Community Service

14 Dec

Christmas is a time of giving. It’s a time of taking. Don’t tell me it isn’t, because if people are giving things, somebody’s got to be taking them–unless we’re all just throwing our gifts into the ocean, but even then, Aquaman could get it.

Hell no.

Sweet underwater blessings!

Summary: Christmas is a time of giving and taking. This year, I decided to give a little more than usual and spend a few days doing some community service work.

I didn’t want to  go alone, though, so I asked my friend Derek to accompany me. This is his favorite time of year.

Happy Holidays.

The first place we went to was a homeless shelter in Denton, TX. We can’t name what shelter it is because of A.) Legal reasons and B.) Neither of us remember what it’s called.

The building resembled a large, aluminum box. It had glass doors at the front and the faintest or faint odors wafted around us–a slight, acrid passenger riding along in the air.

“Derek, do you smell that faintest of faint odors? The slight, acrid passenger riding along the air?”

“Why do you always talk like a gay person when you’re around me? Why do you do that? Are you writing this down?” I was. I was taking notes for this blog. “Give me that paper. This isn’t for your blog. This is for humanity and the ten bucks you promised me when all this was said and done. Now, zip up your pants and fix your hair. You look like one of them.” Derek pointed to a few gentlemen standing outside the building, who were now only a few feet from us. One particularly homeless gentleman pulled out a small stick that he’d fashioned into some sort of primitive weapon. I prayed. God turned his back to me.

Once in the doors of the facility, we were received by the organizations coordinator, Mary Fielder.

“Hello, guys! We’re so thankful to have you.”

“We’re really excited,” I said.

“I’m not excited,” Derek said, turning to look at me. “Please don’t speak for me.”

She leads us to the kitchen area. We’re outfitted with hair nets, rubber gloves, and aprons. Derek almost immediately removed his hair net and gloves. Mary Fielder almost immediately told him to put them back on. He did.

We began serving the homeless their food. It wasn’t so bad–turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, green bean casserole, something the color of khaki pants and with a similar texture. We serve for about half an hour, then noticed a lot of the patrons looking sick, holding their stomachs and complaining to senior staff members.

“This doesn’t look good,” Derek said.

“I know,” I scanned the cafeteria. “They look like they’re in a lot of pain.”

Derek, who was looking over the sneeze guard, seemed to hardly notice my words. “There are, like, no hot girls here.” He turned to me. “None.” He reached into the green bean casserole, grabbed a handful, and stood eating it like a gelatinous apple. An older homeless gentleman in a ratty brown jacket approached Derek, mumbling of stomach pain. Without a word, Derek reached over the sneeze guard and, using the man’s beard, wiped the remaining casserole from his hands. He then directed the man to Mary Fielder.

“Man, you can’t do that. You can’t wipe your hands on people’s beards. That’s horrible.”

“No,” he said. “This, this lack of chicks. This is horrible.”

Mary, almost running, approached us. “What did you serve them?” she asked.

“Exactly what you laid out,” I said. Derek removed his hair net again. Mary shot him a look that promised a thousand different kinds of pain and Derek put it back on.

“They’re all in horrible pain. Show me how you prepared everything.”

I showed her. I went down the line, explaining the cooking temperatures and times of everything I put out. When we got to the final item, the khaki-colored dish, her face turned a marble white.

“You fed them this?”

Confused and a little scared to answer, I said “Yea, this was next to the green beans.”

“THESE ARE CLEANING RAGS! YOU FED THEM CLEANING RAGS!”

Derek began laughing hysterically. He removed his apron, hair net, and gloves, and walked away, waving apathetically as he strode to the exit.

“Thank you for the opportunity, Ms. Fielder.” I go to shake her hand.

“Get out.”

I got out.

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