I have insomnia, so instead of sleeping, sometimes I fixate on people I’ve seen throughout the day. And because I’m sleep deprived, I found my thoughts about this one guy kind of funny, so I wrote about it. It is the greatest thing you will ever read.
There’s a man who works at the Walgreens in my neighborhood who has a little ponytail-like thing at the back of his head. It’s not a full-on ponytail. It’s not braided or anything. It’s just an extension of hair that he seems to prize.
Though I have only seen this man a couple of times, working in the Walgreens where I frequently purchase my Orbit gum and sadness candy, I am confident that I know everything about him. For you see, his little ponytail-like thing has a mouth the size of a town gossip that tells all.
From the little ponytail-like thing’s mouth, I know that Ponytail Man, also known as Francis, wakes up at 7:30AM Monday through Saturday by an alarm clock he got on sale at the very same Walgreens he is employed. Rising from his bed with a yawn and a stretch, Francis (you may know him as Ponytail Man) then walks to his bathroom to urinate into a baby turquoise painted toilet. He always sprays a tiny bit of human waste water on the back of the toilet, vowing to clean it up later, but he never does. He never does. After relieving his bladder, Francis makes a 180, turning towards his baby turquois painted sink with a rusted mirror hanging above it. Francis stares into the mirror for a total of two minutes, thinking, “Someday…someday the world in there will open up to me. Just be patient, Francis. Be patient!” Once the two minutes are up, Ponytail Man gets to grooming himself. He brushes his teeth a little too quickly and barely uses any toothpaste. I don’t know why he’s so parsimonious when it comes to toothpaste. He works at Walgreens. Toothpaste is always on sale at Walgreens. And I’m sure he gets an employee discount. Twatever. This is something the little ponytail-like thing did not explain to me. I take back what I said earlier about knowing everything about Ponytail Man. I don’t know everything, but I know enough to continue on.
Anyway, after the light teeth brushing, Francis unbuttons his blue, striped PJs and reveals his work uniform. (That’s right. He sleeps in his uniform. You may thing that’s weird, but I just think it’s strange. We’re all people, people. ) The fact that it isn’t wrinkled brings a smile to his face and tears to his eyes. It is at this point that Francis remembers to try to wear contacts. Everyday, Francis tries to wear his contacts, but he just can’t figure out how to get them into his eyes without his pee fingers touching them. So he pretends to consider putting them in for a few seconds before ultimately deciding to wear his glasses, like he does everyday.
Francis’ morning is almost over. It’s nearly time to go to work, but not before making sure his hair is coiffed to his liking. Francis spends several minutes combing his sausage-y fingers through his brown, flaky hair, paying special attention to that little ponytail-like thing. He twirls it around his sausage finger like streamers around a May Day pole. Like a stripper’s legs around a stripper pole. Like a husband’s tie around his mouthy wife’s neck. Francis treats that thing like it’s his own wheelchair-bound child. I guess that makes sense since it grew out of him…and most people see it as a handicap.
Unfortunately for Francis, that prized ponytail-like thing of his has been blabbing about his personal life to all who will listen. Like I said before the thing I said earlier, I know everything about him. For example, I know Ponytail Man’s favorite color is mustard yellow. I know he gets excited about going to work at the ‘greens. I also know he doesn’t shorten words like I just did because he has a respect for the English language and refuses to make it his own. I know Francis likes the Lord of the Rings books. Not the movies. He has never seen them and never will, though he imagines they are similar to the comic books he writes and illustrates himself. I know Francis is kind of religious. He believes in God, Heaven and Hell. He even goes to church every week and wears a special bolo tie with a T on it. He figured it was close enough to a cross when he bought it. But he never pays attention in church because he’s too busy daydreaming about monsters. “Do they live in that mirror world too?” he wonders. “Be patient, Francis. Be patient!” he often yells out loud to himself, disturbing prayers, baptisms, and that Jesus snack time.
I know Francis has a collection of combs that he uses to sift through the larger balls of dandruff in his hair. And especially to make sure his sweet, sweet little ponytail-like thing is looking neat. And by “neat” I mean the word Francis uses as opposed to “cool.” I know Francis likes to come home to the motel he lives in, just blocks away from the ‘greens, and take a moment to think about why some women’s eyebrows are shaped like sperms and to reflect on what he loves most in the world- his weird little ponytail-like thing.