Forgive me, there’s a lot of trauma that resulted from my yo-yo relationship with N. Processing here is good but it’s ponderous (at least for me, as a writer; I hate to think what it’s like for you who read this).
During this period, pre-COVID, there was furious creativity afoot, me workshopping a piece (around 2000 words) and writing to keep up with that pace, to have something to bring for that week’s groups. Revise, revise, revise, write the next piece.
Like most of what I do, I had several pieces going at once, jumping around the narrative with tweaker energy. Dealing with that 3 AM realization that there’s a continuity error, an incongruence of character, then dragging my ass over to my laptop to fix whatever woke me up four hours before my alarm, most times making coffee and starting my day.
For instance, I’m currently sharing my time between a short story set in 1800’s rural Ireland and speculative fiction about public executions at major league baseball games (when I’m not writing here or in your 3/6/9 journal). This half oh zee I just got is good for this kind of energy and I run with that.
With N dispatched and into the meta, I’m going to do a character sketch based on our maintenance guy (omg), try not to punch down but also be real.
Saturday, omg got locked out of his apartment, like the lock wouldn’t work at all. This is the only place I’ve encountered where the only ingress/egress is a shitty patio door and that’s what omg faced. Dude just wanted to pass out and he was looking at sleeping on the carpet in a vacant apartment. Instead, he busted out his kitchen window and crawled over broken glass to get his door opened from the inside… omg.
By the time the Boomers kicked the beers and bowls festival into overdrive, omg was probably ten Budweisers into it, starting around noon or earlier (idk, he could have had only the six I watched him drink) and getting to the point where he couldn’t drill or pound out his door’s lock (I need to get my hammer back from him). Naturally the Boomers were hooting it up as they watched him shitfaced fail and I have to admit, it was funny watching that fiasco.
I first met omg when I came to look at the apartment, he was sitting with Hank in the gazebo, he with a Bud in hand, Hank’s pipe on the table. “You here for Patty?” It was three in the afternoon and he was slurring his words, so I wasn’t sure if he was neurodivergent or not. After being her for two months, I’d say the jury’s still out on that.
While Patty showed me the place, omg repeated himself repetitively like an album that had been scored with a nail. “You got cable throughout this place. Here’s a splitter, it comes with the place,” over and over again, even after I’d said I had no need for cable, seemingly hung up on those amenities and not hearing anything I’d said. “It’s there if ya need it, that’s all I’m sayin’.” I looked to Patty and she just shrugged while flashing a smile ripped with cringe.
After I moved in, it became apparent that omg’s uniform was a torn and paint-splattered pair of 80’s style big-legged jeans and an also paint-splattered white t that was ripped in numerous places. Maybe punk rock?
No. His Spotify is set to some station that has five songs by Van Halen, Metallica, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, CCR, and Guns & Roses. Just them and only them. However, when he’s alone, he listens to Rammstein and Celtic Woman, and he’s told me at least a hundred times why he doesn’t play them when anyone else is around, “Because everyone hates my music.” We don’t hate it but play it and then let’s be done with it, try some variety bro.
IDK if he’s 5’7” or 5’10” because he’s always slouched. As omg, he’s very tanned due to his work around the complex. He has no teeth and his jaws have sunken in from nothing to hold onto, so he kinda looks like Popeye and he’s constantly moving his mouth like he’s massaging gums with other gums. His stomach is distended from what I’m sure is a bad liver but I’m no doctor.
He has a gravelly Tom Waits kinda voice, an accent from the eastern plains of Colorado. It sounds like he had a nice life growing up near Longmont—he’s talked about his dad taking him hunting and fishing—but something went south. He’s talked about being homeless, strung out on meth, being committed and put on anti-psych meds—all before becoming omg. Supposedly our landlord (a nebulous Mormon in Utah) scraped omg from the streets and redeemed him.
I really feel sorry for omg, he sits in the sun after he’s done for the day (usually around noon) and waits for the rest of the Boomers to join him and, if they don’t, he’ll knock on doors and make phone calls. Short of a response, and no matter how hot it is, he’ll sit with his cigarette and Bud to wait for company. I can’t imagine that level of loneliness.
It’s that loneliness that drives his generosity—everything is transactional to him and you won’t like him if he can’t give you something. Beers, bottled water, food, tools, sundry things, whatever he can offer it’s yours. When Billy and I discussed the stoner ethos, yeah let me turn you onto this no reciprocity expected, omg couldn’t grasp that—if you gave someone something, there was something that would come back to you. For omg, that means company, to sit with him and listen to his story for the 50th time.
There’s a character for you.