Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Amber": Based On True Events

I often am faced with decisions when writing this terrible blog. Usually those decisions entail what to omit and what to write about. I sometimes wonder (no I don't, but I should) if I am too harsh on the people whose exploits I am writing about. I usually (always, as far as I know) decide to write about said exploits anyways, because this is a blog about my real, actual life. If someone in my real, actual life does something I deem stupid, funny or both, I write about it. This blog is to remind my future self of the ridiculous, frustrating and stupid things and people that are a part of my life right now. Because of this, I decided when I started writing to include as much as I possibly could.

The following is the only thing I gave actual, legitimate consideration to omitting, for reasons obvious. I decided against omitting it however, because it happened in my, again, real, actual life. Enjoy.

Oh, and I decided to write it as a short story because I felt like it.

A short tragicomedy by Ryan Topham

You couldn't say that progress had slowed, because no progress had even been made.

In the early morning on Saturday, a gangly, bespectacled man, bound up and down the stairs of his dilapidated, relatively newly purchased property; a rehabilitation project. Not lost on him was the stifling heat. With each trip up the winding rear staircase, he noticed the rise in temperature; each floor was successively hotter than the previous and the frayed collar on his ten year old high school baseball cotton tee was beginning to saturate.

"Man was not meant to work in this heat," he thought to himself, wiping the sweat from his shining forehead. In attempting to bring everything needed to cover a kitchen floor in vinyl, he had made three trips up to the proverbial penthouse of his building. Each ascent accompanied by a percentage of the necessary tools: various cleaning agents and instruments, cutting tools, straight edges and finally the heavy boxes of vinyl flooring.

The heat and humidity of the day, coupled with the labor associated with lugging implements and materials up three flights of the twisting staircase had resulted in the aforementioned collar saturation. Sweat was dripping from seemingly every expanding pore on his body.

While his body was doing its best to cool itself down, the constant release of ounce upon ounce of sweat had only succeeded in making him thirsty. Thankfully, knowing how incredibly hot it was outside, and indoors, and knowing what kind of work was to be done, he had come prepared.

Peering into the dirty kitchen to survey the work ahead of him, trying to recollect if what he brought upstairs matched the list of materials he needed, he absentmindedly reached down for a bottle. Taking it from the makeshift workbench of plywood stretched across two sawhorses in the middle of the room, he unscrewed the blue Dasani brand bottle cap and raised it to his lips.

Expecting a rush of cold to combat the heat radiating from his mouth, he poured in the liquid. Hoping to extend the cooling, he swished the elixir around his mouth a single time.

One. Single. Swish.

In that time, the time it took for the liquid to touch the entirety of his mouth's interior, the synapses in his brain began to violently rebel and screamed at his tongue to eject the liquid. Realization came upon him quickly and he immediately performed a spit take the likes of which Martin Short would be proud of.

Looking across the room, horrified, the bottle he had brought, the label soaked through with condensation, seemed to mock him. Lunging for the bottle, as well as a granola bar next to it, he twisted the cap off and poured a mouthful. Furiously pushing the clear, cold water into every crevice of his mouth, he tried frantically to remove any trace of the previous bottle's contents.

Spitting out the fresh water onto the filthy blue carpet, he took a second swig. Water and granola in hand, he sprinted down the curling back staircase once again while tearing open the cheap bar's red and reflective silver packaging, swishing all the while. Reaching the first floor, he spit out the second mouthful while exiting the building.

Landing with a splash on the cracked asphalt of the driveway, the water had not yet removed every trace of the bitter, unmistakable aftertaste from his mouth. Controlling his revulsion and the accompanying nausea, he quickly discarded the bar's torn packaging and, like a starving animal, devoured the sugared granola and chocolate snack, hoping the more powerful taste of cocoa would overwhelm his taste buds. After a purposefully extended session of distressed chewing, he reluctantly swallowed and followed the bar with a clear water chaser. Exploring his mouth mentally for any foul traces, it appeared as if the water rinse and chocolate combination had worked.

Freed of the rancid taste, and slowly retracing his steps back up to the third floor, he laughed. Not uproariously, nor happily, but the kind of laugh reserved for those times a liberal is forced to hear a racially insensitive joke and respond somehow in the company of longshoremen: a nervous trio of short, quiet, disbelieving laughs in quick succession.

Reaching the wet carpet of the third floor living room, he recalled how not ten minutes before reaching for that blue tinted bottle on the workbench, he had snapped a photograph of it. He deemed the contents of that bottle worthy of writing about on his barely visited and generally witless home renovation web log. That the memory escaped him when originally reaching for what he thought would be refreshment was, and remains, one of life's oft spoken of "little mysteries".

By now, dear reader, I'm sure you have some idea what happened. If not, I will reveal to you that photograph and with it, the proof of what was tasted but thankfully not ingested:

The amber urine of carpenter Jeff Gagnon, aka, "Crazy Jeff Doors".


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