Hola, amigos. How's your pecker? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but things have been pretty rough for your pal Jim. The muffler on my ride is shot, so the Festiva sounds like an Indy car, especially if I push her to 65 on the highway. I meant to get under there and fix up the holes, but you know how it goes. Life gets crazy.
Anyway, I was driving to work last month and the whole thing fell off. I heard it dragging for about five minutes, then the next thing you know, I'm looking at it in the rearview mirror. I should have stopped to pick it up, but I was running late already. When I passed by on my way home, someone had already gotten it. Must have been for the scrap metal, which sucks, because if I couldn't have reattached it, I would have sold it myself. Muffler and tailpipe assembly? That's got to be worth like four bucks right there.
Not too long after that, I got fired from my job at the cell phone store. Some customer complained that I signed them up for the wrong plan or something. Well, no shit, I get more money for doing that. What was I supposed to do? Most people don't even notice, and if they do, they just call and I say, "Oh yeah, my mistake, let me fix that." No worries. This guy, though, raised a huge stink and calls my manager and threatens to call the Better Business place, so I get sacked. What an asshole. I would have changed him back no problem.
So I've been gettin' by doing odd jobs here and there. I was helping a guy with a van move people's furniture for a while, but toting around dressers and mattresses was really fucking up my back. Plus, he wanted me to show up at like 7:30 in the morning, and that is too early for a guy with my schedule.
Anyway, I was sanitizing the Anchower wardrobe at the laundromat when I noticed that they had a bulletin board. I figured that if I was looking for someone to help do some stuff for a couple of hours and a couple of bucks, that's where I'd post it. It's like a quality-control thing. You get people that care enough to wash their clothes and shit, so you know they aren't total scumbags. So I went to look over the job offerings.
I didn't see a whole lot that appealed to me. There was a flyer from the moving guy I worked for, a bunch of stuff for sale, and a flyer from some dude named Steve advertising for being a cat-sitter. None of those really helped me much, so I just went to check and see if my skivvies were dry or not, and I had an idea.
How hard could it be to be a cat-sitter? You pretty much make your own hours. Just walk into someone's house, pour food into a bowl, maybe scoop up their box every couple days, and you're done. That guy that put the flyer up had to be making a killing. You could get people to pay 10, maybe 12 bucks a pop to check to make sure their cat's not dead, and if it is, you just wait till the last day before you tell them. Problem solved.
There were a couple of phone number tabs torn off the poster, and since I didn't want to waste my time making my own, I just tore off the rest of the tabs to make it look like a super popular service, then blacked out the guy's number on the poster itself and wrote my own on there.
Once my clothes were clean, I went home and waited for the calls to roll in.
Over the next couple of days, I didn't hear from anyone, and I was running out of beer money. This was not cool, so I went back to the laundromat to see what was going on. Sure enough, the poster with my number was down and the guy had put an all-new poster back up. Well, two could play at that game. I tore all the tabs off again, crossed out his number, and wrote up my own again, then went back home.
Later that night, the phone rang. It was some guy named Steve that said he had to leave town the next day on emergency, and could I come over right now and pick up keys? I'm like, well, yeah, but you're gonna have to pay in advance. He said it was fine. How was 20 dollars a visit for 7 days?
Twenty bucks a visit? Shit, you're damn right I would be there! I put on my best "you can trust me" shirt, brushed my teeth, and headed out.
I wondered what the guy's house was like on the way over. Probably pretty fruity, because he had a cat and all. But when I pulled up, there weren't any lights on in the house. In fact, the whole block looked pretty weird. It was like all warehouses and mattress stores. I thought that maybe he lived above one of them, but there were no lights on in any of those windows.
Just then, a car pulled up. A guy gets out and asks if I'm the cat-sitter. I thought that he must have been running late, so I said in my best I-can-take-care-of-your-cat voice, "Yes, sir, absolutely." The next thing I know, the guy punches me in the face, then in the gut, and I'm on the ground. I try to get up, but the guy kicks me one in the nuts and I can't catch my breath.
He gets down on his knee, and takes my picture with his phone. Then he takes a picture of my car and tells me that he knows who I am, so I'd better not fuck with his flyers anymore. Then he gets back in his car and drives away.
I know what you're thinking, so you should stop right now. I'm not a pussy. If this was a fair fight, I would have knocked his dick in the dirt. But the dude was total loco and he cold-cocked me. That ain't fair, no two ways around it.
What a dick! I was just trying to help him out and take care of some cats that he probably wouldn't miss. I would totally try to do the same thing to him, but you know what? It's not worth it. I'll just let him think I'm after him, and let him twist in the wind for a while. I still have his phone number, so I'm gonna call and let it ring and hang up. That's going to wreck his mind.
And if I ever go back to that laundromat again, I'm ripping down his flyer. He can't prove it this time. I'll make sure no one sees me.
Jim Anchower joined The Onion's editorial writing staff in 1993 after several distinguished years on The Come Back Inn dishwashing staff. He comments on community-affairs, automotive, and employment issues. He attended LaFollette High School in Madison, WI.