Pretest Presents: The Crushing Weight of Guilt
By Mike Stevens
Oh God, it’s upon me again with a vengeance!thought Danny Pretest. It seemed like he was always saying, or thinking the wrong thing. You’d think he would have learned to just shut up, but no such luck. He’d start out being semi-clever, but as he got more tired, the quality of his ‘witty’ comments took a nosedive right off the old “witty” cliff, where he splattered on the rocks of stupid, dumb-a** comments! He loved the look of enjoyment on people’s faces, but then they were quickly followed by disbelieving stares, as if the person was thinking,
I can’t believe what this moron just said; wow, absolutely no self-warning bells sound in his head that might warn him that he’s straying into shut-the-hell-up territory, and he should just shut his mouth! He lovedthe high when he said something entertaining, and despised himself when he kept on rambling and said something stupid. It seemed that getting tired actually decreased his self-warning, and a person with any kind of awareness of that fact would just shut up. But not Danny!
He was being wrung up Jacques Sevier, the long-time owner of Sevier’s Market, a little market just down the street from his apartment. The truth was, he only shopped there when he was broke and desperate, for Sevier would extend him credit, and it just so happened he was both at the moment.
“Thanks, Mr. Sevier, this hamburger looks good!” Truth was, it looked like it had been in the refrigerator since the Herbert Hoover administration, and he was now suffering through his own great depression just looking at it.
Sevier replied, “Sure, Danny; I know that you’re good for it; pay me when you can.”
That night, after he’d cooked the s**t out of the hamburger, to make sure all bacteria was sure to be burned away, and his stomach felt none too good, he was reflecting on his day. Remarkably, he felt none of his usual guilt. Surely, there must be something he’d said over the course of his day that he should be regretting. He went through all of the conversations with people, and could come up with absolutely nothing, except possibly his last conversation with Mr. Sevier, at Sevier’s Market. At the very thought of the dinner he’d purchased there, his stomach gave a sickening lurch, and was feeling a little distended. Of course, that last part could just be from the extra 30 pounds he’d put on recently, not from bad hamburger. He’d have to cut back. He didn’t think he’d said anything to feel guilty about, but what if he had?
What if, instead of saying, “This hamburger looks good”, he’d actually said, “Sevier, it looks like I could build a house with this. I wouldn’t need a hammer, I could just use this petrified burger to pound the nails! And, if a brown bear didn’t eat this, and could you blame him if he didn’t, it would make for perfect camouflage; the bear could somehow drape himself with this hamburger crap, and he would look like an old, inanimate stump, instead of a live brown bear; isn’t hunting season coming up?”
Danny couldn’t bear (ha!) the thought of Mr. Sevier’s crushed face if he’d said something to that effect, and decided he should call.
“Sevier’s Market, Jacques Sevier speaking,” Sevier had answered.
“Yes, Mr. Sevier, this is Danny Pretest calling.” Boy, he sure wasn’t feeling very well!
“Hi, Danny, are you calling about the timeframe? Because if you can’t pay me back right away, I’m flexible.”
“No, Mr. Sevier, I was calling to make sure I didn’t say something to the effect of, ‘What aisle would I find straws on; that way, when I get home and try to make the liquefied s**t you pawned off on me as hamburger, I can just pore it in a glass, and drink it as a meat-shake!’"
Mr. Sevier made a reply, but Danny didn’t hear it, as he had to make an emergency dash to the bathroom, where he launched his cookies. “I knew I shouldn’t have ate those crap patties!” he mumbled to himself between launchings.