Pissing Match

The Red Sky was a tattoo parlor across the street from our place in Tucson. Despite the proximity to the Red Sky, we had spent little time talking with each other. 

Wednesday is the apprentice’s day off, so Tuesday evening was like shore leave. At closing time an apprentice, Shawn, and his friend needed to use the restroom, but bars pushed customers out the door.

The apprentice told his friend that the he knew a place that they could use to relieve themselves. The apprentice showed his friends the alley behind the tattoo parlor.

Unfortunately the alley was quite narrow, and the guys pissed on each others pant legs. This led to an argument of who pissed on whose pant legs.

A third friend showed up to try to get Shawn go home, but to no avail. 

Shawn was the drunker of the two. Mickey, the neighbor across the street, and I were enjoying the absurdity of the situation. We listened until the threats to each other became more serious. It was all fun until the argument threatened to escalate to a higher level. 

On this ocassion, the cops showed up promptly. As the police appoached, the closer-to-sober asked the other asked the other guy, “Are you going to tell them what we were arguing about or should I?”

The cops loaded the two guys into separate squad cars, with the hope that once the guys had a taste of the squad car that the would go home on their own volition. No such luck; the closer-to-sober left for home, but the other guy choose to attack the cops.

The cops had no choice, they had to arrest the guy. Once they had taken care of the drunk, one of cops brought a form over to me so that I could have him changed with disturbing the peace.

Mother Dyeing her Hair

When I was in my early twenties, I left the States for southern Africa. For the next three years I didn’t see any of my family.

The only manner of communicating with “old” friends was the old-fashioned-way — by letter. And I wasn’t much of a letter writer.

My mother was a faithful letter writer. She gave me news from “home”, but this news was of a historical type. No idle gossip, such as Betty is a little too friendly with the Catholic boys, or the new pastor’s sermons are too long. These are things that the locals learned by observation, and through conversations.

When I finally returned from southern Africa, my parents showed up to greet me at the airport. I anxiously looked for my parents. Dad was easy to spot, but where was my Mother? For just an instant, I wondered who was the lady with my Dad. Of course, she was my Mother. Even before I left for southern Africa, she had used Lady Clairol to cover her gray locks.

This is not a tid-bit that a mother would be likely to share with a son.

Beards and Tucson

As we were walking along 4th Avenue we ran into numerous beggars and street musicians. We encountered a group of rainbow kids, who were laughing, and in general having a good time.

The leader of the group was a fellow with a dark, full beard.

As we approached the group, I half-expected to encounter a hey-buddy-can-you-spare-a-dollar routine. Sure as clockwork, the bearded leader,  said “Hey, mister, could you spare (…..) me some of your beard.”

All of us laughed. I said that if he kept  growing his beard, he would some day realize that he too had a thick gray beard.

Circle K Doorman

We pulled into the Circle K parking lot in Benson. It was an extremely warm December evening. The moon was full.

Nick was in an animated conversation with an invisible friend near the entrance. Their conversation was crazy talk. Nick had blond matted hair and a scruffy beard.

As I approached the door, Nick broke off his conversation, and quickly opened the door to the Circle K.

I thanked Nick and got my chocolate milk. Nick returned to his rant.

I paid for my chocolate milk, and proceeded to the Circle K exit. Again, the doorman interrupted his conversation to open the door for me.

Birth of the Boogieman

[Story from when we lived in Tucson ]

Rod runs a neighboring restaurant; in truth he only caters. But he does watch our house as a neighbor would. This is good for us because he often cooks very early in the morning.

If he sees somebody trespassing on our property he will send them on their way. Occasionally he will let us know about what he has encountered. These reports are sporadic and informal. The reports only tell us that someone was there; not who, how long, where, or when. In fact, the stories become quite jumbled, and inter-related. Time is irrelevant.

I am usually the one to take the reports. I filter them, and deal with the situation as necessary. Sometimes they only demand that I be diligent to check that the gates are closed. Other times they cause me to watch that the neighboring pizza joint locks their gate at night.

But the other day Rod informed Cheri that there were guys using my hammock in the backyard as if it were theirs. We checked it out, cleaned and swept the back yard, made plans as to how we would reinforce the backyard fences with a prickly pear barrier, etc.

The next morning I checked the backyard. The only marks in the sand were caused by birds and wind.

Now I understand how the boogie man developed.

Jim’s Death

The word of Jim’s death spread around town this morning. I heard comments such as, “From the time we are born we know this day is coming.” There is a pall around town.

Jim’s function was to occupy the “fish bowl” at the Cornucopia. He was usually in the Cornucopia to order his favorite dessert. He was noted for the many desserts he would consume in a single sitting.

The second to last time that Jim had a medical occurrence was around Tax Day. He called Patty, to have her file an extension for him. She doesn’t even file these forms for herself, but she filed them for him.

Yesterday there was a conversation, about whether Jim was devoid of friends, or whether the Cornucopia was his Cheers: “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”

License to Fight*

It was late in the night when a loud argument broke out.

My neighbor and I reached our respective front doors simultaneously.

Mickey yelled “Shut up!”

I yelled “Take it down the street.”

The man yelled back “It’s okay. We’re married.”

* Mind Your Own Business Hank Williams, Sr