Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, July 06, 2007

Total Responsibility

Fluttering white and orange, I saw the money order caught on a parked car's tire outside of the Belmont-Clark currency exchange. I glanced around, and only one guy seemed to be looking for it, and he wore a T-shirt, a loincloth, and women's shoes, so I picked up the money order and walked briskly away.

The amount read fifty and 00/100 dollars, purchased by Jorge Delaselva. I felt more pleased than guilty to see that Jorge had neglected to fill out the space after "pay to the order of." I took the money order home, found a blue ball-point pen, and filled in my name in my best imitation of Jorge's printing, that is, obviously forged. I walked to the bank.

"I'd like to cash this," I told the teller, "but first would you make me a photocopy for my records?"

"Okay," she said.

I put the copy in my back pocket along with the receipt for the transaction.

At the corner store, I bought a pint of Jack Daniels and some Corn Nuts with my new crisp fifty dollar bill.

"Could I have a receipt for that?" I asked Mr. Ashir, the proprietor.

"Yes sir," he said.

"Business expense," I muttered.

He nodded.

On my way to my apartment, I sipped the whiskey, still concealed in a black plastic bag and put some Fleetwood Mac on my iPod.

In front of my computer, I pulled heavy on the bottle. Warmth cascaded down my throat, then back up a little, then back down. I read a little about Scooter Libby's pardon, and then e-mailed Cheney. The message: Fuck you. The title: Hey, Asshole! (I think the First Amendment is still in effect. Yes? No? Mostly?)

I drank until Stevie Nicks convinced me to put on the nearly transparent black dress that I keep in my closet for, well, that reason. I decided to take a walk, armed with an aluminum softball bat against the forces of intolerance. My neighbor's wife, clothed in her standard silver Serbian tracksuit, was coming up the stairs.

"Hello," she said -- she doesn't speak much English.

"Hello," I said.

She pointed at me, up and down. "My husband same thing."

"Comfortable," I said.

She nodded, but I could tell she didn't understand what I meant by "comfortable."

Double parked in front of my building, blocking the street, was a black LX '07. The driver was still inside, talking on his cell phone. Seven cars behind him honked in great, hateful cacophony. I pulled the Jack Daniels out of my bra and took a hit.

I choked up on the bat. I smashed the driver's side window.

The driver pulled a gun on me. And then a badge.

I dropped the bat and the Jack.

"Get on the ground," he growled.

"Hold on," I said. I handed him my driver's license, a photocopy of the money order, and the receipts. "When I found the money order, there was no payee. Read the bottom. Aloud please."

He read:

"Replacement of this instrument, if necessary, will begin 30 days after the purchase date. There will be a fee charged for this service. The purchaser of this instrument agrees to insert the name of the payee and assumes total responsibility for any events made possible by failure to do so."

"So where is this Jorge Delaselva?" he asked.

"Up your ass," I told him.


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