conscience has been weighing me down. The stolen goods have been nothing but a curse, my black eyes and scuffed up countenance are proof of that, in fact, I was hijacked myself, by a trio of dusky hued savages on my way to a central district pawn shop(all good lies contain a grain of truth) who stole it all away from ME. I’d return it all if I could, but to do so would be impossible, as I no longer possessed it….
The cop was true to his word. I thought for sure I’d end up in a red suit on the eighth floor, but in the end I kept the stuff and walked out a free man.
I have always suspected that this stroke of luck was due to the authorities decision to give Mr. Clarke a break, the good kid from the good family, my own freedom being nothing more than an unpleasant but neccessary by product of that desire to shield him from a blemish on his permanent record. It’s all who you know…