Sunday Interrupted; Stolen Paper Caper


So. It’s only 10 am and I’ve had an event-filled day. I was going to comment my thoughts on two concurrent events stories this morning but something happened to change my plans. Not that my plans don’t change often.

OK, stop. Not that my plans don’t often change. I’mma cure my ass of that danglie hanging dealio if it kills us. I seem to compulsively hang modifiers and prepositions off the ends of my sentences constantly. I’m now dedicated to obsessively correct these grammatical infractions always.

Intent being the controlling factor to the logic string herein, I was going to speak to first, the most obvious political absurdity of the hour, and two, the current most silly issue within the Catholic church. For starters, how predictable was it that Mitt Romney would publicly announce that he would support Israel should they unilaterally decide to bomb Iran into finer dust than currently inhabiting its desert borders? Oh, and that is the Jewish culture that makes them more successful than the Palestinians.

Really? Are you kidding me? You mean to tell me that Mitt’s crack team of advisors would support a full out war in the Middle East? Not since Doctor Strangelove has a possible American president had such a blood thirsty and extreme hawk panel of advisors trying to pull the puppet strings. Of course Herr Schmidt Rommel wants war in the Middle East—there’s money in them there sand dunes!

But enough of that and on to my second not-to-be-written story. Very quietly, the Catholic women wives of God have been struggling to gain somewhat equal rights with God’s boy wives. Yeppers, the nuns want the church to treat their wifely status more akin to that of priests. The Holy Roman Catholic Church, however, expects girl wives to be subservient to the boy wives because…

Because who really gives a shit when what happened this morning happened. As back story, someone has been stealing my Sunday newspapers. I think I know who it is but can’t manage to catch them. They don’t do it every week so a stakeout offers a low percentage of success, and the mud dobbers love to build nests on the shiny lens of my surveillance cameras.

Today’s paper was missing and I decided to go down to the Starbucks and grab an espresso and read the paper. I donned my UT ball cap of the month, cranked up the GTO and headed out. The coffee shop I chose is in the Arboretum, an affluent shopping area of high end stores that is surrounded by affluent housing and offices.

I got my coffee and sat to read the newspaper at precisely 7:02 am. This I know not because Jesus told me so, but rather, because my cell phone rang and I looked at the time of the call. That call interrupted me from reading the second article that was to be centerpiece of today’s ramblings—the Nuns versus the Vatican story. Around me, several of the well-dressed patrons gave me the same aggravated look I give to persons answering their cell phones while in the company of strangers. So, as I always fucking do, I clicked it to V-mail.

I settled back to the paper and was reading about Syria, when a not-so-quiet whisper went through the crowd. I raised my eyes from the newsprint, but my quick scan saw nothing worthy of the misplaced rich folks breath. Then I heard, “That’s disgusting!” and, “Go away, you’re making my wife sick!”

As I raised my eyes this time, I saw the centerpiece of my neighbors agitation. An obviously homeless man was rifling through the trashcans for coffee cups and leftover foodstuffs. As fate would have it, I know this man. He’s a very bipolar fellow who spends his days hanging out at one of the underpasses nearby this Starbucks and his name is—he thinks—Robert Something.

Robert was in this one trashcan up to his chin when a large man of maybe forty years got up from his chair to confront the situation. “I said you’re making my wife sick, asshole. Get out of here!”

At the “here” part, the big guy grabbed Robert Something’s filthy shirt sleeve and started to pull the crazed man from his meal service station. Robert’s weight stuck down into the trashcan was more than expected, and big guy stumbled nose-first into the tangle of Robert’s quite dirty head.

Now let me tell you guys something about homeless people. Some homeless actually have homes of a sort—shelters where they can sleep and eat and take a bath. Others, like my main man Robert here, either have been banned from the shelters or they make the conscious choice to not take baths at the shelters. I have twice taken Robert to the emergency room and each time I wrapped him in the plastic tarp I carry in the trunk of my car. And each time the tarp was torched afterward and replaced.

In the middle of the Austin summer, a man who lives outside and hasn’t taken a bath in three years has a certain bouquet.

Sensing a possible upgrade of additional indignations once Robert Something’s stench reached big guy’s olfactories, I jumped up to render aid. “Take your hands off Robert,” I said. He’s my guest.” I patted big guy’s back just as his brain caught up with his nose.

“Ewe… Oh God, what is that stench?” Big guy obviously had little experience with the unwashed masses. “Now I’m going to need another shower before church.”

Robert, oblivious to the commotion, was still deep in the bowels of the trashcan and now big guy is deep in Modern American Christian compassion. “You fucking homeless prick. Get back in your cardboard box where you belong.”

And he stuck his shiny-loafered shoe in Robert’s ass sending can and Robert in a tumble. Me, I thumped big guy in the ear. Then when he turned, I thumped his nose, hard, and then the other ear. “Help him up, shithead. Now!”

The big man glared at me, his balled his fists for a fight while rubbing nose and ear. He took a half step towards me when, “Stop, honey, don’t do it. Stop, I said!”

It was the man’s wife. “That’s Mooner Johnson, Steve, Streaker Jones’ friend.”

When Steve hesitated, his wife said to him, she said, “Streaker Jones promised he’d come back to see you if you ever messed with his friends again. Now LETS GO!”

Big guy deflated like an overinflated balloon. “I’m sorry, sir, I was just protecting my wife.”

“It’s not OK, Steve, you’re an asshole,” I told him. “As a Christian, have you ever taken the time to consider how a man like Robert got to where he is?”

I got no answer as Steve and his quite smart wife walked away. I gave Robert Something a twenty-dollar bill and told him he should move on. I finished reading to the stares and mumblings of my fellow coffee drinkers and took off. In the car, I dialed Streaker Jones’ number. When he answered I said, “Thanks.”

“Yea, I heard. Anytime,” he replied. “Need sum else?”

“Nope, I’m good. See ya.”

“See ya too. Tell yer Gram I got some new product fer her.”


Friendship is a powerful force. So is compassion. I’ve never been homeless and I’ve never been hungry for more than a couple days at a time. But I know some of the unwashed masses who cluster at our street corners and huddle in communities under freeways to escape danger. Many will never be anything but homeless and many are too fucking crazy to understand their lot.

But each and every one is a human being and deserving of whatever comfort they can find.

Manana, y’all.

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7 Responses to “Sunday Interrupted; Stolen Paper Caper”

  1. squatlo says:

    Are you punching people in Starbucks-like establishments now? Jeez… you really should move to Santa Fe, with all due haste.

    It’s probably a good thing I don’t get out much. Big Guy probably would have ended up stuffing me in the trashcan with your homeless friend… I’m not all that well versed on defending myself, much less others. On the other hand, I know this fact well in advance of most encounters, and have learned to improvise. There are always weapons lying around…

    Back to the real problem of this post. Someone is lifting your papers? Seriously? Is there any chance they’re skipping your driveway with the delivery? We have problems with our delivery folks sometimes, which is more understandable than someone stealing the damn paper.
    Nothing ruins my day like the sight of an empty driveway when I go out there for my morning paper. It’s like coming down the stairs as a kid on Xmas morning and finding that Santa had skipped our house or something. Not cool.

    You need to move outta that place, Mooner. New Mexico beckons. Heed the call.

    and fuck Field Marshall Rommelney.

  2. Parttime Texan, Mooner Johnson says:

    Squat. While my finger flicker packs a wallop it was the threat of a second vist from Streaker Jones that kept Steve off my mangy old ass.

    As for the paper, I have a longtime deliverer who is more than well tipped. My guess is actually that a homeless person snags it for bedding. A colony has begun to gather in a copse of trees down the road.

    Santa Fe is singing prettily. Theo tells me he just took a job in Austin.

  3. squatlo says:

    Theo can suck my hairy ass…

    But I digress… (visit my place to understand why he’s topping off my short shit list) You should pay for a subscription and have the paper delivered to the homeless folks, and announce said subscription with a delivery of spare ‘maters!

    “here’s some fresh garden tomatoes, fellas… and look for a Sunday paper to be dropped off on this very spot next Sunday, on the house. Have a good’n!” oughta do it.

    One more time, fuck Theo and anyone who thinks like that.

  4. I know that at any given moment, I am just a few paychecks away from being homeless. No paycheck, no mortgage payment…no home. And I’ve worked quite a bit with the homeless vets (esp back down in FL). I hate the fact that anyone needs to be homeless when you just take a look around and see all of the empty homes sitting around – the ones that have been foreclosed on. The richest nation in the world has homeless people. We have a bajillion empty homes sitting around. We have six hundred billion cars sitting on lots. But too many people have no home or mode of basic transportation. That’s ill. Let me quit before I get all riled up and rolling…

  5. Parttime Texan, Mooner Johnson says:

    Reck. Your mention of the empty housing is a hot button issue for me too. As I have said here, I think that the greedy lenders that put us so deep into recession can help reboot the economy by placing all that property into Section 8 housing.

    For some reason I have a deep, almost angry connection to the homeless situation. Maybe it’s my own mental maladies–in their worst forms–that I see reflected in so many homeless faces. But whatever it is, my brain goes all auto-response and kick ass when I see them abused in any way. I even thumped this asshole’s nose when he yelled the ever so classic, “Get a job,” this one time.

    Anyway, how’s tricks with Rose Boy? Chemistry?

  6. squatlo says:

    As bad as our homeless situation is, it pales in shock value next to our hunger situation. In a country where crops are dumped if the price is too low, where restaurants dump more good food into their dumpsters than some countries even have available, it’s hard for me to believe millions of Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
    We’ve got kids riding buses to schools on empty stomachs, which is a recipe for disaster academically. And when it’s proposed to just “feed ’em all” by providing breakfasts for every child in the system, some teabagger will whine about his tax money being wasted on “those people”. But they don’t blink twice if the Pentagon wants another cruise missile that would pay for the entire program.

    Like Reck, lemme go before I get too mad to drink my coffee.

    One last thang… here’s the solution: find the “selfish” gene in the human mind and develop a therapy or pill that eliminates it. That would do two things: make our nation more generous and empathetic, and completely eliminate membership in the Republican Party.

  7. YES, Squat…I forgot to mention the food situation! How in THE hell can anyone in this country be hungry – when everything is available in super, jumbo, or oh-holy-shit upsizing??? And the amount of food that is wasted is ridiculous.

    And Mooner…yes, there seem to be some sparks flying with Rose Boy. He’s actually a pretty decent feller…he’s a local boy (born/raised here) – go figure! I think you would approve of him to occupy my time until our nuptials. BAHAHAHAHA!

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