You lucky people. I have decided to share with you a few juicy Christmas morsels from my murder-memoir – Boy Outa Brooklyn. They are simply too wonderfully depressing to keep to myself. After all, Christmas is a time for giving. So… put your feet up, pop open an egg-nog and enjoy!
Pages fly off the calendar until they reach Christmas 1981.
The place is Oxnard, California.
Your reporter is a struggling actor working as a minimum wage security guard at a hospital when… the screen goes fuzzy… fuzzy… fuzzy…
Then things got bad. My girlfriend back in New York dumped me. By phone. On Christmas Eve.
While working in the security-guard game, I was living in a mini-trailer – let’s be kind and call it a “trailerette.” This particular trailerette was in the Wagons West Trailer Park right off Route 1 in Oxnard, California. When I say, “right off,” I mean I could reach out the window and adjust the rear-view mirrors on passing cars. (It has been said that Oxnard is something that comes out of a bull’s nose. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can testify that Oxnard, California smells like something that comes out of a bull’s ass.)
Strawberry fields surrounded Oxnard to the horizon. The fruit was grown under long strips of black plastic sheeting, so the fields looked as if they had been wrapped in an enormous garbage-bag. But, in a certain light, those garbage bags were beautiful. They shimmered in the sun and radiated heat waves so that, at sunset, Oxnard was a mirage city afloat on a glistening, black-plastic lake.
Wagons West Trailer Park, an island in that lake, was infested with illegal immigrant Mexican families. Wetbacks. Like their Puerto Rican cousins in Brooklyn, they spent their days screaming the Mexican equivalent of “mira, mira,” blasting the Mexican equivalent of Tito Puente music and shoplifting. Wagons West had a swimming pool the size of a toilet bowl, so the Mexicans used it as such. All in all, this wasn’t shaping up to be one of the more festive Yuletide seasons of my life. Besides, Christmas and Southern California didn’t go together. It was just plain wrong.
To be a good scout, I volunteered to do a double shift at the hospital on Christmas Eve so that another security guard could have holiday time with his family. Never mind that he was a stuttering semi-retard who beat his wife. (“The b-b-b-bitch ja-ja-ja-just d-d-d-on’t li-li-li-lissen.”) For I was aglow with the spirit of Noël and decided, “God bless us everyone” even violent, stuttering semi-retards.
My girlfriend in New York called as I was suiting up for work. Let’s call her Monica since that was her name. It was Christmas Eve and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life was on TV. The trailerette was so cramped that to answer the phone, I had to sit with my head touching the TV screen. I turned down the sound – the better to hear the splat as Monica dumped me from a great height. As I listened, numb, I stared at Jimmy Stewart running silently through the streets of Bedford Falls desperate to find someone, anyone, who could save him. I melted into the screen. I melded with Jimmy. I was Jimmy. I mumbled to Monica that I understood and there were no hard feelings. (I lied.) I picked up the Santa Claus hat I was going to wear to work and fed it to the kitchen garbage disposal.
I stepped out of the trailerette into the humid inferno that was Christmas Eve in Oxnard, California. It wasn’t even dark yet, but the Wetback kids had already ripped open their shoplifted presents and broken all their toys. Bent bikes and headless dolls laid abandoned in the dust beside the flat wheels of the trailers. I heard beer bottles being smashed and Mexican curses being hurled. Feliz Navidad. I made for Happy Valley Hospital. MerryfuckingChristmas!
At 3 AM, I took my lunch-break. The hospital cafeteria was closed so I couldn’t even get hospital slop from the slutty, pink-haired punk who worked there. Instead, I fantasized about fucking her four-ways-from-next-Tuesday in my trailerette. She would be wearing my Santa hat and nothing else. “If the trailer is rockin’, don’t bother knockin.” But, Pinky was probably rockin’ that night with the hospital’s jailbird janitor. So, I walked to a 7-11 that was ablaze with light and found it full of Martians – the ancestors of today’s Walmartians. The nurses who had rejected me because I talked “funny” were correct to have identified me as an alien species. But, they had their morphological categories backward. I was the only Earthling in Oxnard and certainly the only Homo sapiens in that 7-11. The true aliens were the shapeless blobs of carbon-based life-forms buying Slurpees and Slim Jims at 3 AM on Christmas Eve.
What are they? Where did they come from? Why can’t they go back? How does any organism become this greasy, ugly, fat and stupid yet still live?
As I struggled to find something to eat related to any known food-group the Muzak played I’ll Be Home for Christmas. I lost it. Right by the Taco melted-cheese dispenser. I wept copious tears, perhaps aided by the chopped onion in the jalapeño bean dip. No Martians noticed. But I sucked it up and manfully determined to finish my double-shift. I wanted those ex-military tools who hired me to mourn losing their best man.
But I also had to face the facts that were as plain as the pus-filled pimples on the oily forehead of the 7-11 clerk – I hated California and California hated me. I had tried to be an exemplary employee but despite my efforts, I had somehow offended someone so grievously that the cunt-lapping, shit-eating, fuck-face went and trashed my Mercury Comet in the hospital parking lot while I was making my rounds.
Goddam, I loved that car. Fuck these California cretins.
Propelled by a sudden, baffling surge of nostalgia for being pissed on by drunken Negroes on the “A” train, I made for New York.