Thank you, San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, for the writing prompt – I think.
Shut the hell up.
Shut the hell up who?
Shut the hell up.
OMG, I just realized how hard it is to write a knock knock joke. But, you know, my first attempt does have attitude. I like it, but let me try again. I think you should have a name for who’s at the door.
Tripp Dover now help me up!
So there I am, minding my own business, standing at the DMV with my call ticket in hand.
Ding. I hear the sound indicating the wait number has changed. The sign says 36. The number in my hand is 52. I groan inwardly, probably revealing my impatience through the shrug of my shoulders.
I resume reading my pamphlet. I’m always curious what trivia the government thinks is vitally important to not only publish, but to display at its various offices. Today, it’s all about road safety. Should have seen that one coming.
The place is packed, every seat taken, and it’s not even nine thirty in the morning. What the hell are all these people doing here? I figured the crowd would be light except during the lunch hour. Maybe we all came to the same conclusion together. I hate it when I’m reminded that I’m just a lemming.
The man seated snugly next to me suddenly rises and walks straight past a line of people and to the talking head behind the desk. I can’t hear what he’s saying, but several of my seated compatriots and I watch, this being the most exciting thing that’s happened in the time we’ve sat. What was he saying?
A lady next to him, takes a step back, as do a few others. Their body language and facial expressions tell me they are worried and giving this guy space. Whatever he’s saying, the lady at the desk is not liking it either. She shoots him a look and pushes back from her desk, her chair on rollers. The woman glides over to her coworker seated in the next cubicle. The customer who had previously been speaking with that attendant jerks his head in annoyance to look at my guy.
I glance down and to the chair next to me where he’d left his jacket. It’s a uniform jacket, from Jiffy Lube, the guy’s name embroidered over the breast pocket – Tripp.
Hey there, Tripp, I think as I watch the lady on the coasters glide back, resuming her position in front of him. Oh oh. She shakes her head. Bummer. Tripp, apparently more annoyed, raises his voice loud enough for me to hear.
“That’s not what you told me! I’ve been waiting for a nearly an hour. I have to get to work!”
Ah hell. Tripp is a good guy, he’s just late for work? Tripp is a guy who is worried about his job? Tripp needs his job to support his wife and babies at home, maybe even young, vulnerable Tiny Tim?
Lady behind the counter uses her leg muscles and stands. She picks up her phone. Damn. She’s punching in numbers. I see three jabs into the set. Not good.
What the hell is this world coming to when a person in a public place can’t exhibit righteous indignation about some bureaucratic bullshit without everyone getting way too jacked up about it. There’s nothing wrong with a righteous rant. My money was on Tripp that he’d been screwed over, certainly not vice versa. I’d been given bad intel before. They always turn the blame on you though. ‘You should have known that you’d need four legitimate proofs of I.D. before you can use the restroom, ma’am.’
Oh dear, the people in line were dispersing like the man had a weapon.
Poor Tripp was in trouble. He shook his head and threw some form at lady behind the desk. Oh damn, Tripp, she’d probably call that an assault. More bullshit raining down on your hard-working day, sweetheart.
I grabbed Tripp’s coat and walked quickly over to the counter.
“Tripp?” I called loudly.
He turned. Everyone’s head turned and looked at me. I held the jacket out in front and said, “Baby, you forgot your jacket. You’d better skedaddle now if you want to get to the Salvation Army for your shift. I know you’re working a double today.”
Tripp, who’d looked at me with confusion hadn’t reached out to receive his jacket, so I ambled forward, this time purposefully catching my foot on a stanchion and falling to the floor.
The crowd looked down at me. I said:
No one answered. So I cocked my head and said, “Who’s There?”
I pointed at the man. “Tripp.”
“Tripp who?” said some guy with a grin.
“Trip Dover now help me up!”
I broke into a big shit-eating grin and challenged them to join in the fun. A few did, but not all. Tripp came forward though and put out a hand for his jacket, and another to help me up.
I bounced up and gave him a soft punch on the arm. “Quick as a bunny now baby. Off to work you go!”
Tripp nodded and put on his jacket. We all watched as he quietly walked out the door. A few minutes later, I did too. Counter lady did not appear amused. Maybe when my turn came, assuming it would, she wouldn’t get the joke that my name was Phelony. My stupid parents thought it was hilarious, but maybe today wasn’t my day to test it.