Sympathy for the Living

Inger heard that my Dad died. I’m used to being alone. Sympathy for the Living is harder for me than a full measure of salty, shady bitterness. Still, it’s nice that she’s making my extra bedroom the third domicile. It’s Sunday after church. I’m back in Richmond the weekend after the viewing. I’ve tried working. It’s bad. Too small cash flow and I’m spent.

Fancy Biscuitt Sympathy for the Living
From Fancy Biscuit on West Cary Street in Richmond, VA

At my Dad’s house I’m lucky if my sisters will let me near the coffee pot. I brew caffeinated beans I grind myself. The beans come from places that are not on the fashy list. That’s two things wrong with the coffee I make. It’s two things too many. Plus, somehow, buying coffee beans and placing them on the counter is some sort of toxic masculine demand that I be served coffee by one of my sisters.

I can’t do anything in my father’s house without being judged. A simple chicken is sexist. Politics and religion are fighting words. I am the son my family feels is a reason to apologize. It’s big trouble if I suggest that mayhaps more government isn’t an assurance of desirous outcomes.

You Get Shade

All this to explain my reaction to Inger nearly done making Sunday supper–greens, crockpot pulled pork, black-eyed peas, and a pie. She had coffee ready. I entered the house by the back door as is my habit and was greeted with a mug of coffee, “Hey.”

She remembered that I like cream in my coffee, “Hey, this is kind of awesome. What’s the occasion?

No occasion. I was hungry and I can’t do this meal for my parents. My Mom is doing a vegan paleo thing and my Dad is fighting back by declaring you can do Atkins with fast food.

Looks awesome. Any news on the investigation?”

Well . . . they won’t tell me who owns the finger. Only that they ran the DNA and got a hit on NCIC, hungry?”

It’s been a shitty four months since my Dad went into the hospital last October and we worried that he might not make it. He rallied and was able to go home. I spent three weeks taking care of him because my sister had to go home. There is more to life than my continuing saga of struggling to make ends meet. I’m making it but it’s been a bitch, “Yeah, give me a minute.”

Clean Sheets and Hospital Corners

I picked up the coffee mug and continued through the kitchen to my bedroom. Ok, kinda not cool. I have new bedding. Less man cave vibe and more shared bed vibe. Right, I needed new bedding. Just . . . not sure an SHYT is the right person to make that choice for me. And my room is clean and organized.

I maintain piles of papers on any horizontal surface in my house. The piles are a filing system of sorts. I own a filing cabinet but it is seldom= used. Anything I want to preserve is usually scanned and stored on Google Drive. The piles of papers are gone. Food first.

The coffee is good. I don’t know how to deal with a woman who is nice to me in traditionally domestic ways–cooking, cleaning and so on. It’s weird, “Hey, how deep does this domestic diva thing go?”

Hmm?”

I mean, I have new bedding, you cooked Sunday Supper and made coffee. My house is cleaner than it has ever been. I’m not used to this.

Your Dad died. I thought you would like some Southern comfort.”

Love Hurts

My eyes welled up. I’ve dealt with so much bitterness through my life that sweetness messes me up. I can do an angry drunk wanting to go home from the bar. A born-here Richmond girl in her twenties showing me a little southern love is a lot to accept.

She saw my tears and started to hug me, “Been a bitch of a life lately, huh?”

Goddamnit. Yeah. Thanks,” I also am one of those old school stoics who has a hard time showing emotion. “Can you fix me a plate?

Shut Up Beer Sympathy for the Living

Inger released the hug and set about fixing a plate. Supper was uneventful and good. Two cans of “Shut Up” have me gabby and silly. I’m so badly behind on revenue targets that what I should do is get out there and find money. Two beers, so . . . nope. Maybe you are thinking that Inger and I “hang out” in my bedroom? Heh. You would. No, I go take a nap.

I don’t usually bother with the spam queue on my blog. 99.999% of the time it’s some iteration of “come look at porn” or “take this supplement and grow a horse dick” or “Lose the weight and feel forty years younger.” Then there are the machine generated compliments on my writing. All very forgettable.

Bitter Normie

So . . . some Bill Cohen commenting on my recent “Off the Estate” post is usually just dumped. Mr. Bill was trashing a fellow blogger with comments that should just get tossed. Maybe I am a fool, but I copied the text of it before dumping it, “Fucking hell. I just got out of jail on a bullshit case. I have to use the goddamned library to get online because they took my shit. Now, tell that asshole Antidem that he’s not worthy to breathe my air. White privileged, Nazi son of a bitch. Get a little education already. It’s you bougie people that are the problem. All we need to do is wipe the earth clean of scourge like you. Take your wealth and privilege and distribute it to the 99% who need it. Oh my God, you are evil. Do us all a favor and eat worms and die! “

Inger saw it then dived into her phone. Dunno what she was typing or doing but whatever, “That’s hate speech, Alan. That guy deserves to be doxed.”

k. I’m drunk and tired. I have a SHYT talking about doxing. None of the Sunday shows on over-the-air TV interest me. My old duvet and something mindless from Netflix sounds awesome. It’s early around dinnertime. Don’t care, “Inger, I’m going to take a nap.”

Case Update

Inger has other ideas. Not those, you little shit, “Hey, like, can we talk?” Ruh-roh. Her timing is not awesome. Still drunk and tired, “Can it wait until I’ve had my nap?
“Uhm, kinda no. It’s important.” Ruh-roh, “Ok, what’s up?”
The case.
The missing finger?
Kind of. The comment from Bill Cohen.
The one in my SPAM queue?
“Yeah. I saw it before you dumped it. Bill Cohen is IRL. He’s scary.”
“Whyzzat?”
“He used to be Antifa until he got too violent.”
“That’s saying something. What’s his connection to you?”
“We hooked up a couple of times.”
“And this relates to the finger how?”
“It doesn’t. But he’s scary and I might need to hide here for a bit.”
“Whatever. You already have a toothbrush here.”
“I need it.”
“I need that nap.”
“Give me the TV remote.” Done. The Bachelor is on. Bleh.

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Northam the Pious

I got asked what I think of the stink raised over a photo in a yearbook some claim is our Guvnut Ralphie Northam the Pious (Peeus?). I think many things, too many to fit into a blog post. So I’ll focus on a few.

First, let me repeat this question: are we only our worst moments? Our lives are a mixed bag of praiseworthy and regrettable behavior. How many of us could survive the sort of scrutiny given to Brett Kavanaugh and lately, Guvnut Ralphie Northam the Pious?

Can we stop micro-analyzing the lives of our leaders to find any tiny mote on their character? I and my friends would not survive such a close examination of our worst moments. Instead of a deep dive into youthful stupid behavior can we stipulate that all of us fall short and move on?

It’s a trope. A political leader is pure as the driven snow, more pious than St. Paul, unblemished as Mother Mary, and more wise than Confucius. That’s the standard some wish to apply to our leaders. They want a god-king better than a thousand years of Caesar.

So mythology is built around a potentate. Today’s blessed mother is Alexandria Occasio-Cortez (AOC). We are to believe she was conceived of a poor mother and father in the Bronx, raised up eating the tossed out scraps of beans and rice from a Cuban restaurant’s dumpster and automagically, graduated from BU. She is the next savior to triumph over the evil white dictator Cheeto Satan.

Shunned

You get to keep your high accolades until you become a threat to one of the political machines. Then you are worse than worm food. The machines must live so you must die. The machines fired a shot at Guvnut Northam the Peeus.

Northam the Peeus was elected with a similar bit of propaganda. We were told he isn’t extreme. He is a reasonable demi-god king free of any blemish. Desert Storm veteran, Pediatric Neurologist, and State Senator. He was our Lieutenant Governor before being anointed by McAuliffe the Wise. We voted for him because we were told that he’d be more reasonable than that evil, extremist and wicked demon Ed Gillespie (racist, homophobe, privileged, chauvinist, and asshat pig).

The weapon of choice is familiar. An accusation is published in a respected, reasonable news outlet. Rape for Kavanaugh, racism for Guvnut the Pious. The statement is made, “these are very serious accusations.” Every loyalist so accused is expected to accept his tub of worms and shovel with gratitude. Guvnut won his election by using the weapon of choice. Yet when it’s fired at him he isn’t sticking to the script.

Sullied Saint

And . . . guess what. Northam isn’t a saint. In typical fashion, the sins he accuses his opponents of are those that sully his dashiki. He never decried an ad that circulated during his campaign accusing evil Gillespie of the most vile of adjectives. Then we learn that there is a photo in a yearbook that might be Northam the Peeus. Ruh Roh.

Yes, ruh roh. Northam can’t be the Pious with a single mote on his reputation. It would mean he is mortal. Democratic leaders must be god-kings, not mortals. We could solve a lot of problems with our society if we would begin building temples to our gods, great and small. This mote can’t be.

It is. This week Ralphie the Mortal has gone dark. We haven’t heard from him since that disastrous press conference where he almost moon-walked until his wife told him it would be inappropriate. The rumor is that he isn’t leaving office and is looking for some land on which to build a temple to himself.

A New Deplorable

All the mortal sinners are either in the closet or sharing a bar stool with that KKK leader. So the battle over character has moved to increasingly minor, venial sins. The same level of moral outrage is given to a yearbook picture as an actual lynching.

Which is stupid. It makes the accusers sound like toddlers throwing a tantrum. Rather than inspire desired outcomes the accusations tend to fizzle. “These are very serious accusations,” goes the outcry. And the expected response is “ok, sorry, where are my worms and shovel?

Northam the Mortal isn’t sticking to the trope. He’s decided to stay and fight. Good for him. It’s gotten stupid. The bullies have been in charge. They shout, “BOO!” and we are supposed to cower and eat our worms peacefully. Then Trump won. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Her Royal Highness Billary Roddamned Clitoran was supposed to be coronated and preserve the empire. She lost.

Then, to make things worse, Pimp Daddy Baroque Obummer let Cheeto Satan have the Oval Orifice. Obummer left to play golf in Palm Springs. The horror of it all. How dare Pimp Daddy do that? Does he even care about us? Doesn’t he understand what he did?

Pimp Daddy understands, more than you know. He left to play golf because it was the right thing to do. We needed Trump. As time goes on it becomes more clear that we were in trouble. We’d fucked the wrong john for too long.

So the old tropes are failing. It used to be that you could order the blood worms and the shovel ahead of time because the outcome was a lock. Now people are taking encouragement from Trump and starting to fight. Northam the Mortal is just one of many.

Fam Status Questionable

Last, I grew up around organized crime leaders. They worked in Philly and commuted home to my neighborhood. Palace intrigue is some of the air I breathe. This hit on Northam the Mortal feels like a fight between crime gangs. Northam is a pawn in a turf war between the Clintons and the San Francisco political machine. It was supposed to be a mortal blow for Northam the Mortal. Ralphy’s worms were specially raised in Mendocino in soil owned by cannabis sativa growers. He did a bad thing deciding to fight. We don’t know yet whether SFO will hit him again.

Trump isn’t the problem. The problem is a civil war started by SFO’s political machine to take over the country. Before the rise of the Pelosi gang we were controlled by dixiecrats and the Chicago machine. Dixiecago has been losing elections for a little over forty years. In its place has been the Pelosi gang.

The Pelosi gang are true believers in a mashup of Mao, Islam, and Judiasm. Their answers to the world’s ills deepen their roots in power and disparity. The goal is visible in the state of Golden Mountain where it is ever more expensive to live there and the proletariat’s desperation is carefully managed so as to ensure it’s continued oppression.

Dirty Pious Barons

Baron Ralphie Northam Guvnut the Peeus isn’t guilty of racism. He’s guilty of assuming that the Clinton machine would protect him from his past. His crimes were safe until he became a threat to the machine. Then everything he ever did that is even remotely outrageous became cannon fodder. His attempts at repentance were ignored.

I’d guess that back in the day blackface wasn’t the mortal sin its being depicted as today. Today it’s the same as lynching. So anyone who put on blackface as a joke is no different from a murderous Imperial Wizard of the KKK. He or she must be ruined.

Here is the thing. When every menial sin is treated like a mortal sin based on the propaganda of the day it becomes stupid. It’s like my ex-wife accusing me of horrible crimes even after I have not been in touch with her for a decade. It’s redunkulousness. She lost credibility and her accusations became words on wind and water. Ditto what the Pelosi machine is doing with Guvnut the Pious.

No Longer News

Last . . . I hate writing about the news. It’s a moving target. It takes me a few weeks to write something about a news story. In that time its fallen off the news cycle and we have moved on.

Barron Guvnut the Peeus isn’t helping. He did an interview with Gale King that was awkward. Really awkward. During the interview he announced an apology tour. I’m not feeling this apology tour.

Nawthum the Peeus presumes he can heal us from our white privilege and evil, racist ways. Uhm . . . Ralph? Hello!? We didn’t do what you did. Why are you deflecting your own bad behavior by roping in the Commonwealth and blaming us for your shit?

I’m OK with a repentant sinner. I’m not OK with a sinner who apologizes then tries to take it back only to apologize for using !shoe polish! as part of a Michael Jackson costume. Or a politician who wants to change the subject to the big issue of institutional and cultural racism so he can say he has apologized for a huge, stupid misdeed.

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Off the Estate

I had a visit from PUDFARB ICE (People’s United Democratic Free Anarchist Republik of Berkeley Immigration and Customs Enforcement). My Dad passed so the fact that I am off the estate living in the capital of racism is a renewed outrage. If I knew what was good for me I’d sign off on my inheritance and agree to live in Amistad House.

It is likely that I’ll inherit some money. It’s fast money, though. Fast money tends to go as quickly as it came. As you hold the check in your hand the legion of ways to spend it rave in your head. As an example, all those lottery winners who are broke within a few years of cashing the check. PUDFARB ICE had an answer they thought was awesome: give it to them.

A pretty girl was running point. She had a sheaf of papers I was supposed to sign. Somehow a rumor surfaced that I would take my windfall and start a business. Incredibly, PUDFARB ICE claimed that I was not free to do as I pleased with my own money. No, I had to sign it over to them.

✠ ✠ ✠

The potential crime was owning a business that PUDFARB ICE could not control. It was fine as long as their union goons could dictate how it would be run. In the small print was language that said my business would be taxed at 90% of the gross revenue. But that tax would pay for a free Cadillac and a new iPhone plus art classes and getting fast-tracked for Medicaid and Section 8.

What’s wrong with socialism?” My son asked this. Many things are wrong with socialism. Signing over my inheritance to PUDFARB ICE in exchange for being fast-tracked into Amistad ought to be a reasonable choice. It isn’t. Nor is spending the imagined amount on “reasonable” purchases that leave me destitute and unable to refuse commitment to Amistad House.

Pretty girl said I was getting old and I’d need someone to help me run the business. She offered to be office manager. There was an employment offer in my name for cab driver. PUDFARB ICE would own the business and Pretty girl wanted to run it. How about . . . no.

Not Silent Now

Because, tbh, it’s not about being down for the struggle.

I don’t like answering the phone because of PUDFARB ICE. They are like a corrupt collection agency. Except that the thing in collections is me. They call, e-mail, post to my FB wall, and generally try to intrude. I left in 1992 for Cal State EBay (Hayward). 25 years ago and they persist.

After 25 years they’d gone silent. Then my Dad passes and they found a way to interrogate me while I was working in Philly. Same thing as always, I need to understand that I didn’t belong out of PUDFARB. I had to come home. The room in Amistad was nice, they said. I could devote myself to writing propaganda and be taken care of.

Taken care of” to a guy who grew up with Greek Mafia neighbors has a bad ring to it. I don’t trust it. Nor do I trust the pretty girl from PUDFARB ICE who just wants me to sign my life away. First class flight to SFO if I would just sign my name to multiple forms. I’m not signing.


✠ ✠ ✠

I own a house on Lost Souls Road far, far off the estate. Sometimes when I go to the curb to get my mail I find bodies in the gutter. Some of the bodies are people who got disappeared by PUDFARB ICE. Others are SJW’s who knew what we ought to be doing instead of being a hot mess and didn’t get the hint. You can live a quiet life on Lost Souls Road if you make the right friends.

I mention my address because the pretty girl from PUDFARB ICE triggers memories of those bodies I sometimes find. This pisses ICE off. If I was a good man I’d just sign and make things easy for everybody. Come home and stop posting to the blog. Stop spewing hate. Pretty tells me that they have a special meal plan I’d really enjoy. Uh Huh.

Idea #2 is that they’d take the money coming to me and buy an annuity which would fund my retirement living in Amistad. Pretty girl could be my home care aid. Good idea but not happening.

On Bottom Everything Points Up

Then the threats come. They’ll ruin me financially. I’ll be eating dog food and living on the street. My adjudicated criminal cases will be re-opened and I’ll have to serve all the time. My reputation will be destroyed.

These are threats that would intimidate someone who believes they have something to lose. PUDFARB ICE pretty girl is a fool. I am one of Billary’s deplorables. I’ve been down, been homeless, convicted of crimes, broke and lost my reputation, thrown off the estate for being a WASP. Every threat they have is something I survived. I’d rather not start from the bottom at my age. But if I must I will.

Socialism asks us to surrender everything to the government and trust that they will be less corrupt than the rest of society. I should trust the pretty girl from PUDFARB ICE with the social work degree. Everything is taken care of, she says.

✠ ✠ ✠

Don’t care. I decided last summer that I wasn’t going back to work as a cube rat. It was cab driving even if that job ruined me. If I’m headed to bottom I’m going down fighting, king of my own sandbox.

And with that, they showed me a video of my sister reading a prepared statement. I was a disappointment to my father. I’d failed him. And now I’d broken my trust with her. All I had to do is sign the papers and come back to PUDFARB. Everything would be fine.

I don’t know what’s coming in the next year. 2019 is only a day old as I started this post. One thing it won’t bring is a docile me who behaves as my kin wishes. My sister wants me to conform to her norms. Be a good brother and live as she believes I should. The nice people at PUDFARB ICE told her that things would be good if only I would sign the papers.

Lipstick Isn’t Enough

She signed. They gave her a house in the Berkeley hills. Her daughter is in a private school for the deaf. Her husband works at an NGO. She got a job teaching school for PUDFARB. It’s lovely. I should visit some time.

Then I noticed something. She was quietly signing just with her hands over and over. bs, bs, bs, bs. Thought so.

The problem with socialism is us. Socialism needs perfect compliance. It tends to get into a destructive spiral where control is resisted so control is increased, rinse repeat. Ergo Nazi Germany. The other destructive spiral comes from the idea that those with ability will feed those with need. Very quickly those with ability figure out that survival means becoming one with need. In short order, there are no resources nor people with ability to feed on.

Sign the Contract

The pretty girl put the package of papers in front of me. I looked them over. and told her I could do better with the principle if I invested it and lived off the capital gains. I think it was the word capital. Anyhoo, she lost her shit. A stream of cuss words and crimes of old, fat WASP men spewed out of her mouth. I was every sin ever committed by ever man throughout time. It was an impressive tantrum. Capital is an evil word, it seems.

My Dad was given an offer he couldn’t refused. Take a pension buyout or get fired. He took the buyout. It was about two years worth of salary. He was a little younger than I am now. His two years of salary had to take care of him and my Mom until they died. It wasn’t enough.

It could be enough if he did what my family has done since we were landed gentry in England–invest and live off the profits of said investments. Pretty girl slapped me for saying that. Fuck her . . . no, asshole, not sex, shit. Right, so my Dad used his initial amount in the buyout to grow it into income that supported him for nearly thirty years and paid for my Mom’s care as she declined from dementia.

✠ ✠ ✠

Capital gains or passive income is the answer to the wish to drink Mai Tai’s under an umbrella on a tropical island beach. Somehow, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is racist. Whatever. Read it if you want to escape a cube rat life.

His hard work and wise investments mean we are left with an inheritance that PUDFARB ICE wants. Sucks to be them. Free will is a problem for socialists. People might not fully comply. They might take a small pension buyout and get rich with it. I might do that.

So, PUDFARB ICE, do your worst. I’m not signing. I’m not agreeing to give you my inheritance for an annuity that you say will take care of me for the next forty years. Our family has survived retirement by remaining king of our own investment sandbox. Thanks for the offer but I’ll keep my faith in an absurd martyr from Nazareth who was crucified at the request of his church elders and the power of compound interest.

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Hate Hen

So . . . the hate hen. It’s a bougie thing. Overthinking, obsessing, ruminating, then when it all gets to be too much, exploding in a tantrum that has the folk around you wonder what the f*ck. My family does this. A fryer from Safeway can’t be what it is. It must be a hate hen. It’s the water I breath when I visit my family.

Hate Hen

But of course, part of being bougie is being down for the struggle. We care about the proletariat–the prolies. We have our brand perfected. Tons of committee meetings planning, planning, planning. GoFundMe campaigns, endless campaigns for some doe-eyed kid who has to drink piss because there isn’t even water for s/him.

Prolies, though, don’t give a shit about the bougie. First, they are too busy living to bother with the bougie. Second, the further down Lost Souls Road they are the less connected to first world problems they are. They have 99 other problems and a fresh chicken isn’t one of them. Us prolies don’t obsess over the meaning of a chicken. We cook it and eat it.

Hate Hen

So you understand, I can’t bring a fresh chicken from Safeway into the house. That can’t be an innocent thing. No, no, because I am a long list of hated adjectives my simple act must mean more. It must be that I am oppressing my family with my privilege and patriarchy. The act of buying a fresh chicken is obviously a passive-aggressive demand that the women present prepare this hate hen for me. It’s male chauvinism of the highest order. It must be dispatched post-haste.

Last October, when the prompt for this post occurred, my Dad was in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good. I wanted something familiar and comforting while I processed the possible loss of my father. Which explains the fresh chicken from Safeway and what I do with it.

The chicken gets broken down into parts and frozen. The carcass goes in a pot with the veggies and simmered until you can squish the bones with your fingers. Many mothers for many generations have done this as a way to squeeze every bit of value out of a whole chicken. That isn’t the right narrative for my niece.

My niece is brim full of narratives about me that come from a lifetime of living rent-free in her head. I am a giant in her mind. A big, evil, farting, cinder breathing giant who wants to chain her to the stove and force her to machine gun out food and children. At the same time. While doing all the domestic goddess tasks she imagines I demand of her and roasting murdered hate hens. These are big shoes I am expected to fill. Fortunately, all I have to do to fill them is exist.


Baby It’s Cold Outside” became a symbol of rape culture recently.  Because . . . bougie and he’s white. No stone left unturned. La revolución es suprema sobre
todo lo demás, obviamente

I Reject Your Narrative and Insist on One of My Own

Among my evils is that I keep pointing out that “truth” is much more fungible than my pink diapered STEM kin is cool with. Things must be Pythagorean and fit a Marxist exegesis. Proofs must conclude neatly from the premises and conform to Orthodox Socialist Doctrine. My world, the bard’s world, is absurd. It cannot be so that the God we worship could say that we are to feed his sheep. God’s sheep? Where? In what stable? Who owns these sheep? Is it a fat white dude? Well, then, obvi, the sheep are a tool of oppression like that hate hen. Guys, don’t read Revelations. It will make your head explode. You will need duck tape.

What I find post-worthy is that my STEM kin are dead sure that their science and modernism is irrefutable fact. Their zeitgeist is normal. My zeitgeist of metaphor and simile is an absurd existential threat to their careful, Aristotlean and Pythagorean world of cement and glass they keep trying to perfect. Maybe so. I’ll stay here on Lost Souls Road where a cat’s smile persists after the cat has disappeared. Quantum Physics much?

Quantum Physics? Yeah . . . So . . . that chicken was, according to my niece, a full box of ammo aimed at accomplishing what she imagines I want from her. There was no way in heaven or hell that she would ever accede to my pimply white privileged, male chauvinist ass. A simple fresh chicken from Safeway was a symbol of all of the oppression of men like me since Eve tried to get Adam to come correct with that apple.

If You Understood

It’s so lovely and evergreen. Whenever an actual bit of oppression is defeated those who believe in social justice invent one more reason why the bougie must be persecuted. My very existence is proof that there cannot be mercy and grace for those who stand in the way of social justice for the oppressed. I am an existential threat simply by breathing and buying fresh chickens.

Hateful Hen Czar Nicholas
Czar Nicholas

The Revolution must be achieved. This damned chicken is an insult to the revolution. Yet, Yankees that we are, it would be wrong to waste food. This is a problem. Plus, it’s not vegan so . . .

I Understand

My niece has planted her soul in Eris’ temple. She is a true believer in Orthodox Socialism. Her degree is in environmental geology. STEM to the core. Yet, as regards me, nothing is at it seems. Most especially a mere supermarket purchased whole chicken. No, that hate hen is an act of abuse by me, her Uncle. I should be arrested for domestic violence (again).

That chicken, for me, was a couple hours work by me to give me something in my Dad’s house of my own that would give me comfort. It had nothing to do with my niece. Saying this means I don’t understand. Rather, for these words I am a hateful liar.

Jordon Peterson on White Privilege

You Lie

But I lie, it seems. I am not admitting to the ways in which that damned chicken was a hateful symbol of my oppression of my niece and by extension, all women going back to Eve. If I understood I’d offer my chicken as a sacrifice before an altar to Marx. Further, I’d wear sackcloth and coat myself in ashes from the burnt offerings for seven days. Fifty years living uncleanly so . . .

That day, after being promised a roast chicken by my niece, I went to work. The cray-crays of my cab customers are familiar and for that, more comforting that my shrieking niece. A rude drunk who the cops are sending home instead of citing for “drunk in public”? Cake. A niece who believes that I am a token for all the world’s evils perpetrated by white men is too much for me.

I Substitute Your Chicken for This One from Wegmans

When I got back my niece had gone shopping. Wegmans has an awesome prepared food department. They sell roast chickens that are ok. I happen to like Richmond’s Chicken Fiesta better. My baby-sister made me a plate from the leftovers. Put me in my place by giving me table scraps. Serves me right.

My chicken was gone and in its place was a roast chicken from Wegmans. That Hate Hen screamed in my niece’s nightmares. She had to win this one in the battle against my white privileged, pimply ass. So she shopped at Wegmans and made the Hate Hen disappear.

My comfort is an affront to Eris and the revolution. I eat meat in addition to being all the things my niece hates. I ate what was served to me with gratitude. Oh, right, I should not be gracious. I am unclean and therefore owe my niece restitution for committing such a mortal sin. My bad.

Norma Rae

Postlude

An aside: I live on the Lost Souls Road in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Occasionally when I go outside to check my mail I see the body of a well-meaning social justice warrior in the gutter. Some of us that live here have some major malfunction that got us a bus ticket out of the First World to here, where it says in Psalm 23 that the writer will fear no evil. My evils have been told elsewhere on this blog.

I’ll grant you that others on my road were born here and through no fault of their own have been dealt a raw deal. There is a difference, though, between those that end up in my gutter and those that change their address. It is that the ones that move used the deal they were dealt to thrive. My gutter zombies took the first free meal from the SJW’s and that has made all the difference.

I’m annoying for this reason: I didn’t start out on Lost Souls Road. I began bougie and through my own bad choices ended up here. This is an absurdity for my STEM kin. It is one of the things my niece can’t accept. I have a nice house on Lost Souls Road.

Now, protip: we are fine, most of the time. Too, since we have been shunned it’s no never mind if we do the right thing. So, mostly, we do. Even when we are judged as not fine.

It’s fine for my niece to buy a fresh chicken and do what many of us do. That’s being down for the struggle. I, however, cannot do the same. Because of who I am and what I signal.

A couple weeks after Thanksgiving I found the hate hen. My niece had broken it down into pieces and put it into the freezer. There were cubes of frozen broth in a tray.

Which . . . is fine. I’m not the one sleepless with nightmares of a 59-year-old white privileged uncle. Kroger has more chickens I can buy. I slept well last night after a meal of Chicken Penne with peas in red gravy.

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On Being Apostate

You Can Blame Me

It seems that the reason so many are so miserable is me. My adjectives, WASP, cis-hetero male, from parents who busted their ass to give me a better life, makes me bougie and bougie is evil. Being bougie means that my existence is a sin. So I owe a debt to those who are not bougie that I must somehow repay. All because I was born this way. About that . . . about on being apostate.

This debt is evergreen. Whatever I do, no matter how much I genuflect before the proletariat, I am still despicable simply because of my parents. If I had 40 acres and a mule to give it would not be enough. I am born into a debt because somehow I had advantages I owe to someone who isn’t kin to me.  Mao is so wise.

Those who fight White Privilege are racist. I’ll explain. First, they need a narrative that names an oppressed class who are suffering under an oppressor of their choosing. They declare that African-Americans are all Stepin Fetchit enslaved by white plantation owners. Just being a WASP is ipso facto proof of White Privilege.

Rather nicely, two groups are tagged with adjectives they cannot be free of. Both end up being shit on, one because they are prevented from any agency that would challenge their designation as oppressed and the other because they are prevented from being anything other than the enemy of the oppressed.  This is what social justice looks like.

My Apostate, White Privileged, Pimply Ass

White Privilege is a cocked up reason to feel guilty for being born into a WASP family. It makes great virtue signal and excuses a personal obligation to be accountable for our shit. The problem isn’t us, it’s our parents, who stupidly had sex and didn’t get an abortion. Idiots. Wikipedia says this about White Privilege.

White Privilege is rooted in Marxist thinking. It’s a version of the anger against the bourgeoisie. To be bougie is a sin, the thinking goes. So, we grind through all the bougie people and stuff and shit out anything and anyone of any value. For the very reasonable price of only 90% of our income and the surrender of all privately held assets. No problem.

I should be overjoyed at paying 90% of my income to a dear leader because, white privilege. Obviously, I am oppressing black people simply because I had the misfortune to be born to upper-middle-class WASPS. Next is the minister who triggered these 1700 words.

Reverand Katie Mulligan

Allow me to introduce the Reverend Katie Mulligan. Katie gave the sermon last Sunday at my Dad’s church. I grew up in this church. There is so much I didn’t know or understand back then. These days, my beef with my Dad’s church has changed. Katie’s sermon tells me that rather than speak tradition to peer pressure they have decided to be with the cool kids. Katie seems to be someone who has decided that she wants to be one of the cool kids so she’s attached cool kid adjectives to her personal brand.  I was the kid bullied by the cool kids.

Why I Live at St. Giles

Since then I’ve been a member of various churches. I keep coming back to being Presbyterian. In part because I too love to argue. These days I am a member of St Giles.  First Pres Pitman and St. Giles are very different churches.  Keith’s sermon last Sunday:

White People are the Cause of It All

Katie chose to focus on white privilege. Whoa. So my entire major malfunction is my heritage as a WASP? It really is my Mom’s fault? I’m so relieved. And here I thought that it was some Freudian id thing.  It must be that Jung was the real crackpot. Kinda sucks that I wasted all that money and energy on therapy when it really was my parent’s fault.

My problem with Katie’s sermon is that it is anchored in Marxist beliefs. Marx is an enemy of Christ. Marx taught the proletariat to hate the bourgeoisie. Those who follow Marx need two things: a proletariat and a bourgeoisie. Where one of these does not exist they set about creating it. Ergo most of the tropes regarding privilege, disparity, isms, etc. They need peeeple who are oppressed so that they can champion for them. It cannot be that the peeeple are in fact, fine.

Marx’s enemy was the Czar of Russia. His period is the early 20th Century when Capitalist Industrialism was the envy of some and a reason to revolution for others. Things can be made fairer by making everything owned and controlled by the government. Didn’t, doesn’t work.

Zoshul Just This

I don’t want to get too deep into my dislike of all the social justice movements that point to Marx as their philosophical roots. Modern Protestant thinking anchors our faith in a personal relationship with Christ. So the path to social justice begins with each of our hearts. The method is deeply Jewish–a tithe of 10% given to the church who in turn uses it to pay the bills and meet communal needs. It is different from Marxist ideas of government where the tithe becomes a tax and the authority to choose how the tax is spent is given to the party instead of the church.

The religious point I want to make is that we won’t anger our way to an answer for all the bougie sins laid at our feet. There is an evergreen stew of resentment and sins invented to explain why they are so miserable and we are so evil. After a while, though, life as a shunned whore living on El Camino de las Almas Perdidas en el Valle de la Sombra de la Muerte sounds better than the empty promises of an abusive pimp like the social justice movement of the day.

Katie Says

Katie asks us to either feel guilty for an accident of birth caused by a few moments of horizontal bop perpetrated by our parents or angry that the roulette wheel of life spun and we got the black square. Either way, it is evergreen. There is nothing I can do that will ever be sufficient for Katie to accept my restitution or repentance. I will forever be the enemy to her simply because I had the misfortune to be born a WASP with parents who busted their ass so I could have a better life. I owe a bottomless debt to those less fortunate than me on the basis of my race and choice of gender identity.

Thanks, Katie, that makes me feel so much better. Do you know a good supplier of worms I can eat while I dig my own grave because of the White Guilt you accuse me of?

You cannot be a Marxist Christian. The two are antithetical. Marx pointed to the bougie, to the privileged, to explain why the proletariat was so miserable. His answer was to destroy the bougie and redistribute their wealth to the proletariat. Millions died as a result. Katie wants me to be happy about this, to pick up a protest sign and offer my body as a holy sacrifice to atone for my white privilege. I’ll get right on that after I go insult another brown person.

Hail Ceasar

Christ’ enemy was his own church and the Roman Empire. Where Marx offers a replacement God-King who would be fairer than the Czar Christ’ kingdom has each of us as its cornerstone. We are, individually, the resurrected kingdom, the new temple. Instead of anchoring a solution in the God-King and our self-worth defined by our place in the hierarchy Christ turns to us and asks each of us to do our part. Jesus was far more anarchist than imperialist. Marxism is just imperialism with a set of rules preferred by revolutionaries.

Katie, if you want us to fix this the answer is old and simple. Instead of looking to a pseudo-religious ideology that teaches hate for your way and worth, look again to Christ. The Beatitudes are a place to start. I’ll repeat my essentials as a suggested way: love kin, friends, neighbors and enemies alike, when in doubt, give grace and mercy first, surrender everything so that the only thing left is a desire to love Christ, be humble and quiet, as these are presented to you, do small acts of kindness of great love, and last, service and missions first.

I doubt that Katie and I will agree on much. Instead of being a light on a hill PCUSA chooses to placate its abusers in the name of diversity and inclusion. Katie, sorry, you chose to be angry at me and threaten to shun me because I happen to believe that Christ called me to something other than hating myself because I happened to land on the white square of the roulette wheel of life. I’ll pray for you.

Not One of the Cool Kids

My Jesus is absurd. He says stupid shit like, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” He asks me to love people who I’d like to punch in the face. Instead of offering me a free cell phone because I say I need it he wants me to serve the poor, the aged, and prisoners with no hope of return. Katie’s Jesus offers safe spaces featuring coloring books and snacks to insulate her from the trials of absurd living according to the way of a martryed carpenter. It indulges us in every whim. Don’t like dating guys? No problem, date women. Can’t decide what gender identity feels right? No problem, don’t decide. Born something other than white and life sucks? Poor thing, it’s not your fault. It’s those evil white people pissing on your future.

My Jesus told me to stop whining, to shut up and that I would work for Him. I don’t get safe spaces or all that is offered within them. I am not a cool kid. Some say that I am the reason they are so fucked up. It is because I happen to be born to WASP parents that I am obligated to brown people for sins I was born into. Where are those worms and my shovel?

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Painful Claws

Uhm, No, Before That

Before I get started, a little housekeeping. First, to keep Yoast SEO happy, painful claws. Next, I started this post while it was still too hot to stay at home. It was still summer. I don’t have air conditioning. My house gets hot. 90°F outside and my house will also be 90°F.  Tucker was published before this one. So while I’ve edited this post to fit its place in the blog it was originally written as the episode before Tucker.

Painful Claws FiredYou need to know this because the conversation below happened in August. Losing my job was fresh. It’s November 2018 as I continue working on this post. Being fired is old news. Tucker was written last week, in October, when my world shifted to my old trade of cab driving. I added the wrinkle of starting a small business.

That’s some backstory to help you understand the conversation below, that is published in November when the events in it happened in the summer and precede the Tucker post.  Confused? So am I. Let’s get on with it.

Cat Scratch Post

The kitten is just playing. My forearm is an imaginary mouse trying to get away. Ow. Painful claws. Inger keeps coming over with more stuff related to her meddling in the investigation of the finger she found in the whip. My spare bedroom was clean. I gave the bed away. That’s done. Why does it take three houses to investigate an abandoned car? Why does one of those houses have to be mine? Can I have my extra room back? The kitten feels that she needs my extra bedroom for her investigation. Feelings, lately, have become irrefutable facts. So the need for my extra bedroom is now an irrefutable fact.

Where I had a clean room there is now an olive green, four drawer filing cabinet, a mid-century task chair that looks military surplus, a desk that isn’t a desk, more like one of those tables I remember from metal shop in high school, and a twin bed covered in expensive cotton bedding with an eruption of pillows.

All the man-cave feels of my house are being disrupted. It even smells nice. Luscious Pumpkin Trifle? Seriously?

✠ ✠ ✠

This happened: I’m not working at Altria anymore. I haven’t told Inger/kitten. But . . . she’s making dirty dishes as I type this in the kitchen. Wait. Do I have an espresso machine? When did that happen? Now she knows, “when did you lose your job?”

Last summer.

How do you lose your job. I thought you were this awesome enterprise computer tech dude. Who loses a job like that. Are you stupid?

I kinda want to talk about fingers in whips.

No. We are talking about you losing your job.

I don’t know. It was Friday, my bosses boss calls me and says that Altria asked that I be let go. No explanation and I had 5 minutes to get my stuff together before being walked out of the building.

So . . . you are not awesome? Any idea why they let you go?

No clue. The only thing is my running fight with a guy I nicknamed “banana slug” on this blog.

What did your boss say?

That it was an HR matter now.

Oh. Yeah, you pissed somebody off.”

Cat Scratch Post Painful ClawsProbably. Anyway, I’m self-employed now.

What do you mean?

You were still living on Stewart Street when I set up Baugh Holding Company in 2016. It was a paper tiger until I lost my job. I got discouraged and threw away the paperwork.

What the fuck!? I don’t understand. How do you lose your job if . . . unless you have been lying to me about doing well there. And . . . why would you throw away the company’s paperwork?

✠ ✠ ✠

Can we talk about your case?

Nope. Not done yet. Ok, what’s Baugh Holding Company? And you didn’t answer my question–are you a liar?

Truth? Baugh Holding Company is a way for me to do the money right with my various revenue streams and whims.

Answer me. Were you lying to me about Altria?

No. I had problems but they weren’t the sort of things that get one fired.

That sounds sketch. Somebody isn’t telling the whole truth.

Maybe so. Nobody said anything other than, “it’s an HR issue.

So you call yourself self-employed and the company is Baugh Holding Company?

Kinda. Baugh Holding Company owns other businesses that make money. Right now it’s Transit Webb, an UberX Rideshare Partner (3ea79). I have other ideas in the pipeline.

And that’s enough to keep this place going?

I hope so. So far, yes.

You better. I’m not carrying you. Is that what you’ve been doing weekend nights?

Yes. I’ve booked $2300.00 since I started full time.

That’s not a lot. I hope it gets better.

Agreed. Inger missed her calling. Her cappuccino looks awesome, “So, what’s up with the case?”

Not much.

Right. Since returning to UberX as my job, I am taking Sunday through Wednesday off. It’s Tuesday morning. I’m not expecting anybody. There is a big door knock on my front door. A cop door knock, “Mr. Webb, are you home?

Officer Harris

Fuck. What now? The kitten suddenly gets a look on her face and disappears out the back door.

Kitten has a court appearance for her assault arrest after the thing at Black Hand Coffee. AFAIK she’s not wanted. So her quick exit out my back door is odd. Officer Harris is at the front door with another cop I recognize from when that guy got shot and died in a neighbor’s backyard.

I open the front door, “Hey, Khalid, how are you?

“Good. Is Inger here?”

“She just left?”

“Mind if I come inside?” Now, he’s a cop and needs a search warrant but I don’t mind so I open the door wider and let him in. My house is 670 sq ft. You can search it in a couple of minutes even if you toss the bed.

3624, the resident stated that the suspect just left,” The radio crackles an acknowledgment.  We are in the kitchen and I sense a flurry of activity in the alley. “3624, the alley between east 15th Street and East 16th, an officer needs assistance.” If that’s Inger this isn’t good.

Officer Harris radios, “3624″, as he hurries out my back door.

Inger’s Ghost

Inger was gone for a week after that. There was a local news story about a woman being arrested in connection with a murder investigation. I ran into Inger again on a Monday. She was in the line at the Urban Farmhouse in Scott’s Addition. I was there for coffee and their WiFi so I could write. I tried to get her attention and after giving me a hard stare she pulled out her phone and dived into it. I’d been ghosted.

Two weeks later I saw her in her front yard at the 16th Street house murdering the overgrown plants that had infested her chain link fence. This wasn’t a kind pruning. This was a plant genocide. I stopped the car, “Inger, what’s up?

Through sweat drenched bangs, “Nothing. How are you?

Good good. Any news on the finger case?

“Not really. The DNA came back and Charles was in the car. It’s not clear if he’s a perpetrator or a victim.”

Oh ok. Keep in touch, ok?”

Yeah. Take it easy.”

You too,” and I drive off.

Black Hand Trouble

Then at the end of August, the kitten started spending more time at my house. She hadn’t found anyone who could fix the weird problem with her TV where it would show tweets about her that could only come from someone that knew her. Not a smart TV so that’s not it. And in a panic, she disconnected the TV from the way, the Internet, the cable box, everything. And yet it displays tweets that defy explanation. So, there is that.

I dunno. A lot of the way she acts towards me feels like more than just a safe space. I don’t think she’s got Daddy issues, but who knows. Her Mom is the big ovary, Momma Grizzly Bear type. Very helicopter. The Stuart Avenue place was her Mom’d doing. Dad works in DC for Altria on tobacco products. He’s up there a bunch. So, maybe not “my Daddy abandoned me” the way I hear it in my neighborhood. But mayhaps.

Things had been quiet with her until Black Hand Coffee happened. A little Patsy Cline to close out this post:

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Tucker

Black Hand Coffee

I picked up Inger from Tucker. She was hanging out with friends at Black Hand Coffee and had a breakdown. She started out explaining the abandoned car that was in front of my house last spring. In short order, it turned to a story about the car belonging to Donald Trump.

Prezzy Darling, she said, stole the car to escape the Secret Service and hook up with her at her East 16th Street house. The drugs and money the cops found belonged to the Donald. Ditto the used condom.

Tucker Black Hand CoffeeThen . . . she got triggered. There was a guy in line for coffee at Black Hand who had a scant resemblance to the Donald. Not Trump, obvi, but with Inger, once she launches there is no stopping her. She bolted from her table and ran up to the guy, trying to jump into his arms, “Donny!! What’s Up!

False Positive

Dude was stunned. Total deer in headlights. He didn’t catch her, Inger stumbled into the coffee counter and hit her head, “why didn’t you catch me, Prezzy Darling!? I thought we were a thing!

Inger touched her scalp and saw the blood on her fingers, “what did you do?” Dude didn’t, but now he was caught up in Inger’s reality distortion field, “DONALD!! Are you trying to kill me!?” He was not. Black Hand Coffee just become a crime scene.

Some of the cafe customers started to rush the guy believing Inger’s accusing tone of voice. There was some pushing and shoving as opposing narratives embodied were litigated in the cafe. The barrista pulled on the hand of Dude and both of them headed for the kitchen at the back.

Not the Donald

Friends of Inger sat her down away from the guy. There are cell phone videos and it’s clear that Inger is the aggressor.  Someone in the cafe called the cops to report an assault.

Officer Khalid Harris got there in a half-hour. It took another ninety minutes to collect statements and fill out the police report. Inger was still amped so her statement didn’t make sense. She still thought Dude was the Donald and that he had tried to kill her by shoving her into the coffee counter. Khalid listened to her and quietly requested medical transport, ‘Khalid! What the fuck!? I’m the victim here. That guy tried to kill me! What are you doing! I’ll have your job! Fucking asshole!” And so on.

Inger was cuffed, searched and placed in a transport van while they waited for the ambulance. That just enraged Inger so they had to pull her from the van, pepper spray her and put her in a hobble. All on YouTube with the usual recriminations about how the cops are brutal, uncaring asshats.

Broken Windows

The Twitter Outrage mob kicked into high gear. The evening after Inger was hauled away there was a mob that threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Black Hand Coffee. They finished the night on Monument Boulevard chanting, “No Justice, No Peace” on the median near the J.E.B. Stuart memorial. 3 arrests were made. Black Hand Coffee suffered some broken windows and a bit of charring from the Molotov cocktails.

CBS-6 interviewed one of the protestors who claimed that Black Hand Coffee was a racist cafe oppressing minorities. This was based on the name and an unchallenged assumption that Inger was brown and a lesbian. When the reporter tried to tell the protestor he was incorrect he shoved her in the face. The protestor also attacked the photographer. Riot over at that point. RPD stepped in and began pushing the crowd away from the J.E.B. Stuart memorial.

I drove by Black Hand this week. They are open. The broken windows are boarded up and the char scrubbed off the tan brick.

Sugar Cookie Finger

Inger is out. I picked her up last Monday. In her things were some summons charging her with assault and public intoxication. She’d stopped taking her meds because she was feeling good.  That bomb kept ticking all summer. Then she started talking about Halloween and it got weirder. Then Black Hand Coffee. The Secret Service said, “meh.” They looked into what Inger was saying and dismissed it.

tucker bloody fingerNow, the finger. I’m in the First Precinct. Inger’s Stuart Avenue house is in the Third. She’s created her own cross precinct footprint within the police department. The finger is in the hands of RPD and is evidence. Inger has Officer Harris’ card. She’s convinced that the Russian Mafia had something to do with the abandoned whip and that it is connected to the Donald. Officer Harris is convinced that Inger needs better meds. Inger is on the Secret Service’s radar now, though.

Officer Harris came to my house and spent a half-hour asking me what I knew about the whip and Inger. I pointed him to the two prior blog posts on the story: Inger’s Finger and No Pulse, Just a Finger.  Khalid said they had DNA from the whip and were investigating. It’s not clear who the stray finger belonged to.

Bougie Breakfast

So, Inger . . . has turned her East 16th Street house into her own private detective office. She doesn’t have the evidence that the cops have so she’s been using her social connections to follow up leads. This is not making friends and influencing people within RPD. I mentioned Inger to Khalid and he let out a snort then an annoyed look flashed across his face. He doubled down, “we are looking into it.”

I’m writing this from my desk in the extra bedroom. Door knock. I hear the back door unlock. It’s her, “Alan I’m hungry.

Kitten has a dry pantry you could eat out of for a  year. She throws away food in her fridge because it’s gone bad. The last time I was over there her trash was full of Chinese takeout containers.  She had wings and veggie fried rice circled on East Villa’s menu, “And you want me to cook?

I mean, if you want to.”

Not Cooking Today

There is plenty of stuff in the fridge, help yourself,” I guess I didn’t want to fast enough. Inger gives me a dirty look and then starts opening and slamming closed the few cabinets I have in my galley kitchen. She bangs pots and pans as she works. My stove has a drawer on the oven that makes a satisfying bang if you aren’t careful closing it. She wasn’t careful.

It’s 11 am on a Monday, my day off. Since getting fired in August I’ve been working six days a week doing Uber and Lyft. I was up at 6:30 as usual and ate breakfast then.

Tucker Madeleine cookie

I find this interesting. On Stuart Avenue everything is pretty. Nothing is ever out of place. The fridge is immaculate. Everything came from either Whole Foods or Ellwood Thompson’s. Inger tells me that her Mom and her people take care of Stuart Avenue. If she was there she could get her Mom’s chef to cook for her and it would be lovely. 16th Street? Not so much.

Wingz

And this is the thing for Inger. She wants something of her own. Something she made. It would be so easy to slip into her lane, use her Gender and Sexuality Studies minor and Political Science major to work on K-Street, hook up with Charles, and slow walk through a career in lobbying, some kids, and retirement with a nice GS5 pension. All that went away when Inger lost her shit and claimed that a co-worker raped her. Plus, the stench of Charles still lingers on Stuart Avenue.

tucker chicken wingsEast 16th Street is a dump. It smells of hickory smoke, greens, and bacon. For the neighborhood it’s bougie. But Inger is from Old Gun Road. Her Mom thinks the house is a dump. This pleases Inger. Plus, the neighbors don’t really care what goes on inside her house.

She made two french omelets, “You are out of eggs. I made Orange Juice. Hungry? ” she asks me while doing something on her phone.

Not really, but the omelet looks good. Again with the tablecloth, cloth napkins, and service from Saks. Inger has upped her toothbrush game to include one of my kitchen cabinets. I seem to be the middle path between antiseptic and photogenic Stuart Avenue and chicken wings East 16th Street.

Stray Finger

What’s the latest on the stray finger?

Khalid is looking into some leads that point to Charles. I hope so. Asshole.

Chuck E Cheese, last I heard, was off the radar in Taipei competing in Fortnite. Inger is good there, “what points to Charles?”

The cops found an ac adapter for an XBox One and some dandruff. I had a swab of the back seat that I paid to have analyzed. Some of the DNA matched Charlie boy. He’s in ancestry.com. Creepy bastard.” You can say the evidence points to him being in the whip at some point. It doesn’t explain the expired New Jersey temporary tags or the pile of fast food leftovers with a receipt from Earl of Sandwich. “Plus, I found evidence of blood all over the way-back. I couldn’t get a sample, though.

Topic change. How are you? That was a pretty nasty scab on your scalp.” I haven’t heard anything more from the local news about what happened at Black Hand Coffee. Inger seems to have let it go except for the cut on her scalp, “I’m good. Scalp cuts bleed a lot so they look worse than they are. I got a couple of stitches and have to go to my doctor next week.

How about your meds?

Yeah, uhm, can you take me to the pharmacy? It’s CVS on West Broad at Boulevard.” Sure. Woo. Inger didn’t clean as she cooked. I don’t bother to ask who is washing dishes. I already know. Dirty dishes in the sink for just us two. I start to wash up. That gets me a hug.

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The Grind

The Grind, Repeat

Before I get back to Inger’s Finger I need to talk about something. It’s something I saw in myself and in other cab drivers when I was a yungin. We all start the same way. Young and naive, full of energy and surety that we can slay every dragon that crosses our path. We meet dragons, slay dragons, go home with the boon, rinse, repeat, for a while until the dragons get wise to us and change the way they fight. We want to keep winning so we start the grind.

This photo of Royal Enfield Bike Tours & Rentals is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The grind is exciting at first. We have our health and it feels like we can do this forever. We can’t. 60 hours a week driving a cab builds into 120 and that early taste of easy success fades with a half-life we didn’t expect. It takes every bit of those 120 hours to chase down the money we need and even then, we fall short.

Some of us start with a familiar spot in a pew, graduated from choir boy to altar boy, on the cusp of college and a bright future. Cab driving is just a summer thing to get some extra money before heading off to college and an education in defeating really, really big dragons. Then something happens. Either bad news or good, either work. And the fall start of college fades further into the future.  We start to grind, trying to save that bright future from the scorch of a dragon’s breath.

El Camino Real al Infierno

Some start with a less admirable story and try to use the cab to grind our way up from the gutter where society tossed us. Sometimes it works and we make it to the curb. Yay. This space isn’t for the ones that make it. We are the other end of the curve, down there on a rock-strewn road through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

It’s a frog in a pot thing. The heat rises in our lives, we become more frenetic, try to work harder until we collapse. Outside my cabin, on El Camino Real al Infierno, are rotting corpses of those who didn’t quit until their grind ended here. If folk are lucky the collapse gets them a ride to the hospital, jail or rehab, maybe all three. Whether their grind makes them a dragon scat neighbor of mine is determined by whether they stick with the truth that this is rock bottom and the way back up is life changing and very tough.

Wayne Ziegler’s moment came when he got hurt on the job as a contract welder. He was being paid under the table, had a functional addiction to cocaine, whiskey, and weed. He loved and left a long string of women who thought they could fix him up into the Daddy they never had. Women–don’t try this at home. Someone like Wayne will just break your heart. Go flirt with that guy in church you know. Much better.

Wayne’s Hell

So, Wayne came to Napoleon Taxicab with his health and a good head on his shoulders. But his knees were shot from welding for so many shifts. He had the usual middle-aged first world satellite of health problems–high cholesterol, high blood, high sugar, and chronic pain. He was used up.

But welding isn’t kind to old men like him. The big money jobs require physical stamina that he had lost. For a while, the three sirens–cocaine, whiskey and weed, could shout down the pain. Until they could not and he failed a piss test after getting hurt.

Cab driving was good for him while things began collapsing in. His longest girlfriend left with their daughter for a DC lawyer she met at Paper Moon. He couldn’t afford the house by himself so he moved to a no-tell motel. No job and thus, no medical insurance so his legal drug bills skyrocketed.

He started with the White Nurse. As always, it was good at first. And as always, the early good began to eat his soul. More grind. His even horizon narrowed from weeks down to days down to hours down to minutes. The addict’s choice: drugs or food, drugs or shelter, drugs or her, came down on drugs. He lost the hotel room.

The Street Doesn’t Love You

Wayne in the hospital. He couldn’t afford his drugs so his dealer said he could fight somebody for a little bit of White Nurse. Wayne, before all this, was 280 pounds of six feet eight muscle. He won bar fights when someone threw the first punch and Wayne didn’t feel it. When Wayne punched back the loser felt the punch in his toes. That was then. Now he was in the ER with a severe concussion and contusions near his kidneys. It hurt to breathe. He needed his White Nurse even more.

The ER doc called the social worker who started the intervention speech. Right, right. He was a mess but all he needed was a little taste and he’d be ok. He just wanted to get back to work in the cab. He’d be fine.

Hospitals can’t keep you if you insist on leaving. Wayne insisted. The Town Motel took sympathy on him and believed him when he said he’d have money for the room after his next shift. The taxi gods smiled on him and at 9:00 am he got a cash trip to Fredericksburg.

The street put him in the hospital and the street teased him with just enough money to get him through the next fourteen hours.

This is the end. The street doesn’t love you but it may give you what you need if you fight to stay healthy. Wayne fought to stay a step off the gutter and the street ate him. In eighteen months Wayne went from the gutter to the grave. He died from complications related to opiate addiction.

This is the Beginning

The grind is corrupt. It is evil. It wants your soul. If it takes killing you, so be it. There is a way to make the grind rock bottom. It takes discipline and strength from God. A place to start is Celebrate Recovery’s Eight Recovery Principles.

I didn’t imagine there were 1500 words on this until I met two corporate executives who were grinding at an expensive level. They worked 16-18 hours a day, flew over 200 days a year, seldom saw their families, and were shallow husks of humans. Nothing was left but the grind and it didn’t love them the way they wished it would.

400 words left. I lost my job. I am an UberX partner. It’s cab driving with better dispatch, nicer cars and shorter hours. The money is less than cab driving. I’m 58, almost 59 as I type this. I could be Wayne. No job and Medi-Share is stupid. It’s Obummer care but run by Christians, so that’s supposed to make it better. I can’t get my diabetes meds covered by Medi-Share. They don’t cover routine care. It’s only once I get sick enough to require hospitalization that they will step in. Sucks.

The right way to do cab driving or RideShare is the way the Henrico County Sherrif’s Office said they wanted to see it done. Each driver should create an LLC with its own tax id and run the money through the LLC. Do all the smart things one does to make a small business a success.

Transit Webb

So . . . out of the comforts of corporate cube rat life into the grind as a small business owner. Baugh Holding Company operates Transit Webb, which is the UberX business. In process is a second vehicle that will do Amazon Flex.

I’m too old for more cube rat life. There isn’t enough time left before I’m expected to retire to accumulate enough assets to secure my post cube rat life. Thus, I’ll go back to what I know, to the grind in a cab, with the hope that I can build a business which will pay me beyond the days when I can run 30 fares in 10 hours five days a week.

Transit Webb has been in business for only a month. There is no guaranteed outcome. I could join my festering corpse neighbors along the Royal Road to Hell. It could work and I could be fine. Time will tell.

Most of the entreprenuers I have met tell their rock bottom story. A retail fixturesmanufacturer who didn’t know that stores order their fixtures in the summer to be delivered in November and paid in December. His first year he lost $300,000.00. A brewpub owner who was a month away from breaking even and out of cash. He had mortgaged his home to start the brewpub. In a month he would either be homeless or assured of limited success. Transit Webb is limping along in a rented SUV with all my bills past due.

The stories have a theme: it is the end, the dragon is chewing us after dousing us with ketchup. All seems lost and yet, like the archetypical heros tale, something happens and we come out victorious. I don’t know yet what that will be for Transit Webb. I do know that for 16 years I get into these places where it looks like my new address will be a cot in a homeless shelter and then things work out. If you ask me how I feel as I type this I’ll tell you I feel like dragon scat. But so far, I’ve survived. More on this in upcoming posts.

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Inger’s Finger

You know how if you feed a stray cat it won’t go away.  I let Inger stay in my living room and obsess over the finger she found in the whip for all of Saturday. It ought to be a good thing that a SHYT is stretched out on my couch under my comforter, the extra pillows propping her up and the TV remote somewhere under all that hair and blanket. It’s not. Inger’s finger is a problem. I want this kittie to go home. I want my house back.

And now for one of my usual tangents.  There are things about Inger I have not figured out yet. Then I ran across Katie Was Here. Exactly. What was Inger doing between her freakout at the social media company and her discovery of a finger in a whip? Whelp, not what Katie was doing because Katie is IRL and Inger isn’t. But now I can steal bits of IRL from Katie’s story to fill in some gaps about Inger. Katie, if you read this, sorry. You’ll figure out soon enough that I earn my nom de plume of Chief Liar at the Liars Club. I take things IRL and twist them to suit my purpose in telling a story.

So, the answer? Inger hitched her way around the country ticking off places on her bucket list. She chose not to use a car. So, Inger was living outside for a while. Oh, and for the SEO bots, Inger’s finger is in evidence with the RPD. Yes, I know that one also, that if there is a gun in the first act, well . . . B.A. in English, Literature, ok.

Ginger Hairy Blanket

Movement in the area of the couch. A hairy blanket just traversed from living room to bathroom. It’s only eight feet or so. Bathroom door closed and then reopens to toss my red towel and washcloth from homeless shelter days to the hallway. To get to the kitchen I’ll have to either step on it or pick it up, “Your shit stinks,” said the hairy blanket. So sue me. That towel and washcloth get laundered infrequently. The bathroom door closed again.

I know better than to be second behind an SHYT hairy blanket for the bathroom. I’m good. I hear personal hygiene noises. Remote repossessed. Lance Watson’s Positive Power is better.

I move my towel to the hamper. The laundromat run will happen later. Time for omelets and home fries, coffee and for the hairy blanket, hand squeezed blood orange juice. Also bagels with lox schmear.

Coffee Is Never “Just Coffee

Freshly showered girl arms just embraced me from behind. No more hairy blanket. Instead, Inger/Kittie now in a camisole and fleece pajama pants, rummaging for coffee mugs and soy milk. Before setting the table Inger sees my FB post about the binary divide between parents and not parents. A flash of annoyance crosses her face before she moves the tablet to my ottoman in the living room and resumes setting the dining table with a tablecloth, utensils, plates and so on. I tend to eat and wash one bowel. I’ll drink out of a 32oz. cup from Wawa. This is way more effort into breakfast than my usual. Kittie, though, seems to enjoy this domestic moment.

Tangent 2: Guys and gals, if you menstruate and don’t have a partner there is a running annoyance you can’t avoid. Guys circle around you like dogs sniffing for a bitch in heat.  They all want to know if they have a shot at you. All the “gender is a social construct, gender is fluid, you can identify as any gender you choose” doesn’t change any of this. Maybe this explains women who dress like guys to fend off the pack and guys who dress in a way that signals they are not wondering about every woman they encounter.

B) Nearly sixty years of socialist/feminist indoctrination has not changed the nature of men. Guys still stare, look for a ring, and maybe try to hit on her. Call it what you will, name it whatever evil root cause you choose, in spite of decades of indoctrination in proper etiquette, some men are still dogs.

Nurture isn’t Always Enough

This annoyance explains for me why “going for coffee” with a woman is never as simple as that. And why there is safety in a relationship for a woman. “Keep Away” rings are a thing, just saying.

Inger just hit me. On the shoulder. Don’t go getting all cops and abuse on me. It’s not like that. We are not a thing, first of all. Second, slow down. Not every touch, every punch on the shoulder is a reason to go down the road of “she put her hands on me, officer.” Inger is a bit feral. She’s proof that being kept in a bubble and prevented from experiencing suffering to the extent that her parents could accomplish ends up being exactly opposite what was intended. Inger has no resiliency.  Duress sends her into orbit.

What Inger wants me to write is that I should not be so stiff. Gender is a social construct. Her Swarthmore professors said so. You can choose to identify yourself however you want. Wear whatever costume you choose. Yeah. So . . . girl, is pregnancy a social construct? Can you be a little pregnant? Tell me those words in hour ten of labor when you are 8cm for the last two hours.

Ok, the core truth to this story is that there was a Cadillac Escalade abandoned in front of my house last summer. It’s the first week of school as I type this. The weather in my zip code still thinks it is summer. I don’t have air-con in my house so I feel every drop of sweat, every degree of heat. Inger hasn’t said anything. Her Stewart Street house is an easy drive out of the heat. But both of us tuck into breakfast while box fans blow hot air around the house.

Loose Whips

What happened to the Escalade is simple: I called the cops, they came, red-tagged the whip, and a couple days later it was gone. That’s not enough for Inger.  There was a suitcase in the back seat. Strewn across the passenger side were the remains of a few meals from Burger King. Inger said she found a finger. I didn’t look.

This is where it gets story worthy. The cops closed the street. A CSI van showed up. Unmarked Chevy Impalas and Crown Victorias filled the available parking in front of my house.

Inger shows me a bloody gauze. Crap. She says it’s from the finger and she knows somebody in the crime lab who owes her a favor. Just what I need. My house as the command center for a civilian investigation into a whip that I just want to go away.

Dirty Dishes

Inger finishes her lox bagel and orange juice. No coffee for her. She takes a Ziploc bag from the bottom drawer and puts the bloody gauze in it. A quick peck from her and a “we are not a thing” hug before she’s out the back door waving, “byeee!” Peace and quiet. Kinda. She cleaned my bathroom. My medicine cabinet got re-organized to make room for cosmetics. This kittie doesn’t seem to want to remain a stray. Woo.

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