Midnight Footballl

It’s 1:15am Tucson time and I’m in the house from a drunk point of view. Just got dropped off by Wwhazz and Bellygirl and it was a fun night. We hit the Cafe Poca Cosa downtown (muy bueno Pollo Mole Blah blah) and then a drink at The Shanty, where some nubile women were performing a traditional Pac Man bar crawl. Then I saw Dutty for a few minutes before we headed over to the Palo Verde Bar & Grill for many dinks, drunks, and a show where some chick danceed on the bar. Coyote Ugly it wasn’t. Ugly it kinda was. We finished off the night by hugging in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Palo Verde and then playing catch with the football for 5 minutes. Have a great rest of the trip to San Diego, WWhazz, and Bellygirl!

–i love you guys

44 thoughts on “Midnight Footballl

  1. You mean you love all of us guys, or just the newly transplanted San Diego guys?

    In other news, I did not do so well on the LSAT (or my freshman year of undergrad), hence my purgatory at a private Catholic law school. You really should take the LSAT for kicks … I think you would do really well, Madd Scientist, especially since you seem to enjoy logic, etc. I would strongly advise against law school, however, because it is absolute hell. Most of the people in my class are idiots, as are the lawyers I’m working for now. If you are naturally a mean and angry person, however, you may just fit right in.

    And another thing, it’s not the dogs having rights, it’s this bullshit legal constructive fiction that during a police investigation that a person who has “contraband” (e.g. drugs) has no “reasonable” “expectation of privacy” under 4th Amendment standards (am I right lawman?). Now this is the real bullshit (which ends up propegating the police state that most poor people, especially of color, live under): it’s all just convenient circular reasoning. For example, take two people: one has 350 pounds of pot in the locked trunk of their car, the other one just has a couple bags of old clothes for Goodwill (? random, yes). Each is pulled over for a routine traffic stop. Although the officer who is conducting the stop does not initially know it, the person with contraband apparently does not have “a reasonable expectation of privacy” while the other person with clothes does. But without using a drug dog to sniff each vehicle, the officer will never know this, so a theoretically illegal search is only illegal when the person ends up NOT having any contraband. If they have contraband, it is as if they were guilty in the first place giving the police every opportunity to legally violate their 4th Amendment privacy rights. But the other tension here is the whole theory of “innocent until proven guilty.” But of course in practice, it is even worse. Let’s say the man with bags of clothes in his trunk is a black man in an ’83 Oldsmobile. Likely to be sniffed by a K9? Probably. Let’s say the other car is me in my beat up Corolla with a MULS sticker on the back. Likely to be searched by the K9? I doubt if I’d even NOT be able to talk myself out of a ticket. I really hate it, despite the fact that I theoretically benefit by my race and “class.”

    Plus, like every judge in Milw is a former D.A. (luckily except for mine … I feel compelled to make a smiley face 🙂 ), as is my crim professor.

  2. As I understand it, a person has no expectation of privacy in the contraband itself, not that they have no expectation of privacy period. Thus, a letting a dog that can only detect contraband sniff a car is not a search. If I read Caballes right, a dog that, for whatever reason, would alert the police to lawful stuff (that you would have a privacy interest in) would be a search. That is why the thermal imaging to catch pot growers was deemed a search, b/c it picked up legal and illegal activity.

    Jen, I think the solution to your outrage in terms of dog sniffs, the death penalty etc is to become the district attorney and refuse to prosecute cases that resulted from dog sniffs or impose the death penalty (assuming that you leave Sconnie). I doubt your view of the constitution is ever going to be the law in this country, but just because something is constitutional doesn’t mean it has to be done.

    I would imagine that Madd’s LSAT score would be off the charts.

  3. 1. I think I’m going to train aeden to become a drug sniffing cat.
    2. Hi lawman.
    3. Timmer, I haven’t said much to you lately. How are you doing? I hope that everything is going well at the bank. Lynn must be really busy w/med school. Has she been psychoanalyzing you lately?

  4. horay for the lawman – he’s heard enough! yay lawman! i also plan on taking the LSAT. scientist i challange you to a battle of LSAT scores – but i get a handicap. planning on taking it in the summer.
    yours truly,

  5. just wanted to make sure you all know that i have no interest in taking the LSAT. i get my fill of a legal contact high through lawman. the MCAT sounds like a blast though, so i may be taking that for kicks soon. lynn, any tips?

  6. Lawman, you are so smart. There is no privacy expectation in contraband, but my argument (which Scalia has voiced–just found out today, almost had a stroke) is that the reasoning to support Place (dog sniff of luggage at an a/p is not a search) and Caballes is that whether a dog sniff is a search or not a search just depends on whether the police get lucky in their often racially based suspicions. Lawman, I can never be a DA, primarily because these issues are really interesting to me, but I am more interested in the human contact. Even though DAs are sometimes said to be “representing/advocating for the victim,” I don’t really believe that. My whole theory about why I should be a PD is something I can expound upon later … when I’m not in the middle of class. Oops.

  7. Although if someone dangled a three-figure paying job in front of me, I would immediately abandon my principals. The End.

  8. ok, now i can see the loophole. i was unaware that i had no right to privacy with contraband… the nature of contraband helps make sense of it, but it is still a slippery slope. so, my solution: build a car made entirely out of pup-eroni dog snacks. the dog will invariably either identify the treats in some fashion, or help themselves to a snack. what dog wouldn’t? then i have an illegal search to charge, and hopefully the dog gets fired, and his entire doggy family starves on the mean streets, and ironically enough, turns to drugs. also J, my paypal account was closed on december 18th for edrugtrader and they didn’t give me a reason… i’m of course assuming they thought i was selling real drugs or something like that. i sent emails every day demanding info with claims that i called the better business bureau like 5 times a day. it was going no where. then i got their support on the phone…. now, paypal doesn’t give out their number, i had to get it from paypalsucks.com. so i call up, trap the bitch in like 4 illegal statements, then email them again and tell them to listen to the call and what to listen for, and today my account is back on. i hope that bitch got fired. my favorite part of the call, /
    madd: “so, you agree that this is completely fucking stupid?” /
    bitch: “yes.”…. !#^%!#%#!^

  9. it was full on, no holds barred, logical battle, and this bitch COULD. NOT. HANG. got her in so many circles the bitch could have been a figure skater.

  10. my second favorite line “look, i got NOTHING to do, so maybe i should just COME DOWN THERE?!”… silence. golden silence. i love open ended threats that literally imply no harm. i hate paypal so much.

  11. ok, if cal takes the LSAT, i am definately stepping up. $150 be damned. the only rule: no preperation. the only other rule: good luck. you’ll need it.

  12. “If you are naturally a mean and angry person, however, you may just fit right in.” i don’t think i’m mean or angry… i just create places for it in my life such as the phone call above. example #2? i bought $100 worth of clothes at a store. they had a 25% off promotion if you got a credit card that day. well shit, ok. that was in like september and i still haven’t paid those fuckers. why? why not? since the middle of december they have called me non-stop about 7 times a day. whenever i feel that my “mean and angry” protein producing cells need a fix, i answer…. and curse them out. why? oh christ it is fun. penalties… late charges… etc etc… my balance is at 112.93. so effectively it has cost me $12.93 and a few points on my credit score for months of entertainment and an answer on a scientific experiment. i think i’ll pay it this month though… seriously, if you’ve never done this before… it is good times. and all the while you get $100 worth of clothes that you can wear around knowing you didn’t pay for them. hahahahaha banks and credit agencies indirectly cause all that is wrong with our country. they MUST be fucked with.

  13. here is where MOST people argue… but that person on the phone… that is their job… they didn’t do anything to you… they are just doing their job. LOOK. they CHOOSE to work there. do you think people who are against abortion work in abortion clinics? well, what if they did… would you not call them out on it? please report back if you try my little experiment for yourselves… be sure to really let them have it on the phone though.

  14. oh, and don’t think i start it either, THEY YELL AT YOU! oh man it is hilarious. i’m just playing the game, and the game is GREAT. fuckers use that caller id hack where you can show whatever you want, and it says “call”. to make people think that their cell phone just isn’t showing the number, thus not putting 2+2 together and realizing they have not only a caller-id blocker, but a caller-id spoofer. WHEN CAN WE EXPECT PAYMENT?! WHENEVER YOU WANT! HAHAHAHAHA, OLDIE BUT A GOODIE. seriously. it’s awesome.

  15. somewhere in the endless HYPERBOLE i think i heard a challenge. challenge accepted. the handicap: i can prepare, you can’t. it’s on.

  16. i assure you, you witnessed NO hyperbole, capitalized or otherwise. that miss step will cost you points on the test… i suggest you spend your preparation focusing on your deduction skills.

  17. sooooooooooo many people walked out on “the new world” it wasn’t even funny. america does not like to be reminded of how retarded our value systems are. so much so, that they will call someone on their way out, use the horizontal center isle to use the far exit and get as much face time as possible, and start your call by saying “NO, it sucks.” man i think a lot of people were mad.

  18. If you’re a big fan of Return of the Jedi, you maybe don’t want to read what follows.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Return of the Jedi is a bad movie. I hate to even say it, but goddam it, it’s true. That means the only Star Wars movies I even like are Empire and (marginally) Episode III. What happened to me? I used to love all of the movies equally. I really thought I loved Jedi, but, watching it last night, I was mostly just bored. It’s not even a good story. Like, did anyone mention to George Lucas that it was a bad idea to have the climax involve blowing up the Death Star AGAIN? Didn’t we already see that once, back in 1976? I never really made the connection before that Lucas totally blew it by including a second “more powerful” death star. That’s just shitty writing. Luke could have faced Vader anywhere in the fricking galaxy, which would have been a whole lot more interesting. Hey, fuckhead, we already SAW a death star. It’s not cool anymore. Come up with a new idea. The whole time they’re sitting around with Admiral Ackbar coming up with a plan to destroy the new death star, I was just like, jesus, if he had written this properly, instead of sitting in the rebel boardroom listening to a fish talk, they could have been out battling the empire or something cool. Blah.

    Plus, the whole ewok thing never really bothered me, but jesus christ. It really is stupid.

    The pace of the movie sucks, too. The Jabba scene takes way too long. The whole Endor plot takes forever. ETC. The happy-smappy ending makes me ill.

    You know what else pisses me off? Boba Fett. Here’s another in a long line of potentially awesome characters that is killed off in ridiculous fashion. I mean, Han inadvertently taps him on the ass and he gets eaten by the pit. Fuck you Lucas. Fuck you very much. It’s the same thing with Gen. Grievous and, everyone’s favorite, Darth Maul. These are three characters who are undeveloped at best and throw-away at worst. I’ll admit Grievous was sort of dumb, but I still liked the wheezing old bastard. And I loved Maul. So did you. Who didn’t? But guess what, he gets chopped in half by McGregor (who has proven himself to be only a marginal jedi throughout the series, yet he somehow has the ability to defeat both Maul and Vader) and in the next movie we get all sorts of character development on Dooku, who no one gives a shit about.

    Were I Lucas, I would have eliminated Dooku. I would have let Maul escape in the first movie, Maul would have cut off Anny’s hand in Ep. II, then set up the showdown between Anakin and Maul in Ep. III. Holy shit. That’s a great idea. Too bad Lucas didn’t think of it. Imagine Maul’s horned head getting cut off. Wow. That would have been cool. Instead we get Count Viagra. Christ.

    Furthermore, I would have started the series further down the line, when anakin was, say, 15. Let’s eliminate all pod racing and all that bullshit. People say he had to start anny out as a kid so he could reel in all of the young viewers, but i say fuck that. Luke was twice my age when i first saw him and it didn’t deter from me liking the movies. Start anny out older, show him actually becoming a jedi. EP II would mostly be centered on the clone wars. I mean, we don’t even see any of the war. That’s stupid. Then Ep III would fall roughly in line with the end of the war. There. Perfect symmetry. And I just thought of that now. Lucas was sketching this out since he was, like, 8.

    So, overall, how does one rate the complete series? Jeez. I don’t know. I’m going to have to work through this one guys. This has been a rough epiphany for me. Thanks for listening.

  19. When I say Ep. II would be centered on the war, I mean, show the fucking battles of the war. What’s the point of, at the end of EP II, just showing the marching clone troops. Begun the clone wars have my ass. We don’t even get to see any battles. We don’t see the jedi kicking ass. Maybe we’d have more respect for anny if we saw him actually battling the bad guys in the war. It’s all wrong, Lucas. All of it. You totally fucked it up and I hate you for it.

  20. You know how the Jedi on Geonosis started kicking ass? Imagine all of Ep. II like that. Much cooler than Obi Wan traipsing around the galaxy trying to track down Jango and Anakin escorting Padme to Naboo. Have the fuckers fight someone for a change. In a battle. In a war. The clone wars.

  21. just got the wirkus/bellgirl wedding invite. some poor old man had to walk it to my house from the nearest big city. anyway congrats, pictures looked good. my favorite part was “love is like friendship, just set it on fire” or “take friendship and burn it and that is love” or something like that. looks like a good time was had by all, wish i had made it.

  22. 1. It’s sean, hurray sean! Sean, I was nominally closer to you than ever before when I was in Tucson *dreamy sigh*
    2. K-Car: I firmly agree on all counts. Let’s all just agree that Star Wars (i.e., Ep 4) is the only movie, and that the others were marketing cash-ins by a greedy bastard.

  23. Zach: I’ll mostly agree with you. Mostly. The thing about Ep. 4 is that it’s a good movie despite the primitive effects and Lucas’ trademark shitty dialogue. But, overall, Ep. 5 (Empire) is still king in my mind. Even the bad parts are good. Like when Luke goes to Degoba… pretty boring, Yoda acts like a retard, and yet you get that dream scene when Luke cuts off Vader’s head. That scene is priceless. It’s scary, it’s poignant, it foreshadows Luke’s possible future.

    Then you have the Cloud City betrayal, Vader squelching Han’s blaster with his palm, Han’s torture, etc. The Hoth battle is great, even the snow monster scene is pretty good. Luke fighting Vader is classic, a lot of force throwing involved which is a crowd pleaser. There’s nothing I don’t like about Empire. Unfortunately little if any of that magic filtered down to the other movies.

  24. Now, having said that, let’s give at least some credit for Ep. III. The beheading of Count Viagra was good. The Emperor’s manipulation is at least believable. The scene with him and Anny at the quasi-opera is, I think, very good. You can’t help but tip your hat to Lucas when Anny brandishes his lightsaber in front of that cute little British-speaking padawan. The first time I saw Ep. III I felt pretty bad when all the Jedi were getting killed. However, I left scratching my head at how remarkably easy it was for the lowly clones to wax the exulted Jedi. Finally, the actual fight between Anny and Obi Wan was good, and I thought Obi Wan’s anguish when the battle concluded was palpable. So I’d say Ep. III ranks #2– it’s just that the lead-in was so incredibly inept that no one really cared by the time it came out.

  25. also, k-car, your logic is 100% sound and i agree whole-heartedly. i am going to do something about it.

  26. excellent work k car! i only have one thing to say and it’s about boba fette. here it is: i don’t think he would have been so cool had he not died early and therefore been so obscure. right. like he was a man of mystery. then they had to go and introduce some child of boba fette into it and that was dumb but what are you gonna do. hey another thing. scientist i’ve decided that the handicap i’ve imposed is dumb that you should study! ace it why not – then go to law school and after law school work on productive issues like whatever it doesn’t matter just something productive. don’t you think? but this minirant is in no way condeming your choice of not being in school or having a job i just think structure can be a postive thing in our lives ask wirkuswhazz who– shit it is his brithday! wowowo happy birthday wirkuswhazz!!! anyway i’m going to go and call wirkuswhazz but to be contineed…. hey in honor of wirkuswhazz birthday i’m goin gto post a really really really long thing by one of my favortie authors george saunders. sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry! but it is funny and great- it was in the new yorker a couple years ago under the title of “personal history”. it’s called Chicago Christmas 1984 (i think) anyway on with the show!!! (ps if you don’t have time to read this long thing now you don’t have to but read it later) (pps thank you whazzmaster.com for allowing me to paste long things into public space)Yours truly,Cal

  27. and cal, don’t worry… i’m not doing nothing… i am planning, so i can do something. something big. orca big.

  28. At twenty-six, at the embarrassing end of a series of attempts at channelling Kerouac, I was beyond broke, back in my home town, living in my aunt and uncle’s basement. Having courted and won a girl I had courted but never come close to winning in high school, I was now losing her via my pathetically dwindling prospects. One night she said, “I’m not saying I’m great or anything, but still I think I deserve better than this.
    That fall, my uncle called in a favor and soon I was on a roofing crew, one of three grunts riding from job to job in the freezing open back of a truck. My fellow-grunts, Leon and John, were the only black guys on the crew, and hence I was known as the Great White Hope. Once everyone had seen me work, I became the Great White Dope. Our job was to move the hot tar from a vat on the ground to the place on the roof where the real roofing was done. Leon had a thick Mississippi accent and no top teeth. He stayed on the ground, pulleying the smoking buckets up to us, muttering obscenities at passing grannies and schoolgirls. John was forty-two, gentle-voiced, and dignified, with a salt-and-pepper beard and his own roofing tools, which he brought to work every day, even though he was never allowed to do anything but lug tar. John had roofed all his adult life, and claimed to have virtuosoed his way into this job by appearing on the job site one day and outshingling the best white shingler.
    “I guess I don’t remember that,” said Vic, our supervisor.
    “I don’t think you were there that day maybe,” said John. “It was Lawrence hired me.”
    Lawrence was dead now, a famous Fezziwiggian presence, mourned by all.
    “You are so full of shit,” said Vic. “If you were so fast then, why are you so shitty now?”
    “You roof like my mother,” said Gary, the owner’s brother.
    “Maybe your mother roofs good,” John mumbled.
    “She don’t,” said Gary. “But still she’s faster than you.”
    All that fall, John grieved over the fact that he was not allowed to do the real and dignified work of a master roofer.
    “It ain’t right,” he’d say to me. “I can do it. They need to give me a chance. I’m an older man. Got responsibilities. Can’t just keep carrying tar my whole life.”
    In late November, talk turned to the yearly Christmas party. Drinks and food were on Warner, the owner. People got shitfaced. Also, there was gambling.
    “Then we’re gonna see,” Vic said one day. “We’re gonna see if John here is a better gambler than he is a roofer.”
    “You gotta hope,” said Gary.
    “As a roofer, John, face it, you suck,” Vic said. “Nice guy, shit roofer.”
    “Too fucking slow, John,” Gary said. “We keep giving you chances and you keep screwing it up.”
    “But maybe why he’s a shit roofer is he’s a gambling man,” said Vic.
    “What y’all are gonna find out is I’m a roofer and a gambler both,” said John.
    “Excuse me saying it,” Vic said when John had gone down to help Leon load the cauldron. “But that is a prime example of n*****-think. He thinks he’s a roofer because he says he is. Thinks he can gamble because he says he can.”
    “Has fourteen kids and lets the welfare pay,” said Gary.

    One payday John asked could I give him a ride home. I gave him a ride, but, it turned out not to his home. We drove deep into South Shore, past houses we’d roofed, then into an area too poor to roof, down a block of slumping two-flats
    “My friend’s place,” John said. “I’m gonna get you and your lady some Sherman Juice so you can have a little party.”
    What was Sherman Juice? We’d started drinking at the shop and I was now too drunk to ask. In the kitchen, under duelling photos of M.L.K. and J.F.K., sat an ancient black woman in a rocking chair. A mad kid dashed around, humming at me: You devil, you white. John’s friend did not have any Sherman Juice but did have a Polaroid of his girlfriend going down on him. In the photo, taken from his P.O.V., we could see, in addition to his penis, his feet, in black socks. She was looking at the camera, smiling, sort of.
    “Wow, is she pretty,” I said politely.
    The friend and I sat there together, admiring her. Then John and I went somewhere else. Where we went was John’s wife’s apartment. They lived apart. Living apart, they got more money, and with more money they could buy a house sooner. In the apartment was a TV and fourteen kids around it. John named them, rapid-fire, with only a few stumbles.
    “You really have fourteen kids,” I said.
    “Yes, I do,” he said. “Every one mine. Right, baby?”
    “I should hope so,” said his wife.
    No chairs, no couch, newspapers on the windows. John and his wife cuddled on a blanket.
    “When we get our real house, you come over,” John’s wife said. “Bring your lady.”
    “Bring your lady, and we’ll all of us have dinner,” John said.
    “I hope that day come soon,” said John’s wife.
    “I hope it come damn soon,” John said. “I don’t like all this living separate from my babies.”
    The kids giggled that he’d said “damn.” He went around kissing them all as I paced and lectured myself in the hallway, trying to sober up for the long drive home.

    As long as it didn’t snow, we could roof. Every morning, I woke at four, checked for snow. If there was no snow, I called in. If someone skillless and slow might be useful that day, Warner told me to come in. I rose, put on all five of my shirts (I had no coat), and drove down in my Nova, de-icing the windshield as I went, via reaching out the window and hacking with a putty knife I kept for that purpose.
    From the roofs, the city looked medieval, beautiful. I wrote poems in my head, poems that fizzled out under the weight of their own bloat: O Chicago, giver and taker of life, city of bald men in pool halls, also men of hair, men who have hair, hairy men, etc., etc. On the roofs, we found weird things: a dead rat, a bike tire, somebody’s dragon-headed pool floatie, all frozen stiff.
    Mid-December then, and still no snow. Strange Chicago crèches appeared in front yards: Baby Jesus, freed from the manger, leaned against a Santa sleigh half his height. He was crouching, as if about to jump; he wore just a diaper. Single strings of colored lights lay across bushes, as if someone had hatefully thrown them there. We patched the roof of a Jamaican immigrant whose apartment had nothing in it but hundreds of rags, spread across the floor and hanging from interior clotheslines. Nobody asked why. As we left, she offered us three Diet Rite colas.
    Then it was the Christmas party. The way we knew it was festive was the garage had been cleared of dog shit. It had also been cleared of the dog, a constantly barking mutt who even bit Warner. He bit Warner, he bit the shovel head Warner thrust at him, sometimes we came in and found him resolutely gnawing the leg of the worktable with a fine sustained rage. Tonight, festively, the dog was locked in the cab of a truck. Now and then, he would hurl himself against the windshield, and somebody, festively, would fling at the windshield a plastic fork or a hamburger bun. The other components of the festivity were a plate of cold cuts on the table where normally the gutters were pre-bent, a garbage can full of iced beer, and a cardboard box holding some dice.
    We ate, we drank, the checks were distributed, we waddled drunkenly across South Chicago Avenue to the Currency Exchange to cash the checks, after which the gambling began. I didn’t know a thing about gambling and didn’t want to. I rolled my four fresh hundreds and put them in the front pocket of my tar-stiff jeans, occasionally patting the pocket to make sure they were still real.
    Finally, in terms of money, I got it: money forestalled disgrace. I thought of my aunt, who worked three jobs and whom I had not yet paid a dime for food, and of my girlfriend, who now paid whenever we went out, which was never, because my five shirts were too stained with tar.
    “You ain’t gambling, Leon?” said Vic.
    Leon said something nobody understood, and disappeared out the door.
    “I suspect Leon is pussy-bound,” said Gary.
    “Smart man,” said Vic.
    John did gambler things with his shirtsleeves, spat on his hands, hopped around on one foot, blew on the dice. Then he laid his four hundreds out near the craps box and gave them a lecture: They were to go forth and multiply. They were to find others of their kind and come scampering back.
    Vic had gone to the bank that morning. He showed us his roll. It held maybe three thousand dollars. His wife didn’t dare say shit about it. Who earned it, him or her? “I do,” he answered himself.
    The gambling began. One by one, the guys lost what they felt they could lose and drifted back to stand against the worktable and diddle with the soldering irons. Soon only John was left. Why was John left? Vic kept taunting. A whole autumn of such taunts now did their work. All belittled men dream of huge redemption. Here was John, dreaming. In response to John’s dreaming, Vic and Gary began to speak with mock-professorial diction.
    “Look at this, kindly look at this,” Vic shouted. “John is not, after all, any more a gambler than he is a ergo roofer. That is, he is a equally sucky gambler as he is a suckass roofer.”
    “Are you saying,” said Gary, “that his gambling, in terms of how much does it suck, sucks exactly as much as does suck his roofing?”
    “Perzackly, yup, that is just what I am saying, doctor,” Vic burped.
    John burned. They were going to see. They were going to see that the long years of wrongs done him had created a tremendous backlog of owed good luck, which was going to surge forward now, holy and personal.
    And see they did. Soon John was down to his last hundred, and then he broke it, and then he was down to his last twenty. Then Vic cackled, and John threw his sole remaining five at Vic’s chest. Vic caught it, kissed it, added it to his tremendous wad.
    A light went on in my head and has stayed on ever since: It was all about capital. Vic could lose and lose and never really lose. Once John dipped below four hundred, he was dead. He was dead now.

    Which was when Warner came in and passed out the bonus checks. Warner was the owner, the big man. Tonight he was wearing a tie. Afternoons he drove from site to site in his Lincoln, cranking out estimates, listening to opera, because, he said, though it was fag music, it floated his boat. John took his check, made for the door. I followed him out.
    “You’re doing right,” I said. “Go on home.”
    “Ain’t going home,” John said, and numb-footed across South Chicago again.
    “No, no, no,” I mumbled, vividly drunk, suddenly alive. What had happened to me? Christ, where was I? Whither my promise, my easy season of victories, my field of dominant, my dominant field of my boyhood, boyhood playful triumph?
    It was so cold my little mustache had frozen.
    Our bonuses matched: three hundred each.
    The man at the Currency Exchange looked at us either sadly or suspiciously, I couldn’t tell which. When I doubled back to ask, he reached for something under the counter.
    “Go home, man,” I said to John out on the street. “You at least got your bonus, right?”
    “Can’t, can’t,” John huffed. “Got to get all that back. No way that man’s taking my Christmas money for my babies.”
    “You’re not going to get it back, John,” I said.
    “Ain’t I, though,” he said.
    The same law that had broken him the first time broke him again. Vic took it and took it.
    “Vic, Vic,” I said, so drunk I was unsure I was actually speaking.
    “What am I supposed to do?” Vic said, glaring at me. “He’s a man, right? He wants to play. Ain’t nobody forcing him.”
    “Ain’t nobody forcing me,” John said.
    Vic had a fat round face and little black glasses. He was Polish but looked kamikaze. His cheeks were red and his glasses were fogged, it seemed to me, from the gross extent of his trickery.
    “You want to quit, John?” Vic said. “Great White Dope here thinks I’m hustling you. Maybe you should quit. So what if you suck as a gambler? Just walk away, right?”
    “Nobody hustling nobody here,” said John.
    “See, Dope?” Vic said to me. “John’s a man.”
    “I am that,” said John.
    Soon John was wadding and throwing his last ten.
    “Fair’s fair,” he gasped, and lurched out.
    I followed. Should I offer him mine? If I offered him mine, he might take it. So I offered him a portion of mine in a way that simultaneously offered and made it clear I was not offering. He said he didn’t want none of mine. He had to get home. His babies were waiting. He didn’t know what his wife would say, or what he would say to her.
    “I’ll have to just tell her, I guess,” he said. “Just up and say it, get it over with: Baby, they ain’t no Christmas. And don’t give me no lip about it.”
    He wiped his face top to bottom, the saddest gesture I’d ever seen.
    Then he walked off into the side-blowing snow.
    I was sad yet happy. I was drunk. I was deeply, deeply glad I wasn’t him.
    Back inside, Vic was protesting, though nobody was asking him to.
    “A man’s a man,” he was saying. “You play, you lose, you accept it. John’s a man. He knows that. He gets that. I admire that.”
    “He’s gonna have a shit Christmas, though,” somebody said.
    “These people live for shit Christmases,” Vic said. “They run right directly toward shit Christmases. It’s all they know. It’s in their blood.” Then he put his wad back in his pocket.
    The craps box was cast aside, and the roofers bent to their drinks. Somebody hauled over a length of gutter and a few of them went at it with tin snips, proving some point or other.
    I stumbled out to my Nova, putty-knifed myself a sight-hole, drove home.

    There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing. Then you decide to really stop losing and continue losing. The losing goes on and on so long you begin to watch with curiosity wondering how low you can go.
    All that winter, once a week or so, I’d been stopping at a pay phone off Stony Island to call the Field Museum, where a kind woman had once praised my qualifications.
    “Anything yet?” I’d say.
    “Not yet,” she’d say. Once, she said, “We need a security guard, ha-ha, but that, of course, is way beneath your level.”
    “Oh, ha-ha, right,” I said.
    But I was thinking, Could I work my way up? Could I, in my security-guard uniform, befriend a doddering curator, impress him with my knowledge of fossils, my work ethic, my quiet respect for science?
    “Keep calling, though,” she said.
    “Oh, I will,” I said.
    And I did, until finally it got too embarrassing, and I stopped.
    Early spring, I fled town, leaving my aunt unrepaid, my girlfriend convinced, forever, I suppose, that this snivelling lesser me was the real one.
    I went somewhere else and started over, pulled head out of ass, made a better life. And I wouldn’t go back to that roofing me or that roofing time for anything in the world.
    But sometimes I imagine myself standing at that pay phone, in my tar-hardened clothes.
    “This is so great,” the Field Museum woman is saying. “Come down, come down, we finally have something suitable for you. I’m so happy to finally be able to tell you this.”
    “I’ll be right there,” I say.
    Then it’s a few weeks later, after first payday, and I pull up to my girlfriend’s house, wearing clean clothes. All day long, I have been, say, writing about the brontosaurus. I have certainly, at this point, learned a lot about brontosauri. In fact, I have been selected to go to a Brontosaurus Conference in, say, Miami, Florida. We go out to dinner. My aunt meets us there. I have by now repaid her for all the food she fed me those many months. Also, I’ve bought her a new dress, just to be nice. The dinner is excellent. I pay. After dinner, the three of us sit there laughing, laughing about the fact that I, an assistant curator at the famous Field Museum, was once a joke of a roofer who worked with jerks, jerks who didn’t like me, and who cheated a nice man out of his Christmas.

  29. Cal: I appreciate your comment about Boba Fett (I’m pretty sure it’s spelled Fett and if not fuck it, it’s spelled that way in my mind, so it’s right) but, unfortunately, you’re wrong again. Think about it. Lucas goes to an incredible amount of trouble to show us that Fett is Jango’s (by the way, what a shitty name, Jango) seed, right? Well, that’s great, but why go to all that trouble when Boba’s role ends up being so fucking insignificant? Yeah, yeah, he tracked down Solo. That’s not the point. The point is he could have been involved in some cool shit. It would have helped the story overall. Greatly helped it. I mean, I could have written some plot lines for Boba on a napkin. Believable ones. But what do we get from him? Nothing. And your comment about him being a mystery man is fallacy. He’s not a mystery man, we know a lot about him. More than most Star Wars characters. For Christ sake, we basically see him grow up in Ep. II. And if your line of thinking about being a mystery man was followed through to a logical conclusion, that would mean that Vader’s character is somehow diminished because he isn’t a mystery, being that we know his whole damn life story. And of course, that’s just not the case. Vader is the greatest villian of all time.

    Cal, What I’m saying is the way Lucas handled Boba’s character, particularly his death, was abysmal. Boba’s death was accidental. ACCIDENTAL!!! It probably said “accidental” on his death certificate. Fett was a potentially great character who was aggregiously underdeveloped. I think Lucas seriously fucked up by not including him in some capacity in Ep. III. Think about it. Dude could have been bounty hunting Jedi or doing some cool shit in Ep. III, I mean you sort of EXPECTED it after the events of Ep II. It seemed like they were setting him up for some major face-time in Ep. III. Instead… nothing. It’s a joke. Thinking about it chronologically– Fett must have been, like, 35, maybe 40, by the time he appeared in Empire. What the fuck was happening with him during the Clone wars? How did he cut his teeth as a bounty hunter? I’d rather see that than, well, all of Ep. II basically. Missed fucking opportunity Mr. Lucas. You fuckwad.

  30. So if Anakin is, what, 24? 25? when he becomes Vader, Luke is probably two days old (when his old man puts on the suit). Luke must be approximately 20-21 in Ep IV. If that’s the case, Boba has to be at least 15 years older than Luke (being as he’s maybe 10 in EP. II and perhaps 5 years pass between Ep. II and Ep. III), and probably older than that, right? Add 20 years to that (when Luke’s farming on Tatooine) and Boba’s got to be pushing 35 *at least* by the time Empire rolls around. That’s a lot of bounty hunting we never get to see. God, the more I think about it, the more pissed off I get.

  31. Remember when Mace cuts off Jango’s head? And Boba’s watching, like, that fucker just cut of my dad’s head… Right there, potential for character development. Imagine: Boba scours the galaxy, hunting Jedi to avenge his father’s death. See, it’s not that hard. It’s 9:31pm in Marinette. I’ve had 5 MGDs. It took me 3 minutes to come up with that. Lucas had his whole life and look what we got. A handful of shit.

  32. Nothing you have said is untrue. I agree completely with everything. A time machine would be nice right now.

  33. most of your complaints hinge around undeveloped story lines… what if lucas’ vision was a seinfeldesque story, where nothing happens, but anything COULD happen if you used your own imagination… would any of those boba fett story lines on your napkin match up with other fans stories on their own napkins? it’s just a make believe world. and when you realize that, i will be there to hold you while you cry.

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