Tales From The Thrift Store: A Member in the Hand is Worth a Guy in the Bush

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As I, Superhero Thrift Store Manager, arrived in Ghettoville Friday morning at 10 a.m. to open up as usual, I happened to glance off to my right and see something curious in the bushes. This was just after I finished cutting through the front door lock with my laser heat vision. Okay, okay, fine. You got me. I only turned the key. I did notice something off to the right that caught my attention, though.

Back in the corner, behind a series of bushes, I saw what appeared to be…a human head. It’s okay to freak out at this point. I did. Screamed like a girl and peed myself a little. Upon further investigation, though, the head happened to be attached to a body, and this body happened to be passed out across the top of a sleeping bag.

Yes, it was what it looked like. A squatter was camped out in our church shrubbery, clearly loitering, trespassing, and well…judging by the mess of trash that lay around him, littering, too.

So, I did what any red-blooded American would have done when faced with such a situation. I called the local law enforc…

Oh, come on. No I didn’t. I run a charity here. I went inside, grabbed a couple of bottled waters, a pop top can of ravioli, 3 Slim Jims, a Nutri Grain Bar, and went back out to rouse sleeping beauty. No kisses were doled out in this version of the story, though. I’m not THAT charitable.

He was a skinny Mexican gentleman. Or maybe Puerto Rican, I don’t know. I’m bad with nationalities. I once thought Michael Jackson was black. All I know is that this guy was maybe 5’7, dark haired, brown skinned, mustachioed, and weighed about 95 pounds soaking wet. He had his shirt and shoes off and was lying on his back across the top of his navy blue sleep sack, with his hand crammed firmly down the front of his pants and a death grip on his manhood.

I puzzled at his chosen slumber position for a moment before waking him. Was that for protection against any knife wielding maniacs that might happen upon him asleep there in the bushes, or was he merely having a pleasant dream? I gave a whistle to try and rouse him. He didn’t stir. Heavy sleeper, this guy. I yelled, “Good morning. Hey. Hello.” Loud enough that his bloodshot eyes finally started to open at a pace slow enough that one would have thought they were stuffed with peanut butter.

Now, you can call me stupid for approaching a sleeping homeless man all alone, but I think we’ve already established previously that I’m not always in the habit of thinking things through. Where others see danger, I simply see opportunities for charity. Yes, it may get me killed one day, but no one lives forever. If I’m going to go, I may as well go out giving.

Anyway, imagine his surprise when he opened his eyes to find a short, fat, white woman hovering over him. He quickly released his member, yanked his hand out of his pants, and proceeded to rub it across his sleep palsied face. Yeah. Eww. I caught the hint of panic in his suddenly fully awake and animated movements, so I said, “Whoa, whoa. It’s okay. I’m not about to call the police. We already knew you were back here.” Which was the truth, we did. Well, not him specifically, of course. One of our Deacons had discovered his belongings in the bushes a couple of weeks prior, and was going to speak with whomever the items belonged to about the litter around the little hidden campsite.  He never showed up that day, though, so that conversation was never had.

I handed him the food that I had brought him and said, “Here’s something for you to eat and some bottled water. You’re alright. Please, just clean up your litter, okay? If you want, you can come see me in the thrift store and help yourself to a change of clothes.” He responded with, “Okay. Thank you.”

He never came in to see me, and made himself scarce for the rest of the day.

So I went about my business parked lazily behind the thrift store desk, laptop open in front of me. Hey, I have no internet at the store, so writing is what I do to wile away the hours.

An hour or so after opening, a woman of about 70 came into the store to peruse the discount fodder. She was about my height, 5’2, with a chunky build, shoulder length white hair pulled back by a headband, stretchy black yoga pants, a grey t-shirt with the name of some charity foundation on it, a Rasta colored bracelet, funky beaded necklace, and tennis shoes. I looked down at my own stretchy black yoga pants, t-shirt, and tennis shoes, and back up at the lady who smiled at me from the back of the store. It was like I was looking into some crazy time lapse mirror. When she turned away, I elbowed my daughter and said, “I think I just caught a glimpse of my future.” She agreed that she had been thinking something along those lines, too. I gave a nervous laugh.

I went back to pecking at the keyboard with all the swiftness of a dying tortoise.

Then, later that afternoon, Queen Sneezy came in. I have never in my life heard a person sneeze that many times in a row. I stopped saying, “bless you” after about the 15th one. My daughter swears she lost count after 40. I was wondering if I was going to have to call the paramedics. If I did have to, what would I tell them? “Yeah. I have this lady here sneezing herself to death. Mouth to mouth? I don’t think so.”

I think the whole thing was Ray’s fault. Ray Darr. The world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit. Now he’s trying to kill people with his dirty rabbit dander. We recently found out that he’s just a baby bunny because his little…okay enormous rabbit jewels finally dropped. We’re all still puzzling over that one. How could he be a baby when he’s bigger than some of the Great Danes in the neighborhood? Seriously. The earth shakes when this guy hops.

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See? This is what happens when we bring Ray to the store. He tries to kill people.

Anyway, that about sums up my Friday in the land of crazy.

Stay tuned for Saturday’s tales of Insanity.

Until next time, readers…stay out of the bushes.

Road Trippin’: This Isn’t The High You Were Looking For

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A few hours ago, we set out on our grand adventure toward Grandma and Grandpa’s house; one hubby, 2 out of 5 kids, one stupid rabbit, and…yours truly. We’ll pick up the red-headed child that flew up a month ago to spend some quality summer time with the grandparents, and bring her back with us. So, that’s 3 hours down, 16 to go. Twelve hundred and something total miles to cover. All the more time for writing, I suppose.

Our trip didn’t get off to a great start. I was admittedly in a terrible mood when we left. As I was cleaning up the house before we embarked on this little 10 day excursion, I discovered that at some point this past week, my son had spilled cherry lime-aid on his bedroom carpet and didn’t bother to tell anyone…or clean it up. Hello…OCD here. When I saw the stain, my anxiety level shot up somewhere around an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. I did the best I could with a can of carpet cleaner, wash cloths, and my own salty tears, but the stain had just had too much time to set in and will now forever be a blaring pink reminder not to let an 11 year old take anything more colorful than water into a room with light beige carpets.

I’ve calmed down quite a bit over the course of the few hours since we’ve left home, though. I can’t change it, and there’s nothing I can do but except it, so on with the show I must go.

The smell of feet starts wafting up from the back seat. One of the “youngins” has likely taken their shoes off in an effort to get comfortable. Or maybe it’s armpit that I smell. Or maybe it’s Ray. Ray Darr. The rabbit that Satan would choose if Satan decided to own a pet rabbit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE bunnies; those cute little balls of fluff with their smooshy little whiskered faces, floppy ears, and cotton tails. As a matter of fact, my husband has called me “Bunny” now for the past 10 and a half years that we’ve been married, because of my extreme love for those cute little critters. The ones that make you say, “Awwww” out loud and kick in some internal desire to pick them up and hug them, no matter who you are, or how hard hearted you claim to be.

Ray, however, is what happens to those cute, fluffy little balls of fur if you get them wet or feed them after midnight. He’s isn’t just enormous in size, he’s an enormous menace. He never stops eating, and he leaves a wake of destruction behind him wherever he goes; along with clumps of fur and a continuous trail of food-fueled rabbit ‘gifts’.

We’ve only had Ray for about 6 weeks now; 6 excruciatingly long weeks.

My husband walked into a vacant apartment at the property that he manages a few days after he had evicted the former tenant, and there sat a very hungry, very thirsty, very lonely Ray. My daughter happened to be at the office with my hubby that day, and as soon as he made the mistake of showing her what he had found, we were officially doomed to a life that now included the world’s worst excuse for a pet.

The very second Ray’s teeth touch anything, that item has officially become useless trash. In his first few days with us, he managed to destroy a phone charger, 3 sets of headphones, a TV remote, half a book cover, and my magazine basket. He likes to pull movies off the shelf and extract them from their cases, too. He inflicts this damage faster that the speed of light. He’s like a hairy hurricane. I shut him in one of the bathrooms to try and keep him out of trouble while I cleaned his cage before our journey, and when I went in to get him, he had the contents of the garbage can spilled all over the floor and was just finishing off the last of a tampon wrapper. Yeah, you can say it…gross. Good ol’ Ray. Well he might be good…with a side of roasted potatoes and baby carrots. I glare at him. He twitches an ear and tries to look innocent. I heave a sigh.

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Ray being a nuisance as usual

I have two choices at this point. I can either grin and bear the stench assaulting my nostrils from the back of the minivan, or I can roll down my window and breathe in the fresh Georgia air. If I roll down my window, though, I’ll end up eating my own hair; that wispy stuff along the sides of my face that absolutely refuses to stay caught up in my hair clip along with the rest of my greying mane. I opt to silently suffer and maintain my current position as the Mayor of Stinkyville.

The Hubster would like me to converse with him more, to keep him entertained. He isn’t the best conversationalist, though, often responding with no more than the occasional, “yep” or “uh huh”. Now, as adept as I am at running my mouth until I run out of breath, I’m just not skilled enough to hold up both ends of a conversation for 19 hours straight. So, he’s opted for the second best choice to keep himself functional enough to drive…sunflower seeds. He claims that having to work his jaws to get them out of their salty shells keeps him awake while driving. He tries to throw his shells out the window after he’s extracted the nutty goodness inside. This somewhat alleviates the odor problem created by the 4 legged nuisance behind me, but half of those shells fly back into the vehicle and land in my lap. Thank you, honey. I love you, too.

We just made a stop at a gas station to fill the tank in the minivan and empty our own personal tanks. One of the gas station employees was walking out of the restroom as I was walking in. Once inside, I noticed all of the used paper towels lying all over the floor. Really? You couldn’t have taken 20 seconds to pick those up while you were in there? There was human excrement on the floor behind the toilet in one of bathroom stalls. It looked to have been there for a day or 2. Just another reminder that I live in the land of the free and the home of the lazy. My obsequiously friendly hubby was snubbed by the rude, grumpy cashier as he paid for our gas, too. Does no one in this country have work ethic anymore?

We’ll be on the road again all of 5 minutes before someone in the back seat will say, “When are we gonna stop somewhere? I’ve gotta pee.” The Hubster and I will glance at each other, roll our eyes, and vow to stop letting the offspring drink so much on long trips. It’ll never stick though. We’re just a couple of softies.

At one point, we spent some time stuck behind a tractor moving at a slow crawl down a 2 lane stretch of country road. I refrained from rolling down my window and reminding the well-tanned gent behind the wheel with the dirty ball cap and wad of chew packed tightly into his cheek like a gathering chipmunk, that the speed limit is 45, not 4 or 5. Road rage really just isn’t my style. I opted to exhibit saintly patience and just counted corn fields as we waited to pass. I lost track before we were finally able to extract ourselves from John Deere’s convoy and be on our way again.

I should probably quit rambling and get in a couple hours of sleep so that I can take my turn behind the wheel later.  In case I forgot to mention it, we plan to travel straight on through the night. This runaway circus train won’t stop until we’ve reached our final destination.

So, I’ll end with that eternal question that must be asked at least two dozen times per hour while on a road trip to anywhere…

Are we there yet?