"You ever wonder what people think of you here?" I asked Johnny the Cop as we walked around the block taking a cigarette break, sans cigarettes. We used to do this often, but then we stopped for some reason. Now we're doing it again. You people suck, and we need to walk away sometimes.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you're a stupid one to ask about this, because you probably couldn't give two shits, but do you ever think about how people here perceive you?"
"What the fuck made you think about that?" he asked.
"These two dumb fucks that are about to get fired. I thought about it like that because I think that if they weren't so fucking irritating, they might have a chance to save their jobs, you know?"
"I'm serious," I said. "You look at the way some guys act, the way they're constantly talking about themselves and trying to make everyone see what fucking big shots they are, and when you look at the reality of the situation, nobody has anything good to say about either one of them because they're both just so goddamned irritating."
"What'd they ever do to you?"
"Nothing, but you get sick of people after a while, right? You try and have a conversation with some people, and you know they're not listening, and all it ever turns into is some fucking sales job that only ends up in me wanting to end the fucking discussion. I'd have some sympathy for these dicks, and maybe even speak up for (Soon-to-be-fired-Bouncer A) if I still wanted him around, but I don't, so I'm not gonna say anything. And I should feel guilty about it, but I don't."
"Why would you feel guilty? I always thought he was an asshole," he said.
"He is an asshole. I mean, he's not a bad guy, and he's not gonna do anything bad to anyone, but he just doesn't fucking get it. I don't understand how some guys don't see how bad they piss everyone off, you know? It's okay if I don't like you. Take Juan, for example. I don't like that motherfucker, but I can deal with him. I don't wanna call it respect, but there's a mutual something there with me and him. I don't like the guy, but he doesn't actively piss me off, so it doesn't bother me that he still works here. The guy's a piece of shit, but at least he knows when enough is enough. I'll give him that much credit."
"(Soon-to-be-fired-Bouncer B) is about as useless as tits on a bull."
"Everyone here's about as useless as tits on a bull," I said. "That's not the point. Think about it, man. If they were ever talking about firing you, I know about fifteen guys'd step up and say something. More, probably, because you're not perceived as an asshole. You irritate people, but you do it in a good way. When I talk to you, and you start pissing me off, I can walk away somewhere, but I always come back, right?"
"But it ain't like that with some of these motherfuckers. I just can't fucking put up with guys I want to avoid, and I want to avoid those two like the fucking plague. That's my whole point, man. Some people are just fucking dumb, and they don't know why they don't get any help when things start going bad."
"Who's asking for help?" he asked. "They trying to get you involved?"
"Sort of, but I think they know I don't want any part of this shit. (STBFBA) thinks I can talk to JD for him, but I don't think he expects me to. I think he at least knows he's too far gone for that. They're just pissing and moaning because they're about to get shitcanned, and they don't realize that half the reason they're losing their jobs is because nobody wants them around and they don't even know why. It makes you wonder."
"Wonder about what?"
"It makes me wonder," I replied, "what people think of me. Am I an "annoying motherfucker" like them? Do I talk too much? Do people like me? Would anyone stand up for me if I started having problems with JD? Or would people just say, "Fuck him," and watch me lose my job?"
"First of all, you wouldn't have those problems to begin with. And second, everyone in the fucking place would help you out if it came to that."
"Think about it, though. You talk to some people, and they annoy the shit out of you, right? Don't you wonder if you're having the same effect on them? Or on anyone else?"
Johnny smiled at this. "Do I look like I give a shit? I come here to make money, not to solve everyone's problems. It's a fucking job, man."
"So why can't some people just come in and do it?"
He shrugged. "We do."
"Hangin' out around the block drinkin' coffee counts as working?"
"If it does, you're the fucking Employee of the Month, kid."