Got a late call on a Friday night. One might call it a last call, as it was most definitely ‘after hours.’ It was the “snoop-dog” from nextdoor going off about the street light, that’s evidently been out for awhile, in front of the triple-wide. Seems when she takes “Shug” (cutesy abbreviation name for her mutt Sugar) for a walk in the night they feel frightened. “THEY?! Mrs. Focker? Come on now. Did Sugar tell you how afraid she is to walk the gang-infested, evil streets of our community or did you simply witness her scrawny, toothpick-legs shaking with fright? Shug is just ‘effin happy to get out to take a shit! And maybe when I do get around to fixing the light, you can see well enough to pick up that shit for a change.”
Pulled up to the park BBQ around 3:15 p.m. with the single intention of making a courtesy appearance and bolting.
Since it was supposed to start at 2:00 over the hill at “Punkie’s,” I figured arriving an hour late would mean it would be going strong and of course, it had been highly necessary for me to pound a couple stiff ones before my arrival. As I circled his car-less driveway and carport, he saw me from the back screened porch and hollered, “HEY! Where ya going? I got the T.V. going inside with surround-sound and all, and I got New York steaks up my ass and nobody’s here!”
“All the way up there, Punkie?” I yelled back.
Through his laughter, I then drove back to my place “to pick up some things.” There was no way in hell I was going to sit there just the two of us.
When I returned his mother-in-law, a chain-smoking, Cocoa Cola-pounding woman with a voice like she’d swallowed half a gravel pit, was seated outside, also Marie, uninvited, was there with her walker parked next to her, and my pals, The Griffiths, whom I had secretly invited and even offered a cash reward if they’d go. Jack Griffith was putting away the beers as quickly as I was the G &T’s while his wife, my saint-of-a-friend, was carrying on with small talk.
The conversations varied from personal embellishments to shameless park gossip and to be perfectly honest, and that is my sole purpose of these writings, I can’t recall most of them. Each time I stood to offer my thanks and excuse myself, someone would ask another question to rope me back in, “So, when they gonna fix the god-damn roads? Or what the hell’s up with the talker at 11 that doesn’t shut-up?”
I do remember one story…Punkie talking about how he hauled ass on highway 101 in his motor home after he and Kathy got married …”Yea, Kathy was in the passenger seat, mom at the back table havin a smoke and we passed some sucker on a Harley. Kathy yelled, “Baby, did you see that dude’s face when you passed him goin 90?
It was funny as hell.”
There were lots of “no-shows” which of course was sad even to a trailer park manager like me whose skin is tough as leather.
You see, every time I enter these types of situations, I enter with a conflicting heart.
It’s like when I first arrived those years back and I immediately baked caramel Bundt cakes for everyone and offered free English lessons in the laundry room.
No one gave a shit. No one showed up because they don’t give a shit and because you are an authority figure and God knows they don’t trust authority figures. And why should they?
“You got the best view in the park, Punkie.” I heard my friend’s hubby say.
“Damn right I do.”
“You see that big yellow house way over there up on that hill?
See the tree to the right? Well, that guy uses all white xmas lights every year and it is pretty. Damn… it’s a gigantic display and once I tried to see what he had ‘cuz I wanted to out-do him, so I took out this telescope my nephew got me at Second Chance Mercantile, and I was looking through it at his decorations, and I’ll be damn if I see him and he’s got binoculars and he’s lookin right at me! I yelled, “Kathy, he’s lookin at me and my decorations right now! So I looked through and he waves at me, so I wave back. The next day, I drove all around those hills and I found his god damn house right there off Pleasant Road!”
I smiled and thought to myself… your nephew and I shop at the same second-hand mercantile, Punkie.