Notes from the Underground Volume 2 Number 8 - Taking Care of Justice
Yeah, I know it's been a while since I barked at ya all, but sometimes Crazy Pete has to go underground 'til everything "above ground" cools off a little. I think you know what I mean. By the way, FBI flunkies, if yer lookin' here for me to reveal something, you've underestimated ol' Crazy Pete once again, just like when you when you sent that "innocent" Jehovah's Witness to my pad to try to pry me for information. Good try, though; he worked the sincere expression and "I have no idea what you're talking about" bit like a champ. You can tell him that I said that maybe he should look into acting in some dinner theater production or regional playhouse or something. You guys actually almost had me goin' for a minute there 'til I wised up. In case my hunch was wrong, though, I apologize to the fella in the blue tie for what could be interpreted as rude behavior. One can never be too careful. Ahh, screw it. The dude was a spy.
As some of you may know, Marla and John, the little Vegan Street couple that helps bring Crazy Pete to the world had a baby recently. At first I admit I was a little threatened by baby Justice, but I've grown kind of attached to the little bugger, especially after John and Marla sat me down with some soy milk and Newman O's and explained that they will always love me just the same.
Anyway, I know vegans don't exactly have a high breeding rate, and lord knows with this mess of a planet we live on, it's better that way. If anyone should breed, though, those two should be near the top of the list. I mean, as long as they don't have a whole boatload or anything, I'm okay with it, not that they asked or anything. You know, because of them there's another vegan on the planet, and we didn't even have to bust out the pamphlets or the Meat Your Meat tape. Man, I could get used to that kind of easy living.
All that being said, I know I kinda gripe about my chickens bustin' my chops a lot, but, I gotta tell ya, next to an actual human newborn, these guys are damn laidback. About as laidback comparatively as my buddy Sky after he spends the afternoon with his bestest friend, herb. Errr, I mean, Herb. I vow here and now that I will never, ever complain about the chickens workin' me too hard after spending an hour or two with little Justice.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want kids myself (I'm sure the CIA put something in my water to sterilize me long ago even if I had wanted to), but Justice is about as cute as can be. Well, he'd have to be pretty darn adorable to have people voluntarily wipe his butt a couple'a dozen times a day or so. I know no one would agree to do that for me (and, believe me, being the veteran of a several day-long lockdown or two, the situation has come up). And I suppose he isn't especially needy for a little being who can't eat or move about the place independently, but, still, he's a lot of work. I don't know what I was expecting when Marla asked me if I could watch him for an hour or so. You see, John was at work, and Marla had to go to the DMV and renew her license so that Big Government can track her better. And, I suppose, so she can drive legally, blah blah blah. Anyway, the whole thing would be a lot easier on both of them if she didn't have to lug this little guy along.
I just happened to be at their pad returning the guitar I borrowed from John last year that ended up in police custody after I serenaded the McDonald's CEO at his home on Meat-Out. Anyway, about a thousand bomb squads and terrorist task forces and sniffing police dogs later, it was determined that it was, actually, just a guitar, so I finally got it back. Your tax dollars at work, people.
Fast forward to last week. When I showed up, Marla was running around, trying to fill this bottomless diaper bag and chomp on a bagel while getting little Justice dressed in his best DMV clothes. Well, I looked at her, and she just had this desperation and exhaustion in her eyes that I recognized; my parents have that same exact expression on their faces every time I introduce them to potential lady friends. (By the way, I'm currently taking applications, which is neither here nor there.)
Anyway, maybe I should've been insulted, 'cause Marla was all, "I know this sounds insane, Pete, and I wouldn't ask you unless I were desperate, but do you think you could watch Justice for about an hour?" How's that for a confidence booster, huh? Well, of course I couldn't say no. I mean, how hard could it be? I look at this kid sucking on his fingers in his diapers, a little strand of drool falling from his chin, and he's about as harmless my great-uncle Vladimir. In fact, he's a lot like my great-uncle Vladimir.
So, Marla gives me like 30 phone numbers to call in case of emergency, asks me one last time if I think I can handle it ("YES! Now, go!") and finally dashes out the door. Justice looks at me, smiles, poops, and then the fun begins.
Have you ever changed a cloth diaper? Marla showed me how to before she left, but I must've spaced out or something. Anyway, it was like constructing some crazy origami crane, and I only stuck my thumb like it was a giant pin cushion about a billion times. Meanwhile, Justice is looking at me like Moe looks at Curly right before he calls him a knucklehead, and I'm scared something else is gonna start coming out the front end, so I grab one of the hippie brand of disposable diapers that they bought at the health food store and keep on hand for occasions like this. That thing was tough enough to figure out, but I did, and I was about to congratulate myself when I noticed little Justice had soiled his little outfit, so I had to change him.
Okay. Have you ever seen those one piece things babies wear with the footies and all the snaps and stuff? Do you have any idea how absolutely confusing those things are? There are about 13,043 snaps, and I was, like, snapping legs to the butt, and his sleeves kept ending up turned all around so the front was in the back, plus Justice's squirming all around, which didn't help my confusion. Finally, after breaking out in a sweat and cursing the gods a few times, I get the stupid thing on, facing forward and all that.
So I'm thinking that Justice and I can settle down to a little TV after that workout. I mean, ya all know I hate the idiot box, but I thought after our strenuous morning, we could enjoy a little daytime TV, and make fun of the stupid people who watch daytime TV. Just as I'd finally figured out how the damn thing worked, wouldn't you know it, my buddy Owl calls to tell me about a protest at a downtown furrier going on at that very moment. I tried to get out of it, and, you know, as a babysitter I had a pretty valid excuse, but Owl started going on about how there were cops there, and news crews were on their way, and the next thing I know, Justice and I are picking up a Blue Line train at Milwaukee and California stop. And, yes, of course I left a note for Marla, but the only thing I could find was a yellow highlighter to write with, which I later found out was a bit difficult for her to read.
Anyway, who here has ever travelled on public transportation with a three-month-old baby? Good for you. I haven't. I've done public transportation dressed as a giant chicken on a sweltering August afternoon. I've been read my rights and 'cuffed while riding public transportation. I've even done public transportation with my neck U-Locked to a hand rail. People, none of them holds a candle to doing public transportation with a baby.
First, I get on, and there must've been some kind of Uptight Business Man convention in town, because it looked like a Brooks Brothers tornado had hit my car or something. They all look at me when I get on like I'm some sort of criminal, like I just gave them a half-caff Grande instead of a half-fat Venti. Whatever. So I find a seat and the first thing Justice does just as I'm sitting is decide to relieve himself of, let's say, some gas. From his nether region. Loudly. Yeah, I know the train is loud, too, but you better believe everyone turned in their seats to stare at me like I was the offending party. Sweet little Justice was just sitting there cooing all innocently and no matter how many times I said, "I swear, it was the baby!", I could tell it was just making matters worse so I shut up.
After about half a minute of this, people return to their newspapers and cell phones. So I'm just sitting there with the baby on my knee, and he seems a little uncomfortable. Now, how the heck am I supposed to know when a baby is uncomfortable? I don't know, he started squirming and wincing, so, I think, maybe I should burp him. I saw Marla do this earlier, and it didn't look like something I could screw up too horrendously. Anyway, I try a few pats, and nothing happens, but then I pat one last and BAM! He spits up what appears to be about a river of baby puke on the shoulder of the lady sitting next to me. She was pretty cool about it 'cause, you know, he's a baby and all. I actually considered trying to get her phone number, but then Justice starts crying because some old street guy standing in the aisle next to us starts "gaagaa googoo"ing all over him and I must've lost his pacifier somewhere along the way, because suddenly I'm flying without a net, people.
I can't get him to stop at all, his face is turning all red with fury, he's grabbing my hair in his angry little fists, and everyone's turned around to stare at us again, because ya know, that's really so helpful when a baby cries. Anyway, the lady next to me with the baby puke on her jacket finally helps me soothe him, then it's our stop. Well, technically we missed our stop, so we got off one stop beyond what we intended and walked back to where we needed to go. Wouldn't you know it, he stopped crying the minute we got off the train. Yuppies make me cranky, too, so I didn't blame the little guy one bit.
Anyway, so we finally get to where we need to go, and there's actually a decent protest going on. Lots of signs, and people yelling chants, and cops standing around with their chests puffed out, plus a store manager or two looking highly agitated. All the right ingredients! Owl tried to hand me some pamphlets to pass out, but I don't know, in the heat of the moment, I decided to do a emergency lockdown to the front door because I just happened to have my handy U-Lock with me. (I threw it in Justice's diaper bag, just in case. You never know.) Anyway, I tried to look around for someone to take him, but everyone is politically opposed to babies or of questionable hygiene practices, so I just locked on with one arm holding on to Justice. It was one of my shining moments, I must say, and one of my most dexterous. In my haste, though, I was a little sloppy. I was still holding on to the key, so all Johnny Law had to do was walk up, grab it out of my hand and unlock me. That was a little anti-climactic, I have to admit.
Anyway, I thought for sure I'd be hauled off, and Justice would be booked as an accessory and sent off to juvenile delinquency school or something. Marla and John would kill me! I was all nervous as the copper grabbed my free arm and pulled me off to the side, and steered me toward the squad car. He started in on me, going:
"What the [bleep] are you doing, you [bleeping] moron?!?"
I started to try to explain the intolerable cruelty and exploitation going on at fur farms, when he interrupts me.
"Oh. How old is your baby?"
"He's three-months-old, and besides, I'm not talking without my lawyer present. You can't make me ta-"
Next thing I know, he waves over to the other cops:
"Hey, Frankie! Bob! Get over here and take a look at this baby!"
They come lumbering over, all cooing and tickling Justice. Justice must not have listened to his Uncle Pete's lecture about the criminal law system in the past, because he's totally lapping it up, giggling up a storm. Traitor.
Anyway, I go on,
"Do you know how the animals that are used for coats are treated? You should be in there arresting them instead," I said, pointing at a store manager.
You know what happened next? The cop who unlocked me goes,
"You know, you're holding the baby all wrong." He takes Justice from my arms and demonstrates. "Here's how you hold a baby. Awww, 'dis is da wight way, isn't it, sweet pea? Dis is da wight way, yeeeaaaahhhhh," all talking baby talk. Then he starts bouncing little Justice around and they all take turns cuddling him. I can't believe I was reduced to witnessing this.
Anyway, the protest kind of lost its steam after this, as I'm sure you can imagine, what with the cops playing horsey with the baby and everything. My comrades tried a few more half-hearted chants, but you could tell the momentum had disappeared like Justice's pacifier. I should add that I think I lost some street cred in the process. I'm gonna have to get arrested big time, and this time a measly ol' misdemeanor ain't going to cut it. I 'm thinking felony, so I'd better start preparing for spending at least the winter in the pokey.
Oh, well. He's a cute kid.
Til next time, keep the revolution alive.