Monday, November 28, 2005


I had a moment of complete discomfort today, and no, it had nothing to do with my GI tract. Sometimes, we all find ourselves in situations where we wish we could flee but can't.

I had to discuss some matters of business with a suit today. I first checked in with the guy's secretary to see if/when he'd be in. She was talking on the phone and just said, "Sit down, I'll be right with you." I didn't have to be anywhere in a hurry, so I figured "what the hell" and sat. Just thirty seconds into my lounging, I started to notice that the woman's tone of voice began to warble a little. This shift in tone had a certain seriousness that got my attention. She was talking to someone that I figured was a close friend and the subject was the death of her spouse. Well, from there I thought that she may have just slipped a little emotionally and that she would right herself so she could attend to me--wrong. For the next fifteen minutes, I was treated to a total emotional breakdown that I could not escape.

"I'll tell you this Janice, he begged me to let him go. I didn't want to let him go. He begged me, Janice. I thought it was the right thing to do. He wanted to go. What could I do? I let him go Jan, and I've been paying for it ever since. Bob got what he wanted, and I got nothing. I'm so alone. I don't know what to do now that he's dead..." She managed to get that much out before the dam burst.

So, there I was watching this woman become completely wrecked. She cried so hard that her makeup was running down her face and she was making those hiccup noises and snot bubbles one makes when it crosses that line from water works to full-blown wailing. I felt really bad about what she must be going through. She had already finished her conversation with her friend and it was just me and her in that room. Never in my life have I wanted more to have my spirit leave my body, so as to spare me from that moment. I didn't know this lady. I didn't know what to say to her, so I didn't say anything. I just kept my eyes fixed on a plant. I mean, I wasn't going to just get up and leave. I thought that if I did that it would only be more uncomfortable to have to go back there again later. I then had an idea that I should ask her if she was okay, but figured I had already let too much time pass where I didn't say anything, and that window had closed. I'm so pathetic.

After some time had passed, she had gathered herself together, shuffled some papers, stared at the wall, and flexed her well practiced smile. She then turned to me as if nothing ever happened and cheerily asked, "So what can I do for you today, hon?"

Sunday, November 20, 2005

More adventures in trailer town: Phil the Tranny

Those of you who are new to Grunt Ahoy will have to look in the archives for a story about a time that I worked with a guy I call The Marlboro Man. That one introduces you to a particular trailer park that was on one of our routes for collection (garbage truck). Certainly not one of my more glamorous jobs that I've had, but a hell of a lot of things happened in that short seven months. This is one of them.

Trailer town was right next to a major interstate and just down from an oil refinery and a leather tanning operation. Talk about outcasts, this place had ex-cons, cons in training, a transvestite limo driver, drug dealers, semi-retired hookers. Let's see? I'll talk about Phil, the transvestite limo driver.

Phil drove a white limo for a living. Phil wore a red wig, makeup, women's clothes, and falsies of every kind. Sometimes he wore it with pumps and other times with slippers. Phil also was living with a bunch of Vietnamese children. Phil was not Vietnamese. Phil liked me and the Marlboro Man...a lot! Phil never had his garbage all out when we would arrive at his trailer. His favorite damsel in distress routine with us was that he had one last load (don't laugh) that we had to help him with. Phil would come running out in full makeup in a pink feathered night gown, slippers, and lingerie. Always out of breath, panting and hollerin', "Oh, boys...boys...I...I got something here for you!" Worst of all was that Phil had a terrible voice for the part. The actor Harvey Fierstein comes to mind when thinking of how to describe this guy's voice. Now, this is no knock on Sarah Jessica Parker's looks, but this guy's face looked like if George Hamilton's leathery skin was wrapped over SJP's face and was further massaged with a hockey stick. I might be crossing over into mean territory here, but this guy was freaky.

So, here's this trailer park livin', limo drivin' tranny's stubbly chest heaving up and down, with eyes that had nothing but dirty intentions to display. Yeah, we took his garbage and we also were nice to Phil. He'd always be over the moon about us taking those last few bags for him. Sometimes, he even offered us pop and stuff. Phil would always send us off with a big wave and a "Bye, boys...see you next Friday!" Damn, how we would laugh after we got out of view. But, I'm sure Phil was pretty mixed up and lonely. He wanted some attention, like a lot of us do, but he really took his act to the freak show. However much Phil creeped me out, I was providing him with the highlight of his day. Oh, and I also learned that foundation does not cover up stubble.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Duh...Okay! And the Case of the Fishy French Fries

There's this guy that I worked with a while ago, he could never stop thinking or talking about food. He was about 47 or so, and had a wife and kids. But, there was something seriously screwed-up with this man. Whenever he acknowledged anything anybody said, he'd cut you off before you finished what you were saying to him with, "Duh, okay!" He was not joking around. That's just how he sounds.

He knew where there were candy dishes, free food, and especially if there were any new fast food restaurant openings within a fifty-mile radius of where he lived. He new of ways to get free food that just boggle the mind. He eats McDonald's for almost every meal, sometimes Denny's or Papa Murphy's, but mostly the big "M".

He regularly would tell me about what he ate and how good it was. He thought of me as some kind of demigod of the fast food world since I'd worked at the big one in the past. He liked me to talk to him and explain the process of preparing his favorite foods. His eager eyes would open wide and his mouth would be agape when I'd describe how to make biscuits and such, always finishing my sentences with "Duh, okay!" One day, though, he came to me with a puzzled look on his face.

There was one thing, though, that really troubled him. It was a mystery that he felt only I could solve. This is the best I could remember him telling me about it. I'm not exagerating either:
I went to McDonald's today and I ordered a Supersize Big Mac Meal like I always do. When I got my food, I tasted my french fries--they tasted like fish! I said to myself, "These french fries taste like fish!" I wasn't sure, so I had my son taste my french fries, he said, "Hey dad, your french fries taste like fish, but mine do not." I really felt strange because I did not know why my french fries tasted like fish. So, I went to the front counter and told the girl that my french fries tasted like fish. She did not know why they tasted like fish, but they did--my son even said so. She did not seem to care that my french fries tasted like fish. So, I demanded that she get the manager to tell me why my french fries tasted like fish. The manager came and I told her that my french fries tasted like fish. I asked, "Why do my french fries taste like fish, but my son's do not?" The manager lady was not very nice to me. She said that the french fries were fine, but they were not--they tasted like fish! I told her that I wanted new fries. She gave me new fries and that made me happy, but I still do not know why my french fries tasted like fish?

I offered my best explanation to him (they must've tried to fry them in the fish vat), and he did the "Duh, okay" thing, but still looked troubled and a little traumatized by the whole thing. I found out later, though, that he bothered at least three other people with the same story. People, get down on your knees and thank God that you're not this guy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Weasel Killer

I killed a weasel today. This is not a joke. I was blowing some leaves along a parking strip and this weasel pops out of a hole in the lawn right in front of me. I had the leaf blower right in front of it when it came out and the poor weasel got blown right into the street, where a car ran it over. I can honestly say that I feel bad about it. I guess I didn't kill it, but am responsible for it's death. I can't say much more because there might be some litigation from the weasels' family. R.I.P., Mr. Weasel, ?--November 3rd, 2005.