I’ll Have My People Call Your People. Eventually…Probably.

Land line phones, cell phones, voicemail, email, video call, FaceTime and text, Oh My.

Land line phone, don’t have one. Haven’t since Pumpkin got off his ankle monitor. Although I hear the new monitors will work with a cell phone.

Voicemail, my message simply states, “I don’t listen to voicemail”. Which is true, but my cell transcribes it to a message I can read. About every other word is accurate, so I get the general idea of the call and if it’s an emergency or not.

Email, I check about once a week. It’s my mom’s favorite mode of communication. Once she realized I don’t read it she started texting me to read my email. Such a mom move.

Video calls/FaceTime, sends me into a panic. It’s like I am butt naked, someone comes to my front door and I have to answer it. I usually push decline immediately, get off all social media, throw my phone down and stare at it while thinking, “Why the fuck would you do that?” to whomever is calling. It’s like hiding behind your couch till the person leaves your front door.

I remember how brave I was as a kid of the 80’s. The phone would ring, I would lunge to answer it with an upbeat, expectant, “Hello”. Sooooo innocent. Fool.

Who would it be? The cute boy in seventh period you’ve been hoping would call? The mouth breather from homeroom? Your best friend Pam who you’d talk to for hours about how you’d never ever French kiss a boy. Your mom’s friend who you’d lie to, telling her your mom wasn’t home so they wouldn’t tie up the line for HOURS talking about Jane Fonda exercise videos. Because, check this out, you didn’t want to miss a call! I know, cray cray, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there were some calls you didn’t want and would hang up on. The school calling to tell your mom you weren’t in class today or Columbia House CD Club calling for their $120.00 bucks because you didn’t send back the postcard saying you didn’t want the selection that month. That was a tricky one because most kids my age joined without their parents permission and didn’t realize how relentlessly Columbia House would try to get their money. Which I of course did not have and Patty Jane would end up taking out my ass.

My knee jerk reaction to any form of communication that pierces my bubble of self absorption is to be–well, a jerk.  My mode of communication is text. It gives me time to deal with the fact that communication is going to take place. I can read it at my leisure,  center myself, decide what my response will be, craft it and send it off. Why can’t we all just text?

 

 

 

I’m Baaaaacccckkkkkk! And it feels so good!

“Mom, if you lose custody of me, I will never forgive you,” Pumpkin says.

I am standing in the kitchen making breakfast for myself and my life coach, Appalonia. She became my life coach after she gave me one simple instruction that changed my life. It was so simple, like most life changing tips, but it just never occurred to me.

“Let’s go to the bar,” she said.

“I can’t, I don’t get paid till tomorrow and I’m broke,” I replied. I had some weed and Patron at the house. It looked like a night in.

“Just drink till midnight then run your debit card, duh,” she replied. I referred to her as Coach from that moment on. We ended up staying till bar close, the only barflies on a Thursday night. We sang Paradise By The Dashboard Light at the top of our lungs; into an empty bar, into beer bottles, into shot glasses. The next day at work I still had glitter eye shadow in heavily creased eyes, a bar stamp on my hand and a hoarse voice. But, Pumpkin. Pumpkin was now standing in front of me yelling. At me, his mom.

“I’m gonna lose custody of you? You’re the one who is on probation, you’re the one with an ankle monitor, and you’re the one who told your probation officer the reason you can’t stay sober is because you live in a ‘using household’. What the fuck? You just rolled on your momma? Who the fuck does that?” I yelled, spatula in hand. I could smell the bacon burning, but he had me so pissed I didn’t care. “You’re the one on probation, not me. So why the hell am I the only one sitting around here fucking sober?”

“Mom, shut up and listen to me. He’s gonna drop you, you’re gonna come up dirty and they will take me,” he said, I could see the rage he was trying to control. He’s the one that got us into this mess and now he wants to blame me? Four more years and he would be eighteen and I wouldn’t have to deal with him, his probation office or the courts.

“You haven’t dropped clean once! Not once and so I ask you again, why the fuck am I the only sober one around here? Was sober, whatever, you know what the fuck I mean. You’re in jail every other week anyway from shit YOU do, so what’s the difference if you’re in a foster home rather than a jail cell? If you wanted to be home you wouldn’t be out in the streets” I yelled, waving the spatula. I had to take the pan off the burner, it had started to smoke.

“Holla,” Appalonia yelled in agreement from the dining room. She was trying to brush cigarette ash off her double DDs. That shelf caught everything, ashes, crumbs, and drops of Bud Light.

“That’s it, I’m out of here. I’m going to Dad’s house,” Pumpkin said, walking out of the kitchen. He went over to the phone and unplugged the device that tracks his ankle monitor, tucking it under his arm and heading to the door.

“Bitch, you burning my food?” Appalonia yelled from the dining room.

“What the fuck are you doing? They know when you unplug it, dumbass. Now the cops will be here any minute. I’m fucked up, we got all this pot in the house, Jesus Christ,” I said, trying to grab the monitor from him and plug it back in, like it would matter—they were coming.

*****The beginning of a book, people!!****

 

Happy Landings

“Man, this is really bad,” Pumpkin said, holding a cleaning rag and a spray bottle of bathroom cleaner. He was standing in the hallway alternately looking into his bathroom and then at me and then back again. I watched him from my chair in the living room. I don’t recall seeing this much amazement shining in his eyes in a very long time, if ever.

“No shit, I’ve been telling you to clean your bathroom for weeks,” I said.

“It’s like, I woke up this morning and just really saw it, ya know? It was bad,” he said, looking back into the bathroom. I think the magic mushrooms he ate for breakfast helped “high def” his vision.

“I think your shirt is on inside out,” I said.

“Yeah, I am pretty sure it is,” he said, looking down at his shirt before going back into the bathroom to continue cleaning.

He stayed in there for another half hour. I could hear him drop the shower curtain tension rod at least six times. Since he didn’t yelp in pain, I figured I would just let it go. He came back into the hallway with a big smile on his face.

“Mom, come see my bathroom!”

I got up and walked over to him. I looked into the bathroom timidly, not sure of what I would find. It looked beautiful, except the tension rod with the shower curtain on it was across the middle of the shower doorway instead of at the top.

“Son, don’t ya think the shower curtain is a little low?”

“Yeah, the shower curtain is way long,” he said, walking over to the stall. He lifted the curtain up to show me how much was lying across the shower floor. “I think I better cut it. Why the fuck did I buy a camouflage shower curtain?”

“I’m not really sure. But, I am sure you need to put the shower curtain rod up higher.”

“No, that’s kinda where it landed, where it wants to be.”

I walked over to the shower and waved my hand in the opening between the curtain and the top of the shower saying, “If you don’t raise the curtain water will come out onto the floor through this open space.”

“Right, right, yeah, ok, for sure. I will fix that later,” he said, staring into the space he created. He took another nibble of pharmaceutical fungi. “Well, I gots lots to do. Some in the house, some out of the house.”

“I think you should just focus on the stuff in the house today. I think tomorrow would be a better out of the house day.”

I sat down in the living room again. His doors of perception were swinging open all right. I remember when I shroomed last. It came on while I was sorting laundry. An hour into the task I realized I had about five piles sorted—not just the usual darks, colors and whites. I was just tossing the clothes and watching the trails. What is it about shroomin’ and cleaning with our DNA? Then, the horrible sound of my vacuum cleaner sucking up something bad shook me from my memory.

“Bring it here so I can fix it,” I yelled to Pumpkin. He’d moved on to cleaning his bedroom.

“I don’t think fixing it is an option.”

“What the hell did you suck up?”

“The blind.”

“Seriously? Pick everything up off the floor before you vacuum!” His blind is often on the floor because he tends to come into the house through his bedroom window instead of the door.

“It was on the window,” he said, bringing the sweeper out with slates of the blind sticking out of it at various angles.

“How? How did this happen? Your window is above your bed for fucks sake!”

“Yeah, I got to go to the math lab,” he said, setting the sweeper down.

“It’s Sunday. The lab isn’t open. I thought we were going to focus on the things you need to do in the house today. Outside is not a good idea. Going to school is certainly not a good idea.”

“Right, I will be back,” he said, heading out the door.

“Your shirt is still inside out,” I yelled after him.

“That’s just where it landed.”

 

 

 

Becky A Snitch

“What I don’t understand is why you waited this fucking long to tell me,” I said, pulling open the heavy door to the mall.

“Cause he’s a dumb ass,” Jesse said, laughing. Really, it’s more of a manic giggle.

“Because I knew you were gonna freak out and I thought I could buy the pills, but I don’t have the money, so I don’t have a choice –I have to tell you,” Pumpkin said, as we walked to GNC.

Pumpkin has been on probation for two years. Part of his probation is drug testing. He never passes. He always pisses dirty. Usually his probation officer will just lock him up for a week or so for a probation violation. This obviously hasn’t been working since the tests are all still dirty. His PO’s new tactic is to test me every time Pumpkin comes up dirty. My test results would be murky at best. I would then be charged for drug abuse. Pumpkin’s PO thinks he can’t stay sober because he lives in a “using” household. I think Pumpkin can’t stay sober because he is a pothead and doesn’t give a shit.

“Umm, yeah, potentially going to jail does cause me to freak out.”

“You’re not going to go to jail, mom.”

“Your yellow ass better hope not.”

“She called you yellow. High yellow, that’s your handle, yo. Cause you is yellow and usually high,” Jesse chortles between giggles.

“Shut the fuck up,” Pumpkin and I say in unison.

We walk into the GNC and find the Niacin. There are a ton of choices, different brands and milligrams.

“Now, what are you supposed to do?”

“The website said..”

“Stuff Stoners Like, that’s what it’s called. They’re serious, Bro,” Jesse says, interrupting Pumpkin.

“Shut up,” we both say again.

“Ok, two to three days before the test you take 1,000 mg and drink two gallons of water. Day of the test you take 1,000 mg and drink two to three bottles of water. Pee two to three times before test. Use midstream pee for the test.”

“We only have two days and you are like 85% THC, we are screwed. I’m going to jail.”

“It will work. Let’s just get it and go so I can start.”

I grab a bottle of Niacin. I get the most expensive one hoping it will work better, but knowing it won’t really make a difference. We walk up to the counter. There is young girl with long blonde hair standing at the counter. Jesse leans over the counter smiling at her.

“Where you from?” he asks, smiling broadly.

“Bro, stop,” Pumpkin says, pushing him out of the way. The young woman looks very uncomfortable. I place the pills on the counter.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t sell these pills to you,” she says.

“Why?” I ask, not very calmly.

“Because I couldn’t help but overhear you are using them for illegal means.”

“Are you fucking serious? Is there like a GNC oath or some shit? Am I being punked? I am going to jail,” I say, while looking around for a camera.

“Duuuude,” Jesse says, looking at the ceiling while turning in a circle.

“Mom, let’s just go. We can go to Rite Aid.”

“I don’t know if theirs are as good.” I notice a tall black man standing off to the side in a GNC uniform. Maybe he will understand, maybe he is from our tribe of dealing with dumb shit.

“Hey, will you ring these up for me?” I ask.

“Sorry, fam, Becky a snitch,” he says.

“Come on, Becky, no one is going to know. Just ring them up. I got a lot going on and this shit is pointless.”

“My name isn’t Becky and you are making me uncomfortable. I am going to call security if you don’t leave.”

“Well, Becky, looks like I am going to jail either way, so I might as well make it worth it!”

“Awww shit, Ma Dukes is about to throw down,” Jesse says, as he begins to shadow box.

“Mom, seriously. Now, we need to leave, now.”

So, we leave. We go to Rite Aid and we buy the pills. Pumpkin doesn’t smoke for two days. He’s an asshole for two days. He takes the pills, he drinks the water. We go down to his PO’s office for him to drop urine. Did you know there are side effects to taking so much Niacin?  Mr. Carrillo did.

“Good Afternoon, young man,” Mr. Carrillo says.

“Good Afternoon, Sir,” Pumpkin says, as he itches his arm, neck and face. He looks flushed.

“You coming down with something?”

“No, I feel good.”

“Looks to me like you might have Niacin fever.”

“Niacin, Sir?”

“Don’t worry, I can test for it. We will find out and treat it appropriately.”

Fuck my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Is Dead

“That shirt is cute,” I say to my husband as we wait to be seated at Bob Evans. But, I can’t buy another t-shirt, even if it has bacon on it, because I already have 487.

“I like the trucker hat with Bob Evans on it. But, $9.99 is too much money,” he says. He doesn’t need another hat, he already has 488.

When we are seated and looking over the menus he says, “Maybe I can talk them down.”

“Talk who down?”

“Bob Evans, on the hat,” he says, still deciding between country fried steak and an omelet.

“There is no Bob Evans, there is no bartering here.”

“Sure there is, that’s what country folk do—they haggle.”

“We aren’t country folk, what the fuck are you talking about? You grew up in the projects; I grew up on the East Side. We might live in a trailer, but we aren’t country folk,” I say staring at him. He won’t look at me, he’s acting like he’s still looking at the menu. He isn’t looking at the menu, he’s digging his heels in. I continue to stare, he won’t look up. Finally, our waiter comes.

“What do you think, James?” he asks our server.

“Jesus Christ,” I sigh and put my menu down. James looks confused.

“You think the manager would come down on that trucker hat over there by the cash register?”

“Come down?”

“You know, it says it costs $9.99. I’m willing to give him $5.99.”

“You can ask him,” James says, shrugging his shoulders.

“No, no you can’t. We are at Levis Commons in freaking Perrysburg for fucks sake! Really?  You want to barter with a manager for a trucker hat? There is no bartering at Levis Commons. There are UPC codes and prices set by corporate, that’s what there is. This isn’t a pickup truck parked at some farmer’s market,” I bellow as James hurries away to get our coffee.

“They have a farm.”

“Who?”

“Bob Evans.”

“It’s a corporate farm, it’s a façade, Bob Evans is dead and that shit isn’t real. Do not do this, it is stupid and embarrassing.”

“Chris never pays full price for anything. I bet they’ll do it.”

“Chris is country folk, Chris does live in the country, he shops at swap meets for real! He lives by a cornfield. We live in Walbridge, we have sewers—no.”

As we walk to the cash register, he stops to talk to the manager.

“I am waiting in the car, I can’t believe you are doing this,” I say.

“I won’t unlock it, nothing wrong with haggling.”

I stand by the register and wait. After a few minutes he stands beside me.

“Well?”

“He said the UPC codes are preprogrammed and they can’t override them.”

I don’t say anything. I actually feel bad for him, he seems kind of sad. When we get in the car he hits the steering wheel and yells, “Pie!”

“What?”

“Next time I’ll say, ‘I’ll give you the $9.99 for the hat, if you give me a piece of pie and don’t ring it up.’ See, that’s how you get around them UPC’s,” he says, smiling in victory and lighting a cigarette.

“I hate you.”

 

 

On The 7th Day The Stripper Got Hitched

Day 1

“Have you seen Pumpkin today?” I ask my daughter.

I hadn’t seen him in over 24 hours. He usually doesn’t wander away from his bongs this long and I was getting concerned.

“No, he was gone before I left this morning at 9:00am,” she replies.

Now I am really concerned. He never gets up that early. I don’t see him the rest of that day either.

Day 2

I get up and there is still no Pumpkin. I text, call, facetime and IM him. Nothing. I IM two of his friends. One doesn’t respond, the other says he hasn’t seen him. I begin to worry he doesn’t know my number and can’t call me for bail.

Day 2 ½

He comes strolling in early evening. “Where the hell have you been?” I ask, loudly.

“I met a girl. You’re gonna meet her really soon,” he says.

His smile is so happy and sweet I decide not to grill him about her just yet. I would only get the happy afterglow of new sex version anyway, so what’s the point?

Day 3

“So yeah, I think you are going to like her. She’s crazy like you, she makes her own Windex,” he says out of the blue.

I nod and don’t say anything. “She has a kid, he’s great. She’s a single mom, she does everything. You should see it,” he continues. Oh, you mean that thing I did for you for 18 years? Yeah, I’ve seen it, it’s fucking awesome.

“She’s a little older than me, she’s 23, and she’s divorced. But, they are real cool, ‘cause you know, the kid.” This just gets better and better, I think to myself.

“I think want I to have a kid with her, too,” he continues.

“Are you crazy? You don’t even know her. You’re temps are suspended for fuck’s sake. Who gets their temps suspended?? You net worth is negative. Literally, NEGATIVE.”

“No, it’s cool. Even if we break up it would work out. She’s like the human I want a kid with.”

“18 years, 18 years you gotta deal with a baby momma! What the fuck? You don’t know her!”

“I see how she is with her kid’s dad. They are divorced and they get along. I think it would be ok. They get along really well.”

Day 4

“You are going to find this out anyway, so I might as well tell you,” he begins. I wait for the bombshell revelation. “She gets naked for her job,” he says.

“That’s fine, you know I don’t have any problem with sex workers as long as it’s their own choice,” I say.

“I want her to quit. My boss saw my girlfriend naked and that ain’t cool.”

“You can’t do that. You can’t tell someone they have to quit their job. If she wants to strip, she should strip. She has a kid to support, you have no right,” I say.

“She’s not a stripper. She gets naked on the internet and people pay to look at her.”

“Ok, well whatever. She’s making money from home, good for her. But, you can’t mess with her pocket,” I continue.

“No, she goes to this place to do it. It’s like a studio. But, she takes Adderall while she works. She has to talk to the people on the computer and it gives her more energy to be, ya know, upbeat. I don’t like that. You shouldn’t have to get high to do your job.”

“Adderall? You know that stuff is evil. With your drug history, do you think it’s a good idea for you to be around it?” I ask, with my heart pounding. Even to an extremely liberal mom, this is starting to become worrisome.

“I won’t take it. Don’t worry, this is good. You will like her.”

Day 5

“I told you she was crazy, I had to carry her out of the 7-11 today,” Pumpkin says.

“Why?” I ask, truly interested.

“The clerk never carded her before and they did today. Neither of us had an ID, but that’s not the point. She thinks he did it because I was with her and I’m black, she thinks it was racist. So, she started yelling and throwing the Skittles. I had to get her out of there.”

I say nothing.

Day 6

“Mom, I love you,” he says.

“What do you want?”

“I’ve been spending so much money getting to Chris’s house I wondered if she could just come and stay here with me tonight.”

“I have to check with your sister. You know her temper. She already had one of your girlfriends hiding in the basement because she wanted to beat their ass. Let me talk to her,” I answer.

Day 6 ½

“Ok, I talked to your sister, she won’t hurt her. Now, you cannot make noise and wake us up. You cannot leave her alone in our house. You are financially responsible for any shit that happens. She cannot live with us, this is a once and a while thing. Got it?”

“Thanks, mom.”

Day 7

I text my husband, “Good Morning.”

“Morning, was Pumpkin still up when you got up?” he texts back.

“No, did that girl come over?”

“Oh yeah, I had a 4:40 am adventure,” he says.

“What’s she like?”

“I don’t know. Pumpkin was up sitting in the living room, said he would introduce us, but she was naked as shit. Those are his words.”

“Jesus.”

“He told me it might sound crazy, but they are getting married.”

“You’re fucking with me.”

“Nope, I think his bong collection won her over. The guys on the line say they are taking the day off to go to the wedding.”

See? A whole new world can be made in seven days. I think I need to go to church.