Thursday, March 04, 2004

Nothing to show for it

I drove up to Huntsville/Madison again yesterday to get my tax information from Haven's computer. This time I remembered to bring floppys to store the data.

While at Haven, I called over to Ultimate Josh's mom's house to see if anyone was home. Before Josh moved to Portland, he left a bunch of stuff he'd borrowed from me there. The list of items included a sweatshirt, a book, the two Sopranos soundtracks, my laptop, and 7 framed pieces of original comic book art (which he "rescued" from Haven when the new owners took over). The guy I talked to on the phone said it was cool to come on over and pick it up.

Josh's mom lives in Lacy's Spring — a 45-minute drive from Madison.

When I got there, I was greeted at the door with stares of bewilderment. It looked like something out of an epsiode of "Cops." The man and woman who answered the door seemed rather unnerved that I was there, whoever I was. I introduced myself, but they made no effort to do the same. All I know is that it wasn't Josh's mom or stepdad. For purposes of this story, I'll refer to them as Cletus and Bobbie Sue.

I explained why I was there, but they didn't appear convinced. I told them that I'd called a couple hours ago and had been told that I could come by.

"Who'd you talk to?" was Cletus's reply.

(Like that makes any difference.) "I don't know. Whoever answered the phone," I said.

"Oh, that must have been my brother," said Cletus. "You'll have to come back when he's here."

"Well, I live in Birmingham, so it's not exactly easy for me to stop by. I did just talk to someone who said today would be fine," I pleaded, not wanting this trip to be wasted.

This same exchange repeated about three times. All the while, a trio of dogs jumped in an out of the screen door with no screen. I couldn't understand why Cletus didn't just invite me in to find the stuff or why he wouldn't just rummage around for a bit and find it for me. I considered mentioning how valuable the artwork was, but I thought better of it. I didn't want it to end up in a pawn shop.

Finally, Cletus offered to go see if he could find my things. He disappeared into the house. A minute later he returned claiming that everything was buried in a closet somewhere and someone would have to clean it out before they'd be able to find what I was looking for.

Seeing that dealing with Cletus wasn't going to get me anywhere, I asked when Josh's mom was expected back.

"She's gonna be away until April," I was told.

"What about his stepdad?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. He's in the hospital," Cletus answered. "He was real sick last night, but the damn sombitch wouldn't call a doctor. Ambulance came and got him this mornin'."

Such answers did not sound encouraging.

"Tell you what... Let me get your name and number, and I'll have him call you when he gets home from the hospital," Cletus offered, finally opening the door and inviting me in.

Inside, Bobbie Sue was on the couch with the remote, flipping through the TV programming menu and reading the descriptions of the upcoming porn movies. She selected "Big, Black, & Stacked (part 3)" and clicked for more info.

Meanwhile, Cletus handed me a used envelope and a pen. I wrote down my name and number, expecting to never get a call. Then he told me, "Maybe I'll even go through there in a little while and see if I can find that stuff. I might be able to meet you somewhere so you can pick it up." (Don't hurt yourself, buddy.)

Agitated at my wasted trip and the rudeness of Cletus and Bobbie Sue, I left figuring that I'd just have to write off anything of mine that might be in the house. I drove 45 minutes back to Huntsville and another 2 hours home.

Cut to today. I briefly relayed my story to Ultimate Josh via instant messenger, letting him know what a jackass I thought his stepbrother was. He said there's a 99% chance that they were worried about me coming inside and looking around because I'd find their weed.

Now it makes sense. I couldn't care less about their weed, but they wouldn't have known that. Regardless, I'm still pissed off about the way things went. Next time, I'll think to have them call Ultimate Josh for confirmation that I'm not a narc.

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