The Abandoned Station






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Jenna broke her legs because she tried to move the mattress out of the house by herself and fell down the three front steps in the worst bad luck way possible because I wasn't there on time and for whatever reason she just couldn't wait the extra five minutes since that's how much longer it took for me to get back home and so I arrived just in time to see her howling on the bottom of the steps, clutching her twisted legs as the neighbour tried to sooth her with words of calm while dialling 911 on their cell phone.

It wasn't my fault I would explain to her once in the ambulance and again at the hospital and then again at the hospital after she'd been given some pain medication so the shock was finally out of her system it was because there was a guy at Big Bad Burritos who ordered eight burritos and so it took the three employees there a huge chunk of time to get them all prepped and cooked up which meant everyone else's order including my own was put on ice and we all had to stand around and wait.

And even the guy who ordered the eight burritos started to look a bit sheepish even though he seemed like the kind of guy who probably didn't need to work construction which I assumed that he did due to his light brown work boots and jeans and old t-shirt although that's never a great thing to do to assume like that even though I could picture him in a sharp suit and going for a real business lunch instead of picking up the kind of meal that's only a few healthy steps up from fast food.

And even the employee who was wrapping up the burritos and grilling them looked apologetic as he gazed at the four of us waiting for our individual burritos as he stacked up the eight for the one guy in a plastic bag with no name on it because it was obvious they didn't get large orders like this very often and thank god for that right because I was certainly regretting coming here when I did waiting fifteen minutes for a blob of chicken, rice, beans, salsa, corn, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and tomatoes when five minutes was the usual.

Which isn't that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things unless within those ten minutes is the time when your fiancee decides to take it upon herself to move a large cumbersome object that would be damn difficult with two and therefore virtually impossible with one and I tried to tell her that in the most gentle and sympathetic way possible as she stared morosely at the splints keeping her lower legs in proper alignment until the casts are applied the next afternoon.

So when that doesn't get the traction I was hoping for I tried to channel her own negativity towards my tardiness onto the reason for my tardiness and started to do an extended disservice towards the guy at Big Bad Burrito who did nothing wrong at all and was in fact a better customer than myself since he ordered eight of the edible namesakes to my single one because in my retelling of the story to Jenna the guy became an obnoxious demanding prick who was rude to the staff yammered on his cell phone incessantly and even spat on the floor once or twice in between muttering for them to hurry the fuck up on his order because he had shit to do.

I stayed at the hospital for something like three hours in a show of support and even when she says she just wants a moment alone all I have to do is go sit in the hospital hallway briefly since she's confined to the bed but eventually the point of me staying when she dozes off to sleep around seven becomes pointless since she won't even know I'm here so I walk home since I got a ride here in the ambulance and it's a decent spring evening so why spring for a taxi or wait for a bus but the buildings I pass seem more impenetrable and foreboding than usual as if they'll judge me if no one else will.

I picture the guy I besmirched for no reason and for no advantage since Jenna didn't seem to care how much of an asshole I made him out to be and I wonder if he got teased or yelled at when he got back to the construction site or whatever because maybe he was also late since he might have thought it wouldn't have taken so long to have eight burritos made and maybe in his defence to his co-workers he cursed out the Big Bad Burrito staff saying that they didn't have the proper amount of people working during the lunch and rush and it's stupid that they only got one guy on the grill.

And now I find myself agreeing with the guys probably fictional argument with his co-workers that it's ridiculous that the burrito place doesn't know how to run their business which is particularly disappointing since it's a franchise of five or six locations in the city so one would think they'd know about the basic stuff of having more workers on hand when there's more people coming in and ordering burritos and not focus blindly on making a shit-ton of money but I guess as you become more successful such trade-offs are inevitable and quality while certainly decline when quantity increases.

Then as I walk up the apparently dangerous steps to my house my phone rings and its Jenna and she asks where I am in that I miss you lots sort of way and wonders if I can bring her a bottle of Orangina because she'd really love one right now so I say sure and turn around and head towards the convenience store down the street hoping that there's no line in there at all.    




What if the assholes you knew in high school grew up to be cops, CEOs, and politicians?