Monday, December 30, 2013

Bumping donuts

The lady at the donut store looked at me and said, "And then her little boy pushed a screwdriver up his nose until it bled."

Her co-worker, appalled, just shook her head in disbelief, but looked like she could believe it.

They were both young women; in their early 20s, menthol-cigarette thin and looked a little road worn. You don't get a job at the donut store if you're breaks up to this point have been good ones. I guessed one of them was in cosmetology school or a recent grad.

Her hair and makeup didn't match this type of work. She looked a little too clean and well-manicured to be slinging donuts.

They both looked out of place, like they could at least get a job at Sears, but I supposed somebody has to make donuts. Donuts must be made and this was there fate --at least for the time being.

The other woman seemed familiar. Lots of people look familiar to me now. I blame Facebook. I take pretty much everybody except obvious con-jobs (that is internet prostitutes and scam artists) and people previously distantly related to me through complex legal framework.

"How'd a two-year-old get a screwdriver?" the one I sort of recognized. "That's what I want to know. When you've got a kid, you gotta child-proof your house."

She looked at me for confirmation. I selected two French Crullers, two peanut butter iced donuts and one of the red velvet cake donuts with the white, presumably cream cheese, frosting.

"Those are real good," the woman said. "Very popular."

And it's always good to be doing what the popular people are doing. I also got an apple fritter, which was about the size of a house cat.

"She doesn't care," the woman with the expertly highlighted hair explained. "She didn't even take him to the hospital."

"But he could have punctured a sinus or something." Her face was pained.

I nodded. Yes, this was awful.

"First thing, before I even had my baby, I got all that stuff out of there. I put things up," the woman I maybe knew said.

"But she don't care. That kid can pick up a screwdriver or a wrench or a hammer anytime he likes," the other said.

I wondered how it was the kid was being raised in a garage, but then remembered all the shit my father used to keep lying around. Hell, he used to melt lead wheel weights on the kitchen stove to turn them into fishing sinkers. I have no idea what was in half of the stuff he used to make fishing bugs in the living room. It's a wonder he didn't kill us all with some of that shit.

"If it were me, I'd be calling CPS," she added finally and for a moment I wondered why she hadn't.

But I knew. If you've ever had Child Protective Services breathing down your neck, you know. That's something you invoke lightly. They're the angels of darkness. Calling upon them can bring ruin down on whoever is named and even if it doesn't, the process is agony. It's fear.

You only bring them in when there is no other option, only if you truly believe the parents are worthless fuck-ups or degenerates and the child is in actual peril.

A two-year-old poking the inside of his nostril with a misplaced screwdriver was bad, but it was more lazy than evil --and the mother in question might be a lot of things (an asshole, for instance), but when the numbers got added up at the bottom of her card both women still considered her sort of a friend.  

"That'll be $7.11," her partner said and smiled.

No comments: