Friday, December 31, 2010

A lot of Y-words

On Thursday, La Netta drove us over to the Richmond court building so Rosa could pay another traffic ticket.

On our way there, I saw the billboard with the CBS exe on it. "Ewwwwww!", I said. Even though I had my headphones and sleep mask, my sleep mask was up.

As we sat in front of the court building, La Netta heard me swishing saliva aroond in my mouth. "James, don't you want to spit that out?", she asked.

I got out and spat out a stream of saliva on the berm in front of the van.

I got back in and heard Snodgrass playing with his lunch. "Did he say, 'Ooh, gak'?," I asked La Netta.

"I think he said, 'Ooh, yxk'," La Netta replied.

"So he said the Y-word?"



I got out to spit again. Once I was back in the van, I started developing a new stream of spit in my mouth.

"Do you want to spit that out?", asked La Netta.

"I keep getting a sore throat, and my mouth keeps filling up with saliva whenever that happens", I said.

"Then stand outside until you've gotten it all out."

I stood outside. I spat my saliva out. I waited until another sore throat came. The build-up came, then I spat that out.

I walked back in.

"Ken, get back in the van!", said La Netta.

Before long, everyone was wanting to get out. "Robin, don't step out of the van!", said La Netta. "There's broken glass on the street!"

I got out to spit again, and got back in. I began coughing.

"Do you have a cold?", La Netta asked me.

"I have a sore throat, and I'm coughing", I said.

"You should ask Stan if you can stay home, because you shouldn't be coming to program sick. Ken, get back in! We cannot have everyone getting out. The only reason James is getting out is he's sick and needs to spit."

We then drove to the office. I explained to La Netta that I had seen the CBS logo and would also be purging off Snodgrass' Y-word. She let me use the restroom.

I walked in and purged off lots of /ai/ sounds: "I", "I'm", "outside", "Y", "saliva", etc. I did the eyes of other people. Then I got to that CBS exe and cracked it like a Jolly Rancher.

Next I did "yadoluk, yadoluk . . ."

When I got out, Snodgrass was in the van. I heard him saying, "Yxk".

"Did Snodgrass say the Y-word?", I asked La Netta.

"I think so", said La Netta.

I went back into the restroom, purged off "yxk" again, then washed my hands.

When I came out, Snodgrass was collecting all the pill containers from around my seat. He leant over and picked pill container after pill container off the floor. Snodgrass kept saying "Yxk" as he looked at the pill containers.

"La Netta, have you got a paper towel?", I asked.

"Let me see if I can get you one", said La Netta. La Netta found one.

"Thank you", I said. I held the paper towel in my hands and Snodgrass dumped the pill containers into the paper towel.

A few fell out, and he picked them back up. "Yxk", said Snodgrass.

"Eeeeewwww!", I said.

I carried them over to the garbage can by the curb and threw the paper towel in. Then I went to the restroom to purge off all those "yxk"s.

When I came back, I thought Snodgrass' yxkfest would be over. But instead, he had one more pill container for me, something I had missed. "Yxk", he said.

"Ewwwwww!", I said. I put it in my red bag, and I was off to the restroom once again.

"James, how does a truck burrito sound?", asked La Netta when I got back.

"It sounds good."

La Netta drove me to Tapatios, where I got a head super burrito.

Then La Netta drove over to China House. If I had known we were going to China House, I would have bought something there. "La Netta", I said, "Can you get two eggrolls here?"

"I don't know", said La Netta, "I can ask them when I go in."

La Netta went in. She came out with Chinese food. "The eggrolls come four for $4", she said. "Is that good for you?"

I had only $2 left. "That's too expensive", I said.

"OK", said La Netta. "So we're good to go?"


La Netta ate her Chinese food at lunch. Then, when I got home, I savored a big burrito filled with beef head.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Emanuel wants to get dropped off at the bus stop

As we were driving to Emanuel's house on Wednesday, Rosa was chatting and said, "He's the one who takes them on bxke rides . . . they know that we do the grounding and the whooping and the homework".

As soon as we stopped off at Emanuel's house, I asked La Netta when we were going to get to a restroom.

"Why?", she asked.

"So I can pick my navel", I replied.


"Because Rosa said the short form of 'bicycle' when she was talking about how someone takes the kids on bicycle rides."

"Oh yeah."

We soon found ourselves at Vincent Park. I walked into the restroom, and then entered the stall.

Shortly after I entered the stall, I found Emanuel in the stall. I figured that he needed to go too, so I walked out of the stall.

I then found Emanuel standing outside the stall with me. I began picking my navel, and Emanuel rubbed the part of his shirt over his navel.

Great. Emanuel was playing copycat.

"We have fat women in the van", said Emanuel.

"No, we don't", I said.

"Yes, we do", said Emanuel.

"No, we don't. Rosa is of average weight."

"Haaaaaaaa!", Emanuel said. "No, she's not."

"She's of average weight."

Emanuel screamed. "She's of average weight?"

"Yes, she is."

Emanuel screamed again.

"Why are you screaming?", I asked.

"Rosa's fat!"

I continued picking my navel.

"Cookies", said Emanuel. "Ice." Was he going to say "cream" next? "Ice xxxxx."

"Blechhhhhhh!", I said.

Emanuel laughed. "Ice xxxxx." This time the accent was on the second syllable.

"Blechhhhhhhhh!", I said.

"Ice xxxxx."


"Ice xxxxx."

"Blechhhhhhh! Emanuel! Stop saying that!"

"I won't say it again", said Emanuel.

I switched from picking my navel to purging off "ice xxxxx". But Emanuel said "ice xxxxx" three more times before I finished.

"Why are you in here?", I asked.

"I'm purging", said Emanuel.

"Purging? You don't have logaesthesia."

"Yes. I have logaesthesia."

I finally finished and asked La Netta for some hand sanitizer.

"I don't have any", said La Netta. "You want to use your soap?"

"All right", I said.

"I heard you yelling in there", said La Netta. "What was happening?"

"I'll tell you the whole story when I'm out of the restroom", I said.

"All right", said La Netta.

"It doesn't have anything to do with me, right?", asked Emanuel.

"Oh, it does have to do with you!", said Rosa.

I picked my soap out of my red bag and was soon back at the restroom.

I washed my hands, rubbing back and forth 100 times, then washed them off. When I sensed some soap was still on them, I went for some toilet paper to wipe them with.

As I was wiping them with the toilet paper, Emanuel came in. "Come on!", he said. "It's time to go."

"Let me do things at my own pace!", I said. "No, it's not!"

"Ice xxxxx!"


"Ice xxxxx!


"Ice xxxxx! Time to go!"

"BLECHHHHH! No, it's not!"

Emanuel left and I was purging once again.

I finally finished and was back in the van. Emanuel tried to interrupt, but I managed to tell La Netta and Rosa the whole story.

"From the way you're acting", said a coach, "It seems like you're trying to get dropped off at the bus stop."

"Stan's wife smells like piss!", said Emanuel.

"Pia is a very nice lady!", said Rosa. "You do not talk about her like that!"

"Stan can suck my dick!", said Emanuel.

"You do not invite people to your privates!", said La Netta. "You don't even wash yours!"

"Sign yourself out at the bus stop!", said Rosa.

"Take me to the office, where I can call my mother", said Emanuel.

"We're not taking you to the office!"

They finally convinced Emanuel to get off at a bus stop.

We went about our day and were soon at Trader Joe's.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's the Most Lucrative Time of the Year

On Thorsday there was no Ken and no Robin, so we had just Rosa picking us up. It was the day of the big Christmas party, and Lita had asked La Netta if I wanted to sing.

I listened to my headphones as the radio was set on Emanoel's station. When we hit a stop, I took my headphones off.

"James!", said Rosa.

"Yes?", I said.

"Is Stan going to buy you your lemon meringue pie and Tampicos?"


"Is that for sure?"

"Well, he said he'll try."

"Because we're in front of FoodsCo right now. I was thinking we could go into Walgreen's, then get your stoff if we need to."

"OK, let's do that."

So we visited Walgreen's, then we hit EoodsCo. "Do you need a cart or a basket?", asked Rosa.

"How about a basket?", I said.

I picked a basket up -- it took me a while to figure out where the handles were. Then we were down the aisles and picking up Tampicos. I selected the strawberry-banana one and the island punch one.

We looked at pies. Unfortunately, neither of us saw lemon meringue. We asked an employee and that was the only pie section we had.

Rosa told me I should plan for the week-end by buying dinners there. I selected a lasagna and two Banquet Mexican meals.

I then paid for my goodies at the check-out. The cashier asked me how I was doing.

"Today's a great day", I said. "I'm going to see my best friend today."

"You're seeing Lamesha?", Rosa asked me.


The next stop was the CIWP office, where the Christmas party was.

"You made it", said Lita.

"Will there be singing this year?", I asked.

"So you are singing!", said Lita.


I looked at the wastebaskets in front of me. In one I saw a white frok. "Is this silverware plastic or is it made of corn?", I asked Rosa.

"I don't know", she said. "I'll have to ask Lita."

Rosa asked Lita, who said, "I believe it's plastic, but I can make sure you don't see it".

I don't Lita I'd be in the restroom. I went inside the restroom to purge off that plastic silverware, then was back in the main room.

Lita showed me her office, which had no plastic silverware. Nobody would be saying any words in there.

I heard Kay saying what sounded like "cutxe" in the main room when I was in Lita's office, and called Kay's name.

Kay came up, and I after her if she said the C-word.

"Now which one would that be?", she asked.

"Rhymes with 'beauty'," I said.

"Oh . . . I didn't say that."

I sat in the office and looked at the clocks. These were digital clocks, so I watched as they turned the right time.

"Jingle baby", I heard outside. "Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby."

Then they played hot potato. I thought I may have heard a "whxxps".

"Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby."

"Monty, stop", I heard a coach say.

"Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby."

Did Kay say "t-ngle"?

"Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby."

Lita came in again. "What's with all that 'Jingle baby' stuff?", I asked her.

"That's Emonte", explained Lita.

"Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby. Jingle baby."

Coaches tried to get Emonte to leave, but he just wouldn't do it.

Finally, they took him away from the party and drove home.

I got someone to call Kay for me. Kay came.

"Kay, did you say the word that rhymes with 'single'?", I asked.

"I may have", she said.

"Not 'jingle'. Begins with a T."

"Oh, I don't recall saying that one."

"Did you say 'tickle'?"

"No . . . I did say 'took him', as in 'I took him somewhere'. That may have been what you heard."

"OK, thanks, Kay."

I went back in until the next time Lita came in.

"We're ready for you to sing", said Lita.

I came out into the main office and Lita announced I was ready to sing. She had to tell people to be quiet about five times.

Finally, I came out and announced, "Here's a song I wrote myself. It's called 'It's the Most Lucrative Time of the Year."

I began to sing:

It's the most lucrative time of the year
Trees will be overflowing
Portfolios growing
Cash flowing like beer
It's the most lucrative time of the year

It's the ching-chingiest time known to Man
Everyone, sure as hell, owns
Those consoles and cellphones
Packed straight from Japan
It's the ching-chingiest time known to Man

There'll be long lines at Wal-mart
As customers all start
To load shopping carts up nonstop
With ATM's empty
You're merely a temptee
Of Wall Street's demands that you shop

It's the most decadent season in years
With corporatized carols
And sales on apparel
At Macy's and Sears
It's the most decadent season in years

There'll be worship of mammon
And feasts of smoked salmon
At parties while homeless folks lack
We'll spend billions of dollars
While crowds push and holler
And squabble while Friday is black

It's the most lucrative time of the year
With Corona and soda
Don't care one iota
For being austere
It's the most lucrative time
It's the most corporate time
It's the most lucrative time of the year!

Others sang along with the "of the year" part. There were laughs at several parts of my song.

When the song finished, people cheered wildly.

Lita stepped in and asked if she could have the lyrics so she could email them to the head director at CIWP.

I heard a few "frok"s along the way, and someone called someone else sweetxe near the end.

Rosa drove me to the park and told me I had 10 minutes.

"A few things I need to know before I can use it", I told Rosa.

"Shoot", said Rosa.

"Did I hear the WH-word when you were playing hot potato?"


"Did Kay say the word that rhymes with 'single'?"



I walked in the portable. I did a few "frok"s before carving into "sweetxe".

I finished and Rosa drove us all home.

I said good-bye to Rosa, looking forward to seeing Lamesha and enjoying a five-day week-end.

About some food I couldn't eat

Wednesday morning, La Netta told me, "Hey, James?"

"Yes, La Netta?", I said.

"Today we're picking up two different people, so we won't be able to make it to EoodsCo."

"Did Lita tell you we couldn't go?"

"Lita didn't say that explicitly, but she said we had to stick with our schedule."

"Why can't we change the schedule?"

"Because we iave licensing coming in. They're checking on us."

"Well, if we make a formal schedule change, then licensing won't be an issue."

"We have Trader Joe's on the schedule, and everywhere else on our schedule is located around Trader Joe's."

"Then why don't we just replace today's schedule with yesterday's?"

"Lita is not in, and Maria's busy. It would be a real inconvenience on the people in the office to do a schedule change. Just go to Trader Joe's and see if they have the things you want there. Ask Stan if he can take you to FoodsCo."

I was really disappointed. I might not be able to get my lemon meringue pie this holiday season.

Rosa and I walked into Trader Joe's together. We looked at the bread section ane, after a few minutes' worth of looking, finally found the challah. We stopped by the juices where I got a pomegranate limeade and a papaya nectar. Then I told Rosa I was done shopping.

We walked up to the counter. "Merry Christmas", the cashier told me.

"Thanks", I replied.

"Plastic", I heard Rosa saying. "Ma'am? Plastic."

I looked and the cashier had already put stuff in a paper bag. I looked and these were the holiday paper bags, covered with the usual cluttered images of Trader Joe's paper, now accompanied by snowflakes and snowmen.

The cashier placed everything in a plastic bag and we walked out.

La Netta and I went into Ross together and talked a little. Then we were back in the van.

"What's wrong?", asked Rosa.

"You're asking me what's wrong?", I asked.

"No, I was asking La Netta", said Rosa. "But what's wrong with you?"

I told her about the paper/plastic bag fiasco. I said I wouldn't be able to enjoy my food and drinks. Rosa explained what had happened to La Netta.

Since we were waiting for people (possibly Ayyoon and Sayon) to pick up at another store, La Netta said we had to wait around the shopping center for a while. She asked if there was anything we'd like to do there.

"How about going back to Trader Joe's?", I asked.

"Going back?", asked Rosa. "Whyyyyyy?"

"To return this food."

"You can't return food!", said Rosa. "Not unless it's bad or it's spoiled!"

"La Netta?", I asked. "Would you like some challah bread?"

"Why don't you want your challah?", she asked.

"Because they put it in a paper bag first", explained Rosa.

"Oh", said La Netta.

"They didn't actually put the bread into the paper bag", said Rosa.

"Really?", I asked. "Just my juices?"

"Just one of your juices."

At the park, I asked which juice they had put in the paper bag.

"The darker one", said Rosa.

I checked my two juices out, and the pomegranate limeade was darker.

"Are you going to donate it to the Christmas party tomorrow?", a coach asked me.

"I was thinking about giving it to Bernard", I said, "But I think you've found a better use for it."

La Netta and Rosa then went into a second Ross, after dropping off Snodgrass.

"Watch your finges, sweetxe", a mother said to her child shortly after we walked in.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

At home, I purged off "sweetxe", and began eating my challah.

I finally get my juices

On Tuesday morning, we were supposed to go to FoodsCo, where I could get two Tampicos and a lemon meringue pie, but we had van servicing so we stayed in the Hilltop area instead.

"Did they say the C-word on the radio?", I asked La Netta.

"No", said La Netta. "Don't you have your headphones?"

"I was waiting for Rosa to finish talking so I could ask you a question", I said.

"Well, you already asked the question", said Rosa.

"No, not that question. I have another question."

"Shoot", said Rosa.

"Hey, La Netta, while we're at Hilltop Mall, could we please go to Wal-mart so I can get my juice?"

"We're going to be walking through the whole mall", said La Netta. "It depends on if you can carry your juices through the mall."

"I only plan on getting one", I told La Netta.

"OK. whatever works for you."

I lifted my sleep mask and decided to look around me after we picked Robin up. To my luck, I saw a billboard with the letters CBS, accompanied by the CBS exe. "Ewwwwww!", I said.

La Netta stopped off at Firestone and took us into Hilltop Mall. Shortly after going to Hilltop Mall, Rosa and I went into the restroom downstairs. I purged off that exe and it came out of me a cracking piece of hard candy.

I came out and La Netta asked me whether my mother had spoken with me lately. I told her I had sent her my Christmas list and she asked whether I wanted the clean or the explicit version of Funhouse. I told her I wanted the explicit version. La Netta laughed.

Rosa came out of the restroom and La Netta told her about it.

"What's Funhouse?", asked Rosa.

"I think Funhouse is by Pink", said La Netta.

"Right", I said.

"Hey, James", said La Netta.

"Yes, La Netta?"

"I was thinking we'd wait until they told us our van was ready, and then we'd get your juices last thing."

"Oh, all right", I said.

Eventually, Eirestone called. La Netta and I went in while the others drove around. La Netta and I got into our new an and drove to Wal-mart.

"Are we going to FoodsCo tomorrow?", I asked her.

"I'm not sure", said La Netta.

"OK, then I better buy two of these juices."

I picked up two one-gallon bottles of Hawaiian punch and took them to the check-out. Then we were back in the van.

La Netta took me to China House, where she and I ordered lunch. I got sweet and sour prawns with chow mein, while La Netta ordered an entire einner for her family.

A little later, as we drove home, Rosa was talking about Ricky riding his bxke. He had said "bxke" twice when I asked her, "Rosa, could we talk about this later?"

"Sorry", said Rosa. "I keep forgetting."

At home, I picked my navel. Then I got to the fun part -- Chinese food!

Perseverating over the P & A words

We were inside Wal-mart on Monday, when La Netta and I were both using restrooms. Rosa was outside with Snodgrass.

"Bxke!", squealed Snodgrass. "Bxke! Bxke!" He was very loud.

I picked my navel three times. But then . . .

"Bxke!", he said.

I picked my navel again.

"Bxke!", shouted Snodgrass. "Bxke!"

"Be quiet", Rosa told him.

After about ten more "bxke"s, I washed up and La Netta and I were out of there.

I asked La Netta if we were getting juices toeay and she said we weren't going to go downstairs.

"Shawn was saying the B-word", said Rosa. Note: the B-word is actually "bxtty".

"I heard Snodgrass saying the short form of 'bicycle' about twenty-five times", I said.

"I only heard it once", said La Netta.

"It was more like fifteen times", said Rosa.

Shortly afterwards, we walked up to the check-out. It sounded like a man in an Indian accent was saying "pxking around" . . . and then saying "pxking around" again.

"Did they say the P&A words?", I asked La Netta.

"I didn't hear that", said La Netta.

"What did they say then?"

"I don't know. You're talking about Shawn, right?"

"No. I'm talking about the people thataway. The Indian man." My hand waved in the direction of the words I had heard.

"I didn't hear them. I just heard the B-word."

"Rosa, did you hear an Indian man speaking?"

"I saw two Indian men, but I didn't hear them saying anything", said Rosa.

La Netta then spoke to a cashier named Kusum. Kusum appeared to be Indian. Had I heard him?

"La Netta, did I hear 'walking around'?", I asked her as we left the store.

"No", said La Netta.

"Did I hear someone say 'looking around'?"


We got into the van.

"Rosa, what kind of accent did the people you spoke to had?", I asked.

"I told you!", said Rosa. "I didn't hear them -- I just saw them!"

"La Netta, did you hear Kusum say anything before we walked up to him?"

"James, you're making my stomach hurt", said La Netta.

"I'm trying to find out if they said the P&A words", I said.

"James, it was in the bathroom, all I could hear was Shawn yelling."

What? In the bathroom?

"Wait? You said in the bathroom?", I asked.

"Yes", said La Netta. "Isn't that what you were referring to?"

"Noooooo", I said. "When I was asking about the P&A words, I was referring to what I heard just before I asked it."

"Oh. I didn't hear that", said La Netta.

"La Netta", I said. "Did you hear everything around you as we were walking up to the check-out?"

"Where are you going with this?"

"It's a simple yes-or-no question."

"But where are you going with it?"

"If you were able to hear everything, then I can figure out conclusively that they didn't say the P&A words."

"Then the answer would be yes."

"Thank you, La Netta."

When I got to Miller's Knots, I told La Netta, "You need a hug."

We squeezed and La Netta said, "Ooh . . . thank you James after I let her go."

"Can you confirm that I didn't hear the P&A words as we were walking up to the cash register?", I asked her.

"Yes", said La Netta. "You didn't."

"Good." Then I left for the restroom and began picking "bxke" out of my navel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


On Friday, there were only three clients coming: Ken, Snodgrass and yours truly. So it was just La Netta.

We were listening to KOIT on the radio when the Christmas carols ended and a commercial began. To the tune of "Deck the Halls", it sang "Yxmmy yxm yxm yxm, yxm yxm, yxm yxm". I plugged my ears and hummed. La Netta turned the radio off.

"James, here's the thing", said La Netta. "Pia said to meet her at Walgreen's, so we're going to go to Walgreen's, and meet with Pia for whatever it is she has to do. Then we'll go to Big Lots."

"Sounds good to me", I said.

We entered Walgreen's and immediately saw Pia.

"Is Emanuel with you?", asked Pia.

"No," said La Netta. We had not taken Emanuel with us onto our van today because he was high.

"Very well then", said Pia.

As we went into Big Lots, La Netta told Snodgrass to behave. "You were well-behaved in K-mart yesterday", she said. "Do good in here. Don't pull down shoes!"

La Netta soon found some liqueur cakes. "They have this amaretto here -- and then they have these", she said, pointing to some tiramisu liqueur cakes.

"Ooh, tiramisu!", I said.

"What?", asked La Netta.

"I said tiramisu!"

"I don't know what that is."

"You've never had tiramisu? Then you've missed out, La Netta!"

"What is that?"

"It's a dessert . . . sort of like pudding. My sister likes it. In fact, you might even try getting a tiramisu liqueur cake for yourself."

I put two tiramisus and one amaretto into the cart. La Netta followed with one tiramisu for her.

Then La Netta showed me guava juice. "No thanks!", I said.

"It's $1.59 . . . no, wait, it's $1."

I looked at it. I looked at three out of four long sides.

Then I saw the fourth. There was a lot of editorial stuff about their product. I looked and saw the words "txsty beverages."

"Blechhh!", I said.

"What happened?", asked La Netta.

I pointed to the T-word.

"Oh", she said. "Then you won't get that."

Later in the store, La Netta passed by perfumes. She picked out one bottle of perfume and Snodgrass smelled it.

"Ewww, yxk!", said Snodgrass.

"Eeeewwww!", I said.

We paid for my stuff, and La Netta paid for her tiramisu liqueur cake and snowman-themed wrapping paper.

La Netta told Ken and me we would have to go into Lee's Garden by ourselves.

I walked in and ordered chow mein, beef chow fun and Hunan chicken. Just as I finished paying for my order, La Netta came in.

She helped Ken with his order then we were off to Kennedy Grove.

"Is it muddy?", I asked La Netta.

"What did you say?", asked La Netta.

"I said, 'Is it muddy?'."

"It is."

"I don't want to get my shoes muddy, but I really need to purge off the T-word."

"Well, you can wipe your shoes off on the curb."

"That won't work."

"Maybe you can go around."

So I walked on the concrete road, away from the mud. I ducked under the bar. Then I looked at my usual portable. There were tracks of mud.

I looked at a bigger one. No mud inside.

I jumped over the leaves and was soon inside the portable. I locked the door.

Paradise. I purged off "txsty" for half an hour. Then I did Snodgrass' "yxk": "yadoluk, yadoluk". Finally, I got to all the "yxm"s.

I jumped back out. Did I jump in the mud? I wiped my feet off on some curbs, and found no mud left on my shoe. Then I ducked under the bar again and made it all the way to the van.

There was no way I was going to go all the way back there to wash my hands, so La Netta got me some hand sanitizer. I washed it back and forth about 250 times.

I had to ask La Netta whether they said "ice xxxxxs" in "A Christmas to Remember" -- it was the first time I had heard the song. Then they were over with that song, they were playing a song I knew, but La Netta was on her cellphone.

When she finally got off, they were playing another song I didn't know.

Then that song ended and commercials played. La Netta turned the radio off, but by now she was on her cellphone again.

"Are you done with your cellphone conversation yet?", I asked her.

"No", I said.

A little later . . . "Are you off your cellphone?", I asked.

"No", she said. "Can you hear my interlocutor?"

"The heater's on, so it's hard to tell. And I'm afraid you're going to slip up and say a word."

"Well, I'll tell you what. I'll tell you when I'm done, OK?"

"OK", I said.

I got outside and spat. Just then La Netta announced she was done.

I swallowed my pill.

We dropped Snodgrass off, then Ken. Finally, La Netta and I said our good-byes in front of my house, and I brought in the three liqueur cakes and the Styrofoam of Chinese food to eat.

I finally get my money

Thurseay, 12:17 a.m.: I call Stan. "Did I forget you bring you your money again?", he asks. When I reply in the affirmative, he said he'll bring me the money in the morning.

8:26 a.m.: I call Stan. He says he'll try to get me the money at Emanuel's house; if not Emanuel's house, at the office.

8:28 a.m.: I hang the phone up.

8:29 a.m.: I walk out and tell La Netta. Our day begins.

Darnell was with us instead of Rosa. Darnell said he was mulling over which GPS to get for his car. "This option has free shxpping", he said.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

A little while later, he said "free shxpping" again.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

We were soon at the office, where I went to the restroom to purge off the two "shxpping"s.

While I was lying down on the couch, Pia came into the office.

"Pia wants to see you", said La Netta.

Pia came in and handed me two fives and a ten. "Here's your money", she said.

"Thank you", I said.

I think she had something for Emanuel too.

I heard a man with a voice like Urdell's or Jose's speaking outside. It sounded as if he were saying "Pxrdon?" twice.

Just as I walked out I heard Kay saying what sounded like "Pxrdon? Huh?"

"Did someone say the word 'Pardon'?", I asked Kay.

"Not that I heard", said Kay.

"Did you say it yourself?", I asked Kay.

"No," said Kay, "Because I don't usually use that word."

Then I discovered La Netta was in the conference room. I asked La Netta, and she said no.

I told La Netta I'd go to the restroom at the same time as she did. When she told me she was going, I came in, so I wouldn't be left unprotected from purge words.

I stayed in the restroom until La Netta knocked. I left out with Darnell as La Netta waited on Emanuel.

We visited K-mart together. "Close your eyes, James", said La Netta.

"Is it on my left side or my right side?", I asked.

"Actually, it's all around you", she said.

"The I-stuff?"


"The I-stuff?"


"Oh yeah," said Darnell. "I see paja--"

"He didn't say it!", said La Netta.

"I caught myself!", said Darnell.

Snodgrass saw something. "Bxke!", he said. "Bxke! Bxke!"

"He sees a motorcycle?", I asked.

"No", said La Netta.

"What does he see then?"

"You know what he sees."

"A bicycle?"


I closed my eyes and plugged my ears. K-mart was full of commercials!

At the end of our trip, a sensor went off. I was asking La Netta, "Did they say the SL-word? Did they say the SC-word? Did they say 'I-word cone'?" Each tome she told me no.

La Netta went back in and they discovered something in their cart had gone unscanned. They scanned it up and added that to La Netta's total. A La Netta paid for it with her credit card, the employees apologized.

"That was totally unnecessary", I said.

"It was", said La Netta.

As La Netta, Darnell and I did drops, they mentioned how well-behaved Snodgrass had been in the store. He didn't pull down any shoes when we passed through the shoe section. "Usually there's all that oohing and aahing", said La Netta.

The conversation turned to clients' behavior in stores. Darnell told of a time his group had gone in a Safeway with Ganesh and Ganesh stripped completely naked in the middle of the store. The employee stepped up to him and said, "Could you please not come back? Because that's pretty inappropriate."

We mentioned Emanuel and how he makes going into the stores hard for us. Then Darnell brought up a time they had gotten seven heavily-built security men to handle Ganesh, claiming he was 51/50 (or however you spell it).

Finally, we went home that day. "If you want a liqueur cake, I can take you by Big Lots tomorrow", said La Netta.

"Sure", I said. "Thanks, La Netta."

Group photo!

Wednesday morning, we drove up to Jolene's house to pick Robin up, and I said, "Tell me if Jolene's there".

"James!", I heard Rosa call. "Jolene's here!"

I picked up my See's bag out of my red bag and asked La Netta, "You've got the bow?"

"Oh, shoots!", said La Netta.

I went to the curb to spit, then carried my See's bag with me as the staff invited me in. "Jolene's in her room", the staff said.

I went in and saw Jolene there. "Jolene?", I said.

"James!", said Jolene.

I handed her the bag.

"Thank you!", said Jolene.

"I've got See's chocolate for you."

"Peanut Crunch?"

"Yes, Peanut Crunch. Your favorite, Jolene!"

"My back hurts."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Jolene."

"My back hurts! Owwwwwww! My back hurts!"

"That's OK, Jolene", her staff said. "We're getting you to the doctor today."

"Too bad your back hurts", I said. "I hope you get better. See you!", I walked out the door.

Jolene was yelling in pain as I left.

After we finished drops, we stopped off in front of another house.

"I need to go to the bathroom", said Emanuel as he got outside.

"Oh, no you don't!", La Netta said.

"That is NOT OK!", said Rosa.

"I can call the police on you right now!", La Netta said.

Emanuel got back in.

While I rode in the back, I heard Snodgrass' soda pop top popping. His pants were wet.

We stopped in front of the next place on our schedule -- the Dollar Tree. La Netta asked if I wanted anything, and I told her I could go in for lunch meat.

While we were looking around, La Netta ran into a relative she knew. She started a conversation with the relative. La Netta's interlocutor talked about Christmas shopping. Then she said she was getting some of her relatives pajamdras. She pronounced the word the same way La Netta does.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

They continued talking.

"La Netta", I said, "If you get me to the restroom right now", I can be quick.

"OK," said La Netta.

The song "Last Christmas" was interrupted by a commercial. I plugged my ears and sang "Alouette". Right after I unplugged my ears, they song was back and I heard the words "catch my exe".

"Eeewwwwww!", I said.

La Netta's relative finished talking. But then La Netta's relative asked La Netta about her kids.

As I walked away from them and La Netta walked away, they were still talking.

"La Netta", I said, "I can't hold it in."

"You know where the restroom is", said La Netta.

"I don't. How do I get there from here?"

"You open your eyes and go right, then straight ahead, and you'll find the restroom."

"Is there anything there that will make me purge?"


So I followed the route and soon found myself in the restroom.

I purged off "pajxmxs", first tasting something stale and dry, then doing the tomato sauce on a pizza with "pajahmdras". Then I did a few "adolye"s, and got my "catch madolye adolye".

La Netta and I looked through the lunch meat. "They don't have the kind you like, Butterball, here", La Netta said.

I looked around, thinking maybe they had some Zacky. Then there it was -- the Butterball!

"Found it!", I said. I flicked the Butterball chicken/turkey bologna into the cart.

We went through the cookie aisle, where I told La Netta I wasn't buying anything. Then came the CD's. I looked down and saw an NKOTB CD.

"Do you know them?", asked La Netta.

"Sure, those are the New Kids on the Block", I said.

"Oh. Billy Dean -- do you know him?"

"No", I said.

Then La Netta held up another CD. "Do you know this?"

I looked up to see the CD. Bloom, it said. "Bloom. I don't know them", I said.

Just then I saw Tigger behind us. It was a pack of Winnxe the Pooh pencils up on the wall. "Oh no, La Netta!", I said.

"Ohhhhh", La Netta said sadly. "Just keep your eyes closed and I'll tell you if there are any CD's I want to know about."

When we got out, Rosa was yelling at Emanuel. It turned out Emanuel had gone over to several people in the parking lot, in their cars, and asked them for lighters.

"We asked you to stay outside the dollar store", said La Netta. "James likes going into the dollar store so he can buy lunch meat and stuff. If you keep doing us, they're going to ask us not come again, and we won't be able ot buy the things we enjoy."

Rosa asked Emanuel if he spilt soda all over the back of the van. "I didn't do it!", said Emanuel.

Emanuel averred his innocence all the way through, until Rosa looked in the back. "It was you, Shawn, wasn't it?", said Rosa. "It couldn't have been Emanuel because it's too far back here." Rosa began grilling Snodgrass.

"I asked Shawn if he did it and he pointed to Emanuel!", Rosa said.

La Netta stopped by Lee's Garden, but I didn't go in as I had no money left.

We then stopped by the office, where we were supposed to star in a picture. I went to the restroom and purged off Tigger. before I could finish with all the Winnxe the Poohs and Tiggers, I heard a knock on the door.

I zipped up and let someone in. I was left standing out in the main office.

"Hi, James!", said Tiffany.

I waved at Tiffany.

"See me waving?", she asked me.

"Mm-hmmm", I replied.

I had to ask La Netta about several words.

Then the groups all walked out through the back door for a picture. "I want to be next to you", I told Tiffany.

"OK, James", said Tiffany.

Tully, who was in Tiffany's group, was squealing.

"Lita knew Tully didn't do well around this many people!", said Tiffany. But she made him come anyway!"

We got in place to have our pictures taken. I was with Tiffany in the front row. Then Lita told us to come in closer to the middle so everyone could be in the picture.

As Lita stood behind the tripod, Tully screamed and turned his back to the camera. Tiffany told him, "Look at Lita!"

Tully turned around but Lita didn't snap a picture in time. Before you knew it, Tully was spitting in people's faces.

"Tully!", said Tiffany.

Tully turned his back and spat. Finally, Lita took the picture without getting Tully. I was right next to Tiffany -- yay!

The groups dispersed, and we drove off to Davis Park.

While we were at Davis Park, Rosa chastised Snodgrass. She said he would have to clean up all that soda. "And you tried to blame it on Emanuel!", said Rosa.

Snodgrass got a plastic sandwich bag and wiped up soda with it.

"I don't want that bag!", said Rosa. "All you did is smear it!"

They gave Snodgrass paper towels to clean it up.

Then Snodgrass began throwing a tantrum when La Netta took his soaking "book" from him.

"My book!", Snodgrass said as he reached for it. La Netta threw the magazine in the garbage.

I got out of the van with my red bag lest Snodgrass throw my CD player again. He was stamping his feet on the floor of the van in a full-fledged tantrum.

After Snodgrass' tantrum was over, he showed La Netta pill containers from my pills that were left in the van.

"That's small compared to your soda!", said Rosa. "Look at him -- trying to shift the blame to James!"

As we went home, Snodgrass howled. La Netta spoke with his group home staff.

"What was all that hollering about?", asked Rosa.

"His book", said La Netta.

When I got home, I finished with all the Winnxe the Poohs and Tiggers, and ate my lunch meat.

Chocolate for that special someone

On Monday, La Netta mentioned that she needed to go to See's Chocolates because she was stressed out so much by her clients.

On Tuesday, she swung around to See's when we had El Cerrito Plaza on our schedule. "Are you getting something for yourself?", she asked.

"No, just eor Jolene", I said.

As we stood in line, I heard an employee say "Yxk!" after she came out of another room.

"Eeeeeeeewwwwwww!", I said.

"Are you going to be able to do this?", asked La Netta.

"Yes", I said.

Shortly afterwards, Ken walked by La Netta and said, "Whxxps!"

"Did Ken say the WH-word?", I asked La Netta.

"He did", said La Netta.

"D'oh!", I said impassionately as I bopped my forehead.

A little while later, I asked La Netta whether he had said it with the vowel of "Froot Loops", or the vowel of "good book", and La Netta said he had said it with the vowel of "Froot Loops". It would be a little easier.

Then it was my turn. "How much for a quarter poond of Peanut Crunch?", I asked the employee.

It came out to $4.something.

"Could you tie it up?", I asked.

"We don't do that for quarter-pound bags", she said.

"But the last time I got a quarter pound for her they gave me a bow that said "Just because".

"We don't have bows."

"You don't do that anymore?"

"I've only worked here for a week, so I don't know."

"Are you ready to go?", La Netta asked me.

"I'd like to speak to the manager first", I said.

"That was the manager you spoke to", La Netta said.

We left See's, and La Netta told me that if Jolene wasn't already there Wednesday morning, she would put the pieces in a plastic bag and she would get a bow from home to put on it.

"D'OH!", I said, slamming on my forehead, after we stepped outside.

"James!", said La Netta. "You got your chocolates, and we can bag it outside."

"That's not it", I said. "I was doing that because I heard the WH-word."

"When did you hear that?"

"Ken said it, remember?"

"Oh, yeah."

I purged off "yxk" and "whxxps" at lunch. Then after I came out, Rosa said "mxss".

"Eeeewwwwwwwww!", I said.

I was back in the restroom. Shortly afterwards, we went home.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The G-word

On Friday it was not only Lamesha's and my sister's birthday, but also the birthday of one of Rosa's friends or family. She was on the cellphone with the birthday celebrant.

"That was a client", Rosa said on the phone.

When she got off, Rosa told us about her phone conversation. "When I was on the phone with her, Robin screamed, and she said, 'Oh you're at home!', and I said, 'No, I'm at work!', and she said, 'I thought I heard Melchor!', and I said, 'No, that was a client', and she said, 'Gxtcha'."

"Rrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

When we got to the office, La Netta told Emanuel and Ken not to get out.

"May I go to the restroom?", I asked.

"What do you need to use it for?", asked La Netta. "You didn't hear any words."

"Rosa said the G-word. Remember when I growled?"

"Rosa did not say the G-word!"

"When Rosa was on the phone, and her interlocutor thought she heard Melchor, and she said, 'That was a client', and her interlocutor said the G-word."

"How did you even hear her interlocutor?"

"She told us about the phone call afterwards. Don't you remember? She shared it with us. She said when she was on the phone Robin screamed, and her interlocutor said, 'Oh you're at home!', and Rosa said, 'No, I'm at work!', and her interlocutor said, 'I thought I heard Melchor!', and Rosa said, 'No, that was a client'. And then her interlocutor said the G-word."

"But how does the G-word even go with that?"

"Do you know what you G-word is?"

"I'm not sure. Remind me."

"It rhymes with 'dacha'." A dacha, in case you're wondering, is a kind of house people live in in Russia.

La Netta thought for a while. "Ohhhhhhhh. She did say that."

"What did you think the G-word was?"

"I thought it was something else. You can see if Robin's in the restroom."

The M-word in connection with traffic

On Thursday morning, Santina knocked on my door and told me La Netta was here. I got up, applied deodorant, put my sleep mask and shades on, grabbed my red bag and torned off my white sound machine. As I stepped outside the door, I saw Santina in her SpongeBob Squarepants pajamdras.

The radio was playing gospel, so I wouldn't need to put my headphones on. Then on came a Safeway commercial.

"A Safeway commercial!", I said to La Netta. But she didn't turn the radio off, or even switch the station.

At first it was something about stockings (?), but then at the end they started advertising food deals at Safeway. I plugged my ears, but I still heard the radio.

"California Cutxes clementines!", they said.

"Eccchhhhh!", I choked.

Worse yet, the next thing on the radio was an ad for KTVU traffic.

"Oh, no, traffic!", I told La Netta.

She didn't turn it off. I hummed and buzzed as the commercial played. When it was over I asked La Netta if they said the M-word.

"No, they didn't", she said.

I managed to get my headphones on. My headphones played through a few KBLX songs.

Then came a gap between songs on my CD. I heard what sounded like traffic on the radio. "Oh, no, traffic!", I said. "It's on a gap! Quick! Turn it off! Please!"

The next song on my CD began, and by the time I took my headphones down they were on a commercial.

"Was that traffic?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes", said La Netta.

"Did they say the M-word?"

"No. I thought you had your headphones on."

"I did. Did you hear what I said?"

"No. What did you say?"

"I said it was on a gap!"

"Your CD has a lot of gaps. You need to invest in you an iPod, then you won't hear any gaps."

I put my headphones back on. By the next gap, they had switched to KMEL.

I listened to several more songs on my Killers CD. Then, during one gap, I heard Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are". I liked the song, so I turned my headphones off and listened.

The next song was "Airplanes" by B.O.B. I knew that song had no purge words, so I listened.

After "Airplanes" ended, another song I didn't recognize came on.

Shortly after that song began playing, someone (I assumed it was La Netta) switched the station. The first word I heard sounded like "mxss". Then came another station. Then a station that was doing traffic. "Oh, no! Traffic!", I said. Then they switched to Alice, where the DJ's were discussing a potential Christmas present: a soda-making machine. "You'll be chxgging that soda down", they said.

"Did they say the M-word?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes, they did", said La Netta.

"Eeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww! Why did you switch the station?"

"Because they said the M-word."

Wait a minute . . . if she switched it because they said the M-word, maybe La Netta meant the word "mxss" was present in that KMEL song. But I didn't hear "mxss" in the KMEL song, and so I wouldn't have to purge it off. I had been referring to the station to which KMEL was switched when I asked her that station. Maybe if I clarified . . .

"La Netta, do you mean the song had the M-word in it?"

Rosa said something. I repeated my question to La Netta.

"She already told you", said Rosa.

Then we stopped at Miller's Knots.

"La Netta?", I said.

"Yes?", said La Netta.

"Before I go to the restroom, could you clarify something?"

"Sure", said La Netta.

"When you said it had the M-word, were you referring to the song on KMEL?"

"Ken switched the station. The next station did have the M-word, so I switched it."

"Was it the same station that was doing traffic?"

"I didn't see what station it was."

"All right, then I'll just assume it was an M-word in connection with traffic, and purge that off."

"OK", said Rosa and La Netta in unison.

Ken was standing outside. "Hey, Ken?", I said.

"Yeah, James?", said Ken.

"When you're going to switch the station on the radio, could you tell me first, so I have time to get my headphones on?"

"OK, James."

I went to the restroom and closed the door. First I purged off "chxgging" because that was easy. Then I did "cutxe". Next, I spent a long time purging off Santina's pajamdras. Then I got to "mxss".

I was still doing "mxss" when Ken walked up to the door and asked, "Are you done?"

"Is La Netta ready to drive off now?", I asked.

"I think so, James", said Ken.

I walked back to the van. They were doing "Little Drummer Boy" on KOIT, which plays Christmas carols during December. Then the DJ did some song ID's, then came a motorcycle commercial that said something about "saddle bxkes".

"They said the short form of 'bicycle' in this commercial", I told La Netta.

La Netta turned the radio off.

"Do you have any hand sanitizer?", I asked La Netta.

"No," said La Netta, "We're all out. You'll have to use the faucet."

I walked to the faucet, then started walking back to the restroom to pick "bxkes" out of my navel.

"Where are you going?", asked Rosa. "If you go to the restroom, we won't have time to go to the Dollar Tree, and you'll be out of juices. And don't think that once you've got your stuff at the Dollar Tree, you can screw it up for the rest of us!"

I washed my hands, then walked back to the van without having purged off "bxkes".

I listened to my headphones all the way to the Dollar Tree. As I sat in front of the Dollar Tree, I saw a FREE SHXPPING sign in a window and growled. Once we got there, I asked La Netta if we could use our van money for hand sanitizer, and she said we weren't getting our van money. I also said I might want to buy batteries here, in case my corrent batteries don't last long enough to make it until the next time we go to a retail store like Target or Wal-mart.

"If you're going to buying so much, why don't you open your eyes and push the cart?", asked La Netta. "Or do you want a basket?"

"I'll get a basket", I said.

So I got a basket. At the juice section I picked up a strawberry-kiwi eusion Stars & Stripes, a root beer Stars & Stripes and a pineapple Shasta.

La Netta told me we were at the soap aisle. As I looked at the soaps, I saw a stack full of Winnxe the Pooh pencils in the middle of the aisle. "Eeeeewwwwwww!", I said. But still no soap.

I told La Netta I had seen something that was going to make me have to purge, but couldn't find the liquid soaps. La Netta took me over, and picked out something I'd like. I put that in the cart.

Then came batteries. Rosa told me that dollar store batteries didn't last long and I would be better off buying batteries from somewhere else. But I got batteries anyway.

I had to plug my ears and sing "Alouette" several times in the store. During one commercial, I kicked the basket around with my feet while plugging my ears and singing "Alouette".

Finally, we left the dollar store and went to Subway. At Subway, La Netta went to the restroom. I walked that direction to.

"Where are you going?", said some woman with an Asian accent.

"Is there more than one restroom?", I asked her.

"You'll have to wait your turn", she said.

"I said, 'Is there more than one restroom?'"


I ordered a foot-long from the Asian woman. "What kind of bread do you want?", she asked me.

"Italian", I said.

"What meat?"

"Chicken teriyaki."

She said something, then waited for about a minute.

Finally, she took some chicken teriyaki out, and placed it in my sandwich.

Next, she said it was $6.something. I asked for Swiss cheese. She still requested my $6.something.

I handed her a five and two ones. I thought I heard her say "A second", but she was actually saying, "Seven". She gave me coins in change for the $7 I had handed her. She then acted as if it were finished, but I asked for olives and onions.

"Onions and what else?", she asked.

"Olives", I filled her in.

"Mayonnaise or mustard?", she asked.

"Neither", I said.

"What do you mean neither?", she asked.

"'Neither' means none of the two. I don't want mayonnaise and I don't want mustard."

She then handed me my meal.

La Netta was out by now, and Ken ordered his meal. Then La Netta ordered her own sandwich.

We made it to Pinole Valley Park. Inside the restroom, I picked "bxkes" out of my navel and then did "shxpping".

Next, I continued the word "mxss": "madoless, madoless, madoless; madoless, madoless". Thrusts all around, smeared like peanot butter, as the taste of oatmeal was summoned.

"Are you OK?", asked La Netta.

"No, I'm purging", I replied.

About thirty minutes later, La Netta came back out, and asked what was taking me so long.

"The M-word in connection with traffic is very hard to purge off", I told her.

"You didn't hear the M-word!", said La Netta.

"Yes I did, on the radio this morning."

"They did not say the M-word!"

"Don't you remember? When you said you switched the station because they said the M-word?" I filled her in on that morning to jog her memory.

About thirty minutes later, I was still purging. La Netta said we were leaving soon.

About a minute after that, Emanuel was rambling and he said "axx oxxx the pxxxx".

"Eeewwwwwww!", I shouted.

I tried purging it off quickly, but he said "call" about 7-9 times.

Then I finally nailed them. Nailed the words "axx oxxx the pxxxx", that is. I washed my hands, and was out the restroom.

We did drops, then when we got to my house I finished purging off the word "mxss". Next I did all the Winnxe the Poohs.

I didn't take my pill until 5:14, and didn't start in on my Subway sandwich (ziplocked!) until 5:17.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do you see what I see?

Yesterday, we had Big Lots on the schedule by my request. Since Rosa wanted to stay in the area, she had also put Fallas Paredes (a clothing store) on the schedule.

"She dreams in colors, she ereams in red, she couldn't find a better man", I heard on the radio. At the beginning of that song it sounded as if it said "slxp". I would have to check the lyrics on that song when I got home, even though I had heard the song many times before and never heard any purge words in it.

La Netta took me into Fallas Paredes. She told me to close my eyes when she saw "something you don't like", so I did.

I held on to the cart, and soon I felt something to my right falling off its hook. "That was a toy", said Rosa as she put it back up.

Rosa and I continued to hold on to the back of a cart together as she pushed, then I felt several more things to my right fall off their hooks. "This is what happens when you have two people at the back of a cart", said Rosa. "Do you want to open your eyes and look around?"

"If I open my eyes, I'll see pajamdras!", I said. I asked La Netta if it was safe to open my eyes.

Then Rosa started pulling the cart from in front while I held on from behind. It worked out well.

Rosa and La Netta decided to split. Rosa would push Snodgrass to Big Lots, while La Netta would drive over with me.

"With You" by Chris Brown was on the radio. I plugged my ears. "Could you turn the radio off?", I asked. "This song has the C-word in it."

La Netta turned it off immediately.

Next we walked into Big Lots. La Netta had been meaning to buy me a liqueur cake for years, and now she would have a chance.

La Netta looked in a Christmas aisle, but saw no liqueur cake. Then we turned the aisle. I saw shelves off this snack food called Dippers, which pictures little girls with their eyes closed upside-down. As I was picking at the eyes, I heard La Netta say, "Oh! Here you go, James!"

I walked over to where she had found a liqueur cake. I stood by her while she held it up and read the package. "Do you want to say 'excuse me'?", she said. She must have been talking to Snodgrass. I imagined Snodgrass had almost run someone over in his wheelchair. She couldn't have been talking to me, since I hadn't bumped into anyone or gotten in anyone's way.

"Do you want to say 'excuse me', James?", La Netta said. "It's rude to walk in front of someone like that."

"I wasn't walking in front of anyone", I said.

"You didn't see the man who you were right next to?"

"I didn't see anyone! I swear!"

"Well, you were right next to someone."

"I see Robin." I was looking to my left and saw what appeared to be Robin's pants and shoes.

"You better open your eyes, because that's not Robin", said Rosa.

I looked up at the man's face. His dark skin and grey beard reminded me of Mike Williams. I looked straight into his eyes.

"Hi", he said.

I waved at him. "My name's James Landau. What's your name?"

I thought I heard him say "Wiss".

"OK, see you, Willis", I said.

"Wes", he said.

"OK. Wiss."

"Wes", said Rosa.

Wes then left.

My heart was broken a second time that day, when La Netta said, "Ooh, I can't buy this for you -- this has rum in it."

"We asked Stan and he said it was OK, remember?", I said.

"It's not about Stan", said La Netta. "It's about the rules of the program."

"You're not allowed to buy clients alcohol?", I asked.

"Right. I'll have to buy you something else worth $3.50. Unless you want to buy this yourself." She put it back. "I guess not."

I picked up three liqueur cakes and carried them with me.

"I guess he's getting some after all", said Rosa. "Here, here's the cart."

I put the three in the cart. Then I walked past five boxes of cones, labeled "Ice Xxxxx Cones". "Blechhhhh!", I said.

"What is it?", asked La Netta.

I pointed to the ice xxxxx cones.

"Oh", she said.

I paid for my liqueur cakes without needing an ID, then we were out the door.

Emanuel talked about cops. "I can race the cops on my bxke", he said. "The cops go chasing me on their bxkes. They're chasing me on their bxkes, but then I've got a dirt bxke or mountain bxke . . ." He went on, using the word "bxke" a total of 11 times.

"Emanuel", I said. "Can we talk about something else?"

"Sure," he said. "But let me say one more thing. When I get on my bxke . . ." And he said it a few more times.

Finally, we were at Millers Knots. I went in the restroom and did all those "eye"s. That included thinking "kibe" to myself several times -- "bxke" backwards. I also thought "mearc cie" to myself. After doing many /ai/ sounds, I got down to those dipper pictures. Next came several "ice"s, and the ice xxxxx cones -- the actual pictures of ice xxxxx, then the word "ice xxxxx". Then came "slxp", just in case.

I had just started in on the "bxke"s when La Netta called my name.

"Are we leaving?", I asked.

"Yes, we are!", she said.

As we got back in the van, she asked me what took so long. All she thought I heard was "bxke".

"There were the I-word cones at Big Lots I showed you", I said.

"Right", said La Netta.

"And then there was that song that went, 'She dreams in colors . . . couldn't find a better man'."

"I turned that one off!"

"You were thinking of the song with the C-word", I said. "I'm referring to a different song." I told her about "slxp".

After we got Emanuel out of the van, Rosa turned the radio off and I coold speak to La Netta.

"La Netta", I said, "It really hurt me when you said I was rude. If I had only seen the man, I would have done even better than saying 'excuse me'. I wouldn't have walked in front of him at all."

"Did you see how close you were to that man?", asked La Netta. "He was really angry."

"I didn't see him, I swear!"

"You were right next to his feet. So close you could feel him breathing."

"I couldn't feel him breathing."

"He got angry at first, but then when I apologized, he let it go", said La Netta. "People don't like it when you're up so close. Ken, you do this too. You violate people's personal space." La Netta put her hands up and demonstrated one person brushing up against another. "You have to watch this, Ken, because you brush up against other people, walk over their feet, and don't say excuse me. Did you know that that bothers people, Ken?"

"I didn't know that," said Ken.

"Did you know that, James?"

"Yes", I replied.

"How couldn't you see him? Were your eyes closed?"

"They were open", I said.

"Well, didn't they prescribe glasses for you? I guess you need glasses."

I never thought I'd want glasses. But they could have saved me from being called rude in front of another person today.

When we walked up to my house, I explained to La Netta that I had thought she was speaking to Snodgrass when she asked if I wanted to say "excuse me".

"Really? Oh, OK", she said. "Well, it's over. Just go in and have some liqueur cake."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ga-ga over nothing

Friday morning we were listening to the gospel station in the van. Then the commercials came on.

"La Netta, are you going to listen to the commercials?", I asked her.

"Yes, we are", she said.

"OK, I'll just get on my headphones."

I pulled my headphones out while the van was jolted. Rosa reached for something under the seat, only to have it roll in front of her.

Just as I was about to plug my headphones into my CD player, Ken said, "Stuff's flying axx oxxx the pxxxx."

"Did Ken say the A, O the P words?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes, he did", said La Netta.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled. "And I just about about to plug my headphones into my CD player!"

"Want to get your headphones on now?", asked Rosa.

"Some of the songs on this CD have the A part, or the O part, or the P part in them", I replied.

"It doesn't make any sense that your CD would have those words on them."

A new gospel song was playing now.

"Did they say the P & A words?", I asked La Netta.

"I don't know", said La Netta. "Why don't you just put your headphones on?"

"Some of the songs on this CD have the A part, or the O part, or the P part in them", I replied.

"It doesn't make any sense that your CD would have those words on them", said Rosa.

"Well, the first song on this CD for example, it has the word 'always' in it, and that has the word 'all' in it."

"Then we'll just turn this off", said La Netta.

"Wait," I said. "I want you to listen to find out what they're saying."

La Netta turned it back on and listened briefly. "They do say it."

"They said the P & A words!?!"

"No, they said 'all'." She turned it off again.

"I want you to listen to find out if they're saying the P & A words."

"They don't say it."

"But when I asked you if they said the P & A words, you said, 'I don't know'."

"James, I had a headache."

"You were listening, right?"


We stopped at Miller's Knots, where I purged "axx oxxx the pxxxx" off. Then I was back in the van.

We stopped in front of Thrift Town, but Snodgrass was bugging Rosa and La Netta. "I'll stay in with him", said Rosa.

"James, want to go in to look for turtlenecks?", asked La Netta.

"Sure", I said.

As I followed behind La Netta, I saw something pink and printed. "Are these pajamdras?", I asked La Netta.

She looked more closely. "I think they are", she replied.

"La Netta!," I said. "I want to go to the restroom."

After looking through all the men's shirts and finding nothing I liked, La Netta said she'd take me out fo the store. I heard a mother addressing her crying daughter as "sweetxe" on our way out, and growled.

"That wasn't the P-stuff", La Netta said, "That was just a sweater with snowmans on it."

Snodgrass was pointing and pointing and squealing and squealing. "Loooooooook!", he said. "Loooooooooooook!"

"Shawn, there's nothing out there to see", said Rosa.

"Looooooook! Eeeeeeeeek!"

"Shawn, cut it out!"

Rosa grew increasingly fed up with Snodgrass' pointing out mundane objects. In fact, there were no books, no motorcycles, no shoes or anything else that would give him a Shawn-gasm.

"Cover your ears, James!" said Rosa.

I plugged my ears as tightly as I could. I hummed for about twenty seconds.

When I unplugged my ears, Snodgrass shouted, "My bxke!"

"It's not yours", said Rosa.

"Shawn, that motorcycle is NOT YOURS!", I rebutted.

After thirty minutes of sitting with Rosa, La Netta came out. It was almost noon.

Rosa told La Netta about how Snodgrass was there bugging her with his screaming the whole time.

La Netta then accompanied me into Taco Bell. I ordered a soft-shell taco and a chicken chalupa, but also the new enchilada burrito they were offering.

On our trip to Kennedy Grove, I was bucked in the seat several times, and said, "Oy!"

I went to purge off Snodgrass "bxke"s and the "sweetxe" in the Kennedy Grove restroom.

While we were at Kennedy Grove, La Netta discovered that the back seat in the van had come loose. Something had broken. No wonder we were bumping and jumping during our ride!

They fixed the seat and said it was safe enough to sit in it during our ride home, but once we were riding again I felt another bump on our way to Snodgrass' house.

"Shawn, that book is nasty!", said a coach to Snodgrass. "It smells! Go and throw that away!"

We took Shawn into his house. When La Netta came out, she said, "Snodgrass said, 'Yxk!' and threw the book into the trash".

"Ewwww!", I said. "This is the third book he's been through."

"But they have more", La Netta said.

Since the seat could not be fixed, La Netta had Robin get up front and me get in the middle on the rest of our ride home.

Mr. Hatthrower

Since it was Thursday, we spent the beginning portion of the day in the office. La Netta let me lie on the couch in the couch room.

As I was lying there, the door was open. I listened to the conversation outside.

Another group was in there, and I heard another coach talk to Lita about something. Did he say "ice xxxxx"?

Then I heard it. Lita said "ice xxxxx" herself.

"Blechhh!", I said. "Blechhh!"

Then the coach said "ice xxxxx" again.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Ooh, sorry, James!", said Lita.

As I came out of the couch room to use the restroom, Lita said, "I didn't know you were in there."

I purged off the three "ice xxxxx"s, then came back out. The group soon left to go to its next program site: Wal-mart.

Snodgrass was uncoöperative when it came time to go to Wal-mart. He insisted upon taking his magazine with him, saying, "My book!"

When he got out, he threw his hat.

"Pick it up", La Netta whispered to me.

When we entered Wal-mart, Snodgrass began shouting, "Bxke! Bxke! Bxke! Bxke!"

"He sees one?", I asked.

"It's not that", said La Netta.

"What was that?", I asked.

"It was a motorized scxxter."

I told La Netta I wanted to look at the candy section. Snodgrass soon had his hat back and was throwing it again.

He also made trouble in the magazine sections. He picked up a magazine with a half-dressed lady on the cover. "Plug your ears", La Netta told me.

Soon Shawn saw a magazine with a motorcycle on the cover. He picked it up and said, "My bxke!"

"It's not yours", La Netta corrected him.

We went downstairs to look for spice drops. They were out of spice drops, so I picked out two bags of orange slices and two bags of pastel mints. Then we went upstairs where Snodgrass saw that motorized scxxter again and went ga-ga over it.

When we finished, we drove to Taco Bell to buy lunch. I counted coins in my sandwich bag.

"Are you out of money?", asked La Netta. "I hear James counting money."

I determined that I had enough to buy one cheese quesadilla. I ordered that inside Taco Bell.

Ready to purge off all Snodgrass' "bxke"s, I walked to the portable at Pinole Valley Park. But when I saw the inside of the portable, the upper left corner was covered in white cobwxbs. I looked closer and there was a big dipser there.

I closed my eyes and did my ritual for dipsers, starting with the eight "adolyes" for their eyes. Then I did the legs . . . when I was done with the whole dipser, I purged off its cobwxb. Next I picked my navel.

La Netta told me a story as we drove home about her 13-year-old son Jeremiah shaving gaps into his eyebrows. His aunt was there and asked him, "Are you GAY or something?"

I finally hugged La Netta for my shower on Tuesday (on Wednesday she was afraid I might spread a cold), and I was on my way to eat my quesadilla and ask Stan Man for more money.

A long time till purging

On Tuesday, the gospel station was on. After the music finished and the DJ's spoke, the station took a break to commercials. The third commercial finished with "keep an exe on".

"Eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!", I said.

"What's wrong?", asked Rosa.

"Didn't you hear what they said on the commercial?", I asked.


Our group had only three clients. We were supposed to go to Pacific East Ranch Market and Albany Bowl, but Rosa said she wanted to go to the court building to pay a fine. We drove over, with the radio on gospel.

The DJ was doing a talk show on sibling rivalry. "Leave your mxss in the house!", she said.

"Eeeeewwwwww!", I said.

"Mxss in the house", her interlocutor repeated.


Then we listened to some Christmas carols.

Since we were overstaffed, one person had to go home. That person turned out to be La Netta. As we pulled up to the CIWP office, Rosa took over.

"Want to use the Vincent Park restroom, or dog park restroom?", asked Rosa. "Oh, use this one."

I walked in. Someone was obviously in there.

I stood around for 10 more minutes, and the man in the restroom still didn't come out.

Finally, I gave up. I walked out. Rosa got the engine running as soon as she saw me walk up.

"Where are we going?", I asked her.

"I believe it's Albany Bowl", said Rosa.

"I thought we were past oour time for Albany Bowl."

"I believe Albany Bowl's beginning about right now."

"I thought Albany Bowl was first, and we were supposed to go to the Pacific East Ranch Market beginning at 10:45."

"Did you look at the schedule?"


"If you already knew, then why did you ask?"

"Because I thought you might take a break from the schedule and go to Vincent Park. I didn't get to go to the restroom in the office because someone was in there, and I got tired of waiting."

"OK, we'll go to the dog park."

Rosa drove me over to the dog park, and I got out and went in the restroom. It had been such a long time since I heard the K & E words that I had a lot of purging to do. After rubble-clearing countless /ai/ sounds -- "I", "like", "time", "side", "night" and so on, I did my ritual for the words "keep an exe on".

"Keep an adolye on . . . keep an adolye on . . . keep an adolye on." Every time I said "adolye", it was a shock to my groin.

Then I did the words "mxss" and "mxss": "madoless, madoless, madoless . . ."

"I'll take you over to the burrito truck", she said. We went not to Tapatios, but to a different burrito truck, one where I got an asada burrito.

I ate my burrito at Vincent Park. It was delicious. Then I told Rosa I felt strange.

"Probably because you ate that burrito all at once", she said.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An argument with Levette

I was heating up my burrito in the kitchen. Levette, meanwhile, was across the living room, talking on his cellphone.

As I heated it up, I thought I heard the word "mxss". I hope he wasn't talking about traffic.

"Levette", I walked over and said, "Did you say the M-word?"

"One minute, James", he said. "I'm on the phone."

Eventually he finished. "Did you say the M-word?", I repeated.

"No, I didn't", he said, "But I was having a private cellphone conversation. I don't appreciate you spying on my conversation."

"I wasn't trying to listen to it", I said. "You were having the conversation right across the room and I could easily hear you."

"This conversation was private!"

"When you're carrying your conversation ouot right in front of me like that, you forfeit your right to privacy!"

"It's none of your business!"

"You made it my business by carrying your phone call out right in front of me!"

"I was all the way across the hall!"

"When you're standing in the kitchen, you can easily hear what someone's saying at the door! It's that close!"

"It's rude to listen in on other people's conversations like that!"

Just then I started biting my hand.

"Don't hurt yourself!", said Levette. "You're going to draw blood! Stop!"

"If you retract your comment that it is rude, I will stop biting myself!", I said.

"Stop biting yourself!"

"If you retract your comment that it is rude, I will stop biting myself!"

"Come here, James. It's all right. We're friends. I don't want you hurting yourself."

I stopped biting my hand.

"James, it's not rude. I'll stop my phone calls to answer your questions from now on. OK?", asked Levette.

"OK", I said.

"If you have a question, I'll tell the person on the phone to hang on and stop talking so I can answer it. We're friends, James."

"We are?"


Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble-gobble-gee and gobble-gobble-gickel, I wish turkey only cost a nickel

It was Thanksgiving, just after noon. Aaron was playing BattleOn on my computer. Stan Man said we would need to all get in the van to pick up Darren.

After the other guys loaded into the van, I climbed in. Carl was in the back, sitting on the right side of the hindmost seat. He said he was saving the left side for me.

I climbed in next to Carl and listened to the others' conversation. The clients were tickling each other and laughing. "Stop tickling him!", I heard.

Charles told Emanuel to "scxxt over". I growled.

"Uh, you said the SC-word", said Aaron.

The nerds were doing a routine that involved speaking in a high-pitched voice, waiting for the momentum to build up, and then saying "Why me?" They said they got that from Pokémon.

Stan Man went to the place Darren was supposed to be and called him on his cellphone. Stan said, "Weren't you supposed to be here?" It turned out Darren was in Pinole, so Stan started driving to Pinole. I had my sleep mask on, so I didn't have to worry about seeing Frosty Freeze.

Stan drove over and finally he got to where Darren was. Stan said, "Scxxt over" to Carl so Emanoel could get in the back to make room for Darren.

"Rrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Scxxt to the left, Carl!"


"Tell me when we're passing the Pedaller bxke shop", said Aaron.

"Now I'll have to pick my navel", I said.

"We just passed it", Charles said.

"You said the B-word", said Carl. Note: the B-word is actually "bxtty".

"The short form of 'bicycle'," I said.

"'Bxke' is another word for 'bicycle'," said Aaron.

"You said the short form of 'bicycle'," I told him.

"That's a purge word", said Carl.

"Oh! Sorry, James!", said Aaron.

"James, plug your ears", said Carl.

There was a lot of talking in the van, and Stan asked for quiet time.

The guys still talked.

Charles told someone to "scxxt over". I growled, as you would imagine.

"You said the SC-word", said Carl. "James, plug your ears."

Soon Aaron and his friend were singing, "Back to life, back to reality, back to life, back to reality".

Someone told him to cut out that infernal song.

"I know," said Stan, "Maybe we can get James to sing for us."

"My mouth is full of saliva", I said.

"What?", said Stan.

"He said his mouth is full of saliva", Aaron interpreted.

"Oh, shoot!", said Stan.

"Maybe you can sing, Stan", said Aaron.

"My voice isn't as gooe as James'," said Stan Man.

"Don't put yourself down", said Aaron.

"It really isn't as good", said Stan. "That's just the truth."

"James, plug your ears", said Carl.

I plugged my ears again as the guys yammered and chattered.

"Stan, can I play on James' computer some more when we get back in the house?", asked Aaron.

"James needs a break", said Stan. "Stay out in the living room."

We finally got to my house, and Stan thanked me for coming along. I spat my saliva out and said "you're welcome".

"You want me to keep Aaron out of your room?", he asked.

Aaron was just going to play BattleOn. "Sure", I said.

My CD player fails me

On Wednesday morning, Emanoel didn't get into our van. With Ken off on vacation for Thanksgiving, La Netta and Rosa were left with only three clients. So only Rosa stayed.

"Is there anything you want to get at the 99 cent store?", Rosa asked me as we parked in front of it.

"Some Stars & Stripes", I said.

So she got out Snodgrass' wheelchair and took Snodgrass, Robin and me in.

As soon as I got in, the Intercom was on a commercial. "Shxpping and handling", they said.

"Rrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

". . . For free shxpping", the commercial went on.


"What's wrong?", asked Rosa..

"Didn't you hear that commercial?"


"It said the SH-word."

I picked up a basket and collected an orange Stars & Stripes and root beer Stars & Stripes at the the beverage aisle.

Then Rosa went to the restroom. I came along. "Where do I put this basket", I asked.

"Just lay it outside the door", she said. "Out of the way."

I went inside and picked the two "shxpping"s out of my navel. Then she asked me if I wanted to look at the lunch meat. I said yes.

I picked up two packages of Butterball bologna, made of chicken and turkey. Then we hit the cookie aisle. I looked around for Pom Poms or Copitos, but didn't find either.

What I did see, however, was Winnxe the Pooh scissors. I saw Winnxe the Pooh twice on the pack, along with one Tigger, and some other characters (Eeyore? Piglet? Kanga?)

"Eeeewwwwwww!", I said.

I left the aisle without any cookies. I paid for my two bottles and two bolognas ane then plugged my ears and sang "Alouette" as another commercial came on.

We were finally out the door, and Rosa wanted to go to Party City, so we went in. I stood there and put my bags on the floor as she checked something out. I tried carrying all my bags in my right hand and cupping my left hand over my eyes as I moved around. Rosa decided against buying whatever it was. I saw a sun with its exes closed upside-down on a personalizable get-well card. Rosa and I left Party City and put my bags in the trunk of the van.

"Do you want to go to Grocery Outlet?", Rosa asked me.

"Yes", I said. "Where are we getting lunch?"

"Do you want to get lunch at Grocery Outlet? There's Iack-in-the-box. There's the burrito truck. There's Lee's Garden."

"Let's go to Lee's Garden to get lunch. Oh, and I also want to go to Grocery Outlet."

"We'll go to Lee's Garden first", said Rosa. "It wouldn't make any sense to go to Lee's Garden and then drive back. Mind if I go to McDonald's first?"

"No", I said.

Rosa went into McDonald's, and ordered her meal. Then she said, "We're running late, so let's just skip Grocery Outlet, and go to Lee's Garden."

I walked into Lee's Garden without Rosa. Most of the people were speaking Chinese. I ordered chow mein, Hunan chicken and mixed vegetables with shrimp, and then paid for my order and felt around for the plastic silverware. "You don't want the frok?", she asked.

"Right", I said.

We made it to Davis Park, and I started with the exes closed upside-down (lots of rubble-clearing there). Then I purged off the word "frok" in the restroom before carving into Winnxe the Pooh. After the Winnxe the Poohs, I did Tigger.

I came out and took my pill in the van.

"Robin, let's go!", shouted Rosa. "We're going to Grocery Outlet."

So we were going after all. The day was saved. I got four piroshkis at Grocery Outlet and we were out of there in record time.

I put my piroshkis on the middle row seat, along with my Chinese food.

As we drove, the van hit a sudden stop. "Oy!", I said.

"James", said Rosa, "Why don't you put your Chinese food with you so it doesn't fall off the seat?"

I took it back with me and sat it on my lap. Then Rosa said, "I'm going to turn the radio on, so tell me when your headphones are on."

"Are you going to listen to KBLX?", I asked.

"I'm going to flip stations until I find a song."

I got my CD player out and plugged the headphones in. I had changed the batteries yesterday.

Now, to turn the CD player on! I pressed the PLAY button.

The screen was still blank. I pressed it again.

"It's not turning on!", I said. "Did I put these batteries in backwards?"

"I don't know", said Rosa.

I went and checked my batteries. They matched the + and - signs inside the battery compartment.

I tried turning it on again. "Don't tell me my new CD player is broken after only a few days!", I said.

We drove all the way home with my headphones on and my CD player off.

"Rosa, do you still want to listen to the radio?", I asked.

"The radio's off", said Rosa.

"I mean do you still want to turn the radio on? Like when you told me to get on my headphones?"

"No, that's OK."

"I can walk all the way over to the front yard and once I'm there you can turn the radio on", I said.

"That's OK."

We said our good-byes and settled into this great Thanksgiving week-end.

No Joe's

Tuesday morning I put my headphones on and listened to my new CD player as La Netta had the radio on. As I listened to my Killers CD, I realized the song "Spaceman" was about being abducted by aliens.

As I hit a gap, I heard the radio down low. Was I hearing traffic?

The next song began, then the CD ended. "That's the end of the CD", I said.

"Want to start over again?", asked Rosa.

"I have a question. Is the radio on KISS-FM?" I asked.

"I think so", said Rosa. "It's on 102.9."

Just then we hit a stoplight. "Stupid stoplight!", I said.

When the van moved again, I said, "Oh no, Rosa, 102.9 isn't KISS-FM, it's KBLX."

"Why didn't you start your CD again?", asked Rosa.

"Because I wanted to ask you what radio station it was on, then I wanted to correct you when you said 102.9 was KISS-FM. We hit a stoplight so it took me a while. I was waiting on the van to move again."

I listened some more to see if that low radio I had heard during the gap was traffic. Soon enough, after the song ended, the DJ did some song ID's and then announced traffic.

"Traffic, La Netta!", I said.

La Netta turned the radio off.

"Why didn't you have your headphones on!", said Rosa.

Rosa started speaking to La Netta, then I spoke to Rosa. "To answer your question about why I didn't have my headphones on", I started.

"Yes?", said Rosa.

"While my CD player was on a gap between songs, I heard the radio down low and wondered if it was traffic. They do traffic about 20 minutes apart, so I was listening out for traffic, because if the traffic was only 5 minutes later, I'd know I wasn't hearing traffic during that gap."

"But you told me you had your headphones off so you could ask me what station it was on and tell me KISS-FM wasn't 102.9!"

"It was both. First I had my headphones off so I could find out if it was 102.9 and then I could tell you that 102.9 was KBLX instead of KISS-FM, then afterwards I kept them on and the reason I didn't have my headphones on later was so I could find out if I had heard traffic."


I started my CD player over again and it turned itself off. I turned it back on and listened until it turned itself off again.

"Hey!", I said.

I turned it on, I saw a low battery signal and it turned off again. "My battery's dying!", I said. By now the radio was on a rap station.

"We already told you what to do about the batteries", said Rosa.

A rap song came on and I had to ask for words. "Do you know this song?", asked La Netta.

"No", said La Netta.

"La Netta," I said, "Can you listen out for words for me?"

"She's on the phone", said Rosa.

"Rosa, can you listen out for words for me?"

"No, because you shoold have brought extra batteries along!"


Rosa turned the radio off and it stayed off for the rest of the day.

We were supposed to go to Trader Joe's, then Ross. The coaches decided they would reverse the sequence and go to Ross first.

While we were in Ross, Snodgrass saw the shoes and shouted, "Looooook! My shoes!" He pulled shoes off the shelves and ripped tags off.

I walked with my hands cupped over my eyes as we made it through the aisles. At the end of an aisle, I saw . . . were those pajamdras?

"La Netta, are these pajamdras?", I asked.

"Yes", said La Netta.

"Eeewwwwwwwwww!", I said. "La Netta, why didn't you tell me to close my eyes?"

"I thought you had your hand cupped as we were walking through the aisle."

"I did, but it wasn't narrow enough, and I saw them anyway."

When we got out of Ross, La Netta told Snodgrass, "You were doing too much inside Ross today. Picking shoes off the shelves!"

"Now we go to Burger King?", one coach asked another.

"Yep", the other coach said.

"Aren't we going to Traeer Joe's first?", I asked.

"We spent so long at Ross, trying to find everyone, that it took too long", said La Netta. In other words, we had run over our Trader Joe's time.

"If only we had gone to Trader Joe's first", I said. I was clearly disappointed. Rosa telling me I should have brought extra batteries along, pajamdras, and now no Trader Joe's.

The topic of conversation shifted to drugs. "The smart thing to do would be to shxp to us", said Rosa.

"Rrrrrrrr!", I growled.

We got to Vincent Park, and I entered the restroom. I finally got all those pajamdras out of me. I had thought the mispronounced singular form to myself, with my brain acting against my will, so I took longer than I wanted to.

Then I picked my navel for "shxp".

I washed my hands to get the feces and hair off my hands.

"James, you're wet!", a coach told me.

"There was a deluge when I turned the faucet on", I said. I explained why I took so long too.

While I sat in the back row with my sleep mask on, Snodgrass came up to me and started bothering me. I finally looked. "What is it, Shawn?", I asked.

He had some cookies.

"You want me to open your cookies for you?", I asked.

Snodgrass nodded enthusiastically.

I opened the bag. Then La Netta asked, "Whose cookies are those?"

"Austin Vanilla Creams", I read on the bag.

La Netta looked. "Those are Robin's cookies! You don't take things that don't belong to you!" She grabbed the cookies from Snodgrass.

"Should we give those cookies to Robin?", I asked.

"Yes", said La Netta.

"James, how do you feel you're eoing on your goal of not reacting to the word 'bxke'?", asked La Netta. "Almost said it! Sorry!"

She did say it.

I was going to go to the restroom and pick my navel, but I didn't want them to ask me why. Then Ken got in the van and told Emanuel, "Scxxt over!"

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

I went into the restroom and purged off both "scxxt over" and "bxke". Then we started on drops.

"Well, La Netta, when I get home I'm replacing the batteries in my CD player."

"Sounds good", she said. "You know what you could get? Those rechargeable batteries. They cost more, ut you can use them over and over again."

What a rotten day. I didn't spend any money, and there would be no Trader Joe's that week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My new CD player

On Friday, I came to program with enough money in my pocket to buy a new CD player.

"Beemo bizza billy, beemo bizza billy . . .", the radio played as we drove around.

"James", said La Netta, "We're going to Sears to look for your CD player. If you don't find one that you don't like . . ."

"Do you mean, 'If I don't find one that I don't like' or 'If I don't find one that I do like'?," I asked.

"Sorry. If you don't find one that you do like, we can go to Wal-mart next week, or you can ask Stan to take you over the week-end."

We traveled to Sears. We went in through the auto portion, with tires and other items for your car. Then we were surrounded by Christmas trees and other things with Santa, snowman and reindeer themes.

I started cupping my left hand over my eyes. I followed La Netta around corners, trying to make my way around the store.

At one corner, I saw what looked like pink pajamdras. Were those snowmen on them?

"Are those pajamdras?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes, they are", La Netta said.


As I took a closer look, I saw these were little girl's pajamdras, covered in not snowmen but cupcakes.

La Netta took me to the electronics section. We found only one CD player. La Netta commented that it looked the same as my old one.

I looked at it. It had buttons for volume. It had a place where your headphones plugged in. It had buttons for skipping ahead or skipping back. It was perfect.

I held the box with me. La Netta followed me to the electronics section's check-out.

"Would you like to get a customer's card?", the employee asked La Netta. "You can get a discount . . ."

La Netta took up his offer.

"How long has Sears been with C-tibank?", La Netta asked the employee.

"Rrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Sorry", La Netta said.

"C-tibank?", asked the employee.

"Rrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"He doesn't like that word", said La Netta. "How long have you been with that bank?"

After he answered, I explained. "I have a form of OCD called logaesthesia, where I get the sensation of swallowing words as I hear them, and I have some words that I don't like, and I feel as if they're inside of me and I need to get them out."

"Oh", he said.

La Netta and Rosa needed to go to the restroom, so we all went upstairs to use the restroom. First I purged off the pajamdras, then I did the two "C-tibank"s, which tasted like rather cold peanut butter.

Emanuel screamed. "Does this sound like a schizophrenic?", he asked.

"No", I said.

He screamed again. "Does this sound like a schizophrenic?"


Emanuel laughed. He screamed again. "Do I sound like a schizophrenic now?"


Emanuel laughed.

As I was washing my hands, I heard La Netta call my name.

"I'm washing my hands!", I said.

I came out and heard Emanuel say something about a "dirt bxke".

We stopped by some watches. Two were analog, but one was digital. It was set at 2:42 for some reason (it was actually between 11 and 12).

"Oh, I forgot", said La Netta. "You don't want to see the watches. Don't look, James."

I continued staring.

"James, did you hear me?"

"I already saw one."

I stared through 2:44. La Netta told me she'd be down thataway as I looked.

I stared through 2:45. Finally, when it said 2:46, I left to join La Netta.

I made it out the door. As we drove to the burrito truck, Emanuel said he needed to go to the restroom.

"You should have gone when we were at Sears", said Rosa.

"You were actually in the restroom at Sears", said La Netta. "Weren't you going then?"

"He was screaming and asking me whether he sounds like a schizophrenic", I said.

"That's not good", said La Netta.

We went to the office, with my red bag in my hand. I picked "bxke" out of my navel in the restroom. Then I brought the red bag, with the new CD player and my batteries, into a room that used to be used by Lita. I tried to open the CD player, but I couldn't.

I asked La Netta. La Netta said she'd help after she was done eating.

When she finished, she tore open the box and got my new CD player out. I had two fresh batteries in my bag that I was going to put into my old CD player in case I needed to prove to Lita that it wasn't worn-out batteries that were making it defective.

"I don't think it was Shawn who broke your old one", said La Netta. "I think it was cheap, and it's going to keep breaking if you keep buying cheap ones."

"This CD player is going to be great!", I said. "Positive thinking -- right, La Netta?"

"Right", she said. "She laughed."

La Netta put both batteries in my CD player and turned it on. She took off the sticker that displayed a track number and minute/second count. Then she put the headphones in the outlet. I listened, then offered to let her listen.

We then headed out to the van to do drops.

"Well," I said in the van, "I've got the best CD player I've ever had, and I've got the best pair of headphones I've ever had."

"All right!", said La Netta.

"Want to test it out?", asked Rosa.

"Sure", I said.

Rosa turned the radio on.

"Don't turn it on until I've put my headphones on", I said.

"OK, but hurry up, because I like this song", said Rosa.

I put my headphones on and pressed the volume-up button a few times. Rosa turned the radio on.

Rosa turned the volume high. "I can hear it now", I said.

She turned it lower. Then I made the volume-up button go all the way up to 32. My headphones really boomed.

Rosa turned it higher. I couldn't hear.

As we went home, I hugged my end-of-the-week hug with La Netta. "Enjoy your new CD player and your new headphones", she told me.

"Awww, thank you, La Netta", I said.