when I went to work. Left my brick building, turned right and started to walk. They grew on my sides like wings in matching suits.
“Ya got a minute?”
“I hope so,” I said. “Otherwise I’ve got less than 60 seconds to live.”
“We hope it don’t come to that,” the other said, with the toothpick hanging out of his mouth.
“I think I’ll call you Toothpick,” I say, to Toothpick.
He takes the toothpick out of his mouth and stabs it at me. “Now who you callin’ what, you little commie faggot?”
Chuck: “Now, Herb, there’s no need to get aggro this early in the morning, is there?”
Toothpick: “Maybe I like to get aggro, Chuck. Maybe it makes me feeeeel good. Oh hey but wait, a minute, I can’t just do anything that feels good, unless I’m a commie anarcho-faggot like our little friend over here.”
Me: “What is this, some kind of bureaucratic shake-down? You guys running the Mutt and Jeff routine because I didn’t pay my pet’s license? It’s was a fuckin’ chia-pet, ok? Last I checked you don’t need no fuckin’ pet license for no fuckin’ chia-pet, alright?”
They give me the look.
Toothpick: “So, where you going now, Mister Chia-pet?”
“Since when does the pet license dept. have the right to interrogate pet owners on their present destination if suddenly found on sidewalks? What the fuck do you guys want?”
“We want the commie pinko bastard who’s been running that commie pink website to stop.” says Chuck.
“Stop now.” sez Toothpick.
“Stop as if his health and overall future welfare depended on it.” says Chuck.
“Which, in fact, it does.” says Toothpick.
“You know what?” I offered. “I’d recommend old Humphrey Bogart movies to better your patter. As it is, you couldn’t threaten a blind mouse with a hearing aide.”
Toothpick to Chuck: “Maybe he wants a down payment on his earnings?”
“Maybe we oughta get the tellers,” Chuck nodded.
“This is broad daylight.” I said. Indeed, all around us people were walking to work. “If you’d wanted to hurt me you’d have jillions of ways not to do it in broad daylight during residential morning rush hour. This wasn’t your intent. So you stocked up on the scary words, which I have registered, duly. Operation complete. Now here is the latest word from headquarters: ‘Initiate Operation See-Ya-Later.’”
Toothpick to Chuck: “He talks to us like we’re spiders,”
“Like little flecks on the wall,” Chuck nods. “But this boy needs to change his underpants, whether he knows it or not.”
“And so we jet,” Toothpick says, turning back in unison with Chuck, who cannot help but add, “for now.”
I continued to work.