Thursday, April 15, 2010

101 Freaky Ways To Die

Hey everyone, hope you're surviving tax day! This is another excerpt from You Are The Camera and probably the last one I'll post for a bit. Tomorrow, I return to share with you words I hate. Yes, I have a list of pet peeve words. Or maybe I'll write about that sex machine, Larry King who is working on divorce eight. Kidding. At least about mentioning sex and Larry King in the same sentence again.

I didn’t feel comfortable using the phone for long distance since David paid for it and didn’t even want a phone despite the fact that it informed him of the rare snow day and also served as our only means to contact the police. With a 911 lag time of six hours in the city proper, he might have had a point about its inefficacy. Even so, I bought phone cards with my bottle deposit money and called friends from home when I could, especially Hank who had taken to sending me clippings from various newspapers about serial killers. It reminded me of when we were kids and read stories from a book titled 101 Freaky Ways To Die! which we treated as required reading. Our favorite was a B-list actress who had taken a cocktail of pills only to drown to death with her head in the toilet. Denton, he claimed, had grown as stale and wearisome as Mineral Wells, declaring that he had become the proverbial turd in the punchbowl at most gatherings. At least he could still hear the sound of the train from his apartment which made him happy. Even if he chose to stay put for a little while longer, he knew other people were on the move.

I had five hundred dollars in my bank account, and thought I might get three hundred more from my deposit on the duplex in Denton. My car payments were two hundred a month, and I knew I could let them slide for three months before the threat of repossession loomed. For two months, I returned David’s beer bottles to get money, Michigan offering ten cents each, and I sent my resume to local colleges. There hadn’t been a lot of hope in terms of finding a job in academia given to us in graduate school so I also applied for any receptionist jobs listed in the local papers. Even though my car wasn’t paid for, it was falling apart. People in Michigan referred to it as a beater, a term I had never heard. At least I didn’t drive a foreign car like most people in Texas. Foreign cars were considered betrayal which I found refreshing. As I drove out of my neighborhood in six inches of snow, my front right tire goes flat on East Warren. I managed to get it to a gas station connected to an oil change center.

“Man, I feel so so sad for this little car,” one of the mechanics said as he surveyed my tire.

“I’m new here,” I said as two guys graciously offer to change my tire to the donut spare I have in the trunk. I was freezing, but they seemed totally unfazed in their gray overalls. “I’m from Texas and don’t know how to drive in the snow.”

“You the new white girl on Courville?” one asked.

“Probably,” I said.

“This will last you for a little bit, but you need a real tire to get around this shit.”

“Yep,” the other guy said. “Michigan ain’t no joke.”

I nodded, so grateful not to be stuck.

The man put the flat tire back in my trunk. “I’m telling you, Michigan, this state, it ain’t no joke.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." Henry Miller

Cocktail Hour
Tonight Sober House continues -- yay!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!


Anonymous said...

I'm a gay blade!--Quentin Crisp

jodi said...

Girl, what in hell were you doing living on Courville? Egads. Was that before the Ratsy Apartment? Please, dear God--buy a house in a "decent" neighborhood! Lovelove.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth didn't "David" change your tire?

Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder if that book was the influence for the series I've seen recently, 1000 ways to die. They're all freaky. I bet it was.

Damn, those days were not easy, I see. A time of struggles for sure.

the walking man said...

Hey! Them mechanics took good care of you little white girl. Shows you that everywhere is no bigger than Mineral Wells. They knew who you were and probably a whole lot more of your business than they let on. Probably even which store you cashed the bottles in at and what you bought with part of the cash.

And as a mechanic let me say this...every fucking car is a beater. Just a piece of shit either waiting to, about to, or already broken down.

I like that turd in the punchbowl...yeah I know what he meant by that.

Pleas do tell me what words you despise so I can start incorporating them into my lexicon!

Whitenoise said...

We're all destined to die. The trick is to procrastinate as long as possible...

Lana Gramlich said...

Reminds me of my first autumn here in Louisiana, when I took my car to the shop for a flush & fill (the rad, as you'd know,) & the mechanic looked at me funny & said, "You're not from around here, are you?" *L*