Jim Anchower
The Cruise

Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I got a lot on my plate these days. Serious, it was a one-two punch that almost laid Jim Anchower down for the count. Not long after I got dumped by that fat bitch Debbie, I got laid off at the carbonics place. Apparently, the market for tanks of carbon dioxide was kind of drying up, so they cut me loose.

I was stoked to get unemployment, but all I did was sit around, play my GameCube, and feel crappy. After two months, I got burned out on that, so I got a job at a big electronics store where I wear a stupid polo shirt. I spend most of my time trying not to spill stuff on it, and the rest of the time I split between watching TV and pointing people to where the DVDs are.


As much as it sucks, that job brought me some good luck last month to the tune of $1,000 in scratch-off winnings. Ron said I should buy more tickets so I could make even more, but I figure me and the lottery board are about even now. They just held onto my money until I needed something good to happen. And I been through enough dry spells to know that socking some cash away comes in handy.

I invested in some new spark plugs, a change of oil, and a full tank of gas. That was pretty much the first time I filled her all the way up in eight months. After that, I had $925, so I stocked up on soup and frozen pizza, plus a bunch of Miller Genuine Draft and a half ounce of some pretty decent weed. I still had a nice-size wad, so I paid my electricity bill.


Even after all that and a well-hidden emergency $50, there was plenty left over. I figured I would treat myself to the new Nintendo. Now, I thought "GameCube" was a bad name, but the "Wii" is about a million times weaker. I can't even make myself say it. But I stuck by Nintendo all this time, and it's got me through some rough patches, so I'm not gonna jump ship now.

I asked at work if I could set one aside, but they had some new policy that employees had to wait like everyone else. It was going on sale at midnight sharp, meaning I was gonna have to line up the day before if I was gonna stand a chance. There was no way I was gonna spend my free time waiting in front of my damn job, so as soon as my shift was over, I headed over to the store's other location across town.


I knew I was gonna want company, and I knew Ron would be easy to get. I just had to bring a flask of Yukon Jack and he was game. We got there at about 4 p.m, and there were already 15 people ahead of us. It was plenty cold, but we had a buzz on, and with our flasks we were able to keep it going for a few hours.

By around 10 p.m., I ran out of booze and things to talk about. Turns out it wasn't much fun to have someone to stand in line with you either. Ron had a second flask, but he wasn't sharing. More people were in line after us and they all brought blankets and stuff. I used to keep one in my car, but I tossed it out after I spilled a Frosty on it and it started to stink.


Ron and I just kept jumping up and down to keep warm, talking about how we were gonna kick each other's ass in video boxing. When the gates finally opened, I couldn't have been happier. All I wanted was to get out of the cold and get my new Nintendo. Ron was pretty ripped by then, and he was really starting to piss me off.

I got inside and picked up my console. Once it was in my hands, I took some time to savor the moment and to warm up. I felt like I had just struck gold, until I got to the checkout. My wallet was missing. I had to think—I didn't remember buying anything since yesterday, when I picked up Ron's Yukon. Then I realized that I was still wearing my work pants, and my wallet was in my jeans back home.


I told 'em that they better hold one for me, 'cause I was coming right back. I got in the car and gunned it. It was gonna take me at least 20 minutes to get home and 20 minutes to get back. That left me with only 20 minutes to get my wallet before they shut down again. When we got to my place, I told Ron to stay put, but he said no one tells him what to do, got out of the car, and fell flat on his face.

Once I decided that he was just unconscious, it took about 15 minutes to drag him inside so he wouldn't freeze to death. I woulda called the ambulance for him, but this kind of thing happens a lot to Ron. I figured he'd sleep it off while I got the game. I grabbed my wallet and a blanket and went back to the store.


Sure enough, when I got there, the shutter was down. That just fucking figures. I pounded on it for a few minutes, but no one showed up. I decided that since I already waited around for eight hours, I might as well wait for another five or so 'til they opened up for real, so I took a leak and lined up. I 'bout froze my nuts off waiting for those doors to open. And when they finally did, they were all out of Nintendos.

I told the guy that someone was supposed to hold it for me, but he acted like he didn't know anything about it. I thought they would help one of their own, but I guess I was wrong. He said I could get on a list, but I told him I would just sign up at my own damn store.


When I got home, Ron was gone—only he must have puked before he left, because there was a big puddle of puke in my kitchen. Well, as soon as that game comes in, I'm gonna have to make a different friend, 'cause I know one guy that ain't coming over any time soon. No one but me is allowed to puke in my kitchen without cleaning it up, and even I have to clean it up eventually.

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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