Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but things have been getting plenty hairy around here. First, I been running like a chicken with its head cut off trying to find some new tires for my Festiva. I know, a tire is a tire, but these are some weird-ass size that no one makes anymore. I caught a flat on one and I've been driving on my spare for about a month now. It don't worry me none, but if I get another flat, I'm screwed.
On top of that, I had my hours cut at the electronics store. My manager told me it was because of the economic downturn that people weren't buying anything. I told him that without a full-time check, I wasn't going to be buying anything either, so how did this help? That stumped him but good.
In order to live the lifestyle I'm accustomed to, I had to find me another part-time job. I went around to the pizza joints, because they always need delivery guys, but they were all hung up on having proof of insurance. I told them I had insurance, but I was just a couple months late on payments, but they weren't hearing it. Man, when did everyone start getting so tight-assed?
The thing that's really been chafing me is how hot it is. They say it ain't the heat, it's the humidity, but I really don't give a shit which it is. Either way, after being outside a while, my undies are stuck to my ass, and I got pit stains that meet at my chest. Last year, I pulled an air conditioner off my neighbor's curb and put that in my window. It did the trick. Wound up costing me a boatload when I got my electrical bill, but it was worth it. This year, it wouldn't turn on, so I dragged it back over to my neighbor's.
During the day, it wasn't so bad, because I was at work and they keep the electronics store a chilly 72 degrees. At quittin' time, I would go to the discount movie theater. But after seeing the cartoon where the chimps go to space for the fourth time, I couldn't take it anymore. It wasn't just the movie, but all the families with kids in there were looking at me like I had a turd growing on my head.
Really, I don't mind it being hot when I'm just sitting in my apartment chilling out and watching some TV, but it's a real bitch to get to sleep. I've tried everything. I put some cardboard down so I could sleep on my floor, but it smelled like moldy pizza crust and socks. I got an old box fan from Ron and plugged that in, but it rattled all night and barely cooled me down. Then I tried sleeping with a six-pack of ice-cold Miller Genuine Draft in my bed, but I wound up drinking it all. I guess that sort of worked anyway.
Finally, after my fourth night of not sleeping, I came up with a plan. I figured that since they had to keep the store cool even at night, I should just sleep in there. Why not? I could just kick back in a video game chair and finally get some decent shut-eye.
The only thing was, I had to find some way to stay in the store until after they locked up. I was only supposed to work until 6:00, and since I usually leave around 5:30, it would look weird for me to be hanging around for an extra four and a half hours until they closed. I asked all around to see if I could pick up someone else's shift, you know, kill two birds with one stone and make a little extra money. I almost had this guy Wayne on the hook, but he was taking off the next weekend and he needed all the hours he could get. What a dick.
Since I wasn't going to be able to hide in plain sight, I figured that I should do the next best thing and hide out of sight. Now, if I knew I was gonna have to lay low until everyone left, I would've cased out a place to park comfortably for a couple of hours. Since I didn't, I had to do like my man Vin Diesel and improvise.
I went about my business like I was leaving, and clocked out and headed to the door. At the last minute, I pretended like I was interested in looking at the computer display. In order to throw people off my trail, I told one of my coworkers that it looked like some kid was going to steal video games. He went off to tell security, and once the coast was clear, I ducked back by the TVs. Sure enough, there was plenty of room on the shelves behind the display models. I climbed up there and got myself situated.
It didn't look comfortable, but I was wiped. As soon as I was sure I was out of sight, I dozed off.
When I came to, everything was dark. Perfect. It worked just like I had planned. I just had to go down, find the video game chair, and finish the night. That's when I realized that my leg was asleep. Not just asleep, but pretty much dead. It must have been from lying on that tangle of cords. I tried to wiggle my toes, but it didn't seem to be working. All of a sudden, my leg spasmed, and I kicked one of the TVs off the shelf.
My first thought was that I could just pick it up in the morning, before anyone got there, and I could catch some more Z's in the meantime. That's when the alarm went off. I looked all around for another hiding spot, but there wasn't one I could get to with my leg all dead. Plus, I wasn't going to be able to sleep with that alarm going off. I hightailed it to the emergency exit, which set off another alarm. I wasn't about to try and make it to my car, because I could hear the cops coming, so I had to limp away as fast as I could to the parking lot of the mall across the way, where I could wait it out until the coast was clear.
I mostly got away with it, but the next Monday, my coworker Wayne told me that he knew that I was the guy who set off the alarm, since my car was still in the parking lot when he left that night. So now, to keep him quiet, I got to pick up a shift for him some time, only I got to punch in on his card so he still gets the money.
One of these days, I'm gonna put the hurt on that guy, but it's going to be served cold. If any of you got a lead on a job, that would be awesome. I can't live on mac and cheese much longer. Well, I could, but I'm getting real sick of it.
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.