Friday, January 13, 2006

A Tale of Scary Iowa

I was sitting in my friend’s truck outside a Des Moines strip
mall, waiting for him to pick up some sandwiches when a
decrepit-looking dude came up and tapped on my window.
Reluctantly, I rolled it down and said, “Yes?”

“Man, do you have seventy-five cents?” he asked me, with
breath that reeked of various low-end liquors. I hesitated a
moment, and then decided that it would be better just to give
up the money than to risk an argument about why some fancy
college-boy like me wouldn’t have seventy-five cents. I was
a push-over then, I guess. I dug in my pocket, found the
change, and squeezed it through the narrow crack in the

“Thanks, man,” he said and I leaned back, expecting him to
mosey on away and leave me alone. He didn’t do this, though.
We were friends now. “Say, do you know what I intend to do
with this seventy-five cents?” he asked.

Buy some cheap booze, was what I was thinking, but instead
I said, “No. Not really.”

“That’s a funny story,” he began. “You see, with this seventy-
five cents, I’m gonna hop on the bus over there and catch a ride
to the east side of town. Then, I’m gonna go to my house, I’m
gonna walk up the stairs, and I’m gonna dismember my woman.”

I squinted at him, unsure if I had heard that right. He raised
his hands and waved them at me placatingly. “Man, that
woman’s been cheating on me for so long...” he explained.

“You can’ can’t...” I stammered, “You can’t dismember
her, though.”

“Hey man, you can’t tell me what I can and can’t do, alright?”
he said.

“Can I have my money back, please?”

He shook his head, smiled, and said, “I got to go now.” I watch-
ed him as he went stumbling through the parking lot. Soon after
my friend, who had been watching the whole thing from the sub
shop, came back, climbed into the driver’s seat and said, “What
did I tell you about always giving money to those people?”

“I know, I know,” I said as we drove off into the night.