“Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby; Say goodbye to Hollywood…
Sunday, April 29, 2012
…Say Goodbye, My Baby”
By Michael Allen Hempen
Brought to you by Cous’n Hemp’n Entertainmenthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47PtUvHIQpk
I find myself frantically searching for something. I don’t know what, but my desire to find it borders on insanity. I know it’s somewhere nearby, but the objects of my surrounding impede the finding of it. I come upon drawers that won’t open and doors that won’t shut; locked cupboards and blacked out windows which make it impossible for me to scan the landscape outside for my mysterious quarry. If it doesn’t open or close it’s thrown haphazardly on the floor; broken vases and picture frames, shattered lamps and pillows litter the plush white carpet. No colors exist; white walls lie in stark contrast to the black skewed paintings that adorn them; ‘The Screamer’, ‘The Mona Lisa’, and a rotted out tree in front of the burned remains of a barn haunt the picture frames, but instead of bright lucid colors, the pictures appear as photographic negatives, hiding their mystery and beauty. What do they mean? I frantically pull the sheets from the bed and see myself in the shattered mirror that hangs on the back of a door. I don’t recognize the broken image before me. My father? No; it’s me, but older. Beads of perspiration run down my face like rain drops on the windshield of a broken car left to rust in the tall grass of a dilapidated and boarded up home’s front yard. A radio lies on the floor, playing a familiar tune…
“Bobby’s drivin’ through the city tonight, through the lights, in a hot new rent-a-car…”
An unexpected and ominous creaking noise snaps me back to reality as I realize that one of the doors that were previously shut to me is slowly opening on its own. I can feel the soft luxuriant carpet between my toes as I slowly walk towards it…I suddenly know that what I’m searching for is just beyond that exit. Relief washes over me and replaces my desperation with a calm solitude…just beyond that door. I step through and find myself falling into the black night; I see far away stars twinkling and wonder at the contrast of their fixed position against the stomach churning velocity of my plunge. I feel the air whipping past me, whistling through my hair as the ground rushes up to embrace me…I’ve never seen so many stars…so wondrous, the heavens. I have no fear; I am completely calm as I close my eyes and let the rushing air underneath caress my body like a newborn kitten in the palm of a woman’s hand. If a billions stars is to be the last sight I see, then death is welcome to walk by my side. The song from the radio above follows my descent.
“He joins the lovers in his heavy machine; it’s a scene, down on Sunset Boulevard…”
I never reach the ground; an instant and an eternity disintegrate around me. The cool air I felt on my skin a moment in perpetuity ago is replaced by a stagnant heat; an unbearable and tortuous roasting heat. I don’t remember opening my eyes, but I’m suddenly blinded by glaring white intensity. I realize that my eyes are open and I can’t close them; I can’t move my limbs to cover them, I can’t even squint in order to focus my sight. Sightless and baking, I scream but no sound comes out. In my mind I struggle and fight against nothing, yet I don’t move. There is a noise above me…faint but close. The sound of old rope pulled tight against wood. Another noise; a bird caws in the distance. Underneath these sounds is a hum…a faint buzzing that fades in and out. The shocking white begins to leave my vision, and a blurred dark shape slowly moves back and forth in front of me in time with the sound above my head. Whereas I was calm minutes and decades ago, I am now filled with terror. I am not in control…I am as nothing in someone else’s circumstance. The song continues in my mind…
“Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby; Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby…”
I am a bird. Effortlessly floating on the invisible heat that comes up from the cracked and dry desert floor. Shimmering lakes dance on the horizon, but I’m not fooled by earth’s trickery. The sun has just come up and the mirages it creates are beautiful, but foreboding. Flying towards them would lead to certain doom…but complacency here would mean the same. I could pump my wings and rise into one of the small lazily moving clouds above me; but that expenditure of energy without food or water would kill me as well…I need to perch. I need to watch. Sustenance has to take priority over shade. The lack of one in the grip of the other will kill me, and death is not an option: For I am the watcher in the sky, the harbinger of fortune, good or bad. I survey all and tell no one. One day this world may be taken from me, but the secrets I hold will continue to soar in the endless sky, so long as there is wind to carry them.
“Johnny’s takin’ care of things for awhile and his style is so right for troubadours…”
As my vision blurs and becomes clear again, I see a tree slowly swaying from side to side in front of me. Ten feet away it dances just out of reach. Black dust zips in and out of my vision, tiny and then huge as the particles come toward my eyes. The buzzing grows louder and then fades away. Beyond the tree is nothing; a white void of dry earth stretching out to meet the sky; the image before me is that of a camera lens that I’m not in control of. The tree fills the frame on the right as its barren grey branches stretch out over the top of the picture, bending back down out of my sight to the left. It would be beautiful if I were holding the camera instead of being held within its lens. It’s then that I notice…the tree isn’t rocking slowly back and forth…I am; and although I feel the unbearable heat, I’m not sweating. One of the dust particles lands on my eye and fills my vision with a huge and frightening horror; a fly. There are hundreds of them and now that I know what they are, fear grips me by the throat…no, not fear; a noose. And then the realization washes over me like lava over the black rocks of a mountainside…I’m hung. A slight breeze cools my brow for an instant, but relief is lost in my panic as the pace in which my corpse twists quickens slightly. The taught rope overhead groans louder against the wood as my husk dangles and sways. I’ve woken up to death, the eternal sleep that all men are privy too. A welcome respite from the cruelties of the world…and I have been denied its comfort.
“They got him sitting with his back to the door, now he won’t be my fast gun anymore”
A crow lands on a low hanging branch in front of me, offering the tiniest respite from this lonely chaos. It comes and goes from my view as lifeless eyes sway within the body before it. The crow caws and stares at me with black dead eyes, alive in their dark fury. There is no surrender in those eyes, no compassion or promise. They are the eyes of death come to drag me away, and I welcome them with all the submission a dead man can display. As a spider skitters around from the back side of the branch, the crow plucks it up into its beak, throws its head back and swallows. It looks back at me, lifeless eyes staring into lifeless eyes. It caws in triumph and takes wind leaving me to my conscious death. The panic that filled me a moment ago is turned to a selfish horror. “TAKE ME WITH YOU!” I scream in my mind…”take me with you…” I sob into my own thoughts. But dead men have no secrets for the crow to carry and I hear its final caw like laughter from high above.
“Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby; Say goodbye to Hollywood, say goodbye my baby…”
A long voluminous hallway stretches out into eternity before me. The only color is that of the black corners where the ceiling and floor meet the walls. There is no form; there is no substance, only those black lines which stretch before me threatening to come together beyond the distance ahead. My search continues and again I can feel my objective close at hand. I look down and notice dust on my boots. I feel good, I feel that I’ve been somewhere, that I’ve done something…but I don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve done. This moment is my birth, these are my first thoughts and with no past concerns, my quest takes on a deeper and more rabid focus. I scan my surroundings and notice that although the hallway is lighted, there are no lights. Miles ahead of me is darkness and I know that fear haunts those shadows. But there is no fear that can outweigh my desire, whatever it may be, so I press on. With my first step, I realize there is no sound. I stomp on the ground and shout into the empty void ahead to confirm this and am met with silence. Not even silence; silence in itself denotes a LACK of sound…there is just nothing; No sound nor lack of it, as if I were blind to resonance of any kind. I’m trapped again, but this time in my own thoughts. I tell myself it doesn’t matter and press on.
“Movin’ on is a chance you take anytime you try to stay…together”
The light moves with me as the darkness stretches out ahead, always out of reach. I walk for hours, years, decades, forever, in the empty noise of desperation. Alone in my thoughts, I feel a presence behind me. I stop and turn to see the darkness behind coming forward to envelope me. I quicken my pace, running forward while looking behind. It presses on faster, reaching out, threatening to overtake me. Exhilaration pumps blood faster through my veins; where I should feel fear, I feel power. Control is often the last thought one feels before they are caught; “FUCK YOU, COME AND GET ME!” I mouth at the following shadows. I can feel an anger coming from the dark wall as it gets nearer; condemning my impudence and arrogance. How dare I not fear it. A defiant smile stretches across my face, and I run faster. I dare because I’m me, how dare you expect less.
“Say a word out of line, you find that the friends you had are all gone…forever”
Tendrils of black shadow shoot out from the encroaching darkness, lifting me from the ground and wrapping themselves around my arms, legs, and torso. They hold me above the silent white floor as I mock maniacal laughter at the two sinister and faceless forms which grow from the tendrils on either side of me. They hold me violently, rigidly; they squeeze tighter, wringing the air from my lungs…but I refuse to submit to their dominance. I feel their anger at my defiance. And then a black hand protrudes from the faceless head to my left and points down the hall. Its anger morphs into a defiance of its own, a coy triumphant sentiment spews from it and my laughter turns to dreaded curiosity as I follow that colorless bony finger wisp to its intended target.
There, miles and an eternity before me, is what I had been searching for. Never knowing what it was, through perplexity, death, and defiance I had searched impatiently with fervor beyond the grasp of thought…but until the exact moment I saw her? I never knew of her existence. How could I, how can any of us know what or who we truly want until we find it? It’s not the quest that drives us, but what lies at its end. And in many situations we can pick and choose what we search for; a certain colored t-shirt, a religious artifact, a treasure hidden beneath the ocean. But in our hearts, love is faceless. It resides deep in a formless soul, waiting for someone to unleash it so we can wield it haphazardly, but there’s no way for us to know who that someone is UNTIL we come upon them…until THIS moment, when the dark shadows of my past hold me before that one true desire and my laughter turns to theirs…as their anger turns to mine.
“So many faces in and out of my life, some will last, some will just be now and then…”
I know who she is, but I squint and flutter my eyes to better see her all the same. She’s so fucking far away…I see a speck of blue, tiny but bright in its brilliance, and I focus with all my might on…her eyes. As our eyes meet, the distance between us disappears. Although still miles apart, my sight puts her in front of me. An apparition, floating effortlessly above the floor, and although she has no corporeal form, her eyes grip me and everything melts around us. They sparkle like blue diamonds forged in the heart of a star, those eyes; and in them are all the mysteries of the universe, unbound and waiting to be discovered. Blonde hair gently caresses her neck giving form to my jealousy. She nods pleadingly to my right, then to my left, and the darkness that held me in its grasp gently recedes, like water leaving a clean swept beach. I fall to my knees and close my eyes. When I open them and look up, I find myself in a field of lilies. Lilies? Why does that sound familiar? The purpose of my quest stands before me, an unshakable beauty stationed defiantly in her independence. A cool breeze lazily brushes itself against the white and green field around us and the sound of flowers dancing under the deep blue sky fills my ears with languid pleasure. Her splendor has brought color into my life. Her magnificence fills my world with sound.
“Life is a series of Hello’s and Goodbye’s, I’m afraid it’s time for goodbye again…”
As I stand before her, I realize that she’s at least a foot shorter than me. The face in front of me laughs at all I thought beauty was before this instant. Her smile only serves to further brighten her eyes and she puts a hand on my shoulder, pulling me down towards her. She stands on her toes and reaches her mouth up to my ear; “Illyana” she whispers. Did she say that? Or was it the sound of wind rustling through the flowers around us? She takes my face into her tiny hands and kisses me; lightly at first, like a child dipping her toes in a lake before diving in, and soon a passion rises between us that could snuff the flames of hell. We take deeply of each other as we fall amongst the lilies, never wavering from our mutual fervor. Our desire has become one and reaches out from the gentle beginnings of a first touch to envelope us in a growing ferocity. Above, dark clouds form and thunder shatters the air. She runs her fingers through my hair as I pull her tightly to me by the small of her back. Rain begins to slap against the petals around us, slowly at first and building into a crescendo with our passion. We rip wet clothes from each other in a desperate attempt to get at the sweet fillings underneath. Hundreds of dark tornado funnels fill the sky for miles around as the world turns violent in time with our need. She aggressively throws me down on my back and climbs on top of me, digging her nails into my chest, she throws her head back as she skewers herself on my manhood. Thunder claps in fury, rain angrily pelts us, lightening violently rips across the sky, and tornados rip the earth around us.
I wake in an unfamiliar room. Something important just happened, but what? Vacancy stabs my heart as I scan my surroundings…I’ve been here before, but when? There’s something I need to find. Déjà vu? I jump from the bed of my unfamiliar yet familiar surroundings. It’s here somewhere, it has to be…but what is it? I know it’s somewhere nearby, but the objects of my surrounding impede the finding of it. I come upon drawers that won’t open and doors that won’t shut; locked cupboards and blacked out windows which make it impossible for me to scan the landscape outside for my mysterious query. If it doesn’t open or close its thrown haphazardly on the floor; broken vases and picture frames, shattered lamps and pillows litter the plush white carpet. No colors exist; white walls lie in stark contrast to the black skewed paintings that adorn them; ‘The Screamer’, ‘The Mona Lisa’, and a rotted out tree in front of the burned remains of a barn haunt the picture frames, but instead of bright lucid colors, the pictures appears as photographic negatives, hiding their mystery and beauty. What do they mean? I frantically pull the sheets from the bed and see myself in the shattered mirror that hangs on the back of a door. I don’t recognize the broken image before me. My father? No; it’s me, but older. Beads of perspiration run down my face like rain drops on the windshield of a broken car left to rust in the tall grass of a dilapidated and boarded up home’s front yard. A radio lies on the floor, playing a familiar tune…
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
By: Michael Hempen
Brought to you by Cous’n Hemp’n Entertainment
Issue 6: Everything’s Still Comin’ up Action Jim!
Kay Be Toys and the Villainous Jack Boot Andy
|Action Jim at KB Toys|
Jack Boot Andy earned that nickname because he ALWAYS wore combat boots, and he was damn proud of them. So proud in fact that he cuffed his jeans about midway up his shin so that his black Doc Martins could be seen in ALL their glory. Other than this obvious trip to psychoville, Jack boot Andy was no more or less spurious than the other comic book and action figure dealers we knew, in that he acted tough but in reality he was just a fat asshole. I recognized this almost immediately upon meeting Jack Boot Andy, but Andy found a way to infiltrate Action Jim’s good senses and get him into a LOT of trouble and unlike most Super OR Anti hero Vs. Villain stories…Action Jim always lost.
As is the case in most of these tales of Action Jim, I didn’t know until after the fact that Action Jim had made an ongoing deal with Jack Boot Andy, and it was my overreaction to Action Jim’s lazy fuckery that ultimately saved my ass.
Jim loved his position as manager of a toy store because he had access to ALL the fucking toys he wanted. He was LITERALLY a kid in a toy store. Since I was out of work and he needed an Assistant Manager, he offered me a job. I didn’t really have need of a toy store as I had quit collecting, but as I DID need a job, I accepted; even though Fox Valley Mall was about an hour and a half drive away for me. Plus, Jim had hired Paul’s son David, now that he was 17, and I figured it would be a lot of fun working with Action Jim AND Dave.
At that time in my relationship with Action Jim, I STILL put a lot of faith into him. Jim has an ability to make people not only like him, but trust him implicitly which is PROBABLY how HE got the job to begin with. I don’t know what the fuck it is or how he does it, but I had not yet been fooled enough by him to have learned better. In essence, I forgot who Action Jim was.
I soon learned that Jim was JUST as unreliable at this job as he was at Waldenbooks. It was 2001 and Christmas time at a toy store in the high traffic Fox Valley mall, which was stressful in its own right. Action Jim always scheduled me to work with him and I soon found out why. Jim NEVER fucking showed up for work. He would schedule himself to open the store with me and then not show up; he would schedule himself to close with me…and never show up. It didn’t take me long to figure out that he did this because he knew that I WOULD show up. See, if nobody opened the store? Jim would get fired. If Jim didn’t show up while a DIFFERENT employee was there who didn’t know him? He’d get fired. I fell into a web that Action Jim USUALLY reserved for women. I was being manipulated by a MASTER manipulator…unfortunately for Action Jim; he underestimated my lack of patience.
The Saturday after Black Friday is ALMOST as crazy a day AS Black Friday. Action Jim, having made the schedule, scheduled himself, me, and another employee to open the store at 7 A.M. I talked to Jim throughout the day on Black Friday to make sure he KNEW to be to work on time that Saturday morning. He placated me with assurance throughout the day that he would INDEED be there. He even went so far as to incredulously say “What kind of manager do you think I am? Of COURSE I’ll be there.”
As I walked towards the Kay Be Toys front gate in the mall at 630 AM that Saturday morning, I could see that no employee had shown up yet. Fine, I’m the first one here, I thought. I went into the store pushing aside throngs of already nasty fat white women shouting at me to hold items for their nasty fat white over privileged children. I put the money in the cash register, turned on the lights, and prepared the store for the masses that were shouting and pressing their bodies up against the gate, fat pouring through the rungs like play dough. 6:45…no Action Jim.
6:52…no Action Jim. I called his cell phone consistently, hanging up when the voicemail kicked on and redialing immediately. 6:57…no Action Jim. I breathed a heavy sigh…and opened the gate. The store FLOODED with awful white women with too much perfume and WAY too much make up. I felt like I was in a Gary Larson cartoon. Women screamed at me to check my stock of things, to get things off of shelves, to ring up their sales so they could go on to the next store. Not having control of their enormous masses, they knocked over displays, trampled on products that had fallen to the floor, and mowed each other down in the isles to get their toys. There was no order, only chaos. As I ran around the store I kept hitting redial on my phone, trying desperately to get a hold of Action Jim OR the other employee who never showed up. Nothing. My patience was grinding down like a pencil that’s been sharpened to just the tip and the eraser. It was all I could do to NOT punch these women or grab a baseball bat and start redecorating that store with their brains. They yelled at me, cursed at me, and for 5 hours…I couldn’t even have a cigarette to relax or even take a leak.
And then at noon…Action Jim sauntered into the store with a big smile on his face and not a care in the world. He didn’t even look at me or acknowledge my presence and as he strode past me, the breeze he left in his wake cooled the sweat on my brow…and I fucking snapped.
I just stood there for a long moment, what seemed like an eternity, and watched Action Jim happily walk into the back room and then come back out with his coat off. He walked up to me with a big grin on his face and said “How’s it going so far?” I brushed past him and all the screaming mothers and walked into the back room. When I came out, Action Jim had his back to me talking to one of the ladies and there was a brief clear path to him about twenty feet ahead of me, as if the Red Sea were made up of moo-moo wearing house fraus and had just parted for my triumphant finale at Kay Be Toys.
I lifted the large red rubber ball that I grabbed out of the back room over my head and hurled it at Action Jim with every ounce of strength left in my body. When I think of this moment, I still see it in slow motion in my mind…The woman that Action Jim was talking to dove to the ground and as Jim turned, the ball hit him SQUARE in the face, and then bounced around the middle toy isle hitting fat women like bumpers in a pinball machine. At the top of my lungs I screamed “FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCK! I QUIT” and walked out to the silence of people who had been behaving badly…and their children.
I didn’t talk to Action Jim for a few months after that. I think that in that time I missed him greatly and it was during that hiatus from our friendship that I came to realize that as long as I NEVER put Action Jim in a position to be relied upon…he’s a GREAT friend to have. When we began talking again I never expected him to show up, I never waited for him, and I NEVER believed a word he said. Some people might think that a friendship cannot survive such scrutiny, but there are many types of friendship; those born of trust, those born of mutual interest, and those where you’re just happy to be around your friend when he’s there. Our friendship was the latter and I’m grateful to this day for the times I got to spend with my friend.
Ok, back to Jack Boot Andy. Now, this is what I found out AFTER I walked out of Kay Be Toys; about a week after to be precise. Paul’s son Dave had told all of this to Paul, and Paul happily relayed it to me. Jim had been fired from KB Toys for stealing. Dave told his father that I was lucky I left when I did because Action Jim tried throwing ME under the bus when he got caught, and as always; the way Action Jim got caught was because of both his own stupidity and greed.
I don’t know much about Jack Boot Andy (who does?) but I DO know that he was only too willing to take advantage of Jim’s Batman obsession. Apparently Andy had set up a deal with Jim while he was working at the Kay Be Toys. Whenever the new shipments of action figures would come it, Jim would give Andy first pick in exchange for old Batman Figures from the 70’s called ‘Mego Dolls’.
Now, Jim being Jim not only missed a golden opportunity to make money in this case, but he once again fucked up a good thing he had going in his life. Jim had access to the NEWEST Batman figures daily including the ‘chased’ figures. He also had access to rare figures that he could sell for a tremendous profit on eBay. However, because of his obsession with Batman, Jim forestalled any opportunity for profit in order to reap the meager benefits of what Jack Boot Andy had to offer.
Action figures are ONLY worth money if they’re in the packaging and in some sort of stable condition, but Jim needed his heroin-like Batman fix SO bad, that he gave Andy HIGH priced and rare toys for Mego figures that were not only NOT in the packaging, but were destroyed at best. These things had missing arms, the paint was mostly scraped off, heads were missing and in cases where the figure was supposed to come with an accessory, THAT was missing as well. They looked like they were used as chew toys for Jack Boot Andy’s Jack Boot Dog (I’m just assuming his dog wore jack boots as well).
So, in summary, Jim was stealing rare valuable action figures to trade for worthless piece of shit action figures. Not only was he happy to do this, but he thought HE was getting the best deal ever.
What Paul told me, a week after I left, was this: A new shipment had come in on the Tuesday after I quit. In the shipment was a case of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. Jim and an older woman, who was now his assistant manager, unloaded the shipment together. The woman TOLD Jim that she was putting the box of TMNT figures to the side to buy on payday that week for her grandson. When she came into work that Thursday to buy the figures, the box was gone. She looked up its contents on the computer and found that they hadn’t been sold; so just on a hunch, she looked through the video footage from the security cameras for the day before…and there was Action Jim, in ALL of his stupidity, locking up at the end of the night, turning off the lights in the store, putting his coat and gloves on, tucking the box of TMNT figures neatly under his arm and walking out of the front gate.
The older lady called loss prevention and ratted Jim out. They came in to do an investigation and found that a LOT of action figures were missing. Action Jim was given a choice; sign an admition of guilt saying that he’d pay back the nearly ten THOUSAND dollars worth of missing merchandise…or go to jail. Paul told me that Jim tried telling loss prevention that it was ALL me, but luckily they weren’t buying that because I had quit the way I did, and not only that, they now wanted to know WHY I had quit the way I did. ALL the employees then came out and told on Jim for rarely being at work, having them clock him in and out, AND for stealing money from the register.
Action Jim, once again fucked himself. He was trading stolen dumb ass toys for worthless dumb ass toys, and for the next SIX years he had to pay Kay Be Toys money every month or risk going to the place he SHOULD have been all along; Jail.
Mine Own Bit of Douchebaggery
After I left KB Toys, I took a job at Borders in the spring of 2002. Borders owned Waldenbooks at the time but working there felt a hundred times more prestigious than Waldenbooks. I was the merchandising manager while at Borders, and I met some great people, who much like at Waldenbooks, are still close friends of mine to this day. Borders had the distinction of giving me a MUCH better employee discount than at Waldenbooks, they gave us a per-diem of 50 dollars every month on top of our pay, AND it was chock full of hot spectacled college women who were both customer and employee. It was there that I started another work affair with Suzzy. Suzzy came out of left field and I wasn’t expecting her at all.
While at Borders, I would go out drinking with my fellow employees almost every night after work. There was Derek, the super handsome guy who ran his own wrestling federation (including an anti-Semite wrestling villain named “Swasti-Clause” who dressed as Santa and would only grant the wishes of children if they were racist); Gordon, the Scottish guy; Matt, the club kid; Nick, the super nice south side Irish kid with a heart of gold; And Suzzy. Suzzy was a short haired blond whose beauty was only out matched by her wit and sense of humor. I never even tried to bang Suzzy because she just seemed way out of my league. But one night while at a bar, Matt came up to me while I was ordering drinks, and told me that Suzzy wouldn’t shut the fuck up about me. She went home with me that night and we dated for a while, she was my first girlfriend with fake boobies.
|Suzzy and Rachel|
Once Jim realized that nobody at Borders was buying his particular brand of bullshit, he stopped coming around and I didn’t see him much over the course of that year. My eventual downfall at Borders came in 2003 when my mother died.
As she became increasingly ill before the end, I started drinking more and more. Suzzy had recently cheated on me when I needed a woman in my life the most. I was devastated in my depression and alcohol became my crutch. When my mother passed away, I told my boss that I needed a day off for her funeral, and he reluctantly gave it to me. To my surprise, he actually showed up to the funeral under the auspice of delivering his condolence, but I had a feeling he was only there to see if I was lying about the event. That feeling festered in me like a bulging neck boil. When I came back to work after a week, I began showing up late or If I wasn’t late, I would be in the extreme throws of a hangover. When my boss took me to the side one day to talk about my ‘lack of enthusiasm’ in the work place…I called him a crop eared midget fuck and told him that I’d taken shits bigger than him. Then I walked out and never looked back.
I spent the next year and a half drinking away my inheritance with my new friends from Borders. I rarely saw Action Jim in that time. I didn’t bother getting a job, and as the money started to fade, I became late on the mortgage payments for the condo, which I’d converted into a party lair. I quickly sold the condo before it went into foreclosure and used the small amount of money left from the sale to rent my first apartment, but now I needed a job.
A few weeks after moving in to my new place in the winter of 2004, I was hired at Radio Shack as an assistant manager and was promoted to manager 2 months later in January of 2005. I was thrust into adulthood at the young age of 33 and I no longer had the funds with which to carry on my mad tear of alcoholism. Luckily, Action Jim came back into my life at that time because my new store was right down the street from where he was working.
Nikos: A Social Life Foiled by Flagrant Action Jimmery
|Action Jim at Nikos|
Sara A. had finally come to her senses and broken up with Jim while I was working at Borders, and it was also during that time that he met Helen. Helen was probably 10 years older than Jim, she was an utter bitch, and she had a kid. However, as I’ve said, Jim would put up with nearly anything if the payoff was right.
Helen was Greek and her father owned a banquet hall/bar right down the street from the Radio Shack I was working at. This was an incredible get for Action Jim because Helen had her own place, which meant he could stay there as often as he wanted in order to avoid Granny, and he had access to ALL the free French fries and garlic bread he could eat. After I met Helen, I could only assume that THESE were the only reasons he would date her for a long period of time, but like I said…Jim will put up with pretty much ANYTHING as long as there is food, a rent free place to stay, AND a woman whose expectation are low enough to afford Action Jim the opportunity to spend as LITTLE money on her as possible. Helen was his huckleberry.
Helen was of medium height with a small thin frame. I suppose that she may have been something to look at before electricity. However, whatever shit happened to her in her life gave her the constant face of someone who had just smelled a particularly nasty wet fart. Her skin was dry and wrinkly like a leather saddlebag that had been left out in the sun for years. And her attitude was one of utter disdain and complete arrogance. The irony of Helen was that whenever she put her nose up at me or Action Jim’s other friends? I knew who she was fucking, even if she didn’t.
A few months after their relationship started in 2004, Helen got Action Jim a job at the Banquet Hall that her family owned. Nikos is a great place that I actually used to go to with my mother when I was a boy. They have a great brunch buffet on Sunday mornings and their steak is nothing to sneeze at. Luckily, I didn’t need Helen’s approval to hang out there because after Action Jim invited me there to drink for free the FIRST time? I became fast friends with 3 of the OTHER owners of Nikos; Helen’s brother George, Rich, and Gary. Rich and Gary were VERY gay lovers who lived together and although they weren’t related to Helen in anyway, they were always there. Rich was the hard working business like gay guy while Gary was the SUPER flamboyant pink tie wearing, shouting on the dance floor, and probably fucking all the Mexican bus boys kinda gay guy.
The 2 years that Action Jim had that job were probably the most fun I’ve had in my adult life. While Jim was there I drank for free nearly every weekend, I was the king of Karaoke on Wednesday nights, and I fucked a lot, and I mean A LOT of women.
The way Nikos worked is that on Friday and Saturday they’d have a wedding party in one of or ALL of the 4 banquet halls there. There was a separate bar as well, with a dance floor that anyone could use. After the wedding parties would end at midnight, throngs of hot single women who just witnessed a wedding would pour into the bar and onto the dance floor. It was the motherland of pussy, a veritable Puss O’Plenty, it was the Vagic Kingdom and the keys were handed over to me a la Action Jim.
At 2 o’clock when the bar would close, George, Rich and Gary would stay with the waitresses and whoever they wanted to invite to stay after hours, and drink until 5 am or later. I can’t tell you how many times I came stumbling out of Nikos at 5 or 6 am shielding my eyes from the sunlight like a fucking vampire. That was one of the great things about Nikos…no windows.
|Imagin this, but a foot|
Maybe the best sexual experience I’ve ever had in my LIFE came from my time at Nikos. Back when Battle Star Galactica was on The Sy-Fy channel, I was obsessed with Tricia Helfer…and one of the waitresses at Nikos looked EXACTLY like her, only shorter. I mean fucking EXACTLY. I was always friendly with this waitress, but I never hit on her because I just knew she’d never fuck me. After all, at this point, I’d already fucked the bartender…I’ll get into that later.
Anyway, one night while we were all drinking at the bar after it closed, I told George how fucking HOT I thought this particular waitress was and he, in his magnanitude told her that she was going home with me that night. WHAT? Yeah, George just said to her: “Hey, you’re going home with Mike tonight” and not only did she not offer ANY resistance to that idea, but she agreed to it happily. (Thank you again George). I can’t remember EVER being more attracted to the woman I was fucking as I was when I was fucking the Tricia Helfer look-a-like waitress that night. The next day we went out for breakfast and I drove her home. When I went back to Nikos the next weekend, George and the other owners were raving because I had gotten TWO good reviews from fucking the staff. Man, I fucking LOVED that place.
When Jim first started working at Nikos, there was a bartender there who was a slutty little vixen who was always ready for a party. Several times she’d come back to my new apartment with me to drink into the wee morning hours, just as a friend mind you. However she would turn out to be the first girl I fucked after I moved into that apartment and I didn’t even know I fucked her until Action Jim told me the next day.
The apartment I had at the time had tile floors in the bedroom, and my king sized bed has wheels on it. When I woke up in the morning, there was this naked bartender in my bed, all sprawled out on her stomach, and my bed was pushed all the way up against the opposite wall, almost inside of the closet. Jim slept on my couch after we got back from Nikos and told me that he heard a lot of racket coming from my bedroom, more than the USUAL racket one would expect when someone’s fucking. He opened my bedroom door slightly and saw me fucking the bartender doggy style. She was yelling “YEAH, FUCK ME!” while I was just going to town. WHILE I was fucking her, he said, my bed was rolling all over the fucking room. He said I looked like a pirate trying to fuck on a tiny boat in a storm. Apparently the bed was moving SO much that I fell off. He said I disappeared on the other side of it, and then POPPED back up and reinserted like that didn’t just happen. I only fucked that bartender once, but apparently she gave a good account of it to the other waitresses and staff. I knew it couldn’t have been THAT bad because she still gave me free drinks after that.
On New Year’s Eve in 2006, Gordon and I went to Nikos for their New Year’s Party. Gordon worked with me at Borders, and I still hung out with him and a few people from my time there. This particular night, Nikos had opened up one of the banquet halls and for 25 bucks you could count down the New Year with a large crowd in an open bar. Gordon, Jim, and I spent all night going from room to room drinking, flirting with girls, and having a great time. But the best part of that evening and the part that will be with me until I die…was the picture that Gordon and I had taken of us by a professional photographer who was set up in one of the rooms.
When Gordon and I saw this guy taking pictures of couples with a grey velvet backdrop behind them, we looked at each other drunkenly, high fived, and got the fuck in that line. We laughed like morons for the five minutes we waited, and we decided that we’d try to make the picture look like one of those old Civil War portraits. We were laughing so hard, when we got in front of the backdrop; the photographer began to get pissed at us. “Are you boys going to take this seriously?” Fuck no we shouted in unison, It’s New Year’s Eve! The photographer told us to leave, and refused to take our picture. Realizing that he was serious, I slipped him a ten, and told him that we’d calm down. Gordon sat down in the chair that was set up, and I stood behind him. I told him not to look at the camera, and we both continued to snicker, realizing how awful this picture was going to look. The photographer must have taken 20 shots until he got one of us NOT looking like complete loopy assholes. When I finally got that picture in the mail the next week…I couldn’t stop laughing for 3 days.
I want it on record now that I wish to be buried with this picture in my coffin. This photo acts as the screen saver on both my cell phone and my iPod. Gordon uses it as his profile picture on his face book page, and it will adorn the back cover of my book.
Sometimes after Nikos closed all of us would go to a different bar where Rich and Gary were all too happy to pay for everyone’s drinks. Whether we VIP’d at a club or even when Gary would drag us all out to a gay bar, it was always a great time. The first time I’d ever gone to a gay bar was a WAY different experience than I thought it would be. I thought there’d be hot lesbians making out, so I offered little to no resistance to the idea. However, when we got there it was more like the Blue Oyster Bar from Police Academy; Fat butch lesbians and mustachioed guys walking around in assless chaps. Gary came up to me at one point, put his arm around me and told me there was something I just HAD to see...giggling the entire way across the bar. When we got to what he wanted to show me, instead of being disgusted, I couldn’t stop laughing either. There was a man in leather with his cock out and it must have hung down to his knee, through his laughter Gary said “LOOKIT, IT’TH LIKE A THTACK OF TUNA CANTH!” I don’t take shits that big; God only knows how those guys stick that up their asses.
Anyway, Nikos was a godsend for me in my thirties. I spent more time there than anyplace else. I would go there on my lunch break from work nearly every day, I got laid there almost every weekend, my friends always enjoyed the shit out of the place whether we started the night there or ended it there on our way home from some expensive downtown club, and I made upwards of five hundred dollars every weekend selling DVD’s of television shows that I ripped on the internet.
Nikos was a place of infinite wonder for my friends and me. Not just because of the constant party it became in my life, but because of the people as well. It was my ‘Cheers’ where everybody knew my name. Everyone on the staff knew me from the valet to the bus boys, from the heroin addicted waiter Ben, to the bar manager Dean who looked like Tony Soprano, from the hot bartenders to the polish bartender who I would play video games with during the week. Nikos became a refuge for me after my mother had died and a place that I could call home when I needed it the most. I don’t know at what point it happened, but eventually I didn’t even need to have Action Jim around. Where at first I needed Action Jim to hold my hand and walk me through the velvet rope, I eventually became my own entity among the Nikos culture.
However, because of my association with Action Jim, when he ruined Nikos for HIMSELF, he took me down with him. But that’s the nature of being friends with Action Jim sometimes. He NEVER considers the effects that his actions will have on others as long as he’s getting what he wants and he leaves a wake behind him that destroys everything in its path.
After a few years of Studio 54-like debauchery, it became a well known fact around Nikos that Action Jim was stepping out on Helen. I don’t know if this rumor ever got back to Helen’s father but her brother George DEFINATLY knew; and although he didn’t like it, he had a hard stance about butting into ANYONE’S business, even his sister. Now, rumors are one thing. Helen suspected Action Jim, but once again Jim’s stupidity and greed did him in; although getting himself caught wouldn’t be enough to send him packing.
One of the nice things about Nikos was that they had offices with computers in them, so even when we were drunk we could look up videos on the YouTube or check our email. Jim had his own office as his official title was ‘book keeper’ for Nikos. I don’t know how well he performed this job, but as I never really heard any complaints from George or the others, I assume he did it with proper aplomb. The DOWNSIDE of this extensive computer network within Nikos was that there was a surveillance system hooked up to it which Helen could view from HER computer at home. The cameras were all trained on the lobby and the bar area and Jim had been caught by Helen on MULTIPLE occasions making out with waitresses or general hussies from the wedding banquets. But you have to remember that Jim’s charm, good looks, and intelligence make him a force to be reckoned with in the world of lying. Keep in mind what I’m saying here; Action Jim is SUCH a good bullshitter that EVEN with video footage PROOF…he still managed to bullshit Helen into believing that the camera angle was off, there was fog on the lens, SOMETHING…but in the end she always believed him…until Jim went too far.
Jim went from being at Helen’s almost EVERY night to not being there at all. He would tell her that his Granny needed him or in some cases he would even lie and say he was out with me. The truth was that he was not just fucking, but carrying on a relationship with one of the bartenders (not the one I slept with).
EVERYONE at Nikos knew this was happening and where George was content to sit back while Jim carried on sexual dalliances with non descript and never to be seen again women, this was a slap in the face to his family that he couldn’t sit by and watch. So, unbeknownst to Action Jim…George set up a security camera in his office.
When I went to Nikos that weekend it was like I had just walked in for the first time. The valet made me pay him, the bouncer carded me, and my drinks were no longer on the house. When the bartender that I had banged charged me for my drink, I paid with no opposition. I was ALWAYS willing to pay, I just never had too. But I was curious as to why she wouldn’t look me in the eye. George, Rich and Gary sat at the end of the bar on their usual stools, in a cloud of cigarette smoke as the lights from the dance floor danced behind them. I walked down to shake their hands and none of them would acknowledge me. I asked George what I had done and all he said was “ask your friend” without looking at me.
What the fuck?
I walked down the hallway that led to one of the banquet halls and went into Action Jim’s office. There he sat, looking at Batman toys on the eBay. “Jim, what’s going on out there?” I asked. Without looking up at me Action Jim simply said emotionlessly “They put a camera in my office, Helen caught me fucking the bartender and dumped me.”
“So why are you still here?” The only reason Jim HAD that job was because of Helen, and if she was pissed enough to dump him…”They can’t fire me because my brother’s an attorney and I told them I’d sue the shit out of them if they tried.”
That made more sense.
This was like a REAL life version of that Seinfeld episode where George got a job by pretending to be handicapped, but when his bosses found out he lied, they couldn’t FIRE him because he TECHNICALLY never lied, they just assumed. Only in real life the scenario wasn’t so funny. I was baffled at the balls it took to go to work EVERY day knowing that everyone hated you and that your bosses were scrutinizing EVERY thing you did so they could get rid of you. I was uncomfortable being there and I didn’t do anything wrong! So I left my Copacabana and never returned, while Action Jim stayed on for another few weeks until the microscope the owner put him under revealed a rather large germ.
All of this was happening as the new Batman movie by Christopher Nolan was being released on DVD. As is usually the case, a new wave of action figures for the movie was being released at around the same time. Now, I’ve talked about ‘chased’ figures before. But just to refresh you, whenever action figures are released it’s usually in a wave of 5 or six different characters at a time. When the stores get the boxes of figures, each box has 3 of each figure except one. There is only ONE of that particular figure in the box and that’s called the ‘chase’ figure.
The initial release of Batman figures to coincide with the release of the movie omitted Ras Al Ghoul from the box all together, making it a SUPER ‘chase’ figure…for about 6 days; and Action Jim had to have one RIGHT that minute. He went on eBay at Nikos and bought a Ras Al Ghoul figure for FIVE hundred dollars. FIVE FUCKING HUNDRED DOLLARS…for a fucking action figure. Well, the next week Ras Al Ghoul was EVERYWHERE. 10 to a peg, 5 rows of pegs at EVERY Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, and Target across the country. It was a complete waste of money and when he tried to sell it BACK on eBay…his top bid was 12 dollars, which didn’t come CLOSE to reaching his reserve price.
Because they were looking at his work EXTRA hard for ANY reason to fire Action Jim, the owners of Nikos found out that not only had he used the company credit card to purchase this five hundred dollar toy, but for the past two years he’d been making THOUSANDS of dollars worth of purchases on eBay with it as well.
Jim was fired immediately and told that they would press charges if he ever stepped foot in Nikos again. And with that, Action Jim once again walked away scot free from his douchebaggery.
The Death of Granny
After Nikos, while trying to avoid spending time at Granny’s house, Action Jim spent most of his time at my Radio Shack. When he asked me for a job, I had him fill out all the forms, but when he took the integrity test, my District Manager informed me that he’d scored lower than anyone he’d ever seen. Because of this, I couldn’t hire him.
Unfortunately, late in 2006 Action Jim’s granny passed away. She left him nothing in her will and Jim’s brothers wanted to sell the house. They told Jim that he needed to leave so they could fix up Granny’s place and start letting people look at it.
Action Jim had no woman, no job, and he was faced with the prospect of getting kicked out of his home of nearly 20 years. It seemed like he was finally going to get his comeuppance. Most people, when faced with this dilemma, would accept their situation and go to lengths to improve it while mourning the loss of their loved one and respecting the wishes of their family…but not our Action Jim.
This is where the money hunger in Action Jim came out like a ravenous vampire.
Instead of graciously accepting that his grandmother left him NOTHING in her will because he didn’t deserve it, Action Jim harped on and stalked his older brother Stanley for a piece of what Granny left HIM. He would incessantly badger Stanley by showing up at his house at all hours of the night, and calling his cell, work, and house phones continuously. Jim even had the BALLS to threaten his brother with legal action even though he didn’t have a dime to his name AND his brother Stan? Stan was a fucking lawyer.
Instead of moving out of the house so Stanley could show it to prospective buyers, Jim went from trying to be there as little as possible, to digging himself in like Michael Keaton in “Pacific Heights.” When the realtor would show up with a buyer, Jim would lazily saunter out of his bedroom in his underwear, scratching his balls and saying “Who the fuck is you?” When Stanley threatened to have Jim thrown out of the house, Action Jim told him that if he ever wanted to see that house sold, Stanley needed to give him money.
Action Jim has made me uncomfortable in A LOT of situations, just as a witness to them, but never more so than when I witnessed a fight between him and Stanley. See, I knew how Jim treated Granny and that situation was uncomfortable enough, but Stan knew it too because Granny would call HIM crying about Jim almost as much as she would call me.
The only person I’d ever met from Jim’s family other than Granny was his mother. She seemed like a nice enough lady, but it wasn’t until Granny died that I began to see the bigger picture of Jim’s family. See, THEY knew Jim like I did. I was actually relieved that someone else saw Jim as I did. Although they loved him, they also knew of his nefarious nature which is WHY he was ostracized from them and lived with Granny. Not because they asked her to take him in, but because she was such a nice fucking lady that she couldn’t bear to see him put out.
So when Granny died, Jim went on a mad tear completely ignoring her last wishes. HIS point of view was that it didn’t matter what that crazy old bat wanted, his brothers and sister HAD money, so the proceeds from the sale of that house should go to him. Not only that, but he wanted his money NOW, he demanded of his brother that he GIVE him money up front for the sale of the house, the money of which he WASN’T entitled to AT ALL. This was the ballsiest line of batshit I’d ever heard, and from the arguments I overheard between Jim and Stanley, Stan knew it too. The AMAZING thing about this argument was that Stanley was GOING to give Jim some of the money from the sale of the house, he AGREED and was only too happy to help his brother…but Jim INSISTED on having it now. He couldn’t wait until they fixed up and sold Grannies house. NOW! NOW! NOW! I once heard him shouting into his phone at Stanley. He was like a petulant child.
Well, Jim eventually harassed his brother into acquiescing to his demands. Stanley gave him a pittance of what he WOULD have given Jim had he just waited for them to sell the house and told him to never bother him again. He was bowing out of that brotherhood and I could hardly blame him. Jim took his 5000 dollars and rented a shitty apartment at 500 dollars a month.
It was during this time in 2007, while I was living in my first apartment that I decided to not renew my lease. My friend Mike from RadioShack had just gotten a job selling carpet with his father for Empire Carpets. Mike’s dad had been with Empire for years and he was the best salesman they had. Mike was making money hand over fist. Whenever we went out, Mike always paid because he had fat stacks of cash from his new job. So when Mike told me his dad could get me into Empire as well, I bolted from RadioShack and took my chances. However, my lease was coming up on my apartment. It would be my 3rd lease there and I had to make a decision; renew it and save for another year to get a better apartment, or move out and stay with friends until I built up enough money to get a better apartment in a few months. I decided on the latter. Action Jim was gracious enough to let me move in with him while I saved.
Unfortunately…Action Jim had a cat.
The Great Menagerie of Action Jim
There are some people on this planet that should NOT have pets. Action Jim is one of these people. Jim LOVES animals, but he only understands that they’re cute and cuddly…NOT that they need to eat and shit occasionally. His affection towards animals always reminded me of that Daffy Duck cartoon where the monster would give Daffy a big bear hug and say: “I will love him and pet him and squeeze him and call him George”. It’s like Jim morphs into a retard around animals.
Well, Jim still had the cat that a waitress from Nikos had given to him, and when I moved into his apartment…I was stunned beyond belief. Action Jim was being VERY kind by letting me crash with him, but if I had a choice to have been anywhere else in the world, I would have. This place smelled like 30 football players who ate nothing but asparagus and Gatorade pissed over every square inch of a slaughterhouse that was dipped in bleach. You could smell it as you crept up the stairs to get to his door like something lingering behind a corner waiting to jump out and get you. The minute you came into contact with that smell, your eyes would immediately start to water and your nose would say “Fuck this” and walk off of your face.
Jim HAD a litter box, but he never trained his fucking cat to use it. Apparently, whatever instinct the cat DID have in deference towards its sand trap, was wiped out when it realized Jim would never clean the fucking thing. There was a mountain of clumpy piss cakes and turds that reached almost 3 feet. It looked like the model of ‘Devil’s Peak’ that Richard Dreyfus built in his living room in ‘Close Encounters’. You could see piss stains on everything in his apartment including the fucking curtains. There were wet spots on the counter tops, on top of his TV, the couch pillows, the kitchen table, EVERY fucking where. The smell of Jim’s apartment followed him wherever he went. And now that I was there, I could see why. The cat had pissed on his clothes, on his coat, on his socks and in his shoes. When he put his shoes on? You could hear that squishy sound like his foot was stuck in mud. It was UNbelievably disgusting. His place looked like one of those shows on Animal Planet about the ‘Hoarders’. I saw one episode where this chick had like 70 cats that just tore up everything and pissed everywhere. It got to the point where she LITERALLY just started throwing raw hamburger meat at the walls for the cats to eat. Only Jim just had ONE fucking cat. His apartment smelled like FIFTY cats living in a homeless person’s asshole. After ONE night though…the ultimate thing happened. The thing that made me screech out of there like Tony Stewart squealing his tires at the beginning of a race.
The next morning, I awoke from the LEAST pissy corner of the apartments floor that I could find to sleep on and wiped the tears from my eyes because your eyes would even water in that smell while you slept. I made a pot of coffee and turned the heat up a tad. It was winter time and it was fucking cold in that place. Jim never turned the heat up too much because it would make the apartment smell even worse. Like dead bodies boiling in a vat of urine. After a few minutes, Jim came out of his bedroom and poured himself a cup of coffee. The cat followed after him with that ‘I’m better than you’ walk that cats have. As Jim sat down at the kitchen table, I noticed that he was incredibly sweaty. His hair was soaking wet, and he had sweat drops running down his face. I asked him if he had a bad dream or something. He said no and asked me why I would ask that. I told him it was because he was all sweaty. He went to look in the mirror in the bathroom, and when he came out he said: “that’s not sweat…its piss. The cat pissed on my head. I’m gonna take a shower”.
WHAT?!?! That’s it? You’re gonna take a shower? If an animal pissed ANY where on my body, I’d make a fucking steak out it. I told him he needed to get rid of the fucking thing, or at LEAST have it fixed. All he had to do was pay 25 bucks down at the animal welfare to get its nuts tied down and he wouldn’t have this problem. That was enough for me; I started sleeping in my truck after that. If a homeless person would RATHER sleep in a fucking car than in your apartment DURING the winter…shouldn’t that TELL you something?
Soon after I left his apartment, Jim was thrown out because of the smell. He’d only been there a month and he was already broke. He’d spent his inheritance on comic books and action figures which were now soaked with piss as well as all of his other possessions. Jim found himself homeless as well as jobless and womanless once again. But as usual, Jim had that fucking angel on his shoulder and bounced back from his idiocy, on top and doing better than most of us. It’s almost as if life rewards Jim for being a ruthless asshole, and that’s what I’ve always found so frustrating about him. I work my ASS off to barely scrape by and survive, HOPING to get thrown an occasional pussy bone to forget how shitty my life is. Action Jim skates by, preying on women and strangers, making bad, uniformed, and immoral decisions while breezing through life on the coat tails of good fucking luck. If ANY of you did HALF the shitty things that Action Jim has done in his life, you’d be in jail right now…as much as I love Action Jim; he’s one frustrating mother fucker to know.
While renting a storage unit for his wet toys and comic books (first month was only a dollar), Action Jim filled out an application at the storage facility. Not only was he hired on as the manager, but he was given the onsite apartment to stay at rent free. And soon after moving in, he found himself another vaginal sucker…and as usual, he met her through me.
Things didn’t work out for me at Empire Carpets as I hoped they would. As it turned out, I sucked at selling carpet. I wasn’t making ANY fat stacks of cash like Mike was, so with no home I went crawling back to Radio Shack with my tail between my legs. My District Manager had warned me that it wasn’t a good idea to take the job at Empire, and he was right. Luckily, he was a nice enough guy to take me back and I soon started working back at my old store down the street from Nikos. I was still homeless, but at least I had a consistent job where I could take hobo showers in the bathroom sink.
Jim started hanging out at the RadioShack again, but mostly to use our computer. We had a public computer in the front of the store for customers to use, but Jim would sit on it while I was at work and look up toys on eBay or other such nonsense.
I had recently started trying to meet a woman online, which Jim made fun of me incessantly for doing. I let him see the profile I’d made and eventually he made one himself, saying “This is a fake profile, I’m actually making fun of people”, which was true enough. However, one day after he’d left, he forgot to log off of his profile…so I read it. Action Jim DID have a fake profile on the dating website I was using, but he ALSO had a real one. And because this asshole is so fucking lucky, he found a date within a week of making his profile, where I STILL hadn’t had any luck after 4 months on the site.
After he started dating Stacy, I rarely heard from him. As he does with all women he dates, Action Jim spent ALL of his time with her in the beginning, digging himself into her life like a tick until she couldn’t imagine him not being around. The difference this time is that he’s never come back.
A few months after I was hired back at RadioShack, my friend John let me move in to the spare bedroom of his new house. I transferred to a RadioShack that was closer and met my last real girlfriend Amber. As Jim entrenched himself into Stacy’s life, I entrenched myself into Amber’s and the two of us went our separate ways. After a little more than two years staying with John, he was evicted from his house for not paying the mortgage and I found myself homeless once again. I saved up money while sleeping in my car and eventually got the apartment that’s I’ve now lived in for 4 years. I’ve only seen Jim once in the past 6 years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have Action Jimmeries to share.
Jim’s initial move with a woman is SO important to the manipulation process that when he first started dating Stacy, he missed a phenomenal opportunity to visit the set of The Dark Knight while it was being filmed in Chicago.
While they were filming the first of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies downtown, Paul was working on the production crew. He would call Action Jim and I late into the night saying “I’m standing next to the Batmobile right now” in that slow Adam Corolla like tone. He even got Jim onto the set once while he was working at Nikos still, and Jim had an opportunity to be an extra in the movie.
While there, watching them film a scene, Paul talked to the assistant director for Jim and got him a gig as an extra for the next day. This was a scene in which the Batmobile was being chased by police cars on a bridge downtown. Jim was to be a citizen that jumps out of the way of the speeding vehicles. The next day came, and all the other extras were there on time and in their places. But no Action Jim. None of the stars of the movie were needed for this part of filming since it was all stunt drivers, so Christopher Nolan wasn’t there either. The assistant director was in charge of filming, and he made everyone wait for Action Jim since Paul asked him personally to let him be in the movie. When he finally showed up nearly 40 minutes late, in front of everyone, the assistant director said; “Oh good, you’re here. Now you can go home. You’re fired.” I thought that was a bad ass story when I heard it. I mean, this is fucking HOLLYWOOD; they ain’t putting up with that Action Jim shit.
A few years later, while they were filming The Dark Knight in Chicago, Paul had a bit more responsibility on the set. His job was to drive the costumes around to the different locations they’d be needed in. I’d just started dating Amber at the time, and she was actually sleeping next to me when Paul called at 3 in the morning. “You wanna come down to the set and see the costumes?” he asked. “Sure, when?” I asked back. “How about now? They’ll be leaving in a few days.”
I woke up Amber and asked her if she wanted to see the costumes from the Batman movie and she groggily, but excitedly agreed. We met Paul behind a warehouse where they kept all 3 Batmobiles and the Batcycle. As we drove around back, I had to drive around the mangled helicopter they crashed during the chase scene. We pulled up to an old 70’s looking RV, and Paul came out to greet us. He told us that they used that shitty looking RV, to keep the costumes in because none of the fans or press would expect them to be in there. He led us in, and there were 3 curtained closets up against the far wall of the RV. One said “MCS” for Motorcycle stunt man, one said “SM” for stunt man, and the last said “CB” for Christian Bale. Paul pulled back the curtain under the sign that said “CB” and took out a large plain brown paper bag. He took out the Batman mask and handed to me. “Go head, I know you want to…” he said with a smile. I handed my phone to Amber and told her to take a picture, and I put the mask on. Paul took out the gloves and said “here, may as well put these on too”, so I put the gloves on too. Amber put the mask on after me and I took pictures of her as well. Paul put everything away and then took us inside the warehouse. Apparently he let the security guard use the bathroom in the RV whenever he wanted, so the security guard turned a blind eye when Paul brought visitors in to see the vehicles. We saw the Batcycle and Paul let Amber and me climb into one of the Batmobiles. It was fucking awesome, and we took a ton of pictures. We hung out with Paul until the sun started coming up and he had to leave for a set. He invited us to come with him, but Amber had school soon and I had work.
Paul told us that he’d invited Action Jim down that night and several other nights as well, but he was too ensconced in his grift of Stacy to come. Most of the time Amber and I were with Paul that night, we just laughed at the nightmare Jim was faced with: Pussy or Batman. Usually he could find a way to blend the two, but the concurrent themes that night made him have to decide betwixt the two…and to our surprise? He chose pussy. A few weeks later I went to a Halloween party at a bar and lost my phone, so I don’t have any pictures of that great night to share here.
Jim’s told me sporadic snippets of his life with Stacy, and some of them are honest to the point that you have to think to yourself “Why would he lie about that?” But some of it is just bullshit that I’ve had to deduce the truth from.
Stacy has a kid and lives in Indiana. When Jim first started fucking her, he had to drive out to her place from his storage place apartment, and he’d usually spend the night there. Of course, not having any respect for any kind of rule, Action Jim would park in the parking garage which was reserved for tenants only, as the giant sign outside of it said. After a few times parking there, the condo association contacted Stacy and told her that her guest wasn’t allowed to park in the garage as it was reserved for tennants. Stacy told Action Jim and when he came over the next time, he STILL parked in the garage, unbeknownst to her. That night Action Jim parked his car near the far wall of the garage. He brought his new comic books from that week with him to Stacy’s condo. As he was leaving the next morning, he opened his car door, and noticing his comic books like a shiny penny on his passenger seat, he picked one up and started reading. He put his car in reverse, and hit the gas pedal…while his door was still open. He not only bent his door all the way into the front fender, but he took out half the wall of the garage with him. And Stacy had to pay for the damage because Action Jim didn’t have any insurance.
I’ll never understand why women don’t break up with him, but not only did she STAY with him and pay for the damage to the garage…but because HIS car was damaged? He convinced her that he needed a new one in order to continue driving out to her condo. Now, Action Jim’s ALWAYS had bad credit, but at that point in his life it may have been the LOWEST credit score on the planet. He talked Stacy into co-signing for him so he could get a new car. Now, here’s the kicker…Jim’s credit is SO fucking low, that even with a co-signer who HAS good credit…he was approved for a loan at ONE HUNDRED percent interest. He picked out a 12 thousand dollar car, for which he now owes 24 thousand dollars. Can you imagine such a thing?
His next move was to get Stacy to let him move into her condo, which she agreed to. Jim quit the storage facility and moved into his new upper middle class condo tute sweet. I’m tellin’ you man…big dick, it’s GOTTA be because he has a big fat dick.
Jim told me on several occasions while living with Stacy that the two of them were having problems. First of all, Action Jim had been arrested for shoplifting…at nearly 40 years old. The Wal-Mart near their condo had recently installed those self checkout lanes. Action Jim thought this was a perfect opportunity to steal. He loaded up a shopping cart with Batman action figures, and I mean LOADED that mother fucker up. There were Batman toys sliding off the top of the stack onto the floor and as Action Jim bent down to pick one up, another would fall off. All the while he just kept pushing the cart to the self checkout lane, never stopping as he picked up toys that had fallen. When he got there, he scanned ONE batman action figure, paid for it, and then pushed the entire cart out into the parking lot. He thought he was home free…until a security guard from the Wal-Mart came rushing out asking to see his receipt. He was arrested on the spot, and Stacy not only had to bail him out, but she had to pay for all the action figures or Jim would be prosecuted.
Secondly, because Jim didn’t have a job and Stacy wanted him to start paying for some bills as she already had a fucking kid; she got Action Jim hired on where she worked. The only reason Jim actually showed up on time every day, was because she went with him to work in the morning. When Jim would get his check every week, he’d spend every dime of it on toys. When the new Batman video game came out for the PS3, Action Jim stole her sons Xbox and all his games, and traded it in at a video game store for a PS3 and the new batman game. As if that weren’t bad enough, and Stacy had to hear her child’s constant crying over the loss of HIS favorite games, Jim would never let the kid play the PS3 because HE was constantly playing Batman on it.
A few months after Stacy realized that Action Jim wasn’t even paying the car note she co-signed for, she made Jim have his checks direct deposited into her bank account, and gave him an allowance every week like a fucking child. THAT may have been the smartest thing she’d done since meeting him. However, Jim was smarter. While Stacy slept at night, Action Jim would sneak out one of her credit cards and go late night toy shopping at Wal-marts.
When she found out from her monthly statements that he was doing this, she began trying to kick Action Jim out of her condo. Every day, Jim had to leave work early because if Stacy got home before him? She’d bolt his ass out. She wouldn’t fuck him anymore, and Action Jim was put out on the couch. Stacy eventually realized that if she DID kick Jim out, she’d be on the line for that 24000 dollar car note…so to this day, he still lingers there, unwanted and hated, just like he was at Nikos.
The Last Line of Bullshit
The last time I saw Action Jim was two years ago in 2010. Action Jim sent me a text message telling me that he was now writing for a comic book magazine and that he scored a press pass for the Chicago Comic Convention or the C2E2 as it’s called. He assured me that his press pass could get me in for free, and I assume he told me that because he knows there’s not a chance in hell that I would go to one of those rip-off fest’s if I had to pay to get in. I still buy a few comic books from time to time, but there’s still a nerve there that I avoid by holding only a passive interest in a very short selection.
Soon after Action Jim asked me to be his date, another Jim asked me to go to the C2E2 with him; Smart Jim. You may remember Smart Jim from my time at Waldenbooks, but other than in name, Smart Jim is the exact opposite of Action Jim. He graduated college, went to graduate school and now holds TWO degrees: A PhD in physics, and a PhD in mathematics, He’s basically a Dr. of being smarter than everybody else. He makes a comfortable living from the patents he holds from when he was working for the government as a scientist, and he also teaches a physics class at a high school. Smart Jim is the very embodiment of responsibility. Smart Jim had been dating a beautiful woman who it just so happens works full time as a fund raiser at the military school that I grew up in; small fucking world. In her capacity as a fund raiser for the school, she asked Smart Jim to bid on some items that the school put up for auction. And he did, purchasing 2 weekend passes to the C2E2 show.
|The VERY rare, Jimoree; Smart Jim, |
Grey Jim, and Action Jim
It seemed that I was fated to attend this virgin bazaar because whatever higher power you believe in was putting it in my face for free. I wish he’d do that with pussy. I decided I’d attend with Smart Jim rather than Action Jim, because I trusted Smart Jim’s ticket situation more than I trusted Action Jim’s. It’s not that I love Smart Jim MORE than Action Jim, never that. I just love Smart Jim…differently. However, Smart Jim and I told Action Jim that we’d meet with him at the show for a well intentioned Jim-Jam (a meeting of no less than 2 people named Jim, not to be confused with a Jimboree, which is a meeting of no less than THREE people named Jim. This rare occurrence has only happened once in my lifetime.)
Smart Jim and I showed up to the convention, early in the morning, and went to the gate which we were to meet Action Jim at…and he didn’t show. I won’t wait for Action Jim for more than 2 minutes, knowing that he can be hours late, so Smart Jim and I went into the show. We walked around and marveled at the dingbats and virgins as THEY marveled at the hot chicks dressed as different super heroes throughout the convention center. Other than that, to be truthful, there wasn’t much to see. More toys, more comic books, same old shit.
About an hour into our walk, I texted Action Jim to see if he was coming; He texted back that he was already there. He told us to meet him at the entrance, and we started walking that way. As we got closer, we could hear the wailing cry of some kid, and Smart Jim and I laughed over the bad parenting of the dickhead whose kid that was…little did we know. When we got to the gate, there was Action Jim, in the same clothes I’d seen him in 4 years before, bent over a shopping bag overflowing with Batman action figures. Standing next to him was a fat little kid of about 10 years old wailing into the rafters. Action Jim told us that that was Stacy’s kid, who he’d brought to the convention. He told us that he only had ONE pass, so he had to leave the kid at the entrance while he went in and shopped. “I thought you were here to write an article?” I said. To which he replied “Yeah, but there’s so many new Batman figures out this year.” I found out later from reading his facebook page that Action Jim wasn’t ‘writing for a toy magazine’ at all. He was writing COMMENTS that consisted of “Boy, these new Justice League figures are great, I really like their cloth capes!” So he never got a press pass. What he did was buy ONE weekend pass instead of TWO for him and the kid, pocketing the money Stacy gave him so he’d have more to buy toys with. Un-fucking-believable…40 years old man, 40 years old.
Action Jim then whisked back off into the convention center, leaving Smart Jim, this fat wailing kid, and me with his bag of toys just outside the entrance. Smart Jim and I looked at each other, down at the kid, and left.
Not long after that, I started to peruse Action Jim’s facebook page and Stacy decided to friend me. I wrote a small story about Action Jim, which she read. I didn’t really say anything bad, or convey any of the truths from these stories, it was just a piece on guys who collect toys and I mentioned Jim in a blurb. I may have also mentioned the fact that on Stacy’s facebook page? There’s not one picture of mention of Action Jim. In fact, in pictures of her or her kid with Jim? He’s cropped out.
Well, Jim couldn’t have anyone conveying the truth to his girlfriend, so he unfriended me and I haven’t heard from him since. However, Paul and I both know that when Stacy finally gets fed up enough to say ‘fuck it’ and pay that car note herself? Jim will be all apologies and sweetness as he looks for a place to stay until another of you fine ladies gives him a bed to sleep in.
Action Jim Postscript
Now you might think me an asshole for making light of what you perceive to be an obviously retarded individual. But I put it to you that Action Jim is NOT special in any way. The things he’s done to himself and other people were calculated if not well thought out acts of deviance. Action Jim has ALWAYS known what he was doing and rather than acquiesce from his actions knowing their repercussions could be harmful, he always took the chance that he wouldn’t get caught. These were the acts of a stupid stupid person…of high intelligence.
Is he crazy? Well the definition of crazy is ‘someone who does the same thing over and over while expecting different results’. I guess by that definition you COULD call him crazy and you might hate me for sharing the exploits of a crazy person. But if Action Jim were a PEDOPHILE, could he be considered any less crazy? You’d be clamoring for his death in that case; so shut the fuck up.
I’ve felt for a LONG time that the stories of Action Jim NEEDED to be shared. They begged to be posted, blogged, printed, read, and taught in classrooms across the country. The Legend of Action Jim is not so much a cautionary tale telling the audience to NOT be like him, but rather a cautionary tale telling the audience to AVOID him should they come across him. I doubt if ANYONE could be like him.
And also, I wrote this story with my own selfishness in mind. Should some producer or show runner out there read this, just know that this would make an incredible reality show. We could splice and intertwine stories of Action Jim’s past into a show about the incredibly bad decisions he makes even now. We could show how one poor choice or lie snowballs into ultimate destruction at the end of the season, and believe me when I say that if you pay him? Action Jim will gladly put his life on TV because he can use that money to buy Batman toys. Hell, if you JUST pay him IN Batman toys he’ll do it.
Jim is a predator hoping to gain an advantage over every person he meets, and I suppose that if you heard any ONE of these stories, you could think that I was lying or that what he did in that ONE particular story was just a fluke of human nature. Even if you met him, and hung out with him a few times you would think he’s a terrific guy, because in many ways he is. He has a natural aura about him that makes people, men and women, desire his company. However, when you hear these tales all together and you know him as I do, and I suppose that I’m the ONLY one who’s known him as long, the picture that begins to form becomes distorted and disorientating to look at. What once seemed like a gregarious and lecherously fun man to be with, turns into a figure of the lowest moral character and devious nature. As I said, Action Jim is a predator lurking behind a charming smile, a sharp wit, and an aloof personality. It’s your inability to get to know him that ultimately makes you WANT to get to know him that much more. However, if you have nothing to offer him, if he decides that there is nothing he can gain from your acquaintance; you’re left with a feeling of sad dejection.
There have been times over the years when Jim would piss me off beyond belief, not because he did anything to me, but because of my OWN hubris in wanting to see him fall. In many of these instances I would turn out to be the villain and the hypocrisy in my mind would nearly drive me fucking mad. There has always been a fire of jealousy deep within my bones towards Action Jim because my failures have always been his successes. He has earned nothing but gained everything, always to be favored by people I’ve respected. Even to this day I feel as if Action Jim is the favored son of Paul which is a tragedy of epic metaphorical sibling rivalry that forever burrows its way through my heart. Where I’ve failed with women through honesty and respect, Jim has flourished by using lies and deceit. Where I work hard and barely scrape by on my own, Jim barely works at all and is given everything by the very women he takes advantage of; which is usually made possible by my poor decisions and bad timing. But the truth is that I’m no better than Jim, I’m just not as good at lying as him. It’s his success that makes me realize that good looking people can accomplish anything in this world no matter their wretched deeds of scum and villainy.
|The Hall of Dork|
I haven’t bought any comic books for a year now as I’z gots bills to pay. But my Dork Hallway brings back fond memories of my innocence; when comic books and comic book stores brought joy and wonder into a young man’s life and Joe, Paul, and even Lee to an extent, made me feel like I belonged to something for the first time.
I feel bad in that I know Paul misses Action Jim on some level because he’s always calling and asking if I’ve heard from him. I don’t have any news to report unfortunately. The ball’s in his court now, and like I’ve said, I’m sure I’ll hear from him when he needs me.
Through internet dating I’ve tried unsuccessfully over the past few years to find a woman who’s as interested in me as the one’s Action Jim has duped over the years; but without the lies. As much as I’m ready for that relationship I had with Jackie all those years ago, I know that I’ve missed my opportunity. Those relationships only happen because of a youthful fearlessness and the people in our lives. All those people from my life back then are gone now; ensconced in their own dramas and trivialities; My mother passed away, Steve is married with two little girls, Ian is married with two girls, Smart Jim is married and just had his first daughter, Rich lives far away after having married Irma, and all I have left to me now is Cous’n Hemp’n who’s become something of a hetero life partner to me.
I’ve found through these journeys that women respond to the people you surround yourself with as my happiest relationships happened during the times when my best friends were always around. Now that I’m alone; I just seem like a creepy old guy with no friends; and who wants to date THAT guy?
I still get laid from time to time by women who respond to some bit of torrid and vile writing like what you’ve just read, but it never lasts as their attention spans seem to peter out once I stop making them laugh long enough to try to get close to them. I guess I’m forever to play the doomed polar opposite of Action Jim, and as sad as that may seem? Don’t ever think that I regret playing that part.
Sometimes when I watch the HBO series “A Game of Thrones” or as I’m reading the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, I realize that Action Jim is a fucking Lannister, never to get his cummupence as the heroes of the story disappointingly fail at every turn. One of the things that makes life such a pain in the ass to wake up to once you reach an age where reason conquers boners, if such an age exists, is the realization that there is no justice in the world. If nothing else my time spent with Action Jim has taught me that.
I’d like to thank everyone for reading this six issue mini-series which I’m in the process of pouring into a blender with my current grotesqueries and hitting ‘frappe’ in the hopes of making a cohesive auto-biography titled “General Douchebaggery: The Life and Times of a Jaded Loser”. A lot of things happened to me on a more personal note outside of the realm of comic books and action figures, between what you’ve read here; things that when mixed together with these missives will paint a broader picture of the nearly 40 years I’ve wasted on this ball of rock and water.
Heroland stood in the foreground and the background as life unfolded before me like a warm towel fresh out of the dryer that you don’t realize until you go to dry your hair, someone has wrapped a piece of dogshit in as a prank. And even now, years after she closed, I sometimes feel her presence knawing at my psyche like an amputee feels ghost pain where a limb once was. And although we may be loathe to admit it to ourselves; we’ve all walked through the isles of Heroland on life’s journey; the racks of new comic books which tell the stories of our lives closing in around us. What started as a meandering browse through those stories, builds to a fast walk, then a trot, until we find ourselves flat out running in a desperate attempt to escape our past; but as the isle gets longer and stretches out ahead of us like the hallway in “Poltergeist”, we can either stop and accept our back issues, or trip and be crushed beneath them as the big wooden racks that hold ALL of our stories fall on top of us. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that nobody escapes their past, and in that truth we must all realize that nobody escapes….Heroland.