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Echo of Yesterday 2
A Day in the Life of a Hobo, Portland, Thursday, March 16
© 2023 James LaFond
SEP/22/23
...In the kitchen, next room over, half the bottle of whiskey is already gone three hours in, and half the cans of beer. I get two queens on the board and achieve checkmate.
Then I rise into the kitchen, from my seat in the doorway as Felix returns to the front room to play a video game. I put away the groceries that are piled all over the counter, where the cats crawl over the evolving shepherds pie. I don’t let these fiends on tables or counters. On my watch, they slink and scurry for cover any time I move.
But Yeti Maximus likes his pets at eye level. So he subconsciously invites them to claw up the cabinet faces and perch atop the fridge, paw through food, rip loves of bread and rolls of paper towels apart. The white cat, Provolone Joe, is even eating out of Yeti’s bowl of chili he is eating while shepherding the reluctant pie towards eventual formation. [2]
I am now talking with him while folding clothes in the doorway to the adjacent wash room. This tiny slot room is how I enter the house to get to the garage out back. [3]
He asks, “James LaFond, I want a straight answer, un-influenced by your attachment to your sweet spot out in my garage. I have never met anybody, or even read any author, who has figured out the stuff you have figured out. We have discussed how you think this is due to your alienation. Well, I’m as weird and outcast as you—but I haven’t figured out this shit. So, being honest, where do I fit on your dumbass scale?”
The oldest son drawls, “Bro, you had to ask!”
“Look, I do not know how to measure intelligence. So I think we are talking about gullibility and lack of conditioning. I think you are smarter than me, but I have not done drugs. I think I have an advantage there.
“Our mothers for instant, are both clinically smarter than us. Your mom was a Registered nurse, finished college. My mother was a book keeper and an office manager for one of the nation’s largest educational institutions. But they do not even think. They only feel, with those feeling acting as cues to carry the thoughts of others forward. They have both been completely colonized by the false polarity. My mom was a home buying republican when she had me and is now totally reversed on all her world view, a total liberal progressive. Your mom was a hippie girl that probably conceived you in the back of a rock band’s tour bus. Now she is a conservative, Christian extreme right winger.
“The point is, most human minds do not think. They are vector nodes for programming the masses. You and I are not, in my view, smarter than any of these people. We have just been subliminally deemed unfit for conditioning by the self aware thought control system.”
“Way to evade the dumbass question, James!” observed Felix.
The babe called and her GPS was taking her in circles in Oregon City. He assured her to listen to his directions and put away the conspiratorial GPS. That done, we had 15 minutes before she arrived—the second batch of potatoes were boiling over—and Yeti switched subjects to friendship, trying to educate his son on why his school friends were not good friends and how to vet friends in the future. Felix paid a lot of attention.
Soon the darling was there, saying hello to me, soft tears welling in her big pretty eyes that her man was nearing oblivion without having ravished her first.
He cut her off at the bitch pass, “Baby, James said you would know I’m drunk. So, I didn’t bother brushing my teeth. But I have to say, that this evil, one-eyed, bald wizard here got me drunk,” as he pointed his big finger at me while I loaded the dish washer full with the clutter he had used to make a single shepherd pie, which was going into the oven.
“So nice to see you, Doll,” said I, as she looked at me with a sad smile and I began shelving the sodas into the fridge.
A hug in the doorway boded ill. She must have glanced into the filthy den of a bed room, where bears and cats nest by day and night.
The clock on the wall, across from the velvet Elvis painting, read 6:30.
“James, buddy, can you make sure that pie comes out of the oven at 7:15. I’ll be back at 7:30.
At 7:30 he was back with the younger boy as I poured my self a glass of Old Grand Dad. He was drinking in earnest now. I suggested spades and we played teens versus adults, the boys winning via renig when Yeti got caught cheating and complimented his eldest for, “Divining my low cunning and base perfidity.”
The younger boy wanted to make knives. I was horrified as they headed out to the garage where the table with the grinder and buffer was.
“What could go wrong, James,” grinned the older boy, “Drunk knife making after dark!”
“Bro, that is your meal ticket there. This house is probably 40 hours of unemployment from being taken by a bank.”
“Still, James, let me enjoy the moment...oh, this is so retarded.”
The 220 pound 12-year-old and his drunk 280 pound father were carrying the heavy wooden bench table with steel machinery on it, up the drive way and onto the porch. As I opened the door to ask if they needed help, it all went crashing over. They were to make knives under the porch light on the front porch, apparently to make the hipsters across the street more comfortable with their neighbors.
I poured another glass of rye, draining the bottle, since this dude had to be up for work in 8 hours, and sat back, ready to apply pressure to any gushing wound. Eventually, 10 digits still possessed by both knife makers, they dragged the work bench into the living room and Yeti Waters staggered to bed.
The kitchen was covered in shepherd pie, which they had been eating while playing spades, ground beef and gravy down in the burner plates I had just cleaned, mashed potatoes smeared in four locations, greasy finger prints smearing the cabinet fronts.
The pie, cooled down for hours now, was cool enough for Provolone Joe to eat, as he hunched on the back burner plate of the stove and Cheddar Bob, sitting in the cast iron frying pan, pawed at the melted cheese crust with some suspicion.
I cleaned this mess up and the older boy said, “James, let me do that, this is the third time you cleaned the kitchen today. You have the most amazing slave instincts—but I feel bad.”
“It is just about done. I do draw the line at putting the pie away. Your dad and brother will leave it sit out all night to rot. If its here in the morning I’ll trash it, unless you’d prefer the three of you with the shits playing musical toilets.”
I finished the whiskey in the garage and lie in bed listening to In the Heart of the Sea. This morning, after listening to Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, I came inside to make coffee and the pie had been put away—mashed potatoes and ground beef spilled and smeared inside the fridge, but put away after a bear-like fashion.
They decide when we leave. I’m just the body guard. Dominick wanted to be to school early.
Three motorists gave us the right of way. A middle aged man nodded with respect and said “Good morning,” a fit middle aged woman called across the street to me after dropping off her grand kid, waved with a perky smile and said “Good morning! Have a nice day.”
We were at the light at 69th and Powell, early, no crossing guards on duty yet. This kid must have friends waiting to hang out before class. “What time do I meet you here, buddy?”
“Three-forty-five.”
“See you then.”
As I walked back a boys his age said, “Good morning, sir,” as he walked by. I get the idea that these two bear cubs are as popular with the students as they are hated by the staff.
More motorists stopped for me, and two more dog walking adults said, “Good morning.”
I still haven’t found the Portland depicted on Fox news.
These are nice people, the kind that will make the best of minimal police activity. I have never felt this at home in the city of my birth.
Notes
-2. Chedder Bob is the well-behaved Irish tabby cat. I only had to kick him once. Provolone Joe just needs one back hand in the snout a week to keep him off the table and counters. They play hockey in the bathtub with the bar of soap.
-3. The kitchen is dead center of the house, between the dining room and tiny central bed room on the south and to the north of the narrow furnace washroom, large back bed room and second bathroom. The main bathroom is only entered through the kitchen, which has a second canning sink in the narrow space that contains the stove and oven between the bathroom and the small bedroom. It is my favorite bachelor kitchen.
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