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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

April 20, 2010

youth play death games in hot rods


All the hole in the wall video stores are folding. Don’t you feel bad for not going out and renting movies? You, and you’re lazy neighbors, you’re the ones responsible. What’s a guy do when his business paradigm crumbles and he’s only 42? Whatever. Go back to school. City college or something. Open a nail salon.

The old Video Stop on 27th is now Happy Feet. A massage parlor.

Who doesn’t wonder?

It appears not to be a place for sex. The happy ending was similar to a sit com’s. First of all, it was a Chinese man built like a linebacker who told me to take off my socks and put my feet in a plastic mop bucket lined with a translucent 4 gallon trash bag. The water was hot enough to involuntarily adjust my testicles. They assumed it wouldn’t be long and they’d be underwater too, but that wasn’t true. I would remain in the same lazy boy style chair the whole time. It was lined with fleece and draped over with white towels.

At Happy Feet the floor plan consists of a front door that opens into a small desk with a telephone and an appointment book, two chairs and a hallway. The hallway is on the left and runs the length of the space with a series of small rooms on the right, unenclosed ceilings as per local fire code. Any sexual activity would have to be very discreet.

The linebacker put my feet in the bucket of hot water and I thought to myself, “This hurts.” But I decided to close my eyes and let whatever happened in Chinese culture happen. He left the room. I considered my feet. Mostly my toenails. I had peeled off the longer ones just last night, but I knew for sure the big toes had a lot of black stuff around the edges. Not around the edges, but under the edges. I don’t know about you, but on my feet the big toe nail is a lot tougher stuff than the other ones. That’s the only nail that needs the giant three inch clipper they sell at the drugstore. My fingers, I can bite those nails off, the little toes, they peel as though they had a serrated edge. That big toe is its own thing.

Chinese mood music played on hidden speakers. Perhaps the speakers weren’t hidden, but I had immediately closed my eyes and promised myself I wouldn’t open them again until it was over. The music was mostly a guitar type thing. The neck must have been really long. The notes were incredibly high. There was some type of whammy bar attached, and the notes would follow a pattern of whole note/slight whammy bar, whole note/slight whammy bar, whole note/slight whammy bar, followed up by intense triplet picking. I was paying so much attention to this music it wasn’t until after my foot massage was over that I noticed the ticking of the clock.

I didn’t mean to skip ahead. The man took my right foot out of the water and applied lotion to the bottom of it. Then, rather than massaging it, he searched for pressure points and jammed a very strong finger or thumb straight into the muscle. This hurt, but not nearly as much when he, after a slight pause to let the initial pain register and recede, dragged the finger or thumb down still jammed deep into the skin. Had he not done this before, he probably would have allowed some flex in my knee. As it was he had pulled my leg straight out as he sat on the small bench at my feet so my initial reaction to kick him was useless. Instead I drew my foot towards me. Quickly and instinctually. Still, I kept my eyes closed and tried to act like I hadn’t meant to react, releasing the tension in the muscles even though he did not let up the pressure. If only I had kicked him.

He dragged his knuckles across the tendons, he twisted my ankles, he pulled and pushed. I thought about the rising power of China, how this ancient culture had invented writing. I thought about how Chinese companies had invested so heavily in American companies. China owns our debt, and if they ask us to cough up, it’s gonna be our guts that come up. I thought, “I’d better lay back and take it.”

There’s a three inch scrape on my right shin, and it’s a grody yellow bruise all swollen around it. I fell through a box on top of a garbage pile at the dump a few weeks ago and scraped my way through a few layers of garbage. The man massaged the bruise and the scrape as though one should, for health, knead a scab that shares the same outline as a four inch night crawler.

The photo above is the back page of the local entertainment weekly. Almost every ad was for a medical marijuana dispensary. It’s condoned by state and local government and it pays to advertise, so why not? As I lay against the brown fleece cushions, I considered the concept of pain management. Self medication. Wanting to feel good. I thought about all the times people have said to me, “No pain no gain,” and I remembered those people talking were always on the sideline somewhere, saying that phrase with a smile as I was hurting myself to get a job done.

That night I went home and fell asleep and slept well. The next day I was able to move a little looser, I didn’t hold my breath before I bent over to tie my shoes. I don’t know how it relates to marijuana, and the title of this post was just an odd headline I saw in an old magazine, so you, dear reader, are left with the difficult task of making it all make sense. Even though it never really does. Good luck.

1 Comment

  1. The only sense I can make of it is you’re hoping to dull the pain with some drugs, even though I don’t think it does that at all.
    From the sounds of the wound (hard to be sure here) it sounds like it’s infected and you should see a doctor to get something to kill whatever is in there. Of course your body may very well kill it off on it’s own, but you don’t know what bacteria is in there, could be something nasty or easy to dispose of.
    This is one area where western medicine excels at, I wouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor, and would avoid the kind of thing you went to – they are better for other kinds of problems.
    Either way, now you know you might want to apply some antiseptic to it next time it happens, to avoid this kind of infection…
    Do I sound like your mother? Sorry.

    Comment by Belcat — April 23, 2010 @ 9:38 am

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