We bought ninja stars and throwing knives online and hurled them like major league pitchers at anything that we could puncture. Nothing was safe from our alcohol infused ninja wrath, as boxes, bags, and everything in between fell victim to our onslaught. We fancied as ourselves blue collar sportsmen as well, and developed our own Olympic caliber games, such as the legendary sports of Warehouse Tennis, Wall Ball, and the venerated Quarterback Challenge. We shoved hunks of raw meat and random bits of leftover lunch under a broken crevice in the concrete floor one entire summer just to see how many maggots and critters that we could attract to it. Needless to say, we succeeded in attracting a city’s worth of bugs to that hole like animals to the Ark. You name it, we did it; nothing was off limits, no dare was too great, no joke was unworthy. Great cardboard tubes that once held monstrous fabric rolls became fabled swords and wicked spears, and hole-riddled boxes stood as a testament to the epic battles and wars that we waged against each other to pass the hours. I was an Obi Wan with a cardboard tube. And the time did fly, let me tell you. It passed in a drunken haze; we spent untold fortunes of cash nearly every day on bottles of booze, bottles that we’d skillfully guzzle throughout the day by the cupful, right before the eyes of management and the front office. We toted our red Solo cups around with pride in fact, and downed our spirits in front of all who dared enter our sanctuary. We practically dared them to approach us about it. And we only got busted once. Our livers suffered greatly while playing the role of a Brita filter that summer, yet we became remarkably adept at getting the job done while being loaded to the gills on whiskey, rum, and whatever other distilled goodness we could muster. The very definition of functioning alcoholics. We were a well-oiled machine, though our gears were greased with Jack and Coke.
I slowly (and hesitantly) approached that prisoner of war camp on the daily, that Chernobyl-esque monument to Eastern Bloc deterioration, that shit stained hell that seemingly owned my life. I say seemingly, because at the time, it defined who and how I was. You’ve got to feel the monotony; you’ve got to feel it in order to truly understand it. Up the steps I went, through the door, and with that, each day (and the story) begins. The warehouse itself was pretty damned massive; a deep, cavernous structure stacked to the gills with weathered boxes, bags, makeshift shelving, and various pallet loads of goods for sale. It was an older building, crammed tight with little sold products, all of them well coated with a thick blanket of dust. In any case, the structure was well lit, as the many skylights provided good light where the fluorescents didn’t reach. What a joint to be in, though. Under the rusty tin roof, the place became Congo crotch hot in the summer; guaranteed and absolute sweat drenched bayou balls for all who dared to enter, and winters that would make you feel like you were setting up base camp in Antarctica. The towering shelf walls were lined with various crude drawings, and were peppered with random graffiti of tits, asses, cocks, explicit acts of sex, violence and a sprinkling of cuss words. Don’t ask why. We brandished the humor of a bunch of giggle infested twelve year olds, and we wore that childishness with pride. Our debauched state of mind was a direct product of the boredom that we faced head on, like warriors facing a great foe. Yes, it was very much like middle school all over again. And we reveled in it.