(1st shitty draft on 12/27/16 11:21 p.m.)
(2nd shitty draft started 8/28/19 4:38 p.m.)
Zachariah was a grocery store clerk bagger. He wore a blue vest over his clothes over red or white t-shirts because any color “just doesn’t look right.”
Even though his name tag cannot fit his full first name because he chooses to use “only upper case letters” when writing his name.
He refuses to go by the shortened, more direct, and easier to nametag, “Zach”.
When asked to “bling up” his name tag, Zachariah chose happy faces. This frequently contrasts his sullen mood whenever there is a long line of customers. His name tag is always purposely positioned to hide behind the lapel of his vest. This technique, along with his somewhat complex name for many unfamiliar to one of the true origins of the fairly common “Zach,” has saved him from many customer service complaints once they got home and realized he had either single bagged the heaviest groceries, or he had stolen some random item (“it’s like a goddamn scavenger hunt sometimes,” Zachariah would proclaim after being reprimanded but not officially fired… “due to my goddamn disability, I can pretty much get away with any motherfucking thing,” he would continue) from a customer’s bag.
Although it is unpopular and takes up too much room in an already crowded gum section near each counter, Zachariah was able to manipulate his boss (“…with the help of my goddamn disability…”) to have Fruit Stripe prominently displayed at each counter. When infrequently purchased by a customer, Fruit Stripe became the number one consistent “missing item” from customer’s bags when they were reading their receipts back to the manager.
Zachariah always chews fruit stripe gum. When bored, he picks through packs and pulls all lemon and cherry pieces of, then discards the rest of the pack. He unsuccessfully tries blowing bubbles with his gum, gets frustrated, and spits it out because it is not bubble gum.
Where does it come from?
Where does it come from?
What the fuck are you talking about?
Ok. You know when you start thinking deeply about something and, all of a sudden, your brain recognizes…hold on…
My therapist says I need to try using “me” statements.
What are you talking about?
“I” statements. I think you meant “I” statements when you actually said, “me” statements.
Yeah. What about your brain recognizing shit?
I had this thought about something in the past and my brain just took me there. Right FUCKing there. Felt all kinds of pain in my gut. Not all literally, but just that…eerie, SICK, “how did I ever live that way” feeling. Ugh.
I hate that. It doesn’t happen much to me these days, but when it does, it sometimes really hurts. But you are that anymore. It’s gonna be ok if you let it. You’re resilient. You’re alive. You still have a bunch of things that some people – some people we fucking know… or knew… that aren’t either: A) here anymore, or B) in a worse place than you – don’t have. Right now.
Pull your head out of your ass.
Quit thinking you are so fucking important. You are here and doing a good job with what you have. Don’t fuck it up by killing yourself over what isn’t here anymore. You can’t change it.
Then…shut the fuck up.
(from 5/27/97 — revisions started 12/17/19)
Bob was a hermit.
That’s what all the people in town could say about him.
Bob lived by himself in an old blue house on top of Harold Street. The blue house began to look more like the sky each day because the blue paint began chipping away to reveal white paint underneath. The white patches resembled clouds juxtaposed against the blue background.
Some said it was kind of funny that chipping paint would actually add something to the house. Bob could have gotten it repainted, but he was getting plenty of positive praise from passers-by, whether on foot, bike, or automobile, that he decided to leave it be.
There was one thing Bob knew for sure: he wasn’t about to paint it himself. And definitely not today.
Bob lay in bed with his head in other clouds. He was feeling sickly the last few days and couldn’t narrow down a reason why. He was anxiously awaiting a call back from his doctor’s office for the past few days. The nurse told him that she would put Bob on standby since the doctor’s earliest opening was Friday. Today was Tuesday and Bob felt he couldn’t wait too much longer. His illness was progressing downwards.
“Dr. Smith’s office,” the receptionist quipped on the other end of the line.
(To be continued…)