My metal band Hymenoptera broke up so I got a job at a piss test place. They didn’t piss test us to work there so during my lunch break I usually got high out by the dumpster. One day, right after lunch, a girl named Julie walked in.
“I need to pass a drug test to get a job at the laser light show,” she said.
I used to work at the laser light show, but I quit because I hated all the Pink Floyd and Zeppelin they played. Sometimes when I ran out of weed I still went there to get a contact high, but I always wore earplugs so I could get my contact high in peace.
“There’s this thing about my test,” Julie said. “I’m gonna fail because last night someone spiked my hard lemonade.”
Since I started working here, I’d heard many tales of woe and ruffied hard lemonades. It was difficult to tell who was telling the truth and who was lying. All I knew was I’d accidentally eaten some cocaine fudge at a party a few nights before and I knew how easily something like this could happen to a trusting soul.
“I was wondering,” Julie said, pulling out two twenties from her bra and sliding them across the counter, “if you could piss for me.”
Many people tried to bribe me since I started working here, but I hadn’t taken any of their money because of my excellent scruples. In the last few days though, I’d heard some chatter about Hymenoptera reforming. If that happened I’d need some extra cash to unpawn my guitar and buy my amp back from my dealer.
“Okay,” I told Julie. “Follow me.”
Julie and I went into the employee bathroom. While I was summoning a stream I caught her peeking at my junk.
“It costs extra to see it,” I said.
“How much extra?” she asked.
I hadn’t charged anyone to see my junk in the last few months so I didn’t know the going rate. I figured inflation had probably doubled what I’d charged last time.
“How about three bucks,” I said.
“How about two?” Julie asked.
“Fine,” I said.
Julie looked like a lady who might enjoy a longer striptease instead of just a quick peek-a-boo so I did an enticing erotic jig, pulling down my boxers a little with each hip shake until my dick just sort of flopped out.
“I gave you the three dollar performance anyway,” I told her when I finished.
“I could totally tell,” Julie said.
I’d worked up quite a sweat doing my dance and now Julie walked over to me and wiped the sweat from my brow with her shirtsleeve. Then she kissed me on the lips, hard.
I’d had sex at work with Ellen, the office accountant a few times, but Ellen was older and mostly she wanted me to say complimentary things about her ass in her husband’s raspy voice, so sex with Julie was way more enjoyable.
When we were finished, I filled up Julie’s piss cup and handed it to her.
“You’re a lifesaver,” she told me.
A few days later, my band, Hymenoptera got back together. I lugged my guitar and amp over to our practice space. At first everyone was excited to see each other, but that excitement was short lived. After we started to play, our lead singer forgot a lyric to one of our songs and the drummer threw a drumstick that nailed the singer in the temple.
“What the fuck?” the singer yelled.
“It’s because you never take this shit seriously,” the drummer said. “It’s because everyone else here does.”
After a few minutes, the bassist and I got the two of them cooled down and we started practicing again. Midway through another song though, the singer quit singing and turned to face the drummer.
“I wasn’t going to tell you this,” he said, “but last week I boned your girlfriend.”
The drummer leaped over his drum kit and began to choke the lead singer. The bassist and I loaded up our gear.
The next day when I finished with my shift at the piss test place Julie was waiting for me in the parking lot with a big black dog.
“Your piss was bad,” Julie said. “You cost me my job.”
I figured she’d brought the dog along to attack me, so as they got closer I threaded my keys between my fingers in case I needed to stab the dog in its face.
“I’m really sorry,” I said. “What can I do to make this right?”
Julie took the dog’s leash and pressed it into my hand.
“I need you to do me a favor,” she said. “I need you to dogsit Rancho tonight.”
I stood there while Rancho sniffed me up and down. When he got to my bag that held my weed, he started to bark.
“He used to be a drug-sniffing dog,” Julie explained, “but he retired because he has seizures.”
A few seconds later, Rancho had one of these seizures. He flopped onto his back and his legs started to shake. His dog eyes rolled back into his dog head. Soon all the shaking stopped and he popped up off the ground like nothing had happened.
“See?” Julie told me. “No big deal.”
I walked back to my apartment with Rancho at my side. Halfway there, Rancho started to bark at a garbage can. I rummaged around and found a Ziploc baggie with two joints inside. When I stopped by the frozen yogurt place, Rancho barked at my friend Carl, who had a shitload of Quaaludes in his pocket.
“That dog’s a goldmine,” Carl told me. “Take him to the laser light show and pretend you’re a cop and confiscate everyone’s drugs.”
“Good idea,” I said.
Soon Rancho and I were standing by the exit doors of the laser light show. Whenever Rancho barked at anyone I flipped out a fake police badge and told them to hand over their drugs. After ten minutes, I’d already scored two dime bags of weed and some shrooms. While we waited for our next victim, Julie tapped me on the shoulder.
“This is how you dogsit?” she asked.
I noticed Julie was wearing the uniform for the laser show, the white shirt, the red suspenders. She was wearing a nametag with her name on it. She’d gotten the job even with my bad piss.
“I thought you failed the test,” I said, flicking her suspender.
“I let the manager show me his junk and I got the job,” she explained.
While we stood there contemplating each other’s lies and wondering which one had done the other person more harm, Rancho had one of his seizures. I quickly knelt down and stroked his cheek and held his paw until he came out of it. I guess Julie hadn’t expected me to be such a competent dogsitter or such a compassionate human being, because when I looked up at her she had tears in her eyes.
“This job is dumb,” she said. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
Before we left, Julie went and stole some money from the cash register and then she and Rancho and I bought some frozen pizzas. We ate those back at my place. For dessert we had some leftover cocaine fudge I had in my fridge. Julie and I almost ate the rest of the pan and then she and I went in my bedroom and I did my enticing erotic jig for her again and then we had a marathon sex session and then we watched the sun come up while Rancho scratched his paws against my bedroom door and whined.
About the Author: John Jodzio is a winner of the Loft-McKnight Fellowship. He’s the author of the short story collections, “If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home” (Replacement Press) and “Get In If You Want To Live” (Paper Darts Press). He lives in Minneapolis. Find out more at www.johnjodzio.net.
Story Song: "Dazed and Confused" by Led Zeppelin