Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Hole, Part Final-Final: Really

Okay, I gotta get this candy machine story outta me already, ‘cause I finally have another one – about a pool table, of all things – that y’all ain’t never gonna be able to believe. I mean, I may exaggerate for dramatic purposes and everything sometimes, but I could not make shit like this up on my best day, swear to god...

So. When I left you last Thursday (and I had an … interesting weekend in the meantime, thanks for asking), Bootgirl and The Other Lady had placed the candy machine on the Hole’s front step, it had gone missing from there, and a shitstorm had begun brewing on the internet in a very “double, double, toil and trouble” kind of way. People who knew perfectly well what had really happened – or ought to have known, if they really checked security tapes like they said they had, or if they so much as bothered to ask the bouncer who really held the door open for the alleged stealers (and who also, not to mention, should’ve been keeping an eye on the front step from his post) – had turned the Great Candy Machine Caper into the Case of the Missing Baby Killers, and the entire Greater Waterboro Area (or the 75 of them that are friends with the Hole on facebook, anyway) had its knickers in a twist. There hasn't been any snow this winter to entertain the townsfolk, after all, and even the Ice Fishing Derby's been called off. So they were circling the wagons, lighting torches, and gearing up for a good old-fashioned lynching on the shores of Little Ossippee...

Just as soon as they could figure out who “Bootgirl” was.

Poor Bootgirl. She only did it ‘cause she was drunk and she loves me and I love candy. And have I mentioned that the guy they paid to make sure shit like that didn’t happen held the door? Now her pretend-name was being dragged through the mud around the Hole on my behalf – and if you’ve ever caught a whiff of the septic system outside that place on a muggy night, you know that ain’t the sort of mud you want to get crammed up all in your (mostly-)innocent drawers.

So what I did is, I tried to step up. I wasn’t going to give away her real name – I figured if the Hole proprietors were the only ones in town who read this blog and couldn’t figure out her secret identity, then I wasn’t going to help them pass the reading-comprehension portion of their Private Dick exam. But I said I’d talk to her, we’d try to find it, and if it didn’t turn up we’d make good.

Wanna know what I heard back from them when I said that?

Crickets.

But that was just the eye of the shitstorm, as it turned out.

Which, if you stare at that sentence too hard, turns into kind of a nasty thought. But hey, assholes are assholes, man. I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.

Now, Bootgirl had suspected all along that The Other Lady – the one who helped her boost it – actually still had the machine. She said she didn’t, but The Other Lady sometimes has a little problem with… embellishment, let’s call it. Not just in a “girl gets the sense she could get raped in the parking lot” kind of dramatically-licensed way, but in real life. Even as it’s coming out of her mouth. So when she said she really didn’t have it, all we really knew for sure was that she’d really been asked.

But when they started calling Bootgirl a cold-hearted baby-killer on the internet (dramatically-speaking, naturally), she decided she had had enough. She didn’t go so far as to accuse The Other Lady – she knew better than to corner a wild ferret, if you know what I’m saying – she just called her up and said “No shitting around, honey, I need that goddamn candy machine back.”

Well.

The Other Lady said she really didn’t have it. She said yes, she really put it in her truck that night, but when she got out to her truck later somebody had replaced it with a bag of trash. Not the whole truck. Just the candy machine portion of it. Because, you know, if you're going to steal something out of the back of someone’s truck, you obviously want to put something there instead so they don't notice. And a bag of trash looks practically exactly like a candy machine, if you squint hard, drop acid first, and look the other way. Which The Other Lady must've done, because she said she didn't cotton on till she got home. Said she’d check around the pawnshops in the area, though, and see if maybe anyone had tried to fence the Magical, Mysteriously-Missing, Baby-Cancer-Curing Candy Machine.

And wouldn’t you know it? They did

At the very first pawnshop she walked into, the man behind the counter said yes, in fact, two guys had come in trying to sell a Magical, Mysteriously-Missing, Baby-Cancer-Curing Candy Machine that very morning, but they chickened out and ran away with it before he could go through with the transaction. Fortunately, however, they’d started filling out their paperwork before they left, and although he couldn’t legally show The Other Lady what it said, he could accidentally leave it on the counter in front of her and walk away...


Well, the address turned out to be right down the road from the Hole. Not too far from Bootgirl’s house, apparently. But because there are so many hardened criminals and crack addicts in that neighborhood, just waiting for Other Ladies to turn up so they can throw bags of criminal crack trash in the backs of their trucks, she decided to hire a private investigator for $75 an hour instead of going there and knocking on the door herself. No one answered the door when the PI knocked on it (those wily criminal crack addicts were probably hiding in the bathroom, killing babies), so he left a note saying “You have 24 hours to return the Magical, Mysteriously-Missing, Baby-Cancer-Curing Candy Machine, or I am calling the police.” 

And wouldn't you know it? Those criminal crack-addict baby-killers fucking did.

Who’d’a thunk it? Warms the cockles of my very heart, that shit right there. Restores my faith in the inherent goodness of humanity. And teaches me to never, ever, exaggerate for dramatic purposes again.

Really.



Postscript:   

Bootgirl and The Other Lady returned the candy machine to its rightful owners. 

Well, to the Hole Propietors, at least. Presumably they returned it to the cancer-baby rightful-owners. But I don’t know. Because when I ran into them on Tuesday night they wouldn’t speak to me, and on their facebook page it still says they’re going to pay for it. They’ve had it back since February 3rd, though. So maybe they did pay for it. Maybe they kept the candy. And if they did, that’s just not right. I mean, the money in there was for cancer-babies, sure, but those Peanut M&Ms were fucking mine. I’d’ve bought ‘em all eventually if the bar stayed open, anyway. I’d’ve bought ‘em from my ownself in one night if I’d managed to get the infernal machine back to my secret lair. Hell, if I’d gone with Bootgirl and The Other Lady to return it like they said I could (ahem), I’d’ve brought two rolls of quarters with me and emptied the goddamn thing in the back of the pickup truck on the way there. That’s all this whole incident was about in the first place, after all. Gettin’ me a little sugar, ‘cuz I’m sweet. 

What kind of person steals candy from a She-Hulk, anyway? I mean, I’ve been controlling myself pretty well through this whole interlude, I think. There are plenty of beans I could have spilled, fingers I could have pointed, rumors true and false I could have spread. Yet I saw this through to the bitter end without doing any of those things. Not really. But if it turns out some eye-of-the-shitstorm stole my candy?

 That Blue Fairy had better watch her ass.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Hole, Part VIII: 007


Oh my holy shitstorm, have I got a Last Word to get in.

I thought I was done writing about the Hole. I thought I’d squeezed every last drop of vaguely-interesting out of it and was ready to move on. The posts I wrote in the weeks leading up to its closing were 90% about me, anyway. Then for its final 72 hours I soaked up what was left of its welcome, and wrote about the Very Best Thing that happened over the course of that long weekend—

Actually, that’s not 100% true. Sometimes, you see, I exaggerate or simplify for the sake of the blog. So as to, you know, keep the story moving. It’s called poetic license. Or dramatic license. Artistic license, narrative license – hell, call it licentia poetica if you want to get all Latinate about it. Whatevs. The point is, just because I write stories about my life (yeah, that’s right, my life) doesn’t mean every word in here is completely, totally, 100% true. I’m not really She-Hulk, after all. You know?

Like, for example, I wasn’t really there for all 72 of the Hole’s final hours, either. And really The Very Best Thing that happened over the course of that long weekend was not the Boosting of the Candy Machine on my behalf. Really the Very Best Thing went down on Friday night, when I came thisclose to finally seeing my very first intra-Hole boy-boy throwdown. Which may not sound very Very Best to you, especially since it never really happened. But when that goddamn Kid flew off his stool and across the room to defend me against some shit nobody else even heard that scumbag say, and four people had to step between to stop him, I will admit I blushed a little for the first time since – well, since I was a goddamn Kid myself. Really. And when I say I blushed “a little,” I really mean I blushed  a lot. Didn’t stop shooting, but blushed like a Girl (and shot like one) until the freakin’ fracas settled down. So, yeah. That was the really Very Best Thing. Not that I approve of intended-violence or anything. But when, after 18 months of off-and-on, certain words are still really Against the Rules, a little redneck-style action leaves a resounding ringing in a woman’s ears. You know?

So anyway, let’s just say I wrote about the Very Best Thing That Happened Over The Course Of That Long Weekend That Anyone Besides Me Cares About. Whatever. The point is: I thought I was done. The place was dead (not really, because it was never really alive, you see?), I’d eulogized it in the most loving way this antique, jaded bitch knows how (not really, because a bitch is a female dog, you see?), and I’d gone blog-dark again while waiting to get hit by inspiration (not really, because inspiration hurts when it hits you, see?).  I went down to Boston to work the bike show on behalf of my gainful employer, hoping I might find a story there. Which I didn’t. Not really. Not unless you count the guy I was working with telling me I ought to dye my hair because the gray on my temples (which some think is just platinum, thanks very much) makes me look old. I don’t count that as a story, though, because fuck him. Has he been sleeping with a 23, 24, 25-year-old for 18 months? No. I don’t think so. So I krav-maga’d his ass and threw him in the Harbor.

Not really.

I threw his fat, gray, 53-year-old belly in the Charles.

Are you starting to see where I’m going with this yet? Yeah? Okay. So I’ll back off. I’ll trust you to understand that when I say I went to New Haven from Boston, I really did, but when I say the missing (and lovingly eulogized) candy machine popped up down there and punched me in the neck – well, that’s whatchacall a "metaphor." At least, I think it is. It might be called a "something else." I’ve no idea. I majored in Biology, remember? But whatever you wanna call it, though, I got the license for that shit right here.

So anyway (again), I was in New Haven, visiting Dr. One Friend for the first time since November, when in my absentia the goddamn dispenser got turned into a great-big-honking, small-town-gossip, Thing.

Really.

But I gotta back up a little before I go full Doppler on the shitstorm.

First of all, it turns out I’d gotten the story a little bit wrong when I wrote about it the first time. Not by lie or license, just mistake. It turns out that Bootgirl did not, in fact, believe she’d put the infernal machine inside my truck. She was drunk, and laughing hysterically, and I couldn’t really understand what she was saying. So I connected a buncha dots inside my head and dramatic-licentiously made up some dialogue in the interest of O. Henry. But it turns out that what really what happened was – after the bouncer held the door for them (really) – she and The Other Lady put the infernal machine on the front step and left it there. It seemed to have picked itself up and taken itself off somewhere else from there.

Not – well, obviously, not you know.

Second, it turns out to have been a charity candy machine. With all those quarters I’d been feeding into it for all those months, I, myself, single-handedly, cured baby cancer! Or, well, I would’ve. I would’ve been a finalist for the goddamn Nobel Prize, probably. If only that infernal machine hadn’t gone walkabouts with my $12.25. Not that any of us were even thinking about the fact that there was money involved. All we ever cared about was M&Ms. Well. All I ever cared about was M&Ms. Bootgirl and The Other Lady probably sometimes give a hoo about, like, world peace and gay marriage and saving whales and other boring crap like that, but for the fleeting moment it took them to shift the infernal machine those crucial 22.7 feet, they knew how the world looks from where I’m sitting.

There. You got it? Okay, good.

So what happened while I was in Connecticut was that the Hole proprietors re-posted a link to my blog on their facebook page, not only threatening arrest to the perpetrators and turning it into a “What sort of person wants babies to die of cancer?” kind of thing, but also blaming me and my blog for shutting the place down.

Really?

No, okay, not really. Really, they said it was the fault of “blogs like this and people like me.” But honey, if you can find another blog like this I’ll blow you. And we all know there ain’t no one else out there like me. Besides, they never even thought to make a single “stealing candy from a baby” joke. Which, I mean, der.

I didn’t care what they were saying about me. First off, I’m used to being the subject of stories that aren't true. I mean, at last count I’d supposedly fucked at least four different people in their parking lot, and considering my antics over those last few weeks, that number’s probably gone up. Secondly, the accusation’s nuts. I didn’t even start writing about the Hole till after they announced the closing date, and I never even said anything bad (well, except the cow-moose-in-breach-labor thing; but that can't be considered libel 'cuz it's true). And thirdly: although my pen may be mighty-mighty...

You can’t arrest a girl for carrying a concealed weapon when she’s got a Latinate license for that shit right here.


Tune in next time, when I step in front of the green screen, wave my arms around, and make the infernal machine re-appear!

No. Not really

But The Other Lady magically does...