Up To Town

I guess I won’t be moving into the apartments above the old Mercy Clinic downtown. It sounded right for me, living above The Batman pharmacy and the Peanut Pub, but the kid who owns the pub said the ex-cons are about as thick as the cockroaches. The cons tried to break in here three times this month, so far. The cops are called so often, all the officers have a key to the security doors.

“Rent is weekly. It’s like that, ha-ha, you know?”

Does that include cable?

“Ha-ha.” Friendly kid. It was just him and me at 4 in the afternoon. He asked if I would join his new ‘beer club’ to sample all his 40 dark beer and micro-beer specialties.

That reminds me of my two-beer lunches when I worked at Barnes And Noble. I’d come in the same time everyday and the waiters would remove the paper table covering (it was a theme restaurant…the idea was that you could crayon while you waited, I guess. I didn’t like paper tablecloths.)
First name basis with all the waiters and waitresses. They served me a different, obscure brand of beer everyday and apparently kept records.
Then one day I come in with a co-worker and find my name on a plaque, over the bar. I’d ‘won’. Sampled every damn beer on the menu. Wow.

So I don’t join ‘beer clubs’. (Never did. That at Garfield's was an ambush.)

And it looks like I won’t be moving in either. Too bad.

Long day away from my media annex, which Mom has stopped calling the Sewing Room. I did a lot of walking around downtown, looking in the shop windows to check my reflection. Say, I don’t look half as bad as I should. Nice posture, and more color in my face then you’d expect from an alcoholic, pill-addicted recluse.

All the usual characters on the square. Cops walking their bikes on the sidewalk. “Hellooo, Mr. Jackson. I heard you were back in town. How are you? Living with your folks now?”

“Just visiting for a few months. Maybe a year!”

The Christmas decorations are up on the light poles. The same that made me so happy when I was ten but they’re looking a bit shabby, singed by traffic exhaust. Starting at dawn, December 26th, they all come down.

Christmas music already, playing from the megaphone shaped speakers on the bandstand.

I walked to Shrago’s. Rang the bell to set Leon, the German shepherd, into a frenzy. Shrago opened up and as usual Leon barked at my crotch. RAR!RARRARRRAAR!! Lord Jesus, take my hand.
“Leon, it’s me!”
Five minutes later I say hello to Shrago too. As usual, he’s in his captain’s chair before the bank of monitors, and he’s enjoying a wooden bowl of rice and beans. With chopsticks, no less.

I’m here to announce that I’m ready to rent a room.

“What? No inheritance yet?”

We spend about an hour upstairs. One room is being remodeled. I like this. The thing is, I want an Internet connection, and cable of course. But it isn’t wired yet.

“I can have it done by thanksgiving. I suppose that’s when you want to move in?”

Yeah. And just until January, I say. That’s when Mom abandons the house for Mr. Toad’s.

And I won’t be here all the time. I just want a retreat and to give Mom a break. I’ll pay extra for breakfast lunch and dinner by the way.

It’ll be great. I can use the weight room. There will be lots of visitors, so I can leech off Shrago’s popularity. Maybe sleep with one of his cast-off divorces that come and go...

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