“El Camino Real”
By Kelly Anneken, Managing Editor
You people really are gluttons for punishment, aren’t you? Back for more online absurdist humor journal every month, like the fatties at the Golden Corral buffet who put gummy bears on everything, even items taken from the Tropical Island Grill. You disgust me.
It’s ironic that this month’s issue is about criminal justice, because yours truly is currently attempting to evade jury duty in Maine. Yes, readers, I’m still living with the Shakers, but only technically. I met this amazing guy named Zane one night when I was working as a delivery driver for China Village — well, let me back up a minute.
One day, Sister June comes into my “office,” which is really just a laptop set up on top of the washing machine and says, “Here, English, our settlement is in need of extra cash. Take our vintage El Camino into town and get thee a job.” I asked her why she couldn’t do it, or Brother Arnold or Sister Frances, and she said, “Putting the key into the ignition is too sexual an act for a Shaker to commit. We’re sure Mother Ann Lee would forbid it if she were still among us.” So I tooled down to China Village in the El Camino and charmed my way into a job.
I spent a few weeks listlessly delivering boxes full of noodles and MSG to hungry residents of Maine, frequently eating out of the containers before I delivered them and always, always stealing the fortune cookies. One night, one of my fortunes read “An impulsive man is soon mired in regret,” and not twenty-three minutes later, I found myself playing tonsil hockey with Zane on a hospital bed in his late grandmother’s apartment, not regretting it in the least.
Zane was living there, rent-free, at Apple Tree Village in Bath, Maine. His parents had paid his grandmother’s rent at the elderly-oriented apartment home for the year, and when she croaked, they figured they ought to kick Zane out of their basement so they could turn it into a home office/ fitness center and he could experience independent living for the first time at the age of 27.
As I stood on his stoop, bag of partially nibbled moo goo gai pan in one hand and my heart on my sleeve, he admired my El Camino. I told him that it belonged to the Shakers I was staying with, and he told me he had a line on some counterfeit Shaker furniture, but he needed a vehicle to transport it. I immediately volunteered my authentic Shaker mode of transport, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We’re like Mickey and Mallory in Natural Born Killers, except my creepy dad was way hotter than Rodney Dangerfield. Also, instead of killing people, we rip off tourists looking for Shaker adult cradles.
Zane always gives me a thirty percent cut of his take on the furniture, and I turn ten percent of that over to Sister June. Shakers are really gullible — she thinks I’m getting all this money from delivering Chinese food, not from driving down the price of actual Shaker furniture with shoddy knockoffs and smuggling Brother Arnold’s designs out to Zane’s supplier, Bones. I even managed to move in with Zane because I convinced the Shakers and my parole officer that an old folks’ apartment complex was the safest place for someone sexually insane like me. Zane has to hide whenever my parole officer tries to check up on me, but that just makes the sex way hotter after she leaves. I’m so happy!
Or I was, until I got my jury summons. I thought being a convicted felon meant I was off the hook for jury duty for the rest of my life — why else commit a felony? But then it turns out Maine is one of two states in the USA that allows felons to serve on jury duty. Honestly, haven’t I suffered enough for what I did to [name redacted for legal reasons], even though she totally deserved it? I’ve been the victim of criminal justice, so why would I want to dish it back out? Unless the person on trial was that skanky bartender who kept hitting on Zane, like, “Sir, your credit card was declined, do you have another way to pay,” and “Sir, please ask your girlfriend to stop throwing maraschino cherries at me.” What a whore! Lock her up and throw away the key, I say.
Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah, criminal justice. I’ve lived it, you know, so why would I want to watch someone else deal with it? That’s like an Olympic gold medalist watching the Olympics on TV. Like, been there, done that, now I’m really into drinking and crying while I watch Rizzoli and Isles. So I have to get out of jury duty somehow, and Zane and I think that the best way is for me to stalk all the Cumberland County Superior Court judges until they all get restraining orders against me, thus creating an insurmountable hardship for Kelly Anneken, aspiring juror. Wish me luck, and look out judges of Cumberland County! I’ve got an El Camino, and I’m not afraid to use it!