Sunday, May 24, 2009

Remembering Room 425

It started with a phone call from my mum. I was pooping. I answered with uh–huh’s, yeah’s and hold- on-a-sec. I covered the mouthpiece, flushed and took up the soul destroying, too-much information position by the window.

I loved the view from the 4th floor – it was almost parallel to the roof of the pool. Gravel, dirt and air conditioning bulk. It was always a nice contrast to the bright blue or black, but rarely in-between, Oklamhoma sky. The Radisson on 41st was a home away from home. One week every other week - I spent half a year in that hotel. I knew people at that hotel.

30 minutes later and I’m still saying uh-huh - thinking of the joint comforts of room service and internet porn. Then I notice a twinkle in the hallway. Closer inspection reveals a steady stream of water seeping from underneath the bathroom door and out into the hallway beyond. Oh shit! Literally.

I’m used to working hot issues. It’s what I do for a living. Software issue at a casino? Losing $1200 a minute in fines and lost revenue? No big deal. I’m the best at what I do. I’m the fixer… So I tell my mum that I need to call her back. I pick up the phone next to the bed. I call down to reception only to discover that I’ve lost my composure. And I NEVER lose my composure…

“Uh, yeah, hello… Hello Marcy, how are you?...”
“Good, good. Well I’m uh ok, I guess…”
“I had a long, uh ah, day at the office today…”
“How can you, um, help me? Oh yes, right… see that’s the thing…”
“I’ve flooded my room in poop water!”

I think she hung up. I didn’t know what to do next. I flung open the bathroom door like I meant business. A torrent of water ran between my ankles and instantly soaked my socks. Up to my ankles, I paddled around like a kid in a splash park. How is this possible? Water is flowing so fast that the trash can has been pushed against the door. I can do this, I tell myself. I look for the shut –off, shit-off value turny thingy. This toilet doesn’t have one! Now what? I know. I’ll call my mum…

“Mum, yeah, it’s me again. I think I flooded the room. The toilet won’t stop flushing. There’s poopy water everywhere.”… splash, splash, whimper “… help me… mum?”

Then my mum starts laughing. Big belly laughs. Then she’d stop, breath in, compose herself and start again. Bollocks! I could see she wasn’t going to help. I clicked her away and got back to the business of panicking.

I didn’t know what to try next. Staring at it really hard didn’t seem to do much so I decided to open the room door. I figured the maintenance man would be here any second. Even if he didn’t get the call from reception, he’d likely know there was a problem. In about 10 minutes, he’d be getting a shower down in basement. Isn’t that where all maintenance people live – down in the basement?

I poked my head around the door and saw my lil jobbies floating down the hallway towards the elevator. I closed my eyes and pinched myself. This couldn’t really be happening to me, could it?

Extreme embarrassment coupled with a profound sense of relief. I wanted to cry more at that moment than at any other time in my life. And then my savior arrived! Complete with a tool belt, tool box, builders cleavage and a shop vac. First a stroll in the far off distance. Power walking next. Finally he was sprinting towards me. Then he arrived. His first words were “Oh shit!”. Second were “out-of-way”.

In one fluid motion the maintenance guy had pushed me aside, paddled across the rapids, whipped the back of the toilet off and jammed a wrench somewhere dark and damp. With a gurgle and a grunt from maintenance guy the water slowed to a trickle until it finally stopped.

Maintenance guy called reception. All I heard was
“…unless you want to bring up a canoe, you’ll need to move him to a new room”… I took up residence outside in the hallway – upstream of course – and waited for further instruction.

I sat with my head in my hands. I stared hard at the floor and waited for it open up and swallow me whole. I didn’t have to wait long. My next door, downstream, neighbor opened her door. She shot a look at my door, down the hall and back to me.
“You did this didn’t you?” she said. Her face said the rest “…you dirty little boy!”
She was obviously disgusted, (and rightly so) appalled. I watched a bit of toilet paper glide past her feet. I nodded and started to smile. The smile gave way to a giggle. When I looked up she was still there. Then my giggle turned into full on belly laugh. I just couldn’t stop myself! She slammed the door.

I’m pretty sure that they had to evacuate the whole floor. On my way to my new room, I looked back and said to myself “oh yes, I did that”. I did that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Surgery update

My mums spine surgery went well on thursday. She's still in a lot of pain, but not hooked up to the narcotics-r-us pump anymore. The last of the drains and IVs came out this afternoon. She even got up and walked around with a walker earlier today. I couldn't help but ponder her mortality as she shuffled and groaned her way to the nurse hole and back.

The wing that shes in seems to be a trauma hot bed. I haven't heard so much screaming, yelling and crying since the last episode of greys. Thankfully, non of this has been from my mum - she grunts and occasionally whimpers an "oooh". She's a trooper alright. Had I have been in her position, with two drain pain, piss tube pain, IV pain, pin pain, fusion pain, bone pain, brace pain, pain pain... well I know that I'd have turned the air blue... and if Susie (the worst nurse this side of daryl hannah) had got in range, I'd have... well I dunno... something involving nasty.

Health care in America is shit. Truly totally sucky. This country could be utopia if it is wasn't for the aweful healthcare system. I have seen lots of fuck ups already. I swear my mum would be a in a whole different situation if it wasn't for the eagle eyes of myself and my step dad. If US healthcare had a slogan it'd be "blinded by the dollar - black in the heart".

I'm sharing tonight with a nice dry (as a nun) and dirty (as jenna jameson) gin martini... Step dad is on watch and I'm ready for sleep without worry.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beatin' Pop-Pop

I think that most boys, at some point in their lives, want to beat up their dad. I’ve discovered, much to my surprise, that this is true for step fathers also.

This weekend I got to live out a dream by hitting my step dad repeatedly, when he was down, with huge boxing gloves at Wookies birthday party. The best thing about this experience is that everyone, myself included, thought that this was the funniest thing ever. Step son and step dad in the kid’s bouncy castles – gladiatorial, punching to the end of the laughter. We punched each other until we couldn’t lift our arms anymore – at which point we resorted to charging each other. When we couldn’t charge anymore we just collapsed into a sweaty hug-slash-pile.

It was the best birthday party ever! And oh yeah, Wookie is now 4! He had a good time also.

Tornado Kick!

We of the Wheatley clan have a history of extreme behavior. We don’t parachute, race cars or backyard wrestle. We don’t white water raft, nor do we compete in marathons or any of that crazy, life risky exercise stuff. We are extreme suburbanites. Our extreme behavior is common behavior done extremely.

Let’s use last night as an example of this. A parent may encourage his 5 year old Taekwondo star to learn new techniques by watching his qualified instructors do it. Not me. I use youtube to learn moves and then attempt to “teach” the new cool move to a very skeptical child. Last night it was the mighty tornado kick. This is what its supposed to look like:

OK, OK, I lied... Although I'm sure there's a tornado kick somewhere in there. To be honest, the tornado kick is actually not that impressive and well, this guy Steve Terada is. So substitute him in the video for me and you'll get a perfect mental imagine of me in action!

Anyway, once I have the move down, I then attempt to teach it to Jake. Bless his cotton socks, he always humors his old man and genuinely tries not to laugh. He doesn’t roll his eyes when I suggest that we learn a new cool move together. He almost never ridicules me when I usually learn, 20 minutes into a painful unintended split, that the move is actually called ChonChopChop. He’s also very humble as I sit like a wounded bird with a broken wing and watch him execute ChonChopChop like Jackie Chan of Kindergarten.

Another problem with this is that I’m not very well coordinated. I don’t take direction very well and I don’t actually take any Taekwondo classes myself. I’m also very impatient and usually consider myself “informed” before the end of the video.

This is how I sprained my groin. This is why I hobbled out of bed this morning at 6am to get some painkillers and an ice pack. This is why right now, as I type this, I have an ice pack on my groin. This is also why my balls are turning blue.

I won’t be able to teach Jake any kicks today and this makes me sad. We won’t be able to spar today – him in his robokid pads and me in my PJs. I won’t be able to kick him in the head today. He won’t be able to kick me in the stomach, hammer fist the back of my head and then knee me in the nose like last week. Sad isn’t it? This is why today I’m going to teach him the thunderous spinning back fist technique… It’s easy enough. I just looked it up on youtube.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Shake your head and look away

The smell of violence is fear. The changing room stank of it. Barry held a small knife to my throat while he whispered sweet nothings in my ear. He asked me if I like that. He asked me why I was such a fucking wimpy fuck. He asked his audience – a group of 20 to 25, 14 year old boys – if anyone would notice if he cut me. His hard stare darted around the room. Each boy in turn shook his head and looked away.

A month before this day, Barry and his pals spat at me while I climbed into the PE basket – the one for stinky clothes that needed to be washed. I did it because he asked me to. I’d have sucked his dick if he’d told me to. Thank god he never did. I curled up in the fetal position as they flipped the basket over and kicked me around the changing room. They told me to stay there when they had exhausted themselves. Gavin said that he’d be waiting outside and that they’d be back to check on me. If I got out of the basket then they’d fuck me up. They told me that my mum wouldn’t recognize me when they’d got through with me. Barry added that she wouldn’t care because she’d be fucked by his knife. Barry asked what my mum’s name was. I lied and told him it was Barbara.
“Ugh, Barbara, you fucking like that? Huh? Knifed in the fucking pussy?”
Nervous laughs accompanied the role play. A few minutes later they all left me. The PE class finished at 3:30. The cleaners found me in the basket at around 6. It took me about three years after that to have the balls to ride the elevator again. My Mum shouted at me when I got home.
“Always so unthoughtful!”, she screamed…

A week from knife day, I’ll climb into my best friend’s attic. I’ll aim his rifle at Barry’s head and he’ll never know what hit him. He’ll never know because I never had the balls to pull the trigger.

A couple of months from this day, I’ll watch Barry get beaten with a large wooden bat. Tears will fill my eyes and I'll fear sorry for him. His best friend will stamp, kick and gnaw his way through Barry’s thick skin. There’ll be 20 to 25 other boys watching, shaking and slowing pissing themselves. There’ll be tears and the room will be saturated in the sound of violence: silence. And it’ll all happen in this very room. Just like today, nobody will say anything. Nobody ever does. That’s the rules.

Three years from this day, Barry will stab another boy with a screwdriver. The boy will be taken to hospital and Barry will be taken away, kicking, screaming and biting, by the local police. Nobody will see either of them again.

But today I’m back in that stinky room with Barry’s pen knife held against my throat. He didn’t cut me. He was just playing with me like a cat plays with a mouse. I didn’t know this. My ears filled with liquid. My mouth dried and I tasted violence. The metallic taste filled my mouth. Time slowed and I could hear my heart beating. Barry took a deep breath just as Mr. Bainbridge called from his office,
“Hurry up lads, get to your next class!”
Barry licked my face and slid the knife back into his pocket.
“See you next week”, he smiled.