“Well ain’t that a blast!!!!” The Colonel screamed over at me. “Just like me and the General used to do back in ‘Naaaa’mmmmmmmmm.”
The words of Col. Gearzo rang through my ears like an unrelenting choir, whose teacher had drank far too much Bacardi 151 until the choir knew, like we knew, that there was no end to the note. The Colonel was joking of course. He’d never been to ‘Nam. He was born twenty years too late to get involved. Heck, he’d never left the country. But when you make your own history, memories tend to go this way and that way on the turn of a dime.
The Colonel was at the top of the food chain and it was his lead that we followed unquestionably. The thing about making it to the top of the food chain is you got to keep eating, lest you get replaced by the bigger, chunkier animals waiting in the wings. And those suckers ain’t no elephants neither, as the Colonel likes to say safely behind his desk as he cuts up our organs like they are no more than Papier Marché , grinding and cussin’ and sweating and busting… our… balls…
We we’re hunkered down behind the science shelves. The Colonel had thought this was the best place to start, to burn every single page. Perhaps he was right but he had forgotten one little detail, which was just like him. He had forgotten the fake soldiers.
The door swung wide open and the first fake soldier to burst through came at us like Indian from one of them old western movies, his eyes slanted and his nightstick about to swing down on us like a tomahawk.
“Ah ged doWn, yoU. Dis if a wobbery!!!” Gearzo had slipped his grammar into some sort maddening, fucked-tooth soliloquy that had me thinking this man was nuts, fucked up, insane, more loco than a runaway train… he was the man who might save the whole world but he wasn’t going save us with a poem.
That’s when the fake soldiers came at us one by one, their shimmering badges hanging on the winter afternoon white shirts they were clad in. These men were ready to break our balls in fours and “sUUU, gid damn it,” we were ready to do the same, one-by-one, we were ready to do the same……………………………………………………………………..
It was a Saturday but it was a work day and you got to keep working hard amongst the curious unless you like being asked why you hate your job, why you got to cop that attitude, why you didn’t buy that alarm clock, why for god’s sake –why-why-WHY? There were no answers to the thoughtless questions and so instead you had to keep working through every one of them even though it was Saturday.
The first set of customers came rolling in at 8 am searching desperately for a hot espresso with proper crème, a thick yellow film that sat like foam on top of thin black shits-inducing caffeine motor oil to get their pretentious engine roaring. Then, once the rrrrrrRRRRusshhh was over, the not-so golden oldies crept in looking for peace and quite to go with their pea soup.
“Ummm…uuhhh…ERHUGH! Where do you keep your breakfast sandwiches?” an old Enlgisman asked me, the brush growing out of his ears would have made a deer feel at home.
“Right in front of you, there is a whole…”
“Oh… k… I’ll ERRHUGH...” Don’t die on me today old man, please don’t you expire here, just slowly turn the starter and we’ll be ok… gently…“have… ERRHUGH…” I didn’t know how long we had or if he would ever get to order that breakfast sandwich, and I was about to slowly dial my manager to come help out, when the colonel walked in wearing a pink boa and a name tag below his belt buckle that read Titillating.
“A sandwich is the last thing you need,” he said looking at me, meaning only me, “what you need is an escape clause.”
“Pardon me?” asked the old man, glancing slowly over at the colonel.
“Your Alive! You almost gave ME a seizure but yes an escape clause, Suuu, gid damn it! He needs to get out of this place hard like a lead-coated parachute.”
The thing about the colonel is he don’t hold back for nobody. He will let you know right there and then that he plans to tell you something real important, so you, you old Englishman, you better open your hairy ears.
The colonel stood on the counter and looked down at the old man with wild saffron eyes. He then looked at me with those same eyes. He then looked at the ridiculously long horizontal mirror that stretched 3,000 light years down the room and saw those very same crazy wild saffron eyes in the future, the past and the next dimension and began to murmur and then stutter that this was it, me and the old man had to see him at work… we had to use our escape clause now.
“Now just you wait… ERRHUGH!!...”
“My gid man, you can’t wait that long. Gid your ass out that door.
“You too let’s get a moving,” he said pointing his right index finger straight at my nose.
He was a soldier, of this I had no doubt. Sure he might have worn bell-bottom jeans and a orange dress shirt.He was the 70s. That's how you knew he was a real elephant. You can’t fake being that crazy, fighting against the winds of progress. But the Colonel was pro at it. He could summon his powerful mind to stop time and live like it were 1993 if he wanted. Sometimes he was crazy enough to put on his walkman and drink a clear Pepsi and could you blame him? What did 2007 have to offer? The year of the dolphin was a runaway train of economic deceit, Internet porn and little thing called Virginia Tech massacre. You got to be able to beat that, and lets face it kids, that was not a hard thing to do.
“I don’t know if I heard you right,” I said.
“WELL OF COURSE YOU DIDN’T HEAR ME, YOU TAINT,” he yelled. “YOU… you got to join the army before you can really hear anything at all.”
“Well we moving it or not old boy?” he said to the old man.
“Now, now just you listen… ERRHUGH!... I remember you.”
That was when the Colonel shot the old man with a bazooka. It seemed completely unnecessary for him to do that. But my reaction to it was equally unnecessary – if not emasculating.
ONE MORE SMOKE FOR THE ROAD
9 years ago