Homegrown Tomato Torture, Part Redeux


So. Today we’ll have another installment of my Barnes and Nobles bookstore adventure, which is really, as now presented through the miracle of blog reprinting, a homegrown tomato story. Holy shit is that an awkwardly-built sentence. What I mean to say is this. I’m reprinting this story because Squatlo asked me to stop talking about my homegrown tomatoes and I wish to torture him back for poking so much fun at Texas.

Not that we don’t deserve the poking, I’m simply attempting to divert some of the negative attentions. I’m immediately impressed with the depth of texture in my previous sentence and wonder if my segregated double-negativism is lost on readers.

But like Gram always says, she’ll say, “Who gives a shit, Mooner. No means no and cain’t don’t mean squat. Now shut yer yap and git me a beer.”

Anyway, I give you, originally from June 2010, part whatever titled:

“Rush Limbaugh Is Hiding In Mooner’s Closet”

So. You can stop writing me and e-mailing me and calling me about the entire Barnes and Nobles Bookstore dealie because I promise I’m going to finish it right here, and now. I mean shitsicles folks, don’t you understand how complicated my life is even if I didn’t have ADHD?

I mean really. How can I stay true to my promise to write everything in real time as it happens in my head and only tell you stories from the past tense after they become past tense?

That has got to make sense.

Anyway, the exceptional layer of additional bullshit on this bowl of seven-layer dip is from when I went to that bloggie class from the Writer’s League a few months ago. They said that the absolute, written-in-stone, take-it-to-the-bank, bottom line maximum number of words in any blogger posting is 400 words. Anything more than 400 words is a blogging disaster.

400 words? I can’t blow my nose with 400 words. Take yesterday’s posting as an example. That puppy clocked-in at 1,900 words and I never got around to telling you about who I saw over to Sprouts and neither did I finish with the bookstore stuff. Like Gram says, she’ll say, “Who gives a shit Mooner. It still fuck-strates the crap outta me.”

It is frustrating.

But really, who does give a shit? I mean really. Who wrote the silly 400-word rule? And what about this- if I write “400”- one word count, wherein the speller checkie job to Microsoft Word calls “four-hundred” two words, so I’d be breaking the blogger rules if I had 401 words writing it four-hundred, but I’d break Roberts Rules for English if I wrote it 400.

Are you getting a sense of my problems?

Therefore, since I have found it impossible to live by all of the different and differing rules set by others, I simply choose to live by my own, carefully-planned and well thought-out rulers.

Which reminds me. Do you think I use too many hyphens- that would be these things (-), the little dash thingie I placed between the parenthesis- those are these things- (( ))? And why don’t we spell it paranthisisses. That makes more sense and would make a great Spelling Bee word. I’d write a song like the one for spelling Mississippi.

Anyway, fuck the rules and let me get back to my story. So, this morning I went to my usual Sprouts store to get some kale and a bag of those edamame beans because Mother had a hankering for greens and beans. Dr. Sam I. Am-Johnson got Mother hooked on that particular Sicilian dish way back to when we were still married. Gram, however, has never acquired a taste.

“Git that damned Eddies momma’s beans outta my face Mooner. Them damn things taste like sweetened laundry starch.” Then she’ll say, “Ruins a good batch a farm greens iffn ya ask me.”

Anyway, I was actually looking for Lima beans but Sprouts was out so I substituted the Chinese variety. Or maybe they’re Japanese. I got some other stuff to make the trip worth making and went to check out. Santiago was my register man and Katelyn was my smiler and bagger woman. Santiago was smiling as well because that’s just what the people at Sprouts do. It’s just that I’m more susceptible to the smile on an attractive lady’s face than an attractive man’s toothy grin.

OK, look. That doesn’t mean I want all you men to stop smiling at me. I just mean that a woman’s smile melts a little deeper.

Anyway, they were telling me that they were afraid to talk to me because they are concerned that I might embarrass them here to the bloggie. I was careful to not promise anything except that I would entertain and inform. They also were afraid that I was saying bad things about the store.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I said, startled by the question. “I love Sprouts Farmers Market.”

I love Sprouts. Which brings us back to the bookstore dealie. Let me summarize thusly:

  1. Dixie is writing a kids book, and asked me to research formats of kids books.
  2. I went on Friday morning awhile back, early and in shabby shorts and UT tee shirt, a greasy ball cap and without shaving.
  3. I looked for a poker book and didn’t find it, went to the info stand and waited in line behind this Baptist shitbird who was difficult to help.
  4. I had, as always in season, my portable tomato kitchen and shared a slab of red wonderment with my fellow line standers, but not the Baptist.
  5. When I cracked and shared the required cold bottle of Carta Blanca beer, I was chastised for drinking in the bookstore. So, I guzzled the bottle and put the empty back into my tote.
  6. When I finally got to the head of the line….


I asked the information lady about which children’s books are most popular and she asks me, “What age children,” and I say, “I’m not certain,” and then she says, “I know who you are Mr. Johnson and you are just as difficult as I have been told.”

I’m thinking to myself, I thought, “What the fuck is this all about?” So, I asked her.

“What the fuck is this all about?”

And she says, “Mr. Johnson, I am in your Gram’s prayer group at the church and your rotten soul is number two on our standard agenda. It was number three but then we seemed to lose interest in Tiger Woods soul. Pastor Browningwell says he’s not sure Buddhists have one.”

I thinking that maybe I’m proud to be moving my way to the top of this list so I ask, “Who sits at number one?” You’d want to know who sits at one if you were two, right?

She looked me square in the eye and said, “That’s easy, Mr. Johnson. Your sweet grandmother and mother, God bless their souls and give them strength.” Then she added, “Now go look at whatever you want but don’t bother anybody.”

“Fine,” I said. “But if you knew how things really are you’d put me to number one.”

Now, this Barnes and Nobles is the one there to the Arboretum, and I hate to admit it, but the kids section is pretty cool. Located deep to the back of the store, it’s kind of like a little store of its own. With short benches, chairs and tables spread about and these little play areas, it’s what I’d design my kids section to be if I had a bookstore.

So. It’s pretty crowded with moms and their kids or maybe nanny’s with other folks kids, but many women and children, whichever. I start perusing the stacks looking for what might be popular books, and after maybe an hour I have at least glanced at every title in the entire section. And I’m totally lost.

I get a brain storm and figure, “Who best knows what a kid likes better than the puller of the purse strings that hold the cash that buys the books?” So, I gather maybe an armload of what looks good to me, and I’m stopping at each group and asking the kids their opinions.

“Do you like this book, little girl?” and, “What do you think about puppy books Willy?” I knew he was Willy because his name was embroidered on his shirt pocket.

By the way, remember that I told you I guzzled the beer so I wouldn’t waste it? I did and I had been belching the yeasty beer gas during my perusals.

I was finally getting a feel for things and was stooped to talk to these adorable twin girls about The Little Engine That Could, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I figured it to be one of the kids with a small ball bat but was wrong. As I stood to address my tapper I came to realize that the entire Arboretum Security staff was there to back up the head of Security, Bert Massey, the tapper and using his night stick.

“Hey, Mooner, can you come quietly with us?”

I answered, “Sure Bert. You need my help with another snake escape?” Bert and I are well acquainted from several previous incidents here to the mall. Well, it isn’t really a mall but I think of it the same way. The last time I saw him was when this stripper from Las Vegas left the car window rolled down too far and her python escaped.

“Na,” he said. “Different problem today.” Then he shuffled his feet around and said, “Look Mooner. I’m sorry to do this to you, but will you mind stepping outside with us?”

“Sure,” I told him. “Just let me get a final opinion on the Little Engine and Little Lucy Songbook.” I turned back to the twins.

“Mooner!” It was almost a shout. “Now. Please, now.”

“OK, Bert, keep your knickers on. What’s the big rush?”

That would be about the time the first little kid started crying and then Willy took the plastic hammer away from this other kid and whacked him on the nose and then things got a little chaotic. Now, everybody in the store has gathered to see what was up, and this one lady came over to me and said, “I know you. You’re that child molester from Florida. The one that was stealing little kids from the bookstore.” Then she added, “Look– same ratty shorts and greasy cap as from the picture.”

She held up this three-ring binder with a bunch of mug shots that were in those plastic sleeves. When she held this one photo up to my face she said, “See?”

“Let me see that,” and I grabbed the book from her. “Look here Bert. This is a picture of some asshole named Clovis Williams. Says here he’s 5 feet 7 inches and has a Popeye tattoo on his forearm.”

I rolled my sleeve up for inspection and said, “See here– only thing I’ve got inked on me is my Salvador Dali drippy clock tattoo. Not a Popeye in sight!”

OK, now stop the presses. My little tool bar word counter daealie says I already hit 1,682 words at the end of that paragraph before Bert showed up. And I think it’s time for me to have a little tomato snack and a cold Carta Blanca beer. This morning I plucked the first of the little miniature plum variety, the one that looks like little tear drops. These get a deep ruby red, almost purple color when they ripen.

These little guys are the bird’s favorites right now. And the acid is way up in everything after the great rains we had the last several days. By this time next week we’ll be harvesting everything we planted this year excepting for the okra. We salvaged as many okra plants as we could and replanted them back in rows after Rush Limbaugh the pig tore them all to hell and back.

I’ve been hiding him in my master suite to keep him out of Gram’s sights.

Fuckballs. Now I’m at 1,840 words.

Manana ya’ll.

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One Response to “Homegrown Tomato Torture, Part Redeux”

  1. admin says:

    So. This is just me testing more bloggie shit.

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