Why Can’t Ahab Hunt the White Hen?
Gotta get out of this job.
I wish the White Hen building would sprout giant chicken legs and run away like a Russian fairy tale.
I dislike most every inch of it. I hate working 50+ hours a week, just to barely make my minimum loan payments. I hate being at the mercy of every creep and looser that comes out of Island Lake’s cracks in the wee hours (and there are a lot of cracks…oh there are some nice late night misfits, and we can smell our own, but there are plenty of carbon based life forms I could do without on this gig). Stories of what happened to other night shift people who got robbed at many of the surrounding White Hen’s doesn’t help (I suppose I’m lucky the cops visit mine so regularly). But even worse than that…I’ve been missing out on a lot lately—had to skip out early on a good friend’s wedding reception—missed the double feature of Psycho and The Birds at the outdoor theater—and tonight is the last meeting of Twilight Tales at The Red Lion Pub…and I’m missing it.
The Red Lion, a building with a lot of ghosts, a lot of memories, built in 1880, and chalked full of creaky, precarious charm, is receiving renovations…but not just renovations…they’re tearing up the whole building and rebuilding it from the ground up. I know the Red Lion will be back…I know I’ll still get to read at Twilight Tales (they’re temporarily moving to another location)…but I’ll miss the old Red Lion. I spend enough time in safe, modern buildings…I want to drink rum and beer and read ghost stories in a place that speaks and creaks, under the beer garden tree, over a congress of very large, and by now very literary, rats.
As far as I can tell, the Medieval Times gig did not pan out. My little sister got a call back over a week ago and will be doing further auditions…but I haven’t heard anything.
Alas…and all that.
However, breath expended to cheer me up would be better spent wishing my little sis luck.
Auxiliary Escape Pods
I’m sure there must be another way to escape this White Hen. The problem is it sucks up so much of my time…it’s hard to take the time to make the escape—this convenience store is like a nasty, self-fulfilling prophecy…one that sells tasty sandwiches and burnt coffee.
I’m applying, near every day, for various teaching, tutoring, and writing type positions. Haven’t heard anything back yet.
Hyena In My Throat
White Hen did afford me a moment of amusement. I was working, per usual, when a couple of college-age guys came in the convenience store. They made their purchase, looked at me, did a double take, and one of them said:
“Dude. Dude! OK. I’ve got two questions. First, have you ever seen the movie, Clerks? And—”
“Yes,” I interrupted, “And I know what the second question is, and yes.”
I then gave them an abbreviated story of the Halloweens and events that Nick and I went as Jay and Silent Bob—how we won several hundred dollars at a costume contest and how dressing like the duo even got us on stage with Jenna Jameson once upon a time. They were impressed, thanked me, and took their purchases and were about to leave…when the guy who spoke up originally suddenly stiffened. I could almost hear the gears turning and saw the light bulb over the head flicker precariously, the wattage far exceeding the fortitude of the filament. He was in the throes of an epiphany. He turned around, came back and delivered it unto me…
“Dude, do you not find it ironic that someone who looks like Silent Bob now works as a . . . . clerk?”
Sometimes, despite ourselves, we laugh. Hard.
I’ve developed a ritual of sorts, over the last two weeks.
By the end of a graveyard shift at the Hen, my back and feet hurt. A lot. I’m more of a shower person…but I’ve started soaking in the tub after most shifts. But with so little spare time…I hate to waste it…I wanted to validate it somehow. Absorbing stories is enough validation for my time so I started bringing the I-Pod with me. I soak in lava hot water, turn the lights out, and sit in sense deprivation, in a warm womb of audio fiction via the head-phones.
Mostly, I listen to free podcast horror fiction at Pseudopod.
In the dark of Sunday morning, not feeling like drawing a bath, I felt like something different, to celebrate the coming of my one day off and October (or rather, October’s Eve). I grabbed my coat and fedora to keep warm, sat in the back yard, and smoked rum-dipped cigarillos, and listened to some of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes (a quintessential October story) and stared into the forest until it stared back…or the sun rose…
I don’t remember which happened first.
Ghost Stories at the Bog
I’ll make another post on this, with more details, tomorrow—but on Saturday, October 13th, there will be professional storytellers telling ghost tales at Volo Bog. It’s a very fun event. I’ll likely be going and I’ll likely make reservations come Thursday. If you want to come, let me know, and I’ll reserve a spot.