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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

THE GENERAL: Chapter one; The Backpack

So I've got this story of a friend of mine. It's a story I've told many, many a time but never to such a potentially large audience, and well...it must be. I have this friend I lived with for a while, the General. The General and I had been friends for years and spent a lot of time together, so the inevitableness of our living together had been a long time coming. We had a nice house, inherited by his grandmother, who chainsmoked Winston's on the couch and drank coffee mugs full of bourbon that she'd refer to as 'Jesus Juice'. She died in that house not a year after moving in, and well, General and I were not ones to be choosy at the time, so we took over her lease. Eventually we had to take on roommates to pay the most basic of bills. We ended up with the General's distant cousins who turned out to be Neo-Nazi's (nice people if not misguided...and stupid as fuck), and eventually a serial fast food employee who turned out to have an extensive collection of child pornography. He hid it in a closet by the front door and one of us found it by accident one night. I'll tell you what, the Neo-Nazi beat that dirty bastard half to death before he wiggled free and ran off into the snowy winter night in just a t-shirt and boxers. He was arrested the next day on multiple felony accounts. An interesting house is what I'm telling you, and I don't think I have any arguments. Eh?

So at this particular time, I believe it was just the General and I living in this house. It was located on the outer edge of a cul-de-sac, with a spacious backyard area that led into the front yards of the other houses. One night, myself and Nobody were out at a house party, and I get a phone call. We go outside because it's loud and whoever is on the other line keeps asking me a question I can't make out. We go the driveway and I hear "This is the sherriff's department...is this J?" I look over at Nobody nervously, I fucking hate cops, bad experiences and whatnot, and I know the General has been known to call me J. "Yes, and what, may I ask, is this regarding?" I say, suddenly feeling the need to sound as classy and professional as possible at 2:30am. The female police deputy on the line proceeds to ask me if I know a General (she called him by his Christian name), I tentatively answer yes. She tells me I was first in his call log and he is causing a scene and could I come try and calm him down before things got violent.

Now let me preface this. Don't worry, it'll be quick. A few hours earlier, for reasons at this point not even the General knows,  he said 'fuck off' to Nobody and I, packed a backpack full of liquor bottles, and disappeared out the back door. We didn't see him for a couple hours, he liked to take walks, we figured he'd make it to a park or a bench and sleep it off, end up back home the next morning. You have to understand, this just isn't strange. Sometimes the world reaches a point where a man must pack a NorthFace bag full of liquor bottles and storm off into the night. It's stupid, it's dramatic, yet sometimes we need to do it. But shit, he took a lot of fucking booze this time.

Back to the present, I ask the cop more about what's going. She tells me (seriously) that they have the General CORNERED against a fence and porch, and are contemplating tazing him. Apparently he had been wandering through a neighborhood singing and ranting at the top of his lungs until the police were called. Upon their arrival the General refused to give them identification of any kind or be touched, announcing only his first name and that he was sixteen years old (he was twenty-two at the time). He had become verbally abusive to the officers, refusing to divulge any further information, especially where he lived. We got directions from the officer and as we get closer I get a bad/funny feeling in my stomach. Her directions take us to a cul de sac. The one behind my house. The General had set up his very own Alamo on the neighbors porch (they weren't home) less then fifty feet from our back deck. You should have seen the commanding officer's face when he was informed that their crazy guy lived in the house directly behind him. I thought his face was going to melt off his skull. I watched as the General threw 'smooth' game at the female officers, and swore filthy slurs upon the male cops, the highest ranking officer being the cop who patrolled our high school. He'd known the General in school, and was the only current reason he hadn't been tazed and arrested already. Eventually after threatening to attack an officer with his own, then trying to but instead tripping and falling down the porch steps, they restrained him on the concrete. He was promptly handcuffed and thrown in the back of a squad car. I should mention that Nobody and I didn't just do sit there silently during the course of these events. The police allowed us to approach and plead with the General, trying to talk him out of this obviously futile campaign, trying to stress the seriousness of his situation. He would have none of it. The powerful mixture of whiskey and vodka and rum swirling around his bloodstream had formed together to make him invincible.

It was only after the police had him cuffed and in the back of the squad car that the tough guy facade dropped for a few minutes, as the General swore he was sorry and it'd never happen again and could they please not take him to jail? Then, when the officer from high school intervenes, the General takes it upon himself to use this act of good will from the cops to his advantage(?), and proceeds to resist upon being led into the house. The guy in charge must've felt sorry for him, or was just bored, or just didn't care, but it took four officers to wrestle him into our house, down the hallway (he scratched at the walls and doorways) and into his room and onto his bed. There they smacked him around a little bit while Nobody and I looked on, and then they tried to get him to accept his violations, his tickets. But the General was asleep. The officer got mad, smacked him around some more, demanded he respond to him. The only response he got was from the sandman, and the loud snores of the General, and after a couple more hits to the torso, he angrily stuffed the tickets in the General's pocket and they all walked out the room. However as they left, Nobody and I looked back to see the General, his eyes barely open, hands raised, giving the double middle finger to the cops backs as the walked from the room, grinning ear to ear like a diabolical creature of mischief. Faking it the whole time of course, and he's lucky as hell they didn't turn around or see him. Shit. The rest of the night involved Nobody and I babysitting the General (on police orders) so he wouldn't leave the house or cause anymore trouble. At one point I left him alone for ten minutes with Nobody to smoke a cig and get some quiet. Moments later there he comes, the General, stumbling out the house and down the front path, off on some cosmic mission. Slipped right past that piece of shit Nobody. I ushered him back into the house at which point he almost broke my arm slamming it in the front door cause I wouldn't own up to being the 'prophecy'. We got him back into bed, and he eventually passed out, mumbling and kicking out at the world.

Next day I'm eating a bowl of cereal on the couch and there he comes, out of his bedroom, the hungover and shabby ass General. He's exceedingly confused because not only does he feel like hell and have no idea how he got home or what he did, he has a thousand dollars in violations tucked in his shirt pocket. I could only shrug, laugh, and go back to my cartoons. I'll tell him all about it later.

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