He was laying face down in front of the laundry mat. Face obscured in his hoody he was COMPLETELY passed out. A young man in his early 20’s I would guess, he was COMPLETELY thrashed. His bare feet scraped and bloody with large rotted brown overgrown toenails on his big toes like claws. He was so completely thrashed that he seemed to have melted into the concrete with his face somehow completely hidden. He might be dead. There is no visible movement. He was on display like a collapsed statue. Absolutely defeated. Utterly collapsed and limp.
I feel fortunate not to be him. This guy had definitely hit ROCK bottom.
There was no further down he could go. Things could not get any worse for this young man. Corpses in coffins looked much much healthier.
People walk by to do their laundy trying not to look. He may have been beaten in a gang initiation or he may have drank himself unconscious or he may have been murdered, but there he was, his underwear half showing above his pants. Filthy would be an understatement, just as “thrashed” would be an understatement. Had he just crossed the border from Mexico? What travails had befallen him? I looked to see if he was breathing since nobody else was, and he did seem to show some signs of life. I think people were scared to even look. Load the washer, load the dryer, don’t look. Keep walking. People made wide sweeping arcs to walk as far away as possible when they turned the corner there.
Don’t care. Don’t care.
I left him a flower, some balloons and a hallmark card from the minimart next door.
“Get well soon!” it said.
When I drove by an hour later, he was covered completely in flower arrangements and balloons.
You could only see his feet poking out, gnarled and thrashed.
I put out a collection plate for him so he could build up some equity, capitalize on his new found
social presence and develop a revenue stream.
The sign read, “Please, no more balloons!”
So there I was sitting with Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and Vishnu all together watching a game show eating cheese doodles.
Moses said, “Look at the way these people crawl over each other to win this stupidass prize!”
There was a pause, as the group pondered and reflected. “Yes, stupid prize, yes, WORD be praised” was the general consensus with a few slightly nodding heads even.
“Yes, praise Word” You see, they had agreed amongst themselves to substitute the word “word” for “God” to avoid confusion and debate. However as you shall see, these things are not easily avoided with these guys.
“Hey, I’m sick of this show already,” groaned Vishnu, “change the channel! Change the CHANNEL!” he commanded with authority and much flailing of arms.
“Change the damn channel oh my GOD” groaned Vishnu, his four arms a blur of frenzied motion now.
There was another pause, this group mostly tended to do that. They paused almost every time these guys! This was a room full of deep pregnant pauses packed with slow careful thoughts before considering the possibility of speaking. I deeply studied a potted flower grow as I waited for answers in this room, that’s how slow they could get. Patience young disciple, patience. Horticulture! Horticulture!
So I started inserting quick little humorous commercials in between their pauses, as a joke one time, they didn’t like that at ALL and Vishnu even slapped me with three of his four hands in rapid succession, so I stopped.
“Well Vish,” Mo might begin. I would interrupte with “We’ve got all new models, Ford, Chevy MALIBU, stop by 32356 Alameda Blvd. Torrence!”
“What?” barked Moses, “You would INTERRUPT the GODS in their discussion with THIS? With THIS??”
Alright then, I thought. Here we go… It’s ON now, here we go, but Jesus intervened saying “Look, I just got down off that cross somehow, in this alternate reality here, can you guys fucking quit with the bickering please! The wounds here they are still healing basically, so basically shut the fuck up! all you guys! Stop your bickering and be grateful you’re not nailed up on a wooden cross like I was, DAMN! Can I get a little piece and quiet, like I said, I JUST got down of that bloody cross in this alternate reality here.” He stopped, face in hands, catching his breath with wrists and ankles now successfully bandaged it would appear.
It was a little unusual for Jesus, actually, to say “DAMN!” like that.
Ok well, alternate reality, remember?
In the end, the group settled on a documentary by Werner Herzog. Which was almost universally praised. Yes, we shall watch each and every one, he’s the bomb. Was the general consensus, so they did. One film after another they watched…perhaps inadvisably going backwards and ending with his earliest film which was probably the most likely to perhaps offend. “Wrath of God” I think it was called.
They really SHOULD have started with his first film and moved forward to his latest, after seeing “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” some of the earlier ones just fell flat.
Moses said he knew the ancient cave artist, Vishnu claimed to have painted them all himself. You know, these guys really just argued over every little thing. Who actually created the world, who is actually GOD here anyway and who is just a messenger, it was just endless with these guys.
Meanwhile as the God’s grew restless, the discussion began, as it always did, on the name for God. I mean the one MAIN name. The REAL name for “God”. This one ALWAYS stirred up a riot with these cats. Damn if I know why, but it does. These guys are basically wrestlers in the ring when this one kicks in.
After that big scuffle it was always the same: Why are we fighting? and they would fight about THAT even! These guys! Imagine, I mean you wouldn’t PICTURE them like that right? Snarling and snorting at each other.
“So what is the most common stereotype for you guys? Chronologically, starting with Moses…”
“Well,” Moses stroked his beard, “of course with us Jews, people always think we’re stingy or money hungry, but we’re happy and we can sing happy songs so what do we care what you think? We’re happy, we sing songs! Truth is, we’re not always happy singing songs and some of us are extremely generous. Stereotypes are stereotypes and have little meaning”
Jesus stood up, “well, we Christians are always seen as preachy. People hate the way we thump our bibles and you know, generally find us annoying at times. Honestly, I’m pretty embarrassed and ashamed how the whole cult has gone. I didn’t really intend it to go this way and I certainly never stood up and told people to bow down and worship ME. Holy shit. I didn’t even write that book they’re following at this point! I cringe when I hear certain parts. Those are not my words exactly! I wish I could step in and do a few minor edits in there, but you know, once the record gets released and it’s a huge hit like this, you’re kinda stuck with it right?”
Mohammed said, “we moslems are stereotypically seen as gas station or smog check owners and operators in America, and we’re generally associated with OIL nowadays, and man we’re really up against the machine aren’t we? I mean, between America and China and Russia, Jesus!”
“Yes?” answered Jesus.
Jesus perked up then, “Listen, Mo, lets not call my name out I really have a migraine from everyone calling out my name like that everywhere. JESUS! Why do they always call out my name like that? what the fuck?”
Did Jesus just say what I thought he said? Could he possibly cuss like that? He can’t really go to hell can he? He’s pretty much exempt from hell isn’t he? Why shouldn’t he cuss once in a while, get it off his chest? It’s a terrible burden what with the cross and all, but back to Mohammed.
“I really hate the way Moslems are seen in the west as terrorists when that is such a minority globally. The KKK are Christian Terrorists, but nobody calls them that? I never imagined anyone strapping bombs to their bodies like this! NOWHERE in my book is there a bomb strapping section encouraging this sort of behavior. (The Koran, available at amazon.com) Search that book, even with the weak translation, you will not find any mention of any bomb strapping or blowing up of innocent people. I’m really really against it you know, just for the record.”
What about Vishnu? maybe he should have gone first really, or Buddha, not clear on the chronology here just yet.
Vishnu and Buddha were strangely silent, perhaps feeling cheated or left out already, it really was hard to get a word in edgewise with this crowd, pauses or no pauses. Vishnu, still flailing his 12 arms about, was it twelve? Really just a blur, hard to count. Buddha in the lotus position floating of course.
Buddha would only smile, almost mockingly, almost smug and cliche. Sometimes he would suddenly and surprisingly snarl at you. From his lotus position, which was always disturbing somehow.
“DAMN Buddha, can you please NOT do that? Damn. That’s creepy dude. Don’t snarl at me suddenly out of the blue like that, PLEASE!”
Vishnu and his arms.
“Listen, uh, guys,” I finally interrupted, “guys??” I hit my spoon against my wine glass. DING DING DING.
Vishnu flailing his arms around in circles like a madman now, my turn to speak, my turn guys! he seemed to be saying.
Buddha, smiling and GAZING the way he does. Disturbing at times yes.
“Guys, look. I have this bucket of warm oil here, and I just thought, well, why don’t you all just strip down, and oil up your bodies, and just get physical with it? Wha’dya say? Settle this once and for all, no more debate or division between you, lets settle this entire God issue like worms squirming around in a great pile”
Long long pregnant pause. The longest of the day by far.
Finally, Moses spoke up, “Well. I think it’s a good idea. I think we should do it, what do you say Vish? You’ll probably have the advantage here…”
But Vishnu was already slathering his body with warm oil, chuckling and cocky.
“Well, since I’m already in my loin cloth here, bring it!”
Buddha was still on his lotus flower, but was now naked and fully oiled up, ready for action.
Moses, moving slowly and methodically began smearing himself.
It wasn’t long before there was this great pile of God’s, or demi god’s, depending on who you ask. Slithering and sliding they became very intense with much grunting and groaning. If you have ever seen a big pile of religious figures oil wrestling, you’ll know what I mean. At first it was light hearted, with much laughter and even a few embarrassing and very politically incorrect erections, but it soon descended into an all out brawl which was quite serious and even bloody.
In the end, they all collapsed on their backs out of breath and strangely satisfied I think.
There they were, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Vishnu, naked covered in oil panting for breath. Vish lit a smoke with arm #5.
“Alright guys!” I said finally, “I got all that shit on video and I’m posting it to youtube.”
Some days when I hear a shopping cart rattling I try to cross the street and AVOID the cart
by timing my walk exactly right, other downtowners have confided in me that they sometimes also do this.
Hey, I’m, tired, its been a LONG day, I’ve already handed out every bit of change I have
during the course of the day and I’ve been hit up 3 dozen times in one day already…no, I don’t have a dollar!
there’s ANOTHER ONE damn!
I”m going to run up and TRIP this shopping cart…cause I’ve HAD it with these rattling
SQUEEKING shopping carts, who do these people think they ARE anyway just rattling around
here like that…willy nilly…wheels squeeking like that…how about a little CART MAINTENANCE, its so dreary to hear these things rattling around like this. They’re like ghosts moaning in the attic. Will no one HELP these people, what about the CARTS, what about the CARTS?
THAT does it
I’ll just…sneak around this car here and…strrrrrech my leg out, just like that…
I’ll surprise this one and trip his cart
The nerve, just plonking around here with squeeky loud wheels like that, what exactly would it take, I mean, how much effort to fix this…I mean, what exactly would be involved, couldn’t someone fix this easily somehow…I think to myself.
I really don’t know but it seems to me some WD-40 would at least help, is that such a crazy thought?
I”m going to buy a HUGE can of WD-40 for 99 cents and run up and spray every fucking shopping cart I see downtown, maybe I’ll wear a lone ranger mask.
TOUCHE, HAVE AT YOU!
run up yelling… HERE I come to save the DAYY and I’ll sprint up in pointy shoes, maybe wear a cape too, and suddenly squat and produce this gigantic can of WD-40.
and carefully spray just the right amount in each wheel….mm hmm….mm hmm…
ok, ok, that should do er…
TRY IT NOW GOOD CITIZEN !
Maybe I’ll have a holster for the WD-40
Or I could run up in a vintage antique priests robe, genuflecting with the WD-40 can…
BE HEALED SQUEEK !!
I can just see the startled faces now…”oh, wow man, thanks, I”ve been meaning to spray some WD-40 on…that”
leg is in position…long strrretched out leg is in position, about 6 feet in length now
I am STRETCH!!!
I wonder if he noticed my 6 foot leg jutting out here…because I”m going to TRIP this shopping cart !!!
no, I can’t do it , I just can’t do it, that would just be MEAN. I Put my head in my hands.
I can not.
but its a really bad squeek listen…I don’t really have to trip the cart…it would really only take
a tiny squirt of the amazing miraculous and most holy WD-40. I know, I’ve used it, it works great!
I’ll just hide behind this car here….and SPRING FORTH and when he passes by
I shall SALLY FORTH, finger on the nozzle…and I shall… LAUNCH a probe.
Launch a squirt of WD from behind this car here!
I think I can hit each wheel from a distance , I’m a pretty good shot really.
I practice with it, and usually I can hit the target from 12-16 paces no problem but…
Would suck if I missed and hit the bum in the eye or something because THAT might sting,
and send me STRAIGHT to hell. A well intentioned deed gone terribly awry.
Hell, you would too!!! “hey! what the HELL?!? Did you just MACE ME??” he might say.
And really, there’s not much I could say then “Wow, OUCH, sorry man, fuck. You know I was aiming for the WHEEL right? I mean, you KNOW that right? fuck, I’m sorry, I’m sorry man…fuck”
What if he started screaming terribly. Oh man I’d be in deep shit…
I’d have to spray myself in the eye too, you know, eye for an eye. Then we’d be cool.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry man, see, I sprayed MYSELF in the eye too, I feel so shitty about this see, I sprayed myself again….damn! OUCH, that DOES sting, OUCHHHH”
and we’d both be writhing around in the street in agony.
No, that would just be sad.
Think of the HEADLINES!!! The terrible guilt if I missed with the spray.
Ok, better to make a very public announcement about it on a milk crate somewhere
better not to sneak up maybe.
Let us commence with the holy ritual of the sacred WD…
Then make some weird chanting ohming noises for while. Just keep ohming actually
for a really long time first, to really set the tone.
Ok, we’re ready to go, are you ready to be delivered??
He’d say something like “uh…ok…I guesssss”
You’re a believer born again and yet you hear voices and your wheels squeek?
He’d say something like “huh?”
You’re a virtuous man, and yet you hear voices and your cart is possessed…
He’d say “well, I don’t know about all that I…”
Then I get real intense, “I BANG ye with chains of iron and I SPRAY ye with WD.
Like a cat, that isn’t fixed, I SPRAY ye, with the most holy SPRAY…
LOOOOOOOOSEN your hold and come OUTTTT squeek !!
OUT in Jesus name, OUT destruction, OUT grief, OUT squeek!”
And he’d look at me really weird in my antique vintage 1920’s Priests robe and stuff, I’d also be sprinkling holy water on the cart itself too (of course), but the holy holster for the WD, would really be official looking, with a City of LA symbol embossed.
“Oh, hey man, can you cool it with the damn holy water on my cart though, all my STUFF is in there, seriously man..” he might say.
“OK, test er now.”
Gingerly at first, he’d try it.
“Oh hey, wow, that sure did work, holy mackerel.”
“Yes, mackerel INDEED,” I’d say because you can talk all weird when you’re dressed in an antique priests robe from the 1920’s, wearing a lone ranger mask, with a custom embossed WD-40 holster and a gigantic can of WD-40.