It had been a very long day at work and I was glad to finally be finished with it. I didn't let the swinging door hit me on the way out of the building. During the drive home I had the impulse to stop at a local bar/restaurant and wet my whistle a bit before heading on to the house.
I proceeded to do exactly that and moments later I materialized at the bar and was chatting with a few people I knew and probably an equal number that I didn't. This went on smoothly for an hour or so until this lady at the bar started to grate my nerves. You have probably been around the type: mid-forties, overly made-up, proud, vain.....but the main thing is that she never shut up. It was all about her travels, her job, her boyfriends, her car, her everything. I'm now developing that mix of fatigue mingled with loathing that makes 1 hour past the work day a dangerous time for personal interaction. An idea suddenly occurs to me. It's a flash of brilliance really. I grab her by the hair and start dragging her from the bar, through the restaurant, through the kitchen, towards the office. "A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! We've found a witch! It's a witch!" Oddly, 2 or 3 patrons (mostly from the bar) joined in. "Burn the witch", "We've got a witch" "There's a witch among us" . We arrived uninvited at the restaurant Managers office and I slung her towards his desk. "We've found a witch on your premises sir!" "What shall we do with her?"
The Manager eyed me with surprise and perhaps a bit of a puzzled look began to come over him. His face began to turn red and I'm thinking "This guy must hate a witch just as much as I do". He then asked "Why do you say she's a witch?" I reply, " Well I've seen her take the form of a cat" The Manager replied "A cat!" "Have you finally lost your freakin' mind?" And I said.....well....well...eh, "Maybe I didn't exactly see it, but I know she HAS a cat, a great big one! And...I've never seen 'em together. And....and...and she turned me into a newt. That's right, she turned me into a newt I say!" "Turned you into a newt? Are you kidding me?" I could sense that he was mulling it over. Probably trying to arrive at a just and fair decision. That could be the reason for the delay. The Manager then motioned the lady from the room by a gesture from his hand at which time she bolted out the door like some kind of animal that was being released into the wild. "Have a seat over there" he says to me. So I did. In a straight chair. Shortly thereafter a couple of men came and walked me to the front door which served the establishment as both the entrance and the exit. For me it was the exit. I don't recall the exact words as they spoke their quaint and colorful languages, but I sensed that they felt that perhaps I should never return, that it might be best and less trouble for everybody if I just never came back..
Here I was thinking that maybe Salem in 1682 might have been a good idea and that maybe I could start a ground swell of movement to bring it back. There certainly are more witches today then ever. I see them everywhere. Seemed like an easy fix to an old problem. I guess I was wrong. Oh well.
So now I'm driving towards home again and I see blue flashing lights in my rear mirror. I pull to the road side and a city policeman immediately approaches. "Sir, were you not aware of the red light you just went through" he asks. I reply to him that "Yes. I'm always aware when I operate heavy machinery", "Sometimes I'm even in a state of heightened awareness as it can be very dangerous. I try to live in reality at all times". "Will that be all?" "Thanks". He seemed to be bothered by this revelation. Perhaps he mulling it over . Maybe he was trying to apply my words to to his own life. Maybe he was just taking in a moment of quiet reflection. I soon figured out that what was really happening was that he was getting a bit annoyed. Pausing to give a measured and thoughtful reply maybe he then proceeded to say "Well sir, that's against the law" I took that in before responding to him. "The law?" "What law?" " I just didn't know". "How can I be held accountable for something I was never informed of?" " It's not like they hand you a policy and procedure manual when you move here" "There's a million laws" "A person can't be expected to know them all" " Who the hell signed me up for this?" I then tried to rationalize my thoughts to him, you know, reach him at his own level. That's a trick to communication I've learned over the years. So I explain: "You are in the public safety field. You know all the laws about highway safety. It's your business. Now I sell furniture for a living. I sell many mattresses. I know that it is against the law to remove the tag from a mattress and I know why. I'll bet you don't. You don't know this even though I assume you sleep on a mattress every night. What if I were to hide in your closet and wait each night until that day arrives when you remove the tag and then spring out at you and write you a ticket?" " Now you would not find that fair at all would you?" "You see, I shouldn't expect you to know my job." With this exchange I was sure that my logic had carried the day and the conversation had been laid to rest. I was wrong. "Are you drunk?", he said. I said to him in return, "I don't think so, but you know it's all just a matter of what point you start out from, isn't it?" "If a person is acting kind of crazy to begin with and he has a couple of drinks, then where does crazy end and drunk begin? See , I guess it's all a matter of degree, right?" "Your perspective and my perspective". "Right?" That was apparently wrong. He wrote me a ticket, and said he was doing me a favor by not taking me in to the station. I accepted that. I was tired.
Well I got over being tired pretty quick apparently because as I was driving by another "place" I saw a truck parked out front that I recognized as belonging to Billy Mathis. I hadn't seen Billy in a while so I thought I'd stop in and say "hello". He would like that. It was neighborly. A neighborly thing to do, right? So I stop for a while and we have a few beers. Well one thing leads to another and we're having a jolly 'ole time and at a certain point I guess the events of the evening, you know the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" started to get to me and long-story short, I upchucked on the front of my shirt out in the parking lot. I tell Billy how my wife is going to pounce on me at the front door and she already suspects that I'm some sort of maniac, How she's just not sure what sort yet, and how she's starting to believe that maybe I'm not fit material for public consumption and that maybe her "welcome home dance" will take place mostly on my head, and really that I'm now just "fit to be tied", and I don't know what to do. He has a plan to save the day. Billy says, "Look you just tell her I threw up all over your shirt". "Look, I'm sticking twenty dollars in your shirt pocket. You can pay it back whenever you see me again. You just pull the twenty dollars out as proof that it was me. You tell her I gave you that to have the shirt cleaned because I felt so bad about it and all". Well, that sounds like a plan! So I arrive at the front door and every thing is going just about as I figured, and I get to the part about the twenty dollar bill and I'm feeling good about myself, maybe even a little proud. I'm a "problem solver". Every body can appreciate that, right?
The plan works to perfection right up to the point that my wife reaches in my pocket and pulls the money out. She then says, "Why is there fifty dollars here?" "You said he gave you twenty dollars to have the shirt cleaned". Now at a loss for words I replied with the first thing that popped in my head. "Well I guess he shit in my pants too!"
Good night. It's been a long and stressful day.
I don't know why people don't seem to believe a word I say.