Waikiki, 2011

It was 10 P.M., the tourists were starting to leave the restaurant I worked at and retire to their Waikiki hotel rooms. A large, egg-shaped man waddled his way up the stairs to the host stand, where he found my boss and I chatting it up. The sweaty haole gained his breath and asked where the bathroom was. As he waddled in the direction I pointed out for him, the two of us giggled like schoolgirls at a fat man who needed to use the toilet.

I had gone on to talk aimlessly about comedy television and Apple products with my boss for another five minutes until he was called away from the front of house. A few minutes later, the greasy egg removed itself from the bathroom to find his wife, who was casually chatting with a hostess.

The fat man panicked to his wife, “Honey, we’ve got to get out of here, NOW.”

And so, while catching sound (and fortunately not wind) of this conversation, I ran to the restroom as they hurried out of the establishment and back into their dream Hawaiian vacation.

I opened the door to the men’s room. No nose under your shirt could prepare you for the horror. My nostrils were burning from the stench of a hundred landfills. I made my way inside. The humidity and pressure of the environment was altered from whatever the hell was in that stall. I took my chances. I kicked the door of the bathroom stall wide open.

What I found…

Good lord..! Sweet mercy..!

The bubbly digested ooze in its umber-colored glory splattered against the stainless steel partitions. You can’t unsee what your eyes have shown you (or in this case, you can’t unsee what somebody’s intestines exploded out of their anus). It was like willingly doing a Google Image Search for “vulvar elephantitis.” For months after, I was not able to look at chili properly. Sometimes, I suffer from Post Traumatic Shit Disorder.

You weren’t there man, you don’t know.

I ran to my boss and informed him of the situation. We returned to ground zero and assessed the problem. He called in two bussers to bring in a mop. Within three minutes, the restroom had four grown men staring at a toilet stall, each commenting on some aspect of the nastiness in a juvenile manner.

Based on our forensic analysis, the fat man clearly wasn’t able to make initial direct ass-to-toilet contact, as evident by the shit everywhere. The man must have shat his pants before even getting to the toilet, because deep inside the murky swamp-water of the toilet bowl drowned the fat man’s briefs.

Here’s the thing about vacations - usually you take a souvenir home instead of leaving one behind.

The boss directed the bussers to clean up the mess. Of course, here were the alpha-male bussers - ones who made round-the-clock snarky comments and used table rags to smack the asses of their co-workers - but neither could man up to a pile of shit. And so, tired of their bickering over who’s going to do it, I grabbed the mop and went at it, cleaning the shit off of a toilet that wasn’t mine. I sucked up my gag reflex and held my breath to defend myself from the odor. It smelled, oh sweet cheese-covered-bacon it smelled. It smelled like a Ben Stiller movie. But like A Night at the Museum 2, I managed through and mopped that shit up.

I allowed myself the right to go home after that.

Now, it should be noted that I also went to work every day HIGH AS A KITE. And as it turned out, nobody ever caught on to my state of mind until much later in my career there. Seriously, if you had a job where all you did was control the music in a restaurant, what the hell else are you going to do?

My paranoia from excessive weed smoking had me worried about my job though. About a month after the shit fiasco, I came in to work as usual, stoned and looking for Mountain Dew. Everyone is looking at me, though. Nobody looks at me like this. I’m thinking, “Great, I’m getting fired today. They all know I’m stoned.”

One of the servers came over to me.

He asked, “Did you find out yet?”

"Find out what?"

He laughed, “Oh, I’ll let THEM tell you.”

I was certain I had lost my job. This made me feel awful, all the way into the pre-shift, where it was announced I made employee of the month. The world was still my sandbox.

Hawaiʻi, 2014

Earlier in the year, I made a friend. Good ol’ Hawaiian boy in his mid-thirties. His family once owned the property I call home, and therefore I felt I could trust him. He would come over every now and then, cut down some bananas and roll me a joint. It was a good trade in my opinion, as I have an abundance of bananas, and I really liked smoking weed. This started a bond between us.

The guy had an old stick-shift pickup truck you could hear from a quarter of a mile away. On occasion, it required a hill to get the thing going, and there were times where there was no hill, so the truck was usually left on when he wasn’t in it. One day, I asked him if he could take me to Kahului to buy some lumber for a deck I was going to build with my uncle. He agreed.

That’s when I learned he was more than a stoner.

Somewhere past Honomanu on the Paia side of the Hana Highway, we pulled over and met up with an ugly woman. He handed me a joint, told me to smoke up, and went over to her car to smoke something else. I realized that the guy who was driving me to town was a tweaker. I suddenly had a sense of fear, but the joint kind of helped soothe that. Also, I trusted him.

He came back to the truck and offered me a hit, but I declined. I later learned that he had respect for me because of this, and enjoyed my “sober” presence because it made him feel safer. On the drive to town, he justified his use of “tutu” as a way to provide for his family. He would burn whatever it is in that glass bowl and be gone for days in Kipahulu, climbing tall trees and harvesting fruit to take into town so he could make cash to provide for his family. It was a strange loophole I tried to comprehend.

One thing to note about tweakers is their constant horniness. The conversation was almost always about pussy. Young pussy. Fat pussy. Popolo pussy. His brother’s wife’s pussy. It reminded me of being fourteen again and working at a locksmith with a bunch of horny alcoholic Podagees and haoles who smelled like cigarettes in a trash can, but that’s another story. It’s really hard to keep up with a pidgin-rambling tweaker, so all I could do was laugh and say, “Yup.”

We got to the Home Depot and I loaded up my lumber order on his truck. It had to be strapped diagonally, since the wood was a couple of feet longer than his bed would allow. So my worry points went up a little more, but we went to the Tesoro near the church on Puunene Avenue, and lit up a joint and a cigarette right at the pump.

It gets better.

As we entered Paia, he tried to get his car stereo to work. It doesn’t. So he rips the thing out and hands it to me to fix. Read that again. Here I am in a moving vehicle driven by a crazy meth head attempting to rewire a car stereo.

We made our way out of Paia and into someone’s yard, where we found the ugly woman again. I wasn’t aware of this detour, but as it turned out, they had an obligation to build a hale in that person’s yard, and I was drafted into service for a couple of hours. I had no idea what I was doing. I shaved the bark off of four logs and dug six two-foot holes. Then we all smoked a joint. We got back on the road to Hana after, and he pulled over at one point so he could have a hit of his pipe.

I swear, every time I see that shit inhaled or exhaled, the Dark Mark appears. Fitting, as both the tweaker and the ugly woman had teeth the likes of Slytherin house.

It started to rain. His windshield wipers were activated by a screwdriver and then hitting the dashboard when they stopped working. I likened it to the Fonz hitting the jukebox, but this was the least of our problems. Somewhere along the road, smoke started coming from the hood. We pulled over, opened it up and found that one of his batteries was spurting acid all over the place. With the truck still running, he had me disconnect that battery and have it run solely off the other battery. I learned that day some cars have two batteries to run. About a mile later, that battery was doing the same thing. So we disconnected that one too. The car was running with no battery for a couple of miles.

Then smoke started to come out of the dashboard. The smell of burning plastic was in the cab. A joint was lit to diffuse the smell and his own tension. That’s where he got the next bright idea. He jumps out of the cab, pops up the hood, attaches jumper cables to one of the battery’s terminals and hands me the other end. My feet were rested next to an unused battery inside the cab. He had me attach the cables to the battery and sit crossed legged for the remainder of the ride home.

As you could probably guess, the battery fumes were filling up the car, and I was perched right above our homemade ground zero. Our only option was to unplug that battery, which meant we’d have to submit ourselves to the smell of a roasting dashboard. When that happened, we plugged the battery back in. When the battery started fuming up, we’d unplug it until the dashboard went off again. Repeat cycle for 30 miles on a long and winding road on the edge of sea-cliffs. Oh, and it was still raining, so the dashboard needed to be hit every couple of minutes to get the windshield wipers to work. And we’re carrying all this lumber. I was certain my death would be imminent, and this was one hell of a terrible way to go.

We pulled over at a house somewhere around the halfway mark. He tells me to stay in the car, which we’re leaving on so it “doesn’t not start.” Fifteen minutes later, he returns. I felt awful, not just from the fumes, but rather the money I had paid him to help me get the lumber back to Hana was used to buy himself some tutu. He was excited about it, so I let him have his moment. We carried on with our journey and stopped at the Wailua lookout. He wanted a hit. He handed me another joint and I smoked some of it outside. By then, the rain let up. When it was time to go, he rolled down the window and let the car air out before letting me come back in. What a nice guy, but there was still the vicious cycle of battery and dashboard fumes to deal with for another twelve miles or so.

Finally, we made it back to Hana, and unloaded the lumber at my house. Never before was I so happy to see my bed, and I immediately passed out for a good fourteen hours.

This wasn’t the last time I’d hang out with him though. He really felt safe having me around and being the guy who always turned down the tutu. There were other adventures involving ripping the tire rod out of an abandoned truck in the middle of the night and towing his truck up a dirt road with my car via a piece of wood tied to my spare tire, but nothing matched that epic trip home.

His house was raided just before the summer. The cops came crashing in at six in the morning. He didn’t have anything there, so he wasn’t arrested that day. He suspected his own brother of making the raid happen, as his brother was notorious around town for ratting his own friends out to collect a Crimestoppers bounty. The irony being so he could in turn buy more drugs. That’s how the system works, kids.

I came over to visit him in the afternoon, unaware of what happened, to jokingly and sincerely gift him an ice-cube machine I wasn’t using. Since then, I’ve kept my distance, as I felt it wasn’t too good of an idea to be associated with him anymore. I can only hope things get better for him in due time and his children acknowledge and learn from his mistake.

Those “Not Even Once” posters taught me well.