Slim Dyson’s Book Release Party/Event/Mega Throw-Down
Today, the most excellent gents from A Beer for the Shower are releasing their e-book “The Sensationally Absurd Life and Times of Slim Dyson.” To celebrate, they are having a contest to see which blogger can throw the silliest hypothetical party for their story’s hapless hero, Slim Dyson.
This is my tale, written from the perspective of a slightly more wino-y, worse-for-the-wear version of myself. All the classic elements are here, folks: friendship, discovery, giant alley rats, and even a little revenge.
The story thus far: Slim Dyson is a homeless writer who has hit the big time but chooses to stay in his shelter. His “girlfriend” Amelia is a royal b-e-o-t-c-h who wanted nothing to do with him until his million dollar payday. Slim has come to California to make a movie about his story. Unfortunately, Amelia has concocted a lie that all his shelter buddies back home in Denver hate him now that he’s rich, so the ever-optimistic Slim is feeling a little down and out.
A rainy day is a bad day for a wino. I didn’t think anything could possibly come along to make me feel less miserable. I was huddled against the wall under the bank building’s overhang, in a 5-by-10 inch area that was the only dry spot in my alleyway haunt.
I heard a rustle from the dumpster across the back lot. I slowly picked up my head from my scarf and peered through the drizzle. Someone was in my dumpster! A Styrofoam container came flying out suddenly and landed on the ground, a meatball or falafel rolling along the pavement. A man in a suit jacket came climbing out and chased down the rolling ball of protein. He picked it up and patted it dry on his suit, then sat on the curb next to the Styrofoam to peruse its contents. Somehow, this unusual person looked familiar.
A flash of recognition struck. In my wine-soaked brain it was more like the sputtering spark of a damp lighter, but it was a flash nonetheless. I’d seen that face on the local library computer. Heck, I’d even seen it in the newspaper. The story was everywhere, an inspiration to struggling writers.
I’d been a writer myself once. I even had a blog of random funny things called “Tit Mittens.” Sadly, I languished too long in obscurity, and what little traffic did come to my site kept leaving me angry messages about not showing “real boobies.” After several months of getting only two or so hits a day, I grew discouraged and threw myself into my work. Since I was a wine buyer in a restaurant, this meant literally drowning myself in my job, one glass of wine at a time. Pretty soon I’d pickled myself in expensive pinot noir and found myself without a job.
I stayed close by, making my ex-place of employment’s alleyway my home. My server coworkers would rush past when they saw me, but my old kitchen staff was still friendly, and sometimes gave me small boxes of leftover potatoes. My former wine sales reps too, the ones I had treated kindly, often left me with unfinished wine samples. Maybe they were saving themselves from potential hangovers, but nonetheless I appreciated their gifts.
And then there were the rats. They didn’t accept me at first but some restaurant scraps quickly changed that.
I decided to brave the drizzle to welcome this hero to my humble alleyway home. “Slim?” I said as I approached. “Slim Dyson?” He looked up at me and smiled; I don’t think I’d ever felt a glow from a person that was so bright and genuine. He was even more handsome in person then he was in his photos, even if his patchy facial hair was streaked with grey and sticking out at odd angles.
“Hi! I hope I haven’t invaded your space here,” He said, gesturing towards the dumpster. “My girlfriend was trying to take me to Le, le pa pue,” he stuttered out some nasally syllables. “Ugh, I don’t know what it’s called. But they wanted to charge 20 dollars for a burger with moldy cheese. I told her she could eat there, but that I would see what else the fine city of LA had to offer.”
“I can’t believe it’s you! Why are you in LA? Do you like it?” I asked, aglow. My cheeks burned like I’d just had my breakfast glass of wine.
“Well, I must admire your weather. What a warm December day,” he said. No wonder he had flopped down on that wet curb without a care. “Truth be told, I’m not here under the best circumstances. My friends back home have turned against me, and I miss them terribly. Today my memoirs are being released as a e-book, and I don’t have anyone to celebrate with.” Sadness clouded Slim’s face.
“Amelia’s idea of celebrating was going to Le Moldy Burger, and shopping for a few new coats at Neiman Markups. All I want is a good card game with my old shelter buddies.”
I wanted desperately to bring back Slim’s happy glow, as it was the nicest thing I’d seen in months. “I know!” I tried to say excitedly. I didn’t have much but I could do my best. “We could have a mini-party right here. I have some vino,” I pointed to my Wine Bucket Vineyards canvas bag under the bank overhang with my assortment of 3-day-old samples. “And a deck of cards even.”
“Yeah?” Slim’s scraggly beard twitched hopefully.
I ran down the ramp to the back door of my old restaurant, and waved in at the brightly lit space. “Muchachos, la musica, por favor!”
The cooks waved back at me, and the dishwasher nodded, smiling, and turned his radio toward the door. He cranked up the volume on some cheesy Latin pop music.
“Why not celebrate now?” I smiled at Slim.
“But what about Amelia when she comes back? She won’t be happy to see me having fun without her.”
Ah Amelia, I remembered her: The librarian who could barely hide her disgust for Slim in their interviews and pictures. Hmm… I fished around in my pockets. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she’s happy.”
We were kickin’ it outside my restaurant’s back door, LA hobo style. The rain had slowed down to a faint sprinkle, and we were engaged in an intense game of poker. The Latin music was blaring, and even though Slim’s brow was furrowed in concentration, he was bobbing along with the beat. It was only Five Card Draw poker, but it was the best I could do with the rats, as it had taken months to get them to stop nibbling at the cards. Soon, I’d teach them Texas Hold ‘Em.
I’d introduced Slim to Monkey, the prankster rat who liked to bite my nose in the middle of the night and run away, and Wobble Gut, who was my BFF of all the rats, evident by the size of his belly, swollen with restaurant food; Spidey, with his amazing acrobatics, who had a knack for making passersbys scream, and Brigette, who had already shown a special fondness for Slim, and was burrowed contentedly in his suit pocket.
Slim asked why Ridley, the biggest of the rats, was at the outskirts of our gathering and not joining in. “Well, he’s a little sensitive about his ‘condition.’ I did some research at the library, it’s something related to the Bubonic plague but not contagious, it just leaves these… things around his mouth,” I explained to Slim.
The rats suddenly scurried away as a madwoman came flying up the landing. All except Brigette, oblivious in her slumber, and Ridley, watching the newcomer quietly from his hiding spot. Amelia had finally found us.
“Slim!” She was as I had expected, steely-eyed and stern. She might have actually been pretty if it weren’t for her awful scowl. “I had to walk around the block twice in these heels to find you. What is that in your pocket?”
I already had my plan in place. While Amelia was berating Slim, I slipped over to the kitchen door. I got the attention of the salad prep guy, Luis, who was also a brujo, a witch. I only seen his work in action once, but it was enough: One night a woman ordered a salad with ten modifications (no dressing, extra crotuons, all the toppings on the side, etc.) and was suddenly compelled, after eating Luis’ specially prepared salad, to walk around the restaurant asking if anyone had seen her dog Vagina, she was missing her Vagina. I passed Luis some wadded up dollar bills, ten in total, and he traded me a box that contained a special chocolate truffle.
“Psst, Slim look, I was able to sneak one of the chef’s special chocolates!” I interrupted. “He is famous for these!”
Amelia, who caught sight of the box, felt the lure of the hechizo meant just for her. She snatched the box out of my hand as I passed it to Slim, and, without hesitating, popped the chocolate in her mouth.
“Oh my gosh, this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted,” she moaned, and staggered off in ecstasy to go sit against the back parking lot’s stairs and savor her chocolate in peace.
Slim sighed. “I’ve had a good time with you tonight Winopants, but I need to get Amelia back to the hotel. I hope we meet again.”
“Anytime Slim. You know where to find me.”
“Ah, sweet Brigette,” Slim tenderly scooped the sleeping rat from his pocket. “I’ll come back soon, I promise. Amelia, I’m ready,” he called toward the stairs.
Suddenly Slim’s face twisted in surprise and anguish. “Amelia, my love, no!”
I looked up the ramp, at Luis the Brujo’s latest handiwork: Amelia was stretched out on the stairs, chocolate smeared across her cheek, making out with Ridley, the giant, diseased rat.
Maybe Slim didn’t know it yet, but it was the best gift I could have given him.