Some days, I really love my neighborhood. It’s a downtown “tweener” zone that’s seen better days and is caught in the perennial flux of failed gentrification. It’s what Norman Rockwell would have painted had he been born seventy years later, had a chola girlfriend and was at the ass-end of a three day bender railed out on gack. It’s the last place in the world you would expect to see Girl Scouts pimping their cookies door to door.
My house is at the apex of where the Eastside Riva’s farthest western reaching tentacle slides into downtown before getting too chopped up by the local fuzz. The hookers don’t even stroll around here except maybe to go to their P.O.’s office to piss in a cup or drop by Disgraceland (Presley Detention Center) to put some money on the books for their brother/kid/girlfriend/pimp/all of the above. For these unlovely ladies, the track starts a few blocks to the east, over the railroad or down through the double-triple underpass. They know better than to try to ply their trade in an area that still has antiquated laws on its books against blue collar workers carrying lunchboxes and cops that have enforced that law in the not so distant past. In the minds of the crones that run this city, as far as prostitutes are concerned, one chamber of commerce is enough for this side of the 91 Freeway. Shit, even the hunchback, little bell-ringing, horn-honking shopping cart vendors of chicharrones and elote con mayonesa (corn with mayonnaise) have to wait until after 5 pm to hit this side of the freeway for fear of getting rolled up by code enforcement.
Like the rest of suburbia, even in this hood the code goblins (unfortunately) don’t fuck with door to door solicitors, especially if they’re in Girl Scout uniforms. Yeah, you are reading that right; I mentioned my neighborhood and Girl Scout in the same sentence, and the phrases “out-call stripper” or “fetish party” didn’t immediately follow suit. Judging by the thick, seething blanket of red dots on the Megan’s Law Online sex offender map in my immediate vicinity, I was genuinely surprised to answer the knock at my door and see an actual uniformed girl slinging for the nationally recognized purveyors of door to door cookies. For some of the hardened sex fiends in the area, this has to be tantamount to Domino’s Pizza delivering up their next set of grand jury indictments.
This scenario wouldn’t be the case for little brown riding hood, as she had a protector in the form of a mom that had that Jerry Springer vibe that said, “Go for it fucker; I can handle all comers!” She was actually kind of hot in a tore-up, half bottle of J.D. with a twelver’ of Bud, Viagra/Astroglide ass-fuck on a meth-fueled-Friday night kind of way. And I’m talking about the mom; not the kid. The kid was kind of androgynous, a bit chunky and seemed a little on the “special” side of the education equation. Although, I did notice that her uniform would easily fit on the mom, but I’ll get to that later.
Because the kid was obviously eating, and mom’s light brush stroke of facial tweak scars were very healed up, I could tell that mom was trying to escape her past and do the good parent thing - at least for now until her old man gets paroled in a couple of years. Oh well, you got to look on the bright side; with a little luck, the kid will get to know her grand-parents a little better. But, I digress.
In the haze of my initial surprise of opening the door to the pair of cookie pimps instead of religious droids or one of the neighbors coming over to “borrow something” (knock-on-the-door-to-see-if-someone-is-home-in-order-to-case-the-joint-and/or-come-in-through-one-of-the-side-windows-now-or-later-to-steal-something-to-sell-at-the-pawnshop-and-get-more-rocks), the girl began her robotic Ben Steinian sales pitch. During the somnolent drone of her explaining what William S. Burroughs would call the “algebra of need,” I first wondered how many times she had convinced a diabetic to buy a box of cookies for the cause and then ate them herself. I only say that because that’s what I did a few times when I was selling chocolate bars to raise money for band uniforms. (Yeah, I was a “band fag” in high school. If I can get over it, so can you.)
The next set of thoughts (which inexorably lead to this tirade) followed a little spirited exchange between me and the mom when I tried to opt out of a sale and was forced to actually tell the truth to send them on their way. When I told her I was trying to stay on a diet, mom piped up, “Come on, one little box wouldn’t hurt you.” Due to the set of circumstances, and my general nature, my mind predictably dove into the gutter. I immediately thought of Belushi’s line from the Blues Brothers, “How much for the little girl?” But, I bit my tongue and told her the truth by saying that I actually was broke because the rent was coming due. That turned on some ancient, primordial lizard light in their heads: No money – no sale. With a dejected “thank you” that was more of a “fuck you, you heartless-broke-fat-bastard,” they made their way over to the next house.
As it was a lovely day out, and I wanted to see if the un-dynamic duo could make it through the Penal Code Section 290 Mad Max gauntlet of serial child fuckers and rapists, I took my tea out to the porch. As I was sipping my orange pekoe, I could hear Tubby-tard’s dulcet tones to the drooling wolf-pack on the porch of the half-way house next door, and I had what the French call "esprit d'escalier" or the “spirit/curse of the stairs.” The literal translation is "staircase wit," but its implied meaning is "the perfect repartee thought up too late." This happens to many people who have a wit that’s more of a grenade than a hair trigger or have done too much substance abuse to have all of their synapses firing at the same time. Either way, mom’s “one little box wouldn’t hurt you” comment began tripping a series of come backs that were all fairly evil and in bad taste, even for me on some days. A myriad of rim-shot laden one liners popped into my nugget. I’m not going to list them here, that would be too easy, but it was Caligula live at the Catskills in my head.
Looking next door over at the lackluster lumps of broken humanity who had perked up with a sudden burst of enthrallment that I had never seen from any of them prior to this unfolding scenario, the Statue of Liberty’s plaque came to mind:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.”
Yeah, throw in a glass dick and few crimes against humanity, and ol’ Lazarus really hit the nail on the head with these guys. I wonder if the meth-mom would even let her kid spiel off her pitch to these clowns if she realized that that house practically glows red due to the layers of dots on the Megan’s Law page. I can honestly say, due to the turnover, the sheer number sex offenders (past and present) that have been stacked like cordwood in that rickety fire trap is into the dozens. I was half expecting to look over and see both the mother and the daughter being yanked into the joint via a Vaudeville hook or some Wile E. Coyote ACME contraption that would have made the Mayan hunters in Apocalypto jealous.
After a couple of minutes, I heard no screams that were quickly silenced, just a non-fuck you “thank you,” mom putting a wad of cash in her pocket, and the kid walking away with far fewer items to carry. I guess when you can’t have booze or drugs, cookies and rape fantasies will have to do the trick. I popped my head out a little further and could see several of the mopes next door opening their purchases that, to be honest, seem to be more packaging than cookies. As they shoved the thin hardened dough into their unkempt mugs, a couple of them were staring a little too hard at the mother-daughter team standing at the next home. I began to wonder which of them were looking at the mother or the daughter more. As I sat there, I heard one of the halfway homies say to another one, “How much for the little girl?” That honestly floored me. A few of them were laughing as well, but a couple of them were shaking their heads and looked rather uncomfortable. Even through my laughter, I figured out who the present day Red Dots at the home were, and my guess is that it wasn’t the guys who were laughing at that crack.
As I was chuckling to myself, it opened up my mind to a little conjecture. What level of evil was transpiring in the minds of the guys who for whatever reason couldn’t laugh at that obvious quip? What personal level of the seven deadly sins would they be on in this situation if they had their own home?
Sloth – You wouldn’t even get up to open the door, for anyone.
Pride – You would get up to answer the door but not open the door due to the fact that, whoever it is, they’re not good enough to talk to you.
Envy – You open the door just so you can look upon these two to hate them for having all that you do not.
Gluttony – You open the door, buy all the cookies and eat them in one sitting.
Greed – You get the cookies, but somehow get your money back and revel in the fact that the kid and her mom have to pay for them out of their own pocketbook.
Lust – You lure the pair inside and work out a deal for the cookies that includes sleeping with the mom after she puts on the kid’s girl scout uniform, or maybe even fucking both of them and anyone else stupid enough to come knocking on your door.
Wrath – With the feeling of all the previous sins boiling over, you murder the pair; whether or not the cookies or carnal relations come into play is optional and up to the hero in evil.
I am personally torn between my two favorite sins, gluttony and sloth. However, judging by the prison records of the neighbors, I’d say these two better be packing more than cookies if they are going to keep playing Serial Sex Offender Russian Roulette in this neighborhood.