Jon Konrath is an absurdist writer from Oakland, California. He has written seven books, including Rumored to Exist, The Earworm Inception, and Fistful of Pizza. He’s also editor-in-chief at Paragraph Line Books. When he’s not trying to buy used medical equipment on eBay, he can be found at rumored.com
Dwarf Meth Madness, Again
By Jon Konrath (email@example.com)
It smelled like piss in my apartment, just a faint smell of urine like maybe an animal died in another room, a long time ago. I went to the record store where I worked to buy some sprays, sticks, stick-ons, and incense from the “tobacco accessories” section, but it all smelled even worse, like I’d need to grow a beard, buy some sandals, and punctuate all of my sentences with “man”. And I got stuck talking to Uncle Iggy, this regular customer that ate the hours with idle conversation about his uncanny number of connections to the music world. I think he drove a tour bus for Hawkwind in the late 70s, used to score acid for Captain Beefheart in the late 60s, and worked as an impromptu medic on a GG Allin tour in the 80s, wiping down his self-inflicted wounds with betadyne and carrying around the epi-needle kit for the occasional heroin overdose. Now he worked a job totaling Hummer jeeps at an AM General plant, torture-testing them by racing laps around a track with flat tires or no oil in the crankcase, and spent all of his time in the store hunting down obscure 10000 Maniacs b-sides and imports.
“Why do people burn sage at new building ceremonies?” Uncle Iggy asked.
“Because uranium is more expensive,” I said. “How the fuck am I supposed to know anything about this mystic hippie bullshit? I grew up in a state where not mentioning Jesus in every third sentence punishable by law.”
“Did you know parts of Canada still have blue laws, so stores and shit can’t open on Sundays?” he said. “And they don’t even have Jesus up there, last time I checked.”
“Where I grew up, it was illegal to pee standing up on Sundays. They couldn’t really enforce it though. Any place that conservative has so much latent homosexuality, trying to put a cop in a bathroom to police the urinals would be an all-out glory hole fuckfest on the taxpayer’s dime.”
“At least if that happened, you could do an FOIA request and get all the juicy details,” he said. “I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.”
I also grew up in a town that banned Christmas, and renamed it Jesus Day. Obese city cops with sniper rifles sat in towers at the edge of town, picking off anyone who dared to dress up like Santa. We used to score a christmas tree from this dude that also sold heroin in the train station. Just one fix.
“Why you wanna charge me money for this?” Uncle Iggy said, clutching the Natalie Merchant album. “Do it for love, man.”
“I can’t give away all the albums in the store,” I said. “It’s my boss, Odin. He shoves a box of rice-a-roni in his ass every hour. It’s a lot of MSG to absorb rectally, and it ain’t cheap.”
“Can’t he just use the Kroger brand?”
“CHAIN MAIL MOTHERFUCKER!” Odin stumbled out of the back room, his nose running blood. “I was just watching a fuckin’ porn and every one of those bitches had a black eye!”
“That’s casting, man,” Uncle Iggy said.
“The director could have cast everyone, and then punched them in the face when they showed up for the shoot,” I said.
“TRUE DAT!” said Odin, wiping blood from his nostrils with the arm of his Scooby Doo long-sleeve shirt. “Oh man, how did Hitler do so much of this speed and not go nuts???”
“I think he did,” I said. “That’s sort of why he tried to invade Russia during the winter.”
“Fuck man, quit it with the facts. Anyone want to go to Arby’s for me? I want to snort one of those Jojoba shakes.”
“No, YOUR mama, motherfucker. Arby’s!” He threw a pocketful of change and worthless Sadaam-era Iraqi dinar at me.
“On it, boss.” I got my phone from the back room. Need to check into Arby’s on foursquare – gotta oust that motherfucker mayor.
“I think Jim Morrison is still alive,” said the cashier. He looked like the corpse of Crispin Glover’s aborted child, sixteen years later.
“Everyone thinks Morrison is alive when they first start smoking pot,” I said. “It’s almost mandatory. You probably just bought a Che shirt and a hemp hackeysack, too.”
“No man, my dad worked for Raytheon. They ran an experimental program for Rand in the early 70s, where they cloned every failed USC film school grad and put them in suspended animation, in case of a nuclear war.”
“Robert McNamara was a huge Trojans football fan, wanted a contingency plan to be able to turn out propaganda films.”
“That’s awesome, provided your old man’s got a cardkey for one of those secret government warehouse bunkers and we can boost some of that shit.”
“ARCHIE FUCKIN BUNKER!” yelled one of the fry cooks, a Manny Ramirez-looking motherfucker with long dreadlocks that kept dangling into the bubbling cauldron of greasy onion rings, infusing the waffle fries with the stench of old ganga residue. I jumped over the counter and roundhouse kicked him in the head, pushing his face into the hot oil. “BURN, RASTAMAN, BURN!” I screamed, grabbing the drive-through geek’s headset and repeating it six times over the store PA speakers.
“I always wanted to do that. Can I have a cardboard tray thingee for those drinks?”
“Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, and worshipping our dark lord Satan,” Odin said, fondling a Morbid Angel limited edition Colgate 360 Whole Mouth Clean Soft Bristle, new in box, numbered limited edition to 500,000.
“You wrote that last part in pen,” I said. I continued building an Abraham Lincoln-style log cabin with the cold french fries.
“Fuck that anyway,” he said. “My dentist totally fucked up my house wiring when he installed my ceiling fan. I’m going to track him down with a fuckin’ tranq gun and shoot him in the god damned taint with a barbed dart, then fuck his wife, real slow and sexy.” He got on top of his desk and started gyrating his elf bastard hips rhythmically, jamocha shake juice dripping from his gnarly elf beard like jizz on the glass at a nudie booth. “Oh yeah, dentist’s slutty wife! How do you like Odin’s fuckin’ flesh hammer, bitch?”
“I thought only Thor had a hammer,” I said.
“ODIN CAN HAVE A FUCKIN HAMMER TOO!” he screamed. “THOR DOESN’T HAVE THE MONOPOLY ON TOOLS! JUST BECAUSE HE HAS A FAG COMIC BOOK DOESN’T MAKE HIM ANY BETTER!”
He’s gone sideways, I thought. Dwarf meth madness, again. I’d need to force him to eat a batch of benadryl and ambien cookies and hope no cops showed up for their weekly shakedown.