For all things Tooks, and some things, er, relating to other people. As well as to other things. You get the picture.

30 June 2004


i have this fascination with the orkin man.

his name is tommy*.

it borders on the pathological, my fascination. it might be a disease. it might be an illness.

he comes to my place of work every third thursday. or wednesday. it might be wednesday. i'm not sure.

tommy checks the glue tunnels we have set. the idea is, rats like dark, enclosed spaces. so they scoot into these tunnels, get stuck, and eventually starve to death.

tommy told me, "call me if you notice any rats in the traps, and i'll come as soon as i can." how do you know when you've caught rats in the traps, i asked him. "it'll start to stink," he told me. "or sometimes you'll hear them screaming."

what if they're still alive, i asked. what should i do with them? tommy shrugged. "most people just throw them in the garbage," he said. "if you don't want to deal with them, i'll take care of it."

tommy's not too tall, and he's got a babyface. he doesn't say much, and what he says, he says simply.

the thing is, i can't help but ask tommy all manner of horrible, macabre questions about the agony of dying rats. i can tell tommy would rather not discuss the details, since he never voluntarily regales me with stories of particularly gruesome or bizarrely amusing rodent-terminating episodes. he responds politely and honestly, though with a tinge of embarrasment, when i press him for precise information. his reticence seems to imply that my prurient interest is a faux-pas in extermination etiquette, a breach in the unspoken pact between those who slaughter small, furry creatures and those in whose name this slaughter is performed. but tommy's game.

a few weeks after he set the traps, the place started to stink. i called jimmy, and he came right out. how'd it go, i asked him when he returned from the site. he was dripping sweat, and his hair clung to his temples in damp, matted clumps. the site is not air conditioned. "i took out eight rats," he replied. "mostly adolescents." wow. eight rats. i thought about that for a bit. were they dead? i finally asked him. most of them were, he said, "but one died when it saw me. from fear, right before my eyes." wow, i said. it was all i could say. tommy nodded, and had me sign the receipt.

mr. torres said of tommy, "es muy joven, pero es muy mataratas." he's very young, but he's a heck of a rat-killer.

sometimes rat poop falls from the ceiling tiles where the traps are set, onto tommy's head. sometimes it falls onto his face. his shirt is usually flecked with it when he comes back from the site.

last week when he came out, tommy was whistling. maybe because it was friday, or maybe he won some money on a two-dollar scratch ticket. either way, he was a very happy guy. either way, he strolled around like he owned the place, commenting on the job the maintenance crew had done sealing some holes in the wall ("it doesn't look like much, but it just might do the job") and referring to everything as a "bad boy" ("after we seal that bad boy up," he said, nodding to a smallish, ragged hole in a corner of the room, "they won't be coming in here.")

for once, i felt really happy for tommy. he was strutting like i wanted him to strut--like he was the man, the mataratas, the joyful keeper of knowledge of the killing of rats, the man who massacres small, filthy, pitiful brutes and smiles afterwards.

feel sorry for the rats, but love the man, with me,

*tommy's name has been changed to protect his identity.

23 June 2004

this entry is slightly late--but not fatally.

i have one pressing concern to lift up to my sparse, but fiercely loyal audience:

katie lost her job, and that's not cool. we love you, boogerbean, and we're thinking of you. confucius says: "corporate america licks hairy butt."

one door closes, my love, one door opens. you're an intelligent, beautiful, witty, talented person, and you'll definitely have a new, better job before you know it.

i close with a haiku specially composed for the occasion:

middle managers:
firing best secretary?!
bunch of nincompoops.

wish the best for that lovely blondie with me,

13 June 2004

ok, so--so far, so good with the pledge to post once a week. here i go.

today, cat and i were on the way home from the pool, cause it was hot, as it will be here in a-town until approximately thanksgiving, and we were coming down route 71 into del valle and we got to talking about trucks. of course, we get to talking about trucks a lot since trucks make up about half of all vehicles on the texas roads. (actually, this is not a big exaggeration--1/3 of all pickups sold in the u.s. are sold in texas. granted, it's the second biggest state in land area, and near the top in population, but it's just one state of the 50 in our union.) so, we're talking trucks, and cat brings up truck murals, which are awesome. truck murals are usually airbrushed paintings on the sides or back windows of trucks, most commonly representing the owner's pride in his truck in some form or another. cat mentioned this one truck she saw in the (rio grande) valley that had a particularly memorable mural on it, depicting the selfsame truck in an exalted light, being adored by two awed "monkey-ladies." cat went on to explain that the monkey-ladies were supposed to be regular scantily-clad women--fairly common features of truck mural visual language--but that their artistic execution left something to be desired, and they had ended up looking strongly simian.

i thought about this for a long time. it had the ring of the bizarre that so many of my best conversations with cat have. and like any brush with the sublime, i felt satisfied and deeply grateful to have been there.

in other news, steiner got a job. awesome. and it's not as a male stripper. awesomer. and it's not in worcester, ma. wonders may never cease. get thee up, abraham, gird up thy loins and go forth to the land of milk and cheesesteaks. congrats, chief.

annie and christine, even though i haven't called you back yet, when you called me last night, even without looking at the phone, i said to myself, i bet it's annie and christine and they're drunk. and they were. and i was pleased, though i did not answer. i fell asleep with a smile on face and a song in my heart--well, more of a boozy woooo-oooo of the type only annie and christine (and leah and lish and my other d.c. lasses) can muster. thanks, ladies, for doing your part to keep in touch. i'll get my act together and call you back before we're middle-aged, i promise. keep rocking our nation's capital for me.

marissa, if you're reading this, i love you and antonio in the least-offensive way possible for me. you are my people, and i say ciao. i miss you both and i have two contradictory wishes vis-a-vis your geographical future. either one will make me happy, so i am indeed lucky in love.

be blessed in a shower of loved ones with me,

05 June 2004

sigh. another month--plus. i don't know what my problem has been. work's busy, no internet in my apartment, mad at ryan seacrest--the old excuses just don't seem to hold up anymore. basically, i'm suffering from l.b.s.--lazy blogger syndrome. but i vow, here, now, at the risk of losing what little credibility i still hold, that i will henceforth make a serious and sustained effort to blog at least once a week. i will allow my largely hostile audience their weekly glimpse into the miasma of drudgery that is my existence, and i will bow my head under the slings of their commented ridicule without so much as a whimper of acknowledgement. why will i do this?

because i am unrepentently self-absorbed.

big news on the road-to-rock-stardom front: i bought a guitar. it's one of those cheesy starter kits, with the soft case ("gig bag"), pitch pipe, and instructional dvd included, but i figure, you've got to start somewhere. soon, i will be rocking such tunes as "oh when the saints come marching in" and "camptown races" (or so i hope). i'll wait a week or so before i put out a call for bandmates, but if you're absolutely barren of musical talent but you love to rock out, start thinking of band names better than "harry long and the twins" or "todd and the raw chesters." if you can top those--and i'm not convinced that's possible--let's talk.

speaking of rochester, former caterine garcia-roommate, poet, and all-around superstar brandi swanier made her triumphant return to the unites states not long ago, and stopped by the lone star capital to pay us a visit (mostly to cat, but i'm here too). together we explored central texas's natural wonders, rode an armadillo, ate grilled corn, and enjoyed the frat-boy atmosphere of historic 6th st. now, ms. swanier is embarking on an illustratious career in the glamorous medical profession, starting at the university of pittsburg in lovely pittsburg, pa. we wish her all the best and eagerly anticipate addressing her as dr. swanier.

also speaking of rochester, former yellowjacket and current umass medical student jossi braun--like me, a son of the bay state--is planning to drive an ambulance in israel this summer. your prayers and positive vibrations are most humbly requested.

as is your indulgence for my soon-to-be-conquered l.b.s. keep checking the blogovich, and keep commenting. your scorn keeps me going.

return to blogdom with me,