Thursday, July 3, 2008

How Do I Still Have a Job?

I'm two-and-a-half hours late this morning.

Last night, a friend's band played their first show at a bar on the west side. I made the mistake of parking in front of the venue. A guy who was standing by the entrance saw the Kansas plate on the Hydra ( 1 of 3, ever) and inquired as to my origins. When I told him I descended of Dodge City and Lawrence, he went insane. "I know people there! This is incredible." Immediately, I can see why this guy was standing outside, alone.

Inside, I tried to always be talking to someone in my party, as to avoid having to answer any of the thousands of questions he kept hurling at me. It did little to deter him. "So, do you know my cousins? They still live in Kansas."

"Yes . . . . who are your cousins?"

Strange enough I did know his cousins, quite well. I told this guy of a few misadventures with his kin, one involving the Cosmosphere, another involving the jazz guitar. He takes out his phone. "I've got to call them right now."

"Please don't."

"No, it'll be fine. It's only 2. (ring). (ring). They're not answering. Hey (redacted) I'm at a bar in Chicago. I just met one of your best friends. His name is . . . what's your name?"


He yells into his phone, "Raymond . . . Raymond . . . Raymond . . . I dunno. Tall. Dark hair. Cowboy hat . . . alright, I'll talk to you later cousin."

He put his phone phone back into his pocket, "He was all like, 'Raymond, no way, that's awesome. Tell him I said what's up,' this is great."

In probing me like Kennedy's back wound, it was discovered we worked at the same factory in Lawrence, at the same time. I made the mistake of telling him I dated a girl that worked in research for the company. He knew exactly who it was and, lucky for me, had her number in his phone.

"No, please don't."

Re-read the last phone conversation. It went exactly the same. Only this time, when he put his phone away, he said, "We have got to start hanging out."

This morning I woke up at the time I normally arrive to work late. On the bus in, I started thinking about if I should tell my boss anything, or just sit down and start writing this. I figured I'd go into this office and say I got a little hung up this morning, and that I'll work through lunch, even though I won't.

His door was open when I came in.

On occasion, even I stop paying attention to me when I talk and go into an uncontrolled admission. My casual, 'sorry for being late' became something else.

"Hey boss . . . had a few drinks last night . . . some douchebag made me talk to people I hadn't even thought about in a decade . . . fucking hammered . . . shouldn't have been driving - but I did . . . setting my alarm clock I was like a fuckin' zombie with a paperback . . . woke up and didn't recognize her . . . spent half-an-hour looking for the condom . . . kind of nervous . . . hope she's not there when I get back . . . I won't be in next Thursday . . . Hellboy 2."

Six more hours to go.

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