Friday in America

Kucinich is out of the race. I was never a supporter, but I will miss his wife. I think every presidential candidate needs an Amazonian redhead lurking around in the shadows. Which leads to a joke about Hillary’s wife, I’m sure, but I’m here at work in the AM locked in combat with a sinus infection, so you can forget it. No more jokes. No more happiness. Just me and bloody snot.

But, at least, it’s Friday. I look forward to winter weekends because those are the only two days when I see sunlight. I leave my house before sunrise, I work in an office that’s deep in the center of a high rise, and I leave well after dark. Come Saturday morning, everything has that Christmas Day feel to it. Glittering, cleansing sunlight plays across the grim carpeting and bare walls of my new apartment, a line of hybrid sewer rats are dancing on the windowsill with little top hats and canes, the neighbors (who never seem to work) are out in the entry way machine gunning each other at close range. It’s lovely.

This morning, after throwing up my coffee and an entire night’s worth of infected mucus, I jammed an unappetizing, sticky sandwich into my backpack and stumbled out my front door to face five heavily armed gentlemen from the sheriff’s department. They were about to collect the old lady who lives next to me, guns drawn and battering ram ready, but they paused when I stepped out and pealed out a nervous, “Hellooooo…” Then I stared at them, waiting for a reply. Honestly, I was just frozen, wheels turning as I tried to dredge up recent memories. Are they after me? What have I done now?

I’m equally nervous because I’m sort of squatting at my apartment. My name isn’t on the lease, and the chick who has “donated” the space in support of my literary endeavors is on the level…but the previous tenants are not. Before she took over, the people who lived in the apartment were evicted after a big arrest for undisclosed reasons. I still get mail for the lady who used to live there, now in prison, and all the letters are also coming from a prison. My “landlord” tells me to just toss them. “They’re in prison,” she says, “what’s the worst that can happen?”

Uh…the guy sending those letters gets released and comes looking for his woman and finds me, maybe?

Some say it’s too shady, but I’m living cheap in a big apartment that is well patrolled by police. The cops were polite, in the end. One finally said “good morning,” and then the rest followed suit. Then I rocked onto my toes a bit and grinned and said, “You boys had breakfast?”

I don’t know why I did that. It seemed natural, somehow.

They looked at each other, then the old lady they were about to assault ripped open her door and screamed: “What the po-lice want?!”

As I ran for the steps, my last image was of five deeply confused faces staring slack-jawed at the lady. I made it to the floor below mine before one of them gathered himself enough to say he was looking for so and so.

Fast to the office and a nest of green tea and Theraflu while the daily neuroses of my co-workers played out in an even more alarming way than the Morning Cop Experience. After six years, I should be used to the dark and twisted world that is Working America and, in a way, I am. The passive-aggressive, mind-melting attitude embraces me from the moment I enter the commute up to when I’m back home again in my “foyer” peeling off my sweaty shoes and dying to spread out naked on the floor of the kitchen. Let the cool, dirty tiles take me to…anywhere else.

But I am cursed with the general awareness that everything is skewed and evil in the working world. The very nature of having to get up and go to work and collect pennies while making bad men rich is wrong. Only getting 16 hours of sunlight a week is wrong. Having to kowtow to wicked, stupid people on the phone is wrong. And everything about my paycheck is wrong. I don’t even know where to begin there. I think I’d be less worried if they just had one big lump sum taken out titled Wartax. “Retirement.” “Social Security.” “Pre-tax healthcare.” “BLOOD LUST!!!!”

Then, at least, I’d know my money was going somewhere cool. Right now there’s a sense that I’m paying the government to sort of crawl around at the bottom of a dry well and eat dirt. But if I got a big “thank you for the missile” note, I’d once again find hope in America. I want an adopt a tank program. “Sorry, Nacho, but your tank got blown up by terrorists.” Fuck me, I’d lose my shit. I’d form up some sort of weird volunteer battalion like in the Spanish Civil War and go avenge my tank. Using similar 1930’s paramilitary tactics, which will put the fear into those folks.

My generation, and certainly the generations below mine, are about as soft as you come. Even our Big Bad Enemy – the Soviets – didn’t really require much effort. When a nuke is pointed at your back door, does it really matter what you do? Big hair, geek rock, cocaine. The 80’s were that way for a reason. There was nothing to worry about! How sad it is that the world continued after 1991.

But those psychos in the so-called Greatest Generation… My god. The generation that invented the A-Bomb – and used it like giggling schoolboys. Boiling skulls down and mailing them back to their sweethearts, collecting ears, experimenting on minorities… And those are the good ones!

America, I think, responds to insane violence…but it has to be the right kind. It has to be fun and interactive. Adopt a tank, a postcard from your missile, for the price of a cup of coffee you can facilitate the brutal rape and murder of several Iraqi teenagers. Sign me up.

Dear Nacho:

Hello from Your Missile! Today, I was launched from the gleaming deck of one of our Glorious Battleships and I flew through the air like an Avenging Angel of Our Lord Jesus Christ and I fucking plowed into a school because you didn’t donate enough to upgrade my navigation system and I vaporized 79 children.


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