The Usual Suspects is a zine that I only heard of recently. Through a friend of a friend kind of thing I was introduced to author Dave Gurz. Gurz is the writer of two eBooks, You’re Gonna Die Out There and Subterranean Emerald City Blues. I was lucky enough to read both books and became a regular reader of his blog, The Sun Burns Cold.
Anyway, Gurz and I have been rapping back and forth since November of 2012, and one night and he mentions that he used to do a zine when he was in prison. So, years later Usual Suspect is back.
The thing I like about Gurz’ writing is that while it’s about music, it isn’t. Music is the theme that runs through it without being the focus. If you’re a fan of punk, you get what he’s saying without him beating you on the head screaming, “I’m a punk rocker.” The same goes for his stories. He writes about street life, not the kind kids nowadays live. There’s no, “I’m mad at mom and dad so I’m staying at Bob’s for the next three days.” It’s more like homeless and penniless. The key thing to Gurz’ writing is though he strolls down memory lane and visits some pretty horrible memories, you never feel like he’s bragging or boasting. There’s never that whole, “I’m the baddest motherfucker in the world!”
You feel like it’s a combination of church confession and major self-evaluation. He knows what he’s been through; he shares, but needs the reader to know I’m not a lighter version of 50 Cent trying to make cash off of my bullet wound.
If you know how to read and/or like to read, grab a copy of Usual Suspects, I did.
For a copy contact the author at: https://www.facebook.com/DavidAndrewGurz
On to the story . . .
Years ago I worked at medical health insurance company. I worked my ass off at this company, but I was lousy at the politics. So, I would submit a ground breaking 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 mind-set 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 women-folk than I should have.
One of the people I met at 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 hair-cut . . . 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.
On the next year I would 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-hour’s 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 to 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 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 say Louis again. Despite his romantic issues, he was a nice guy.
Life Won’t Wait is out now, grab a copy today: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb