Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Friday, April 08, 2005

Grumpy Old Saucebrains

I got a call from Dad last night. My grandmother is dying. He quit his job. Shit.

He moved on to the good news. The police visited him again. My dad rents a room in a house that sits alone on a road full of industrial parks. It's a freak of zoning. The house itself sports eight small rooms. The residents fit into two categories: middle-aged divorced bachelors and parolees. This is Dad's second time living there.

The first time he left because he had the worst room. He had to duck under a support beam and walk behind the basement water heater just to get to his door. He's 6'3". Combine that with a bourbon habit and you've got an angry drunk with a perpetually bruised forehead.

There was another factor in his first departure. The drunk in the adjacent basement room died. He was the type who would only leave the house to buy more booze. He would often urinate his pants instead of exiting his cave to go upstairs and use the commode. A filthy man. The other residents, including my father, became concerned when he didn't show his slack face for three days straight. His car was outside.

It took them a few hours but they finally found him dead in his closet, soaked in rum. I asked what had happened. Did he fall into the closet and break his neck? Alcohol poisoning? Prescription overdose? Malnourishment? Nobody knew. I never heard the autopsy results.

Dad moved back in a couple months ago. He'd been kicked out of one residence for rolling around naked in the public hallways. The one after that was dominated by a strange old woman who cooked raspberry pierogies and stank up the house with odd spices and the scent of dyed hair burning on a curling iron. Dad didn't like it, and he had to smoke outside. So he went back to the bachelor/parolee house and scored an upstairs room with a window.

Last Tuesday one of the parolees, Juan, attacked Jimmy, a bachelor. Noses were broken, choke holds were applied, people were thrown, and blood was spilled. The police were called. Juan was evicted and the police wouldn't let him back inside to get his things. Eventually they would arrest him for assault.

Juan called 911 to ask for different policemen. Surprisingly, this helped him none. Jimmy was mad because he'd done Juan's brakes for free the day before. Supposedly the attack was unprovoked. I like Jimmy. He shared some red wine and shrimp linguini alfredo last time I visited, two weeks ago.

Juan is a bipolar alcoholic. He tells a lot of dead baby jokes. Dad is glad he's gone. That's why he was glad to get a visit from the cops. I love my dad. We're going to go see Grandmother on Saturday. Afterwards we'll go get some dinner and play some chess matches.
7:47 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


April 08, 2005 8:18 AM, Blogger Anonysis said...

Maybe I can join you tomorrow. Call me about it. Can I embarrass you sometimes and call you a cupcake?

April 08, 2005 8:38 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

As long as you say nothing about sprinkles, because I have that dandruff problem licked. Have for years.

And you may certainly join us.

April 08, 2005 9:13 AM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

You should pull these pieces together into a book...good stuff again.

April 08, 2005 9:38 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

Wow. Give me a second.......

(pulling himself together, drying the wet corner of his eye, blowing out the sniffles)

Another great piece. And what a great guy your Dad would have to be to put up with all that, AND still have a decent attitude about it all.

April 08, 2005 11:55 AM, Blogger Lostinspace said...

I read your other piece about your dad. Thank you for a heart-wrenching journey. If I were in Illinois, I would go visit your grandmother too. Hmmm. Your dad has been through a lot. And you as well.

April 08, 2005 1:38 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Your dad needs a good realtor. That place sounds like hell.

April 08, 2005 4:36 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Your Dad could move in with you, but that would probably not be good for his mental health.

April 08, 2005 5:42 PM, Blogger Stace said...

I must say that was a GREAT way to mix everything with your dad, in with stuff about your grandmother. Hope things go well when you see her.

April 09, 2005 10:03 AM, Blogger ty bluesmith said...

you're an awesome, awesome writer. you put me there with you.

kerouaced is right, and kind to say that to you.

you should.

maybe we all could put together a book together of our best posts. the pages could even look like the writer's blogger skins.

no one would ever buy it, of course, but we'd all have cool copies to pull off a shelf someday.

i'd dedicate mine to Holden C. and keep it in my back pocket until i was framed when a wife shot her husband on central park west...

April 09, 2005 9:56 PM, Blogger Other Brother said...

It's tough watching your old man get kicked in the nuts by life. It is true. Life is not fair.

April 10, 2005 8:15 PM, Blogger Bookfraud said...

if we didn't have family, we'd have to hire actors to make us crazy.

and i thought i had family issues. good luck.

April 11, 2005 2:42 PM, Blogger Isabella said...

life hurts me because its hard to empathize and judge at the same time. its hard to to hold on to one's own reality all alone, too.

this really is a comment to this post.


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