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‘Being One of Eight’
In These Parts #3
© 2023 James LaFond
JUN/26/24
Sitting against the wall at the Dive Bar.
Kelley’s dialogue, will be presented without quotations, mine and interlopers in quotes or [brackets] so that when Kelley quotes a voice out of his past, that can be neatly quoted.
I suppose my getting wise to dealing with bullshit, came from being one of eight. My mother was abandoned by our father on a farm outside of Banks [Oregon, a misty agricultural zone in the west shadow of the Coastal Range, just over the mountains from the world’s greatest ocean.]
She could make a meal out of anything—she had rice or cheese, anything she found, we ate. My wife is the same way, can make a meal cleaning out the fridge. I was the youngest. My oldest sister, the crazy one who owns all the houses—even owns a goddamned house in China—she was leaving when I was coming along.
People who talk lot, who run their mouths and brag on themselves—like that guy over there, Mister Marine Corp, or this greasy long-haired loud-mouthed mother fucker right here, I got no patience for that. It’s gettin’ to the point where I need to recall my age and develop that patience. Or just stay home, which is usually the strategy. I mean, I used to hang out with boxers and pro wrestlers, who—I shit you not, because I laid out the lines—would snort three feet lines of coke off a bar top. And those assholes, they at least weren’t rude to women.
“Hey, Kelley,” comes a 70 year old vixen who once showed this hoodrat her big and well preserved breasts, and hugs Kelley, who treated her with a respectful hug and a “How you Been?”
She then waves to me and says, “Hey you, you still here?”
Kelley chuckles, “What the hell kind of thing is that to say?”
The brazen old wench then goes over to my Land Lady and we resume, “That woman has flirted with me every time she sees me with my Land Lady, who asked me please not to have sex with her.”
Oh, she’s like that and worse, opined Kelley.
I used to sell coke to her, and she would do anything for it. She suggested that she would trade sex for coke with me. For one thing, I never paid for no pussy, and that’s what that would be—demean both of us into whore and customer. And for another, the ultimate reason why I did not take her up on it, is that her husband was a good friend of mine. THAT, is something that a man doesn’t do. Havin’ that ethic when you are surrounded by freaky bitches, coke whores and strippers, is one reason why, though I wasn’t a biker, they hung with me. Another reason, is I just had an instinct for bullshit and avoiding it. I think it went all the way back to school, good and bad.
I was on the football team and the basketball team. Small town, rural high school, being on the football team in those days [late 1960s], in these parts, was like we were one of these top of the line superman players on this TV. Well, I was big, six two, a buck eighty, no giant by any stretch in these parts—you see how big they grow them around here.
So, somebody screws up and we are made, by our loud mouthed coach, to do push ups in the mud. Fuck that! I didn’t even want to be in school, wanted to hunt, fish and work. And I’ve got this fat motherfugger standing over me while I do push ups in the mud? No, I quit. But, for punishment, since the same coach ran the basketball team, I got cut down to the second team. This was a blessing. I was okay on the first squad. But on the second squad I was a super star—like one of these guys up here on the TV.
What the fuck? None of us were goin’ pro, not in ball. Boxing, wrestling, arm wrestling, bodybuilding—some of us would go pro there. But that was shit you could do and work. With ball, that’s your life and if you’re not the best of the best you don’t end up on the TV. Besides, this was back in the day when offensive linemen were still working regular jobs in the off season to make ends meet—not like today when you have a billionaire owning sixty millionaires on the field.
So, like this spread, [motions with big open hand to the potluck buffet put on by the bar patrons at the Dive Bar Christmas party] this is a good grazing spread for what it is. But you get up in higher echelons of society, you know, when the fuckers sitting’ in the booths with their headsets on runnin’ those players around the field, then you have professional catering. Cooking was important to my family—Jeeze, eight kids and one woman on a farm—cookin’ mattered. So, I was all ready to quit school and go to work, was already doin’ work and makin’ money.
Then there was this home economics class. There was a girl I liked was in it, so I signed up. And here I learned about more bullshit than the head coach kind, probably plays into me workin’ in a union but not stayin’ in a union and hangin’ with bikers but not joinin’ their club.
The woman’s name was Evelyn Woods, and for fifty years, this lady ran what would become the Oregon State Cooking program. In summer time, she would go down to the coast and cook for all the special needs kids. During the school year, she schooled us, actually schooled us, on how to budget groceries, cook, and present a meal in a corporate or formal setting. It was actually fun, and besides, she was a good lookin’ women in her day. We would prepare the lunch for the teachers. We were taught how to wait tables in formal attire, the gold cloth and everything. Then we would stand while the teachers tried the food. Then, we would bill the teachers for the exact cost of the meal—didn’t coast anything for us or the school.
Eventually, the other fuggin’ teachers, from the other schools got wind of this, that Banks teachers were eatin’ fuggin’ gourmet fare, and they had that shit shut down by the teacher’s union goin’ to the school board ad cryin’ foul. This was probably the best teaching program in the state, and was later recognized as such, but the fuggin teachers union bein’ bitches and jealous little men, shut that shit down.
Kelley’s woman brings us each a shot as the hoodrat’s cute little Land Lady brings the beer.
Kelly and I clink glasses and he says, “To brothers, good to drink with you.”
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