A Very Special Citizen Jim Story (by Citizen Jim)
Here’s what really happened.
I don’t know where that little guttersnipe came up with her timeline, but to hear the TRUE story of how we met, you need to step back about 11 years or so, to 1994, and not to 1991 as Chicken Sheets erroneously claims. That’s when I was cheating on my then-girlfriend Citizen Meredith with Erika Eleniak, the star of Under Siege. This was before I started dating ********.
So anyway, one evening Erika and I went to the grocery store (yes, the same grocery store where Chicken Sheets worked for something like 20 years and keeps writing about like she’d been the CEO or something), and while we were standing in line, the cashier got on the PA system and announced, for the whole store to hear, “Famous movie star groping handsome man on checkout station nine!”
Well. You can only imagine. Everyone in the whole store came rushing up to the checkout, even old people who probably thought the movie star was Grace Kelly and the handsome man was Gary Cooper. They were mobbing us! Tearing at our clothes! Trying to kiss us!
That’s when the cashier said into the PA microphone, “Oh, I’m sorry. I was wrong. It’s just a third-rate, straight-to-video bimbo and some guy named Jim on checkout station nine.”
Well, that stopped the mob. But then they got MAD! Hurling curses at us! Spitting on us! Throwing squishy fruit and soft vegetables!
The cashier looked at Erika and me and said into the intercom, “Sorry Jim! Just a little joke!”
Erika looked at me and said, “Wait. You know this bitch?”
“Of course I don’t,” I insisted. “I’ve never seen her before in my life.”
This was true as far as I knew it. But the cashier begged to differ.
“He comes in two, three times a week,” she said. “Just last Monday night, he came in at 10:00 and bought a whole gallon of Blue Bell banana pudding ice cream. Then at 5:00 the next morning, right before I was going home, he came in and bought an enema.”
Erika Eleniak screwed up her face and said, “Eeeeewwww.”
Then she ran out of the store. And that’s the last time I ever saw her until that movie Chasers came out.
So I marched up to the cashier and said, “Hey, what’s the big idea? I’ll have your job for this!”
But she just shrugged and said, “You want it, you can take it. I don’t care.”
That’s when I thought I was going to LOSE IT, so I grabbed her around the neck and started shaking her. But I noticed that, instead of screaming, she was laughing!
So I kicked her. And got another big laugh!
I pulled her hair, and smacked her upside the head. She couldn’t control herself! She was holding her stomach and trying to catch her breath, laughing so hard she was crying.
“What are you LAUGHING AT?” I asked her, and pinched her under the arm in that place where it really, really hurts to be pinched.
“You! You’re too funny!” she said, gasping for air. Then she collapsed on the floor in front of her register, still shaking with laughter.
The manager walked up, and I said, “You got a big problem here,” and pointed to the quaking heap on the floor.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “We were wondering what was going on over here. We’ve never seen Chicken Sheets smile, much less laugh. You must be her best friend.”
“What?!” I yelped. “You’ve gotta be KIDDING!”
That’s when Chicken Sheets stopped laughing and stood up, wiping tears off her cheeks and swiping at the grime on her arms from lying on the filthy ground. “He is. He’s my NEW BEST FRIEND,” she said, and hugged my neck and started kissing me all over the face.
“All right,” the manager said. “Why don’t you just close off your checkout and go home? I can see you two need some privacy.”
At the same time, we said, “GROSS! YUK! AAAAAUUUUGGH!”
Then she stalked me for a few months. I went home one evening and she was sitting in my living room reading a copy of the Crying of Lot 49. I snatched it away from her and said, “As if you’d ever understand Pynchon with that little raisin brain of yours! Get outta here!”
Then I grabbed her by the legs and tried to drag her to the door. She was laughing pretty hard, but I finally got her out of my apartment, and, I thought, out of my life for good.
So, just to be on the safe side, I moved. Then I finally broke up with Meredith, and I started dating ********.
One evening when ******* was over and we were watching “The X Files,” someone started yelling from down on the street: “Hey ********! Hey! Come on out here! I gotta tell you something! I see your car’s out here! Hey!”
******** rolled her eyes and sighed. “I can’t believe her!”
“Who?” I asked.
“Chicken Sheets! Who else?” she asked, and pointed toward the window facing the street.
I started screaming and running around the apartment. “You KNOW her? O God! God help me!”
“Calm down, Hercules,” ******** said. “I don’t REALLY know her. But she followed me home from the grocery store one day and now she says I’m her ‘new best friend’.”
I was still running around and screaming.
“We better ask her to come up or she’ll never stop yelling,” ******** said. “She does this all the time outside the dining room at my parents’ house when we’re having dinner.”
So we let Chicken Sheets in. It was awful! She wouldn’t sit down for a minute, and kept walking around picking things up and putting them down and yakking and yakking and yakking.
“I was off work today. You guys hungry? Is this a cricket bat? I’d sure like some cheese wontons from the China Wok! Ha! Ha! Look at this rubber gorilla! I like that! That’s funny! You wanna go get a beer at Boo Boo’s? I’m glad you’re my friends because I don’t have any other friends! But I won’t hurt you! You like oxtail soup? I have a rubber roach I like to put on the counter in the break room to scare people! When customers make me mad at the store, I smash their bread and break their eggs. Did you know that?”
And on and on and on til she finally opened the door and just walked out, still yakking a hundred miles an hour. We hadn’t said a word the whole time.
Right before she left Alabama, Chicken Sheets broke into my place again to steal my advance copy of Mason and Dixon. I caught her red-handed trying to tear the shrink wrap off the book while she was looking around for something else she could take.
“What’re you DOING?” I yelled, snatching the book away from her and kicking her in the shin.
Yep. She laughed. But then she started crying! Ha! As she would say, I liked that! That was funny!
“I’m sorry! I need me some $500 PRONTO! I figured I could sell that book there on eBay!”
Just to get her out of my apartment, I whipped out my check book and wrote her a check on the spot. “Here,” I said. I also threw her one of the four copies I own of of Slow Learner, thinking the irony might catch up to her in about 12 more years. “Now GET LOST!”
She examined the check very carefully, then looked up at me. “You didn’t even try to make it neat,” she said.
“What?!” I said. I was LIVID! “What is it?”
“A pronoun. It is a pronoun,” she said, then pointed at the bottom of the check. “Your signature. You didn’t even try to make it neat!”
Oh, but she took her some $500 and left. And I didn’t see her again for about two years, when I tracked her down in West Virginia. I needed that money back! I still do!
Walden Barn, 2003