Wednesdays are the busiest days of the week for me. Thursdays through Tuesdays, I tend to work alone in the various comic book stores throughout Boston & the suburbs. I sell comics, recommend titles, check my e-mail, and obsessively clean and rearrange the stores. But Wednesdays are New Release days, as well as being the night I wait tables at the poetry venue in town. So I get up three hours earlier than usual, arrive at the stores around nineish, schlepp comics until around 7, hop on a bus, and then wait tables from 7:30 until midnight.
Most of these Wednesdays are busy, but not especially noteworthy.
Last Wednesday was different. Let's forget, for the moment, that there were policemen dressed in riot gear, brandishing semi-automatic weapons across the street from our store (the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, was speaking at Harvard). We won't dwell on the two hour line to get free burritos at the new burrito place that opened up down the street. We will neglect to even let the corner of our eyes rest on the image of semi-automatic armed guards cutting their way through the free burrito line to get their eat on. I ignored all of this.
I was hungry. And I don't like burritos. So, during one of the few calm moments in the store, I ran out the front door, skipped down the concrete steps (not even catching the attention of the policemen or the burritoers), and entered the nearby Dunkin Donuts. On Wednesday, their flatbread sandwiches are ninety-nine cents. They're filling and taste as delicious as something that costs less than a buck usually tastes.
I gave the lady behind the counter my change, and walked over to the pickup line. Behind me, another type of pickup was taking place. A not very attractive thirty something year old guy, the kind you see and immediately think he was a quiet sort of guy...none of his neighbors suspected he had that many bodies hidden in the basement, was leaning forward and making googley eyes at a field-hockey-attractive girl in her early to mid-twenties. They were clearly on a first date. In Dunkin Donuts.
"How liberal are you?" was the first thing I heard him ask. I have no idea what led up to this tantalizing question.
"I'm, uh, pretty open minded I guess. Why?" She did not sound very open minded.
"I have guns." Silence. "Lots of guns." More silence. "And the things is, ok, so, a few months ago, one of my guns went missing. And I got a call last week that it turned up in San Francisco. Someone used it to kill a cop." Somewhere a cricket whistled at a tumbleweed that floated out of a doppler effected truck. "So, I've got to go San Francisco to pick up my gun." Silence. "I'm not a suspect or anything."
"Oh." She said. "Well, that's good."
"I mean, I only got into guns because of my ex-girlfriend, which reminds me, do you do anal?"
I lost it. Surely this was some sort of Improv scene for my benefit. No one else seemed to appreciate the pure hilarity taking place in the home of the Coolatta. I was laughing so hard, I didn't hear her reply.
When I stopped convulsing, they were both quiet. But not as uncomfortably quiet as they had been. They seemed to just be enjoying their coffee and munchkins. She looked out the window, probably imagining running screaming through the glass to somewhere, anywhere more sane and comfortable. While he stared off into space, imagining tossing the glazed munchkins into the air, and shooting them with the same gun he used to kill that cop in San Francisco. All while doing this girl in the ass.
I like to think one of the officers in line for coffee overheard their conversation, placed his quarters on the counter and asked to see Mr. Cop Killer's ID, all the while clutching his semi-automatic burrito in his hands, dreaming of his impending promotion.