A long while back I was going to publish a post: "Moms Of The Year". This was about two of the girls that work for us.....Rose of '5150 Hold' fame.....and Nike, the New Girl.
A close third in the race.....Kyla's mom.....I think I did
write about. In my Dive Rescue mode back in the day I actually saved this woman from Poseidon at Point Lobos......so she could go on to live the life of a crack whore in Cachagua and never speak to her little daughter again. Good move, Michael. In gratitude the two women I saved gave me a little statue of a diver that I now realize is made out of pieces of crack pipes. Sweet. And, how ironic is it that in mythology Poseidon is the uncle of Athena. Ooops! I forgot I am pretending that the New Girl's name is Nike, and not Athena.....
Anyway, Rose's Mom got her nomination by evicting her beautiful talented daughter from her house on the morning of her graduation from high school. Seems the girl did not get along with the step-dad, a reformed coke dealer who found Jesus upstairs in his roofing business or somewhere. The parents used to bill Rose for any extra Snapple's she drank on her weekend competitive horsey endurance races. We love Rose for, among other things, her habit of painting her horse pink for Code Pink in her cross country races. When the horse got sick, the parents refused to pay for the vet bill, and I had to come with two grand cash to save the critter's life.......and horses instinctively hate me.
The morning of Rose's graduation, we had to rush the van back from a party and get all Rose's stuff: clothes, dolls, childhood memorabilia, etc....to get it out before the parents threw it in the trash. Seems they had rented the room out to an illegal Mexican roofing worker who had agreed to do chores around the property in exchange for rent. Kind of breath-taking when you realize that the property includes Arabian stallions, half million dollar mobile homes Willy Nelson would be comfy in, giant cigarette boats.....stuff like that. "You owe me five dollars for those two Snapples!"
You would think that Rose's Mom had this title sewed up......but not so fast.
When little Nike came to work for us.....at the ripe old age of 14.....I took her aside and had my little talk.
"Uh.....Nike. We are really happy that you are going to work for us, but I have to warn you. This is a tough workplace. We work long hours and there is lots of pressure....and it is very competitive. Sometimes there is a lot of screaming and yelling and throwing things. Nothing personal.....just the stress of the moment, you understand.....but it can get a little abusive. I just want to apologize in advance if it makes you uncomfortable....."
"Hmmmm. Abusive. Uncomfortable. Will it be more uncomfortable than having to drive in the Volvo with your Mom every night in your pajamas so that she can go to the drug dealer's van and have sex with him while you wait outside? Will it be more uncomfortable than that?"
"Uh.....Well. I am thinking probably not. You may just fit in here......."
Nike is preternaturally smart and constantly, neurotically busy. She reads the crowd better than the adults, and never stops working. She is deeply ironic.
Nike is also so drop-dead gorgeous that it is a problem late in the day at weddings. We have to move her to the back to get her away from the drunks and the pervs. Even my Amanda brought up the subject the other day: "Is there an appropriate way to tell a 14 year old girl that she has the prettiest tits in the history of tits? And it doesn't help when she stuffs her cell-phone in there......." Uh......I am thinking not. Let that one go.
Nike no longer lives at home. She was renting a house with Brendan and my kitchen crew, when we got scared of the legal implications. Now she is doing the "Perfect Houseguest" routine.......staying with friends, trying to get to school, and trying to stay away from Mom. I think they call that "homeless".
No Child Left Behind? Get a fucking clue.......Is Nike even technically a ''child'' anymore? How do you tell?
Dad meanwhile is a nice guy. Really. Hardworking, honest. The family house burned down last year, and he has been re-building it himself. He is trying to keep his family together. Last month he fell behind in the building schedule.....Mom got ahold of the building funds and ran off on a toot. The house is 80% complete, but the bank cut off all funds until it is done. So.....now Dad has no money to complete the house until he completes the house, and his only job is completing the house.
Meanwhile, the family's house charge at The Store is pushing the thousand dollar mark....mostly beer and wine, as Dad tries to self-medicate...and Mom buys treats for Hoppy Dave, the crack dealer. And the little sister buys "snacks" on the weekend with her friends and pretends it is not dinner.
And Nike, working an adult job every day, and all day and night on weekends, is owed a couple of grand by us. She wants us to hold her money for her until she is old enough to get her own bank account. Next September 12th.
And people constantly tell me that I need a bookkeeper to help me. I don't need a fucking bookkeeper. I need the Dalai Lama to kick it with me for a week.
Last night, at 10:30 pm during Monday Night Dinner, Nike bit the bullet and called her Mom for a ride home. Her brother was in town from San Jose State, and she figured it was safe to go home for a night and be with the family.
"Hi, Honey. Are you home from school? Do you need a ride from the bus?"
"Uh, Mom. It is 10:30 at night. The bus was six hours ago. I am finishing work."
How can you not notice the absence of sunlight in relation to time?
We brought Nike back to our house......and got her on the bus to high school this morning.
But wait......There is More! This is one of those really dumb posts. Obviously no editor. Mark Twain is spinning in his tomb. So is my brother Rob. "I am sorry this is so long.....I didn't have time to make it short....."
Grant Risdon is one of our Pet Humans. You read sometimes about the Social Security Safety Net? Well, it hasn't worked out so well.....since Ronald Reagan brought his capped whiteys and his tidy tighty whiteys into the White House.
In Cachagua we are at the far end of the social whirl. We are at the edge of Indian Territory. People wind up here because there is nowhere else. We are the only business. We have the only food, beer, wine, candy and cigarettes for twenty miles. Every day we face the dilemma: give this person groceries.....or turn them away and watch them.... and their children.... starve.
Our Principal Human Pets are Dave Fox and Grant Risdon, and Sleepy John. Dave lives in the trailer cleverly hidden behind the compost piles. We buried the extension cord that runs his life, and we try to keep him to $25 a day. He organizes our re-cycle, and takes care of Store Kitty. He is also responsible for filling in the Herald and the New York Times crossword every day. He also rakes the yard.
Sleepy John lives in the trailer of an insane person dying of AIDS. The guy bleeds from all the holes he has and screams long into the night and shoots guns and slashes around with knives and machetes and refuses all medical treatment. John brings him beer and some food, and wipes up the blood. John spends his days sitting in the rocking chair in front of the Store...reading a book a day. I can barely keep up and keep him supplied.....And Brother Rob told me that I read more trash than anyone in publishing. I don't have Sleepy John's motivation.....
Grant is a more independent person. Do a search of this blog "Grant Risdon" and catch up. Go to YouTube and do a search under "jackabdiel" and look for him under Granting Rant and Monday Night Dinner.
Grant gets about a grand a month from Social Security and an ages old police brutality settlement. It seems that the Sheriff was called to arrest Grant and his horse Cachagua for disturbing the peace or some such....down at the Ranchers' Days at Trail and Saddle.
The Sheriff failed in this original mission, and got ankle roped by Grant and Cachagua....and dragged up the road for his trouble. When Grant finally stopped hootin' and hollerin' and turned Cachagua around, the other Sheriffs grabbed him and beat him into a six-month coma. Like that.
Anyway, we tried to handle Grant's money for him. The little numbers on pieces of paper made no more sense to him than they do to me, and there were misunderstandings towards the end of the month.....when Grant had drunk or given away all his money. And a bunch of our
Grant found a pretend job helping Nike's dad build the house, or at least watch the horses and keep an eye out. Taking in Grant, proves that Nike's dad is a man of god, despite all. Grant got a trailer, and could ride his bike downhill to The Store every day. We moved Grant to a cash basis, and tried to refuse to let him buy things for other people. Grant became the resident expert on Failed Cachagua Winery Vintages......$4 a bottle, thank you very much.
Then, last month.....Nike's Mom caught Grant right after he got his check. She spun him a sob story about the bank, and the lack of funds, and the beautiful daughters starting school with no clothes and no food.......and Grant lent her half his money.
Which she immediately took to Hoppy Dave and went on a ten-day bender.
Nike's dad found out that she got the money from Grant.....and evicted Grant.
Grant now lives in the Creek behind the Store. The Creek that starts running with water in about three more weeks.
Two weeks ago, Grant came in for coffee on Sunday morning. Rose brought him his normal Eggs Benedict, and Grant was embarrassed. "I don't have any money. I didn't order food, just coffee."
Eat the fucking food, Grant.
Grant milked the Stanford kids for a couple of four meals by being charming, and came in late on Monday for an employee meal or two that he earned by playing castanets completely out of rhythm.
By the end of the month, he was very weak, and very pale. We tried to find reasons to invite him in for impromptu meals....but the guy has pride. He would always tell us a story first, and we would pretend to be so grateful we would fix him a plate.
Maybe we were.
Last Sunday was the last day of the month. I knew Grant was at the bitter end....the check comes on the first.....he gets his money on the second or third,, and he had been broke for two weeks. After a long, bitter weekend of 18's and 20's.....and a late night on the beach the night before..... I got my brunch together at 8am.....thinking of Merle in Ithaca, cooking for his fraternity. I went looking for Grant in the Creek..... not there. I looked for Dave, and Sleepy John....who can't have brunch anymore because MediCare went up forty bucks a month last year. Nobody home.
I finally rounded up my crew at noon. We had a Bum Brunch, and discovered that October First is Grant's 65th birthday.
We cooked Grant brunch.....and bought him some beers and a pizza that night.....and Brendan made him Birthday Breakfast on the first before he did anything else for Monday Night......and we bought him dinner on Monday Night, and sang him a song in the middle of service....while the Carmel folks looked on.....puzzled at the fuss made over a smelly bum with no rhythm.
Nike gave him a big hug.