Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Cautionary Tale of The Old Bat

Make sure the sprogs are in bed, and you are safely bundled up, and your house is locked, because as promised, I am about to begin my tale of The Old Bat.

I was a Young and Hot Sparrow, back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and people were allowed to smoke wherever they want in California, which is a bad thing, and surely has contributed to global warming, even if Al Fucking Bore didn't mention it in his movie. I was young and idealistic, even voted Democrat occasionally, with a bright and shiny hope for mankind, and I was sure I could make the world a better place. Fuck, but I was dumb when I was 19.

I lived out in the 'Burbs, an empty kind of place, still half-rural from the time our town was mainly dairies and farms, and there was only one Mini-Mart around, from which I bought my cancer sticks. If you can believe it, it was actually owned by a white person. Yes, I know I'm dating myself here, but the shock value is worth it. Because that Mini-Mart was the only one around, everyone for miles around shopped there for their necessities, the grocery stores in town each being 5 miles in the opposite directions, so the owner, Joe (like I can remember what the fuck his name was? Do you have any idea how many drugs I've done?) knew just about everyone in the neighborhood.

One time, when it had just started raining, I went in on my lunch break, to buy my cancer sticks. Joe pointed out this little old lady to me, that apparently was one of his regulars, and told me that she walked up to his store. It was raining, he said, and would I be kind enough to take her home? Sure, says I, figuring that the tottering old dear can't live that far away if she had walked up to Joe's store. It would be a quick errand, I'd still have time to eat my lunch, and I'd score some points with The Big Guy. Why not, right? Well, obviously I'm going to tell why not, otherwise this cautionary tale for the kiddies would be pointless, duh.

The old dear didn't get around too well, and was deaf as a post, so Joe had a bit of a time explaining to her what it was that I was going to do for her. Eventually she understood what was going on. I helped her out to my car, and tried to hand her in, and hold her purse for her, but she was very suspicious of me going anywhere near her purse, and would not let me touch the old nasty clunker of a handbag. I don't know why, as the pair of designer pumps I had on had undoubtedly cost more than whatever cash she was carrying in that antique clutch.

I made sure her seat belt was on, loaded her small bag of shopping in, and away we went. I was incredibly polite, and did not light up, even though I was gagging for one, and for once I did not even speed. After we had gone about a mile down the road, she pointed out a house up ahead, and I pulled in to the driveway. I started to get out, and to unload her and her shopping, when she mentions that this is not her house. It turns out that this is merely a house that she admires and likes the look of. She then looks at me as if I am the one that is slightly daft. Fair enough, think I, I have questioned my sanity many a time, and maybe I had misheard her about the house, as she talks quite softly. That in itself is unusual for people that are hard of hearing, as they will most often go on quite loudly. My cousin was born deaf, and when she gets upset, she starts ululating the most strident gibberish that no one can understand, and we must poke her with a stick to keep her quiet. Don't get me started on deaf people.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, back in the car I go, and off we go, down the road again. The old dear grips my arm, with a strength that I would not have suspected she possessed, and asks me if I can stop driving so fast. We are going 15 MPH. If I go any slower, I will have stopped. I attempt to shake off her arm, as my car is a stick shift, and I desperately need to shift before we stall out, as we are going so slow.

We make a few turns, and the old dear points out another house. I pull in to the driveway, and start to get out, when the old dear mentions that this is not her house. No, her house is on the next street over. By now I am beginning to twig that this old dear is fucked in the head, and I am really going to be in for it.

Off we go again, to the next street over, and this fucking old bat tells me that none of these houses look familiar. I ask her, through clenched teeth, for the name of the street on which her house resides. She cannot tell me. She is pretty sure it has a name, but it has slipped out of her grasp at the moment. She thinks it might be green, or maybe beige, with green trim, and it might have a tree out front, or it might not. She cannot remember if it has any address numbers on it. She behaves as if I am the most depraved, impertinent whore of an individual she has ever heard of for even asking her these questions.

So off we go, AGAIN, street by street, canvassing the neighborhood of older homes, as I am sure she does not live in one of the newer tract homes. Eventually she lets out a soft cry, and again clutches my arm with her bony, wrinkled claw. We have found her home. I now have 10 minutes left on my lunch hour, and will barely get back to work on time, and I still have not had anything to eat.

Me not having anything to eat is a very serious situation, as I am one of those people that get extremely grouchy if not fed on a regular basis. It is now vitally essential that I bundle her out of the car as quickly as possible, so that I may attempt to find some food in our restaurant-starved section of the 'burbs, and get back to work before my boss (who is a complete harpy and also my mother, by the way), has a shit fit about me being late.

I open the door for her, grab her bag from the hatchback, and try to undo her seatbelt, and SHE WILL NOT GET OUT OF MY CAR. She pipes up that she would like to go to the mall, which is 12 miles away, and do some shopping there, and possible spend the day, and would I be kind enough to take her? I do not even reply to this, but I do pry her bony old ass out of my car, shove her far enough away from it to be able to slam the door, and zoom off.

I go back to Joe's store to get a sandwich, as that is the only food for miles around. As I am purchasing my sandwich (which was quite good; they also had a deli there in the store) Joe inquires about the old dear. I tell him "Fuck off! You owe me, big time!" and race out the door. He will just have to wait to hear the story another time.

I make it back to work, 15 minutes late, and my mother the boss proceeds to berate me in front of all the other employees. It is no use trying to tell her that I was being a Good Samaritan, because even though she is a churchgoing woman, she was also a Young Republican back in the '60's, and we all know that Business comes before God. I take it like the bitch I am, and dream of the nursing home that I will one day be picking out for her, as my revenge.

So now you know, my children, the Cautionary Tale of The Old Bat, and why you will never catch me voluntarily helping those fucking oxygen thieves ever again.

Fat Sparrow

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