SLC cabSo I was parked in front of Port O’ Call around 10 p.m., playing Tetris on my crappy phone and listening to the divine sounds of Television on Local Imposters when two dudes got into my cab, disturbing my happy little microcosm. They were extremely well dressed, extremely rich and extremely handsome. Oh yeah, and they were total yuppie assholes. I took them to a restaurant in Sugarhouse, waited for them to eat, and then took them back to their hotel (The Grand America, of course). On the way to the restaurant, they ordered six escorts over the phone (three blondes and three Latinas (“salt and pepper action”) to meet them back at their hotel at midnight. Six!?!? They also each individually waved wads of cash in my face that were at least two grand thick and made condescending comment after condescending comment about my lowly station in life. Yes, the thought of offing them both and then dumping their fancy-ass corpses in the west desert did cross my mind. As is, though, I simply accepted their $150 for the $40 fare (yuppie assholes sometimes tip very, very well), left work early, and tried to make last call at Murphy’s. I needed a tall beer and an isolated barstool to help get my mind off of starting a class war.

 

After parking cab #32 (I had gotten the minivan, pretty awesome) and turning in my paperwork, I checked my Burger King Spongebob Squarepants watch. 12:08 a.m. I had walked to work in an effort to combat my getting-worse-’cause-I-quit-smoking manboobs, and, irony of ironies, I didn’t feel like paying for a cab ride downtown. I was going to have to walk fast. Of course, after leaving taxi headquarters on 700 West and 1000 South, I found a train blocking my way. Worse than that, it wasn’t even moving. Fuck. I started walking northbound, parallel to the idle train, when it hit me’ dude, I’m a pedestrian. I can just step through this thing, right? I walked a little deeper into the switchyards off 800 South and 600 West and looked around. Nobody. OK. I stepped up onto a ladder on the side of a particularly friendly-looking boxcar and then the train began to move.

 

“Oh cool,” I thought, “I’ll just ride this shit to about 200 South and hop off. I’ll definitely make last call now.” I really didn’t think that a train could accelerate much in five-and-a-half blocks, but damn if I wasn’t wrong. By the time I had snaked my way through the middle of two boxcars and grabbed the ladder on the other side, we were passing 400 South and going at least 20 mph. I looked ahead and deduced that the train was turning west up there by The Trapp. If I didn’t hop off soon, I’d end up at the Great Salt Lake. I looked at the gravel speeding by below and cursed my idiocy. 300 South. I waited for a break in the gravel, some nice soft grass maybe. But there were no breaks. No grass. Oh shit. Okay, 200 South. And then … there was a break. A giant patch of mud. And a 1… a 2 … and a jump … and pump legs mid-air and maybe I’ll hit the ground running …

Episode #6: The Fifth of July Roofers

When I woke up around 1 p.m., it was already pushing 95 degrees. I was thus hiding out in my third-story apartment with my central air watching Azteca America (“Es tu casa”) with the sound off, listening to the Sonic Youth opus, Daydream Nation. There were 12 Latin American teens in matching purple carnival suits scissor-kicking their legs in unison on the television and their rhythm happened to be matching that of “Eric’s Trip.” Goddamn glorious, I tell youa hell of a bastardized media juxtaposition to transition me out of sleep. Since I don’t have cable, and since television basically sucks total ass, I quite often find myself watching Azteca America or Telemundo in hopes of learning Spanish (with the sound on in those situations, of course). Also, they dance and sing a lot, and who the hell doesn’t like dancing and singing at random intervals during every show? As I sipped my coffee sans clothing, I peered through the blinds and saw that there were roofers on the building across from mine.My first thought was, “that looks really fucking hot.” From there, I became fascinated by their collective fearlessness. See, I live in a fairly overpriced and tall apartment complex, stucco, fireplaces, a pool, and the building that they were traipsing upon happens to be four stories high. Probably a 50/50 shot of survival if one were to fall and splat the concrete below, but these fellas, who all happened to be Hispanic (save one scrawny white hippie kid), were working quick and hard. They were ripping up the tar and the shingles, filling wheelbarrows and then dumping the loads off the side. They had a four-story-tall tarp hung off the gutter to guide the shit down to the industrial-sized dumpster and to protect the white stucco. The noises were hideously loud as the barrow-loads hit the metal after falling so far. The whole process had an air of violence. And, more than likely, none of them were insured. Any sort of accident would alter their respective lives forever, and yet here they were, running around four stories up for what- 10 bucks an hour? If that? I was going to feel like a real asshole when I made my way to the pool, but oh well. Swimming kicks ass.

As I pulled myself out of the chlorinated water and onto my towel atop a shaded pool-chair, I looked up at the roofers. They were giving me some really crusty looks. I wanted to shout up at them that I had worked from 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon until three in the morning, that an old lush had brazenly told me that he wanted to slice open my Adam’s apple and drink from the wound, that I had missed the fireworks, that I had missed all of the Fourth of July festivities because I had “needed the money,” that the air-conditioning in Cab No. 5 didn’t work and that I had soaked my clothes through with sweat. But the misery etched into their features along with the dirt and the chemicals and the future melanoma wouldn’t have been alleviated one bit by anything I could say. To them, I was just some golden boy pissing away the afternoon by the pool while they busted their asses in the heat. To make matters worse, three beautiful girls in bikinis entered the pool area and set up their tanning stations. They were curvy and smooth and primed to be devoured by the eyes overhead. It made the contrast between my situation and the roofers’ situation even more ridiculous than before and I had to get up and leave. Sucks too, because the odor of sunbathing girls in bikinis is one of my personal favorites.

As I re-entered my apartment, I saw that there was a Mexican soap opera on the television. My first thought was, “Damn, I need to start turning things off when I leave.” Then, I got another thought. I scanned through my albums and found The Flaming Lips’ Hit to Death in the Future Head. It goes great with Mexican soap operas (as well as with road trips, hallucinogenic drug taking sessions and camping). I took another look through the blinds and all six of the roofers were paused and at attention, grabbing respite by lustily checking out the hot chicks. I looked down and all three girls were lying on their front sides and had unburdened themselves of their tops. After a few moments, a foreman of some sort yelled up from the parking lot and they all sprung back to work. I honestly wanted to invite every last one of them over for some mota and a friendly discussion on class war. However, I merely sat down and sang along as I watched a handsome dark-skinned man supplicate to a beautiful dark-skinned girl very dramatically indeed, “Everyone wants to live forever, thinking that it’ll be a lot better. Everyone wants to live forever … oho-whoa-ohoh.”