Big Whoop

A man named Garvey sedated me once, though the whole outcome could have been avoided. We’d begun feuding the week prior, a trivial dispute over the price of corn muffin mix. Stupid, right? Well, this Garvey feller sure didn’t think so. And it just so happened that his friendly neighborhood drug dealer unloaded a ton of vicodin on him that week, so he was bound to sedate me whether or not we disagreed on anything. I may live to regret having anything to do with that man, but life is a rich tapestry that deserves its fair share of intrigue.

His sister, Nancy, had her own agenda when it came to handling the G-Man. Having lived with him a majority of her life, she’d developed an ingenious coping mechanism for dealing with his ridiculous foibles. Any time he began ranting about the military industrial complex, the go-to strategy would be to bring up the time he’d run into Steve Harvey while jogging on the riverfront–near the Wrigley Building. That would immediately stop his conspiratorial theorizing and send him spiraling through all five stages of the celebrity run-in phenomenon. Turns out Garvey is this joker’s last name. First name: Steve.

Originally, Nancy had only been prepared to shift her brother’s mania away from excessive government spending, but she eventually developed a secondary strategy out of necessity. After letting Steve go on about the Garvey/Harvey thing for a couple minutes, she’s gotten quite skilled at channeling his enthusiasm into a creative jag. Now–since Garvey prefers to make ink drawings, Nancy has set up a corner in her apartment designed solely for her brother to zen out after he gets a little too worked up about the 10-second exchange that he and Steve Harvey’d had. The passion lends itself to the page as he jots up a storm. He doesn’t want to burden himself with any extra material possessions, so he leaves all his creations at Nancy’s place. Nancy has turned a tidy profit from his efforts, since Steve-o gets worked up quite often. It’s reached the point where Nancy could take a year-long hiatus from waitressing and not feel pinched for a minute of it.

So yeah, I let Garvey sedate me. Big whoop. I was hoping he’d feel bad about it and draw me a nice picture that could finance a backpacking trip through the Black Forest.

Sloppy Pour

Hello.
My name is James Arnettison.
In the following words,
I am going to enlighten you
on the perfect form that is
the sloppy pour.

First off, you might be asking:
“hey James, I gotta ask you something”,
and then I’ll say:
“well go on ahead”,
and then you’ll say:
“cool, thanks for taking the time to listen”
and I’ll say:
“of course, any time!”

It may take a few more exchanges
before getting to the question at hand,
which is this:
what is the sloppy pour?
Excellent question.
A sloppy pour is an upcharge
on a shot (the kind you order at a bar).

Rather than a neat pour,
where all the contents are neatly contained
within the confines of the glass,
the sloppy pour
requires virtually no skill.

The bartender is, in fact, encouraged
to waste alcohol
as they attempt to hit the glass
with about 80% accuracy (give or take,
depending on the establishment’s preferences).

The result is the perfect sloppy pour.
Those long ropes of vodka and tequila
will now be even ropier–
up to 30% ropier, in fact–
as bartenders are given the go-ahead
to wreak havoc on the bar top.

We can get into
the sanitary aspects of this practice
another time, though
liquor does tend to disinfect
more than it infects.

Anyhow

The gratitude of my temporary inmates seems only to ring truer with each passing circumstance. I suppose I may have acquired a skill or two over the years where it pertains to the custodial caretaking that so many in this throwaway culture would prefer to ignore.

It’s not Stockholm Syndrome that these folks have come down with, since I’m not the one responsible for my subjects’ captivity, but it is definitely a similar phenomenon (a guy sure could get used to all the attention, anyhow). My wards do actually receive that kind of no-strings care that the medical insurance industry forgot about as soon as private concerns got their hooks into it (even though their advertising tries to sell a different story).

Perhaps because of this comfort, every single one of our emerging beer-krausening technologies has been behind schedule under my watch. Maybe it was a mistake to combine a halfway house with a chemistry lab. Our three chemists-in-captivity are functioning alcoholics who just use this particular project to get tanked on the job all day–with my tacit blessing, I suppose. Last Thursday, Ernie–the least-tactful of the three–decided to not look both ways before crossing the street on his lunch break (I do give them at least a little time in each week to get out and smell the flowers). Long story short, Ernie got hit by a shipment of cabbages (with a truck attached), survived, and is now suing the city for not putting a stop sign in a 40 MPH zone. As soon as he got back from the hospital, you’d better believe I gave him quite the lecture on roadside awareness!

Allures–

Ever-prepared to twist a flask
through momentary fence slat openings–

tirelessly striving
to bounce among the crows
while somehow maintaining resistance
to cherry pie allures–

this bagel hoarder fails to stay a caricature;
his age includes his visions,
inquiries and musings.

His daily hike through neighbors’ sheep farms
dusts his mind, aerates his neurons
and rolls crisp–

long as the hills tumble green
with moss-padding deer,
caws carrying gaiety
over the hours, sometimes damp.

———-
First draft posted to WHARVED on Jan 11, 2012, Entitled “#82”

Sheer Self-Pity

What am I supposed to do with this armful of goddamn apple brown betties? I’m gonna have to toss them off the side of this overpass like I saw that fellow do yesterday. I can still see the stain left on the road from the impact of the beefier bits of crust. Upon witnessing such an atrocity, I told myself I’d never have to settle for the same outcome… ain’t life a bitch sometimes? One day you’re showering your spouse with serenades and streusels, and the next you’re choking down a pie-in-a-can you purchased out of sheer self-pity. They didn’t even have the strawberry flavor that you like, so you had to settle for heart of palm, a gruesome concoction you never even knew was in their product line, but dominated the shelf space at your corner bodega for god knows how long.

Cakemakers

Gateway drugs and experiences have no bearing on our ralphymeters today or any other day (as far as we know), though I’m going to need you to disengage in trivial pursuits for long enough get a read on just why it is that cakemakers hold no stations below law-enforcement.

The answer is easy enough to reach, you simply need to focus your attentions where they can really do some investigative good.

All right, I’ll have to just tell you then, if that’s going to be your attitude.

When you strip it all bare, the contemporary American cakemaker is commonly behooved to fabricate goods for the purpose of selling them at the market. Law-enforcers make it their business to interrupt people’s activities and impose limitations upon them, resulting in a streak of pride and occasional lawlessness. Paid to uphold the law, they often embody the viewpoint that certain laws don’t apply to them, sometimes culminating in displays of pseudo-authority that end up with dead people on their hands (or at least as a result of their handiwork).

Cakemakers just have to crack a few eggs.

(#373)

We are the TOXIC Group:

Tastemakers
Obligating
Xylophones
Into
Conversation

Our meetings typically consist of 30 seconds of clever xylophone-related banter followed by 48 minutes of unbroken claptrappery (occasionally punctuated by a sneeze or self-important cough that reminds folks in the group of their own flimsy mortality). The list of covered topics is indeed long and tedious; an indeterminate amount of talking points is covered multiple–sometimes numerous–times, with very little ceremony.

The talking points typically meander around with little consequence, and our staffers have learned to endure them long enough to get to the meat of the meeting: attempting to reach a quorum on where to go for pizza afterwards. There’s been a glut of new “artisanal” pizza joints in the area, not to mention the existing restaurants who need gimmicks to keep up.

Gino’s Northeast: an old school pizzeria with a hint of sports bar (now with 25% more sass back)
Donnie’s Bunker: war hero’s spot with authentic Vietnam War memorabilia
Skip’s Dugout: retired baseball star’s spot with authentic ’60s and ’70s memorabilia
Gugliotti’s: Sicilian-themed ristorante
Chunkster’s: Most Toppings Around!®
Steggo’s Dino-mite Pizza: self-explanatory
Jeffrey’s Tamborine: adults-only gaming and entertainment-related eatery (wine allowed in the ball pit)

This particular installment of the TOXIC Group (#373) eventually ended with a near-unanimous selection of kofta kebab, since there’s only one local option for that cuisine and we were rapidly running out of time. For the record, a good portion of the group rallied for the adult play place, but Susie’s new around these parts, and we want her to stick around for a month or two before we test her patience with a drunken happy hour.