I had a long talk with [W] last night about Occupig's death. I was sitting on the kitchen table nervously smoking my cigarettes when she came in. It was late and I wanted to spend the night on Rebbcca Avenue, but felt guilty because I left Sabina and Brooklyn at The Tortilla Flat House. I felt like Occupig died because I was in the hospital while my Dad and [C] were watching her, and then that heat wave struck and I wasn't strong enough to make the journey down the freight tracks in time. Not to mention it was all because I tried to off myself.
"I just know if I was there, I could have done something atleast." I patiently explained to her. We got to talking about the goat's death and I came to the same conclusion. "I didn't know the rasp he had that day was that serious. Puppies and kittens get coughs like that all the time and its just a bug, so that morning I yelled Fuck, I don't know what to do, I fed you! Shutup! cause I'd been up all night feeding him everytime he cried thinking that was what he wanted. I mean, thats what Louis told me to do when it cries. But then that moment I realized he was dieing. How awful is that? I yelled fuck at a dieing baby goat."
"Dude, you didn't know."
"I guess. But it just feels like neglegence on both accounts. I neglected them. I didn't know, but I should have. I think that's neglect."
[W] suggested that if I really honestly believe I neglected them, than I shouldn't take in another animal until I have less on my mind, or both the houses sorted out atleast. Reluctantly I accepted the challenge, then [W] went to bed. A little after that I walked to the corner and got a forty, chatted with the bartender, then went home. The doctors weren't kidding about alcohol making me sick for awhile. I got past the neck, played a song, and went to bed.
Which brings me to today and breakfast. I'm walking to D's Pizza market for milk when Lawn Mower Guy calls out to me from his gated porch and invites me in to smoke with the boys. I'm more than pleased by the invitation. Lawn Mower Guy is a funny dude. His front porch is a jungle, complete with a turtle pond and three elderly (and rather large) dogs. The backyard is full of lawn mowers. I dont know his actual name, everyone just refers to him as Lawn Mower Guy, it's just another one of those wierd Braddock things. You accept it eventually and move on. One day I was walking down the block and he was up on top of his roof screaming about 2012 and the end of the world, in a t-shirt in the snow. I'll never forget that. He also told me once that he gets a partial boner eveytime I walk by, I'll never forget that either - but for completely different reasons. He's a good dude though. His boys mow my lawn for me and he lent me a brace when I broke my hand and Brookyln ate the one the doctors gave me, after my cast. And of course, he supplements my morning coffee treck with a bowl of greens.
I hang out in his living room listening to a story about a dog for a couple hits before thanking him, and excusing myself to continue on my way. It's gonna be a long day and as much as I'd like to hang around, I've got 15 minutes to play guitar and drain a pot of coffee before lacing up my boots and embarking on my adventures. My boss [WD] is already on his way to pick me up, Occupig needs a burial, Brooklyn needs to go out, all the cats need to be fed, Tortilla Flat has a laundry list of things to be fixed and cleaned, the yard is a rainforest and I promised my next door neighbors kids that I'd fix their bikes. Basically, I have shit to do.
When [WD] arrives I have Occupig's body in a Family Dollar bag and my protest scarf around my face, though the smell coming through it is still making my eyes water.
"Holy hell." He says casually, looking up from his phone.
"Dude I got a guinea pig body in a bag and it's been stewing." I say, then add as an after thought, "You don't wanna go inside."
"I can see that."
"Aw fuck what do I do... what do I do...." I begin to pace around the back porch trying to figure out where to put the body until I get back, but nothing is coming to mind besides leaving her there, which i dont want to do. [WD] takes a step back and watches me from the edge of the porch shaking his head. "Fuck!" I yell.
"Why didn't you do something sooner?" He asks, waving a hand in front of his face. All I seem to be succesfully doing is spread the scent around.
"I was walking Brooklyn and had a bunch of shit to do this morning."
"No, I mean like when it died sooner." Its a good question. [R] and my mom told me to go home and take care of it when I told them what happened, but I didnt want to do it alone, so instead I brooded over it, bought a beer and played guitar. In case it's not obvious yet, that's my general solution for almost anything, which I think is kinda punk rock, but as for this moment it unfortunately has left me here, pacing around with a two day old body in front of my new boss. Im thankful, however, that in the 3 long weeks I've been working with [WD], I've already acheived that level of familiarity that makes it impossible for me to shock him anymore. One rescue mission into the hollow, refugeeing from my sister in a house with no utilities and a trip to the hospital took care of that shockingly fast. No pun intended.
"Kid, we need to go." He says, exasperated.
"Okay, okay. Im gonna just... leave it here." Defeated, I put the bag down behind a chair where [C] wont see it and head towards the car, [WD] shooing me along the path.
The rest of the day goes by quickly. We scout houses and he trains me in using the county webpage. I continue reasearching properties until 6pm, then make my journey down the freight tracks. I don't see [C] on the porch at first when I get home. I'm lost in thought, making my way through the tall grass of the yard that will remain wild for one more day, considering the moralities of lower income real estate.
"Hey." He greets me, looking up from a book and breaking my stream of internal chatter. "It smells kinda funny in there."
"Oh fuck, Occupig." I duck behind the chair he's sitting in and retrieve the plastic bag. He watches me hike back out to the yard and place it in the brush beside the tool shed. "Sorry girl," I whisper, stepping back. "I really liked you." Then I return to the porch and flop into one of the chairs. We have no shovel so I have to wait another day to dig a proper grave.
"I was wondering where that was coming from."
"Im sorry... It's been such a day, I totally forgot."
"Didn't wanna miss out on Zombiepig, just in case ya know."
"Gotcha." He puts his book down and lights a cigarette. "but I don't think the outbreak has left Florida yet."
"Yeah..." I laugh. An article about a naked Florida man chewing another guys face off came out on facebook a few days ago and the punch lines have yet to get old. Not to mention all of Pittsburgh is obsessed with zombies anyway. We're quiet for a moment, [C] drags on his smoke and I go back to reflecting on my day. "Damn it." I finally say.
"I never got around to breakfast."