Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Temporary Fruit-Related Rating System

On a scale of 1 to 10, my trip back to Indiana was this frowning apple.

My poor mom got a churningly bad stomach flu and spent her days mostly sleeping or barfing. She was extremely angry with herself for getting sick for the entirety of my visit. She's like that. My mother blames herself for getting the flu. This is where I learned to blame myself for such things.

Still, it was fantastic to be in my tiny hometown. I didn't mind playing nursemaid. I'd been homesick and now I was a galaxy away from the filth and noise and wall-to-wall illegals in Phoenix. Back home, everyone speaks English. Or at least a backwoods version of it. Very refreshing.

There was a fall festival taking place in the park, right next to the condo where my parents live. Carnival rides came to town. 20 or so booths sold cheap, tacky crap like glittery ceramic dragons and Dale Earnhardt memorial T-shirts. I took a walk to investigate while Mom and Dad were napping, Mom on the verge of hurling, Dad overjoyed to be napping with her all day. His favorite thing.

One booth at the shindig was nothing but knives and guns. Fake military guns that looked just like the real thing, or at least real enough to get you swiss-cheesed by armed police if they saw you wielding one. The knives were overly ornate and bejeweled and effeminate looking, in a butch way. The guy running the booth was 65-ish, no bottom teeth, and looked very much like Mr. Haney from "Green Acres." He sat on a tall stool and had a fat chihuahua on his lap.

He looked at my T-shirt, which bore the name of my former university.

"What kinda school is that?" he asked, as though my shirt said "Running Diarrhea University."

"Uh, the one in the state next to this one," I said.

He looked to his left, within arm's length, at another guy about his age who was manning the adjoining booth filled with tools and flashlights and household gadgets you can buy more conveniently at Kmart. This second guy wore a Clemson t-shirt.

The chihuahua holder looked back at me and said "You know what kinda school Clemson is?"

"No," I said. "What kind?"

"It's a n*gger school!" And then he belted out a laugh that woke the chihuahua, and raised his spidery eyebrows repeatedly at me, as if to punctuate the funny hanging in the air. The Clemson shirt guy looked at me with a pained smile, obviously the butt of this joke a hundred or so times. All because he chose badly when renting booth space.

"So," I said to the comic. "You talk to total strangers like that and nobody's killed you yet?"

"Oh hell no they ain't." It was then that I looked down at the assortment of knives and saw one of those mean-ass circular blade things that you zip through the air like a deadly frisbee and slice someone's neck so deeply they become an instant Pez dispenser. I thought it best not to get into a discussion on race relations with a guy who sells death-blades. Still, I found his dog of interest. It cuddled up against him in a desperate way.

"What's your dog's name?" I asked.

"Oh, that's Puppy Dog," he said, as he scratched Puppy Dog's neck. "Wanna hear her story?"

"Are you going to say anything foul?"


And then he went on to tell me that he'd gotten Puppy Dog (creative, no?) from the humane shelter when she was 10 weeks old. She had been owned by a wealthy couple. A couple who fought a lot. Once when the woman got very very angry with her husband, she took his tiny puppy and lowered it into a pan of boiling macaroni and cheese, burning the hide off its hindquarters. The husband called the police.

"All that bitch got was 200 hours of community service. But then she hired somebody to go do them hours for her. And when the court found out, they gave her 12 years." Puppy Dog was looking up at his owner's face, I swear, as if to say "THIS story again?"

"And I took ole Puppy Dog to court when that bitch got sentenced, just so she could see it happen." Scratch, scratch, scratch on the dog's head. "It didn't mean nothin' to her, but I wanted her to be there."

"Was this in Indiana?"

"No...back home. South Carolina."

I had a new story from the outside world to take home to Mom. It was time to buy a Lemon Shake-up and head back to the condo to check on her.


  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Did you eat any cotton candy or candy apples? Get a corn dog or some taffy?

    That story about the chihuahua is a corker. Hope she did get 12 years.

    I've been in 48 of the 50 states; been in several cities in each state.
    Racism is mostly ignorance and economics. Racism dwells the deepest in the lower socio-economic groups--the mean kind of racism that is.

    Prejudice is present in other social groups, but it's not the violent kind. I think prejudice is evolutionary; it's about territory and competition for food and breeding rights. Every group is prejudice against some other group.

    You get tired of it. Tired of the innuendo, the sinister asides, the comments. I think it's natural to want to live among the people you understand--the ones you look like and talk like and share values with. It's more comfortable.

    Small towns are nice in the fall.

  • At 11:13 AM, Blogger Norma said…

    Wow that guy sounds like my former neighbor. The one that kept asking me if i was Chinese or Japanese.

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, my favorite "carnie" food to eat is a candied apple, the red candy-covered ones. They didn't have any.

    There is very pointed racism in my hometown. I didn't even have the opportunity to speak to a black person until high school. There was exactly one "colored" family with kids in my school. And they didn't stay long.

  • At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Are you sure you weren't in MY hometown?

    One thing that I did like very much about Phoenix was that my children had friends of all different ethic backgrounds. Where we live now is similar, in that respect.

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Excellent story--I liked how you came back at him, too. I'm a big fat coward and would've just fled the scene

  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    Yeah, ditto. I'm a coward too. It's so cool to hear about other people that have the nerve, though. He seemed like an oddly warm fellow after the court story. Too bad he's so ignorant. It was also nice to hear that the psycho animal hater got some prison time. yey. = ]

  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis, yes, this part of the world is definitely more colorful than where you are. Except for the changing of the leaves there.

  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Mel, I'm a coward too. But I guess when I don't have a response or am jarred by what someone says, my self-preservation instinct makes me say something jarring back to them. Also, it helped that talking to that guy was really more like talking to a caricature than a real person. Only the dog made him seem real to me.

    Citlali...Yeah, he was an "oddly warm fellow." That's a good way to put it. I'm sure he says "please" and "thank you" at the lynchings he attends. :)

    And as for animal torturers, my wish for them is ALWAYS to get exactly the same treatment they put out. So someday that hag will be in hell in a vat of boiling macaroni.

  • At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your fellow Running Diarrhea alumni and I are sorry that you apparently don't look back on your days at RDU as fondly as we do. Why, I get a little teary-eyed every time I think of our mascot--T.P., the (almost empty) double-roll of toilet tissue.

    P.S. Is your frowning apple smoking a cigar? I thought he was trying to quit.

  • At 4:06 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    But I chose to see the roll as half full, not half empty. It's all in the attitude you know.

    And nope, the frowning apple is actually having his temperature taken with a very primitive thermometer. He opted out of the rectal version.

  • At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Klansman by night, animal-rights activist by day.

    Odd combination.

  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Indeed. I'd love to see his resume.

  • At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What do you all think about Candy publishing a book about faces in fruit? I need help from all of you 'play on words' people out there to think of a title for her. Or maybe it should be faces everywhere since we don't want to leave out the floor lint or the stain faces! Eagerly waiting to read your responses to this since so many talented people read this blog!

  • At 11:14 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ha...Belle. The fruit faces have been done. Have you seen the book "Play with Your Food?" It's great. He did a follow-up called "How Are You Peeling?" But it's true...I am seeing faces everywhere. I'm starting to think my mom did some kind of acid while the Johnny Mathis was playing during my conception.

  • At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    'You talk to total strangers like that and no ones killed you yet?' Must remember. Must remember. Must remember.

    Eff it. Must write on hand. Must write on hand. Must write on hand.

  • At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Another time I didn't see you? What's it gonna take? I need to buy a dog whose rump's been in maccaroni and cheese? Cheese! Anita

  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Careful with them toxic inks, Ana!

    Anita...I didn't get to play any reindeer games. It was Florence Nightengale work all weekend. Right up to the very end.

    But if you find a source for macaroni dogs, be's probably a Michael Vick-owned company.


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