The 58th and 59th Flavors

The 58th Flavor is so far mercifully contained within a bottle of ketchup that has been sitting out on a shelf in Joe Dirtbag’s winery, unrefrigerated, for an untold number of years, conservatively five. The 59th Flavor is one your dog may enjoy when you get a whiff of the 58th and become violently incontinent of stomach.

This is the kind of shit I that blends into the background on Joe Dirtbag’s property, until it suddenly, horrifically, comes out of the woodwork, unleashing a vomit of profanities upon its discovery. Open the bottle, and it will no longer be a figurative vomit. Granted, ketchup is only semiperishable, but even so, that shit shouldn’t be left out on an unrefrigerated shelf for years on end. I’d be not quite pleasantly surprised if it’s still the least bit wholesome; I say not quite because the act of abandoning it in plain sight for years is unwholesome in the extreme.

The Book of Leviticus was right, and Joe Dirtbag is just plain wrong. You don’t do that. You especially don’t do that if you’re running a restaurant. I’m not sure that the ketchup doesn’t date from the restaurant days, that is, 2009 or earlier. If you have pork chops for dinner and then retire for some period sex, you can cook it well done and wash the sheets afterwards. Putting the bottle back in the fridge at this late date serves no purpose but making the refrigerator even grosser. In fairness, that fridge probably hasn’t been cleaned in five or ten years, so refrigerating the ketchup would be a coals-to-Newcastle folly, but what this really means is that we’re late taking the fridge to the dump, or maybe having the fire department start a training fire in it for cleansing purposes.

As I said, that filthy bastard ran a restaurant. He swears that the trouble the restaurant had with the health department was merely the function of hard-ass, by-the-book inspectors with no sense of discretion or common sense. It was probably also the result of gross shit on the premises and inspectors not wanting customers to get food poisoning. Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew are so intractably goddamned dirty about food storage and dishwashing at home that it’s hard to imagine how they possibly ran a truly clean operation at work. There must have been nasty shit that they haven’t disclosed. Maybe the hard-ass inspector just had a bad feeling that things weren’t quite right and used the one-degree deviation on the refrigerator reading as a pretext to force a more general cleanliness. This would have been wise, perhaps even clairvoyantly so: the fettucine Alfredo that Joe Dirtbag left out on the warming shelf for three days straight, until I found it spoiled and belatedly chucked that shit into the garbage, was from the restaurant. That is, I know for a fact that he was negligent unto nastiness with his own food at a time when he was an operating co-principal of a licensed and inspected food service establishment using numerous perishable ingredients.

The ketchup wasn’t the only fucked up thing to crash out of the woodwork in front of me this afternoon. I also noticed that one of the windowpanes in the winery building had a double-concave gap two and a half inches wide at the center, and that the windowpane directly above it was entirely missing. The fix for this failure of bodily integrity in the building, as far as I could tell, had been to tape an old produce box up to the window, but the box, whatever purpose it had once served, was now hanging down haphazardly and doing nothing. A few yards away, the shitty old fence-picket table was still sitting in the corner where its top had caved in the night before Thanksgiving, threatening to crush Joe Dirtbag and me under our combined weight of wine and wood. On the floor between this table and the exterior wall (mostly a door that has been ajar for God knows how many years) there was a broken wine bottle and some shards, just fucking lying there because Joe Dirtbag doesn’t give a shit. A few night ago, I felt water dripping down onto me from a leak in the ceiling while I was tending the wood stove. Every time I walk into the building through the main door without breathing through my mouth, I’m filled with the smell of cat stank. Some of it could be from rats, for all I know.

This door is a splintery old jumbled-together piece of shit that ought to have been burned in a slash pile years ago, but Joe Dirtbag and various visitors who also don’t live there find a certain country shabby chic in its garbage aesthetics. No. Cover it in steel wool, baptize it with jet fuel, add beams to taste, and ignite; it should not exist. It should never have existed. No one ever fucking sanded it. There are still tenants living there and assorted semi-employed hangers-on using that building, and we shouldn’t be getting our fingers cut up on that goddamned piece-of-shit door. I have some friends who got a much better used door for a home renovation project at Menard’s. They paid all of one dollar for it, plus some sales tax to Scott Walker and friends, I guess. You don’t just save big money, save big money; you save big piles of shit that need to be burned out of existence but will almost certainly abide because their owner is unwashed white trash.

This is why I had to join Tricky Dick this afternoon in appealing to Christ, but not prayerfully so. The Bible has references to the legitimacy of the civil authorities, the honor and deference that ought to be accorded them, and so forth. Maybe I can write to code enforcement again, but this time in St. Paul’s name. I’m one of the least Pauline Christians you’ll come across, but at this point I’m feeling less process-oriented than usual, so if the process includes a foul-weather apostolic friend of dubious credibility, so be it. It’s kind of like FDR being buddies with Stalin on account of the Austrian pest. Or something like that. I’m not feeling much Christian patience, humility, martyrdom for the sake of evangelizing unbelievers, and similar high virtues right now, for the reasons hot-takenly described above. Through my most grievous, etc., but, if I do say so myself, I’m not the most grievous party to this dumpster fire. As I said, I’m not inclined towards Pauline zeal. Come to think of it, though, if there were an actual dumpster fire within easy walking distance, I’d finally have space to cremate that fucking door.

Meanwhile, Beefy Motherfucker, the tomcat who’s my favorite of the barnyard pride, has been itching his face on the airlock closing a five-gallon carboy. This may not turn out well. What the hell else can we expect, though? The cats started marking their territory inside the winery months ago. Who knows what the cats will knock over and break the next time they fight. You don’t run a business like this. You just don’t.

What provoked my heightened attention to the state of the winery today was Joe Dirtbag’s latest failure to promptly bring financial and legal correspondence to me. I told him roughly a week ago that I was waiting on a letter from Kaiser Permanente containing a temporary password for online health insurance services, and he agreed to keep an eye out for it. By this point, it has probably been delivered to JD’s house (where I’ve been receiving mail off and on for a decade), but I haven’t heard a word about it from him. He’s probably fucking around like a retard again.

I’ve been on the fence about getting a post office box for a number of years, thinking all the time that the next mail handling fuckup will be the last straw. I like the idea of going to Sacramento for the sake of going to Sacramento, but I don’t like the idea, probably as prudent as any, of hauling ass down to the Fort Sutter post office within the next 24 hours and finally getting a PO Box. Go figure that I’d become conscious of the latest fuckery with my mail on a Thursday afternoon.

No, I’m not getting a PO Box in Oregon. I have enough bullshit up here already. I’d send Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew an invoice for my PO Box, since I’d have no need for one if they weren’t criminally moronic in the handling of my mail, but if I ever invoice them, it’ll be for $30k, roughly, so there’s no point to lowballing them by three orders of magnitude.

I know, the take, it smolders. Sometimes, it’s too bad that the Philadelphia Police Department isn’t closer by. I’m all for clearing a property out first, even if the PPD isn’t, but let’s face it: some buildings really should be firebombed.


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