Thursday, October 04, 2007

You Take What You Can Get

One Halloween I sat at a cardboard table covered by a gauzy purple curtain dressed as a gypsy with an amputated fake hand in front of me, a realistic looking piece that oozed a sort of weird oil, and told fortunes until we heard gunshots across the street. I grabbed the fake hand, leaving the mandatory rat doll (a must for Halloween decor) and ran inside my friend's bedroom to huddle with all the other girls as we tried to figure out what in the billy hell was happening. Nobody shot anyone in that neighborhood -- my best friend happened to be rich which is why we always had the parties at her house -- she had real stand-up arcade games and pinball machines. Her mother bought us Dairy Queen shakes every single day after school. Money to burn! Sometimes I felt the peculiar ache of poverty combined with jealousy, but most of the time I just slurped down the shake without thought. You take, I thought even then, what you can get.

Across the street, things had gotten a little tight with the de rigueur single mother (in those days, there weren't that many and she inspired great fear in some of the bored married women around who talked about her in earshot as if she were deaf to their unkindness) and her daughter and the mother's boyfriend. The daughter had taken her mother's gun and was swinging it around, threatening to shoot the boyfriend to death, yelling "You know why I want you dead, you asshole." He only took a bullet in the foot, though, a flesh wound at best. He stumbled out onto the street, bleeding and someone called an ambulance. Once my friend's overmedicated mother decided it was safe, we got to stand out on the street and watch. I set up the fake hand on my table and adjusted my peasant skirt, a few sizes too big and held up by a rope. The ambulance lights swirled on the table, and I looked into my friend's crystal ball. The shot dude lay writhing on the ground. Even though I was no fortune teller, I kind of could tell even then that he'd gotten a little of what he'd deserved.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it." Tallulah Bankhead

Cocktail Hour
Drinking novel suggestion: Sweet Ruin Cathi Hanaeur

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!


Charles Gramlich said...

Too bad the daughter's aim, or misaim, hadn't been a little higher than the foot.

Cheri said...

I agree with Charles, why not a little higher?

Ropinator said...

Hmmm, gunshot, It must have been a bad district. Shall I recommend you "Tokaji AszĂș"? it is a Hungarian wine, a lot people said it is the best in the world. It is really expensive so you won't get it but wines from Tokaj are really good.

Pythia3 said...

Great post! You have such a wonderful way with telling a story. And I love anything related to Halloween.
When I think of Day of the Dead I think of your sugar skeletons.
I love that quote, too. That is me - that is every woman!
I always love to stop by here for a spell.

eric1313 said...

Ironic that the nieghbors feared the woman trying as best she could, when it was her boyfriend that deserved to be feared above anything--except the daughter he drove to the edge.

I envy her! As much as might have happened to her, she took control back over both the adults in her life who could not/would not do the right thing, and so thery did nothing. She filled a vacuum of power around her, as well as took back control over her life, if only for a moment.

Sometimes, that's worth it.

the walking man said...

"You Take What You Can Get"

I can live with that philosophy.



manginas inc. said...

What exactly did he do wrong?

Does anyone know??

So you are assuming he actually did something that warranted being shot, just because the young hysterical woman did shoot him?

And then you guys are wishing he got his jewels shot off?


a better writing instructor said...

This post was about perceived guilt, U. Preponderance of guilt.

The smoking pipe will be taken out of your hands, soon, and you will not have friends left, let alone recourse. The crimes you perpetrate on your co workers and charges will bury you, in a hole filled with your pettiness and folly.

You need to pay attention to what you read, no matter what name you use to veil your bumbling ass against the heartless cold.

Tootles to you, Rosie Pinka finga in tha stinka!

ps~Your heart feels heavy because it is not in your hands.