Accordion, A Story From Broken

Broken

Soon as I get to the door, some chunky guy pushes his way through while playing the accordion. Followed by five of his friends, each holding a case of beer.

Maybe it’s me, but this was not one of those moments where Charlie Sheen would’ve said, “Winning!”

#MichaelEssington #Broken

 

 

Salvation

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Racism, A Story From Broken

Broken

I ran up to 7-11 to get my son some Wite-Out. He told me at 8:30 that he will need it for a class project tomorrow morning at 9:00.

I buzzed the store, the girl on the phone said they had it. I would have just driven to Target or something, but tonight the wife has a meeting and had the car.
So, I walk into the Oasis of overpriced shit. I find the aisle with pencils, glue sticks, and assorted crap.

I bend over to check everything on the bottom of the rack, a Hispanic guy in a beanie comes barreling down the row, hollering, “Excuse me, excuse me. Oh, you’re white I guess you may take up all the room you want.”

I stood up, looked to see where my son was. He was questioning the cashier on the whereabouts of this very elusive Wite-out.

I headed towards the back of the store to thump my new racist friend.

Just as I have him pressed against the glass door for the Cerveza, my son calls out, “Hey dad, the lady says they don’t have Wite-out.” I walk away.

As we head towards the front door my new amigo yells out, “I have no money!” Then says “Hey, buddy, do you have any cash for me?”

Just as I was entertaining shoving the beanie up his ass the clerk yelled at him to stop bothering the customers and to leave.

I waited around for a second, kind of hoping to lay this guy out. He opened the door, looked both ways, then ran the opposite direction down the street.

#MichaelEssington #Broken

 

 

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#MichaelEssington #Salvation

 

 

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Fire With Fire, A Story From Broken

Broken

Two nights ago, my son and I went for an evening walk. Midway through the walk, we stopped at the corner 7-11 to get a bottle of water to share.

In the doorway was a homeless black man. He was yelling back and forth with the Middle Eastern man behind the counter. I couldn’t make out the words, but it didn’t appear pleasant.

I walked around and to the side of him and opened the door wider, hoping to get around him. No such luck.

Then, all at once, he spun around and talked to Lucas and me. If he was going off the rails, I would’ve turned around and left. I’ve decided that my new motto is “I don’t do crazy.” Much to the annoyance of others. I’ll offer pocket money or food, but if you go bat-shit, well, I gotta go.

This guy looked at us and yelled, “You gotta fight fire with fire.” I looked at Lucas, and he pushed on into the store. I nodded at the guy and went in. We got our water, paid and left. Halfway out of the parking lot, the guy screamed at us again, “Hey man, you gotta fight fire with fire!” I smiled, waved and sped up.

He yells again, “It was cold, I put on a goddamn jacket, then I got hot and I bought an ice cream cone. See what I’m saying? Ya gotta fight fire with fire! Remember that shit!”

As we got around the corner, I looked at my son and said, “I couldn’t make out everything that guy was saying. Did you understand him?”

Lucas looked at me and said, “Dad, he wanted you to fight fire with fire.”

#MichaelEssington #Broken

 

 

Salvation

Diego, A Story From Broken

Broken

Back when my boy was three or four, I was working at a Spanish TV and radio station in Burbank. It was around this time that Lucas was addicted to the Diego cartoon.

Lucas would give me Diego updates every day, what animals were rescued, which ones were fed, etc.

One day on my lunch break, while heading to the bank, I passed Nickelodeon Studios (home of Dora and Diego). I figured I’d buzz them once I was back at work.

Once I finished at the bank and got back to my desk, I pulled up Nick.com and found a number. Buzzed them and told them my boy loved their shows and I was curious if they had any promotional stuff he could have, like a Dora picture or a Diego poster or whatever. The person on the phone said, “Yeah, I’m sure we can dig something up.”

I said, cool. And drove over there on my break. Parked and clicked the buzzer on the security door, “Yes, can I help you?” I explained the promo stuff, they let me in.

Once inside, it was like an ant farm, people running in every direction. Then some young Tom Cruise looking guy (you know, messy, but controlled hair) walked up and asked what I was looking for. I explained. He stood there for a minute when another Tom Cruise type stops to help. Within minutes I had five people trying to figure out how to get me what I wanted.

You know how there are those people you loathe at first glance? Well, this blonde white woman walked over and said, “What’s going on here?” One of the Tom Cruise’s explained.

The loathsome blonde looks me up and down, sneers and says, “Look, I’m headed to a meeting, I don’t have time to stand around and look for Dora and Diego pictures.”

I’m not sure why this bothered me the way it did, but it did.

“Nobody asked you to stand around, go to your fucking meeting.”

“What, what?”

“Go.”

I headed towards the door. Tom Cruise number one walked me out. He apologized for not having any pictures. I apologized for cursing. He laughed.

On the drive back to work I figured out why she pissed me off so much. It’s classism. She was a VP or executive, so she had this false sense of importance. I hate that.

#MichaelEssington #Broken

 

 

Salvation

1995, A Story From Broken

Broken

Back in 1995, I found out my live-in girlfriend was seeing/carrying-on with two different guys. So, I packed as much as I could into a black hefty bag, paged a friend and left. But not before I kissed my one-year-old daughter on the forehead as she slept in her crib.

The old friend pulled into my driveway, I walked out. I would’ve left in my car, but just weeks earlier the engine on my ride died, it cracked, croaked and everything else. I sold it for scraps.

As I walked out the door my, now, ex yells, “If you walk out now, you can never come back.” I nodded and said, I knew. As I closed the door, I heard rumblings of “Punk ass white boy.”

I knew I needed transportation, a job and something to keep me busy—quick.

A friend I had lost touch with, about eight years earlier tracked me down and got a job at Kinko’s. She was dating the manager there and said I could grab any shift I wanted. I chose the night shifts. Later the better. Night time is when I missed my daughter the most. Once I had money the manager let me take the Kinko’s van home on weekends, making it easier for me to take my daughter on weekends.

After about six months they promoted me to assistant manager in the computer department and then moved across town to another Kinko’s. I spent the next couple of months trying to move up and out to a different location. I became a cleanup manager. When different Kinko’s would end a computer department, they would send me into overall and streamline everything. Once that was done, I’d leave. I was hired full-time at the Pasadena location.

I’ve always loved Pasadena; it’s like Downtown L.A. without being as filthy. And 90% less homeless people peeing in alleys.

When I first got to Pasadena, the computer staff did not like me. I had already earned the reputation as the “cleanup” guy, and no one likes things being changed.

Over time everything fell into place. Everything became familiar fast. For example, there was a Hispanic homeless man that sat on a bench a half a block down and every day we’d have the same conversation as if we were both stuck in the movie Groundhog Day:

“Con permiso, you have matches?”

“No, I have no matches.”

“You have cigarettes?”

“No, I don’t have a cigarette.”

“You have marijuana?”

I wouldn’t need to answer because he would laugh so hard he’d be rolling off the bench.

I would see the marijuana man daily, but one of my favorite people would be opera man. Once a week this little-challenged man, who wore glasses and was about five feet five, would walk into Kinko’s, stand in the middle of the lobby and bust into the loudest, booming opera you have ever heard. He would scare the shit out of some people, while others would ask me, “What station are you playing?” Then after a couple of minutes, he’d turn and walk out the door.

Then one of the coolest oddballs was this black lady (who was also mentally challenged) that came to the store about once a month. She would walk in and wave over every Kinko’s employee and hand them one or two blue cans of some kind of Spam-like canned meat.

She was quick about this. I’d be in my office and she would come up behind me and drop two cans on my desk and bolt out of there. Not a word was spoken. The one time I was able to make eye-contact with her, she just smiled and rushed away.

Something about all the chaos kept the customers on their toes. If an employee was starting to get chewed out and Opera-Man popped up the customer would be completely out of sorts and have to restart the thought process. It was kind of cool.

After a year of working in Pasadena, I was transferred to Glendale and then over to Monrovia. Finally, I decided I didn’t want to hear the sound of copy machines anymore and I left to work for a design studio that was contracted with Universal Pictures.

I still think about Pasadena all the time.

#MichaelEssington #Broken

 

 

Salvation

Interview, A Story From Broken

Broken

In October 2015, I was hanging out at a club downtown when I was approached by a female and asked to do an interview.

At first, I kind of, said, “Nah, I’m tired, I have nothing to say.”

The response was, “Come on, I’ll ask you different stuff, comic book stuff, movie stuff. Growing up in L.A. stuff.”

“Fine. When?”

“At the end the night.”

“If I’m here, we will do it.”

I walked away to talk with people outside.

End of the night I saw none of the interview people around, so, I said my goodbyes and left.

“Hey, wait. Don’t you want to do the interview?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“OK, so check it out, our last interview we did in the men’s room. We both squeezed into a stall and did the interview.”

“Never gonna fuckin’ happen.”

“What? Why?”

“Are you fuckin’ with me? In a stall?”

“No, it’ll be fun.”

“I have kids. I will not have them pull up YouTube and watch me in a stall with some broad. Not going to happen.”

“OK, fine. Check it out, the first interview we did, this punk rock singer did his interview while taking a piss down the street from the Redwood.”

“Not fuckin’ doing it.”

“Why? We’re doing edgy, funny stuff.”

“I’m the wrong guy to ask to do an interview for your channel.”

“OK, fine. No bathroom stuff.”

“I’m not sure I want to be interviewed.”

“OK, Nothing too crazy. I’m just going to change to this other microphone.”

“Why?”

“It’s a dildo microphone.”

“The fuck?”

“Just speak into it. It’s a real microphone.”

“Let me see if you lost your fuckin’ mind — talk to the dildo?”

“Yeah, it’s funny.”

“Check it out, I’m outta here. Enjoy the fuckin’ microphone.”

“Wait, why?”

“Did you miss the whole, I have kids” thing?”

“OK, this will be boring.”

“I’m doing the interview Miles Davis-style.”

“What does that mean?”

“I will stand with my back to the camera and only answer some questions.”

“Oh my god?”

“Maybe.”

“OK, real quick. A regular interview.”

“OK.”

They never put the interview on their channel. I do not understand why.

#michaelessington #broken

 

 

Salvation