Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rush the 99 Cent Store Part 2

Some wise man named Socrates once said the secret to happiness is to "know thyself." I read that a long time ago at a tender time in my life and it's stuck with me since. I've worked real hard to know myself as well as I can. To do this, I've spent many an hour with myself, asking questions about my childhood, my likes and dislikes and recipe tips. Then, I found I kind of liked myself and got myself drunk in order to better see my inner self. It was blurry and spinny. Finally, I got to hangin around with myself at all hours of day and night when myself would really rather be left alone. I heard I was plannin on gettin a restraining order against myself, but I guess I consulted a lawyer and his response was, "Stop wasting my time." Since I couldn't get the restraining order, I had to let me stay around until it seemed like I was always with me. These days, I hardly go anywhere without myself. I would say that, after all that time, I know myself pretty well.

It was right about the time I found myself standing on the belt that leads to the cash register yelling at the people, "Wake up, people, first it's your pennies, then it's your SOULS!!!" as the police pulled up outside that I remembered that I do not have the twin gifts of subtlety and tact. In fact, I am twice cursed by expecting-people-to-do-what-they-say and holding-them-accountable-when-they-don't. It may not sound like an actual curse, but when mother O'Neil was bakin a tasty Pat bun in her oven, she encountered a woman on the way to market. Ma was goin to sell the cow to the Fredrick dairy down the way at an already-agreed-upon price of 1/2 tons of bricks and 2 fish. The bricks would be used to build Ma and Pa O'Neil a new home and the fish would be used to lure cats to the new home so they could be shaved and the house could have a nice coat of hair. Back then, hairy houses were all the rage and no one could really say they'd made it into the upper crust of society without an all fur house. Ma and Pa had bought the cow as a calf and paid for its feed by working for the top hat and monocle wearing railroad baron of Iowa; Eddie Boxcar. Every day from dawn until dusk, they would comb Eddie Boxcar's house until it shone like spun mirrors. This trip to market to sell the cow would finally move my family from under the Boxcar thumb, but it was not to be. Between home and the market, ma O'Neil ran into an old lady who offered her 5 magic beans in exchange for the cow. Now, my ma had hear all about that guy Jack and his beanstalk, so she wasn't havin none of it from the old lady. She didn't want to hurt the lady's feelings, though, so she told the woman she already had some very nice magic beans at home, thank you very much. Apparently, accordin to my Ma, witches know when you're lyin because their noses light up red and a buzzer goes off. Incidentally, that's how they got the idea for that game Operation. Some doctor was operatin on a witch while he was bein interviewed for a job and the witch's nose kept glowin red because he wasn't actually a doctor, but a fast talkin pineapple who was tryin to make a life in the big city by scammin people. Anyway, this witch got all red in the nose and cursed me with an expectation of honesty and a low tolerance for sneaks. On a side note, those magic beans were bought later in the day by Eddie Boxcar for $100, which was a fortune in those days. When he planted them, they expanded the availability of credit to investors and this lead to the stock market crash in '29. As a result of this curse, which I can't do nothin about, I sometimes find myself on counters yelling things at employees as the thin blue line becomes the thin blue circle with tasers drawn standing around the guy yelling on the counter. Usually when this happens, I ain't in a position wherein I need to be sneaking off into the back of whatever business I'm at.

I suppose, if I'm gonna be in this situation a lot, I should ask some of the squimonk if they can whip me up an implant or a pill or somethin that will let me sneak around a 99 cent store without yellin about pennies and souls. I would love to do it myself, but every time I go in there, the curse gets up on me like a child climbin up an overweight gorilla and punchin him in the head. It seems like it ain't gonna do nothin, but with every punch, that gorilla gets angrier and angrier until the zookeeper has to be called. In my case, that zookeeper was named Sheriff Tom.

"Come on down, now, Pat," he said in the soothing tones of a man dealing with a crazed guy.

"But they're stealing!" I yelled. "It's them you should be arresting!"

"You know what, Pat, you're right," he shocked me with his easy agreement. "If you come on down from there, you and I can discuss the charges."

This made a whole lot of sense to me, so I got down and let him lead me outside. Once we got out there, he was a lot less friendly. He got up close to me and whispered through his teeth, "What in the world do you think you're doing?"

I was stunned. " see, there's this curse..."

He interrupted, "Are you insane, Pat? Do you know what you're walking in to here?"

I nodded, "Yessir, I do."

He shook his head. "You have no idea. We've been watching this place for months, and there are some very dangerous people in there."

I kept nodding, "Oh, I certainly know. That's why I'm here, you know."

He looked flabbergasted, "So you know about..."

"The meth? Yeah."

"How do you...?"

"Well now, see, Sheriff Tom, I can't exactly tell you that part of it," I explained, "but we're here to stop the meth from comin into our area, and this is really only the first step."

"But...but...but," he stammered, "we've been trying to get a warrant on this place for months, but we can't get enough evidence."

"I ain't really got a problem with gettin enough evidence, Sheriff," I continued, "I know they're pushin meth out of here, and they're gettin it from somewhere else. That's what I'm here to find out."

"I think I have an idea..."Sheriff Tom blurted out. And it was a doozy, I'll tell ya.

Next thing I know, I'm bein led back through the store. Douggy and the squimonk bags were just starin at me, shakin their heads. I could see disappointment written all over their faces as if they'd got kinda drunk after a long week of work and passed out at a party and the people they were with just sorta wandered away and so they were left sleepin in a chair at a party at a stranger's house and the people who owned the house didn't really know who they were and so the owners' drunk friends decided to have a little fun with them and so covered them in toilet paper and then drew all over them with a sharpy and, instead of all the vulgar things that usually get written on a person in this situation, they wrote "You blew the mission Pat. We're very dissapointed in you." I tried signaling them with my eyes, but I've got some sorta disability wherein I can't wiggle my eyebrows rapidly enough to have an effective signal. This comes from when I was 6 and I was down at the swimmin hole, swingin on the rope swing, and this big ol' bat flies by me just as I'm lettin go and the claw at the end of his wing caught me right at my hair line. It severed the tendon that I used to raise my eyebrows. I had to go right to the hospital and have it stitched back together. Since I was so young, there's hardly any scar and I got most of my eyebrow function back after eight years of physical therapy, but I still don't have the speed needed in signaling with my eyebrows. Since they weren't getting the message with the eyebrows, I tried to look at the back door significantly.

I think they got the hint, because they started moving towards the door to the back room. Sheriff Tom was explainin to the workers, "Prisoner has to use the restroom. I gotta let him go or it's a violation of his miranda rights and they can throw the whole case out of court. You've got a bathroom in the back, right? It'll be just a minute." With that, he kicked open the door to the back room, I flicked off the unlocked handcuffs and drew my donut gun. Douggy had enough peace of mind to draw his, too. All three of us burst into the room, guns drawn, yelling "Hands up, scumbags!" Little did we know how right we were.

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