Rubber Chicken

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cutthecashflow
Intellecutally Wasted
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Rubber Chicken

Post by cutthecashflow » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:03 am

Osborne, J. (2012, February 08). Green leopard print tights--part 2. High Plains Readert, pp. 12.

All eyes were on me as the train started moving. I waited to say anything for dramatic effect. I then pulled the bounty of butts from my pocket to the delighted surprise of my chums. Their eyes lit up with all the joys of a Christmas morning as they grabbed and fought over the best ones. I waited until everything settled, then everyone had a butt lit and were all were happy. Then, I pulled out the carton which I thought would make them even happier, but they were all mad. Mad that I subjected them to the butts in the first place. One of them even went as far as to call me an asshole. At the sight of the carton they all flicked their butts away, spitting and wiping their mouths as if they'd just eaten a turd. What was once garbage instantly became more valuable than gold before it had regressed back into garbage just as quickly.

What's more amazing is, after all of that, I felt nothing had really been accomplished. My irritation had just switched directives, and I now had other concerns, more bothersome than my lack of nicotine. After having all of the cigarettes that I could possibly smoke on the entire trip, my desire to get to Chicago, to a shower, and maybe some calamine lotion, was no longer masked by the more immediate urge to smoke. Maybe I should have left it that way. By this time my left hand, from scratching, touching and rubbing, was throbbing with an uncontrollable itch that had left my fingers curled inward, webbed together with blisters, rendering it shriveled and useless like the atrophied hand of a palsied child.I would often have to separate my pus-covered green leopard print tights from my legs, which had the same sound and feel of peeling apart a quesadilla. I had to get off, I had to go to a doctor, and I had to take a shit.

I borrowed a pair of nail clippers thinking short nails would deter my scratching. When I went to hand them back, my friend looked repulsed at my bubbled hand covered in suds of flesh, glistening with pus and said, "Uh yeah, you go ahead and keep those."

Viewing Wyoming from the bucket of a container car on a freight train will blow you away. Ghost Towns, tumble weed, wild horses--like an old western type landscape--mysteriously spotted with run-down studebakers every 10 miles or so. I knew that the train we were going on was going to North Platte, Nebraska. How did I know? Because all trains on this line stop in North Platte, the busiest and largest train yard in the world. The first time I rode into North Platte, I climbed on top of the train I was on and saw a sea of parallels of trains that melded into the horizon as if it had no end. It's size is impressive--300 miles of track which means making sense.

I told my friends I would meet them the next day at noon at the Alco Grocery Store at the west end of Union Pacific's monstrous Bailey yard. I walked to the Conoco across the street from the crew change point with one thought in mind--shitting. In the parking lot I was approached by a kid, about 19 or so, who was named James (not unlike myself). I asked him if he knew where a hospital was and he immediately offered to walk me there. I didn't want to be rude and ask him to wait for me to go to the bathrooms, so I just started walking.

The kid said that he could tell by my clothes that I hopped trains and spent the 45-minute walk asking me questions, which I was happy to answer. I like discussing my life. I registered in the emergency room as Richard Ledbetter since James Osborne has no insurance and has amassed $7,000 dollars in unpaid medical bills, I figured they'd treat Richard with a little more respect and sympathy. I waited in the emergency room for an hour while listening to the other James tell me about his traveling experience following some shitty jam band around California one summer while I thought about pooping.

They finally called for Richard after which I sat for another hour in an exam room. The whole time I considered finding a toilet to make a quick poop but I was afraid that I'd make a quick poop but I was afraid that I'd miss the doctor and then have to wait for another hour. Finally he showed up, looked at my hands and neck, and with his infinite medical wisdom diagnosed me with "poison ivy or oak".

Here is a side note: A first aid guide I had as a teenager showed illustrations of all three plants: poison ivy, oak, and sumac, beneath which was a hand displaying the effect that each had. The first was a small collection of blisters; the second, a strip of what looked like scratches, and the last showed a flat red patch. It also said to avoid making any physical contact with anyone who has come in contact with them. This doctor dispelled a few myths: All three have the exact same effect on you. They all contain an irritant-oil urushiol and if you're allergic to one your'e allergic to all. Also, poison ivy, along with oak and sumac, is not contagious. You can use the pus from a blister as a face cream ad it won't make you break.

All of the summers quarantined from my family were totally unnecessary, and after finding this out, I hated my family more than ever. Aside from the good information, all he did was diagnose me with something I knew I had and prescribed some antibiotics and some steroids, which I couldn't afford to fill. Upon leaving the exam room, I noticed James was waiting patiently for me in the waiting room--talk about not much to do in Cheyenne. Not that I'm complaining--he paid the forty three dollars it took to have my prescriptions filled, let me keep the seven dollars in change, and then offered to walk me part of the way back to the crew change point to catch my train to North Platte.

When we were about 5 blocks away, the urge to shit returned with an acutely painful vengeance. It had gotten dark and nothing was open in the vicinity. James had to get home and I wanted to ask him if I could use the bathroom at his house, but he had been so helpful, I didn't want to ask for anymore favors--plus he lived three miles away. When we parted ways I had to keep it short. I found out that our time together warranted us hugging because he reached out to me with open arms. My bowels, boils, and general dislike of physical affection with strangers allowed me only to respond with two passion-free and uncomfortable pats on the back.

To be continued.....

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