When I work a shift, I usually close it down. But yesterday I was tired, and felt like going home, so I took the cut. My wife and I got rid of a car, moved, and since it’s too cold to walk to work, I’ve been taking the bus lately.
I waited out in the cold for a while before my bus showed up, got on, and hunkered down to play some meaningless game on my phone to pass the time. It didn’t last. Five stops later someone read the name of the valet company off my jacket in a flamboyantly homosexual voice:
“(Fill in a name) Valet, you guys are nice, but you know who’s a real bunch of assholes? (He says the name of my former valet company). They work at Seven, and that place … let’s just say they messed with the wrong guy.”
I look up and see a man so gaunt he makes skeletor look fat walking right toward me. Great. I put my phone in my pocket as he takes the row of seats in front of me. He proceeds to hang over the back of his seat making sure I listen to everything he has to say.
“I tried to go in the restaurant and look around. I told them I wanted to book an event, and they wouldn’t even let me look at the place. So I went outside and told the valet that Seven is a terrible restaurant, and that I prefered Eight and Nine, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in Seven. He had the audacity to tell me to get lost. I got right up in his face and told him that he can’t tell me what to do, and you know what he did? He shoved me to the ground right in front of a police officer. That’s not the only beef I have with the boys in blue.” I tried to avoid spit bubbles that flew from his manic mouth. “I spent the last four days in jail for blocking traffic. They took everything from me, and of course a bail bondsman wouldn’t touch a $300 bail. Why would they, it’s small peanuts, so I had to wait to see a judge, and then the judge finally threw my case out, but guess what …”
“What?” I said hoping he realized I didn’t actually mean it. He changed directions again.
“I moved here from San Francisco where I had the best lawyer in the world. He got a felony conviction expunged from my record after ten years. You know what he said? He said you kill a cop, I’ll represent you. He really did. So they just got it expunged from my record, and I asked, can I hold political office now? And his assistant said let me call you back. But its hard finding a job as a convicted felon. I got caught possessing and selling methamphetamines, and it’s followed me to this day. You apply for a job, they say, have you ever been convicted of a felony, not have you ever been convicted of a felony that was work related. I mean yes, I stole money from the till of an employer to buy meth.” He runs through a hiring scenario for me. “Oh then, we can’t have you work the register, but can we offer you a position in the kitchen. You see, but they won’t offer me the kitchen job. They don’t want to touch me, but now I have the felony expunged I shouldn’t have to deal with that again. What’s your name.”
Despite the fact that I was wearing a name tag, I told him anyway.
“Nice to meet you. You see this?” He held up a stapled eight page document. I nodded that I did. “I wrote my smart lawyer telling them all about the shit that the boys in blue did to me when I was arrested. They took my bag, with my medication in it and they wouldn’t let me have any of it until they let me out four days later. It’s prescription, I tried to tell them that, but they just mocked and abused me, but it’s all in here, detail after detail after detail.” He punctuated each “detail” with the turning of a page. “They messed with the wrong guy, and I’m gonna nail their asses to the wall.”
The bus stopped to let some people off, and he got distracted and asked the bus driver a rapid succession of questions before coming back to grab his things off the seat in front of me. By this time we were at the next stop. He grabbed a paper bag and held it up for me to see. “Three screenplays, my life stories, they’re all true. I’m gonna sell them all and make a bunch of money.”
Then he jumped off the bus, leaving me with only three stops to myself.