by Crom

The former Soviet Union was right. Americans are fat… and stupid. They are decadent, and wasteful. I’m certain however, that the same could be said for many nations and peoples. I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 months in the United States. Basically living out of a suitcase; working across the various states. Seeing the myriad of deprecated buildings, and derelict people; a first person glance of the decay that marks any rotten core. The ball dropped, on the field of life; the football game of chance post marked life.

Any good A&E special about the old nations in Europe would have its hours of footage showing broken down buildings and ruined cathedrals. They would show the broken people of the land, carrying what goods they own with them as they travel the countryside, now the tired nomads of a once proud nation. And yet, they never manage to capture that wonderful textile gruffness in the USA. The third eye, the sight within, is blind. Or perhaps it’s merely forgotten. Convenient vagueness is brought to the surface when the harsh reality of you own world being a festering cess pool is placed squarely in front of you. I cast the stones, and yes, I too sin. But the image of the linen white, fresh pressed hero is long since been burned away by a world that doesn’t accept it. So perhaps I’ll change the dirty sheets for less filth, not a lack of filth.

His name is Ernie. He sits at the bus stop. He drinks his super can of Bud, in a brown paper bag. Ernie waits for the bus. He won’t be allowed on the bus, because Ernie doesn’t have exact change. Who of us does, in fact, have exact change for anything? Ernie like a lot of people seems to have been a member of the armed forces at one time. He’s too damn young to have been another of the clichéd victims of South-East Asia, more like Ernie couldn’t hold his liquor and was discharged. Ernie didn’t have much else to do I suppose. So he holds down the bus stop; his pseudo foxhole. His weapon is his breath and his distaste for those who don’t give him change. Guess that means just about everybody. His bones are clearly visible through his tattered shirt; I guess ol’ Ernie doesn’t eat too much. Manages the super can though, I suppose we all would if our mission was the bus stop, not a sweet duty, like the bottle depot, or manning the park. Ernie’s there everyday, at the bus stop. He gets his super can, and he mans his station, and he doesn’t move for rain or sleet.

His name is unimportant; he works for a temp agency. He’s supposed to help me install modems in rooms, for 2 days. Eight hours a day, for 2 days, he gets paid to put in modems. Easy work really, just drills holes, put in the drywall anchors, screw the bracket into it and then mount the modem. Hit every room; make sure they all work but that’s my job. He gets a half hour to eat lunch; he comes back 45 minutes late. He’s supposed to be here till 5, he claims he has to get his truck from the shop, he leaves at 4. He shows up late, 2 hours late. Claims they messed up his truck, that they ruined his water pump. Rooms are done, he’s gone, no money for him, he’s pissed. I didn’t ruin his water pump, put your shoes to work and walk if you have to.

He’s some fat guy at a buffet. I don’t know his name; don’t want to know his name. He represents a world of people that I will not tolerate. Gluttonous fatty’s, people who eat and drink, and consume the resources we have. I’m a big son of a bitch, but I’m nothing compared to this thing. He gets his cheque, and he’s angry that he’s paying for something extra, even though he’s cost the place more then 3 cheques could clear. His breathing is labored, sweat rolls down his face.

Lazy laborers and people complaining about 3 dollar taxes, the lack of concern, the lazy eyed discontent of their lots in life. Unhappy with their jobs, unhappy with their lives, not enough money being made, no jobs for them, no one to give them a hand.

Ernie mans his foxhole everyday, doesn’t miss it for his cousins birthday. His water pump doesn’t break; he doesn’t worry about the extra tax. Ernie comes to his work everyday, and does it all day. Ernie gets my change, Ernie gets the slack. But he’s the problem. He’s the crime, and he’s no good. The finger’s pointing at Ernie, he’s lazy, and he drains the system. No good bum Ernie is, always try’s to get my change, my hard earned money.

Don’t begrudge him your change…
He doesn’t begrudge you, for his life.

  • Derelict?
  • by Crom
  • Published on July 1st, 2003

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