Cunningstuff

A new life, for an old man.

Month: November, 2012

Please Be Nice These Holidays

Trolley in sunset, basking alone, not used or abused, not even for fun.

Although what I am going to say is for all of the world, it is directed right into the third eye of americans. I am a cashier in a retail liquor store, and I am begging you, please be nice to the workers. I am not going to rant and rave and go on and on, I am just going to get on my knees, and beg you, please, be nice to the workers. The retail workers of america are the hardest working and least paid people you will encounter, for the most part, in any business. The walk outs on walmart, those are just the beginning. Everyone in retail is being killed slowly by their jobs, and most do not have any way out of their current situation. A lot of them will be grumpy, but realize, that most of these workers have put in holiday after holiday, for years most of them, with no living wages, with no benefits, for the most part, without holiday pay or overtime or anything that might help.

There are some retail workers who make good money, but I guarantee you they are protective and secretive about the money they make. They are not going to put thousands of people into the know about their money or their good luck, because it would not be long before the bosses realize that they could cut wages and hire anyone. There are exceptions to this idea as well, as there are owners and bosses who actually care about their employees, knowing it was them who made the success happen, but for the most part, it is tighter wages, no wage raises, and no future for most retail workers.

And guess who the worst people are for these workers? There are two groups specifically who antagonize the workers. The first and typically the worst, is the customer. Americans have become self entitled little snots, and have gotten so rude as to be ridiculous.  Now it is only about 20%, but those 20% ruin the day for every worker they encounter. One in five, yep, that’s about right. So if you think you may be one of those one in five, take these short notes down as to what you may be doing to antagonize the situation.

  • Let the clerk or worker guide you through the process of checking out. Every store has different methods of dealing with checkout, and usually, the fastest person who can get you through the check out is your clerk. Allow them to do the exchange. They do not need to hear what you think is first, your phone number or name or anything, they will ask you, and you just need to reply. A simple fool-proof way of doing business, allow the expert to do it.
  • If you want help, wait until the clerk is done with the customer in front of you. I really can not tell you how many times a day I am checking someone out, handing them money, or something else that requires my attention, perhaps entering a long string of alpha-numeric, and there is someone out of line and place demanding my attention now. And oh the sighs of OMG when I ask them to wait their turn. It is not rocket science.
  • We know you are in a hurry. Everyone in the whole damn country is in a hurry. All the time. Especially when we have 10 people in line waiting for a transaction. Your party is the most important,  your time is the most precious, you are the one who needs service now. We know. The one before you, and the lady behind you, they all have the exact same thing in their heads.
  • Get off the phone for at least one solid thank you. We know how important your call is, we do not care if you are on the phone much, but please, let us know you just encountered a human who did something for you. Nothing can ruin a good mood more than someone laughing in your face about crap you don’t know or care about, then you just saunter off, leaving us feeling like lumps. That is rude, and there is no reason other than selfishness to be that way.
  • If you can not, absolutely not be nice, be quiet. We’ll get your grumpy ass off of our grumpy register quicker. We’ll both be happier.

A bit for bosses.

  • We make all your money, all your success. How about being fair and giving people a raise, a bit of encouragement, and a nice bonus? The holidays are the worst time of the year in retail, and it seems there is always half of the management doing their best to be pushy, obsessive, and irritable about the said holidays. And then you fire half the staff after the holidays are over.
  • Do some work with your staff. Pushing papers may seem more important, but leadership always comes to those who show they can do the work better than the ones under them. Prove it once in a while, and watch respect grow.
  • Stop separating management and workers. Managers should be on the level with the lowest employee, not imposing, pushy and needy. Micromanagement leaves people feeling angry and rebellious, it makes no sense to nitpick, when you could encourage and reinforce positives.
  • Make sure people have some choices about time. Leaving people without any choices in the schedules is like stabbing them in the face during the holidays  Let the curmudgeons who want to work pick up some overtime, and let the family folks get on with being with their families.

Only one of these cost money, but it is time for american business to let loose the pay, or rebellion on a grand scale will start to take place. We all are seeing the grandmothers thrown out of their houses, we are seeing the cops be heavy-handed with protesters. It is not long before a lot of people get tired of being short-handed, short paid, and even shorter treatment. Be nice these holidays, make someone smile, instead of frown. I want to remember america as the place I learned a lot, even if I didn’t like the way I turned out. Don’t make it the worst place on earth, and a hell I am glad to escape.

Rebirth and its followup

I know its old, and I have no use for differential calculations, but I still want it.

Pic not related.

A 5 day fast is pretty tremendous and interesting as well. I fasted until a few days before thanksgiving, and I intend to fast again soon. I went 5 days total, but on the sixth day, I was finding it hard to pull energy together for work. I don’t have the edema in my legs anymore, and I am mostly clear of headaches again. I did quit energy drinks, so I got a lot of good out of it. This next fast will be for just a few days, then I will be on juice for a loooong time. I found it very hard to get through thanksgiving without eating, as we had my favorite restaurant’s meatballs for lunch at work, so I kinda gave in on that one. I am not upset with myself though, everyone in America is stuffing themselves, and the likelihood of ever encountering meatballs for thanksgiving again is probably so remote that I could start taking the lotto now in hopes of actually winning. I am moving out of the country in the long run, so it was my last Thanksgiving anyways.

Those five days were really unique. For one, I had two days at home, the first two of the fast, and they were so calm, although I was a little over emotional.  The next three days were at work. I do not suggest this to anyone, to be honest, it pretty much burned my burnt ass short fuse right off at the nub for the past week, and I have never hated work more. I can see way to clearly to be at work. I can see people being fake, people playacting, people posing, people being bullies and bossy, it was really horrible. The constant physical struggle to stand all day while not eating wore me out as well, but to be honest, although I will never water fast at work again, it was an interesting experience. The clarity with which you see and understand people is dangerous and tiring in a retail store, at least in a high volume one like I work in. The most insufferable are the type a’s who think everyone should work for them, and try to direct every little detail, screwing up and lengthening the whole damn process. The saddest are the people in there because they just broke up or lost a job.

I think a 3 day fast is fine, one day at work, then two days off in the relaxing setting of my house, where at least I can control the music and the company. I will be doing that next week, and nothing but juice after, and I will be working on getting to that point the rest of the week.  I should not have given in today, but damn it, I live alone, I have no family, I had to be at work on fucking thanksgiving day from noon to 8 pm, and my fiance is across the pacific ocean in another country. I have enough stress, so I had a good meal and am not going to worry about it. I had it at work too, so I went right back to a busy day after I ate. I am not going to feel bad about it, I am just going to move on.

Speaking of moving on, if you have not gotten a passport yet, and you are not a minor dependent  I suggest you plan on trying to get it six months before you travel. I have never been so insulted in all my life as when the department of state has decided I did not provide enough information for my passport. Seems this is a normal thing now, for all adults in america, looks like travel is becoming discouraged among the common population. I am not talking about some conspiracy theory, this has happened to a lot of folks since 2008, not just me. It really can take 6 months to gather all the information and get the approval of the passport gods of state. I have this stress too, as I approach my leaving of the US, I am finding this to be happening still just three months before I leave. I applied for my passport in august, for perspective, it is not november, soon december and no passport. I have no long criminal history, nor am I some constant protester or political activist. I am a dude, just old and kinda slow, whose house burnt down some 6 years ago. I have my birth certificate and my state issued ID, but that is not enough these days, especially if you are just a normal joe.

To finish catching up, it also xmas season again. I actually have to get a gift, and I have no clue what to do here. What is appropriate? What is not? Should I go with my instinct or should I try to find some sort of common ground? I have more questions about this than I had thought, and it all revolves around one gift. I like thinking about her, whenever I can. I like the idea of holidays now too, I just need to get out from behind the register. She had me thinking positive right off the bat in the morning, so happy a beginning to an otherwise crappy day.

I think that may be the truth behind this blog today, it seems to have no purpose, but in reality it is staring me in the face. I am thankful this year. I have a reason to be thankful, for a change. I am thanking the universe for sending me my Everstar, my beautiful love, my teardrop from the sun, my dark and majestic Queen. I am thankful for her inspiration, her support, her sweet breath, it is a dew in the morning from the gods themselves. I can just sit and watch her soon, her beautiful face, her lively and engaging manner, oh thank you again universe, for she is my everything.

Trying to be Reborn

I am a weird sort of man, I have discovered. I have a lot of affinity for the old school ways of thought. I admire the ideals of honor and love, I stick to my guns and tend towards stubbornness and a DIY ethic. On the other side of the fence though, I follow tech very closely, I am an egalitarian, and I prefer living in a city. I have a youthful tendency  but my core is this old style of thinking it seems. I am just musing about it, but it seems that I am forever looking for change, but I always want change to be the expedient and humanitarian version of what is going on.  I am not a lucky man, and I do not like to chances, but I absolutely refuse follow a conservative’s pattern and vote for the choice of the wealthy and the elite. I feel lost on our modern world, like I am some sort of knight of the round table wandering through a space station, but at the same time, I feel like the knights were idiots, and they still seem to be in charge.

If you have read through my blog you realize that more than anything, this posting station is a place for me to let off some steam, learn the basics of writing a lot more than anything I was required to do back in grade school, and a sort of profile on the changes I am going through. I hate to say midlife crisis, because what I am feeling is more like a midlife diplomatic treaty signing. I need to find a way to happiness, and I have been given the ultimate prize, the love of a wonderful woman. I am not fighting this, but accepting with all my heart, I love this lady, she is unique, special, beautiful and worth everything in the whole world. My biggest obstacle to it all is my past, having never really been happy, or in control of my self. I have had good times, please do not get me wrong, I am not searching for pity here, I have had some ridiculously good times, and I regret nothing of my choices in life, but all my choices were completely selfish, with no regard to my future.

Now things have changed, and the changes are all amazing and wonderful, again I regret nothing I am choosing to do, but this time, I have to really change. I can not pull out anything from my hat of tricks, trick hats do not write novels. I have done some amazing things this year, and I am asking myself to do one more, and it is the hardest. I write this today though, with good intentions and hopefully the commitment to see it through, to actually really change how I eat and think about food.  I am sick to death of eating bad, it is killing me, and I do not want to do it any more, yet it is the habits of a 44-year-old man who has never changed his eating habits much, if at all. I feel stuck in the mud, battling everyday for complete dominance over my health and future, but never gaining much ground because no matter what, I still have to deal with the stresses of a crappy job with no money and trying to make gold come out of it. I say that in the light that all of my stress tools were eliminated this year. When I stressed in the past, I would light up a smoke, or ten, and as soon as I could I would get stoned and drunk afterwards. I am not proud of those choices  but to be honest, is that not what most of us do as well?

So here I am, getting stress and trying to eliminate my last stress dealing tool, eating. I do not want this tool anymore, I do not and I refuse to use it again, is what I am saying today. I am going to do my best to fast with nothing more than water and maybe a cup of coffee for next three days. I am kicking energy drinks, by having one last one at the start of my fast. I am intending on releasing my stress in two new tools for me, competitive gaming and writing. I intend to use writing to deal with everything that bothers me from now on, so I can bitch or rant or whatever in my words here or in private writing, using the energy and emotion for influence and inspiration. I intend to use the gaming for anger and stress release, a way to dump my negativity into a vast sea of peaceful violence. I do NOT intend to be a competing gamer, but just to play hard to learn and fast reflex games, so that I can be involved and not think for a little while, because that is what the drinking, smoking, and marijuana was all about, not thinking.  I also hope to get back into meditation, and learn a little tai chi and yoga.

One step at a time though, my friends, one step at a time. Today started horribly, I got disconnected from my love to start the day, and I have had a migraine that started yesterday, growing all through the morning.  The white screen of WordPress is the crappiest thing for a migraine, so it is taking its toll to write this. I do not have the patience to change the settings, I just want to get this out, so I can stay focused on my goal over the next three days. I will write more tomorrow, and I will be getting back into the swing of steady blogging again over the next week. On a side note, if you read this far, I am more than willing to hear what anybody thought of my story, I do not like it Sam I Am, but I needed to end it and move on. One day I want to rewrite it and make it what it is in my head, but nonetheless I am happy I got it out.

The Basement – Final

I asked the manager if he could send a message to Curtis, he gave me an address for mailing, a post office box. He asked if everything was going well, and I nervously nodded and left the office. He eyeballed me once and grunted, the familiar mask of I don’t want to know coming over his features. I begged a stamp off of the front desk, and began to write. My letter was short, obvious, and infuriating if he was what I now suspected, a serial killer and rapist, using the kind gay uncle act to sort it all out. I wrote how the dolls and toys and other junk were becoming very suffocating, so I had been giving them out to various drag queen get-togethers. They were a big hit, and all the queens, some were men in their 50’s, loved the dolls the best, so I was about halfway through giving them all out. Could he maybe stop by and let me know any other places that men like him would like to get some gifts?

Nothing much more than that, a couple of descriptions of the more prominent and obvious dolls, so he would know them. I had noticed a printed label on each box, on the back, as if naming them. I was furious, sickened, and wound up. Each day I slept barely enough to rest, 3-4 hours. My nightmares now were all of the girl, I had named her Jill, because that name was printed on the back of the box for the doll she was holding up in the picture. I had been to the Shrine several times, some of the homeless kids knew me by name, and just assumed I was taking care of it. I had been able to find out Jill was her name, and she was from Houston, Texas.

I had come back and lain down from another day of looking for answers in the slim clues I held, just getting my head down on the pillow. As I lay there, breathing silently, I heard my door open, from the outside room. Quiet footsteps, silent almost, but in the dark silence of my room, you could hear sheets move on the bed, much less a shoe on tile.

“You are going to pay my friend.” The quietest of murmurs, Curtis was indeed back.

I lay there with my eyes closed, hoping I could get out of the bed fast enough to grab him. He was being quiet, but he didn’t seem close to me. When the doll room door opened, I knew I had him. I slipped out of the bed, using the creaking of the door and his astonishment to cover my actions.

“What is going on!” He almost screeched these words, for of course, I had left the room exactly as I found it. I grabbed him from behind, his body half in the door, half out. He was not strong, not tall, very thin, and surprisingly weak. I pushed him over and fell on top of him, his breath escaping from his mouth in a huge gasp, and he was done for. I used the ribbon from my pajamas to tie his hands behind his back, and shoved him up against a pile of dolls on the floor.

Once I caught my breath, and he caught his, we stared at each other. He never said another word, but instead stared at me lifelessly, with dull eyes. I didn’t have to say a word, because he had stared at Jill’s doll, the only one out-of-place, set on a shelf by itself, the box open as a stage for the doll.  I grabbed some rope from the storage room, and tied him up good. He never flinched or moved much at all, indeed, he never resisted me at all.

I let him sit for two days, in his own soil, when he finally spoke.

“You can’t get away with this, you will go to prison.” His voice was scratched and weak.

“I am not interested in getting away with anything. Jill is in my head, my heart, my dreams. Tell me, confess, tell the police, I won’t kill you.”

He laughed and spat on the floor. I kicked him hard, with boots on, and he made wet mewing noises, his jaw broken. I picked up a thick wooden closet rod, and hit him again. I didn’t stop hitting him until he stopped breathing, which took a ridiculously long time. I was splattered in blood, the room was splattered in blood, and I was a crazy man, delirious with no sleep from watching him. I climbed into bed, and fell asleep, not worried, not knowing, not thinking, just sleep.

My dreams were the release I needed. Jill stopped screaming, my grandmother pulled the blanket up to my neck, and I slept for 10 hours. I woke up and took a long shower, got dressed and went out into the city. I had a full breakfast of my favorite food, pancakes and bacon with maple syrup, and then took a short walk to the police station. I told them what I did, I told them about the shrine under the city, and I was taken into custody. When police went over the shrine, they found the bones of a long missing child, 9-year-old Jill Hennings, eventually identified by her dental records.

I continued to work with the detectives who were in my case. Eventually they found burials of over 90 missing girls, all of the names corresponding with the names on the back of the boxes. Work continued for years, names turning up of missing girls all over the country. I was never released, I am in containment still, but solitary, no general population, and I mostly just take care of the inmates library in Denver County Jail after hours. I never wrote another word, except for these memoirs. I recorded these only for the Parents of Jill Hennings, and I am trusting they are delivered by my lawyer.

The Basement – Part 4

I was feeling old and moldy  like a paper box left in  a damp basement for a decade. I could literally see the black mold creeping up along the seams of my shirt. Dirt was sifting over the color of my jeans, and my skin was rotting off my bones, sloughing off slowly over the years, dripping fat and ichor into the drain. My vision began to float above my body, and I could see I was not myself. I was actually the rotting corpse of a little girl, maybe around 8 years old, with rusted chains around her feet. The vision was so gruesome, so realistic, I woke up nauseous and faint, my heart pounding.

My strange apartment was dark and still, silent and unbearable. I stood up out of bed and sat down on the edge of a nearby couch, my head in my hands. I blamed the mushrooms from the party, but this had been occurring for weeks now. I wake up with the sounds of sobbing in my ears, screaming in my heart, I can’t breathe, I can’t write. I have gone through two jobs in as many weeks, and I shake if I am alone for to long.

The worst part is I have a sneaking suspicion I know why I am having a hard time. The cry for help resounds through out my entire being. I have always been one to stand up for those who can’t, a geek who grew up tough and strong in a ghetto neighborhood. I would fight for the limp-wrist friends, the skinny weak friends, the friends who had brains bigger than their arm muscles. I was never a bully, I instead turned that caveman emotion onto the only qualified recipient I could think of, the bully himself. I would never strike a friend or a lover, but a bully can usually only be handled by brute strength that he respects, and I was the man to give it to them. I had this same feeling the whole time I have been disgusted and feared into a shaking leaf.

I started looking through the separate rooms for clues. That I lived in a haunted place was no longer a question, but instead, why was it haunted? What specter will not leave rest until its secret is found? What smaller pup had its life torn apart by a wolf? One thing stood out above all others, there were collections of toys yes, but any boy would have been disappointed instantly. Stuffed animals filled on room. All kinds of cloth animals, soft and cuddly to old and worn. The small room was maybe 3 meters by 4 meters, and there was no furniture. The next room was all baby dolls. All sizes again, all qualities, old and fairly new. Then the woman dolls, commonly called Barbie dolls, all the same general doll, but thousands of outfits.

Eight rooms, all of toy collections, all girl toys. I asked the maintenance men about the guy, and they all said basically the same thing, quiet gay man, never really talked with him much. Mostly they avoided me, and I then knew they knew about the haunting as well. I was not losing my mind after all, but instead started to become more like a detective, hot on some trail that was elusive and old, misty and hidden, and mostly wanted to be forgotten.

I had been at the library for days in a row. I was both looking for another job and researching the hotel. The labyrinths under Denver were known by very few, but there was a long tradition of tunnels dug by miners, governments, rich and poor alike throughout the entire city. I went down to the city park, where the punkers and the youth who had lost hope and homes hung out. One of them agreed to take me to a tunnel, after I promised to purchase some of the medical marijuana for them. We met up at night, and hiked down to the river that ran through the city.

He was an ok kid, smart, not to criminal or thuggish yet, and he enjoyed taking an adult out for a tour of secrets. We pulled on an expanded metal grate on what looked like just a water drainage tunnel. after about a block crouched over almost double, the pipe opened into an angled hallway. We followed it, using our LED flashlights, the blue-white light giving everything a ghastly tone. After about an hour, I asked if there was anything down here he liked in particular.

‘Oh man, let me show you tha Shrine!”

“The Shrine?” I asked, a bit off and tired of smelling musty air.

“Yeah, a little girl disappeared some years ago, and she has had a shrine down here ever since.”

I nodded, trying to look impressed but uninterested, but the reality of it was that my heart was in my mouth.

He took off and we ended up fairly close to where we started. A door made of tin sheathing and discarded lumber hung off what looked like hinges made of an old baseball glove. I had to duck a bit when I entered the small antechamber, and almost immediately got sick to my stomach. there were about ten pictures of a little girl, all on a small table that had old flowers and toys and stuffed animals. One of the pictures showed the young girl on the knee of Curtis  the man I had rented the room from. She was in the room of Barbie dolls, her face showing excitement as she held what must have been her favorite. My guide must have thought I was getting sick of the smells, because he asked of I was ok. I nodded and begged a full stomach was not the way to see the rest of the trip, and had him guide me out. I ended our business with a good-sized portion of some of the green smoke I had procured from my last paycheck, and weakly stumbled on my way.

I sat down hard at the first park bench on the street I could find. It was one of the main bustops of the city, but no one was there at the moment. I sat down and then began to throw up,  my stomach and brain putting the whole sordid affair together. I knew beyond a doubt, I knew what was making things so bad, and I knew how they were all connected. I had no proof, but I knew, Curtis must have done some nefarious deed, something horrible, and the reason I could feel the specter of someone, that someone was the little girl who had but one buried shrine in the dirt of the city to remember her.

On my Recent Reticence

First and foremost, thank you everyone for helping me get to 1000 views! I didn’t think it would ever happen! I love this, that people read, that people still think. Being an american, I can easily find myself lost in a world of idiots and halfwits, who think football is the only excuse for using more than a 200 word vocabulary. The fact that over 1000 people have read my little blog is very exciting, and gives me hope for my serious writing goals.

Second, my lovely Queen has had a lot of time off, and she is my center and my star, so I have taken a long break to be with her during a fairly difficult time.  The end result is that I am very happy to be with her when ever I get the lovely chance to hear and see her. The sad fact is that between my mind numbing job and my free time with her, I had to put this blog on break for a little while. However, I am firmly in the saddle and have not abandoned my place to write. I will be finishing my experiment in suspense this week, and will be taking on other odd and sundry skits in writing as well.

The break is over! I will miss the time, but I miss writing here more.

Finally, for those of you who still get my updates, thank you very much, your encouragement means the world to me, and gives me the courage to move on. I salute you, and hope you like what I have coming out the next few months.