Living in Cardboardboxes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Shitty Pants, a bum, is called upon to scout and monitor a drug deal going down near his flat.

Submitted: March 10, 2019

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Submitted: March 10, 2019

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A police officer once told me, "A homeless bum with a bottle of Captain Morgan is happier than a rich man with a glass of chardonnay." If I ever met that cop again I would ask him for a bottle of hard liquor to shatter it against my face. I have given up the two-year venture in search of the golden city of Captain Morgan, an oasis the officer promised lay just around a corner. Although journeys turned up no palaces with flowing fountains of expensive drink, I did discover a roof to put over my head.

I stole my magnificent home, a cardboard box, from some cripple on a Rascal. She needed it to make a kennel for her poodle, chased me half a block on her electric mover in a plight to take it from me, and made a fatal mistake of crossing the street. Her machine's battery died out by overuse of throttle, stopping her amongst heavy traffic. A massive semi plowed through her backside, sending her flying. When she flew like some half-ass biblical chariot over me, I ducked, fearing at that moment she had become Superwoman.

It was a good house, though. The insides of the box fit my body nicely. I stole a hacksaw from a truck and used it to make windows and a door. With tar scraped off streets, my finger painting skills went to work in making the house invisible. Although I'm not a firm believer of voodoo, tar is a good magicians powder to insure a night's sleep against hoodlums causing trouble on the streets. Many mornings I awoke in drunken laughter over the disappearances of neighbors whose stupid decisions to forego camo, led them to being taken away in crazy kidnaps or busts.

Today I sit in front of Tony the Tiger Kellog box covers stuck to a makeshift hinge, the door into my flat.

My dog lay next to me, lapping his tongue on the hot pavement. He is awake and skinny, his eyes turning a bad shine, where the ball glazes over and sheens like dirty plastic. He dotes a sad expression from brownish fur lining a snout pointing down at the ground. Under the hot sun, his black lips smirk, showing his mouth's pink watery skin. I wish my dog would go find a bitch, so I would have another friend before he dies. But he never goes for the humping thing and sits with me and eats the garbage that I shovel out of the can behind the drug stores.

Today, because the afternoon is hot, I decide to attach an overhang made of soiled diapers woven together like balloon pillars to shade myself from the sun. I gazed out at the street to await the arrival of Fat Roy, the big boy from the gang, "Get Me My Weed With My Big Mac Please".

Fat Roy would walk by my cardboard house on the afternoons to chat off his fat lips. He was a black boy who lumbered a monstrous hogs belly. If Fat Roy went into a pig-weighing contest, he would always come out the winner for in his stomach would be the winning swine. His white quadruple X sized shirt draping down to his belly read: "You Don't know Shit", and then below it, "Now Hiring At McDonalds."

"Waz up Shitty Pants," he said to me.

He looked like he had been waltzing a few blocks with the sweat pouring down his forehead.

"How you doing, Fat Roy?" I asked.

"Just cruising, with my B.I.G.'s, howz things in your hood?"

"Nothing a whole lot happening here. Just sitting, you know, looking at cars, being homeless. You've got a beer?"

Fat Roy let out a roaring burp. He dug his fat hands into pockets of baggy cargos, size quadruple X, and brought out a warm Budweiser.

"Warm beer! Is that all you got?"

"Is what I stole from my momma," he bellowed out, pulling up his falling breeches.

"Your mamma, huh." I looked at him with a smile of yellow teeth. "I'll take it."

He gave me the beer, and then dug hands into pants to scratch his butt. He studied the street running along the dirtfield abutting my cardboard house. Cars flew by, honking their horns at us, the drivers yelling out profanities. I took one sip from the warm beer, grimaced, and then nodded to my dog to come near. The dog sadly walked up to me, eyes downcast, and sat on my lap. I poured down the can into his mouth, cradling the beer like a milk bottle over a baby.

"That's the driest crap I've ever tasted!" I cried.

Fat Roy turned round to look at me while sniffing the finger he had thrust into his pants.

"It's all I got," he said.

"Well my dog will like it. He loves hot beer."

"I been wanting to talks to you, Shitty Pants. There's somethin' going down tonight. Can you give me some of your eyes, you know, to help see who my opposition is?"

"You're asking me to do a favor for you?" I asked.

"Yeah, just one favor. So's you can help me. I'll bucket out a Benjamin from my crib, if you do this."

"But I have something planned tonight," I said.

"Whatcha going to do tonight, huh, masturbate or something?"

"Me masturbate. To what, Fat Roy? I've never had a woman."

"Are you gay or something?"

"I'm homeless, what will a girl see in me? I'm homeless, can't you see Fat Roy, or do you got a board stuck up your ass?" I pushed him in angst.

"So's are you going to do it?"

"Won't it be dangerous doing your little gig thing?"

"Nope. The cops got this street eyed. If them hood does anything, they let's out a whole show of shooting guns."

"A Benjamin, huh." I snuffed. "You've got a hundred dollars?"

"I got it from me hoods."

"What did they do, get hired to kill someone? That's a lot of money for a kid to carry around."

"Whose you callin' a kid. I'm eighteen now. I'm a man," he bellowed.

"A man? You're living with your mother. You're not a man."

"My hoods are going to set me up with a crib pretty soon. And's the cops don't know where it is."

"Why are you worried about the police knowing where you live? Are you going to sell drugs at this crib or something?"

"No, fool, just going to chill with the ladies. Them sixteen year olds are mighty fine. My hoods are going to bring dim over every night for partying. Hey, are you goin' to do it?"

"Do what?"

"Do me the favor," Fat Roy said, pulling up his sagging pants.

"For the hundred bucks I will."

"We always straight, Shitty Pants." He shook my dirty hand.

I smiled under the overhang, and then pointed to my dog that was finishing the last of the beer. Fat Roy bellowed out a giggle.

"It smells like shit in here. Get you some new Fruit of the Looms," he said.

"Why? They won't even let me into the damn K Mart."

"I'll gets you some and come back tomorrow. See you-tomorrow."

"I'll see you, Fat Roy."

"Don't forget our deal. Yell out Fat Roy if you sees them."

"I will, you can count on me."

Fat Roy left, following the sidewalk to the intersection. I noticed the effort he put into strides to keep his baggy pants from falling down. When he got to the light, the crosswalk buzzed with car traffic, and he went into the lane anyway, horns blaring at his jaywalk.

A truck screeched on its brakes, stopping just short of hitting Fat Roy as he lumbered down the crosswalk at a turtle's pace, his eyes looking blankly at screaming motorists. He almost stopped to look at one angry driver who cussed up a storm.

"Get off the road you jerk!" I heard a driver scream.

Fat Roy flashed the birdie at him and then went at a snails pace to the otherside. As soon as he had got across, the light had changed from red to white.

"What a boogy boogy bat boogy," I said in mawkish angst.

When night came, the lights came on in the city, and there shown an orange glow from street lamps on the sidewalks. I looked at the black sky only briefly, seeing mother in her rocking chair amongst the stars. She said tonight I would become a star and be rich or something like that, but I did not believe her. I looked down to count the headlights driving by on busy streets. When one stares at them too long, they start seeing yellow lines, then red ones, and then blindness.

"Go inside mutt." I accosted my dog, opening the cardboard door to let him into my house. The canine ignored me, darting behind the box.

"What are you doing?" I cried. "Where are you going stupid!"

The dog fled to vanish in the darkness. I stumbled up, walking bent over to the rear of my house. When doing this, I heard tires squealing on the street. I turned around to discover two cars nearby. One of the vehicles, a long limousine, reflected the glow of street lamps in orange spangles off its black top. The other car, an open low-rider convertible, its music blaring like a bugle horn with Latino rap, caused the diapers atop my door to fall down, a victim to vibrations roaring out of mega bass speakers.

The limousine driver got out of his car and went for the back. He stood like a butler at the rear door, and opened it gently. Two men walked out from the backseats, wearing black business suits and dark sunglasses. Under the shades, their faces shown hard boned, chins sharp with small go-tees, and their bodies stolidly built like Italian wrestlers. They stood as men with the intentions of killing somebody.

Five Hispanics and one white guy sat inside the low-rider, and they shut off the music before leaping out onto the sidewalk. One of the riders, a young latina with brown skin, her wavy black hair shining soft under the orange glow of street lamps, glid delicate hands over the tattooed head of her boy friend driver. She stood up from the leather back seat and was helped out by a posse of Hispanics in white beater shirts. She smiled cutely at them from bowing lips. I noticed a pair of smooth legs, beautiful eyesores, prancing below tight jean shorts cut just below her thighs, showing butt cheeks the size of two pressed globes, and they seemed to bulge out of her shorts.

"Oh senorita," I whispered. "Give me some lovin'." I felt the thing grow between my legs, and my eyes were in a trance staring at her behind. "Grrrrr!"

The dog, startled by my growl, snapped at me, his eyes shining with anger in the darkness.

"You're just mad, because you can't get none." I said to him.

The dog answered with a ferocious bark. The men at the cars turned to look in my direction. I tackled the canine to the ground, closing his snout with a half nelson.

"Shut up." I whispered. "You're going to get us killed you damn mutt."

The Hispanics muttered out some Spanish words in my direction. I waited, scared for my life, holding the dog against me. It kept jerking and scratching at my arms but I would not let him escape.

"Stay down," I whispered.

Car doors slammed shut and faint voices arose from the distance. After lying on the ground for a few minutes, I thought it safe to peek. I raised my head just nay above the top of my cardboard house, staring at the bodies lit brightly by the headlights of the low rider.

One of the men, wearing a business suit, held a briefcase, and he gestured to it while conversing with the white shirted gangsters.

The young woman, with the fine bottom, leaned on the shoulder of her boyfriend as he spoke with the men.

"Man, what did Fat Roy get me into?" I said to myself.

Loud huffing breaths and stomping feet came at me from the darkness.

When I turned around to see what made the commotion, Fat Roy's plump face shot up beside mine.

"Heyz you wanted me," he wheezed.

"Did you hear me from all the way at your house?" I whispered, staring in awe at his surprise arrival.

"I got ears, you know. I can hear as good as a wabbit."

"You can hear as good as a flying piece of shit." I pushed down his round head. "Stay down, they'll see you."

"They can't sees me, I'm brown."

"Not as brown as night," I said.

He bent down, and started petting the dog, scratching his snout. "They came in a big hood," he said. "If theys sees us, we're done for."

"Thank you for the good advice," I said, staring at the gangsters talking in the distance. "You know who they are Fat Roy?"

"Yeah, a bunch of Hernando's boys. They's come in my hood all the time, but, but, heh."

I turned to look at Fat Roy and the dog was licking his hands.

"He's a good licker," Fat Roy whispered.

"What about Hernando's boys, again?" I asked trying to start up the conversation anew.

"They carry the big guns. Like you did when you killed all them Viet-Cong guys in Vietnam."

I could have killed him for bringing up such a goddamn memory. It was always him bringing me back to Vietnam.

Suddenly my mind shot into a flashback. I found myself lost in the middle of a leafy green jungle, my steely M-16 cold in my hands, the bushes rustling and guns chattering with a ferocious roar of shrapnel . My lieutenant flew over my head while I knelt low behind the bush, his face red with no eyeballs.

His severed hand spiraled through the air like a loose Frisbee, until it hit against a tree. Surprisingly, I had never heard the explosion.

When I awoke from the terrible flashback I looked at Fat Roy in the darkness. He smiled at me.

"You know what Shitpants?"

"What?" I said coolly.

"I think we should break them up."

"How are we going to do that?" I said it in a whining whisper.

"We's hit them with everything we got."

"What do we have? It's not like we have a box full of AK-47's or automatic weapons to break them up."

"They's selling drugs though."

"Oh, they selling drugs," I said in a condescending whisper to make fun of Fat Roy's remark. "You sell drugs don't you?"

"No, I quit that shit long ago."

"But I say who cares. Let them make their deal. We don't need to get into their thing."

"The cops are waiting at the Circle K down the street."

"The cops. Where are the cops?"

"Don't you see's them down there at the K? They probably inside having a Big Gulp or something. I know's they aren't having doughnuts because they don't go for that any more. Late at night the caffeine get's a chuggin' through their veins."

He started to talk nonsense, and I decided to ignore him.

I studied the parking lot of the gas station standing at the left of my house. Behind some large green bushes, I noticed the glinting body of a car.

"Is that it, Fat Roy?" I whispered, pointing to the car behind the bushes.

"Yes, I think."

"You think?"

"I know, I know. It's them."

"How come they haven't breaked it up yet?"

"Because they havin' a Big Gulp from the Circle K, I don't know."

We had a long conversation on how the cops could not see us from the gas station, and finally the dog shut us both up with a bark.

Then it happened. The words slipped out of my mouth with a nervous shrill in hopes of silencing the dog. I screamed out, "Shut up!"

"What you do that for, huh?" Fat Roy said in a whisper. I knew the gangsters had heard me, because they got jumpy and scared, edging towards their cars.

"Why you have to yell like that huh?" Fat Roy whined. "Now I gotta do it."

Fat Roy stood up in his Nikes. Under the orange gleam of the streetlight-I could see the side of his dark blue shirt with the start of white letters hinting of another embroidered profanity.

"What are you doing, They'll see you. Get down, get down," I whispered frantically.

I tried to pull him down, but he hit my hand away and stared at the gangsters.

"Damn it," I whispered and fell to the ground.

Fat Roy went to the front of my house and into the medley.

"Damn kid doesn't know what's best for him," I said.

Roy walked right into the crowd of conversing drug dealers as if representing their posse, but when the Hispanics recognized him as a stranger, he threw up his hands and ran circles around the men yelling at the top of his lungs: "HELP! HELP! HELP!"

Fat Roy yelled like a sick cow moaning for a farmers shotgun. His screams made me leap up to watch the gangsters scramble for their cars. In the confusion, they had left their briefcase on the sidewalk.

The police officers burst out of bushes from the Circle K and suddenly police cars began popping out from every side of the street. Behind me, a patrolcar raced with bright headlights toward my cardboard box. It ran over my dog, and the blood from his body squirted all over my old brown coat as I leaped to the side to avoid an oncoming collision. I ran up to the sidewalk.

Both the limo and the low rider cut away from the drive, squealing tires in their retreat. I picked up the briefcase and watched Fat Roy leap onto the back of a police car when it had come to a stop after hitting its turn too sharp. In the car's brief halt, Fat Roy managed to climb up onto the roof of the vehicle, the top crumpling and popping under his weight, a belly print left on the rear glass.

"Hey, Shitty Pants, I go get the gangsters!"

Fat Roy cried at the moment the police car had revved up its engine, the roar probably drowning him out below, and the oblivious driver, shoving his car into gear, shot at full throttle for the fleeing getaways.

Fat Roy held on tight to the sirens guard rail, his blue shirt rippling as the car sped for the races.

About to speak, I closed my lips, looking at where the cars had once been. Silence hung over me like a damned mime who tries to talk but can only whisper. It was dead. The sirens had out distanced themselves and gone silent, the streets looked drunk with litter, and the streetlight went yellow with no cars below. Was it two o' clock in the morning already?

I heard a snap from the briefcase in my hand and looked at it. The gold locks on it hung loose and broken.

They probably left their drugs behind, I thought. Curiosity caused me to open up the mystery box.

"My God," I said, almost stumbling backwards.

Inside the briefcase, shown neatly banded rows of Benjamins: green, white, and new looking under the cast of street lamps. There had to have been over fifty million dollars within that one briefcase. I shut the lid and smiled at the night sky.

"Mother," I said, staring up at the stars peeking out of hazy smog. "You made your promise."

I went over to the brightly lit Circle K and went inside. The cashier in her blue Circle K shirt looked at me cautiously from behind the pay counter, readying her hand on the phone to call the cops, but I wove a one hundred dollar bill, and her eyes lit up.

"I need change for a hundred," I asked coolly at the counter looking at the small display of key rings, cigarette lighters, and lottery tickets clustered next to the register.

"Change for a hundred," she said in a rattling voice.

She must have been one of those frequent visitors to the bowling alley who only went there to smoke. Her hair, a silvery gray with small patches of black, sprung wild around her ears.

"We don't break a hundred dollar bills," she said.

"All I need is change for the phone," I said.

"We don't break a hundred dollar bills," she said.

"Then keep the change," I said.

"Really."

"Yes," I said, getting very annoyed.

"Here," she said hurriedly, taking the hand she kept on her thin neck away to stretch out to get the money. "How much you want?"

"Thirty-five cents."

"For a hundred bucks?"

"I say take it."

I gave her the bill and she took out thirty-five cents from her register.

"Thirty five cents is your change," she said.

"Thank you," I said.

"Yes, you need to get some help. You smell worse then my rotting mother, okay. And she's dead. And only a crazy rich person would just give me a hundred dollars for payphone change."

"Goodbye," I said and went out of the store with the brief case hitting against my trouser legs. I came up to the phone booth outside and threw open the yellow pages. My dirty finger passed many listings until it fell on one that I really liked. It was the phone number to the most luxurious hotel in the city, the Golden Ritz. I dialed it up and got an answer from a very proper speaking individual.

"Good evening, this is the Main Lobby of the Ritz, would you desire a reservation?"

I turned my head away from the phone and let out a cough then put on my best impression of a domesticated Harvard graduate.

"Hello there my boy, I would like a room with a fine shower and a fresh pair of Fruit of the Looms underwear waiting on my bed covers."

"Underwear, sir," the Lobby man stuttered.

"Yes the finest brightest underwear tailored for my clean bottom. I would prefer that it come from K-Mart. They never let me into K-Mart."


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