Sunday, September 04, 2005

Fare thee well, Landscaping

Well, ladies and gentlemales, the time has come, once again, for TJ to say goodbye to his summer employment. During the four months of sweat, blood, RedBull and tears, I have found more and more reasons why it is better to sell CDs than it is to mow lawns. There are no swarms of killer bees pouring out of hidden holes on the road. There are no frustratingly stubborn mexicanos who ride next to you and pump Psychedelic Mariachi music or Selena tribute albums all day, every day. At the end of the day on a tour, I smell like whatever paper-wrapped fast food item I have thrown the remnants of into my floorboard. During the summer, I smell like gas, smoke, dirt, sweat, oil, gatorade, and grass. Actually, I might rather smell like landscaping... but anyway- the point is... that I am no longer TJ the Lawn guy. I am now, once again... TJMCCLOUD.COM. Yeah right. Mr "McLood", at Ghettocreek High School is more like it...

In honor of my last day of landscaping, I would like to share a story. It comes secondhand, from my "patrone", or supervisor this summer. He and I became pretty good friends during the summer, and he told me this story. It is too good not to tell. It is, very likely, 100% true.

My buddy on the lawn crew is a recovering alcoholic. Since it is called Alcoholics Anonymous, we will leave his name as J.P. J.P. has been sober for a few years now, and helps out occasionally with counseling and treatment of other addicts. Sometimes this can get a little edgier than one would like, especially when a person is extremely addicted and is going through withdrawals. The practice is to rent a seedy motel room, tie the affected person to the bed, and ween them through their sweats, pain, tremors, and dementia with vodka, mixed with gatorade. Usually two adult males sit with the person, administering the cocktail every four hours or so until the next shift of volunteers shows up, eight hours later.

This particular incident stuck out in JP's mind for what will shortly be obvious reasons.

As he walked in to the little motel room, he felt something strange might happen. The two guys whose shift had ended opened the door, handed them the mixture, and said "Good luck, yall.", with a look in their eyes that said they expected the opposite. JP and his partner, newly sober Kenny, walked into the room and were astounded to see a two hundred and eighty pound Mexican American strapped to the bed, mumbling and cursing under his breath. He had an impressive FuMancu, biceps as big around as watermelons, and tattoos covering most of his upper body that could not have been saying nice things at all. He looked uncannily like From Dusk Till Dawn's Danny Trejo- and not the nice Danny,but the roided-out, vampire Danny.

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It was evident, from the first, that this was not a guy who did anything half way- he would switch between pleading like a helpless child for extra rations of "vodka-rade" to thrashing in a way that suggested he might just be able to break out if he decided to stop playing nicely.

Kenny, our new convert, was pretty white-bread, middle class- and was terrified from the start. When El Terrible started to froth and curse for the first time, he just about bolted. His idea of AA was a meeting and a sponsor, not this semi-exorcism in a dank motel room. JP encouraged him to stay, mostly out of self-preservation, and Ken agreed. As he rolled up his sleeves and took his position at the foot of the bed, the Meximonster settled down. His eyes were unmistakably fixed on Kenny. Kenny looked at JP for help- JP shrugged and mouthed "What! I dont know...."

It was then that EL Musculo spoke, for the first time, intelligibly.

" You got big muscles", he said to a quivering Kenny.

No answer.

"You got beeig muusscles", the man said again, plaintively, almost quietly.

Kenny blurted..." Uh, uh... yeah.. thanks. I dont know- I work out...?"

The man's eyes moved slowly over Kenny's stocky physique.

"Show me yo' muusssels."

"Huh?", said Kenny, more in dread than in question.

"Show me your muusssles, under that shirt you got on. " Louder, now... more forceful. "You got big muscles, muscles like Daddy.... Yeaaah.... Mmmm Muscles like Daddy"

Apparently, now he was Daddy, in this exchange.

At this point, Kenny gathers his things to leave, deciding if anyone was going to show any muscles, he would like to be miles and miles away. JP stopped him.

" You cant leave! Are you really going to let me stay here alone? Step outside if you have to, but do NOT leave me here with this. This guy wants to get sober and we are his only chance right now."

Kenny sat back down and, keeping one eye on the door and one on Daddy, he said he would stay.

The man in the bed started to rock the bedframe back and forth, screaming," Big Muscles like Daddy! Big Muscles like daddy! BEEEEEIIGG MUSCULOS LIKE DAADDY!" He was ranting and thrashing and literally foaming at the mouth, and then in one second, it was over, and his voice was a quiet whisper, he said, in a low, quiet commanding tone ,"show me your muscles."

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JP looked at Kenny and let him know that he was to take off his shirt, and NOW. Kenny pleaded, tried to leave, but in the end, had pledged to stay and help this man, who wants to be sober, any way he can. And what was more, if El Furioso continued in this manner, the ties that held him from unthinkable acts would surely break soon. So, not knowing what else to do, and believing this to be quite possibly the last day of his strictly hetero-sexual life, Kenny grabbed his shirttales and pulled his shirt over his slightly pudgy, mostly muscular physique. He then adjusted and cleaned his glasses on the discarded shirt and waited for whatever was going to happen next.

The man in the bed moaned, panted, grunted... and then his eyes rolled back in his head as he passed out cold. The Meximonster was gone, replaced by a hulk of sleeping tattoos, strapped to a metal bed.

Several hours later, JP and Kenny left, handing the cocktails and tattoos over to the next team. JP thought about warning the new team, but , then, they would have no such story to tell.

Farewell, landscaping, I will miss you.


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At 10:58 PM, Blogger BSC said...

Heh, good story. I had heard that sometimes AA goes to that, but wasn't sure if it was true. Show me your muscles, daddy! I get that all the time too.

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