Louis

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

FROM BORN FRUSTRATED:

Years ago I worked at a medical health insurance company. I worked my ass off at this company, but I was lousy at politics. So, I would submit a groundbreaking idea, they would use it and never credit me. I would confront them they would play dumb and I’d rebel.

Somehow, in my young and dumb mind, I thought I’d win. Ultimately, after three years I was let go in a massive downsizing. Like a lot of young idiots, I had the mindset of, “They can’t let me go, they need me.” Sadly, we are all replaceable.

While the bosses were, mostly, douche-bags, I met lots of very cool people. And dated far more womenfolk than I should have.

One of the people I met in my years at the company was a Hispanic man named Louis. Louis, I believe, was from Spain and was impeccably groomed. Beard, hair, suit, you name it, he was a classy guy. Louis worked his way up in the company and ended up being the supervisor of the claims support unit.

Despite very different backgrounds, we hit it off. My sense of humor didn’t offend him much.

Anyway, I didn’t hang out with Louis much, as he was married with two pretty young daughters. He was usually homebound. Then one day after work he asked if I was going to the Happy Hour? Down the street from the job, there was a Red Onion (which I played a drunken game of pool with Kelsey Grammer) and every week someone from the job was throwing a party, someone’s birthday, someone’s last day, someone was getting married, somebody got a haircut . . . you name it, we drank to it. So, I was surprised when Louis asked. I said, “Yeah, I’m going, you?” He said, “Yeah.”

I didn’t ask Louis at the time, but I could tell something was up with him. The next time I saw him was at a house-warming party (it was really an apartment) for this girl Marlene (I think that was her name), who was the subject of much gossip herself for hooking up with a co-worker at a drunken Jacuzzi party a few months before. Anyway, Louis comes to the house-warming with his wife, who is a very nice woman, but very withdrawn. I got the impression she didn’t speak English and was shy.

Louis’ wife hadn’t left his side all night, nor did she talk. She nursed a beer and smiled and nodded. After a few hours, she startled us all by getting up and whispering, “Where’s the ladies room?”

Almost an hour goes by and someone asks Louis, “Where’s your wife?” Everybody headed towards the bathroom and all you could hear was a faint, “Help.” Turns out Louis’ wife used the restroom and went to leave and the doorknob fell off, locking her inside.

The next hour was spent trying to find tools or a screwdriver of some sort. Finally, after two hours the apartment manager provided us with a pair of pliers. Everybody took a crack and finally, we got the door open. Louis’ wife emerged very embarrassed and asked to leave immediately.

Over the next year, I would see Louis at almost every happy-hour thrown. I was never sure if it was that he was a cool boss and wanted to be “one of the guys” or that he didn’t want to go home. One of these happy hours I got pretty buzzed and let my supervisor know what I thought of him. He had been riding my ass for months, trying to fire me. But I did my job perfectly. So, he started writing me up if I came back from lunch one minute late. To keep my job I would bring my lunch and eat it at my desk. So, at this particular happy-hour, I plopped down next to him and asked him, “Do know how I’m able to put up with your shit day in and day out at work without walking out the door?” He looked concerned, and then shook his head, “No.” I continued, “Because I know that outside of work I could beat the fuck out of you, and there isn’t a thing you could do about it.” Then I smiled. My boss shot back his drink, then stood up and left. I took my drink and wandered off for the next person to talk shit to.

About a year after Louis’ wife got locked in the can, I invited him to a party at my apartment, I extended the invite to whoever he wanted to bring (I meant his wife).

Louis shows up to my apartment an hour or two late with a girl, I think her name was Ellen. I thought nothing of this since everybody at this company carpooled. Anyway, I gave them each some beer and showed them where the chips were.

I’m meeting and greeting for the next couple of hours when it hits me that I haven’t seen Louis in hours. I ask a couple of people if Louis had left. No one knew.

I wander around and walk into my room to find them dry-humping on my futon (Hey, it was the ‘90’s, OK?). They looked shocked; I left and shut the door.
They stayed in my room until almost everybody had left. Louis shook my hand and said, “We’ll talk on Monday.” I smiled and said, “OK.”

So, on Monday we meet in a conference room, he says, “I would appreciate your confidentiality.” I tell him, “No problem.” I had no intention of screwing his life up. But I did wonder, “What happened to the family man?” Over the next few weeks he and Ellen took every lunch and break together, so even without me telling, everybody kind of figured it out.

Once I got laid-off I never saw Louis again. Despite his romantic issues, he was a nice guy.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#‎bornfrustrated‬

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Respect & Race

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Over my many years on this Earth, there are two things that I’ve come to know as fact. And that is the stupider you are, the more important respect and your culture seems to be.

Some, may not see this, but believe me, those of us that have sat back with a beer in hand, in what would be perceived as the projects, and heard the battle cries of the mentally weak, “Oh no, that bitch ain’t coming in here ‘till she learns to respect my house.”

Let’s not forget the always enjoyable declaring of your race, creed or color, “Oh shit, you gotta respect my Puerto Rican ass!”

Now, some may say as a sexy Caucasian man I don’t understand. Sure, sure, I received those white privilege checks. Cashed them even.

The point is I have never met anyone, with an IQ over fifty that gave a shit if I recognized their cultural background and/or if I respected them.

A few Christmas’ back, I was standing outside in the cold night air, when two guys decided to come out and discuss why one guy didn’t respect the other. And as predicted, they exchanged blows. I jumped in to break it up and went home, slightly, bruised.

In reality, who gives two fucks if someone respects you? But when you are at the bottom rung of the evolutionary ladder what else do you have? Respect and skin color.

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

A Passing

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Have you ever in your life had a moment that was so pivotal that you remember every single detail? What you were wearing, where you were standing, who was around you, everything?

In the first week of November 2005, I was on the phone with my dad. We were talking about doing a Thanksgiving together the weekend after the actual Thanksgiving. He knew how hard I had always tried to coordinate the holidays since I got married.

My wife and I would stop by my mom’s for an hour or so, then my dad’s and lastly my in-laws. No family ever got as much time as they wanted, and we were running ragged. So, more times than not, I, rarely, enjoyed any of it. Wake up, get ready and start getting all the crap together for each stop. Ultimately, my in-laws would have preferred that my wife stop in earlier in the day to help with the prep work, but it didn’t always work out.

So, back to the original topic, my dad was living way the hell out in Lake Elizabeth and had a new recipe for deep-frying the turkey and wanted to show off his cooking. Long gone was the tying up and driving nails into the bird. I liked the idea of celebrating it a week later. We bullshitted a bit about music and said “Goodbye.”

A week after that phone call I walk in the door from work, my wife is in the kitchen, my son, Lucas, who is one year old at this point, is scooting around on the floor.

I walked towards the living room. The phone rings my wife answers looks pale and hands it to me.

I reluctantly take the phone. It’s my dad’s oldest daughter, my half-sister. She had been crying. She starts by saying that dad’s missing. I say no big deal; he takes off all the time. One morning he decided he wanted to see the Green Bay Packers play, so he drove to Oakland. He did these things.

She does this big gulp and says they found him this morning — at the bottom of a ravine, dead.

My legs give out, I fall on the couch. My son crawls over to me, pulls myself onto my lap. I’m trying to keep it together, and not cry or anything, I don’t want to scare my son.

Then in the typical character of my half-sisters, she goes down the list of people that she thinks I should call and tell. I am in zombie-mode so I nod and write down phone numbers.

Over the course of the next three weeks until my father’s memorial, my two half sisters take my dad’s ATM cards and clear out his bank accounts. Take his car (Chrysler 300) that is paid automatically through his checking account, and drive the shit out of it until it’s repossessed.

My brother starts wondering about what is happening with my father’s estate, so he calls our half-sister and they agree to meet at my dad’s place in Lake Elizabeth. They get there and our half-sister is acting weird. Everywhere my brother goes in the house, she goes somewhere else. The first thing he notices is that anything of value is gone, most electronics, my dad’s gun collection, movies, books, you name it.

Finally, after following her around a while, he opens a drawer and finds a deed to a house, not the one my dad lived in, but a house that my half-sister lives in.

Turns out my dad bought a house for my half-sister to live in. It might not seem like a big deal, but my brother and I, his first two kids, were asked to pay for half of our own Christmas gifts a few years earlier when he decided to give us black boxes for our cable system. A bit of a kick in the nuts.

We go to my father’s memorial. I give my eulogy. My half sisters pick a half a dozen stupid songs to play, saying dad would’ve liked them. One sticks out, Basket Case by Warren Zevon. They said that was my dad’s song to their mom. WTF does that have to do with this service?

Needless to say, our half-sister didn’t want us to know about this. She secured a lawyer very quickly. We go to court a few times, and my brother and I request that he becomes co-executor of my father’s estate, thinking that it might stop them from bleeding every once of what’s left of my dad’s belongings.

The judge assigns my brother as co-executor, but a few weeks later, my half-sister and the lawyer go to my dad’s house with a u-haul and put everything in storage. The place is gutted.

Once my dad’s insurance and pensions are cashed out, my brother and I receive, before taxes, a thousand bucks each, his two daughters receive somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen to twenty thousand each.

While my brother and I are trying to deal with the grief and now the confusion of being left out of his will of sorts. The coroner takes over six months to make a ruling. At the scene of the accident, there was another car and a motorcycle, when the officers on the scene were asked about the other car they became angry and said, “Who told you about another car?!” OK . . .

After the coroner finally ruled that it was death by accident, it was too late to file a wrongful death suit against the city. The coroner was, for the first five months, leading us to believe that is was suicide.

A week or two before my dad passed his beloved bulldog got cancer, and months before he told my brother if anything ever happened to his dog he’d go with her. We think he was joking.

The worst part of losing someone is not knowing what happened. Did he kill himself or was there an accident with another car and motorcycle? If the other vehicles were involved, why did the cops cover it up?

I’ll probably never get a straight, truthful answer. In the big scheme of things — I guess knowing won’t change shit.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#‎misconceptionsofhell‬

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Matthew

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

FROM MISCONCEPTIONS OF HELL:

MATTHEW

Matthew stood staring at the sunset,
While trying to shake out a head full of sand,
Otherwise known as a week-long drinking binge.

When he woke-up on the sand,
The sun appeared to be going down,
And blazing red in color,
But over the last twenty minutes –
It turned blue,And the round ball of fire –
Began to look more and more like his skull.

He’s had friends,
While in the throes of alcohol poisoning,
Swear that their apartments were overrun with spiders.
Matthew’s not sure if that’s the case,
Or if the sun is the grim reaper,
Welcoming him home.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#misconceptionsofhell

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

A Reading From Last One To Die

Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author Michael Essington presents his first collection of fiction with Misconceptions of Hell. Available now from Essex Digital Media.

“Michael Essington is one of my favorite writers. This book is old-school, hard-boiled fun. Characters are awesome, stories great, every page made me laugh. And I learned an important lesson, which is – trust the fucking cards!”
–James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard

Visit Michael Essington at:
http://tinyurl.com/kkklvrl
http://www.facebook.com/michaelessington1/
amazon.com/author/michaelessington
michaelessington.wordpress.com/

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

The Official Commercial for Last One To Die

Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author Michael Essington presents his first collection of fiction with Misconceptions of Hell. Available now from Essex Digital Media.

“Michael Essington is one of my favorite writers. This book is old-school, hard-boiled fun. Characters are awesome, stories great, every page made me laugh. And I learned an important lesson, which is – trust the fucking cards!”
–James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard

Visit Michael Essington at:
http://tinyurl.com/kkklvrl
http://www.facebook.com/michaelessington1/
amazon.com/author/michaelessington
michaelessington.wordpress.com/

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Interview On The Dark Mark Show

Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author Michael Essington from his first book Last One To Die. Available now from Essex Digital Media.

“Michael Essington is one of my favorite writers. This book is old-school, hard-boiled fun. Characters are awesome, stories great, every page made me laugh. And I learned an important lesson, which is – trust the fucking cards!”
–James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard

Visit Michael Essington at:
http://tinyurl.com/kkklvrl
http://www.facebook.com/michaelessington1/
amazon.com/author/michaelessington
michaelessington.wordpress.com/

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Memorial Day

Chris Wallace of Your Arsenal

Chris Wallace of Your Arsenal

Memorial weekend 2008, was busy as hell. On Saturday, my son, and I went to Atomic Cycles in Van Nuys, met up with an old friend I went to Columbus Junior High with, Linda “Ziggy” Daniels. If you were in Los Angeles, San Francisco or England in the ‘80’s, chances are you ran into her. It had been about twenty-five years since I last saw her, and I mentioned her a couple times in the “Mike Check” column, and low and behold we reconnected on the internet (not the eHarmony type connected). One of the few people I know that was involved in some capacity or another in every aspect of the punk scene.

On Sunday, darn near 50 to 100 people gathered for my mother’s 60th Birthday. An incredible turnout, relatives showed up that I haven’t seen in a decade or so, and friends of my brother that he went to kindergarten with, kids that at one point or another my mom helped raise or was room-mother to. How does this tie-in to a punk column, well, here’s the story: Everyone is making small talk, and getting reacquainted with, and midway through the afternoon, a guy named Todd comes over smiling, and starts with “Remember when you were a crazy punk rocker in high school?” He says this in the same tone as Bill Murray in Stripes, when he launched into that story “Remember when you and your friend stole that cow, and you were going to try and make it with that cow?”
To Todd’s question, I replied, “Yes.” Then he said, “Well, Gerald is here, and we were remembering how you went to Mulholland to beat his ass.” What a way to celebrate my mother’s birthday, discussing previous thug-like behaviors.

Well, the story goes like this, when I entered into 11th grade, my brother was coming into Junior High. He was a relatively small guy, that summer he’d have a growth spurt and become bigger than me, but until then everyday some clown would bully him, try to rob him or try to beat him up. So, I went over to his school one afternoon, and as I was going through the driveway of my High School to his Junior High, people started coming up to me and asking about where I was going, I explained that there were two antagonists that I was going to talk to (wink, wink) named John and Gerald at my brothers school. I was, usually, pretty calm and well-liked, so once I explained that I was helping my “Little brother” people started volunteering to do the fighting for me. I was the Pied Piper of ass kicking. By the time I got to my brother’s school, I had about twenty guys with me. I received very scared looks from the Junior High kids, leather jacket, and Sid Vicious hairdo; people were jogging out of my way left and right. I found John and Gerald in the lunch area, and headed towards them; Gerald had his bike with him, and took off before any of us could get to him. So, I went to John and explained that he shouldn’t ever look sideways at my brother, and every time John would start to say something, this guy Frank, who followed us over would punch John and quietly tell John to “shut-up and pay attention.” We were out of there inside of 15 minutes. But as I was halfway out of the school, this short little black guy who had been standing off to the side during all of this, chuckling came up to me and introduced himself as the assistant principal. As soon as he approached, I waved the other guys along, they dispersed and the assistant principal and I talked for a minute, he tells, “Well, that was something else. Care to explain what just happened?” Real briefly, I told him these guys, had hit and robbed my brother. He says, “You need 20 guys to handle John?” I tell him no, they were volunteers. He laughs a bit and says I’m going to need to call your parents and straighten this out. I say OK, my dad will be home tomorrow morning. I skip my morning class and take the call, I am the dad. Around 9:30 am the Assistant Principal calls and explains what “my boys” got themselves into. I feign anger, and ask if he doesn’t mind, I would like to handle the discipline myself. That if he would refrain from any suspensions I would make sure they wouldn’t leave the house, except for school for the next six months, surprisingly he agreed. He felt I was a good parent and could see this was strictly an isolated incident.

You got to love stories like this and get together.

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Man Down

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Over the years I’ve gotten the reputation as being a magnet for crazy people. A crazy whisperer, if you will. Almost every time I’d go out with my friend Dave Diamond we’d be accosted by someone that may or may not be an escapee from a local asylum. It would always be a middle-aged to older white male. Topics would vary, from riots in Ferguson to steam-engines during World War II. We’d be sitting there and some guy would come up to us and just start a lecture. There would never be a pause in the conversation so that either of us could talk just this lecture with no way out.

In the beginning, I’d just let them talk. I figured just because they were different or maybe crazy didn’t mean they weren’t lonely. And I did this for the first dozen or so times. Then after a while, I felt like I was being held hostage. Another thing, I didn’t believe it was just me that they were trying to hold hostage. Since it was Dave and me together, I figured it was the combination of us hanging out that attracted the insanity gene.

Then one night I ran to the market to get some milk for the boy and just as I get to the aisle with the dairy products, there he was. A guy that looked like the bearded man from the Oak Ridge Boys. He was camped out in front of the milk with his cart. He starts waving me over, “Hey, come here. They’re having a great sale on milk.”

It really clicked. They are out there waiting for me. I’d never seen this guy before, but he felt that I was coming. It was late and I was tired and I didn’t want to be held captive in a conversation that I couldn’t break out of. So, I said, “Not today, motherfucker.” And I sped down another aisle. Circled the entire market and did a little peek down the corner and he was gone. Fuck.

So, I called Dave from the market and said, “You know how we joke about crazy people finding me? Well, it’s not a joke. They’re here in the market waiting for me.” He laughed.

Today we agreed to meet for lunch at about 12:15 or so. As we left my place and drove down the block there was a guy laying in the middle of the street, face down with his fingers laced behind his head. The cop arrest style. We pulled up to him and he didn’t flinch. Either he didn’t hear us or the “arrest” is so intense he can’t break concentration.

We backed-up and Dave said he was going to call the cops before he gets hurt or possibly hurts someone.

Dave pulled up the number for Devonshire Division, called and got placed on hold. Two gardeners pulled up and tried to talk to the guy in the street. He got very aggro and was yelling something about having “guns aimed” at him. He yelled something else and the gardeners threw their hands up and started backing away slowly. The guy went back face down on the street.

An operator finally answered Dave’s call. He starts to say, “There’s a man lying in the street.” Then I hear Dave yell. “Holy fuck!” I’m looking all around because I don’t see a thing, then Dave tells the operator a man has just been run over.

I look out the back window of the truck and sure enough, a guy in a black Honda or Toyota ran over the guy and only his legs are sticking out. The guy backs up and the street guy gets up and runs for the sidewalk, yelling, “I didn’t deserve that.”
I don’t know how the guy didn’t see him in the street. At first, it appeared the guy was going to flee. I took out my camera to snap a picture of his license plate just in case. He backed up, then parked.

An ambulance and fire truck raced by. Passed us. I was waving them down; they did a U-turn and came back. By the time I made it over to Dave and the street guy, it sunk in how bad this guy got messed up. His head was shaved so you could see a six to eight-inch wound on the back of his head, it was bleeding. There were a few wounds on his face. His shirt was torn to shreds on the back with a tire print and blood stains all over. How he was standing was beyond me.

The chief paramedic asked Dave and me if we knew the guy, we said no. Then he told us to take off and “give the guy some privacy.”

I figured they’d want us to stick around, considering no one else had seen the whole incident, from lying in the street to being under a car. We slowly walked away. The medics put on gloves and started to check him out. The street guy was completely amped and I was afraid he’d try to run away before being checked.

Another lunch time experience.

#michaelessington #misconceptionsofhell

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell