Monday, January 16, 2017

Laska Story Challenge: Champagne!

My dear friend, author Paul Laska, gave me another writing challenge.  It took me far to long to complete it, but here it is!  500 word minimum.


"You're a bottle of champagne at a liquor store.  Someone purchases you for a celebration.  Listening to him, what's the occasion and how is he celebrating?"


Hello my friend!  I am the bottle you have been seeking!  Veuve Clicquot! “The Widow”  One of the finest champagnes ever made!
            Of course, the human couldn’t understand me.  Stupid Americans!  They don’t understand anything that is not English.  But, he bought me along with a California Red and a bottle of Absolut Vodka.  Neither of them spoke French either, but fortunately I speak English.  They didn’t speak much.  The vodka was bust trying to be mysterious, and I think the wine was meditating.
            Eventually, the human put me in the refrigerator, after showing me to a woman.  She was beautiful, with raven colored hair and grey eyes.  She seemed impressed by me- and who wouldn’t be? After all, I am Veuve Clicquot!


            I don’t know how long I spent in the refrigerator.  If the various other occupants that came and went are to be believed, it was several years.  After a year, I stopped seeing leftovers, and started seeing a lot of Chinese food and pre-prepared things from the market.  I saw many more bottles of beer though.  Most of them pretended to be German, but they were American.  They couldn’t even speak German! 
Posers!
One day, the man removed me from the refrigerator.  He was dressed very well in a jacket and tie.  Worthy of an occasion that is worthy of Veuve Clicquot!  He wrapped me in a towel and put me in a cooler with ice and two champagne glasses.  I remember thinking “where are we going in the middle of the day?”  The two glasses said nothing. 
Ah!  A picnic!  It had to be!
Soon the chest opened, and he removed me.  He placed me on top of a stone.  My God- it’s a tombstone!  He placed the glasses net to me and opened me efficiently, yet with little flair.  He must’ve had some practice.  He then poured me into the two glasses, and lifted one.
“Happy five year anniversary, Angel!  I opened the champagne, just like we planned.”
He clinked his glass gently with the other, which sat next to me on the stone.  He then drank a sip. 
Tears started flowing from his eyes.  Water, condensed from the warming glasses and my bottle made us weep as well.
He knelt in front of the stone, where he cried and spoke quietly.  Occasionally he would sip from his glass.  When he finished his glass, he stood.  He took the full glass and poured it out on the ground where he had been kneeling in front of the stone.  He picked me up, looked at me for a long minute, and placed me on the ground in front of the stone.  Near me were some faded, warped pictures pinned my stones to the ground.  He then left a while picking up an old dead and withered one. 
He then packed up the glasses, and put them back in the cooler.  He also pocketed my cork.  He kissed the top of the stone and said “See you soon, Angel.”  And walked away, leaving me mostly full and weeping on the ground next to flowers and a tombstone.
And here I sit, now warm and flat.  Waiting.  Waiting. 




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Work Story

This happened maybe 9 or 10 years ago.  Long before my True Self re-emerged.

Back then, the bookstore had these positions called "Leads."  The leads were responsible for their area- they would curate the books that were there, ordering titles and trimming others to create a section that customers would enjoy.  They kept it clean, were responsible for stocking its shelves, etc.   This was THEIR area: they were the Experts.  The bookstore no longer has these positions, as I guess they don't want experts, or people really giving a damn about the areas of their responsibility. But I digress.  Hail the almighty dollar.

In any case, this takes place one late one Saturday night.  I was in the back of the store, near the restrooms at the time. I was checking stuck with the handheld device which is what we used to figure out what stays and what goes.  I was standing on a stool to reach the highest shelves, when out of the men's room come a huge younger guy (B) and a very powerful looking man (Aide.)  Right next to the restrooms is a fire door- it's still there, actually.   At the time we had been having problems with people opening that fire door- so many, in fact, that the fire department said that the next time they had to come for a false alarm on our fire doors, that the store would be fined.  So management made it VERY clear that we were to make sure to not let people open the fire doors.


Gratuitous Sophie Picture

So turns out that B was somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.  He was one of the special needs people who were there for the for their weekly outing at the bookstore.  At the time, there were two different groups that enjoyed the store.  One would come Friday, and the other on Saturday.  The Friday night group still comes.  The Saturday night group included this guy.  Usually the groups are about ten of the residents of these assisted living homes, and their Aides.

B decides he wants to go out the fire door. I say "you can't do that," and his Aide,  a very powerfully built but shorter man, is trying to steer him away from the door.  Now B was very strong, and this guy was doing his best to get through his Aide.  He got to the point where they started wrestling on the ground, right next to my step stool.

I looked down and said "you want me to call for help?" and he tossed his phone to the side.

He said "Call my colleagues! They'll come back and help me!"  So I did- I picked up the phone.  He said dial whatever.

Well, it turns out that his colleagues had gathered their flock and left these two behind.  They were gone.  They left this guy and his charge there wrestling on the floor.

The Aide managed to push his charge away for a little bit, and B started to smash his forehead against the wall until he started to bleed!  And then he ran toward the front of the store.  There was a large blood stain on the wall!

The Aide chased after B. I dialed my little portable phone, and call the manager and and said "Call 911- there's a guy assaulting someone!"

However, the manager on duty at the time was someone who absolutely did not like me.  Anyway, she didn't believe the urgency in my voice she said "No, it can't be that bad."  I tried to explain it to her.  She wouldn't listen.

Meanwhile, B was going through the entire store bashing his head on things, throwing books aside- getting blood everywhere.

I decided I would stand by the fire door in case he came back.  So there I was standing, trying to get a call out to 911 because my manager sure as hell wasn't going to do it.

At this point, a fellow employee came along.  I'll call him "Dolt."  Dolt was maybe six foot five and very thin, with a very deep voice.  He was in his early sixties.  I shouted at him to "Get away from this area!  It's dangerous!"  I pointed at the bloodstain on the wall.

He said "I'll go check the displays over here," pointing to a wall out of sight.  I didn't see him again until after it was all over.


So I stood waiting for whatever to happen. Suddenly B was there- maybe 15 feet in front of me.  He had blood flowing down his face and staining his shirt from the cuts in his forehead.  He was standing looking like a bull ready to charge.  He was coming through that door no matter what!  I was the only thing between him and it.  Now, I have run into burning buildings, and I've been in more fights than I can count, but this is the first time that in a fight situation that I was scared.  My knees were shaking! This guy was no doubt MUCH stronger than me.  And I couldn't fight him- if I defended myself and hurt him, I would be sued for hurting someone who is special needs.  This was a lose-lose situation, and I knew it.

At this point, the manager came around saying "what is going on?" B turned, and swung at her she ducked a little bit.  He still connected with her shoulder- barely grazing her. She's said something like "ohmyGodIcan'tbelievethisI'mgoingtocallthepolice!" I shouted at her "Now what the hell do you think I've been telling you to do!"

Of course she ran away.  B looked at me again and ran right at me, shouting.

I used to be on the wrestling team long ago, and, aside from my other fighting experience and training, I remembered a few things.  I charged at him- going low to attempt a "take down."  I succeeded, and had him on the floor.

Did I mention he was MUCH stronger than me?

I did my best to pin down his limbs, but he easily threw me off, and started hitting me in the head and chest.  His Aide returned, and the two of us managed to push him into the nearby Men's Room.  We held the door shut.  He pulled from his side once or twice, then gave up.

All was Quiet.

After an eternal few minutes, the police arrived.  Three officers- all them tall and burly.  I told the officers that the person in the men's room was very violent, and pointed out the bloodstains.  I was bloody too, as was the Aide, but that was mostly B's blood.  Mostly.  Two officers drew their weapons and knocked on the door.  The third had myself and the Aide step back.  When there was no answer to the knocking, the police went in.

All was quiet.

We heard some speaking.  The officer with me asked what happened.  At that moment, a gaggle of blondes came running toward the restrooms, wringing their hands and shouting.

The van that had left B and Aide had returned!  These were the other staff- the ones who had left without taking roll call.  And they were nigh hysterical as they swarmed into the men's room.

The Aide, Officer, and I looked at each other- stunned.  The Officer asked what I wanted done.  I said I wanted him in shackles and full restraints, as he was a danger to himself and others.

At this point, the manager returned.  She stood with Aide and me as the two police officers led B out of the men's room.  One was on either side of him, and he was fully restrained in cuffs and shackles.  Behind them were the wailing mass of blondes, crying and wringing their hands.

Officer Three explained to me and the manager that there was an ambulance waiting outside the receiving door, and they would take B there.  We just had to walk him across the store as quietly as possible.  The Aide?  He was as calmly as possible explaining exactly what happened to the teary eyed blondes.  He was extremely angry, yet in full control.  I envied him that control, as, at that time, my anger was consuming me.

I led the group to receiving, where the manager had unlocked the door.  The paramedics were waiting with a gurney that had been prepared with leather straps.  The police loaded B onto the gurney, and the paramedics fastened B with the straps.  At this point, B starting thrashing and yelling, but it was too late.  He was restrained.

I went back to the restroom, where Officer Three was waiting.  He motioned me to go into the restroom with him.  I went to the back stall, which had a couple of bloodstains on the wall, but also...

B had unscrewed the toilet from the floor.  With his bare hands.  There it sat, unmoored from the floor.  THAT took some strength!

By the time I went back to the sales floor, the two other officers were speaking to the Aide and the Gaggle of blondes.  Nearby was the manager.  And Dolt.  Manager was listening to the questions and waiting her turn.

I went back into the men's room and washed off the best I could.  When I came out, one of the Officers took my statement, and the manager asked me about what happened.  I doubt that the final report was anywhere near the truth.

In the years to come that Dolt still worked at the bookstore, he would brag about he and I BOTH were wrestling B.  Even though Dolt was nowhere in sight during the melee.  I corrected him at first, but stopped after a while.  No one cared what I had to say.

I insisted to management that this group be banned.  As I never saw them again, I assume they were.  I would hope that the people responsible for leaving B and his Aide behind were fired.  At least I hope so.

The manager at the time is no longer employed by the bookstore.

That, to this day, is till one of the Worst days I've ever had at work.  Not THE worst, but top 3.

But now, it makes for a good story.  That's something I guess.

Be Well.









Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thoughts in the Night

When I turn out the light, I lay in a bed that is mine through charity.  It is a single bed, but plenty for just me.

In the night, across the room, my roomie and bestie sleeps in her bed, which is the same type as mine.  She sleeps quietly.  She does not snore.

It is after I turn out the light that the thoughts come.  My eyes adjust to the Darkness and I think of my Wife.

I think of how we will never again sleep in the same bed.  About how much I miss the scent of her hair as we lay together through the night; my arm around her.  How I will never feel the softness of her skin as she sleeps in my embrace.

I will never again here her murmur quietly in her sleep.

It has been over forty months since I was thrown out of the rooms we shared.  Thrown out because of who and what I am.  For my Truth.

True Pain is remembering every little detail of what you have lost.

And, in the Darkness, in the Night, I remember

Every

Little

Detail.