September 6, 2006

Welcome To Crazyville, I'm Bella, Can I Ask You To Leave?

My boss is home in Ireland this week, drinking Guinness and playing golf with friends. In other words, he's a bastard, and I hate him for being able to spend all week doing what I wish I were doing. (Well, except for the golf. That crap is boring.) So I'm holding down the office by myself, save for various colleagues popping in and out every three hours or so to send faxes and stuff.

So of course, this week all the neighborhood nutsies (or merely confused-ies) are out on parade, and since I recently moved my desk right in the front window, I'm sitting here like magnetic crazybait, and it's a freak-a-thon all day long. Our friendly neighborhood police are, at the moment, actively on the lookout for one of the "colorful characters," i.e., chittering wingnuts, who stroll the sidewalk in front of my office. See if you can guess which one, as we learn a little about our cast of characters. In order of appearance:

The mostly toothless man who stands on the sidewalk picking his nose with one hand and smoking a cigarette with another. He must be smoking cigarettes rolled in plutonium paper, because it takes six hours to burn them down to the filter, making the "I can't look out the window without getting totally grossed out" period painfully long. He also uses his nose-picking hand to scratch his yahoos every so often.

The mostly toothless man who came in once and asked me if this business and a related business were "fronts" for something else, wanted to know how we made our money, and now knocks on the window to wave at me when he walks by. One day he happened to go by right as I was coughing on a wrongly-swallowed swig of water, and came in to ask me if I had a cold, and if so, could he run to the local store to pick something up for me, since I'm a "nice girl." I believe he said his name is Richard, although I don't really care.

Four very tall and confused Ethiopian teenagers who came in one day asking for me to "send a message" for them. Maybe they thought we were an internet cafe? At least they seemed satisfied with my "We can't help you with that," and left without any fuss, unlike the stinky homeless men who come in proposing to wash our front windows with their greasy rags for $3, despite the "No Solicitors" sign in the front window. Those guys never take no for an answer, and on the occasions I have said yes to them, it's usually been just to get their stinky, alcohol-y selves out of my personal space.

Random confused and/or crazy people who look inside the front windows, perhaps think there's no one here, open the door, come in, and, when I stand up from my desk and greet them, back away and leave. What did they think they were coming in here for? If I hadn't been here what would they have done? What the, you know, hell?

People who not-so-discreetly slip things from hand to hand in broad daylight, and then slap money into each other's palms. Trading baseball cards, kids? Sure you are! That's why the local high school has metal detectors at every entrance!

Morbidly obese motorized wheelchair demons. I just saw another one one two seconds ago, while I was typing #5. She was wearing shoes, unlike many of them, and had an oxygen tube crammed up into her nose. She was also smiling quite broadly, for reasons I don't quite understand.

The dirty-looking dude with creepy long fingernails who leaned a tire iron outside the door to come in to sit down on one of our leather chairs, kick off his shoes, and freak out me and a tiny, soft-spoken co-worker with nonsensical questions, and a total lack of receptivity to our "is there something else we can help you with? If not, we need to get back to work now." Actually, he did respond to that one, but by saying "I'd like to stand here and look at you for awhile," instead of just leaving. He had a huge wad of cash falling out of one pocket, and after we practically pushed him out the door the first time, he came back in five minutes later to tell us that he was scouting for a film crew, that things weren't always what they first seemed to be, and that the plant by my desk was more full of life then many people he knew, and also, could he have one of the rocks the plant was sitting in? When he asked me how "they" had managed to "trap me here," I moved toward the door again in a "please leave" gesture, and he finally split. Then we locked the door and called the cops. Ding ding ding! That's right, if you guessed the cops are looking for crazy person #7, you're our winner! Grand prize: the Chicago Police Department on your speed dial!

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