Jim Anchower
The Cruise

Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've had my nuts in a twist for a while. I still got the job driving the bus for the car-rental place. I ain't going anywhere working there, except back and forth from the airport, but at least sitting behind the wheel gives me time to ponder over shit. I've been thinking about how to make a car into a helicopter, so I can get places faster. I think I got it figured out. I just need some propellers. Don't go trying to take that idea, though. It's mine, and if you steal it, I will find you and beat your ass.

As soon as my car is up and flying, I'll sleep a lot easier. That thing has been giving me pains. I got a hole in my gas tank or something, so every time I fill up, I lose half the gas inside of a day. I only fill it up halfway now, so it does okay, but I can't put anything in the trunk without it stinking like gas. Also, the heat is all fucked up. Luckily, someone left a blaze-orange ski mask in the backseat, so I've been wearing that as I drive around town.


So anyway, let me tell you about what I did for Thanksgiving. I don't make a big deal about holidays. In my book, Thanksgiving is just some made-up holiday someone invented to sell more turkeys, so I wasn't going to do anything for it. I decided instead to pick up some sweet, holiday double-time pay at the car rental place and then kick back with some videos. The fact that I found an almost perfectly good 32" television on the curb a few weeks ago is one of the only things I have to be thankful for.

Since the double-time cash would be gravy on the meat and potatoes of my regular paycheck, I figured I'd treat myself, so I stopped by Beltline Liquors and picked myself up a case of Miller Genuine Draft—the nectar of the gods, as I call it—and a bottle of Jack Daniel's. Then, I got a couple of Tombstone pizzas at the gas station and headed back to my castle. (Don't believe the hype about DiGiorno. I'll go with a classic frozen Tombstone any day.)

When I got home, there was a message from Wes inviting me over to his ma's place for Thanksgiving dinner the next night. There was no way I was going. Wes is like a brother to me, but his ma is always fixing me with the stink eye. She makes a mean stuffing, but that wasn't enough to get me to submit to her voodoo for a full night. Also, they always play Trivial Pursuit, and she has the cards memorized.

Just when I got settled into my chair, Ron showed up at my door. I don't know what it is about that guy. When I need to change my oil or something, I can't find him anywhere. When I have a good stash of beers, he's like a junebug in a bug zapper. He's got some kind of mooch homing device. He didn't have anything to offer but his thirst, but I was in a charitable mood, so we put a dent in my packaged goods and watched my videotapes.


I must have fallen asleep during the second one, because I woke up on my couch with a massive hangover. Ron was gone, and from the looks of my fridge, he took the rest of my beers with him. I looked over and saw that I had to be at work in, like, 30 minutes, so I jumped in the shower. I had to poke my head out twice to put my head over the toilet and puke. I could tell it was going to be a rough Thanksgiving.

Since there wasn't any traffic, and I only had to stop once to dry heave, I got to work on time. I needed some coffee, but Charlene was the only one there. She never drinks anything but Diet Coke, so she hadn't brewed any. Still, there was some cold black mud left in the pot. It tasted terrible, but I chugged it. I was trying to figure out how to make a new pot when Charlene yelled at me to do a pick-up.


I made it about halfway to the airport before I had to pull over and puke again. I must have drunk more than I thought, both shitty coffee and booze. When I got to the airport, there was some uptight guy with like eight suitcases waiting for me and looking at his watch. I opened the door, and he climbed on the bus without his bags. Usually, I get out to help without a second thought, but I was hoping that if I stalled, he'd do it himself. No dice.

As I was pulling into the lot to drop the guy off at his car, the sun hit me right in the eyes. That hurt like a motherfucker, and for a split second, I couldn't see anything. Well, to cut to the chase: I bumped the guy's rental car. It wasn't even like I broke anything. I only put a little dent in the passenger door, but he didn't give a good goddamn. He got all freaked out and started yelling, "I am not paying for that!" I would have told him to shut his mouth before I shut it for him, but I was still seeing floaters. Luckily, Charlene came out and calmed him down by giving him a free upgrade.


Then she told me that she would have to mark the accident down on my file, but it didn't seem like she really cared too much. She was cool about it, but I still wish she wouldn't have had to write me up. I only had to make a few more trips, so I spent most of the rest of the day in the breakroom trying to figure out how to make coffee and yacking up everything I swallowed.

By the end of my shift, I was feeling a little better, but I needed some serious chow. I had no beer left, and, as for the pizzas, every time I turn on my oven, it makes the fire alarm in the hall go off. I decided that I would go to Wes' after all. His mom was cold to me the whole night, and I said some shit that pretty much guaranteed I won't get invited back again, but that stuffing was good. Next year, though, I'm going to just hole up for a few days until all the Thanksgiving crap blows over.


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.

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