So that we're perfectly clear - I've mentioned two separate objects - I'm in the middle of them. As I type, my backside is flattened by the glass storefront while my nose and toenails press against the corrugated thin-metal-guard-covering. I apologize for not having the proper name for this object - but you do realize what I'm talking about, right? It rolls down each night after closing, it protects the store from abuse . . . although tonight, it's dropped down and caught me unaware. This couldn't have happened at a worse time, I need to be on the subway early in the morning, and furthermore, I think I'm coming down with a cold.
I'm writing in the dark on my laptop and sending these messages through a wireless connection; I've come straight from work. I suppose I am blessed to have this technology on hand, however, it's hard to be grateful at this point, I'm incredibly uncomfortable.
To satiate your curiosity, I'll give you a quick synopsis of how this happened. At 7 P.M., before walking upstairs to my apartment, I stopped by Cepeda's market to share a quick drink with some of his cousins who watch baseball in the store. The Yankees lost, we played dominoes on a card table outside, the guys helped me with my Spanish, I ate some chips - it was a pleasant evening. At some point, Cepeda's cousins went home to their wives. I must have remained on the sidewalk and leaned against the storefront. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I remember starting to think about my childhood in San Diego, ways to minimize my commute . . . Soon I slipped into heavy introspection and apparently detached somewhat from the physical world. Although, I often delve deep with inte! rior monologue, this is nothing new. But tonight constitutes a high-water mark for my inward travel; even I am surprised I failed to notice the metal sheeting descending over my forehead.
In regards to Cepeda, I can only assume he was looking the other way when he closed shop. For three years, we've carried on wonderfully and enjoyed a healthy, reciprocal relationship. I've not burdened him with my debt and scrappy, yellow I.O.U.s for months. According to my ledger, we're just about even. I can't imagine that a family man and civic-minded shopkeeper would knowingly squash me up like a common house mouse. Therefore, from this point on, without any further discussion, I'll regard my present situation as a gross oversight on Cepeda's part and not take any of this personally. With that said, we need to focus on the number 1 priority, my immediate escape.
As the metal guard descended, it slammed my shoulder bag and knocked out the laptop that was tucked inside. The laptop bounced out and smashed against my hips. It remains there, frozen in mid-flight, but fully functional.
Now, I'm not a large man and I certainly paid a great price for that during elementary school dodge ball, but tonight, at Cepeda Santana's - with the evening's unfortunate developments - I find great relief in my stature. You see, I have some legroom to play with. I've also got the wrist and finger movement I need to negotiate the keyboard - I may be trapped but I'm not without my resources.
Incidentally, I do remember that my dear brother, Jason, e-mails late on Sunday nights. Well, what's up J? Could you please make it down to Cepeda's? I'm stuck.
St. Christopher, if you're out there, I do hope you remember exactly how many years after confirmation I kept your icon on my silver necklace. I know your pious hands are capable of miraculous intervention and I am certainly hard up. So, if you're free at the moment, I'm on the corner of Park Place and Washington Avenue, in the seedy middle of Brooklyn, NY. Cepeda Santana keeps a tidy storefront, a yellow awning wraps around the shop while blinking orange lights illuminate his 'Ice Cream 25 cents' sign. As I said previously, I'm behind the aluminum covering. I realize you're a man of God and surely tonight you've received more noble calls than mine. However, as I mentioned, after confirmation the medallion stayed with me for five full years - that includes showers and dental x-rays, I never let anything come between us - I ! always related to you more than other saints, please help me now.
Friends and family, please direct yourselves to the above-mentioned address as soon as possible. Perhaps bring a crowbar. I'll gladly cover the cost of damages inflicted to Cepeda's property. Incidentally, I know many more of you also check emails constantly and may be hesitating to act because, perhaps, I owe you a bit of money or have spoken poorly of you to others. Well then, if that's the case, I both apologize for my moral shortcomings and also encourage you not to be so judgmental. I am in a time of great need and besides, history is written about the people who act swiftly in crisis, not about those who hold grudges.
All right, so we've all had our fun. Can we please focus on the situation at hand? - thanks.
Have I mentioned the odors wafting through this wretched microenvironment? Reluctantly I've sampled each passing scent, alternating the filthy job between my nose and mouth. Just to pass time, allow me to mention the olfactory bouquet invoked by fried chicken skins, goat roti and uric acid. Of course, under normal circumstances, Utz cheese puffs and cans of Ballantine play a delightful role in my wily Saturday night escapades - but now, in this bodega coffin, they are decrepit and entirely too close. If only my nasal passage was smashed as the shank rolled down, if only the neuron connection between the outside world and my neo-cortex had scrambled, then perhaps I wouldn't be so sensitive to the fecal deposits and fermenting debris that kitty-corner in the dark, just an arms! length away.
Oh Christ, this is miserable. No, I've changed my mind; I don't want to talk about odors anymore. There's no joy in the telling. I must focus; we all must focus on my escape.
Jason, please come now. I'm cold - nothing is funny.
Just a few frantic moments after the dogs left, I spastically pawed my right arm up and down over the door handle in a last ditch effort to free myself from the interior side. Tragically, I slipped in a puddle while I was straining my torso and, in doing so, a fragment of broken soda bottle stepped into my patellar tendon. The glass shard still hasn't released its grip. You can imagine how troubled I am to be losing so much blood. I've been leaking life's vital elixir for a good thirty minutes with no sign of congealment. My once boasted cache of resources seems to be depleted, ineffectual and as quiet as the Basin and Range. This bodega may bury me.
Regarding Jason, I am 100% positive that you're online right now, probably checking on your various dating services and poorly investing small sums of money in penny stocks. I cannot believe you've allowed this to happen to me. You're as guilty as the shank; I'll be seeking out revenge sometime next week.
The shop opens every Monday at 6:30 A.M. In a few moments, I'll begin my day and with it, the healing process.