Regular readers will know Assburger as one of our regular nitwit patrons at the Liberry; those new to this blog will undoubtedly guess his status from the well-deserved moniker. But tonight Assburger outdid himself, achieving a surreal epic sublimity beyond compare. He arrived shortly after a Tempest so potent it knocked our power out for five minutes. "I saw a bearded man leading animals two by two outside," he said, referencing the storm.
"Yeah, we had a power outtage," was my reply. Assburger got an indignant look, said "There was no power outtage," then grabbed his upper teeth with his fingers and started pulling at them before walking off to his usual perch at a corner computer. He annoyed a female patron, he annoyed the annoying Tiny Drum, and then at 9:30 Samuel L. the janitor came in pushing his trashcan. Assburger jumped up and said "Do you have a large trash bag?"
"I sure do," said Samuel L.
"I bet you know what I need it for."
"Yeah, I can guess," replied Samuel L. "I'll get you one."
"Just so long as it's within the next 25 minutes."
"Yeah, I'll get it for you in a couple minutes."
"It's because they close in 25 minutes. That's the only reason I said it."
Samuel L. works here, dumbass, I was thinking. I thought Assburger was headed into that trashcan, was willing it to happen. But Samuel L., instead of obliging my fantasy, simply went downstairs to his cubby hole and brought back a large clear plastic trash bag. In the meantime Assburger came over to the Desk, picking his teeth with a bent paperclip. He had a bloody scratch on the side of his face from where he'd stabbed himself with it. He put this medieval dental implement on the Desk, then began poking his gums with a triangle fashioned of paper, which he also left for me to clean up. He told me lines he remembered from Macbeth after I said to him "Weaving spiders don't enter here."
"I learned this trick in college," he told us. "Do you have a scissor?" I gave him our scissors. He began cutting arm holes in the bag.
"Don't forget airholes," I advised. He had his tongue stuck out like a Peanuts character in concentration, and I began losing it badly because I noted Silenus taking a photo--a photo I hope to post here someday as valuable proof that The Assburger is real, and not some mere phantom like the Yeti or Chessie the Bay Monster. But then Assburger put the bag over his head, stuck his arms through the holes he'd made, and with his eyes closed he began feeling along the counter for the scissors. This is a clear plastic bag--I have no idea why he didn't simply open his eyes. With one hand he was thumping along the Desk, with the other he was pinching the bag in front of his nose. Silenus looked incredulous.
The bag was steaming up at an alarming rate when Assburger finally ceased his odd dance and asked if I could hand him the scissor, please. I barely accomplished his request before fleeing to the backroom in hilarity. He looked like some alien from a '50s B movie flailing about. When I came back he had his face through a third hole in the bag. It had stopped raining by this point, but he stalked off in his enormous Glad condom nonetheless, leaving his Mountain Dew behind, and another bloody triangular paper toothpick over by his computer terminal. What a fucking freak.
Silenus showed me the photo, but didn't have a cable to upload it from his camera phone. Assburger is fully engaged in wrestling his clear plastic shroud. A priceless memory.