I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

The Misadventures Of Fred

Today started off just like any other day. I woke up early. To the cat using my face to sharpen his claws. Not feeling the need to get up right at that moment, I slung the cat, spinning, across the room, where he crumpled against the wall, temporarily stunned, buying myself several more minutes of sleep. (*Note to self, although undeniably soft; perhaps cat-nip not best material for "organic pillow stuffing".) After several more facial disfigurement/cat hurling episodes, (or the snooze button as I call it), I rolled out of bed, and tracked blood into the bathroom. Wearing copious amounts of gauze, I headed down towards the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Just as I stepped over the unconscious cat at the top of the stairs, he woke up and launched himself at my feet like some majestic tiger tackling a crippled yak, and not the neutered myopic lazy excuse for a cat that he is. His hunting prowess notwithstanding, we landed akimbo, at the bottom of the stairs in a knot of kitty, people, arms, legs, and tails, (well, tail.)

     I awoke sometime later that afternoon, (judging by the amount of messages on my cell phone;  "do you know what time it is?", "are you coming to work today?", "you no longer work here") and went into the kitchen and poured myself a cup of cold coffee. Seeing as how I didn't have a place of employment to head to, I went ahead and made it a sort of Irish Coffee. (A half Scottish, half Mexican, half Jamaican, half Irish coffee.) I poured a little of my concoction in the kitty dish on my way into the living room, and collapsed into the couch. I turned on the TV and then dug my phone out of the couch to call my boss and explain that I would be into work tomorrow and that I had been laying unresponsive at the bottom of the stairs all day. Again. (Damn cat) My boss didn't believe me, but agreed to give me another shot. Luckily, not just anyone can pick up dead animals on the side of the road, and my dad owns the company. The stupid TV was channel after channel of snow, but the static ended after the remote embedded itself in the TV screen.
    Seeing as how the TV wasn't working, I decided to go out and get some exercise. I gathered up the cat and told him we were going for a walk, to which he appreciatively responded with a flurry of claws and feral screams. With a minimal amount of blood loss, the use of welding gloves, a tazer and several more cups of "coffee", I managed to get the cat into his kitty harness, and headed out the door. The cat was thrilled to be out of the house and showed his excitement by spreading out his limbs as far as he could and giving the sidewalk a big pointy hug. I headed down the street towards the mail box at the end of the block, and gave the lead a gentle tug to encourage the cat to catch up, and as he sailed over my head, beautifully silhouetted against the setting sun, he lovingly coughed a hair ball upon my head. I didn't have a chance to wipe the slimy ball of hair off my face before the cat landed on top of the dog of the next door neighbor, who let out a somewhat surprised howl and turned into a furry lightning bolt.
     The problem with the neighbors dog shooting off down the street, was that, firstly, the cat was attached to the dog, and secondly, I was attached to the cat, and lastly but not leastly, the neighbors dog was attached to the ever so lovely but nonetheless completely blind next door neighbor. I had been wanting to meet her for months, and now I was finally getting my opportunity, I just had to play it cool. I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is for asking somebody out on a date while being drug down the street by their guide dog, but I did manage to ask her, "what a good looking girl like you doing, being drug down a street like this?" And then I hit my head on a fire hydrant...

I slowly became aware that somebody was gently yet insistently tap-dancing on my ribs.
"Hey stupid" The girl of my dreams lovingly shouted, "Wake up you freakin' moron."
"Ow. OW! Quit it out! I'm up! I'm up. What happened?"
"I'm not sure, being blind and all, but I think you and your retarded, what I can only assume is a cat, attacked me as I walked to the mail box. We got entangled and drug down the street, where you first tried to flirt with me and then smashed your unquestionably teeny brain on a fire hydrant and heroically passed out. Your mongrel cat and my dogs leashes are tangled up around us, and we are trapped here and I can't see the knot to unfasten us so I was hoping that I could convince you wake up AND GET ME OUT OF THIS FREAKIN' MESS!!"
"OH?! Sit up and untangle us already!"
"How do you know there is something wrong with my cat?" I asked as I sat up and surveyed the situation.
"It is tied to my face! It feels like a bag of pointy sticks wrapped in burlap, sounds like a asthmatic rusty 78 Pinto, and smells like I can only assume zombie butt odor does. Now get me untied, or I swear I'll start screaming until the cops show up and I'll swear you were trying to molest me AND my dog."
"OK, ok, you don't have to get all huffy."
So I sat up and began to untangle the four of us, trying to stay away from the business end of her dog, who was on the largish side and didn't appear to be very happy to make my acquaintance. After several minutes, a few growls and one small bite, I managed to get us all freed. As we gathered ourselves I took the opportunity to get a good look at the neighbor, who promptly slapped me in the face.

"OW, first you bite me and now you hit me in face. What was that for?"
"Both were for being a perv. Perv."
"I'm not a perv." Anxious to change the subject, "So, a Rottweiler? That seems like an aggressive choice to be a guide dog."
"Yeah, well they closed a junk yard and some charity repurposes guard dogs into service animals. Conan, here does a pretty good job most of the time."
"Conan. After the funny guy on TV?"
"No, Conan, as in the Desroyer, of pretty much everything."
"I see what you mean, he has most of my cat stuffed inside of his mouth."
She immediately started smacking her dog on top of the head to get him to drop my precious Bill, "Spit it out, Conan, that thing will make you sick, it's rotten, spit it out. Oh, that is disgusting." She said,  as she pulled Bill out of her dogs slimy maw.
"Here" she thrust the cat in my direction, dripping frothy white ooze, tracing a line from the dogs mouth to the cat and slowly plopping stalactites onto the sidewalk.
Then she turned on her heel, tripped over her dog, got up, grabbed the leash, and stalked back to her house.
"So I didn't catch your name, mine's Fred. Do you want to get some coffee or something?" I yelled at her back.
"Laura," I think she said, and then something that sounded like piss off and then something saltier and more unrepeatable.
"So I'll take a rain check then, shall I?"
Getting no response I headed back to my house, dragging the cat, who being lubed up with dog excretions, slid along rather nicely.
I let Bill out of his kitty harness, who set about the daunting task of decontaminating himself of several pounds of dog spit, and I set down on the couch and realized that the TV still didn't work, and then remembered that I hadn't paid the cable bill and that is why the TV probably didn't work. Before I had thrown the remote through it, I mean. The TV was clearly not going to work with or without cable, while a plastic rectangle protruded from the screen.
I went to the kitchen and got another cup of "coffee", when someone began to bang on the front door. Loudly. Like it had done something terrible and was being punished.
"Who is it?"
"I'm sorry, who is it again?"
"It's Laura from down the street, and after the incident earlier, I can't find my keys, and I looked an... Did you take them?"

I opened the door and let Laura and her beast into the front door. In rapid succession, dog and cat locked eyes and Bill shot up the stairs, Conan followed closely behind, sending Laura flying. Into me. Or more specifically into my face. With her face. CRACK! As I fell backwards I thought, "her sweet lips touched mine... granted, a tad hard, but when the swelling goes down it will be worth it." I watched her face as we flew backwards, in seeming slow motion, as seen in many a Lifetime original movie, and then we landed as people flying through the air are wont to do, at the bottom of the stairs. And the last thing I saw, was Laura's blind eyes registering a look of surprise as her forehead smashed against my nose and I was once again sprinkled with Mr. Sandman's pixie dust and I drifted into black. I really wish the Sandman wouldn't apply pixie dust with a 10 pound sledge.

One minute I was running down an eternally long high school hallway chasing a clown made of pudding filled balloons, sidewinder missiles and cotton candy and then the scene changed and I was laying in a familiar place. The bottom of the stairs. But unlike all the other times, I wasn't alone, or even tangled in mutant cat. There was an amazingly fantastical warmth on my arm, and my fingers were responding in a giddy tingle as all the blood to them was choked out. I lay there thinking about how lucky I was to be laying with the girl of my dreams, even though we hadn't gone on an official date. Without making any sudden movements that would cause her to wake up, or mace me, I slowly leaned over and smelled her luxurious... bristly hair and her studded leather collar. Wha?! My eyes did a jump cut to the slavering beast staring at me with the blind munchies.
     I sprang up and backwards and jerked my arm from under the slobber and tooth factory, hoping he didn't decide to keep it. He eyed me, found me wanting, and went back to chewing on what was left of my genuine cow hide recliner. I backed away wondering where the dogs erstwhile owner had gone, when I heard a knock on the door. Figuring she must have gone searching for her keys, I went to the door and flung it up saying, "There you are!" But she wasn't. It was two decidedly nerdy looking guys.
"There who is?" asked the one with the fanny pack.
"Not you... Who are you?"
"Las Vegas Public Library."
"That's an awful name. How about you?" I said, looking at the one with matching pocket protectors.
"We're FROM the library"
"Haven't seen you there, are you next to the periodicals?"
Blank stares.
"OK, you're from the library. What do you want?"
"Love" "A Date", they blurted out.
"Wow, you guys are really bad at this. I'm not even gay. Maybe you could just date each other." 
"No", said Fanny Pack, "You checked out How To Find Love Or Maybe Even Get A Date: For Dummies last year and you haven't returned it."
"Oh, yeah. I already told the lady down at the library, that I'm pretty sure that I turned that in."
"We don't have it."
"Oh well, I'll look for it later. Bye." and I started to close the door.
Pocket Protector stuck his foot in the door and said in a cracking, I'm almost a big boy voice, "That's not good enough Mr. Mann." and then, "Ow, that really hurt. Why did you close that so hard?"
"What?! Why did you stick your foot in my door?"
Pocket Protector hopped around on one foot "Ow, ow, ow, ow"
Fanny Pack took over, "We want that book back."
"I don't have it."
"We have ways."
"We have ways."
"Are you trying to threaten me?"
"People aren't returning their materials to the library. You leave us with no choice, we will have to force you to return what you borrowed."
"So you are the library muscle? You're going to intimidate people into returning stuff, huh? Not intimidated. Go away."
"Mr Mann, don't make us get ugly"
"What are you going to do? Say 'Ni' to me?"
"Who told you that?"
"That was really your plan?"
"Not all of it."
Pocket Protector, hobbled over and said, "Ni!"
"No, no, stop. He already knows about that. Let's go to plan B."
"Is that the one with the nun chucks? Because I left mine at home. Mom said I couldn't have them back until I pay for the china hutch."
"No, it's the one where we do the math thing."
"Oh right"
They both scrunched up their faces and started reciting numbers in a cadence normally reserved for magic spells.
"3, point, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9, 2, 6..."
"Are you reciting pi? 'cause that isn't really a math thing. More memorization than anything."
"We're going to recite pi, until your head can't handle the immensity of that mystical number, and your head implodes. Or you can give us the book back?"
"I don't have it, you dorks."
"We aren't dorks, we're nerds. We took a quiz and everything."
"3, point, 1, 4, 1, 5, 9..."
"I'm going to punch you in the pi-hole if you don't get off my porch."
Fanny Pack recoiled and reached into his fanny pack, "Don't touch me, I know how to use this!"
and pulled out a phaser.
"Is that a phaser from Star Trek?"
"A working one!"
"It is not."
"It is. And I got it set on kill."
"I am going set my fists on goo-ify, if you don't get out of here."
I moved out onto the porch to shoo them away and Pocket Protector glanced past me. His face went copy paper white. He started backing down the stairs muttering to Fanny Pack, "Erethay isay a-ay edday irlgay onay ishay ouchcay."
Fanny Pack looked at Pocket Protector in confusion, his phaser limp at his side. "What? I mean ahtway?"
Pocket Protector pointed, screamed "He murdered that girl", and then did his best Steven Seagal impression. Not the fighting one, but the running like a super effeminate track star one.
Fanny Pack, meekly looked around me at the living room couch, blanched, got a little wobbly, decided he could pass out after he had put some distance between us and took off.
     I watched the Library Enforcers bravely run away and then turned to see what had spooked them. Laying on the couch under a sheet that was white in a previous incarnation, was Laura. Partially dried blood covering her face and a good part of the sheet. Wow. She does look dead. I hope she isn't dead. That would really be an awkward Facebook status update. I cautiously walked toward her, making sure Conan was still across the room dining on my Lazyboy. "Laura?"
     Remembering how my last couple of meetings with Laura had gone I picked up a dessicated cushion Conan had yet to ingest and held it in front of my face. No more head trauma, I'm gonna need to think someday.
"Laura? Are you OK? Are you alive? Do you need some CPR?"
I inched forward, wary of things flying towards my face. Bill the Cat chose that exact moment to make his reappearance, rocketing from under the couch Laura was on and rushing headlong into my groinal area. The air left my lungs and I dropped to my knees in pain. Laura's foot found the opening, it had obviously been waiting for and, swept passed the lowered pillow to connect with my ear with a loud Batmanish THWACK. Or that's what I assumed it sounded like. But I wouldn't know, because once again I folded up and took a little break from waking life.

As I start to come to, that idiotic canine garbage disposal is licking my face, probably a little taste test before he starts taking real bites. "GET AWAY FROM ME!", and I swing my elbow; hard. When I connect, the licking stops, but man can that dog cuss up a blue streak! Wait, what?!
   I open my eyes and Laura is holding her nose, which is streaming blood. She is also cussing. A lot. She could make a Marine blush. She is putting curse words, inside of other curse words, inside of completely different curse words; like Russian nesting dolls, except for with naughty words. Eventually, actual words started being inserted into the stream of filth flowing from her.

"What in the BLEEEEP did you BLEEEPITY BLEEP BLEEPING BLEEP, do that for?"
"I'm sorry. I thought it was your dog."
"You thought Conan was washing your BLEEPING face with a BLEEPING washcloth?!"
"No. I thought he was getting ready to eat me."
"And what? He's was just going to BLEEPING clean you the BLEEP up, first?"
"NO. I thought the washcloth was a tongue!"
"You have some serious issues, if you can't tell the difference between a tongue and a washcloth"
"Hello! Knocked out! And by you, I might add. And not for the first time today. Why did you kick me? And while we are on the subject why were you laying on my couch under a sheet?"
"I kicked you because I am in a strange house, and I woke up and there was a man next to me who was grunting."
"My cat got scared, and hit me in the junk. It hurt. When I bent over, YOU PUNTED MY HEAD!"
"And the sheet thing?"
"Oh, I'm BLEEPING sorry. After you took a nap at the base of the stairs, I couldn't find the good linens so I just grabbed whatever I could find and crashed out on the couch. I realized it was you that I had kicked, and although you might be the dumbest person I have met, you seem harmless. I am pretty sure that Conan ate my keys, because his stomach keeps chirping; that clears you of stealing my keys. So I stumbled around til I found the kitchen, got a washcloth and a pan with some water in it and I was cleaning you up, when I met Mr. BLEEPING Elbow."
"I'm sorry I elbowed you in the nose."
"You BLEEPIN' better be. It hurt."
"I'm also sorry you used the sheet I use to pick up dead animals off the side of the road with as a blanket."
   But this time I was too quick, I ducked and her fist missed my face by inches. I went ahead and backed out of groin kicking range while I was at it. Conan was tied up to the bannister at the base of the stairs, and Fred was hanging off the ceiling fan, so I felt relatively safe for the moment. I figured I would just sit quietly against the door while Laura tried to see if profanity could REALLY peel the wall paper off the walls. After several minutes in which she questioned my sexuality, my genealogy, my ability to sire children, and various other ineptitude's, she eventually simmered down to a slow boil. I figured this would be a good time to try and interject something.
"I'm sorry. If I had been awake I would have offered you a real blanket. But I was lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs."
"That is no BLEEPING excuse, why do you have that inside?"
"It was pretty gross, I was going to wash it. Didn't you think it smelled a little funky?"
"Everything in this house smells pretty funky."
"Do you want to take a shower?"
"I wouldn't take a shower with you, if I was covered with road kill, and you had the only shower around."
"You are, I am. But I meant, by yourself."
"OK, that sounds good, I can't get into my house until the lock guy shows up, and he can't be here until late."
"There is a shower upstairs, you can use that."
"Does it have a lock?"
"A two way mirror or a peep hole?"
"What? No."
"OK. Lead away Mcduff."
"No, I'm Fred Mann."
"It's a saying, you putz."
   She offered me her arm and I led her up the stairs, pausing to untie Conan, her 'portable security system'. When we got to upstairs I was glad that she was blind, as I surveyed my wreck of a room from the hallway. Hell, the whole house was kind of a wreck.
"What a mess."
"How can you tell? You're blind."
"My nose works fine. AND we're walking on trash and dirty laundry."
"Good point. I'll pick up a little while you shower. Let me grab something for you to wear real quick. I have a track suit my mom gave me that I have never worn. One, because I haven't been that small since I was a sophomore in high school, and two because I look ridiculous with 'Juicy' written across my ass."
"I'm sure you do."
   I got her set up in the bathroom. Before I left to launch a full scale assault on the dirty house, I remembered something very important and knocked on the door. Over the sound of the running water, the bathroom fan and Conan gnawing on my bathroom rug, I shouted.
"Hey Laura, you need to close the blinds in the bathtub."
"Close the blinds in the bathtub!"
"I got it."
   I left to get a snow shovel and some large plastic bags in the garage, to commence 'operation unbachelorize the house'. After several big bags were filled up and thrown neatly at the bottom of the stairs I got a text from Mike, the creepy next door neighbor. It simply said "nice" and had several blurry cell phone pictures of an elaborate tattoo on a girl's mostly naked back. The window that was framing those pictures looked oddly familiar. As did the house attached to said window. Oh, crap! That's my house, and my bathroom window, and that's my hopefully future mostly naked girl that Mike is ogling.

5)I ran to the bathroom door and banged politely on the door.
"Hey Laura?"
"What? I'm in the shower!"
"Uh, Laura do you have a huge tattoo on your back?"
"A tattoo. Do you have a tattoo on your back?"
"I knew you were spying on me. That's why I didn't take off my underwear or bra. You freaking pervert, I'm gonna..."
"It isn't me, it's you."
"What? I'm the pervert?"
"No. You didn't close the blinds."
"Yes, I'm blind. Duh."
"THE BLINDS. There are blinds in the bathtub, you didn't close them. Mike the next door neighbor just sent me pictures of you."
"You're letting the neighbors look at me in the shower?"
"I'm not doing letting anyone do anything! You're the one giving the peep show. Close the blinds!"
I could hear Laura fumble around with the blinds and eventually hear them slam shut.
"Why do you have blinds in your bathroom? And why didn't you tell me?"
"I told you. Close the blinds, I said."
"You said something about and blind girl with no clothes in the bathroom."
"No, I said 'close the blinds! You probably couldn't hear me because that animal of yours is loudly destroying my bathroom."
"I'm sure he isn't destroying it."
"Oh really? I don't remember a hole in my door before."
"Oh wah! Like your house wasn't a pit, even before we showed up."
"Do you have many friends? 'Cause you're kinda acting like a bitch. Beautiful, yes. Nice, no."
"Gosh, am I? Am I not being nice to the the guy who got me drug down the street and tied up, covered in road kill, punched in the face, and to top it off, has naked pictures of me on his phone?"
"An elbow."
"I elbowed you in the face, I didn't punch you."
"I'm tired of talking to you. Can I just finish my shower? Or do you have any other nasty surprises for me?"
"Nope. Being mostly naked for the neighborhood to see, about covers it."
     So I left and went back to my cleaning efforts. I wonder, is it always this hard to have a relationship? Is there always this much blood involved? Speaking of bleeding, I wonder where Bill the Cat is? Hmm, last time I saw him he was on the ceiling fan. I should go check on him.
     Yup, he's still there. Maybe I should turn it off, he's looking a little dizzy. As the fan turns to a stop, Bill looks down at me and gives me a plaintive meow.
"It's OK Bill, that bad old dog is upstairs, you can come down now."
     Bill looks down at me knowingly, throws up on my head in reply, and falls off of the fan claws first, leaving long angry lines down my face and arms as I attempt to catch him. Bill runs in a serpentine pattern into the the kitchen. Now that he's empty, he needs to reload.
"Argh! You got to be frickin' kidding me."
     I can't even take a shower. Laura is hogging up my bathroom. Ugh, I'll go outside and spray the vomit off with a garden hose. As I open the front door, Mike is coming up the stairs.
"Hey man, who's the hot chick? Why did you close the blinds? Is she still here? Can I meet her? Oh my God, what is that smell?"
"Cat vomit."
"Dude, why don't you just cuss? You sound silly with all those sort-of curse words."
"No, Mike. It's cat vomit. On me. That's what smells."
"Oh. Why don't you go take a shower at my place and I'll watch your chick for you."
"That isn't some chick, that's Laura from down the street."
"Dude, I'm pretty sure she's a chic. I got some pretty good pictures, to prove it."
"Mike, go away, or I'll tell Laura to sick Conan on you."
"Conan is here? Oh man, I forgot about that vicious thing. Did you tell her it was me?"
"Yup, already did. If it were me, I would get out of here."
"I'm gone. Tell her I'm sorry. I didn't know it was her. Tell her I'll get rid of the pictures."
"Will you?"
"Nah, probably not."
"Mike unless you leave right now, I'm going to give you a big pukey hug."
"Echhh. OK I'm outta here, we'll talk later."
"I hope not."
     I go around the side of the house, turn on the hose and begin to wash the throw up, off of myself. Hmm. I'll have to remember that for next time. Water out of a hose, in the sun in Las Vegas, Nevada, comes out of said hose, somewhere north of boiling. I have to strip, to make sure my pants don't stick to the burns that have surely appeared on my legs as the lava-like water shot out of the hose. My legs are red, and I'm pretty sure there will be blisters at some point but for right now there aren't open wounds. The water eventually approaches a temperature that doesn't melt metal, and I rinse the cat vomit, blood and various other exotic foreign substances I have acquired in the last couple of days.
     I make my way back to the front door, covering myself with my wadded up clothes. As I reach the front  steps, the wind catches the door and it slams shut, in a slow motioney way, replete with me reaching out and yelling "NOOOOOooooooo!" as I realize that my keys are sitting on the hook next to the door and I am standing on my front step in my tighty whiteys.