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Friday, April 3, 2015

If You're Good At It, Is It Still Rotten?

You can tell this guy’s a character, just by looking.

Seems he has run into a friend of his.  He strides toward him, his hand outstretched.

“There he is!  The man himself!” 

For the rest of the commute, he stands next to him.  His hand holding the overhead strap, he sways like a reed.

He is a wiry fellow, this man, encased in Carhartt duds, a baggy blue knit cap.  He has a drooping moustache and bright, clever eyes.  When he smiles you can see he is missing an eye tooth.  I judge him to be in his early 50s.

“I needed those big curving needles” he says to his friend, “came downtown, found two packs of them at the Walgreen’s.  Bought them both for five dollars.  Well, there was tax, too, but I didn’t mind paying it.”

His friend nods appreciatively.

“Fixed the couch of the lady down the hall.  Big rip in the middle of it.”

He describes, in gesticulating details that often include both hands, the process of pulling, pinning, stitching and moving the couch from one room to another.

He describes the home-cooked meal he got in return for his services. 

The meal, he pronounces, was middlin’, but the dessert was fiiiiiiiine

I go back to my iPod but find I cannot stay away.  I check in, turning the volume up or down as needed, every couple of minutes. 

“I tell them, hey!  I didn’t want the phone in the first place! They tell me, everybody got a phone!  I tell them, well I don’t.  I need to use a phone, I got three, four people right down the hall let me use theirs.”


“I hit all the thrift stores up and down that street.  Finally found what I was looking for.  After I’d set it right, I sold it.  You can make a lot of money that way.”

“Oh, sure,” he says at one point, twisting the ends of his moustache, “you can use bee’s wax.  Don’t think I didn’t think of that.  The one thing you can’t use” – and here he looks directly at me, smiling – “is candle wax. Candle wax’ll make ya look like somethin’ that’s crawled on to the beach off the ocean floor.”

He has caught me watching him.  He winks at me. 

“You look like you might have a thought in your head,” he says.  “What’s going on, cupcake?”

I smile, shake my head as my fellow commuters watch.

The bus comes to a stop.  This stop is the big stop.  Several people stand to exit, the aisle and seats finally clearing of the afternoon rush.  A large woman carrying several bags pushes, angrily, from the back.  “I need to get off,” she says.  “Let me off.  Move!  Let me off.”

I turn around to watch. 

“Move it.  Move your skinny ass over,” she says to the upholsterer. 

He moves aside.  “Yeah, you go,” he says to the back of her head as she shoves past him.  “Get home, make you something to eat.”

He turns back to his friend.  “I shouldn’t be so rotten,” he says, shaking his head almost sorrowfully as the woman steps on to the street.  “But I’m just so damn good at it.”

Have a good weekend, everyone.  And only be rotten if you’re good at it.


Shelly said...

What fun satisfaction this gave me. And because of your great posts, I always look around before embarking on a convo in a public place to make sure no one is taking notes around me...

Indigo Roth said...

Caught red-handed! But saved by a bag-laden lady? That was close. Right, cupcake?

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Oh he of the cakes and cups and meals in return for... methinks we met him elsewhere, and has lost none of his charm - 'cuz he's just plain good at it!

Blessings for a fine weekend to you Pearl! YAM xx

Eileen B said...

It aint braggin' if you can do it. I think I'd like this guy. He's still comfortable enough with himself to call you cupcake and give a friendly wink.

joeh said...

If you could just slap a "GoPro" on your head and ride the bus all day it would make a great Reality TV show. It would need your narration of course!

"Pearl on the Bus" 9:00 channel 122 (8:00 Central.)

Thought in your head Cupcake? He had no idea!

erin said...

Ditto the Go Pro comment above! I often think I'd like to take little snippets of video of the incredible things I see every day. The world is such an interesting place.

vanilla said...

Good at whatever he does. A legend in his own mind.

Joanne Noragon said...

A Renaissance man. I am impressed he found curved needles at Walgreens.

jenny_o said...

Does it count if you only do it in your head, and only much later after losing sleep, stewing and fretting? If so, I'm good at it too.

That man be a character. A very interesting character.

ThreeOldKeys said...

hey cupcake ... i wonder what characters you'd find if you rode the buses of another big city ... would we be surprised at their difference or their similarity?

sorry ... when there's a thought in my head, sometimes I gotta release it.

sage said...

Cupcake, I suppose I can be pretty rotten, but like this guy, I end up regretting it. At least he was nice to a neighbor by fixing her couch.

Anonymous said...

If he thought that was rotten he needs to get out more lol.

Watson said...

I'm pretty good at being rotten, cupcake, LOL! :-) I like this guy!

Elephant's Child said...

Cupcake, you put the icing on my mornings.

Gigi said...

Well, it sounds as if this lady needed to be told off...cupcake.

Have a happy Easter, my friend!

River said...

What a fun ride this one turned out to be.

River said...

What a fun ride this one turned out to be.

River said...

What a fun ride this one turned out to be.

maurcheen said...

Yes, he is good at it. I like him. And you, I like you too. ;-)

maurcheen said...

Yes, he is good at it. I like him. And you, I like you too. ;-)

Rose L said...

Made me laugh. I think I might have run across him somewhere or a relative of his! Wink!
And Pearl did not talk?!!! That surprised me!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I would love to be rotten to some people but I am not that type of person I am too kind

Linda O'Connell said...

Woo hoo I like that guy's spunk.

Catalyst said...

Love your bus stories, Pearl. By the way, I sent the one about the girl's night out on the pary bus to my nephew in St. Paul and asked him if they had that much fun on his side of the river. He replied that they have way more fun and said they refer to Minneapolis as West St. Paul!