Oh where can I begin, how can I begin to tell you about the exhausting events of this Thursday?
I was clean shaven, dressed in slacks and a crisp white shirt. Now I wasn't dressed up for work, as far as I'm concerned I could show up for work in my feety pajamas and not care what they have to say. This was traffic court and I was going to try and get out of a fine.
I suppose on some level it was morally wrong for me to try and get this ticket reduced, after all the officer did have me dead to rights. Yes my license plate had expired. Yes it was several months overdue. My only excuse and defense was that the car was in my wife's name and only she could do the renewing.
Actually it sometimes disturbs me to think of how much of my finances and property are in my wife's name. It had been done for expediency and because I had a bad habit of trading my paychecks for magic beans but it had led to a situation where my missus could ruin me financially with relative ease. That's right dear reader, my wife can not only beat me up she can also render me homeless as well.
Somehow that makes her all the more sexy to me for reasons only my therapist could understand.
So I headed in to traffic court, I had the directions all printed out and I gave myself plenty of time to get there but sadly Mapquest can be a cruel mistress and I found out far to late that I had parked several blocks away and been sent in the wrong direction. I like to think that for years to come the owners and employees will tell stories of the well dressed bald man that stood near the lunch counter shouting "I object!" whenever he was asked what his order was.
Well I made that last bit up, but I did get myself good and lost that day. I managed to get to the courthouse just in time, relatively speaking because when I got to the courthouse I found a line stretching out into the parking lot. Apparently the courthouse only used one of its entrances so every person entering could pass through a metal detector and get a good wanding as well.
Ah well, its been years since I had a good wanding.
So there I stood in the rain, surrounded by equally grumpy people with sweaty citations in their hands. Some smoked, some spit and conversations rippled up and down the line.
"...how long do they expect us to wait out here?"
"That's security man, They gotta make sure no one is carrying weapons or nothin'."
"Damn that Bin Laden."
"Why would Bin Laden attack a courthouse in North Carolina?"
"Because he hates our freedom."
I waited in the cold, trying to distract myself with thoughts of the warm embrace of my wife. Maybe we would have a chance to spend some time together. Of course not every conversation was so deeply political, some were personal.
"...and then I told him I wasn't havin' the fuckin' restraining order lifted until the sonovabitch gives me my Christian rock albums back."
"What the Hell for?"
"Have you heard that shit they play on the radio now? I don't want my babies exposed to that kind of fuckin' filth."
The line moved sluggishly, the people that had brought babies with them shifted anxiously in place, some customers saw the line as an opportunity.
"...and then I have to come back here again next week."
"Minor possession, I had a dime bag. Luckily they didn't find the oxy I had hidden in my shoes."
"You get that from the same dealer?"
"All my guy has lately is codeine and Tylenol three."
"We should totally exchange our dealer's numbers."
"Hang on let me get my Blackberry."
"Sure, hey what are you here for?"
"I'm trying to get this restraining order removed. My ex is all up in my face about some CDs she thinks I took."
"BILLY? IS THAT YOU? YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO STAY 100 FEET AWAY YOU MUSIC STEALING MOTHERFUCKER!!!!"
After about an hour I got into the courthouse, one intimate wanding later I was in line to get into the courtroom. Once I was in the courtroom they directed me to a bench and told me to wait. The procedure was simple, the Assistant District Attorney called you up and tried to negotiate a plea bargain and if no agreement was reached they set a trial date. It was a lot like LAW AND ORDER except without the murders and dramatic music.
When my turn came I was able to explain and show her some paperwork. More paper work was needed before the charges could be dismissed or downgraded and a continuance was scheduled for next month. I really wasn't happy with that but the clock was ticking and I still had to get to work.
That done I walked the half a mile or so back to my car and headed in to work. As I got settled in Mr. Kupua asked me how I was doing and I answered quite honestly, "I feel like kicking someone's ass today."
He regarded me strangely and headed back to his office. That didn't worry me. Being regarded strangely comes with the territory of being Al Bruno III.
The first part of my shift went by smoothly but I was feeling a little worn out, and that was either because I had gotten up about three hours before my usual time or because my subconscious was trying to save my sanity from the doldrums of my job. I wondered what my wife was doing. I really hoped we might get my daughter to bed early. I wanted to spend some quality time with my missus.
Stay in school kids, stay in school.
When break time came I headed into the bathroom and splashed some cold water in my face. I took a moment to examine the face in the mirror before me; the expanding wattle, the baggy eyes, the aggressive baldness. Who was this middle aged man and were had the kid I used to be gone? I don't think I it would bother me so much if not for the fact that I still don't feel like a grown up. When I stop being foolish and silly? When would I be financially wide and secure? When would I stop masturbating?
But lets be honest here, my only real hope at this point is for financial security.
When I headed out to my desk Mr. Kupua was waiting for me, he told me we had to take a meeting. I could only worry that my hobby of writing blog posts like this one instead of working had finally caught up with me.
Oh wait. hang on while I minimize my screen.
Ok we're back.
So I followed Mr. Kupua to his office and I found Mr. Wisakedjak waiting for us. I became acutely aware of two things, first of all that each of them was at least 15 years younger than me, the other was that they both looked pretty damn serious.
Now as far as the age of these guys, that didn't really but me. I had never really chased the whole management thing, mostly because I was well aware that my inability to not roll my eyes and groan audibly when things like "Competitive Synergy" were said would get me fired pretty damn quick.
Now as for why they were so darn serious? I started to get worried, really worried, left the Christy Canyon DVD in the player and my wife found it worried.
"Please sit down Al." Mr. Kupua said.
I nodded, "Sure sure."
"Uh, that's my seat."
I sat on the other side of the desk and tried to stay calm and not fart audibly.
"Now Al," he continued, "I have asked Mr. Wisakedjak here to be a witness to this."
"A witness to what?" I asked, "Did I win something?"
If anything Mr. Kupua became more serious making me more worried, after all this was good material I was using on him not like the stuff I do here.
Hey come on readers, its free after all, what did you expect?
Anyway, Mr. Kupua handed me a sheet of official looking paper and said, "You have taken the required course on workplace violence haven't you?"
"Uh, sure." I looked to Mr. Wisakedjak for a little help but his expression was stony, and not the good kind of stony but I have heard rumors about him.
"Well Al, what you said earlier about kicking ass constitutes a terrorist style threat to your co-workers."
I was dumbfounded, "What?"
"I think the training video was clear about the boundaries of what constitutes an act of battery."
I cleared my throat to try and clear the trembling from my voice, "Well first of all I think that a workplace violence training video starring Chuck Norris sends a mixed message of the highest order but also you know I was joking. I joke all the time! I'm quippy!"
Mr. Kupua tried to cut me off, "Now Al..."
"I am! Just check my resume! It says 'hard working, dedicated and quippy'!"
"Al please don't act like this. By your own admission you are aware of the policy."
Mr. Wisakedjak nodded, "You should be thanking him, he would have been within his rights to fire you."
Mr. Kupua frowned, "Very true, as it is you will be on a 90 day probationary period."
"After you take the mandatory sensitivity training."
Let me correct myself, I wasn't dumbfounded before. NOW I was dumbfounded,, "Sensitivity training? Sensitivity training? I am sensitive! I'm more sensitive than the nipples of a 12 year old boy."
Mr. Wisakedjak groaned, "Now that could constitute sexual harassment."
"You know Al, when I read in your file that you were an H.R. nightmare I thought they were joking." Mr. Kupua said.
Why does every employee file I ever had say that? is it my jokes? My easy going attitude? My smoldering sexuality?
"I need you to sign this write up form please." Mr. Kupua pushed the sheet of paper towards me.
Mr. Wisakedjak handed me a pen, "All things like this must be documented."
I could feel the office closing in around me, I was sweating and my gorge was rising, As I took the pen and signed the form I thought of my daughter, my wife, my pets and my web page. If I lost this job what would I do? This was a bad economy and I wasn't sure I would be able to fake another useful skill set with a tarted up resume.
With the paperwork signed I slumped back in my chair my posture defeated, "Listen I'm sorry guys. I never meant to cause a situation like this. I'll do my best to behave more professionally in the-"
I was cut off by the sound of a shredder. Mr. Kupua had just fed my write up form into it. I blinked. That was all I could do.
Both supervisors broke into laughter. "If you could have seen your face!" Mr. Wisakedjak wiped tears from his eyes.
"Huh?" I said.
Mr. Kupua said, "We reeled you in like a marlin man."
And then I realized it was a prank, or as those of you without gray hairs would say I had been punked. "Why would you do such a thing?" I asked.
"Now we're even for the time you unplugged my keyboard."
"And for the time you filled my lunchbox with rubber spiders." Mr. Wisakedjak added.
So they had gotten even. Good for them. In fact we all had a good laugh about it once I finished throwing up into Mr. Kupua's wastebasket. In fact I was smiling when I got home but I stopped smiling when I walked in the door because my dog Jake was having an episode.
Now we have 1 cat and 2 dogs. The cat is a reclusive black furred ball of fur with fierce eyes and a comic overbite, my daughter named him Fango B. Jango. The we have our two dogs Jake and Maddie. Maddie is an exuberant Lab mix that has been a constant source of amusement and property damage, we've had her since she was a puppy. Our other dog is Jake and we rescued him from a shelter, he's an oversized rat terrier with a trimmed tail and Marty Feldman eyes.
When we got Jake he was three years old and he had almost died of malnutrition and heartworms, the shelter had begun the process of bring Jake back from the brink and we finished it. Now I love Jake, he is my buddy.
But Jake to put it simply has issues.
He is terrified of being picked up, of certain hats, of pit bulls and stray cats, and of strange men standing too close to my wife and daughter.
So I got home to find the bedroom door closed and Jake acting frantic. I called for my wife and she called for me from behind the closed door.
Hmmmm. I thought, Is my daughter over at her friends house for the night, or her grandparents? Are there marital relations in my future?
Oh dear reader I was looking forward to this after the day I had suffered.
I threw open the door expectantly and I heard my daughter scream, "Daddy NO!"
She was holding a cat I had never seen before on her lap. Was is the operative phrase here because Jake came charging in the room, barking wildly with his hackles raised. The cat hissed and darted under the bed. This drove Maddie out from her hiding spot under the bed. A hissing, barking, crying, shouting cacophony filled my bedroom.
This was not the pussy I was hoping for.