When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Corporation!

"Mama Get The Hamma There's A Fly On The Baby's Head"


December 31
El Jefe
Mexican Rug Cartel
Hobbies: Valet Parking, Disorderly Conduct, Amateur Acupuncture. Occupation: Boss of the Mexican Rug Cartel. Credit cards not accepted. Favorite Band: The Dry Humpers. Favorite Food: Hard Boiled Water. Favorite Book: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. All original material written by Jeff Gross. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015.

Littlewillie's Links

JUNE 4, 2009 1:16PM

Of Rice and Yen

Rate: 16 Flag

Marty was a "townie."  Marty drove a shuttle bus from the Binghamton University campus to a local route where many students lived off campus.  Most of the students ignored Marty even though he was about the same age as us.  I was Marty's best friend.

"What's up Mike", said Marty cheerfully as I boarded the 8 AM bus on Monday morning.

"Not much", I replied, taking a seat up front across from Marty.  This was my senior year, my last semester.  I was taking twenty credits so I could graduate on time and not disgrace my parents.

"I can't wait for Friday night", Marty blurted out, a little louder than necessary.  A few of the other passengers looked over at Marty and smirked.  I turned and stared back at them.

The Clash, Marty's favorite band, were coming to Bingamton and playing the Broome County Arena.  A few weeks before, Marty and I stood for five hours in the rain to get tickets for the concert.

A common interest in punk rock was how Marty and I became friends.  Marty had a cassette player on the floor next to him while he drove, and  he was usually blasting a song by The Ramones, The Clash, or The Sex Pistols.

"Hey Mike.  What are you going to do after graduation?  Why don't you stay in Binghamton for the summer, hang out awhile, before you get a job?"

"Yea right.  What job?"  I was a Poltical Science major.  The only thing I was qualified to do was go to Law School, a fate which I was trying to avoid indefinitely.  All of the entry-level jobs that I applied for in advertising and publishing required someone who could type sixty words per minute.  The one job that I was offered was at an Employment Agency.  How about that for irony.  I couldn't get myself a job, but somehow I was perfectly qualified to procure job opportunities for others.

"We can always open the 'Park and Wash', Mike."

"Here we go again," I thought to myself and grinned.

The "Park and Wash" was Marty's master plan.  Downtown Binghamton was a depressed area.  Marty wanted he and I to buy a big, vacant, corner lot and convert it into a parking area and car wash.  People would park their cars and for a small extra charge, the car would be washed when they picked it up.

Theoretically, the plan made sense.  On the other hand, parking was free in downtown Binghamton, and there already was another car wash.

The day of my graduation was very tense.  My parents knew I had no job and that I would be moving back in with them in Queens.  Marty did not attend the graduation.  We had already made plans for him to come down and visit.  We would catch a few shows at CBGBs, hang out at the cool record stores near St. Mark's Place, and pretend that everything was the same.

I needed to make some money so I could move out from my parent's house.  I had been away for four years and the potential for domestic violence was highly probable.  A visit to my sister's apartment on the Upper East side provided the inspiration.

My sister's apartment was across the street from the 92nd street YMCA.  The neighborhood was fully gentrified, filled with yuppies and yuppie wannabees.  My sister wanted me to try something new so she took me out for dinner at a sushi restaurant.

What the hell is sushi?  Raw Fish.  You gotta be kidding me.  These people are spending big bucks to eat raw fish and cold rice?  Has everybody turned Japanese?  Apparently so.  The Japanese had bought Rockefeller Center and the new trendy dog to own was the Akita, a japanese breed.

How could I capitalize on this temporary insanity?  I noticed that the guys behind the counter making the sushi made a lot of tips from the hungry yuppies.  Then everything became crystal clear.  I would learn to be a sushi chef!  I would make enough money to move out before I committed matricide, fratricide, or the ever-popular double homicide.

I found a "Sushi Chef" course in the Village Voice.  One could find almost anything in the Village Voice.  The course lasted two months and only cost a few hundred bucks.  I could sell my bass gutar and amp to pick up the dough.

As soon as I told Marty about my plans, he wanted to be a sushi chef like me.

"Listen Marty.  They don't even have any sushi restaurants in Binghamton.  What's the point?  Go to Bartender School."           Binghamton is full of taverns, saloons, and dive bars.

"Come on Mike.  It will be a blast.  Let's do it man!"

The first day of class was intimidating.  Marty and I were the only two non-asian students.  The instructor or Itamae-San was a stern looking Japanese gentleman named Tiko.  Marty and I secretly called him "Tyco", because it rhymed with pyscho.  Tiko was very skilled with a knife and he barked out instructions like we were in sushi boot camp.

Everything we did was ritualized and orderly.   We washed our hands more frequently than someone with OCD.  The smell of the raw fish made Marty nauseous.  Tiko kept yelling the word, "Fugo" at Marty, which we later found out meant poisonous blowfish.

Somehow, we made it through that first day.  We both knew the truth.  Our idiotic dream of becoming sushi chefs was over.  Fortunately, we did not pay the full tuition, so we only lost a small deposit.

We went to a bar to drown our sorrows.  The bartender asked us to leave because we smelled like fish.  I drove Marty over to the Port Authority and I bought him a bus ticket back to Binghamton.

Last I heard, Marty was still driving the off-campus shuttle bus.


Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction loosely based on the classic novel, "Of Mice And Men" by John Steinbeck.






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I usually go for laughs. Not this time. Don't worry. This is about as serious as I can get.
Cool writing. CBGB's a place where many a dreams were sung. Sushi scares me.
This was very good. I got an English degree, so all I can do is teach or go to law school. I am not interested in law school.
Patricide is killing your father. Fratricide is your brother, I think....
'Nunicide' is killing your sister. ;) Ok, I wasn't funny there.
Pearls sushi...we have a THEME :o) This was a really good story. Heck I was born in Japan and I still can't eat sushi...which reminds me of a story...

Of rice and Yen...still chuckling!
Man, this is a really nice piece of work - very, very true-to-life. And I like the title very much in relation to the story.
Mr. Mustard - I still mourn the loss of CBGB's.

DeliaBlack- Thanks. I thought "Patricide" was killing a member of The Partridge Family.
Oh God, I love sushi! And I love men that love sushi!! Poor Marty!
This was good brew. Especially after the downer whale on the good blog-web of RicTresa.
I thought it was chipper.
Who a.i.n.t. needin' cheer?
The hyena politico is nasty!
I try to ignore but Ya TELL!
IF a bloke has nasty odors?
Yes! Or a world will ridicule!
IF a hole is in the pant butts?
Ya got responsibility! YELL!
Dandy Jack are no shetland.
The politico is no equestrian.
A human can become a hyena!
apology? I had sushi and Pho.
@ Little Saigon in Georgetown.
honest. Pho is noodle herb soup.
333 is bali bali bier. Oops. SWAT!
O, I had 2. IF we live once? O Alive!
333 will cause wrecked shuttle buss.
I hope this is not off-topic as normal?
I'm still trying to forgive Steinbeck for "The Red Pony." This helps. Thank you.
Buffy W - You were born in Japan and you don't eat sushi?

Owl_Says_Who - Thank you for the positive feedback.

MiddleAgedWomanBlogging - I didn't like sushi when I first tried it. Now, I would eat some every day if I had the cash.

Arthur James - I do not know if Hyenas eat sushi. Hyenas have gotten a bad rap since that "Lion King" flick.
"Hello," she lied - The end of the movie, "The Red Pony", never fails to rip me up inside.

Aphrabehn - "Can't wait for Part Two." Touche, mon cherie. You got me back. I know I deserved it.
I went fishing in Alaska a few years back with three friends. The boat captain had a young firl who served as cook and first mate. She took what we caught during the day and at least four of the nights served the best and most beautifully prepared sushi I've ever had. And it could not have been fresher.
George, George, George can we make sushi with bunny rabbits? Can we George, can we?
Harp - Really fresh Alaskan sushi - sounds delicious. I'm jealous.

M Todd - I have had more than one "Lenny" or "Marty" friend in my life. I think it says more about me than it does about them.
Scrumptious piece. You're making me contemplate Sushi for breakfast. Without wassabi fore sure.
I read this yesterday and obviously forgot to comment and rate. I have appreciated and enjoyed your quick wit and wry sense of humor since discovering you. Like most natural born "comics", you have great empathy and sensitivity to the human condition. This post is an excellent example of both. I heart you. Rated.

I followed Harp and cartouche here. I love your writing. Marty is like so many of us.

By the way, my son just got back from the Bahamas (his senior trip) and he and two of his best friends (one is Japanese) speared and ate raw sea urchins on the beach. Now that's *radical* sushi lovin'.

Here in okinawa sushi and sashimi is an everyday meal, but don't buy me no mo of that supermarket crap.

Down to the Naha docks we go - watch the boats pull in with some of the fish still flopping about, watch them artistically cut and slice the poor things and then feast galore.

NOTHING LIKE REAL fresh sashimi - LOW fat protein and still live enzymes to clean the entire digestive tract.

It don't beat the taste of a freshly grilled fillet mignon, but it sure fills the need and is SO much healthier.

Strongly rated for reminding me why I eat this tuff,m which i found to be as repugnant idea while still squen mish in NYC, but then I was so much younger than I'm, (much) older than that now
Newtown Fortuin - Sushi for breakfast. I must ask my local "Denny's and "IHOP" to add it to the menu.

Cartouche - I heart you too. Thank you for coming back to leave such a nice comment.

Denese - Raw Sea Urchins. That's too radical for me. Maybe I would have tried it when I was 18 like your son.

markinjapan - you have access to fresh sashimi right off the boat. You are a lucky man.
The Clash? Ramones? Sex Pistols? Your singing my songs, man. Sell your bass and amp? Let me see your real picture! There is this great little sushi joint out in Marietta I know about - all you can eat for $10! Can't beat *that* with a stick!
What kind of bass?
Great story as usual. I love love love your writing and wonderful humor.
Now that comment back about the Lion King, :-D LOL! Ed? and the other about the Partridge family. Oh how I envy your quick wit.
Love ya!
rated of course
ApacheSavage - my "real" picture can be found at any United States Post Office in the "Most Wanted" section.
My bass guitar was a "Hondo" Longhorn which was a copy of the "Danelectro" Longhorn. The amp was a "Peavey".
All U can eat Sushi for ten bucks! - "Hey ho. Let's Go" (Blitzkrieg Bop).
Your comments are so sweet. I grew up in New York and I'm not used to interacting with friendly people like you.
Ha! I adore sushi...but then, I would. You're still doing an excellent job of not disgracing your parents. xox
Robin Sneed - I spent too much time in my life trying not to disgrace my parents. I'm way past that.
Rated - doubly if I could - for fish stink - please leave - and masonite musical instruments.
Stacey - Did you know that Masonite was invented in 1924 by William H. Mason? Neither did I. Had to look it up. Now I'm curious about the origins of Mason Jars.
Well done piece on raw fish...more seriously, interested in how this turns out...
I don't know Willie, but maybe Marty has an idea - a sushi-serving shuttle bus. It'd probably bring a lot better tips than the ordinary shuttle bus.
Scoubidou - Thanks for stopping by. I did not have a followup in mind when I wrote this story.

Boomer Bob - A sushi/shuttle bus? LOL
I visited New York once. Loved it. I am totally a city girl. One of the main attractions - touristly speaking - was a hot dog from a street vendor. I always wanted to do that! And the accent, it's so crisp and easy to replicate. I drove to Manhattan and was going to park the car for the day. $28 for the day!!! And that was 18 years ago. I drove around until I finally found a perfectly reasonable lot in Greenwich Village for $8. HA! My companions were griping about the neighborhood. I said, "Oh gee whiz, it's not like your moving in." As soon as we got out of the car there were gun shots close by. The bf & me just looked around, his sisters dove back into the car and locked the doors. Being from Atlanta I was accustomed to gun shots and bomb explosions. In 1996 we were the bomb capitol of the US. I am much more edgy about passing through towns like bumphuck than Greenwich Village. At least there were no banjos...
Nice sushi mix of music and nori.
Lea - I can't imagine having sushi with Johnny Rotten.

Funny thing is, an hour after I posted the comment about the sushi shuttle, I saw on the news a story about a pizza boat on Lake st Clair in Michigan.


May be a future in shuttle sushi yet :-)
BoomerBob - A pizza boat to go please, with everything on it.
This is not *loosely* based on Mice and Men. It's downright plagiarism. (What a Fugo.)
Steve Blevins - I used to drive a FUGO back in high school. Thanks for the automotive flashback.