The 'Suckerman Chronicles 1 – The History

We were laying on the warm grass, staring up at the clear moonlit sky.  It was a warm night, but not overly so.  My 'sucker asked, “Why do you always start us out this way?” 

“Well, a few reasons.  I am the author and you are only a character.”

 “Yeah, you authors think you you are big important men, like God or something, and can control people.” 

I replied, “First, I am God.  I created you, and I could easily write you out. You would disappear.”

“You wouldn't really do that to a person, would you?”

“First, you aren't a person under any ordinary definition of the word.  Second, starting out this way is our trademark.  My readers expect us to start out this way.”
“But why can't we start out someplace interesting?”
“Like the time I started us out on the beach in Tahiti?  You got so sunburned you bitched about it for weeks.”

“So, it was real hot and I got real red.”
“Or the time I started us off in Alaska?  I thought some mountain climbing might be fun.  All you did was complain about how cold it was.”
“Yeah, but it was really, really cold.”
I leaned over and scratched my 'sucker on the head.  He likes that.  “Look, 'suckerman, you are a character.  You've been a character for 17 years.  That's all you are.  We do what I write us to do.  You have no real input into it.”

“You love her, don't you?”

I considered this.  My love life was fascinating for my 'sucker, and he often asked me about it.  “I'm not really sure yet.  We've only been dating for a few weeks.”

“Well, I mean, I mean, you have slept with her, right?”
“Yes I have.  How did you know that?”
“I snuck into the bedroom when neither of you would notice.”

Normally I would be angry at this, but this is just the sort of thing my 'sucker does.  “So now you are a voyeur?”

“Sort of.  But a professional voyeur.  I can be really quiet when I need to be.”

My 'sucker said, “But let's say you dated for a long time.  You'd probably fall in love with her, correct? I think you probably would.”

“I don't know.  I can't predict those sorts of things.  Falling in love is not just something you decide to do.  It either happens or it doesn't.  It's beyond my control.”

My 'sucker looked me directly in the eye.  “Was she any good in bed?”

“Actually, she was very good.”

“That right there is the reason you need to fall in love with her.  For the sex.”

I petted my sucker again.  “I don't know about 'suckers, but for human people the sex is only a small part of falling in love.  You have to actually like each other first.”

We lay on the grass in silence for a good 15 minutes.  Then I asked, “Have you ever been in love 'suckerman?”

“Not really.  I am hideous.  None of the ladies want to even look at me.  I am a bachelor for life, I guess.”

“Not if you keep trying.  Somewhere out there will be a lady 'sucker who will find you attractive.”

“I haven't found one yet that will even look at me.  Without throwing up.”

“You'll find one eventually who will look past your, well, “appearance.”

“Yeah, maybe.”

And this is how it goes with the 'sucker.  We talk about issues of the day, normally my love life.  He asks lots of questions.  I try to answer them.  He hasn't really changed much in 17 years.  I actually enjoy these talks with my 'sucker.  He is, by any account, hideous.  But he's intelligent, and he can sometimes have a decent sense of humor.  I was not going to give him up.

The next morning we got up and left to fly the sign.  Being unemployed I fly a “will work for food” sign on a local streetcorner.   I always take the 'sucker with me.  He is the attraction.  People have never seen an animal as unusual as he is.  So they all will slow down and take a look.  Many will stop to get a good look.  If they stop I've got them, and I ask them for a donation for the orphans.  I use my standard speech.  “Good morning, ma'am.  We are collecting today for the The Sacred Children of the Blessed Virgin Orphanage.  Would you open up your heart and donate to these poor, precious children?”  That almost always gets me at least a buck.  Sometimes a fiver.  The money doesn't go to any orphans, of course.  It goes to me.  But I did pick up a rather large sign with pictures of unhappy children on it, and they look like they are orphans.  My revenue went way up after that.  I can clear about $50 most days.  With that I can feed myself and the 'sucker.  The 'sucker won't eat dog or cat food.  He says he'll only eat people food.  That's because he really does think he's a person.  Except, of course, he isn't.

We were sitting on the curb, flying the sign.  “Hey, where do you want to go on vacation this year?”

“My 'sucker thought about this.  “I don't know, how about San Francisco?  We've never been there.”

“Interesting idea.  And an interesting place.  Lots of museums and galleries.  But you know what they say about it, right?”
“Haven't heard much about the place.”
“The saying is 'The coldest winter I've ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco.'  They have strange weather there.  It can be July and you still need a jacket.”

“Can we at least take a plane this time?”

I had explained this to my 'sucker many times.  “No, we can't.”
“Why not?”
“We have discussed this before.  First, if you stand on your back legs you are as tall as a grown man.  Second, you are hideous.  Third, you just have a dangerous look.  Like you want to eat people.  Nobody is comfortable being around you.  No airline in the world is going to fly you anywhere.  Even as cargo.”

“So we are taking the car again?”


“Can I at least pick out the music?”

I was afraid of this.  The 'sucker has horrible taste in music.  “We'll see.  Maybe we can take turns.”

“But when we stop for snacks can I at least go in and help you pick them out?”

“Not a chance.”

“Why not?”

“Same as with the airplane.  You scare people.  Remember the time they called the cops on you?”

“Sure do.”

“I had to claim you were my pet.  Deputy said you were the damn strangest looking dog he had ever seen.”

“That's because I am not a dog.  I don't throw in with them either.”

We worked the corner for the better part of the day.  Business was good.  About 3PM we hit our $50 goal.  Normally that's where I call it, but today was such a nice day.  I figured with another two hours, rush hours especially, we could probably claim about $70.  Not a bad payday.  Not a record – that is $124.  But that was a 12-hour sign flying marathon.

“Tell me again how you found me.”
I said, “I've explained this many times.”

“Yeah but it's a good story. I enjoy it.”

“Well I was downtown.  I forget the reason I was there because I rarely go there.  I hate it.  But there was this old guy flying a sign for money, just like we do.  His sign said “Unemployed Author – Will Work For Publishing Contract.”

“I remember those times when I belonged to him.  We were really poor.”

“Anyhow, since I was also a writer I introduced myself.  We got to talking.  Turns out he was some sort of fancy-smancy magazine writer.  He got fired for submitting a story he didn't write under his name.  Plagiarism will get you every time.”

“That it will.  That it will.”

“Anyhow, I asked about you.  He said you were a leftover character and he had no use for you because he wasn't writing any more.  He was going to take you to the 'Sucker Pound and turn you in.”
“They don't really have those things, do they?”

“Not in the real world.  But I could write a book and create such a thing.”

My 'sucker looked worried.  “You would never turn me in, would you?”

“I am sorely tempted every time you ask me about my girlfriends.”

“Hey, what do you want for dinner?”

My 'sucker answered, “Mexican?”

“How about the Grasa de Cerdo?”

“Sounds good.  I've never been there.”

“I'll have to brush you out though.”

When I brush his hair he can almost pass for a dog.  Just a really big dog.  I put a collar on him to finish the illusion of being a pet.  He hates the collar, but I explain it is necessary.  When people do ask me about him I tell them he is a very rare breed, a Cabra Escurridor.  I explain they are limited to Latin American countries, and there are only a few of them in the US.  That usually satisfies their curiosity.  We walked to the restaurant and got our usual stares.  Once there the hostess greeted us.  “Two for dinner?”
“Yes ma'am, a booth please.”

She showed us to a booth, sort of well hidden in the back.  They obviously didn't want the other patrons to see the 'sucker.  My sucker climbed into the seat across from me.  The waitress showed up and handed me a menu.  “Ma'am, could you bring a menu for my friend here?”

“Sir, he is a dog.”

“That may be, but he knows how to read.”

“Very well.”

She returned with another menu and handed it to my 'sucker.  He perused the menu carefully.  “I'm not sure what I want, what's good here?”

I said, “The #7 Enchilada Combo Platter is outstanding.”

“I'll have that then.”

The waitress returned and I placed our orders.  I also ordered two Dos Equi's.  “Sir, I will have to see his ID or I can't serve him.”

“He's a dog for Christ's sakes.  He doesn't have any ID.”

“Is he over 21?”

“I don't know, he's adopted.  I think so.”

“OK then.  Just don't tell my boss or I'll get in trouble for this.”

Dinner was served and we ate.  He was amazingly skillful with a knife and fork.  We talked about our upcoming vacation to San Francisco.  My 'sucker was really excited by it.  He loves going new places.  But he got serious.  “Why don't you ever write me any fun things to do?”

“Like what sort of fun things?”

“Like chasing cattle around.”

“Look 'suckerman, nobody is going to read a story about you chasing cattle around.  I am the author, remember?”
“Yeah, I got that.  But how about just one small scene of me chasing cattle around?”

“I'll think about it.”

The San Francisco vacation went well.  My 'sucker didn't draw much attention.  People just thought he was some sort of big strange dog.  But you have to understand San Francisco some.  They are not normal people there.  They are a bit off level even on their best days.  Seeing a huge dog is no more unusual that seeing a guy in public only wearing a jockstrap.  We hit the usual tourist spots, took a bay tour on a boat, the usual stuff.  We also went to a lot of art galleries.  To my surprise my 'sucker had a good appreciation for art.  Just one more thing I've learned about him.

I was getting tired, and it was time for bed.  I led my 'sucker over to his burrow under the porch.  He asked, “Can't I ever sleep inside even for one night?”

“No, you can't.”

“Why not?”

“Because you will want  to sleep in my bed with me.  The only strange things I want in my bed are women.”

“You're being selfish.”

“And I'm also being the author.”

With that I gave him a kiss on the snout and ushered him into his den under the porch.


10/06/2012 11:40am

Not only a fun story, but I like the way it was presented. Guess there is more I need to learn about computers....(Scary computers)


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