Life on Short NoticebyMSTarot©
Setting my laptop on my desk, I positioned the two black baseball-shaped speakers to the side and, with an automatic, rhythmic nod of my head, I let the tunes crank.
~Oh, yo, yo, there's a demon inside. Oh, yo, yo, just like Jekyll and Hyde! ~
With a pimp strut and an improvised dance step making me look, no doubt, like a complete moron, I went back to my unpacking. Nineteen years of life makes for a lot of clutter, but my mom had helped with winnowing out the trash from the junk, so I had only about a million boxes to unpack and not a million and one. Grabbing a stepladder, one of the five I own, I pulled it over to a likely blank wall and tacked my first poster up in my own apartment.
Oh, how sweet that sounds. My. Own. Apartment.
No more living in my parents' house. No more annoying little sisters bugging the crap out of me all the time. My music. My video games. My TV shows!
"Fuck you SpongeBob, in your square-pants ass."
Grabbing another poster, this one from the movie Pacific Rim, I pulled my stepladder over to another blank wall. Of course, I was at that critical point of reaching up to pin the top corner when the knock on the door came.
"Just a second," I muttered around a mouthful of push pins. Spitting them into my hand, I left them on the corner of my desk as I went to see who was disturbing the sanctity of my lair. Another stepladder climb and I looked out the peephole.
Getting down, I folded the ladder out the way and opened the door to the guy with my pizza feast. He was trying to juggle a red vinyl bag and a two-liter Cherry Dr. Pepper. I ignored the surprised looked on his face. I'm far too used to it after all these years. Digging my wallet out the back of my jeans, I grinned up at him.
"Double cheese, Death-by-Pepperoni, and an order of breadsticks with tons of garlic butter? Please tell me you have it all?"
"Yes, sir. And a Dr. Pepper." He gave me a nervous grin, nod, and smile as he pulled my food out the warming bag. "That will be $24.65."
I fished out a twenty and a ten. "Keep the change, my brother. Ah, thank you."
"No sir, thank you."
Shouldering the door closed, I carried my first meal in my new place to the kitchen table. I was about to dig in when I heard a knock, much louder than the first one. Looking back, I saw that my door had crept back open and a very familiar face was standing on the landing. I grinned at the sexy silhouette.
Big blue eyes peeking from behind blonde bangs looked into my apartment. "Hello? Oh hi, Gordon."
"Hey, Gracie! Come on in; food just got here."
She pointed over her shoulder. "I saw the delivery guy. Oh no. I can't stay, though it does smell good. No, sorry my mom asked me to drop off the finalized copy of the lease agreement. It is so cool to have someone I know from school renting here!'
I let my eyes roam her delightful figure. "I'm pretty hyped about it myself. You sure?" I pointed to the pizza. "I've got plenty. This is my moving-in meal."
"I can't stay ... okay, maybe a slice."
As she moved past me my eyes went naturally to Gracie's ass, given that it was perfectly on level with them. Not many blessings go with being born with achondroplasia, but awesome female derriere views is certainly one of the perks. And let me tell you, the young daughter of my new landlord had a monumentally spectacular example of a nice heart-shaped ass. Bam!
"Ready for the prom?" I asked fishing myself out a breadstick that instantly dripped garlic butter down my wrist. "The guys in your class burning up your phone for a date yet?"
"No, can't say they are. With Myra Jenkins still up for grabs, I'm not trending yet." She gave a shrug. "I've got a few weeks. I did find my dress. Oh but it's gorgeous. I'll swing by and let you see it before I leave."
Because seeing her in her prom dress was the height of my existence? Twitter-headed twit. With a mental shrug, I nom-nomed on bread. "Where are you running off to? Like I said, there is plenty."
"Oh, no this is good enough; trying to watch what I eat, I want my dress to fit me perfectly." She held out a large envelope, which I of course immediately got garlic butter on, not thinking. "That's your copy of the finals. Mom said to let you know that if you see anything wrong with it not to hesitate to give her a ring."
"Tell her I will." Hell, I might try to find something to wrong simply to do that. As nice as Gracie was on the eyes, her mother was a stone-cold smoking fox. "Thanks for dropping it by."
"No problem." She looked down at me. "Well, gotta run. Bye."
I followed her to the door simply to watch her walk away. And yeah I needed to lock it before I attracted any more pizza thieves. As I went back to my dinner I did stop to think about two things along the way. Why wouldn't she say where she was going? And just why a girl that ... rumor has it ... was as likely a candidate for having Lollypopguildophobia as there was, happy that I had moved in here? From the Braxton High rumor mill (that being my sister Marcy) Gracie Carmichaels was not the leader of my fan club. She had apparently said some "not kind" things and often used the "M" word when talking about me.
"Humm, but she ate my pizza. Maybe the worm has turned."
With a shrug, I pushed all that high-school drama behind me. I was graduated/paroled from all that crap, and this was my first night in my new place. No I'm-Queen-of-the-Harvest-Ball girl without two brain cells to rub together was going to get me off in a depression wallow.
Munching pizza, I went back to trying to figure out where to put my stuff. Rocking out to Marilyn Manson now, I placed my books on the wide, built-in shelf by the bedroom door. I did clean my hands before touching those. They might smell of garlic for a bit but they were not going to be greasy. Running a hand over the familiar titles, the spines showing the many nights rereading these I pulled back out my well-worn copy of Luck in the Shadows. The first book read in my new apartment.
"My ...new ... apartment."
Grinning, I went back to dancing for a moment before going to get more of my dinner. Ah yes, this is the life.
~Hey you, what do you see? Something beautiful something free? ~
** ** ** ** ** ** **
I hate work.
It's like school, but without summer vacation to look forwards to. Eight hours had never felt so long. I was dragging when I left the photo studio at the mall.
And then I did two hours of my side job.
Tired of even thinking about taking pictures -- a state I would never have thought possible -- I put the black nylon case with my camera down and opened my laptop. There were hours of work still left to do to transition these raw street pictures I took into the masterpieces of urban art photography that could earn me better money than eight hours taking picture of drooling babies. Color shift, gradient changes, and a few other small Photoshop tweaks to hide flaws and make the focus pop out. Hours and hours of work for every photo. Staring at my screen saver, I sighed. If I ever had any hope of seeing a photo of mine in a gallery I had to do this, otherwise it was going to be a lifetime at Master Shots making smelly babies smile.
I grabbed a beer and some leftovers to nuke. Even cold, the spaghetti smelled wonderful. The last of Mom's care package for the starving children in Woodland Village Apartments. Sipping the beer and waiting for the microwave beep, I leaned my shoulder into the edge of my kitchen cabinet. Fuck, I'm tired.
Playing hot bowls shuffle, I moved to my desk and pulled up Netflix. For the last two nights, I had been binge watching MisFits. It was an old British show, a bit stupid really, but so funny I could help watching it since I found a highlights video on YouTube.
Okay, who the fuck?
Getting up, wiping the greasy sauce remnants off my mouth, I went to the door and did the ladder climb to check out the peephole.
Leaning back in for a second look, I caught my balance on the ladder as the lady on the other side knocked right by the peephole, startling me.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Coming!" I said as I hopped down off my stepladder. Moving it out the way, I opened the door and gazed up at heaven on earth. Amelia Carmichaels. Goddess. Nymph. Divine and Rare. Precious. Celestial.
"Good evening, Mr. Everett." Before I could say anything she rolled onward. I could tell it was a much rehearsed, or often given, speech. "I wanted to drop by and see if you were having any problems with this unit. You've been here a week, so that should have given you time enough to discover any problems. So, any troubles Mr. Everett?"
"Only with you're still calling me Mr. Everett." I smiled up at her. "It makes me want to look behind me for my father. Gordon, please. No ... I can't say I'm having any problems with the apartment. Well, none that have to do with apartment anyway."
Her eyebrows rose. "Oh? Is something wrong that I need to know about? Trouble with one of the other tenants?"
"No, no, nothing like that." I gave a shrug. "It's the old problem; the floor is built too close to my butt."
My landlady gave a slight chuckle, not sure if she should laugh even though I was the one who made the joke. She glanced around the room checking, no doubt to see if I had violated anything in my lease with the decorating. Her smile grew.
"Well ... Gordon ... you've certainly made this into a bachelor's pad. All it lacks is a bean bag, some cabinet speakers, and an old electrical spool and it would look identical to my ex-husband's place. Back when he was your age and we first met anyway."
"Gracie's father?" Why I asked that I wasn't sure. A quick glance at her left hand didn't show me a ring, but then that's not always a tell nowadays. "Are you single now?"
"Yes." She gave me quirky smile. "Gracie's dad, well he and I had compatibility issues ... but anyway," She was suddenly back to full business mode. "Gordon, I simply wanted to make sure that the apartment was still to your liking. If you need anything, and I can be of help, simply call the office number and leave a message. I generally manage to answer my messages within a few hours. If it's an emergency please don't hesitate to call the emergency number, that's my business cell and will reach me instantly. I do ask, as I said at the lease signing, that you only use it in emergencies, please." She gave me a suddenly impish smile, pointed around the apartment. "And no, Mr. Bachelor, you needing a date with my daughter does not count as an emergency."
I shrugged admitting to nothing. But my grin spoke volumes. "How about with you?"
She rolled her eyes.
"Well, have a good night." She turned and almost ran into a guy walking up behind her. "Oh, I'm sorry."
My friend David held up his hands. "No problem, my bad." He danced around her then watched her walk down the sidewalk and head toward the manager's office before he turned to look at me. "Dude, who is the babe?'
"My landlady and Gracie's mother," I said eyeing the bag he was carrying half-hidden at his side.
"Gracie Carmichaels? Well, like daughter like mother, right? That is one major MILF." He shook his head, followed her disappearing form a bit longer then turned back to look at me holding out the bag with a grin. "Gopher Everett?"
Ignoring the old O Brother, Where Art Thou? joke about my last name, I took the bag and smiled seeing the bottle of Crown Royal Vanilla.
"Housewarming gift and my contribution to the delinquency of a minor for this month. Sorry I couldn't help with the move, bro, but work and all that crap." He shrugged and looked over the top of my head at the apartment. "Shit, I'm interrupting your dinner."
"Come on in; it's already been microwaved twice. A third pass might make it glow in the dark and give me superpowers, but I'll risk it for old friends." Holding the bottle up, I looked through the golden liquid at him and grinned. "Especially ones that bring me booze."
"That is some good shit, my man. Goes great with cream soda."
"What doesn't?" I asked, joking.
David stopped walking halfway across the living room, pointing at my open laptop. "MisFits? Dude that is an awesome show!"
Grinning and agreement, I worked at the top of the Crown Royal. "He'd fuck his mother for a slice of cheese."
"And he doesn't even like cheese." David finished the quote. He looked around the place. "Nice. It's a little small, but then I guess not for you."
"Nope." My best bud, David here, could make short innuendoes and it not sting. Hell, he could have even called me a midget and I wouldn't have been insulted. Not that he ever would have. "Cool, right? It's as if I get twice the apartment for half the price, simply by being me."
With a nod, he pulled out one of my chairs and gestured toward the bowl of spaghetti. "Please, don't not eat on my account. I've already eaten. I just thought, that if you don't have anything else to do, we could simply chill out here at your new place.
"That was my plan for the night."
Warmed up spaghetti, glasses full of good alcohol, binge watching a funny TV show I could never watch at home without headphones, and my good buddy here to talk shit with. Honestly, life doesn't get better without naked women present.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
Oh, hangovers suck balls. Big, hairy, grungy balls.
Point of fact about small people, my liver works just as well as someone six foot, but I have less than half their body weight. The amount of blood in a human body is subtly based on their body weight. So ... I have a bit less than most 19-year-old males. Less blood in my veins means less blood to mix alcohol with. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm a lightweight; I can toss back beers with the best of them. But hard alcohol ... yeah. Drunk little person.
Now, I'm a hung over little person. A very hung over little person. Oh, well I don't have to get on my knees to puke in the toilet. Glass half empty, porcelain bowl half full and all that kind of thing.
"Oh, dear god! No!"
Kill the phone, kill it, kill it now!
Wiping the sour taste off my lips, I stumbled to the kitchen where my phone was plugged into its charger. Swiping at it, making moaning pitiful pleas for silence, I began to smash it but then stopped and took a deep breath.
"Hey Gordon, this is Gracie. I didn't wake you did I?" She didn't give me time to answer but bubbled on with her far-too-energized self. "I'm in study hall and I needed to ask you for kind of a weird favor. My date to the prom had to cancel. Umm, how would you like to take me to the prom?"
"Ah ... Gracie, you do realize I graduated right?"
"Yeah, I know but I was thinking since Mrs. Hacket wants to pay you to come back and take the prom pictures for the yearbook, you might as well be my date. I mean, your sister says you still have a tux. You're living at the apartment complex so I just have to walk up to your unit. We can take my car. I'm wearing a frosted white dress, what color is your tux? Maybe we can get you a blue vest or something so we match."
I got my parole. I walked the mile. I crawled through a river of shit and came out clean. Free at last, free at last.
"Gracie, hold on, ah wait a minute now. Mrs. Hacket hasn't said a thing to me about pictures, and if I was going to take you to the prom, it would be a date, not a photo shoot ... do you understand?" I blinked the crusty stuff from my eyes and went to the fridge. Cold water, oh bless you for being wet. "Also--"
"That's great, we can call it a real date. I can't wait to tell everyone I'm dating you! Oh, damn here comes Mr. Becker, I've got to get off my phone or he'll take it. I'll talk to you later, bye."
"I'm ... graduated!"
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
Standing in my kitchen, my phone in my hand, a stupid look on my face, I realized many things. Among them was that I had a terrible need to go take a piss and I was badly in need of coffee. I glanced at my phone and saw the time. How the hell had I gone from asleep to having a date to the prom before it's even nine o'clock? Fuck, I've got to get up in two hours and go to work.
Holding my aching head, I went to the bathroom. When I stepped inside I smelled the sour reek of vomit, realized I hadn't flushed the commode earlier and promptly threw up again. Leaning forward against the cold tank, straddling the seat, my dick on the seat just pissing away, I made a vow to God.
"I'm never going to drink again."
I swear to you I heard him laughing.
The phone began to ring again. It was Mrs. Hacket calling to offer me an awesome commission to take prom photos at the school's proms and not just for this year, but for years to come. And I was too hung over to celebrate.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
"Smile." I shook the hand puppet. "Smile, Timmy."
Sitting on the white blanket, a green screen behind him, little Timmy Wazowski was going out of his way to cause me more pain than he had his mother four months ago. I was ready to scream for an epidural, some Demerol or maybe a wooden mallet to the back of my head. Sledge-O-Matic take me away.
"Come on, smile."
Click, click, click! Gotcha, you little mongrel.
Looking at my monitor I confirmed this, directed the brat's mother, Mrs. Wazowski, to give her approval. Which she did, thank the gods. And with a tiny wave of malignant victory I sent little Timbo off to the changing room for the new diaper that was so desperately needed. Goodbye smelly child, may flights of devils waft your scent away. A bit of computer work, my photo possessor in the back began to do its magic and, with some hopes, I might get a few Playboy playmates to drop by for some photos and that will finish out the day.
Nope. Mallrat sisters alert.
Alright, I'll admit it I love my sisters. Twins -- faces so identical they could, and have, impersonate each other at times -- they were blazes of sunlight in any dark room they entered. Looking past them, I saw my mother in all her four-foot glory. Walking as if this was her shopping mall and she allowed these tall people the privilege of shopping here. But, only if they got out of her way fast enough. If not, well let's just say she was more than ready to prove that Jimmy Hart wasn't the only "Mouth of the South" born in Jackson, Mississippi. Something my Dad will always get a grin when she mentions. That grin isn't something I want to speak of though. Or think about.
Oh, god I'm thinking about it. Brain bleach, brain bleach!
"Hello ladies, can Interest you in a Glamour Shots photo packet today?" I looked at my mom as she walked in. "Or maybe something for you, ma'am? Perhaps a pin-up calendar of you for your husband?"
Mom stood there looking at me with the "I brought you into the world" look for a second then she got that smile. You know the one I mean, I'm sure.
"Yes, Gordon. That's exactly what I want. Why don't you get the props out and I'll step over to Frederick's? Maybe a few skimpy things in white lace; your father loves it when I wear white lacy."
Fingers in my ears. A glance at my sisters showed me the twins were doing the same thing and I joined them in the white noise chant.
"LA, LA, LA, LA, LA!"
Note to self, always remember the many notes to self I've made over the years about not teasing Mom. Mom teases back. And she fights dirty. When she smirked, I started acting my age and took my fingers out my ears.
My mother set down the bag she was carrying and crossed her arms. "I've got a question."