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Wednesday, 03 September
Transinaction

I once again took an adventurous journey into the local liquor store today, which features the Appalling State Liquor Clerk. He was, of course, the only one there, so it was impossible to duck him. The conversation was, as usual, typically perverse and unpleasant, not to mention outrageously overlong, as the government-issue credit card machinery was behaving chaotically; we stood there staring at the tiny box for a while, waiting for digital concordance to happen. Inevitably, the guy began making his inimitable version of vaguely human conversation.

"You enjoying this weather?" he inquired; I was immediately suspicious. This sort of banality is distressingly normal, and nothing this man says ever is.

"Well, I wouldn't mind if it was a little cooler when I walk all the way up from the bottom of Denny," I offered gamely. I silently willed the credit card boxlet to give up its Get Out Of Jail beep, but it kept its smug vigil.

"This is nothing compared to where I grew up!" He shook his eyebrows at me and grinned with the demeanor of a man about to tell a Very Great Tale; you know, a really exciting tale like Where I Grew Up. He clearly was going to force a response from me.

"And where was that?" Abject surrender on my part. I said this in the tone of voice that anyone else would recognize as vast, arctic incuriosity, but he continued merrily. The boxlet still hunched malevolently on the counter, bulging with silent strain, like a dwarf attempting to suppress an immense fart.

"Central California!" he bellowed gleefully, because how exciting is that? Nobody else ever grew up in central California! He's totally fucking unique in the universe! I really had no response to this at all, and was starting to get edgy, which is never good, because then I start to behave erratically.

"You're a heat warrior!" I exclaimed, perfectly erratically.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I heard myself ask myself. I don't know, I answered myself. I was starting to feel my neutrons decay.

But he was no stranger, apparently, to febrile outbursts of nonsense, and responded in kind. "At least I've got my Alice Cooper playing," he said, and stared off at the speakers. I noticed, indeed, he was playing Alice Cooper. I think it was "Cold Ethyl." Not the sort of thing you expect to hear in a state-owned facility; REO Speedwagon maybe. Another customer lined up behind me and took up his hopeless post; the clerk was still staring reverently at the speakers.

"Fucking TIMELESS!" he suddenly cried, apparently overcome with the ineffable Joy of Alice Cooper commingled with perhaps some resentment that the man's genius has not been adequately recognized in our time. I glanced back at the other customer, who appeared totally unfazed by the sudden outburst, which for him surely lacked context. Another regular, I thought.

The clerk continued babbling: "Him and that other guy. He kinda looks like Alice Cooper," he said. He looked at me for help. "You know?"

Jesus. Of course not. I took my best shot. "Marilyn Manson?"

"Naw!" he snorted dismissively. "Not that guy, the other guy." Pause. Then he got it. "Ted Nugent!"

Ted Nugent looks like Alice Cooper? What? Look, just say nothing.

"Ted Nugent, man, yeah, totally all about guns, and hunting, and . . . " he trailed off for a second before completing his thought. " . . . and fuck vegans, man." He smiled beatifically at this. I stood still, rigid with Weirdness. The other customer remained consumed with ennui.

The boxlet finally coughed out its release. He handed me my receipt, and I wandered nervelessly out the door.

"Pretty nice day out there, huh?" I heard the clerk greet the new customer.

Run! Run, stupid!

"Yeah, it's pretty hot out there," the guy replied.

He's finished. Wolves will gnaw his carcass. Just go home.

Thank God for the whiskey.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

I am from central california. It is all true. If you grew up in that kind of heat you'd be listening to Alice Cooper too. I know the brother of Ted Nugent's huntmaster. As in, the guy who finds animals for him to hunt and kill. Huntmaster, you know.

Comment number: 001438   Posted by: Alex on September 3, 2003 09:08 PM from IP: 128.135.227.158

Wait... fuck. Sorry. I know the guy who's the brother of /Warren Buffet's/ huntmaster. I always get them confused for some reason. Warren Buffet and Ted Nugent that is.

Comment number: 001439   Posted by: Alex on September 3, 2003 09:20 PM from IP: 128.135.227.158

I rescued a former coworker from him the other day. Then, on Tuesday, I had the pleasant Older Dyke Lady. Garrolous Clueless Maximus was not to be seen.

Fucking timeless!

Comment number: 001440   Posted by: mike on September 4, 2003 01:45 AM from IP: 216.173.212.234

Ah, the valley. The heat and the airborn pesticides do something to folks down here. I once saw an Alice Cooper show in Stockton. It was the worst performance I have ever seen, and mind you, I have seen REO Speedwagon, Kansas, AND the Scorpions. Motorhead opened for Alice; too bad we got lost and saw only their last song.

Comment number: 001441   Posted by: Beerzie Boy on September 4, 2003 08:09 AM from IP: 32.97.110.142

You poor man. There's a trip to the good Virginia state-run liquor store in my immediate future, and I'm anticipating it with glee. Will the lady (they're almost always ladies) give me drink recipes, or marvel at the little flakes in my Goldschlager? I love those ladies; they're like family.

Comment number: 001442   Posted by: Bet on September 4, 2003 08:28 AM from IP: 12.34.246.35

Washington is so evil...why can't they just let us go into a 7-11 like normal people in other states?

One of my closest neighbors when I was a kid was the Nuge. I went to kindergarten with his son.

Comment number: 001443   Posted by: SJ on September 4, 2003 10:07 AM from IP: 140.142.174.72

Jeez Skot, you were at a State Liquor Store...I mean, this is all a little like going into the Gap and being shocked the employees are gay.

Comment number: 001446   Posted by: heather on September 5, 2003 03:08 PM from IP: 63.227.131.182

I agree with Heather. All of the liquor store employees here in Washington come from the same genepool.
The store I go to on Greenwood and 90th has automatic doors, and it's not working correctly, prompting them to post a sign saying "If the door doesn't open, jump hard."
There is no better way to pass the time than sitting in your car in that parking lot, watching boozehounds jump up and down to gain entrance to the liquor sotre.

Comment number: 001447   Posted by: dayment on September 6, 2003 03:19 PM from IP: 12.228.171.123

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