Archive for the ‘True Story’ Category

I love my job

Posted: November 16, 2011 in True Story

So two Thursdays ago at around 1:00pm this guys comes into my store. He wanders around for a bit and I do the whole “If you need anything let me know” schtick and we both go about our business. He looks at the Magic singles in the case and eventually makes up his mind and spends around sixty bucks on some random cards. He seemed a little odd like he never made eye contact and he seemed nervous but we deal with gamers every day. People who act weird are kind of our bread and butter. He was about 6’1” or so and wore the redneck uniform. Dirty jeans, Marlboro jacket and some kind of hat that had never been cleaned. He leaves and a few minutes later we notice that he had left a D ring notebook full of Magic cards on the table. This happens on occasion so we didn’t really think anything of it. An hour or so later the guy comes back in, sees his binder on the table where he left it and says loudly and kind of angrily “Thanks for not stealing my binder!” We were a little taken aback but ignored the odd outburst. The guy sits down at a table and starts looking though his binder, I assume to see if anything had been stolen. He pulls out a $15 card and stares at it. For ten solid minutes. He then rips it to pieces, tosses it in the trash and walks out. Strange? Yes, but nowhere near the strangest thing we’ve had people do so we laugh it off and go about our day.

Sometime around 5 he comes back in. At this point there are about ten of us in the store. My employee Eric is helping our friend Dave work on a new deck so they are pretty deep in a conversation when the guy comes back. He makes a lap of the store, looks in the showcase again and then stops and looks Eric right in the eye and says “Yeah, but if you take Intrepid Hero and change all the words it takes what you just said and throws it out the window!” and he walks out the door. We all kind of stare at one another for a few minutes and let it go. (Side note, Intrepid Hero is a Magic card but it was not one of the cards being discussed.) We all give each other “WTF?” looks and just go on with what we were doing.

15 or 20 minutes later he comes back in, does his lap around the store and once again looks Eric in the eye and says somewhat forcefully “Yeah, but what about the GREEN decks?” and walks out the door. At this point we are split down the middle. Half of us think this dude is just fucking with us and the other half think he’s on drugs.

15 minutes later and he strolls in again. He does his lap and he starts talking loudly at the far end of the store, never breaking stride. “Papa John’s will no longer be the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, Pizza Hut will be. You know how I know? I’m Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL! Don’t believe me? Look it up online. You’ll find my picture. I can be anybody I wanna be. You know how I know? Role playing games!” and he walked right out the door.

At this point Eric says, “I’m calling the police!” I head to the bar next door to ask the bartender Red if he’s seen the guy. Red says nope but he’ll keep an eye out. I head back to my store and Dave is outside with my friend Quinton. Neither of these guys are small. Dave is a former meth head who can dribble humans when he has to and Quinton is one of the only people in the world I have ever actually been afraid of. I’ve seen him break a windshield with a nickel and I have heard eye witness accounts of severe ass beatings he’s laid down over the years. Also, I helped bail him out the night he punched out a police dog. Long story…. anyway they are both standing outside the store looking around for the guy.

Dave asks if its ok with me if they tell him he’s not allowed in the store if/when he comes back. I said “of course!” and headed back inside to talk to Eric about what the cops said. While I’m inside talking to Eric Red came outside to see what was up just as the police officer got there. They knew each other so they stand in front of the bar talking about what’s going on when Dave and Q spot the dude and point him out to the cop. The officer says “Excuse me sir, can I talk to you for a minute?” the dude says “Nope.” and keeps on walking.

The cop tries to restrain him, as I said this dude is like 6’1” and the cop is like 5’5” so that didn’t work. Q said when both the officers feet left the ground he got the “Help me?” look and immediately grabbed the guy to try and keep him out of the store. He and Dave told him he wasn’t allowed to be in the store and he said “Frank Miller (the store owner) says I can come in here any time I want!”

Eric and I are standing by the counter when the door flies open and this guy comes through with Quinton in tow ranting like a lunatic the whole time. “I have been the chairman of Papa John’s for eight years and I KNOW they are KILLING people!” Q got his arm under the dude’s adams apple and picked him up off his feet and choke slammed him to the floor. When I heard the dude’s head bounce off the floor I thought we might be in trouble but he never stopped ranting about suing and police brutality and Papa John’s killing people. Quinton tells him “You picked the wrong night to come in here high” and the dude loses his mind. “I AM NOT ON DRUNGS! I DEMAND A BLOOD TEST RIGHT NOW!” At this point Q has the dude on his side and he’s holding one arm, the officer is holding the guys other arm and somehow Red got inside and is standing on the dude’s feet. The officer keeps telling the guy to roll over and finally Q gets pissed and says “This officer will not hurt you, but I will! Now turn over!” That seemed to do it because he went face down. The officer gets one cuff on and the guy starts struggling again so Q puts his thumb against the pressure point behind the guys ear and tells him to “Stop it!” to which the guys answers meekly “Yes sir.” Once they have him on the floor and cuffed he seemed completely calm. Serene even. The officer asks him “Have you ever been arrested?” and he gets irate again. “NO!” so then the officer asks “Have you ever been detained” and the guy answers, kind of exasperated like just thinking about it makes him tired, “I’ve been detained more times than I can count.” So the officer asks “What were you detained for?” and this bright young man answers, “uhhhh…. I would like to plead the 5th.” At this point the tension breaks and we all crack up. Three other officers show up and take him out to the curb. He looks at the black officer and says “I’m not riding anywhere with officer Dookie.” Luckily the cop had a good sense of humor and laughed it off. While the cops got statements the dude starts ranting again.

“I’m calling the Justice League! Batman and Superman will back me up!”

“I am a DEA agent and when I call my secret agent friends you will be sorry!”

I’m calling Dan Severin and he is going to come stomp a mudhole in all your asses!”

(he also threatened us with Tito Ortiz)

At some point in his ranting he also said he had Yellow Fever.


The Wretched

Posted: September 11, 2010 in True Story
Tags: , ,

I’ve never been the bad guy before. I mean sure, there have been people who didn’t like me for whatever reason but I’ve never felt like a bad person. Until now.

It’s a very odd feeling to know that one of the best parts of your life has been completely destroyed and it’s all your fault. I watch Amy when she doesn’t realize it. She is so much happier now that she is free of me. I honestly didn’t realize what a draining effect I had on her until she was no longer burdened with my bullshit. She’s vibrant and alive in a way that I haven’t seen in years and I am ashamed of myself that I robbed her of years of happiness.

Saturday you asked me if things with me were going ok. I lied and said that yes, things were fine partly because I didn’t want you worrying about me and my stupidity while you were in Baltimore and partly because I have a hard time telling you when I’ve been a complete idiot. You’ve put an incredible amount of trust in me and I don’t want to do anything to make you think you’ve made the wrong decision.

The past few months have been a little rough on me. I tell everyone how easy this breakup has been and how it hasn’t really affected me at all but to tell the truth its kind of felt like someone died. I’ve been dwelling on that a bit too much and ignoring everything unless it directly involves Richmond Comix. And that is where my stupidity comes in.

Because of my persistant memory issues the very nice lady at my insurance company always calls be about a week before my car insurance is due to remind me to pay it. When I got my new phone number in May I didn’t think about giving her the new number. I think you can see where this is going.

Friday night I got pulled over leaving the shop because my brake lights were stuck on. The officer informed me that my license had been suspended due to lack of insurance. He did not give me a ticket as DMV had never informed me of the suspension (I also never saw anything from my insurance company) and he told me as long as I could get someone to come get us he wouldn’t tow the van either. I called Ian and we parked the van behind the shop and took Jess home. Ian spent the night at my house and took me to work on Saturday. He also brought Jess in on Sunday. He then picked Amy up on Sunday and brought her to the shop so she could drive the van (and Jess) home. I asked Jess not to say anything to you so that I could tell you.

I am now working on getting the insurance and license fixed but it might take a couple of weeks. I have things worked out so that I can get to work so that is not a concern. I am going to inconvenience a few people but I will be able to meet all my responsibilities.

I can’t even tell you how sorry (and embarassed) I am about this. I know you have a lot on your plate right now and the last thing you need to do is worry about my stuff. I will have it taken care of as soon as possible.

Life takes funny turns. I’m in the process of getting a divorce from someone who is still one of my best friends. I take her advice into account when I do things even when I don’t actually follow it. She and I will be linked forever because of our children but I think our bond is actually a lot stronger than that. We can still do everything we used to do as a couple. We talk about our day, we ask each other advice, we buy each other dinner. This is going to change soon because I am moving out at the beginning of October. For the past two years I have been a resident of the living room, sleeping on the sofa and generally trying to be as small as possible (a humorous visual for anyone who knows me). I’m tired of sleeping on an uncomfortable sofa and not having my own space. Amy would never tell me to leave but I know she’s looking forward to being on her own for the first time.

On the work front things are moving along nicely. My boss is still in the middle of his move to Norfolk and by the time I’m in my new place he will be in his. The plan as of today is for him to come up and work on Wednesday for new book day. My part timer will be moving around the same time so I’m trying to hire someone new. I have a candidate but my boss needs to interview him before making it official. I don’t know when that will happen but I hope its soon.

I tweeted a little while ago, “If you aren’t reading Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross I don’t wanna be your friend anymore.” I’m not exactly serious about that but it is the best comic I’ve read in a long long time. It is brilliantly written as a murder mystery / fantasy /crime noir /history of literary geography. It is impossible to put this book into any one genre of fiction but borrows heavily from several. The series is only 16 issues deep and the second volume collecting issues 6-12 just came out last week. This is one that would be easy to jump into from the beginning and for any of you I see on a regular (or semi-regular) basis I would be more than happy to loan you my copy.

New stuff

Posted: August 4, 2010 in True Story

It’s been a weird night. I went with my mom to visit my brother in the hospital. He had his second heart attack Monday but it sounds like he will be ok. We have a similar sense of humor so the whole time we were there the two of us made smartass comments and obscure references that only the two of us understood. It was actually kind of fun until the discussion turned to things like fishing and engine repair. At that point I played games on my phone until it was time to go.

My mom and I went out for a late dinner. The odd thing about this little outing is that my mother and I hadn’t spoken in about two months. For those of you not in the loop my wife and I recently decided to get a divorce. We are still good friends but we realized that we had not grown together as a couple but apart as individuals. I am currently still living in the house with her and the kids. My mother took my ex out to dinner and explained how I was worthless and didn’t have a real job. She then told the ex that she should throw me out because I was a freeloader with no future.

My mom still doesn’t understand why I’m upset.

How did she die?

Posted: June 4, 2010 in True Story

There is a lady who comes to the gas station two or three times a day to buy single cigars for her boyfriend. I have yet to see him but I know why she runs his errands for him. I look into her eyes and can see where the light used to shine though and am startled by the empty blackness I see behind them. I wonder when it was that she gave up and resolved herself to this fate. No more reason to hope or to dream, no reason to strive for something better.

The music she blares from her car stereo consist of thunderous beats that completely drown out the lyrics. A metaphor for her life perhaps? Surrounding herself with noise so that no one can her the screams that tiny bit of her soul that she has left wails out. Her face is pockmarked from untreated acne and her eyes are dark. Rarely does she smile and even then it seems forced.

I think she is aware of her lot in life. She has grown accustomed to making as much impact on the world as a shadow on a cloudy day. She cloaks her misery in shirts that are a bit too small and reveal a bit too much. She is no real beauty and her hips and the pouch between the tops of her too snug shorts and too short shirts states clearly that she has borne at least one child. Not enough to destroy her once nice figure but enough to give her concerns that her man will stray, a near inevitability in the economically downtrodden complexes and shadowed corners she calls home. She uses her now more than ample breasts to draw attention from the empty space behind her eyes where her hope used to live. Her tops have no sleeves and a plunging neckline, held up on both shoulders by the tiniest strip of cloth. She is not yet too old to go without a bra but it is apparent that she will soon have no other choice.

For now she is content to let the masses ogle her as she bounces and sways, her silver dollar sized nipples visible through the thin fabric, content that no man in her life will look up long enough to see how little of her is left.

Last night was yet another in a line of odd and surreal evenings this past week. The entire family went over to a friends house for dinner. I met Amy and the kids there and from around 6:45 until 11:00pm Jess, Butch, Amy and myself sat and talked about all kinds of things. We laughed and joked and had a fantastic evening. The reason it was so odd is that last Monday Amy and I decided that we shouldn’t be married anymore.

I woke up Monday with a dual purpose. My main focus was the interview I had that evening with Kevin from about becoming an editor at his website. My other obligation was to try and teach a 22 year old how to drive. That went poorly so I’ll skip over the details there. I had lunch with friends on Monday and we talked about relationships and what we want out of life. An hour before I needed to be there I arrived at Crossroads, a cool little coffee shop down at VCU. I wasn’t nearly cool enough to be there but I sat and read Style and sipped a cappuccino while waiting for Kevin to arrive.

My phone rang around ten minutes before my meeting and when I saw that it was Kevin calling my heart sank with the thought that the meeting would have to be postponed. Luckily it wasn’t that, he was calling to tell me that he was already there and when we both looked up at the same time I got very excited. I haven’t been an editor in a while but it was something that I was pretty good at once upon a time. We talked for about 45 minutes about my experience and his needs and he asked me about my life. As always when asked that question I replied that I had been married for almost ten years and had two kids. He seemed a little surprised and then asked me a question that I don’t think I really answered fully, “Why does someone who is married with kids want to get involved with a gay website.” It took a minute to find the right words and the first thing I mumbled was that I was bisexual and that was something I had been dealing with over the past ten years. I went on to tell him that I believed that the real reason I go to gay rights rally’s and protests is because I believe its a civil rights issue and one group of people shouldn’t have the power to deny rights to another group of people because they don’t approve of how they live their life. I may have quoted Dr King at that point because I love the line”If you see a good fight, get in it.” but I don’t know if I did.

The meeting went great. He offered me the position of section editor for Arts and Entertainment and I was on cloud nine. I sped across town to share my good news with the fine folks at WriteClubRVA who were properly enthusiastic about my exciting new editing gig. Our meeting seemed to me to be a much happier and productive meeting than normal which was a shame because I didn’t think to take my laptop along. After the meeting my friend Jess and I went to the Starbucks at Barnes & Noble to talk. It was there while sipping my mocha frappuccino that I realized that my marriage was over. It wasn’t a bolt of lightning or anything it was more akin to remembering where you left your keys. Its something you already knew but couldn’t remember. We talked for about an hour and I went home dreading the talk that I knew was to come.

As I drove into the driveway it looked like all the lights in the house were on. I didn’t know if that meant Amy was still awake or if she had fallen asleep without turning them off as she does sometimes. I walked in and stood in the doorway of our bedroom and shifted uncomfortably. “Hey,” she said. I could only croak out my own “hey” in response. She asked me if anything was wrong and I mumbled something unintelligible. The look on her face took on a new resolve and she said “Can we talk? We need to talk.”

This was it. The talk and I didn’t even have to initiate it. The coward inside me lept for joy.

“I’m really pissed at you right now. You were supposed to feed the kids before you left tonight because I had to work late.”

The coward then wept. I couldn’t believe what I had done. In my selfish pursuit of something more I had actually forgotten to feed my children. I felt about two inches tall and I expected her to yell and scream and possibly hit me with a frying pan because I felt like it was the least I deserved. Instead we sat and talked about all the problems we’ve had over the years and where we are right now. We care about each other, we are friends. Sadly, we are not in love with one another anymore. I know in my head that we both made mistakes to get here, she will tell you the same, but I feel like the bulk of the blame lays at my feet. A few years ago I fell into a black hole of despair and depression and I never quite climbed out of it. I basically checked out of our marriage and she did the same in response. By her reckoning we’ve actually been separated for about two years, the last nine months of which I have spent in a separate room from her.

She was mad at me Monday night, she said as much but she never actually got angry. We were at that place beyond angry where resolution resides and we are better for it. Once we were resolved that this was the end of it she asked where I would go. I knew I couldn’t be far from the kids so I told her I would talk to my mother and see if I could move in with her next door. “I can’t make you live with your mother.” was her only real response to that and I am now living happily where I had been living miserably, on the sofa with my family. Its incredible how the exact same living situation can seem to much better once the labels have been peeled off and the last remnants of a tattered relationship are shrugged off.

We will always be in each others lives and we will always be friends. My friend Ray thinks our ability to act like civilized people instead of the crazed ax swinging Norsemen most divorced couples turn into is that we’ve been through the horrible ordeal of separating but we did it over a year ago. We’ve already felt the hurt and betrayal and loneliness so now the separation feels like a promising start rather than a horrible ending.