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.

Hanging with Emanuel

On Thursday, it was another short day, one on which Ken, Emanuel and I were to be dropped off at noon.

When I climbed into the van, the radio was not playing gospel as it usually does early in the morning, but rap. I heard a song with a lot of -ary words. "Did she sing the W-word?", I asked as I thought I heard "wxry".

"No", said La Netta. "Are you going to start this this early in the morning?"

I wrote down the words "Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful", as I couldn't figure out what the singer had said at the beginning if it wasn't "wxry".

Then another song came on. I had to ask La Netta about a lot of words.

I got my paper and wrote down "tell her which way to go". "I'm trying to write down the lyrics to this song", I said.

"It's over", said La Netta. Just then, the new song began.

I had down the lyrics "tell her which way to go" and "she loves me down". Would these be enough to find the song on a search engine?

We were soon at the office. I brought along my red bag and told Lita I wanted her to look at my CD player.

"Is it the batteries?", she asked.

"I put new batteries in and it's still doing this", I said.

"Did you try putting in another CD?"

"I put in another CD, and neither one worked."


I explained to her how Snodgrass threw my bag that had my CD player in it when he had tantrums.

"Tell La Netta to 'come in, please'," said Lita.

I walked over to where La Netta was and said, "La Netta?"

"Yes", said La Netta.

"Lita says come in, please."

La Netta walked in. Lita explained the situation, and that she was going to give me a $20 bill to buy a new CD player. La Netta said she didn't think it was Snodgrass throwing it around that caused my CD player to go keblitz.

"This and the World Market trip are for giving that presentation at the office", said Lita. "After this, I won't be able to help you anymore."

"But what if Snodgrass throws the new one too?", I asked.

"Then we're going to start making his house pay for replacing your CD player", said Lita.

La Netta and I walked out into the conference room. There they were working on a Christmas-related project.

Emanuel began ranting and rambling. "The police never got us ice xxxxx cones", he said.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Emanuel!", said La Netta.

"I said the police never got us ice xxxxx cones", said Emanuel.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"What, ice xxxxx?", asked Emanuel.

"Yes", said La Netta. "That was an accident?"

"It was", said Emanuel.

I got up out of my chair to go to the restroom. La Netta said, "Come back to this room when you're finished."

So I went to the restroom and purged off "ice xxxxx". When I came back, Emanuel was still rambling angrily.

"La Netta", I said, "I'll be in the couch room until Emanuel's rant is over."

I rested on the couch, got out to spit, checked the (analog) clock, then rested on the couch again.

Finally, we all left. Emanuel was still ranting.

I went into Taco Bell and ordered three things: chicken chalupa, soft-shell taco, Crunch Wrap Supreme.

The next thing we knew, we were doing drops. Emanuel said "axx oxxx the pxxxx" during our drops, and I growled.

When we reached my house, Emanuel tried to get out early, and La Netta drove around the block to prevent it. I got out to spit. Then we drove back to my house.

As we waited outside, Emanuel asked me for 50 cents. He said he needed a Black and Mild. I told him I'd give him the 50 cents once we got in the house.

We got in the house. I dug in my doggy bag and found two quarters for him. He thanked me. Then he watched as I googled song lyrics. The first song I had heard was called "Pretty Girl Rock", and the singer was singing "very", not "wxry". The second song was "She Ready Now" by an artist I had never heard of before, Kafani. It had no purge words.

I ate my Taco Bell, then Emanuel asked me for $1.25 more. I relented and handed him a dollar bill, then two more dimes, and, finally, five pennies.

Emanuel went out, bought and smoke some Black and Milds, then asked me if I could look up the Devil online. I took him to

After reading about that, he wanted to look up women's fitness. At first I didn't understand why a man would want to look up women's fitness, but when he got to the site and started drooling over those physically fit women, I figured it out. He watched a video, which smoked me out of the room.

When I walked back in at 12:57, Emanuel was out. I turned the computer off and went to sleep.

Eight items

I heard Ken say "axx oxxx the pxxxx" early Wednesday morning, and growled. But then we got to Miller's Knots, and I purged it off. I felt happy while I was purging, knowing that today was the day we would go to Grocery Outlet.

The rap station played a few songs, then the commercials came on. When we hit a Lucky's commercial, I said, "A Lucky's commercial, La Netta!" When she still didn't turn it off, I started buzzing and humming to drown the commercials out.

When we finally parked in front of Grocery Outlet, Rosa said, "Your humming upset everyone in the van!"

"Why didn't you just torn off the commercials?", I asked.

"Because the people in our group wanted to hear them."

"You like commercials?"

"Yes. I want to know what's going on, and what sales they have."

"Will you be able to push?", La Netta asked me as we walked into Grocery Outlet.

"I'll crash into things!", I said.

"Well, then, will you be able to go inside Grocery Outlet?"


"How about carrying a basket?"

"Sure." I took the basket in my hands.

At the candy section, Rosa pointed out some macaroons. I put them into my basket. Then I added some peach rings.

We were soon at the frozen foods section, where I added four piroshkis to the cart.

As we walked by the Hungry-man foods and Rosa and La Netta discussed them, I started talking about the Hungry-man contest, where you were supposed to write commercials featuring Leonardo Da Vinci, Genghis Khan or Davy Crockett. As I opened my mouth to speak, saliva fell from my mouth and landed on my left hand.

"Would you like to go to the restroom?", asked Rosa.

"Yes", I said.

Rosa took me over to the restroom, where I spat and washed my hands. Then we were back to our task of looking for food to try.

La Netta said, "Do you like sardines?"

"I don't", I said. "Remember when I gave me my sardines for Christmas?"

"What was it you get . . . oh, oysters!" La Netta showed me some oysters.

I picked up a tin of oysters and put them in my basket.

Finally, we all bought our many items. After we left Grocery Outlet, La Netta drove us to Lee's Garden.

At Lee's Garden, I ordered chow mein, fried fish and mixed vegetables with shrimp. I heard the customer and employee say "frok" several times in there.

At Davis Park, I purged off all the "frok"s then returned to the van.

Finally, La Netta and I shared a hug for my shower the previous night. "La Netta!", I said.

"James!", said La Netta.

Then I brought all my eood in with me and started to relax.

A tiger, bugs and a crow

"There are cop cars axx oxxx the pxxxx", Ken said as we pulled up in front of Kennedy Grove Tuesday morning.

"Eeeeeeewwwwwww!", I said.

Luckily for me, we were at a place with restrooms, so I crept into a portable and purged off Ken's phrase.

We then left to drive to Barnes & Noble.

That song came on again.

"What's the title and artist of this song?", I asked.

"This is 'Trick', by 50 Cent, Too Short and E-40", said Rosa.

I hadn't been able to find it online! Now at last I could look it up!

I asked about a few words in a few words on our drive to Barnes & Noble.

Then we were in front of Barnes & Noble. "Who wants to come in Barnes & Noble with me?", asked Rosa.

"I do", I said.

"We won't be stopping by the restroom."

"That's OK. I don't need to go."

Rosa and I were soon inside Barnes & Noble. She picked up a magazine. "Now, where do you want to go?", she asked me.

"To the new age section", I said.

We were soon at the new age section. I saw a book called DisneyStrology that had a picture of Tigger on the front. I growled, and knew that the next time I got to the restroom I would have to purge it off.

Then I found a bok about Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu. One chapter had a reference section at the end that referenced a bok by someone with the surname of Sxkes. I would have to purge that one off too.

I showed Rosa a humorous segment in a book that told gardeners to make a pact with all the bugs in your garden that you will let them have a few of your flowers/crops if they do not eat the rest.

Then I showed her a Carlos Castañeda book and said, "Emanuel would like this".

"With the crow on the cover?", she asked.

"Yes", I said.

We left at 11. At the CIWP office, I purged off Tigger and picked my navel for Sxkes.

La Netta, Rosa and the rest of them ate lunch, then La Netta went into a shop that sold used computers.

After she came back in, La Netta started a conversation about computers.

A few minutes deep into the conversation, La Netta said, ". . . and shxp it out".

"Rrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Is that a word?", asked La Netta.

"SH-word", I said.

When at last I got home, I picked my navel. What a fabulous trip to Barnes & Noble I had had that day.

Monday, November 15, 2010


We were riding in the van with KMEL on early this morning. I heard the word "booty" then thought I heard the word "cutxe" in a song.

"La Netta, did someone sing the C-word?", I asked.

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

I got down my pen and one small pad of paper (an old Target receipt) and wrote on it some lyrics: "can never say I'm choosy".

When the station was switched to Star 101.3, I listened to a song. Then the DJ started speaking with a caller-in.

"Did the DJ say the T-word?", I asked La Netta.

"Deejaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy???", asked La Netta.

No answer though.

After some more chat among the others, I asked La Netta again, "La Netta?"

"Yes, James?", said La Netta.

"Did the DJ say the T-word?"

"She already told you no", said Rosa.

"All I heard her say was, 'Deejaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy???'," I said.

"She was telling you that there was no DJ speaking."

"That was Ken you heard", said La Netta.

I knew I had heard a DJ speaking, so when we reached the gas station I got out of the van. I stood by the restroom until someone came out. Then I went in and purged off the word "txsty".

When we came out, we landed ourselves in front of Burger King. Next we were at a dollar store in El Cerrito.

At the Dollar Tree, La Netta asked me if I'd be able to open my eyes to push the cart. When I said no, she handed me a basket instead.

I got two Stars & Stripes (a root beer and a fruit punch), then I asked La Netta where we were getting lunch, and she said we would probably get it here.

I picked out an egg roll and put it in the cart. I had also told La Netta I wanted to look in the cookie aisle, so we went there.

While I was looking through the cookie aisle, I saw a pamphlet of some sort for the Dollar Tree. I looked closely to make sure I hadn't seen any Dipser-man or Winnxe the Pooh products. It didn't show any, but I did see the words "FEREE SHXPPING".

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"What's up?", asked Rosa.

I pointed to the pamphlet. I then left the cookie aisle without having bought anything in the way of cookies.

La Netta found a sewing kit, with several different colors of thread. I put it in my basket so Rosetta could sew a button each on two pairs of pants.

After we paid for our stuff, we made several more stops. At one stop, I asked, "Are we at our restroom stop now?"

"Whxxps!", said Ken.

"D'OH!", I said, slamming myself on my forehead. "Now I'll really have to go."

After several more stops, we got to Miller's Knots. "James, did you need to go to the restroom?", asked La Netta.

"I did", I said.

First I purged off Ken's "whxxps". He had pronounced it to rhyme with "groups", so it didn't take as long a ritual as it could have taken. Then I picked my navel for "shxpping".

When I came back out Robin was in my seat and I asked La Netta if Robin should get out. La Netta replied in the negative, saying that Robin was looking unwell.

"Can Snodgrass move closer to Robin?", I asked.

"No," said La Netta. "Robin needs his space".

So I got in the middle row, with my sleep mask and red bag. "You took about an hour in the restroom", said La Netta.

As I was walking in and sitting down, La Netta said, "Those pants are getting snxg!"

"Rrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Is that a word?", asked La Netta.

"You don't remember? It's on the list?"

"Oh, looooooooooord!", she said. La Netta laughed. "How long does that one take?"

"Not long." I went to the restroom and purged off "snxg", then came back in.

We were ready to go.

I followed La Netta into a cellphone store. She put her husband on speakerphone to speak with the employee about the problems with the phone plan he had purchased. I plugged my ears while he did it. "La Netta, did he say the P & A words?", I asked.

"No", said La Netta.

"Are you OK?", another employee asked someone.

"Me?", I asked.

"Yes", he said.

"I was just wondering whether I heard the P & A words."

"What are the P & A words?"

"I can't say them, or it will make me purge."

"How can I help you?"

"I'm just in here with my friend La Netta today."

"Oh, OK."

After we came out she walked me into Lee's Garden. I ordered chow mein, Hunan chicken and beef chow fun.

"So why is your husband selling his bxke -- his Mustang?", I thought I heard Rosa say.

La Netta talked to Rosa about her husband Charles' choice to sell his Mustang.

"What's wrong?", La Netta asked me after looking at my face.

"I'm going to have to pick my navel", I said.

"Why?", asked La Netta.

"Did you hear what Rosa said?"

"I didn't say it", said Rosa. "I almost said it. I said 'by--', and then I changed it, because that wasn't what I really wanted to ask about. Now do you still have to pick your navel?"

"No", I said.

At 2:21 I asked for my pill. I took it. Then at 2:30 I walked into the house, equipped with Chinese food, sodas and thread. I said good-bye to my friend La Netta. And then I ate some of my Chinese food, saving the rest for later.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rosa makes me hear a word

On Friday, we were scheduled for the dollar store. After I walked in, La Netta grabbed a cart and I held onto the back of the cart.

"There's no way you and La Netta can fit that cart through that tiny area holding on together", said Rosa. "Follow behind her."

I followed behind La Netta with my left hand cupped over my eyes. My right eye was squinted.

I made it just fine until a commercial came on. I uncupped my eyes and plugged my ears. I stood there singing "Alouette" with my eyes closed while the commercial played. With my hands over my ears, I couldn't cup my eyes.

"James", I heard Rosa saying. "You need to move."

I unplugged my ears and cupped my hands over my eyes again. I followed La Netta. There was a PA over the commercial.

But then they resumed to the commercial. "Shxpping and handling", they said.

"Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled. Rosa had made me hear the SH-word!

Rosa made it to the restroom so she could go. I explained to La Netta that I wanted to follow.

"You'll have to open your eyes", La Netta said.

"I can't!", I replied.

I cupped my hands over my eyes and walked to the right.

"Wrong way", said La Netta.

I walked to the left.

"Make a right", said La Netta.

I turned 90° to the right.

I kept walking.

"You passed it", said La Netta.

I allowed for a broader view and soon I found the restroom hall. I went into the men's and picked "shxpping" out of my navel.

After washing my hands, I came out.

"Where are we picking up lunci?", I asked.

"Here or McDonald's", said La Netta.

We were soon at the vegetable aisle, where La Netta was loading vegetables into the cart. I collected some mushrooms. "This is going to be my lunch", I said.

"What are you going to eat them with?", asked La Netta.

"I eat them straight", I said.

"No dip?", asked Rosa.

"No dip."

"No cheese?"

"No cheese."

A coach told me we were at the lunch meat, so I picked up two packs of Butterball bologna. It was chicken/turkey bologna.

Then came the cookie section, where I got some Chinese almond cookies.

We paid for all our goodies, then headed back to the van, where Emanuel said, "Can we have 106?"

"You've been good today, so I'll give you the radio", Rosa said.

A few songs played, but Emanuel kept talking anyway.

After a few songs, there was a DJ making a call to a contest winner. They were talking about Drake.

I had the hunch someone was going to describe Drake as a "cutxe", but I had my doubts. That was just a hunch, I thought. So I didn't plug my ears.

Then -- you wouldn't believe this -- the contest winner said of Drake, "He's a cutxe".

"Echhhhhhhhhhh!", I said loudly.

A song played, then the van stopped so some of us could order lunch from McDonald's.

When we left McDonald's, the radio began playing again. It played until commercials started up again.

"Rosa, could we please have the commercials muted?", I asked.

"Sure", said Rosa. She turned them off.

"I want to listen to 106", said Emanuel.

"It's on a commercial", said Rosa.

About three minutes later, Emanuel asked if we could listen to music.

"It was on a commercial", Rosa said.

"Wild 94.9", Emanuel said. "They might be playing music now."

"The commercials might be over now", I said.

"I'll turn it on", said Rosa, "But James, don't whine if it's on a commercial."

The radio was soon on Wild 94.9, doing commercials. I plugged my ears and hummed.

Soon it began playing "Just the Way You Are", by Bruno Mars.

"Could we have 106 KMEL?", asked Emanuel. "I don't like this song."

"What are you talking about?", I asked. "This is a great song!"

Soon we were at Kennedy Grove, where I spent about twenty minutes purging off "cutxe".

I came back out and took my pill. We listened to "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga and then "Grenade" by Bruno Mars. Rosa said she had a friend who put a line about shooting a bullet through her brain on her Facebook or MySpace (I forget which) page, and Rosa thought there was something wrong with her. Then she learned it was from this song.

We did drops, where La Netta and I hugged our end-of-the-week hug. I ate my mushrooms and an entire pack of bologna at home.

A chrow Christmas

As we were on our way to Robin's house, the gospel station was playing. I listened hale-heartedly to the songs, not thinking they were going to say something that could make me purge.

Then came a song that sounded as if it were saying "t-ngling" twice.

"Did that song sing the word that rhymes with 'single'?", I asked La Netta.

"My head hurts", said La Netta. "I wasn't listening."

"Rosa, did they?", I asked Rosa.

"My head hurts too", said Rosa.

"Just purge it off when you get to the restroom", La Netta said.

We arrived soon at Robin's house. As we waited for Robin, I heard Jolene's voice.

"Jolene's here?", I asked my coaches.

I walked up to the door. "Jolene!", I said.

"Hi", said Jolene.

"Jolene, what did you name your cat?"



"Robin! Your ride is here!" Robin still hadn't come out.

"Do you like your new day program?"

"No, I don't."

"See ya, Jolene."

I walked back to the van. One of my coaches said it couldn't take that long for Robin to finish a bowl of cereal.

We drove to Miller's Knots. On the ride there, Snodgrass saw a motorcycle and said, "Bxke!"

I thought Emanuel was going to look for the crows, but he didn't. I purged off two "t-ngling"s inside the sliding-door restroom and picked my navel, then came back out.

We drove to the office. As we drove, I felt a big one coming. I put my legs down and broke wind. After I was done, I lifted them back up.

About a minute later, Rosa said, "Ooooh, James!"

The group commented on ow something smelled.

"Put your feet up, please", Rosa said.

That word "please"! "NO!", I said.

"Put your feet down."

"They were down when I was breaking wind. Then I put them back up again."

"Well, I think they need about a minute or two to break down", Rosa said.

We stopped at the office. When Rosa got back in the van, La Netta said, "Let's go get lunch now".

"We're not going to get my hair cut?", I asked.

"We had the wrong Asian market on the schedule", said La Netta.

So we drove. I heard the "make you a celebrity overnight" song and had to ask La Netta if it had the C-word in it.

"No, it doesn't", said La Netta.

A little while, I thought I heard "jxggle".

"Does that song have the J-word in it?", I asked La Netta.

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

"Rosa?", I asked.

"No, it doesn't", said Rosa.

Then I heard a song that went "Drink! Drink! Drink!" It contained the lines "Not the kind of girl you take home to Mother" (and no, it's not "Superfreak"). It also contained the words "I hate to tell you". I wrote those lyrics down to google, so I could find out whether it contained the word "cutxe".

Then came "For You" by Prince.

We were at Davis Park at last. La Netta was telling a story about how Jeremiah procrastinates on projects, but Sierra gets right down there and works.

"My sister would always procrastinate on long-term projects", she said. "One day she was in junior high and she had a project on medieval torture and punishment . . ."

Emanuel interrupted to tell us he had something to tell us all.

"James was speaking", said Rosa.

"That's all right", I said. "Emanuel can tell us."

"Well," said Emanuel. "Christmas is coming up, right?"

"Right", said Rosa.

"Well, I just wanted you all to know . . . that I invited the Holy Ghost for Christmas. And I invited the Devil, and all the black crows!"

"That's not a good thing!", said La Netta.

"Those crows can kill 90,000 of you! I'll have them killing 90,000 people for Christmas!"

Emanuel ranted on and on. He switched subjects soon.

"Emanuel, you've been talking for about twenty minutes", said Rosa. "Shouldn't you let James have a turn?"

"I'm almost finished", said Emanuel. But he went on. Soon he was talking about being on top of an ice xxxxx cone.

"Blechhh!", I said.

Emanuel repeated it, and I went to the restroom.

Eventually I came out. I was still spitting out saliva, thinking of the C-word that I may have to purge off.

As we crowded into the van, Emanuel got into the right of the back row, and said, "Scxxt over, Robin!"

"Rrrrrrrrrrrr!", I said.

"Emanoel!", said Rosa. "You can't fit in there! That row can only hold three people! You're going to be squeezing Shawn in! See how Shawn's squeezed?"

"Can we have 106?", asked Emanuel.

"I never got my turn to talk!", I said.

So I told the story about my sister Elizabeth's junior high project on medieval punishment and torture. We waited till the night before it was due to tell her mother about the project, and our mother said she always waited till the last minute to do these projects.

We gathered books around the house and looked at the resource materials she had. We used the Internet. I told the group about how I got a book we had called What's the Difference? that explained the difference between stocks and a pillory (it also told you what was the difference between buffalo and bison, between a hurricane and a tornado, etc.) My mother said, "Oh good, we can use this as a reference".

"You have a whole lot of books around your house!", Rosa said. "Our family doesn't have that many books."

I told about using the Encyclopædia Britannica. My mother wanted to look it up, and asked me, "How do you spell 'medieval'?" Normally, I explained, she would know how to spell it, but it was that late at night, and her brain wasn't working fully.

We dropped off clients one by one until it was my turn. I hugged La Netta for my shower, but she made the hug quick because the street-sweepers were coming up.

When I got in the house, I purged off Emanuel's "scxxt", and googled the lyrics to three songs. Two were looking good, but I couldn't find the lyrics to the "Drink! Drink! Drink!" song. Bummer.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The restroom that would not lock

As we drove to Emanoel's house, 106.1 KMEL was on. I had to ask twice if a song said the C-word (cutxe). Another time I asked if the radio was doing traffic.

Then came a Thanksgiving ad on 98.1 KISS-FM.

"Did they say 'T-word Thanksgiving dinners for your family'?", I asked.

"No", said Rosa. "Why would they say the T-word?"

Why not? "Because food is the T-word", I said. "They want your Thanksgiving dinners to be delicious."

Rosa thought for a while. "Ohhhhh. That T-word", she said. "I was thinking of a different T-word."

"Ohhhhhhhhh, I see", I said.

We drove over to the Emeryville Marina. I sat in the van with Snodgrass and Robin while Rosa and La Netta talked to Donna.

La Netta came in. "Were you in your pants?", she asked.

"I wasn't", I said.

La Netta walked back out. Then she came back in. "Did your zipper go down?", she asked.

"No", I replied.

"Do you need to go to the restroom?"

"No, I don't", I replied. Then I added: "Actually, I didn't get to go this morning and my bladder's filling up."

"So you want to go?"


La Netta took me into the men's room. There I emptied my bladder peacefully. I came out.

"So what was he purging off?", Rosa asked.

"He said he needed to empty his bladder", explained La Netta.

We then went to Trader Joe's, where I brought some challah and some dates. Good stuff! This Trader Joe's played all eighties music. It was radical!

We then went into Ross. I cupped my hands over my eyes and followed La Netta around, so as to avoid pajamdras and Dipser-man/Pooh shoes.

Snodgrass went agog at the shoes. He even tore a tag off a pair of boots.

A woman said hi to Snodgrass. "He's real friendly", she remarked.

We came out. "Are you going to do it again?", asked La Netta.

"Am I going to lift Snodgrass' wheelchair?"

"Are you going to breathe out your sigh?"

"Oh yeah." I sighed. "I can breathe again!", I said.

"That was how I felt", said La Netta. "Everybody looking at us in there."

We entered KFC, where I ordered four honey barbecue snackers. La Netta ordered a leg and a thigh, and one honey barbecue snacker.

After I ordered, I stood around. I heard a man saying "Pxrdon?" to a female employee who was reading him a special.

"Rrrrrrrrr!", I growled. "La Netta, will I have time to go to the restroom?"

"Sure you will", said La Netta.

"Hold onto my lunch for me", I said. I gave her my bag of snackers, and went off to the restroom.

I locked the door with the handle turned one direction. Then, as I was purging, someone came in. "Ohp", he said.

I locked it with the handle turned the other direction and resumed purging.

Then someone else opened the door on me. That stupid lock was broken!

One more person opened the door on me before I finished purging. Luckily, none of them said, "Whxxps".

La Netta was in the van. I joined her. Snodgrass said "bxke" once on our way to our lunch site.

I walked out to the restroom at Vincent Park and picked my navel. Then I came out.

Rosa was in the van, and was talking with La Netta. She then proceeded to sweep out the van. I wanted to eat my snackers, but I could hear the conversation from the children on the playground and their parents. I also didn't want Rosa to say something.

As Rosa finished, a car pulled up next to our van. It turned out to be one of La Netta's friends. They talked and talked, with delight.

"She a mxss", La Netta's friend said.

"Eeeewwwww!", I said.

"Head out to the restroom", said La Netta. I headed out and purged. Then I came back in.

La Netta eventually finished the conversation. As her friends drove off, Rosa tried to get Snodgrass into the other van. That way Rosa could drop Snodgrass off and then make it to her appointment on time.

Snodgrass didn't want to go. After many attempts at coaxing, Rosa enlisted La Netta's help. They pretended as if La Netta were getting in the van too.

Rosa finally got Snodgrass to move. She drove off. Then La Netta took me to Davis Park, where I ate my snackers.

Finally, she drove me home. We said our good-byes and I walked into my house, with challah and dates to eat.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I don't want to see that broad of you

It was Friday and Rosa was giving Robin a snack to calm him down. "Just don't make a mxss", she told Robin.

"Eeeeewwwwwww!", I said.

"Sorry", said Rosa.

"What happened?", asked La Netta.

"I said the M-word. I was telling Robin not to make one."

We then went into Thrift Town. I followed La Netta around, and cupped my hands over my eyes.

"Why are your hands cupped over your eyes?", asked La Netta.

"I don't want to see the pajamdras", I said.

"Well", said La Netta. "We're not in that section, so you can uncup them. I'll tell you when they're coming up."

I loosened my hands, but if I put them totally down, I might see enough around me to see the pajamdras before La Netta could open her mouth to tell me and get all the words out, so I didn't put them totally down.

"Why are your hands still cupped over your eyes?", asked La Netta.

"I don't want to see too broad a view", I replied.

We were interrupted for a little while, then La Netta got back to talking.

"You never answered my question", she said.

"Yes, I did", I said.

"You said you didn't want to see too broad of me."

"I didn't said I didn't want to see too broad of me. I said I didn't want to see too broad a view. Ay view. V-I-E-W."

"Oh! OK! I thought you said, 'I don't want to see too broad of you'."

A reanalysis of this sort had almost cost me my friendship with Tiffany once, when she said "I scream" and I thought she had said "ice xxxxx", so I was glad that that was cleared up.

I asked La Netta about words for the duration of the trip. We looked for turtlenecks, but there were none.

Once we came out and got back into the van, Rosa looked at some children playing outside with their mother, and said, "She's got him a little bxke". Now I would have to purge off not only, "mxss" but also "bxke".

We drove around and parked while La Netta went into another building. I had my sleep mask on. I saw something through the gap between the "lenses" of the sleep mask. I lifted it up and saw that we weren't near Frosty Freeze or anything. Then I saw some more. I lifted it up and saw the words "c-ti financial" on a building.

"Rrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"What happened?", asked Rosa.

"The Financial bank", I said.

"C-ti Financial?"

"Rrrrrrrrr! Yes!"

La Netta came in. I explained to her that I had seen it.

"You see that Financial Bank over there?", I asked La Netta.

"Yeah", she said.

"It's not a bank", said Rosa. "It's a . . .", and then she proceeded to go into some explanation as to what it was.

"See how the two i's are joined by that fermata shape?"

"Oh, yeah, now I see", said La Netta.

"What was your point?", asked Rosa.

"Well", I said, "When I was explaining to La Netta why the soft C-word makes me purge, I was talking about the logo and how the i's are joined by that fermata shape, and she said she couldn't recall what it looked like in her head, and said next time she saw it she'd have to look at it."


I was driven to Kennedy Grove feeling full. Once we got there, I found the good portable and purged off the two "c-ti"s. Then I picked my navel for Rosa's "bxke". Finally, I did "mxss".

I was glad to be out of the restroom. We stayed in the van until drops, and were at my house by 2:00 to drop Ken off early. At 2:30, I hugged La Netta my end-of-the-week hug.

An epic-length day

Thursday was the day I had both an appointment with Dr. Luburic and a physical. I grabbed my red bag that morning and joined Stan Man as he drove me to the Richmond Mental Health Clinic.

I was soon joined by Dr. Luburic. Stan and I walked into his office and proceeded to sit down.

"How has it been on the four milligrams?", he asked me. Last time I had met up with him he had put me on four milligrams in the a.m. and four in the p.m.

"It's been better", I said. "I'm not asking for the one-milligram pill as often."

"Have you been using the Benadryl at all?", he asked me.

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

"Any side effects?"


I told him about the way I sometimes want to ask for a one-milligram pill, but am afraid to, because they've started asking me what I'm thinking about that makes me angry when I have to take one. I also told him about what Santina said at 1:05 a.m. on Tuesday. I had come in and woken her up to ask for a pill. She asked me, in an angry voice, why I was awake at this time in the morning. She gave me my pill, then said, "Now, can you please try to get some sleep?" I said, "I'm trying my best, but it's very, very hard".

Dr. Luburic asked Stan for his perceptions, and Stan said, "He's been stable". I was getting neither worse nor better.

Stan and I said good-bye to Dr. Luburic, as he kept everything the same -- no new dosage or anything.

Stan Man then dropped me off at the CIWP office and we said our good-byes.

I asked Lita if she was open to talk and she said yes, and invited me into her office.

"I need to talk to you", I told her. "It's about Wanda."

I asked her if she had seen my blog entry called "I show my eyes" -- she said she hadn't. You can read the entry here:

I told her that Wanda listened to KBLX, and had told me, "If you didn't hear it, I didn't hear it!"

"Well, that's not true", Lita said, "Because you heard her say, 'I'm Sterling', and Wanda didn't."

"Exactly!", I said. And then I went into the way Wanda would absent-mindedly turn the radio on when the dial was set at KBLX, and said she didn't always think first, "so just get your headphones on". I explained that it took about twenty seconds to get my headphones on.

Lita said I hadn't been with Wanda for the entire month of October. But she would speak with her.

Just then Emanuel knocked at the door. "Can I have these graham crackers?", he asked.

"I'm not sure whose they are", said Lita. "They might be someone else's."

La Netta was angry with Emanuel. Finally Lita let Emanuel have the graham crackers.

La Netta, Emanuel and I left the office. La Netta told Emanuel that he had opened the crackers before asking Lita. Then she made Emanuel share the graham crackers.

La Netta went with Ken and me into Lucky's. There Ken bought some chicken, and I bought some Brach's candy from the bins and some seafood salad. La Netta bought her own lunch.

"Do you want to go first, or do you want Ken to go first?", La Netta asked me.

"I want Ken to go first", I replied.

Ken paid for his chicken, then I paid $9.something for my purchase. Finally, La Netta paid for everything she had bought.

Rosa said "bxke" at Vincent Park, so I had to go to the restroom for that. "We'll only be here 10 more minutes, then we have to drop James off," said La Netta.

I quickly picked my navel, then I hurried back to the van. Just as I had gotten back in, Ken looked at Snodgrass' CapriSun and said, "You've got it drxpping all over the floor!"

"Eeeeeeewwwwwwwww!", I said. "How many minutes left, La Netta?"

"We have four or five minutes", she said.

I went to the restroom and purged off "drxpping". When I came back out, we were ready to drive to the office.

I said good-bye to La Netta and went into the office restroom. Shortly thereafter, I heard a knock.

I turned the fan light off.

"It's Pia", the voice said. "I'm ready to take you to your appointment. Come out as soon as you're ready."

I shortly flushed the toilet and came out with my hands washed. Pia and I walked to the van and drove to the clinic.

"Pia, can you listen out for words for me?", I asked.

"That I can't do", said Pia, "Because I'm going to be reading my book."

We listened out for my name, then I was called to Station F. At Station F, I was braceleted and given a feedback survey with an eraserless pencil. We filled out some forms.

A nurse measured my blood pressure and weight. She told me to undress and put a gown on.

I undressed except for my boxer shorts. Then I sat on the reclining chair.

"She wanted you to put that gown on", said Pia.

"Not the gown!", I said.

"James! You don't need to whine. If you don't want to put it on, you don't have to."

I sat on the chair until Dr. Shah came in. He asked me my height.

"5'8"," I said.

"No way!", said Pia. "You're not 5'8"! I'm 5'8" and I am definitely taller than you! You're 5'6" or 5'7"!"

"Well, we can get that measured", said Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah went on to ask me about things like mental disorders and allergies to medications. He then told me about this year's flu shot.

"Does it vaccinate against swine flu?", I asked.

"That was last year's shot", he said.

"Then I'm not interested."

"This year's shot isn't just for swine flu. We included swine flu in there, along with other flus that are rampant this season."

"OK, then I'll get it", I said.

The nurse gave me a flu shot. "You'll feel a little pxke", she said.

"Eeeeewwwwwww!", I shrieked.

"James", said Pia, "When she gives you the shot, don't look at it. Look at this wall, and imagine you're hearing some beautiful Kurt Cobain music."

The nurse gave me the shot, then Dr. Shah called me into a room filled with blood work. He gave me an injection, and put four different vials into the syringe to test various chemicals in my blood.

While I was in the office, I heard what may have been a "whxxps". There was no one to ask.

I made it outside with Pia.

"Pia", I said.

"Yes?", said Pia.

"When I'm getting a shot, I imagine I'm a heroin addict."

"No way!", said Pia.

"Really?", I said.

"Now why would you want to imagine something horrible like that?"

"Because it makes the feeling of having a syringe under my skin into something pleasurable instead of something painful."

"Can't you think of something positive? Like imagine you're a person with a disease who needs that shot to get better."

Pia dropped me off at Emanuel's house. I took my red bag with me and entered Stan Man's car. Pia and I said good-bye.

Emanuel got out of the house. He began talking to me, then Stan came out and said the car door needed to close so gas was not used up. Emanuel told me to shut the door and get out of the car. All the while, Latin music played in the background.

Emanuel and I looked at ourselves in the car window. "Do I look like a football player?", asked Emanuel.

"Not really", I said.

"Do I look like a basketball player?"


"Do I look like I could be a cop?"

"No, because you have a beard. And cops have to shave off all their hair below the lip."

"Not a cop. Just someone who accompanies the mayor of Oakland. Do you think I could be that guy who rides with the mayor of Oakland?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Jerry Brown. Mayor of Oakland. And now he's the governor of California! Do I look like I could be in the NBA, giving an interview?"

"Yes. I'm sure you'd go on and on."


"Because you go on and on about the Devil and your brothers and clowning the Bay Area."

Emanuel laughed. "Say that again!"

"Because you go on and on about the Devil and your brothers and clowning the Bay Area."

Emanuel laughed again. "Say that one more time!"

"Because you go on and on about the Devil and your brothers and clowning the Bay Area."

"What kind of mood am I in when I clown the Bay Area?"

"You're in your laughing, clowning mood, like right now."

Emanuel excused himself to bum a cigar off someone. I walked into the restroom and purged off "whxxps".

When I came out, Emanuel was no longer there. I stood until Charles came out. He was talking with Stan Man about something.

I stood without looking, then I got curious and looked at Charles. To my horror, he was in his pajamdras! Pink pajamdras with allover print of stick figures of women and purses and shopping carts.

"Eeeeeewwwwwww!", I said. I went back into the house to use the restroom.

I purged for a long time. Eventually Stan Man came out and said, "We're ready!"

"OK!", I said. I tried to finish up purging.

Shortly afterwards, Charles knocked at the door. "Stan says come on!", he said.

"Let me do things at my own pace!"

I finished purging off Charles' pajamdras and walked circumspectly through the hall until I got to the door. I made it out and wlked straight to the van. Stan was in there with me.

Stan Man drove me home and apologized for the epic-length delay at Emanuel's house. It was 4:15 when I finally got home.


We were making our way through Target on a Tuesday. I stopped to look at something and lost La Netta, then heard a man saying "Whoop, excuse me".

"Did that man bump into me?", I asked La Netta.

"I didn't see", said La Netta.

"The man who said 'Excuse me'?"

"I don't know."

"Did he say the WH-word?"

"I didn't hear it."

"He just said, 'Whoop'?"

"I just heard him say, 'Excuse me'."

I later learned that he had bumped into Robin, not me. At least I felt better to know I wasn't at fault for hearing what could have been a WH-word.

Clearly he had said something before "excuse me". And I didn't have a tape recorder or a time machine to find out what it was.

Finally, we stopped at a restroom where I could get the "Whxxps" out of me, if it was one. I unbuttoned my pants and whooped like whipped cream, "Whadoluups! Whadoluups, whadoluups, whadoluups, whadoluups; whadoluups, whadoluups, whadoluups, whadoluups; whadoluups, whadoluups, whadoluups, whadoluups. Whadoluups, whadoloops, adoloops; whadoluups, adoluups, adoloops. Adoloops, adoloops, adoloops, adoloops; adoloops, adoloops, adoloops, adoloops; adoloops, adoloops, adoloops, adoloops." Then I repeated the procedure.

The whipped cream rose out of me and sank down a metaphysical drain.