First thing you do when you get to the Knight Cap is you buy pull tabs, because they are so economically friendly. Statistics tell me I will win, or at least it is the best bet to make tonight. No pun intended, plus there is no other place on this block to buy pull tabs. So I indulge. Of course I won a thousand right off the bat…. Nicht. I fucking lost. Pull tabs really put a dent in my wallet, so I needed to buy cigarettes to lift my spirits and diminish my health. Wisely I bought Cowboy Killers and walked out to the back patio where people who had something in common with me smoked and gabbed. I asked for a light again, as I had forgotten to purchase one along with the smokes.
The conversations were boring, of work, of relationships, of pull tabs, blah. I finished my smoke and went inside for some popcorn and I loaded the jukebox with songs everyone hates: non-stop Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and My Chemical Romance.
My exit from the Knight Cap was not glorious. There must have been two people there, in attendance, considering it was a weeknight, and I was telling comedy. The funny thing is when I am drunk I have no idea how to get anywhere at all. Especially, I have a problem with getting places in NE. I blacked out here and there. The shots and beer had taken effect. Great times I thought.
Momentarily I walked the blackened streets of Northeast Minneapolis. I came to and fro until a taxi came across me.
He waved me down. Hey buddy was my thought. This guy. Taxi drivers are always intimidating, mostly. This guy was nice and very dark in general. I wasn’t sure if the lighting was bad, or it was my eyes, but he could have been Satan. The back of his head was nice actually, didn’t really see his face, you know, the blur of the night. “Where you going?” I thought about this for a moment… “You take cards right?” “Yeah, buddy.” I thought some more. He looked in the mirror, grey sunken eyes-into mine. “Let’s see the town!” “Where buddy? Don’t fuck with me…” I pulled out the plastic card and threw it into the front. It bounced off the dashboard and landed numbers down on the seat. I said, “Take me everywhere, and then take me to the 1029-but make it before bar close, ya know? Got it Cabby?” He put his foot on the gas and we rolled off.
The potholes in this city make me sick to my stomach, or maybe it was the booze. After a few minutes of our ride I asked the cabby to pull over. It came up again, all over the ground, brown, yellow, orange, and whatever in the streetlight. The cabby didn’t look impressed, but the streets were empty anyway, so who was looking? It did not matter. None got on the seats. The ticker on the dashboard was going very high. I saw the number climbing-it didn’t matter. I would usually say something like pull over-I’ll just walk from here. I thought of how cheap I was all the time. I thought of how money didn’t really matter. And since this was credit and not money, it really didn’t matter. I saw the lights of the skyscrapers in downtown Minneapolis, and those of St. Paul. A warm feeling came across my body. I felt as one with this choice to live life and not care. I felt well. I felt I needed another beer. Taxi-man as I was calling him now freely was manning the wheel like a pro. He took me to the backstreets, the front streets, and everything in between. And that is all I can remember to this day.
My phone buzzed with messages in the morning, makeshift alarm clock. What the fuck? One message was from Southwest airlines, I had purchased a few tickets; Florida, Russia, Germany, and LA. Apparently I was set coarse for a trip around the world in less than 80 days, all the way around. I was set for 20,000 leagues under the sea. I had found a spot on a Russian sub. Some sort of adventure under the sea, sounded great. Creatively, while I am drunk, I am pique. I looked at the time of the messages, some where in between 3 and 4 am the purchases went through. I scrolled down for more contact information. My eyes hurt from the light. Fuck. The clock said 7 AM. I could taste the booze in my mouth, my body hurt. Ah, I needed a toilet, I felt as though I was going to shit my pants or worse… But, where was I? No idea. Oh god, it was still dark. No recollection of how or where I was. One window, this must be a basement, it was small and up high. Low light came in. Hmm… I don’t know many people who live in ragged basements. I feel South, I feel old. Weird…
And the kicker, the reason I wrote this story is because of this small little detail that the average person overlooks: You control your debt; all of my debt went away, it just vanished, the moment I took my credit card out of my wallet and put a scissors to it. Cut it into a million jagged pieces. I cut the chip inside of it, the one that records all of the purchases and negates the card if destroyed. Few people know this but if you cut the chip at just the right angle all the cash will be paid out but you will not be charged for any of your purchases. Kind of nifty, I think I’ll apply for another card, but this time I’ll apply for one with more interest, better rates, and a cooler design. I got to look sharp, you know.
I told Mandy this story as we drank at a bar and waited for Jess and Stephanie. She asked me if I really did max out my credit card, and if the cutting up technique worked. I told her I have heard fish fart underwater, pigs fly, something about ice in hell. I told her she would have to really read my piece.
When you go to bed early you wake earlier. Logic speaks volumes. Sometimes I wish I would wake up in La Crescent, at my mother’s house, in my basement room. I would walk upstairs still in my pajamas-well, halfways. I would get the paper from the front door. It would be lodged in between the screen door and the big heavy front job that locks tight. I would grab it while taking a glimpse of outside dawn. It would be hazy, but decent out. The day would just be beginning I would walk up the wood stairs my stepfather built and I would see my sister, Taylor, watching cartoons. I would walk in the kitchen and look for leftovers in the fridge. My mother would walk out and tell me a joke, or ask me how much I drank last night, or how I slept. I would say “good” (as usual) and continue eating. The paper lay in front of me. I would be happy. I would see all those credit card ads and chew with my mouth open and think.