Thursday, March 25, 2010

Staying in the office

Today we were driving to the office to spend most of our day. It was a short day, so our time would be disproportionately focused on hanging out at the office.

Emanuel was blathering on the way there. He said, "For those of you who are good, I'll get you ice xxxxx cones."

"Blechhh!", I said.

"You'll get me ice xxxxx?," said Wanda, who was La Netta's partner for the day. "That sounds good."


"I'll get free ice xxxxx!"


"The word", said La Netta.

"Sorry, James", said Wanda, and she laughed.

"Bxke!", said Shawn Snodgrass. Dammit!

Then we reached the office. I entered the restroom and began to purge off the "ice xxxxx"s. First I did the "ice xxxxx cones" then the "free ice xxxxx". It took me about half an hour in there. Then I did Shawn's "bxke". I washed my hands afterwards.

Then I entered the Internet room. I made some entries on my blog -- just some placeholder articles for Monday, Wednesday and today.

My heart beating, I typed in on Wikipedia. His scheduled execution date had been Wednesday. I was looking for the "This article is about a person who has recently died" box at the top, but saw no box.

I looked, and he was still alive! I read further and discovered that the Supreme Court had ordered a stay of execution one hour before he was to get the needle. That meant they were postponing the execution until they could analyze the DNA evidence.

I visited 4thkingdom, and left a message explaining how my Internet was down. I stated that I still missed and loved my friends from 4thkingdom very much.

I was then done. La Netta began gathering us, so we could leave. As I walked down the ramp, I noticed a clear plastic frok littered in the middle of the ramp.

"Ewwwwwwww!", I shouted.

"What?", asked La Netta.

I pointed to it.

"Do you want to use the restroom?", she asked.

"Yes", I replied.

"Just come back when you're done."

The plastic tines pierced me as I purged it off. "Fadorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork . . ." I finally finished and washed my hands.

I covered up the right side of the ramp with my hand as I walked back down. When I got to the bottom, I uncovered it . . . and saw TWO clear plastic froks littered on the right of the bottom of the ramp. I shrieked, "Eewwwwwwww! Eewwwwwwww!"

I ran back in and did the ritual for two pieces oe plastic silverware. After I was done, I climbed back out.

When we stopped somewhere, I thought we were at our lunch site, but it turned out it was just somewhere Wanda would go to.

We then gathered lunch at a fast food restaurant, before stopping somewhere else. Was this our lunch site? I looked to the left, and saw a stone grey building. I looked right in front of me . . . and saw a dollar store. I saw something yellowish-brown in a small red shirt. Was that Winnxe the Pooh?

La Netta said there was no Winnxe the Pooh stuff visible from the door, but I wondered. I was the only one who wanted to come in with her.

I looked up front, and it was Winnxe the Pooh stuff! "La Netta!", I called out, and pointed it out to La Netta.

"You were right about that", said La Netta.

I looked through three shelves' worth of Easter stuff. Eggs, bunnies, ducks, chicks, crosses and carrots. The only things I wanted to buy was a carton of a dozen chocolate marshmallow eggs -- the Zachary eggs.

After all my looking, La Netta took me to an educational materials section. I covered my eyes with my hands, but La Netta was busy looking at math and sight word/reading/spelling material. Then, suddenly, I saw something Dipser-man!

"Eeeewwwwwww!", I shrieked.

"What's happening with you now?", asked La Netta.

I pointed to Dipser-man.

"Oh", she said.

We then began drops. The radio station played on as we made it first to Snodgrass' house, then to Ken's house.

When we stopped at Ken's house, at 11:59, I got out to spit. Then I asked Wanda, "Wanda, now that they're doing commercials, could we please have the radio off?" But Wanda didn't turn it off and the radio kept on playing its commercials.

I plugged my ears and hummed. When I unplugged my ears, it was playing a car commercial, and said, "keep a close exe on".

"Eeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!", said you-know-who. "Wanda, could we PLEASE have the commercials off?"

Wanda turned the commercials off, and I told La Netta of Wanda's negligence once La Netta returned to the van.

"Maybe Wanda didn't hear you", said La Netta.

"I didn't", Wanda said.

I told La Netta of the K & E words appearing in the commercial.

"Oh, my lord", La Netta said.

I got home shortly after 12:00, but I didn't go to bed. Instead I spent a long time purging.

The chemistry of trigger words

It was Wednesday morning and Emanuel was enjoying KMEL, the rap station (that's MEL as in melanin). I listened to my headphones. La Netta left the van, leaving me only to my headphones.

As I handled my CD player, the plug came out. During the split second I had it out before I pushed it back in, I heard something on the radio that sounded like either "program" or "pxke around".

When we got to the office, Emanuel had to go to the restroom. La Netta let him go, then when he came back I told La Netta I had my schlong caught in my zipper.

"How'd it get caught in your zipper?", she asked.

"Sometimes I get an erection, or it gets flaccid again, and it moves about," I explained.

"You get an erection just from sitting in the van?"

I lifted my sleep mask as I unbuckled my seatbelt and found my way out of the van. "I saw the clock!", I said.

"It's 9:43", said La Netta.

"Oh no!", I said.

I looked at it all through 9:44, then it turned 9:45 and I kept staring at the clock.

"9:46", said La Netta.

I went to the restroom, unbuttoned my pants, urinated, flushed and buttoned up again, this time with my schlong clearly not caught in my zipper. Then I washed my hands.

La Netta could see from my face that I was clearly uncomfortable about something.

I explained about the rap lyric that I had heard while La Netta was out of the van.

"Emanuel, what song was it playing while I was out of the van?", asked La Netta.

"'How Low Can You Go?' by Ludacris", said Emanuel.

"I know that song", said La Netta. "Doesn't have those words in it. You feel better now?"

"Yes", I said.

We drove over to Berkeley and were soon at Grocery Outlet, the first real site on our schedule.

As I walked in, I saw some clementines right inside the door. A sign read CUT, and the rest of the word was covered. I instantly figured out that these were the clementines known as Cutxes, and turned my head before I heard the whole word.

Just then, as we walked by, I thought I heard another patron say "cutxe".

"Did she say the C-word?", I asked La Netta.

"No, she said, 'cute'," La Netta said.

"But we were right by a box of those clementines, and they call those the C-word."

"That's not what she said."

We went shopping all across the store, and I bought some turkey lunch meat from Butterball.

"Will you buy me a piroshki, since Jolene ate my last one?", I asked La Netta.

"We're out of van money since Ken spent it yesterday", said La Netta. "Maybe what you can do is buy yourself a piroshki and then think of Jolene as you eat it."

I bought one piroshki from the frozen food section.

At the Easter egg section, I bought one Hershey's marshmallow egg, while La Netta loaded five or six into the cart. Then I picked out a bag of gourmet jelly beans from a company called Gimbal's.

I made my purchase at the check-out, while La Netta followed me with all her goodies. I handed two ones and a five to the cashier for my $6.98 purchase. Unfortunately, I looked and saw her put down the dollar bills, pyramid side up. The creepy eye sent a cold, dark, dusty jolt through my body.

I told La Netta about it.

Emanuel wanted to leave, but La Netta told him he had thirty minutes left.

We drove up to our next site -- the 99-cent store. La Netta brought along the sign-out sheet so Emanuel could sign out after 17 minutes, when 11:30 came.

While we were at the store, Emanuel signed out and walked out. Jonas Brothers calendars were on sale.

I walked behind La Netta's cart with my right exe closed and a hand over my left eye. Even then, I saw something red with white, pupilless eyes. Was it what I thought it was? I looked more closely.

Six Dipser-man trinkets! I shrieked, and then La Netta saw what it was.

I plugged my ears for most of the commercials, but during one commercial I let go of my ears because I had to follow La Netta (therefore I had to cover my eyes instead). I heard the commercial say, "Free shxpping and handling!"

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"What was that?", asked La Netta.

"They said the SH-word."

"Who said it?"

"The commercial."

"Free shxpping?"


La Netta took me to an Easter egg section. She told me there were Dipser-man eggs at the bottom, but it was too late and I had already seen them.

Soon we found another Easter egg section. It had more Quax and Hannah Montana eggs, but I found something I actually liked. A pack of two Reese's eggs for only 79.99 cents.

I made my 80-cent purchase, and La Netta bought all of her stuff, then we left.

"Bxke!", I heard Baby Shawn say. "My bxke!"

"Shawn is lusting after a motorcycle again", I told La Netta as she got in.

"What did you say, James?", she asked.

"Shawn is lusting after a motorcycle again."

"Oh, I'm so sorry, James."

"My bxke!", yelled Snodgrass.

We made our way over to Davis Park, where I got out and purged. I started out with "bxke". That was the easiest. Just pick my navel a few times.

A developmentally disabled man stumbled into my stall and said something about "go pee". I walked out and zipped up.

I hung out La Netta and the group for a while until I asked La Netta, "Is the guy in the stall out yet?"

"Was he on a bxke?", asked La Netta. Great. I had just gotten done picking it out of my navel.

"No", I said. "He seemed to be developmentally disabled . . ."

"He's out."

I staggered back in and tried to pick La Netta's "bxke" out of my navel. Her "bxke"s are much harder to purge off than Shawn's.

I thought "kibe" to myself -- "bxke" backwards. The repetition of the /ai/ sound meant I had to purge off the /ai/s as I thought it forwards and backwards. The chemistry of purge words meant that the pyramid's eye combined with the /ai/ in "bxke" and "kibe", making it harder than purging off either word separately.

I finally got it. But then I heard a voice asking La Netta where I was.

"He's in the restroom", said La Netta.

"Buddy?", a familiar voice called out.

"Aaron!", I said.

Aaron asked if I had heard any purge words, and I explained that I did. A fellow came along with Aaron, hoping to use the stall. Aaron explained that his name was Gabe, and that Gabe needed prodding and prompting and patting on the back, so to speak.

I walked out of the stall. "Pull down your pants and go to the bathroom, so I can tell them you did a good job," said Aaron.

A little while later Gabe still hadn't gone. He opened the stall door and smiled at me. "Pull down your pants and go to the bathroom, so I can tell them you did a good job," said Aaron.

A little while later, he came out again. He still hadn't urinated or defecated. "Pull down your pants and go to the bathroom, so I can tell them you did a good job," said Aaron.

I talked with Aaron, who was asking me about my day. We were once again interrupted by Gabe. "Pull down your pants and go to the bathroom, so I can tell them you did a good job," said Aaron. Then he decided he and I best leave the restroom.

We left, then I went in again. I did rubble-clearing, and finally got to do the exe on the pyramid. By the time I was done, I was bleeding at the groin.

La Netta said we were ready to leave before I finished with the "adolye" ritual. I finished in time, but I still hadn't done all the Dipser-mans.

"I got the SH-word, the short form of bicycle, and the one-eyed pyramid, but I didn't get to do everybody's favorite superhero", I told La Netta.

I asked La Netta for my pill, and I did a lot of purging off Dipser-mans at home. At 5:49, I finally took my pill. Yay!

Ice xxxxx sensations

Monday morning I went into the office's Internet room and visited my blog site. I left placeholder entries for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in my blog.

Then I came out to sleep on the couch. Emanuel, meanwhile, was in the other room, insulting the relative who would pick him up later that day and blabbering about nothing.

I unplugged my ears. In his mindless logorrhea, Emanuel said something about "eating melted ice xxxxx".

"BLECHHHHH!", I said. I made sure I said it loud enough that he could hear me in the next room.

I heard La Netta say something to Emanuel about "that word", then walked towards the restroom.

I did rubble-clearing "adoli see, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam" and a rubble-clearing "adolice, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam".

I tasted a vanilla ice xxxxx sanewich -- or was it a root beer float?

I pushed all that nasty stuff up. Was the ice xxxx solid -- or only melted? I had the sensation of two melteds with four solids in between as I made symmetrical thrusting motions at my groin. I pictured six vibrating cream-colored hips.

"James?", La Netta called.

"Yes?", I asked.

"Are you OK?"

"I'm almost finished."

Bit by bit the stuff came up, until I made a conclusive swoop that got it all out of me, and repeated that conclusive swoop over my intestines, stomach, esophagus and throat and out my mouth.

I washed my hands, then walked out with La Netta before Emanuel could say any more purge words.

And then La Netta took me to Wal-mart.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Plastic, plastic, everywhere

On Friday morning, Darnell told us a story about his trip on BART Thursday. He had inadvertently dropped his Bluetooth into the tracks, and asked the conductor to help retrieve it. The conductor referred him to another BART employee, who had the tongs. Darnell told the employee about his Bluetooth, but the employee acted as if he had all the time in the world. After three trains passed by, Darnell mentioned, the employee asked him, "Why don't you just get another Bluetooth?"

"Huh-AH!", I said.

"What's wrong?", asked Darnell.

"That was horrible what he said!", I said.

"It was!" Darnell finished the story, revealing how this BART employee eventually rescued the Bluetooth with his tongs, and was very rude to him. Darnell gathered the badge number of this employee and filed a complaint on him.

La Netta explained to me the new schedule system. The groups would have regular schedules for each day of the week, and would mark deviations by changing things on a board. This day we were working on our schedule for Emeryville.

When we found ourselves at the Emeryville shopping center, La Netta asked who wanted to get out for Ross. I asked if we could go to Trader Joe's instead, and Darnell offered to take me while La Netta stayed in the van.

As I followed Darnell across the street, I saw a plastic frok littered on the ground. "Ewwwww!", I said.

"What?", asked Darnell.

I pointed to it.

"Can't you just pretend that you didn't see it?", asked Darnell.

"No", I replied.

We walked on, and as Trader Joe's was in sight, I said, "Ewwwwww!" again.

"What?", asked Darnell.

I pointed to the second frok.

"I see a third one", said Darnell. "In fact, we better not to into Trader Joe's because I see some more inside."

"We must have a litterbug here!", I said.

"Someone who just doesn't care."

I held Darnell's arm and followed him back to the van with my eyes closed.

"Back already?", asked La Netta.

"There's a lot of plastic out there", replied Darnell. "There are froks littered all over the ground. James saw three of them already." Actually, it was two.

"Do you want to go into a cool store?", asked La Netta.

"Yes", I replied.

So she took us all into Ross. La Netta let me use the restroom. I chanted: "Fadorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork . . ."

After washing my hands, I opened the door. La Netta was standing outside.

"I was just coming to get you", she said.

After we finished with Ross, I accompanied La Netta to the deli where she bought a sandwich.

We pulled up at Emeryville Marina. A motorcycle was parked to our left.

"Bxke!", said Snodgrass.

"Here we go again!", said one of the coaches.

"Bxke! Bxke! Look! Bxke! My bxke!"

"I'm going to the restroom", I said.

I picked my navel in the restroom, which was a good place for emptying my bladder too. Then I came back.

Baby Shawn sneezed, and didn't cover his mouth.

"Shawn, cover your mouth", said La Netta. "I don't want you to sneeze on my sandwich."

He sneezed some more. Every now and then as they ate, Shawn would sneeze.

"He must now how to sneeze", said La Netta. "He knows how to do inappropriate stuff."

"Yeah", said Darnell. "You mean like pulling on James' schlong?"

"Yes", said La Netta. "You know what I mean. He's smarter than people give him credit for."

I asked if La Netta was done eating.

"Yes, I am", said La Netta.

"I just wondered whether you made it through with your sandwich before Snodgrass could sneeze on it", I said.

"Well", said La Netta, "I had to throw over half of my sandwich away because he sneezed on it."

"Oh no!", I said.

Just before we left, Shawn started saying, "Bxke! Bxke!"

"I'm going to the restroom!", I said.

"We're doing drops", said La Netta.

"The sooner La Netta pulls off, the sooner it will be out of sight and Shawn will stop talking about it", said Darnell.

"James, why don't you point out the cars and trees and buildings while we're driving, so Shawn won't be so focused on . . . on . . .", began La Netta.

"On the motorcycles?", I filled in.


We made it home without Shawn saying any more "bxke"s. But I had to pick at my navel when I got home.

Beware the Ides of March

On Thursday morning, we drove to the office together. La Netta went in, then I followed her. After speaking to her briefly, I spoke with Lita.

"Did you get my answering machine message?", I asked her.

"No, the only answering machine message I got was from Lisa", said Lita. "What's your problem?"

"You know Shawn Snodgrass?"

"I know him."

"This isn't working out."

"What's wrong?"

"You know the shortened form of 'bicycle'? He says it an awful lot. Yesterday, he was saying it about thirty times, and I ended up picking at my navel for so long that it turned red and sore."

"He gets excited."

"And another thing, he doesn't cover his mouth when he coughs or sneezes, and I'm sitting next to him in the back row, so I'm afraid I'm going to catch a disease from him."

"Do you remind him to cover his mouth?"

"La Netta does."

"Well, maybe you could start reminding him too. And as for the word thing . . . aren't we trying to alleviate that discomfort by having you wear headphones?"

"Well, he mostly says it when we're out in public and he says a bicycle or motorcycle."

"You just said it, didn't you?"

"I said 'bicycle'. He says the short form."

"So there's a difference?"


"Well, what do you want to do? Because we can't move him."

"I don't have any ideas."

"Well, since it's just the abbreviation that bothers you, maybe your group could teach him to say 'bicycle' and 'motorcycle'."

"That sounds like a good idea. We could do that."

"I'll talk to La Netta and Darnell, and have them do that."

When I walked out, I got back in the van. We drove to Miller's Knots.

"Bxke!", called out Snodgrass. "Does he see a bicycle?", I asked my coaches, and one of them replied in the affirmative.

"Bxke! Bxke!"

"Say 'bicycle'," I said.


"Say 'bi-cyc-le'."


"I'll be in the restroom", I told them.

"It's probably not a good idea to teach him to say 'bicycle'," said La Netta.

"Why not?"

"Because he'll keep saying the short form."

"It was Lita's idea."

"It was? Really? When did you talk to her?"

"In the office today."

I picked my navel in the restroom, and when I came out La Netta gave me some hand sanitizer.

I got in the van, and we waited for the clock to indicate we could leave.

"When you drive, you can go axx oxxx the pxxxx", said Ken.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Ken!", said Darnell. "You upset James! Now he's going to have to purge!"

I purged in the restroom, and when I got back, we were ready to leave.

"Who wants to get out here?", La Netta said when we stopped.

"Not I", said Darnell.

"We're at the 99-cent store?", I asked.

"Yes", said La Netta.

"I'm coming."

I went in, and she showed me the Easter stuff. They had some chocolate bunnies, and an edible duck called Quax, and a Hannah Montana egg, but nothing I wanted.

As I followed behind La Netta, I saw something Dipser-man on the floor. "Ewwww!", I said.

"Did you see that?", I asked La Netta later.

"Yes", she said.

"Did you see it when it was too late, or see it after I said, 'Ewwww', or something?"

"After you said, 'Ewwww'."

I held onto the cart until we got to the beverages. La Netta, meanwhile, was loading incense and cookies onto the shopping cart.

I loaded three Stars & Stripes sodas into the cart, then added a mango drink from Ruby Kist. That was all I bought for the day.

After I paid for it and La Netta paid for her incense and cookies, we loaded our goodies from the shopping cart into the van.

"Who was screaming?", La Netta asked Darnell.

"Robin and Shawn, they've both been screaming", said Darnell.

Shawn was now on the left, while Robin was on the right. "Should I sit on the left seat?", I asked.

"No", said Darnell.

"Yes", said La Netta.

"Darnell says no, La Netta says yes", I said.

"Robin and Shawn will fight", said Darnell. "We need to keep them apart."

"Well, Robin can sit in the middle row", said La Netta.

So Robin moved to the middle, and I sat in the left seat of the back row.

"Snodgrass", said Ken.

"Yep", I said.

"I told Snodgrass to cool it for you", said Ken.

"Good", I said. "Thanks, Ken."

I purged off Dipser-man in the Fernandez Park restroom. The place was crawling with cobwxbs, so I had to be extra careful not to bump into anything in the restroom as I purged.

When I got out, I had explained to La Netta I was purging off Dipser-man. "Do you see the cobvebs in the wastebasket I asked?"

"No", said La Netta.

"See those glimmering lines?"

"Oh! Oh! Oh! I see them. They're more on the top of it. I thought you meant inside. I wouldn't have seen them if you hadn't pointed them out to me."

"Ohhhhhhhh-awwwwww!", howled Robin.

"Robin, cool it!", said La Netta. She turned to me. "I think he just misses Jolene. He's upset that he can't head-butt her."

"Yeah", I said. I paused a moment, then asked. "Who do you think misses her more?"

"Probably you", said La Netta.

Then La Netta talked about the trip to the 99-cent store. "It made me feel so good, seeing you buy all those juices. I'll glad we have the 99-cent store."

"Yeahhhhhhhh", I said. "So am I." I looked at La Netta's face. "La Netta."

"Do you have any juices left at home?"

"Well, I have the Stars & Stripes root beer", I said. "I can see a starfish at the bottom now."

"Does that mean you're low on it?", she asked.

"Do you know what I mean by starfish?"

"No, I don't."

"Well, you know how a starfish looks? With the radial symmetry and the five arms?"

"Oh! Oh! Oh! Now I know what you're talking about."

"The root beer is making a starfish. It's that low."

"Oh. What do you plan to do over the week-end?"

"I plan to record some songs."

"But isn't your Internet down?"

"Quiana's going to record them on her webcam."

La Netta and I talked a little about Pope Benedict XVI and his child molestation scandal. I hadn't heard about this, since my Internet was down. I sang a line from my rock musical: "Benedict the sixteenth, there's a Hitler Youth as pope".

Just then, I saw a bug racing across the floor. Was it a dipser? I looked more closely and saw that not only was it a yellow dipser, it was making a wxb.

There were cobwxbs in the air? Were they attacied to my clothes? I pointed them out to La Netta. "See those glimmering lines?", I askedd.

"Oh yeah", she said. "I wouldn't have seen them unless you pointed them out." She told me they were floating in the air, and were not attached to anything. The wind, she said, was blowing them.

Just then, I saw cobwxbs on my left hand. I started getting sweat on my forehead. "La Netta!", I said. "There are cobvebs between my finges!"

One string of cobwxbs was connecting my middle finge and index finge, and another was connecting my index and my thumb.

La Netta got the ones between my middle finge and index, then said, "I don't think there are anymore."

"Between my index and my thumb", I said.

She got rid of those.

"I'm going to need some soap", I said.

"Want some hand sanitizer?", asked La Netta.

"Hand sanitizer's no good. I need soap."

"We have some liquid soap in the van. And here's a faucet."

The faucet wouldn't run. "I can wash it in the restroom. And I'm going to need some napkins."

Ken came up empty on napkins. Then La Netta found some tissues in a box.

I carried the soap and tissues to the restroom and tried to fit them into the sink. I finally succeeded.

I washed my left hand. I covered a tissue with amber liquid soap, then washed it with water and poured some more soap on. I brushed until my middle finge was bubbly. Then I did the same with my index, and then my thumb.

I threw away all the tissues, then washed my left hand. I reached for pill containers in my left pocket with my right hand. I scraped the top surface of my middle finge, then the top-side, then the right side, then the bottom-side, then the bottom . . . throwing away each used pill container all the while. When I was done with my middle finge, I repeated with my index and thumb.

Darnell talked about his relatives and their trip to a fast food restaurant. "Dying of ice xxxxx!", he said.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Dying of ice xxxxx!", he repeated.



Tiffany was there for me when I got home. "I'm so sorry, James", she said. "It must have been an awful day having to purge."

"It was", I said.

"But the I-word is so delicious!", she said. Does she have logaesthesia too? Tasting ice xxxxx when someone says the I-word? "How many times did you have to purge today?"

I counted 4.

"You're going to be in the restroom thirty, forty minutes", she said.

When I got home I declined a trip to the hairdresser's. I cut my nails, then changed my pants and shirt. Finally, I spent a long time purging off the I-word in the restroom.


On Wednesday I was in the van with Shawn Snodgrass once again. Baby Shawn was saying "bxke" again and again.

"Bxxxxxxxxke", he said.

Then we got to See's Chocolates. I picked out four pieces of Easter fare: a Divinity, a Buttercream, a Rocky Road and some pectin eggs. My order came out to over $13! The lady gave me a free Chelsea (a Chelsea, in case you're wondering, is a kind of See's chocolate).

I wanted to eat my Chelsea, but I had Shawn's "bxke"s to deal with, so I couldn't swallow. I walked over to the corner and began picking my navel.

La Netta came over. "Are you looking for more things to purchase?"

"No", I replied.

"Are you ready to leave?"

"Not yet."

"Will you tell me what's wrong?"

"I wanted to eat my Chelsea, but I have to pick my navel first."

So we left. I held the Chelsea in one hand and the bag of Easter eggs in the other.

We came across a motorcycle.

"Bxke!", said Baby Shawn. "Look! Bxke! My bxke! My bxke!"

"Shawn", said La Netta, "James doesn't like that."

We entered a shoe store. I held onto La Netta. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day played on the Intercom.

"Why've you got your exes closed?", asked La Netta.

"Children's shoes", I said.

Finally we walked out.

A bicycle drove by. "DON'T SAY IT, SHAWN!", I said.

"Bxke", said Shawn. "Bxke. Bxke. Look! Bxke! Bxke! Bxke!"

We went to Chef's. I ordered chow mein, broccoli beef, and tofu with eggplants. "No frok, just a napkin?", the cashier asked. "Right?"

"Right", I said.

"If you want a frok, tell them", La Netta said to Ken. As I went to give my bag to La Netta, I saw the dollar bills in her hand. The pyramid was facing me. "Ewwwwww!", I said.

"What?", asked La Netta.

"I saw the pyramid!", I said.

"How can you see it?", asked La Netta.

"The pyramid was facing me", I said.

"Why were you looking down there?"

"I was walking up to you to hand you my See's bag."

"Oh." She took it from me.

I took the money bag out of my pocket and paid for my Chinese food. Then we left.

I saw a white plastic knife littered on the ground. "Ewwwww!", I said.

We passed a motorcycle. "Look! Bxxxxxxxke!", said Snodgrass.

La Netta said, "That's one of the only words in his vocabulary."

"Yeah, along with 'dog' and 'hi' and 'bye' and 'look'", I said.

"Bxke! Bxke!", Snodgrass continued to call out.

"What's his fixation with bicycles and motorcycles?", I asked.

"So you can say the word?", La Netta asked.

"I said 'bicycle'."

"So the -cycle makes a difference?"

"It does."

The next stop was Burger King. My bladder was starting to fill up.

"When he's on his bxke . . .", said Rosa. That only made it worse.

Finally we got to Miller's Knots. I took my sleep mask off and followed Baby Shawn out the van. I was soon in the restroom.

"Fadorork! Fadorork!", I purged. I could feel tines stabbing me. Then I did the plastic knife: "Knadolife, knadolife . . ."

Then I got all the /ai/ sounds out: "Adolye, adolye, adolye". After hundreds of those, I did the exe on the pyramid. My groin ended up bleeding, but I felt better.

Then, came all the "bxke"s. I found Shawn's easiest to do, then I got to Rosa's. I did the "badolike" pick for Shawn about fifty times. That was a liberal estimate for the number of times he had said it today.

Finally, I released a vibrant, yellow string of urine. It felt so good to be empty again.

While I was pissing, a man came in. He closed the door. I soon figured out that he was from another disabled program, as he didn't speak, he just breathed heavily. He waddled over when he walked, and he was visibly obese. I let him have his turn as soon as I was finished pissing.

We walked out, having zipped up, and I was now ready to take my pill.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Problems, problems

I bought a cherimoya from the Pacific East Ranch Market and left it on the counter till I ate it. When I came to eat it the next day it was missing. Everyone told me to ask the next person who came over, until Santina explained that she had thrown it away. She said she didn't know what it was and that it looked green and rotten. She said she'd pay me $5 for the cherimoya. The next few times I asked her she didn't have the money, until Sunday night when I asked her and she said she was told not to pay me back for it.

I talked to Stan and he said, "Why should she pay you $5 for a dirty fruit that was on the floor?"

"It wasn't on the floor", I said.

"That's what Santina said", said Stan. "Get your story straight."

I spoke with Santina and she said my cherimoya did not fall on the floor, it was on the counter. But, she said, she was still told not to pay me the $5 because I shouldn't leave my food on the counter.

Did Santina say it was on the floor or did she not? Well, the other day Quiana brought some laundry in from the laundry room -- a bag of my clothes. She said she didn't know how it got out there. Stan didn't wash it, and Pia didn't wash it. Even Santina said she didn't wash the load. But Quiana told me that Santina is very sneaky, and that she may have washed it after all. In other words, Santina lies. She really thinks Santina washed it.

Aside from the money for the cherimoya, there was the incident I wrote about where Claudette crashed into me, and I dropped my burritos on the floor. Claudette said she'd pay me $4 to replace those burritos. I still have yet to see my $4.

Add to that the money for my headphones. When Tully was in the van with Darnell and Tiffany and me last December, he moved from the middle row to the back row and I heard a crunch. The next time I looked at my headphones, they were cracked. Shortly thereafter, they broke. Tully has yet to pay me in P&I money to replace the headphones he broke.

My Internet went down on Tuesday, and Quiana fixed it on Wednesday, but just after she fixed my Internet, it went down again. he came in again and checked and the rightmost light on my modem won't light up. Apparently the modem is broken, so I've been Netless for a week. I have the type this from the CIWP office computer.

I have two sound recording devices with microphones for my laptop, but now I can't record sound with either one because my sound recording is set to RealPlayer, and RealPlayer requires me to pay for the full service to use its sound-recording option. Quiana suggested I try the free 14-day trial so I could record, but that requires you to pay with a credit card and I don't have a credit card. Ughhh! The plastic ceiling again! Quiana said she'd record with her webcam on Monday, but she was off on Monday. She forgot to bring the webcam on Tuesday, and again on Thursday. On Thursday, however, she said she'd record on Saturday. When Saturday came, I asked her if she wanted to record and she said no, he had just gotten in after a long trip in the city and was tired. But she said she'd record on Sunday, "for sure". Then came Sunday and I caught Quiana watching TV shortly before 3:00. I asked her if we could record when she was done watching, and she said yes. I lay in bed until 7:30 -- still no sign of her. She hadn't come into my room. I walked out and asked her if she was still watching TV. She said yes -- they had a marathon of this show! And it would last ANOTHER HOUR AND A HALF! I still don't have my songs recorded!

I went on Lamesha's Facebook page and read that her marriage with Zichaeus had dissolved. She had married Zichaeus after her old husband was philandering on her and she had divorced. Now Lamesha was getting divorced again! I told Tieeany about it and she asked how I felt. I said I needed a hug. Tiffany told me she'd hug me at 8:00 the next morning, promise. The next day came and Tiffany didn't hug me. Then she gave me a phone call saying she was so sorry, she had forgotten all about hugging me due to Daylight Savings Time.

Hank Skinner is about to be executed in Texas on the 24th despite the DNA evidence that will prove his innocence and I don't have the Internet to organize signatures on his online petition to set him free.

I have so many problems in my life right now and I still have the purge words to deal with. My mind is down, but it's nice to have things other than the words to worry about for a change.

Not the rap station!

"Scxxt over!", Darnell told Robin so Shawn could get in the van during Thursday morning pick-ups.

"Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Oops!", said Darnell. "Move over!"

The Superman song came on the radio. "Oh, no!", I told La Netta. "This is the song that says, 'caught your C-word E-word'!"

La Netta flipped the station.

"Can we listen to 'Superman High'?", asked Emanuel.

"That song has the C-word in it!", I said.

"I want to hear 'Superman High'. Can we please listen to 106.1 KMEL?"

La Netta flipped stations. Soon she was back at KMEL. It sounded like "Exe on the ball till I die".

"This is the caught-your-C-word-E-word song!", I exclaimed.

La Netta changed stations again.

"Can we listen to this?", said Emanuel.

"Vincent Park", read Darnell. "Target . . . Chef's."

At Vincent Park, I purged off Darnell's "scxxt over".

When we made it into Target, I asked La Netta whether the song had said, "E-word on the ball till I die".

"I don't know", said La Netta.

We picked up Easter eggs at Target. I got two packs of Cadbury eggs, since they were $4 for two packs, and also some Almond Joy eggs.

We stopped at the office. I saw La Netta walking out just as I came in. "Are you ready?", she asked.


"What's wrong?", she asked, but my mouth was full of spit.

I went in and purged off "exe on the ball till I die".

I came out and La Netta asked me again. I told her about the lyric.

"Well, what if they didn't say it? Then when you get to your Internet at home, you'll look up the lyrics and see they didn't say it, and that will all be for nothing."

"Are you getting food today?", asked Darnell.

"Yes", I said.



"Did you also look at the schedule while you were in the office?"


"Then how do you know we have Chef's?"

"You were reading off the schedule earlier."

"I don't remember that."

"La Netta, wasn't Darnell reading the schedule earlier today?"

"I don't know."

We stopped at Chef's, where I ordered chow mein, honey sesame chicken and teriyaki chicken.

When I got home, my Internet was still down from Tuesday. Good thing I had already purged, because I wouldn't be able to look up the lyrics. Oh, well. I could just sit down and eat my sesame and teriyaki chicken dishes.

A bxb! A bxb!

On Wednesday, I heard Darnell say, "Naked protein shxke". Disgusting! And not because of the nudity.

La Netta and Darnell took us all to the dollar store. While we were outside, La Netta had trouble pulling out a cart. As we hung around, I looked. I saw something on the ground. There were Looney Tunes characters. I looked and it said it was a bxb. Gross!

When we went in, La Netta took me to the frozen foods. She pointed out the small bottles of nectarine juice. I passed them up, but took two of the 39-cent burritos she showed me.

I told La Netta I was looking for the pomegranate juice I had seen there last time. She showed me the way to some scallops, and then when I accidentally looked at the canned food aisle, I decided to check that out too, and saw some kidney beans. I put those in the cart as well.

Finally, La Netta saw the pomegranate juice. She showed it to me and I bought it.

Then came the sodas. A Shasta orange and a Shasta pineapple. Perfect!

Somewhere along the way there La Netta found Swiss cheese. She had me choose between the bar of Swiss cheese or the more square pack, and I chose the more square pack. That had to be larger, right?

"Are you good?", asked La Netta.

"I'm good", I said.

"Do you mind if I keep on looking here?"

"Not at all. There's so much good stuff here."

"There is!"

When we made my purchases and got back to the van, La Netta gave me my pill. But there was something I had to do first . . .

Once I got to a restroom, I purged, purged, purged off "shxke"s. I did all the bottles of juice with the "shxke WELL" labels. I didn't know how many of those labels I had seen, since they're sort of out-of-the-way, so I did a lot, just to be safe. Then I did Darnell's "protein shxke": "shadolake, shadolake".

Then I did the bxb. I thought bxb backwards to myself, and since the word is palindromic, the backwards form sounds as if I'm saying it forward and I have to purge that off too. Ugh! After some Gerber-tasting "bxb"s, I did a chocolate series of "bxb"s, like the chocolate-covered foods at Trader Joe's. Finally I got it out of me.

And then I took my pill.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jeremiah has a bullfrog (er . . . a Pacman frog)

La Netta and the group decided to go to the pet store instead of bowling today, since her son Jeremiah had bought a kind of frog called a Pacman frog, and they wanted to buy it food and a new tank.

"I'm just trying not to park in front of that bank James doesn't like", said La Netta. She was referring, of course, to C-tibank.

"You can just park in front of it and I won't look", I said.

"OK", said La Netta. "Have I lost a good parking space?"

We finally parked, and I avoided the tree as I stepped out.

Inside they looked at mealworms and all kinds of food for herps. There was iguana food, bearded dragon food, turtle food . . . you name it.

"Do iguanas really eat those?", asked Darnell.

"Yes, but when Jeremiah had Freedom [his iguana], he would wet the pellets, and then Freedom would eat them", replied La Netta.

We finally picked out a big tank for Jeremiah's frog.

"Is this plant artificial?", I asked La Netta as a plant touched my head.

When I stepped outside, we all walked back to the van together. To avoid touching the tree, I looked in front of me to see how close the tree was . . . and saw the word "c-ti".

La Netta returned to the office to pick up her cellphone, which she had forgotten. She then ran me into Pacific East Ranch Market.

I picked out a cherimoya and some starfruit juice and then we went straight to the cash register. After my stuff was bagged, we stepped outside.

Did I hear "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. playing?

"Trying to keep exe on you . . ."

"Eeeeeeewwwwwwww!", I said.

"That's not English, that's a foreign language", said La Netta.

"Don't you recognzie this song?"


"This is 'Losing My Religion' by R.E.M.!"

While we drove to Davis Park, Darnell asked me if I was going to do any purging. I said yes.

"Why?", asked Darnell.

I told him about the song.

We were soon as Davis Park.

"OK", said Darnell, "Now we're at your favorite restroom. You can purge to your heart's content."

I purged off "c-ti" and the K & E words, then came back out.

"James?", asked Darnell.

"Yes, Darnell?", I said.

"Do you like to purge?"

"No, I don't. It's painful."

"Then can't you just stop purging."

"No, because then how would I get the tastes of the words out of my mouth?"

"So James, you were willing to go to the Pacific East Ranch Market, even though you heard those purge words?"

"Well, there's no way of predicting whether I'd hear a word."

"But you wouldn't go to the movies?"

"I'd almost certainly hear a purge word, and there would be no way out", I said.

"But you'd go to the Pacific East Ranch Market even though you heard the word, because you really wanted to get your stuff."



Sunday, March 7, 2010


On Thursday morning, Santina woke me up, saying, "Your ride's here, and no, the news is not on".

I got out of bed, combed my hair, put my sleep mask and sunglasses on, gathered my headphones and CD player, turned off my white sound machine, and walked out of my house.

No sign of La Netta's van.

I walked back in and told Santina there was no van waiting for me.

"That wasn't your van?", she said.

"It wasn't."

I turned my white sound machine back on, laid my headphones down, took off my sunglasses, and fell back into bed.

A few minutes later, Santina came to tell me my van was here for real this time.

I gathered the headphones and sunglasses and turned the white sound machine back off. Then I walked out into the living room.

It was traffic! "And we'll be keeping a close exe on . . .", the anchor said.


I ran into the bathroom and turned the fan on.

When the television was off, I walked out to the van and told La Netta what had happened.

We drove over to Vincent Park, where I would be able to purge.

While we drove, Ken said, "Stan Man drives us all over the --" -- SLAM! I slammed my hands over my ears.

"What seems to be your problem?", asked Darnell.

"Didn't you hear Ken?", I asked.


"He said the A, O the P words."

"Well, you had your ears covered, right?", asked La Netta.

"Right", I said.

At Vincent Park, I purged off those creepy, slimy K & E words. Then I got back into the van.

Darnell listened to something on his cellphone while La Netta was in the office.

Shortly after his cellphone clip began, I heard something that sounded like "txsty". Except the accent was on the "sty" syllable instead of the "ta" syllable.

"Did they say the T-word?", I asked Darnell.

"No", he said.

"What did they say?"

"They said, 'uh'."

I waited for La Netta to return so she could give it a listen. Because "uh" did not sound anything like "txsty".

La Netta came back, and drove us to K-mart. "We should look for a bag, so you have something to carry your sunglasses in", she said.

When we made it to K-mart, La Netta asked me whether I needed juices. I told her I had bought my juices at the dollar store on Wednesday, and I was just looking for Easter eggs.

La Netta brought me to the Easter egg section, where I picked out a six-pack of Reese's eggs and four orange-crème Cadburys.

Darnell said, "This bag has a handle".

"Oh good," said La Netta. "I had forgotten all about the bag."

Now I had a bag to put my sunglasses and headphones in. When I went to the check-out, the cash register put my Easter eggs in the fabric bag I got instead of plastic K-mart bags.

"Are you ready to take your pill?", asked La Netta once we were back in the van.

"First I need Darnell to replay that clip on his cellphone so you can listen to it."

"That clip is over", Darnell said.

"I need La Netta to listen so she can make sure they didn't say the T-word."

"I don't have it anymore", said Darnell.

"What do you mean? You don't have your cellphone anymore?"

"I erased it."

"Oh, no!"


"Now I'll never be able to find out if they said the T-word."

"I told you they didn't. They said, 'the'."

"But 'the' doesn't sound anything like the T-word. It sounded like 'tay', and then 'stee'."

"Well, that was what they said. I know they didn't say the T-word. It was my cellphone."

"So you heard every word?"


I could take my pill.

Then came our trip to Chef's. I stood in line before ordering chow mein, hot braised chicken and kung pao chicken. While I was standing in front of the bar, I saw a box behind it labeled "FROKS".

"Do you want a frok?", the employee asked me.

"No, I don't", I replied.

"Do you want a napkin?"


So I left with my Chinese food, before driving to Miller's Knots. I purged off the cashier's "frok" in the restroom, then carved into "FROKS". It felt as if nine plastic froks laid with their underside facing up were stabbing the ground. I finally got it to come out of me.

It was finally time for drops, ending another day of drama and angst.

I gave up Wal-mart for THIS?

"Stan Man drives us axx oxxx the pxxxx", said Ken on Tuesday morning.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

Luckily, Macy's was on the schedule, and while we visited the Macy's at Hilltop Mall, La Netta let me use the restroom.

We spent a long time looking at clothes -- well, they did. I spent the time with my eyes closed to avoid seeing pajamdras, or in the shoe section, Dipser-man and Winnxe the Pooh shoes.

"Can we go to Wal-mart while we're here?", I asked La Netta.

"If the other people in your group don't mind walking", she said.

A little while, La Netta asked me, "Wal-mart or Lee's Garden?"

"We can't go to both?", I asked.

"That's right."

I took a moment, then said, "Lee's Garden". I would have to get my juices some other day.

We left without going to Wal-mart. After Shawn Snodgrass' wheelchair was put up, all of us climbed into the van.

"James, Lee's Garden is out of the way", said La Netta. "I looked on our schedule and it says we're going to Kennedy Grove. So is there somewhere around here I can take you? How about Chili's?"

"They have a Chili's here?"

"I mean Chevy's. Is Chevy's OK with you?"

"I've never been to Chevy's."

"They sell Mexican food."

La Netta was soon in front of Chevy's and brought in a menu.

"What do their bags look like?", I asked.

"A bag that says 'Chevy's' and has a --" -- she mangled the word "sombrero" -- "a Mexican hat."



"Aah-auw? James, you're seriously going to trip over the bag!?!", said Darnell.

"Well, I just wanted to make sure it didn't have the T-word on it!", I said.

La Netta read the menu. "What would you like? They have a burrito for $9. . ."

"May I have the menu?"

"It has some words on it."

"It has the T-word on it?"


"Can you read me some of the items that don't have the T-word?"

She read me a few burrito items, but none of them specified what their vegetables were.

At the end, I didn't choose any of the Chevy's items.

"What's the problem?", Darnell asked as La Netta slammed the van door to walk inside Chili's. "Everything on there too txsty for you?"

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Oops!", said Darnell.

"Darnell, why did you say it?"

"Because I forgot that was a word. I don't say that word too often."

"But I was just talking about the T-word with La Netta."

"Well, I didn't know what the T-word was. There are thousands of words that begin with T."

Darnell let me purge in the back seat.

I kept thinking of Mr. Txstee from Pete and Pete, and thinking of ice xxxxx and other T-word contexts. But finally, I managed to finish purging off "txsty".

La Netta then considered taking Ken to Wendy's.

"La Netta, I didn't give up Wal-mart so we could go to Wendy's", I said.

"I know", said La Netta. "When I told you we could go to Lee's Garden, I'd forgotten where we were going for lunch."

Finally, La Netta drove me to Taco Bell. There, I ordered a five-layer burrito, a chicken chalupa and a Crunch Wrap Supreme.

As we drove home, Ken said "Stan drives us axx oxxx the pxxxx".

Not again!

A day without money

On Monday we took a long-awaited trip to Williams' Health Food. We hadn't been there in such a long time. KISS-FM was playing so I didn't have to worry about hearing traffic on KBLX.

La Netta went to look for her stuff first. I saw some cans as I hung around that were labeled "Protein Shxke". Gross!

When it came my turn, La Netta and I went to the juices, and I picked out a pineapple-coconut blend and a bottle of goji juice. La Netta gave me a magazine-size brochure about goji berries they had standing there at Williams'. I probably saw a large number of bottles that said "Shake well before opening", so I would have to purge all of those off. Later, the song "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" by Kool & the Gang played, and they sang, "Things are getting shxky". Something else to have to clear before I got to those milkshxke bottles.

Then, when it came time to pay, I felt in my right pocket. My bag of money wasn't in there!

La Netta paid for her stuff and took me to the van. My bag of money wasn't in the van either. And Williams' was the only place outside of the van I had gone that day. My money must be at home!

La Netta went in to tell them that I would not be buying my bottles. Then she left.

The next spot was the Dollar Tree. I wouldn't be able to buy Easter stuff! Ugh!

As we drove to our next site, Darnell talked with La Netta. "There's a lot of drama you just scxxt under the rug", he said.

Did he say "scxxt" or "screwed"? "You just what under the rug?", I asked Darnell.

"Drama", he said.

"A lot of drama you just what under the rug?"

"Scxxt under the rug."



Later he told Ken to "scxxt it up" as Ken got into his front seat and I growled again.

I kept thinking the words "scxxt" and "shxke" to myself. This was painful. I was like a cow that needed to be milked.

"Where are we stopping for lunch?", I asked.

"Lee's Garden", said La Netta.

I groaned. No Lee's Garden because I didn't have my money bag with me. I sure hoped Jason hadn't found my money and stolen it.

"We're hitting on all your favorite spots", said Darnell.

Finally, we had lunch at Davis Park. I couldn't decide whether to do the three "scxxt"s or the "shxke" stuff first. I did a little of both. I did several "shadolaky"s until I had gotten the "shxky" out of me. Then I did the "shadolake"s that captured the bottles. Finally, I did "shadolake" for each of the protein shxke cans.

"James, someone needs to use the restroom", said La Netta.

"OK", I said. I continued purging.

"He's been waiting an awful long time", said La Netta.

I finally walked out of the stall and told him the stall was empty. He used the stall while I stood in front of the urinal.

I continued until I got rid of all the "shxke"s. Now, I could just focus on the "scxxt"s.

"James, someone else need to use the restroom", said La Netta.

"Dammit!", I said. I continued purging.

"They just got here", said La Netta.

Finally, I left the stall and let the other person use the restroom.

When he came out, I was back in the stall, purging off "scxxt"s. "Scadoloot under the rug, scadoloot under the rug, scadoloot under the rug, scadoloot under the rug", I chanted. I created carroty tastes that came out of me.

"James, someone needs to use the restroom again", said La Netta.


Well, I finally finished with the "scadoloot" business. By now I was in no more pain.

When I got home, I looked in my room. I didn't see a bag of money out anywhere. I figured that either I had forgotten to put it in my pocket after I got out of the shower, or it had fallen out when I was in my bed.

My bed looked flat -- no lumps anywhere. I lifted my comforter at one corner, then lifted another corner. There was my money! The $25 were still in it.

It was so rainy even the trees drxpped

While we drove through the streets on Friday, February 26, Carl pointed out the trees. "A drxpping tree", he said.

"Ewwwwwww!", I exclaimed.

"What happened?", said Carl.

"You said the D-word."

"What's the D-word?"

"Rhymes with 'slipping'."

"Ooh . . . sorry 'bout that."

Later that same day Darnell told Carl to "scxxt over" to make way for Robin in the back row. I growled, and Darnell said, "Oops".

We entered the office together for a cooking activity. I neither cooked nor ate. After purging off "drxpping" and "scxxt" in the men's restroom, I came out to the main room, where the television was playing.

"We can catch his exe", a character on TV said.

I went back to the office and purged.

Then I spent some time finishing the Ninja Turtle pizza puzzle with Carl. He told Darnell he could solve in in a minute and a half. Then, Darnell gave him five minutes when he didn't finish it that fast . . . then ten minutes.

Eventually, Carl and I placed all the pieces together. It was missig three pieces, including one piece that pictured the turtles' pizza entrée.

It was raining as we made it through our drops. When we got to my house, Stan would not let us in until 2:30.

"I'm just trying to keep an exe on the clock", Carl said.

"Eeeeewwwwwww!", I shrieked.

"Sorry", said Carl.

Just then, our coaches told us that Rodney had been admitted to the house, and therefore we would be. I went in with Carl in the pouring rain, thus ending our week at CIWP.

Oh yeah, and when I got into the house, I had to purge the hell out of myself upon those words. No fun.

Caught in the middle

On Thursday, February 25, we were doing our pick-ups when Ken said, "Stan drives us axx oxxx the pxxxx".

"Rrrrrr!", I growled. "La Netta, please get me somewhere."

After I purged, we started our drive to Grocery Outlet -- the one in Berkeley. Carl proposed we make deli sandwiches for our cooking project on Friday. He told us he'd get the ingredients.

We parked at Grocery Outlet. Carl immediately went in, before La Netta and Darnell were even out of the van. The rest of us made our way out of the van and into Grocery Outlet.

When La Netta finally caught up with Carl, Carl had all the ingredients for deli sandwich gathered. Ingredients for deli sandwiches for us all. And best of all, he said, it cost under $10 (the budget of van money we had).

La Netta told Carl that she was going to gather the ingredients and buy them, but now that Carl had left the group and gone off to gather them buy himself, she wasn't going to buy them. There would be no deli sandwiches. Before you knew it, Carl and La Netta were fighting.

Carl called La Netta "old".

I said, "But La Netta isn't old. She's only in her thirties."

I picked out some Swiss cheese with what little money I had, and bought it. Carl had no money to buy anything with.

Carl was yelling with both La Netta and Darnell. When they got back in the van, Carl told La Netta, "All you had to do was follow my orders. I'm the platoon leader around here, and as a soldier, you failed!"

La Netta emphasized that we did this as a group.

"Don't get in my face!", Darnell told Carl.

"I wasn't in your face!", Carl said. Carl stepped up much closer to Darnell, and said, "NOW I'm in your face!"

At lunch, I talked with La Netta and Darnell. "What's up with your friend?", La Netta asked me.

I told La Netta that I didn't know. She asked me whether I thought Carl was rude, and I told La Netta, "It seems that sometimes you don't understand Carl".

"What do you mean?"

"Well, like the time we were going to the pet shop and Carl knew a faster way to get there, and you accused him of walking off from the group. Carl just assumed that you were going to follow him."

"Did you hear Carl? He was yelling at me in Grocery Outlet today."

"Well, when people get angry, they yell."

"But do you think that his yelling inside the grocery store was appropriate?"


Soon the conversation turned to money. "James, putting friendships aside for a moment", said La Netta, "Do you agree with me that if you're going to demand the group buy something, you have to have the money to back it up?" She explained how she had gone well over the $10 of van allotment money and reached into her own pocketbook for the purchases, while Carl had put forth none of his money.

I told her I agreed with that. "I paid for my Swiss cheese with my own money!", I said.

La Netta nodded. "You did."

"Is Carl your friend?", asked Darnell.

"Yes, he is", I said.

"Am I your friend?", asked La Netta.

"Of course you are, La Netta."

"I guess you feel caught in the middle."