“Fuck god! Fuck god!” The JC Penny cashier yelled at the school children on a scavenger hunt, knocking over displays trying to find a severed human head. “Fuck god! Tell your mothers! I fucked them too! Your mothers are all butt-whores! They bought so many zucchini at Albertson’s for dildo use it exploded the commodities futures price quotes on vegetables and four o-level executives at ConAgra died of terminal bonerdom! I saw it on MSNBC, fuckos! Jim Cramer knows all!”
The cashier looked like Mick Mars on a bad shroom trip, dyed black hair and corpse-like eyes, a polyester clip-on tie with a Gibson Flying-V guitar pin on his blazer as the one fleeting attempt at retaining hipness in his mandatory uniform of dorkdom. Drool hung from his mouth as he lovingly humped the Nixdorf cash register. The beige plastic of the fake PC terminal creaked and groaned with each pelvic thrust, threatening to explode. “Stop using adverbs to describe my life, you writer fuck!” he loudly screamed. “And watch your dialogue tags! If you tag dialogue with anything but ‘said,’ you’re doing it wrong, you piece of shit!”
An assistant manager ran to his station, speaking in tongues like a Pentecostal snake charmer. He hit the Mötley Crüe clone in the head with a metal brannock device from the shoe department, the foot width slider smashing into his occipital lobe, Frances Farmer-style. “CF Brannock died for your sins! Improved upon the wooden RITZ stick and raised the dead with foot length, width, and arc! Patented in 1926, for your pleasure!” The children scattered in fear throughout the Big and Tall section, psychologically scarred for life, forever having to guess their shoe sizes for fear of getting a steel measuring device lobotomy.
“You’re sick of yourself!” he yelled at the teenies coming out of the DEB store across the mall concourse. “You’re sick of it all!” After Paul Shart the mall cop gave him a beatdown and a tazer-teargas one-two, county would haul him off and the magic would begin. The doctors would give it a number out of the DSM in order to charge maximum fees from the state’s medicare plan, but until they locked him into that 60-day we-can-rebuild-him, he’d feel anything but alive. It had nothing to do with the formaldehyde leeching out of his new house, pickling his brain. He couldn’t remember if you actually smoked formaldehyde to get high, or if it was just slang for cigs dipped in liquid PCP. It was possibly covered in the director’s commentary of that Training Day movie, but Denzel Washington looked like the devil in his mind, and he couldn’t bear to watch.
I’d see him a year later, during one of my outpatient stints with a shrink at county, another drug freak that would try to get me on ten different pills to make my life complete. The Mick Mars clone would be a ghost of his former self, hair matted, lobotomy complete, forehead scarred from ECT and banging his head against the wall of his padded cell. But mellow, comatose. Good people. Until then, I continued to fill out my fake credit card application, using the name Joseph Mengele and the address of 1060 W. Addison Street in Chicago. I’d get those goddamn free M&Ms.