Archive for the ‘funny stories’ Category

My Las Vegas Trip

Posted: February 26, 2013 in funny stories
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It was a lot of fun.

A lot happened so…..

 

 

 

 

What happens in Vegas…..stays in Vegas…..

 

 

HA HA HA HA

 

 

Sorry Charlie…..

“Susan, you’re wrong.”

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Dating, funny stories
Tags: , ,

“I am?” I asked.

“Yes you are. No offense…”

“Oh, none taken,” I said as I rolled my eyes, leaned back into the booth and stretched my legs out. I took a long pull on my beer and waited. The evening had started to get interesting.

“Oh good. I mean, I know what I’m talking about and it would be good for you to listen to me.”

I snorted. “Oh, trust me Thomas, I am all ears,” I said and flashed the most brilliant smile that I could while I mentally chastised myself for agreeing to this blind date.

Thomas seemed like a nice man. Actually, he was. He was nice looking and had a profitable landscaping business and was considered quite a catch. He had been divorced for over a year and had decided to start dating again at the age of 50. It’s a tough thing to do for anyone at that age. Shit, it’s a tough thing at any age.

He apparently had seen me at a party a few weeks ago. I was there but only for a few minutes. I had stopped by my friend’s house to drop off a book and stayed for a quick drink before hitting the road for the weekend. He had asked who I was. My friend had agreed to call me for him and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sitting across from him at the restaurant, I had spent most of the evening listening to him tell me about his business, how successful it was and then the gory details of his divorce.

Rule #1 when dating – never, EVER discuss your ex. Ever. Shoot yourself in the foot and drink bleach before you even go near it. If you feel the urge to say something, stick a sharp object in your eye before uttering one word.

You will make a better impression with a steak knife hanging out of your eye than you will in slamming your ex.

For the love of God, trust me on this one.

But I had been polite and listened and nodded when it seemed appropriate and prayed that one of us would suddenly come down with severe food poisoning and have to leave.

But now, after hearing about what a bitch his ex was, he now felt entitled to tell me how to run my business.

I was suddenly fascinated in watching a train wreck unfold before my eyes.

I took another long pull of my beer and hoped it would hit my blood stream at any second and give me that warm, fuzzy and giggling moment that would make all of this seem like fun.

“Well, I’m glad that you are listening. So, the first thing you need to do with your job is admit the fact that you are somewhat limited because you are a woman.”

I choked on my beer. No, really, I actually did choke. I’m not making this up. I coughed and quickly put my hand over my nose and pinched my nostrils before it came out. That’s the worse thing when a beverage comes out of your nose and it’s carbonated. It hurts.

I grabbed a napkin and wiped my nose with it.

“So, Thomas, what you’re saying is because I have breasts and a uterus, I somehow can’t do my job as well as….a man? Is that right?”

“Yes, but it’s not your fault. I mean, it is just the way you were born. Oh, you have nice breasts, by the way.”

I looked down at my chest. I pulled my shirt out and kept looking. Yep, there they were. I still had them. I looked up at him and back down at my breasts. I pushed my shirt back towards my chest and smiled.

“So maybe if I got rid of them, I could be more…intelligent? Is that because I know when I try to think, all the blood rushes towards them?”

His smile froze on his face. He furrowed his brow. He thought for a moment and a confused look came over his face.

“What? Huh? That just…are you serious….I mean that doesn’t make any sense. Oh wait, you’re kidding, right?” he said and started laughing.

“No. I’m not. When I try to think, my breasts grow. Just like when you try to think and your dick gets hard. Same thing, ya know?”

“No! Wait! You aren’t making any sense.”

“Well neither are you. You just sat here and told me how wrong I am in the way I run my business, which you know nothing about, and then said it’s because I’m a woman as if that is some sort of disability or defect.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. I mean it’s because women get all emotional and it will get in the way of your judgement. You’re twisting my words here and I don’t like that.”

“Sorry, I don’t mean to twist your words. I’m trying to think and my breasts are getting bigger by the second and I am feeling a bit suffocated by them, so it’s probably the lack of oxygen going to my brain. I think I may be brain-damaged from my breasts,” I said.

I was pinching myself under the table to stop myself from laughing.

This was too much fun.

“Brain damaged? What are you talking about?”

“Thomas, now how can I answer a question about being brain-damaged IF I’M BRAIN DAMAGED? How is that supposed to work, huh?”

He rubbed his eyes and looked around.

“OK, I think I’ve gotten off on the wrong foot here…”

“No, you haven’t. You’re fine. I’m the one with the emotional breasts, remember?”

“Stop talking about your breasts! That’s not what I meant!” he said. His voice was loud and he was annoyed with me.

“What? You don’t like my breasts now? What’s wrong with them?”

“THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR BREASTS!” His voice was loud enough that several people turned and looked at him. A couple of men then looked at me and then at my breasts and gave me a thumbs up. I waved back at them, smiled and gave them a thumbs up.

“Thomas, now don’t start getting emotional on me. Pretty soon, you’ll be acting like a woman and embarrass me,” I said.

I stood up, got my purse and finished the last of my beer.

“Where are you going? You’re leaving? But I wanted to tell you more about what you should be doing with your business.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t stay. I have to go before I start thinking again because if I do…”

“Please, don’t say it. Don’t say a word, ever again, about your breasts…”

“Thomas, trust me, you’ll never have to worry about me talking to you ever again. Ever. You’re too emotional for me. You know, like a woman?”

Two men gave me high 5’s as I walked out. I declined their offers of having a drink with them. One said as I walked by “I don’t know what he was so upset about, but you look just fine to me.”

I stopped, smiled at him and kissed him on his cheek. “Thanks,” I said and left.

I never did return Thomas’ phone calls. If I’m so inferior to him, why waste his time?

(That last sentence needs a sarcasm font).

Those words were right on the tip of my tongue as I sat quietly and patiently listened to Victoria.

She had been sent to me for training from a client. She had recently been hired and was doing well with her job. She needed ‘fine tuning,” which I questioned the meaning of that when the client called.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Victoria is new at her job and she is learning…”

“But?” I asked. The unfinished sentence hung in the air.

“She has a bit of a problem with the other women. She complains that they don’t like her. She said they were ganging up on her.”

This made no sense to me since I personally knew all of the employees in this office. I had trained all of them for the last several years. I could tell you everything about each one. Who was married, the names of their husbands and children or the names of their boyfriends, where they lived, what they thought, what their dreams were and where they had failed.

Some I had become very good friends with. I often receive pictures of their family or pets, along with calls for personal advice and help.

I knew just about everything about them. They were a wonderful, lovely and amazing group of women. They weren’t perfect, but they were kick ass and I was proud to know them. I was proud of the work we had accomplished.

With our help and their dedication, we had taken a failing business that had tripled its income in a year. The majority of the staff were women (about 95%) and each and every one of them worked their asses off to form a team and build the business back up.

They were my girls and they proudly told anyone who asked that they belonged to me.

“What seems to be the problem Victoria?”

She sighed and brushed her bangs off her forehead. She was in her mid-30’s, pretty and impeccably dressed.

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think any of the women like me. You know how they can be.”

I tilted my head and furrowed my brow. “No, I don’t. What do you mean exactly?” I asked as I sat back and crossed my arms across my chest.

“Well, none of them are very friendly towards me. I think they are jealous. I’ve had that problem all my life, so you would think I would be used to it, but I’m not.”

“Jealous? Of what?” I asked.

“I’ve never been able to be friends with women. The constant bickering, backstabbing and gossiping. In fact, just the other day I asked Gloria a question and she completely ignored me! I mean, how rude is that?”

I chuckled. “Gloria is 75 years old and 85% deaf. Where were you standing when you were talking to her?” I asked.

She thought about this for a minute. “I was standing behind her, but she should have been paying attention to me.”

“Did you know she was almost deaf?” I asked.

“Ummm…no BUT SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME!” she said.

“No, not true. YOU should have cared enough to find out. You know, the business doesn’t run itself based on what you need. You were hired to solve THEIR problems. That’s why you get paid. They aren’t there to solve yours.”

She sighed and flipped her hair and looked away.

Her rudeness was beginning to show and it was time to bring it all out into the open.

No more being social and polite. It was time to see what I had here.

“So, what you’re saying is you started talking to Gloria but didn’t have her attention and she didn’t hear you but to you that means she didn’t respond because she’s jealous of you? Do I have that right?”

“Well, when you put it that way…”

“I’m not putting it in any particular way. I am either stating the facts or I am not. Which is it?”

“OK, yes, you’re right…” she said and just at that exact moment, her cell phone rang.

She had been instructed earlier that no cell phones were allowed in the training room. I allowed absolutely no interruptions and was very clear that updating ones Facebook status could wait until break. She had assured me she understood, agreed and had turned off her phone.

She reached into her purse, grabbed her cell phone and started talking on it.

In front of me as if I was no longer there.

She was talking on her cell phone during her training time that the client had paid for. She was being paid to train and was now using that time, and mine, to chat with someone. She had lied to me and didn’t even have the courtesy to excuse herself to take the call.

She just answered the phone mid conversation and then turned her back to me to talk.

No.

I tapped her on the shoulder. She looked up and was annoyed.

Too bad.

“Excuse me, but is that an emergency phone call? Do we need to call 9-11?”

“No, not at all. It’s my husband. He wants to know what to pick-up for dinner,” she said and turned away and continued to talk.

I yanked the phone out of her hand. I put it up to my ear and said “Victoria is busy, but she will call you back later,” and hung-up.

I loved the look on her face. I turned the phone off and took it out of the room and put it in my desk drawer and walked back into the training room.

I looked at her. “If you ever pull that stunt again, I will dismiss you from training and it will be up to you to explain to your boss why I did. She will be quite interested since I have never had to do that before.”

As much as I worked to help people pull themselves up, every once in a while, you run into someone who needs to be slapped down a peg or two.

“There is nothing wrong with the women in that office. The problem is you and for you to blame everyone for your inability to be decent and kind to those around you is most amazing to me. What do you think should happen? Do you think everyone should change because you don’t know how to get along with them? Is that what you think because if it is, I wish you luck.”

Her lower lip quivered. Tears formed in her eyes. She batted her eyes at me. She sighed and gave me a pleading look of innocence.

I didn’t buy it for a second. Though she was the first to bash women, she was also the first to try to use being a woman to get her way.

No, not with me and not in my training program. There was not one aspect of our program that is based on gender. It is completely based on ability, performance and results whether you are carrying a penis or a uterus. No one cares.

“Tell you what Victoria; if you want to know what’s wrong, just look in the mirror. There’s your answer.”

“OK, I’ll try,” she said. Suddenly her tears were gone.

Amazing.

“And if my girls start to pick on you, you know what you should do?”

“What?”

“Apologize for what it is that you said that pissed them off because guess what? They’ve worked together for years and years and they all get along. They have formed friendships and they have poured their heart and soul into that business and they have my full permission to take you out if you start to mess with them. Understood?”

She nodded her head.

Needless to say, she didn’t last long.

Fine by me.

“Lewis, you have a call on line 2. Someone wants some information from you. You also have 3 other calls waiting.”

I picked-up the phone. It had already been a long day and it was only 11:00 in the morning. The phones had been ringing off the hook and suddenly everyone wanted to talk to me.

I was new in the business of setting-up merchants to accept VISA and MasterCard. This thing called “the internet” was just starting to take off. Merchants were finding out very quickly that they needed to get up to speed with accepting credit cards online. Most of them were small or start-up businesses and very few of them knew anything about computers. Shit, most of us were learning as fast as we could.

I was getting lots of calls because I represented a bank that only did “high risk” business and could help merchants that had either been declined or shut-off from a previous bank. Travel agencies, dating services and the adult business market were considered high risk, so word had gotten out that I could place them and the calls were pouring in.

As soon as I answered the phone, the woman on the other end began pleading with me to help her. I had no idea who she was but I wrote down my notes as fast as I could and waited for her to take a breath.

“OK Angela, I think I understand the gist of what you are saying. You need a merchant account for your new business. It’s a dating service. You have no credit, filed bankruptcy last year and this is a new venture for you, right?”

“Yes, that’s right. It’s really important that you help me. I’ve been turned down by 10 other banks and they all gave me your name. The problem is you’re too expensive.”

I chuckled to myself. This was a typical conversation from someone who knew nothing about business, who had no idea how things worked and yet thought she would jump on the band wagon of the dot comm bubble and make a million dollars overnight. Ten banks had turned her down and I’m too expensive? Little did I know that this would be the exact attitude that would later burst that bubble down the line. Those of us who understood at least the basics of business would survive. The ignorant and naïve would not.

After telling her what it would take to get the bank to consider her application, she hung-up and told me she would call me later. I was surprised when she did 2 hours later. She had come up with a very large deposit and guaranteed me she could hand me a check when we met. I set the appointment for the next day. She lived 2 hours away and I needed to see her place of business and take pictures.

As I approached the address I began to be concerned I had the correct address. This was long before cell phones were as advanced as they are now. Many of us didn’t have one but we had pagers. I pulled over, double checked the address. I was in the right place but I was in a residential area. I walked up to the door and rang the bell.

Angela answered the door. She was a very large woman in a wheelchair. We greeted each other. We sat at her kitchen table. All her paperwork was spread across the table. While she served me coffee I looked around. It was a nice house but I was trying to figure out what to do now. There was no way the bank would approve her application unless she had a store front. Running a dating service from your home was not something that was making sense to me.

I handed her the application to fill out. “Angela, I’m a bit confused on your business. Are you considering running a dating service out of your home? I don’t see how that will work and I don’t think the bank will approve it,” I said as I sipped my coffee.

“Well,” she said and sighed. “It’s not technically a dating service but it does involve men and women getting together.”

I scratched my head and sat back. A very dim light was just starting to go on. “OK, I’ll bite; explain it to me, please,” I said and sipped my coffee.

“Well the dating part is on the phone. Truthfully, it’s all done on the phone,” she said. “You know…”

“No, I don’t actually,” I said. The light was getting a bit brighter.

Just then a man came in the front door. He was large also and had a big smile on his face as he walked up to me and shook my hand. He said his name was Robert. “Oh, you must be the bank lady!” he said and sat down with us.

“OK, Angela, I need you to explain to me in great detail what your business is and how it works,” I said.

“People call and talk to me. Or they talk to Robert. Whatever they prefer,” she said. Robert nodded his head up and down.

“No one comes here then?” I asked.

“Oh God no! No way! No, we just talk about…things and then when they are…done, then we hang-up,” she said. Robert’s head was still nodding up and down quickly. I turned and looked at him.

“So…”

“We really need to be able to charge their cards. I mean, it’s not like they are going to send us a check when they are…finished, ya know?” Robert said.

The light bulb in my head was as bright as it could be. “No of course not. You do need to take credit cards, but…” I said.

Robert leaned over and put his hand on my arm. “You know, you would do really well in this business. You have a great voice…”

“Can you do different accents?” Angela asked. “Some of my customers like a Southern accent and then there’s this guy who like a French accent. Can you do either of those?”

I started to blush and stutter. This was one of the most interesting propositions I had ever received.

“You would make a ton of money and we could set you up so the calls could go to your house…”

I stood up. I knew this account would never go through unless I lied about it, which I was never going to do. “I am so sorry, but I can’t write your account. This isn’t a dating service and I can’t lie on the application…”

Robert stood up and went and got his checkbook out of his desk. He sat down, wrote a check and handed it to me. I looked at it and my mouth dropped open at the amount.

“What’s this for?” I asked.

They smiled at each other. “That’s your bonus if you get our account set-up. Maybe you would prefer cash instead?” Robert asked.

I looked at the check for a long time. It was more than enough to pay my mortgage for the next 6 months. All I had to do was lie. I didn’t ask where the money came from. I remembered her telling me I was too expensive and yet here was a large check in my hands.

I handed him back his check and thanked them for their time. They spent the next hour trying to convince me to work for them and help them. When I heard the amount of money I could make for working ½ day, I kept thinking about what I would have to say and do to get a paycheck.

I really suck at accents.

I left and wished them luck. They were nice people and I then understood why so many people were running this type of business on the phone and not face-to-face.

Little did I know as I drove away, word had gotten out in their line of business that I was someone who could help.

The phone calls tripled within 24-hours.

Life was suddenly about to become much more interesting.

It started out innocently enough.

My friends and I were coming back from our vacation. There were 10 of us and we had spent the previous week on a cruise. We had an early flight, so ended up being up most of the night before. We got to the airport on time, but the flight was cancelled.

We weren’t in the United States. There wasn’t another flight that day. We were told we might be able to catch the next one the following day. Maybe, maybe not. I looked at my friends, all 8 of them, and they were all thinking what I was thinking; we might have to spend the night in the airport and that’s not good.

One of my male friends tried to find out if there was a hotel we could stay at. He was told probably not since we were in the middle of summer and most of the hotels had been booked for months. He tried to reason with him, he tried to charm him and then he tried to get angry with him. The man never changed his expression.

I watched this for a few minutes and then looked over at my friend Jennifer. She was about 15 years younger than me, beautiful and smart. I didn’t have to say a word. She winked and we walked up to the skycap and smiled. He smiled back. We talked to him for a few minutes and suddenly, he knew of a place where there were some vacancies. We thanked him and walked back to the group.

“What the hell did you say to him?” my friend asked. He still looked pissed off.

“You don’t want to know,” was all Jennifer said. All we had done was smile, explain our situation and batted our eyes. He didn’t need to know that.

Soon we were at a hotel that was beautiful. We checked in. They had 3 rooms for us, all with double beds. Jennifer and I decided we would share a room and the rest of them could figure it out. While we were checking in, there was a man standing there. He was leering at us. I didn’t know who he was. Jennifer noticed also. He was making it very obvious what he was thinking and when I saw him lick his lips, I almost screamed.

After we got everything taken care of at the front desk, I almost ran away when the front desk handed the pervert our room key. He was our bellhop! Oh, this day was just getting worse and worse.

As we followed him to our room, Jennifer and I kept looking at each other. He kept looking back at us and smiling. We held each others hands and slowly followed. Visions of “Psycho” kept flashing through my mind. I didn’t want to end up like Jennifer Leigh.

We weren’t in Kansas anymore. My friends were getting their rooms, so it was just the three of us, walking down hallways, further and further away from the front of the hotel.

We got to our room. He opened the door and dragged our suitcases in. I saw him put our key in his pocket. I put my hand out for it and he smiled and looked me up and down. He licked his lips again. I kept my hand out and glared at him. He shrugged his shoulders and gave me the key.

“Where do you want me to put your daughter’s suitcase?” he asked me.

Jennifer choked. My daughter? Oh no, he did not just say that!

I pointed to the dresser and said nothing. He dragged it over there and left mine by the door. He held out his hand for a tip. I could not go near him. I needed a shower. Jennifer gave him a tip and he held onto her hand and wouldn’t let go. I walked over and looked at him. He suddenly lost the smile on his face and left. I locked the door behind him and put the chain on.

Jennifer fell down on the bed, laughing. “Oh, hey MOM!” she said. This got me laughing. We had now been up 36 hours and I think anything would have made us laugh.

I grabbed a few things and went into the bathroom to take a shower. It was filthy. I sighed, didn’t care anymore and pulled the shower curtain back.

Sitting there, just waiting for me, was a cockroach that looked to be a foot long. I think it hissed. There isn’t a person alive who hates and fears cockroaches as much as I do. I screamed and couldn’t stop. I turned to run out of the bathroom at the same moment Jennifer came in to see why I was screaming. I slammed into her and we both fell on our asses. I had fallen against the tub which caused the cockroach to hiss again.  More screaming ensued as I pushed myself away, crawled over Jennifer and out of the bathroom.

If it got in my hair, I would die.

I crawled as fast as I could across the floor and made it to the bed.  I was too scared to walk.

Jennifer still didn’t know why I was so terrified.

I climbed onto one of the beds. I yelled at her to shut the bathroom door and to never open it again. She did and came around the corner and saw me shivering on the bed.

“Ah, so Susan, what the hell? What happened? You OK?” she asked as she sat down.

I nodded. “There is a hissing cockroach the size of New York City in there. You either have to kill it or never open that door again. Do it for your Mom, will ya?”

Her eyes got huge and she shook her head. “No, I hate those things. What are we going to do?”

“We are going to get someone…” and then I remembered the bell hop. We were in a foreign country. There wasn’t a soul around for miles except for him, my friends and one or two other employees.

We were all going to die.

I called my friends to see where they were, but it was pointless. No cell phone service. They could be anywhere and I wasn’t about to leave the room and go wandering around looking for them. The place was too big and was getting creepier and creepier by the moment.

It was so late and we were so tired. “Let’s just go to sleep,” she said and pulled back the covers of her bed.

The sheets were stained and looked like they hadn’t been washed in months. She sighed.

“I have to pee and brush my teeth,” she said.

“Do it outside on the lawn or go kill that thing in…there,” I said as I pointed to the bathroom. I just knew it was still hissing at me and figuring out a way to get out and come get me.

Now I had to go to the bathroom and all because she said she had to. It was like a yawn – contagious. I looked at the time. We had to be up and out the door in five hours. I was determined to make it through the night without either one of us getting raped and butchered by the pervert or torn to shreds by “The Thing” in there, that was plotting to get us.

She collapsed on top of the bed and was instantly asleep.

I sat up all night, ready to kill anyone or anything that came near us. I did not sleep for one second and kept the lights on.

A few hours later, I woke her up. The sun was up, no one had attacked us and it was time to go. We grabbed our suitcases and as soon as we saw a bathroom, we ran.

We met up with our friends. They ended up having a wonderful time. They went swimming that night and having a party. They couldn’t get in touch with us either when they tried to invite us. They were laughing and talking about how much fun they had. They loved their rooms even though they didn’t sleep in them.

I hated them and so did Jennifer. Somehow she and I had ended up in another universe on some cosmic plane. We were taken to hell and they were taken to heaven.

Jennifer and I ended up in the last row of seats on the plane. I got stuck with the aisle seat. This meant I was one foot away from the bathroom and every time someone wanted to use it, they had to turn to open the door. This resulted in them shoving their butt in my face. So in order to avoid that happening, I had to sit up and lean over to the right and rest my shoulder on the guy next to me, who wasn’t very pleased with that arrangement. I think he had a phobia of women with big hair. Anytime I did doze off, he would shove me back.

By the time we hit Miami, I was a walking zombie. We had a layover of a few hours, so Jennifer and I found the nearest bar and started drinking, calling and texting people.  Two of my friends complained about being tired. Both Jennifer and I snapped at them to shut-up as we ordered another round of Margarita’s.

Boarding the next plane, we made two of our friends move and give us their seats. They had the best ones and there must have been something about the way we looked that they didn’t question us. I finally slept from Miami to Denver. Boarding the last plane home, they insisted on she and I having first pick. I slept from Denver to San Francisco.

Coming through my front door, I made my husband check the shower before I would go into the bathroom. He gave me a quizzical look but did it anyway. The coast was clear.

Fifteen years later, Jennifer still calls me Mom and introduces her kids as my grandchildren.

But I do smack her if she hisses at me.

She was. Completely and utterly a walking mess. One of the strangest girls I had ever seen and she was new to our High School.

I knew most of the kids that I went to school with from 3rd grade and now all the way into High School. We all lived in the same neighborhood, but over the last couple of years, they began busing kids in from all over the County. There were new faces almost every week and soon the school began to divide into separate groups.

Maybe all schools do this, but this was the first time I became aware of lines being drawn and I did not like it.

There were the cheerleaders who in Junior High looked just as awkward and fat as the rest of us, but something must have happened during the summer between Junior High School and High School, They became pretty and slim while the rest of us were still trying to figure out who we were and what we wanted to look like. They found the magic pill and weren’t going to tell us.

Suddenly they didn’t have time for me and our other friends. They were too busy bouncing around the grounds in their uniforms and I remember feeling jealous and hurt for the first time since Cindy Thayer stole my 3rd grade boyfriend away from me.

Another group were the brainy kids who did actually attend the debate class, along with the chess club and a few other things I had no interest in.

Then there was the losers and these were kids “with a past” that had been sent to our more affluent school. They came from “broken homes” and lived in “foster care,” of which I knew nothing about.

There were a few other groups and I bounced around between them until the lines were drawn. No one told me about these lines and suddenly my friends that I had grown up with no longer had time for me or would talk to me.

I ended up in the “parking lot” group, which is where we played music, acted cool and smoked cigarettes. I sort of ended up there by default but at least I made new friends who liked me. We spent many hours sneaking smokes between classes, talking about how horrible the world was and how adults didn’t have a clue, wrote bad poetry and read books on philosophy. I often climbed the big oak tree and was known to suddenly drop onto people walking past.

One day I heard some odd laughing while I was smoking. Daryl was on lookout for the principal. There were several girls who had surrounded some new girl and they were taunting her. I looked up and saw what they were doing.

Her name was Dawn and she looked pathetic. I don’t say this to be cruel. I say it as my first impression of her. She was very tall, large and had this hair that was frizzy and stood straight up. It was completely cut wrong. To make matters worse, she was wearing a plaid skirt and an over sized sweater and her plaid knee socks had crunched down around her ankles. She was crying and they were taunting her. The more she cried, the louder they got.

I had known these girls since 3rd grade and for a moment, I didn’t believe what I was seeing. I figured I was just dizzy from the nicotine and rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nope, I had seen it right. I looked up at Daryl, who was standing guard in the tree, and before I knew it, he had jumped down and was walking towards them. I put out my cigarette and followed him.

I felt nauseous at what I was seeing. These girls had turned into a pack of baboons and had now started to shove her. Dawn wailed louder and they laughed more. Daryl started to run and so did I. I didn’t have a plan of what I was going to do, so I followed him.

He walked up and started yelling at the girls to shut-up and leave her alone. Daryl was one of those kids “with a past” who had been put in foster care and didn’t know where his family was. He was lost, confused and only 16 years old. Many people judged him immediately, including the group of baboons, and he also had been shunned into the parking lot group with me.

Suddenly, one of the girls shoved Daryl and then put her hands on her hips and stuck her tongue out at him. “What are you going to do, dick head? Hit a girl?” she laughed.

Daryl looked at her for a moment. ‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I am,’ he said and shoved her back. It wasn’t a hard shove, but it was enough for her to have to step back a few feet to catch her balance.

It was suddenly deathly quiet as everyone stopped teasing Dawn and looked at the girl he had shoved. Daryl didn’t flinch and just stared at her. She started crying. Daryl grabbed Dawn’s hand and marched her to the parking lot.

I had watched the whole thing and I have to admit, when he shoved her, it made me smile. It was about time someone stood up to that bitch. I figured he would get into trouble, but he didn’t seem to care. I ran behind him. At one point I turned around and flipped them all off. They were still standing there with their mouths open. God I wish I had a camera for that shot.

Daryl brought Dawn to the parking lot and we all greeted her. She had a strange eye and I found out later it was a glass eye from a car accident. She was all wrong for our school and that made us like her even more.

Daryl ended up getting suspended for a week and nothing was done to discipline the baboons. That was fine with all of us because from that moment on, Dawn was never left alone.  We were all her body-guard of sorts, I guess. It just happened naturally. She eventually blossomed as the year wore on. She lost weight, grew out her hair and started wearing make-up.

I was wrong. Dawn was not pathetic. Those ‘perfect” girls were.

But there was one thing she and I would always do and somehow get away with it. On occasion, we would wander by the cheerleaders during practice and moon them. I swear the coach saw us and said nothing.

It took quite a bit of bribing to make me go back there. I mean, a lot. I had only been to Wal-Mart a few times, years ago, and had freaked out so much that I vowed never to go back. Whatever few dollars I was going to save was not worth my sanity.

I don’t like crowds. In fact, I detest them. I am usually a fairly nice and pleasant person, but something happens to me when someone gets in my way. I don’t like having to walk around people or wait while they block aisles or generally just seem to wander around like a zombie, clueless and completely unaware of their surroundings. I will play bumper cars with my shopping cart if someone leaves theirs in the middle of the aisle and blocks it. I do consider it fair game. I also consider any act of stupidity to be fair game for me.

When I think of Wal-Mart or Costco or any gigantic store, I feel my heels dig in and my hackles go up. I know it’s going to be a battle field and that all I have to do is get in and get out and not hurt anyone.

So when my friend called me one day, I knew something was up right away. I could sense it in her voice, so me being me, just cut right to the chase. “What do you want? Go ahead, just blurt it out.”

She sighed. “I have a HUGE favor to ask of you and if there was anyone else I could ask, I would. But there isn’t anyone.”

I knew that whatever she asked, I would do.

“Sure. What is it?”

Long pause. “If you do this favor for me, I will take you to Chevy’s for as many margaritas and tacos that you want. I’ll drive, so you don’t have to worry.  We’ll go first. How does that sound?”

“It sounds great, except…where are we going exactly?” I did not like where this was going, but I kept my mouth shut.

“It won’t take long, I promise. We’ll be in and out of there in no time, especially since you’ll be there and can help me. I want to go this Saturday.”

“Oh no! No! Don’t say it, please…”

“Wal-Mart. Really, it won’t be bad….”

“Are you kidding me? What in God’s name do you need at Wal-Mart THREE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS?”

Yes, she was asking me to go with her to Wal-Mart three days before Christmas. I thought maybe I had suddenly died and taken the express route to hell or maybe this was some kind of joke.

I love Jennifer. She has been my best friend for almost 20 years. She has survived some of the most horrendous situations and now she had met the man of her dreams, they were getting married soon and she was the happiest person I knew. She was always happy and almost never asked me for anything, ever.

I knew I would go and I silently cursed the day I met her. “I hate you,” was all I could say.

She laughed. “I know, but I love you and you’ll do it because deep, down inside, you love me.”

She was right. Of course I would go but I was going to make her pay.

We set it up for that Saturday. She came by, picked me up and I snapped and snarled all the way to Chevy’s. No matter what I said, she would smile and agree. This made it very hard for me to maintain my hostility, but I tried.

We get to Chevy’s and I immediately order two margaritas, on the rocks with lots of salt. I started on the chips and kept going until the tacos arrived. I knew what was coming and I was dreading it. After the second margarita, I was feeling relaxed and a bit goofy (which is how I get when I drink) and was prepared to face the battle field.

She needed to get a couple of very specific things for her fiance and being a single Mom with two kids, money was always tight. I knew that and I silently smacked myself for not keeping that in mind when she called.

We drove over to Wal-Mart and the parking lot was packed. I took a deep breath and kept telling myself to relax and to have a positive attitude and since I had a few drinks under my belt, it seemed like it would be easy enough.

As soon as we walked in, I knew I was in trouble. The first thing I noticed was the smell of the popcorn which was being cooked in rancid fat. I felt the tacos in my stomach move around. I took a deep breath and followed her. She knew what she wanted and I trailed behind. The store was packed and we could barely move.

As I followed her, I was bumped by countless people who never once apologized or even acknowledge my existence. One woman stepped on my foot and when I cried out, she didn’t even turn around. She kept walking and I glared at her and started to follow her, but instead Jennifer grabbed me by the arm and turned me away. I tried to get out of her grasp on my arm, but she dug her hand deeper into my elbow and kept dragging me away from my intended target.

Somehow we made it to the electronics department and I froze. This is not my area of expertise. The entire subject of high-tech puts me to sleep and makes me grumpy. I’ve lived in Silicon Valley all my life and I still don’t know what anyone is talking about. I am constantly corrected at work when I say “the screen” and am told it’s called a monitor. I do not care. I just want someone to make it work. I do not know the difference between anything to do with software or hardware or anything in-between and I don’t want to know. But there I was, stuck in hell,  because I wanted to help my friend. She wanted to get a very particular game for him and Wal-Mart had the best prices, so there we were.

She dashed around and I followed her as best as I could, but I was constantly getting shoved, bumped into, stepped on and not once did anyone excuse themselves. I did the first fifteen times and then stopped. It didn’t seem to matter and I figured “When in Rome…”

After a half hour, Jennifer found what she was looking for, but it was behind a locked clear plastic screen, so now we had to get one of the blue people. The blue people who had suddenly disappeared, never to be seen again. By now the effects of the margaritas had worn off and a headache had started. I leaned against the sacred plastic door and closed my eyes. I decided I would stand guard, as this would give me something to do and perhaps add some small degree of value to my presence while Jennifer went looking for one of the elusive Blue person.

While I leaned against the plastic, I put my hands behind me and attempted to get as flat against it as I could, but I was still bumped into and shoved. It looked as if there were over a million people in this store and there was some target on me that only they could see that screamed for all of them to come into this isle at this exact time and shove me further into the plastic.

Finally Jennifer came around the corner with a blue person. I moved out of the way, the sacred door was opened and the item was gotten. I jumped up and down and raised my fist in the air and shouted “Yes!” as loud as I could. This gave Jennifer a fit of the giggles and startled the blue person, who already looked scared. “It’s OK, don’t mind her,” she said as we walked away. I actually started to skip down the aisle and Jennifer joined me. We tripped a few times over the discarded merchandise, but we didn’t care. Even tripping and falling (I fell once but caught myself before landing face first in a bag of popcorn someone had dropped) seemed like heaven.

We get in line to purchase the sacred item and there is only one person in front of us. I cheer again and start laughing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and soon, we will be free. I start hugging Jennifer and she hugs me back. I can almost see the finish line and I have become giddy with the sheer joy that soon my life will return to normal and I will be set free from this dungeon.

But that was not going to be the case. Apparently the customer was questioning each and every item that the clerk was ringing up. She had an overflowing cart and every time an item was entered, she had to look at the screen and then look at the tag and then ask the clerk if he was sure and no matter what he said, she argued. Each item was discussed for at least one minute before it was established that it was being correctly wrung up and no one was ripping her off.

I quickly estimated that based on the items in her cart, multiplied by one minute each, we would be there for a month. Just as I was about to tell Jennifer this, someone came up and stood behind us.

I know this because I smelled him before his nasal grunting began. It was a putrid smell and when I turned around to see what had died,  I saw that the smell was coming from his constant burping. These were loud burps and once in a while, he would sound like he was about to spit what he had just violently snorted into his throat from his running nose.

I stifled a scream and turned and glared at Jennifer. She was holding her nose with her fingers and looking down at her shoes, avoiding my glare which I knew she felt.

Then the man behind me moved in closer and actually started to lean against me. I jumped forward and turned around and stared at him. “Hey! Do you mind?” I shouted. He didn’t flinch and slowly raised his sleeve to his nose and wiped it. He just stood there, staring off into space and completely unaware I had said anything to him.

Jennifer finally looked at me and mouthed the words “I’m sorry” and I smiled. It was OK, I told myself. We were almost done and all we needed was the rocket scientist ahead of us to finish. I raised my hand to my nose and covered it. Whatever was wrong with the man behind us was severe and gross and we just had to wait it out.

When he leaned against me the second time, I turned around and shoved him back as hard as I could. No way I was going to let some pervert get off on touching me, no matter where we were. He stumbled back and fell into the woman behind him and she shoved him. Soon he was coming back towards me, so I stepped aside and let him fall. He got up, looked around, wiped his nose again and just stood there, staring off into the distance.

Finally it was our turn. The clerk was as nice as could be and I thanked him for it. No one had said a word about me accosting a customer, as if it was an everyday occurrence. Jennifer grabbed the bag when we were done and we RAN out of the store, through the front door (we slowed down so the person waiving at us wouldn’t tackle us) and then skipped to her car.

We jumped in and drove out of the parking lot as fast as we could without killing anyone. Once we were a safe distance away, Jennifer pulled over and parked the car. She turned around, leaned over and hugged me as hard as she could. She was teary eyed and kept thanking me for going with her.

I realized that it had been an adventure and I had helped my friend. “Thanks Susie Q for behaving yourself for YOU and not getting us arrested for shoving that guy. You did good.”

Yeah, that’s what friends are for and I didn’t get us arrested. I did good.