the grasshopper tries again

*Paul “the Grasshopper” McCartney is a character in my best selling novel Jerry Haywire (Softcover at Amazon & Hardcover at Barnes & Noble). Here is an update on his whereabouts and activity, set after the end of the novel. Like the novel, this entry is fiction and the characters are imaginary. Paul McCartney is, obviously, not the same guy as the musician from the Beatles.*

The Grasshopper finished up with his bleached-blond hooker in his hotel room at the Montelucia — he grunted and came on her stomach in four bursts. It was his usual spot for meeting this particular hooker. Of course, the mechanical sex with a creepy old man was a miserable experience for the young girl (she needed the money though). He now hurried forth, and hastened to one of his favorite coffee shops in the Paradise Valley, Arizona area — Hava Java, located on Camelback Road. He parked his car and quickly arranged a little pile of cocaine on his thumb, after carefully dumping it out of a little baggy. He snorted the coke up into his nose and then walked in to the coffee shop.

“I’ll have the usual,” he said as he reached the front of the line, his eyes darting back and forth.

He received his coffee drink from the barista and sat down. He unzipped his bag and took out his laptop computer, placing it on the table in front of him. He always pretended like he was doing something important while he was at Hava Java. He never was.

There was, as usual, a crowd of folk about the coffee shop. The Grasshopper saw white lightning — or he thought he did, at least. There was a busy, bustling tone about the shop. The Grasshopper looked around in vain for anyone he knew. He wanted to impress someone with a story, perhaps something about someone he had met during the TENACIOUS hoax — like an athlete or an entertainer. The Grasshopper was the ultimate star-orbiter. He hustled and scammed to meet people – like Maddox Malone – with real accomplishments and boasted about the meetings to his acquaintances. He had no accomplishments of his own. No original thoughts, no achievements. But he saw no familiar faces at Hava Java. Not so far.

The appearance of the Grasshopper (Paul McCartney was his name, no relation to the famous musician) was as usual. He had on the same blazer he always wore. Square jeans, stupid-looking. Billowing haunches. The only exception was that in recent months — after his TENACIOUS training facility hoax had run its course — the skunk-stripe which used to adorn his head was gone. His hair had turned all white, it was now uniform in color. He still gelled his hair, ferociously.

Dripping with white privilege (thanks to his grandpa’s achievements), he started clicking around on his laptop computer. He clicked frantically, as his energy levels were barely controllable due to effects of caffeine and, more predominantly, the cocaine.

One of his browser windows was open to the website he used to browse and contact his hookers. When he realized what was showing on his screen — in a public place — he closed the browser quickly and looked around, hoping no one noticed.

With that browser tab closed, the open browser on his screen showed the website for a company called Swagelok, which was based out of Ohio. Before the interlude with the girl at the Montelucia, he had been looking at that corporation’s website (he found it through a Google search) to compare the “core values” section of the company website to the rambling scribbles about his own “core values” in the notebook he carried with him to pretend like he had valuable thoughts to record.

“Well, well, well — Core Values! Let’s do this!” he said, out loud.

“Um, what was that?” said a younger man who was sitting across from McCartney at the same table, sounding as if he were annoyed but torn about being polite (he seemed to think McCartney was addressing him).

The Grasshopper thought for a second, and replied, “Oh, uh, nothing, I’m just looking at some core values for my next, uh, project. Core values are important!”

John Lennon’s Imagine played over the Hava Java speaker system. It was a song that everyone recognized and no-one really heard whenever it played in settings like these.

There was a silence for a little while, when the man replied, in a thin voice, “Ah, core values for a project. Got it. Good luck.” The man looked back down at his screen.

“And what do you do?” McCartney asked the man.

“I run a digital marketing agency with a focus on sports marketing. I work for a lot of sports properties,” replied the man.

“Oh wow! What a coincidence. I’ve worked in sports! I’ve met a lot of famous athletes. I just completed a massive training facility deal. Very successful! My wife’s life coaching business will go inside the facility as well. Talk about core values! We should do something together!”

“That’s interesting,” said the man. His face indicated that he was not interested at all.

The Grasshopper’s heart sank as he detected the disinterest in the guy’s voice. He needed people to believe in his bullshit so he could fill his time and pretend to be somebody. Paul “the Grasshopper” McCartney had never earned anything in his life; not on his own. He got a trust fund from his hard-working grandpa. The Grasshopper, however, didn’t know how to do anything — not a single thing. He had a low IQ. He filled his days with drug abuse and constantly victimized young girls — sometimes as young as eighteen — who were down on their luck and selling their bodies for money. Hookers. He latched onto other people — the girls, or anybody else he could scam — and used them to fill the aggressive emptiness of his own life.

But the guy sitting across from him… he wasn’t falling for it.

“Err, ah, my grandfather founded PartDok,” exclaimed the Grasshopper, “Maybe I can invest in your business and help it grow. We can start an international division… I have contacts in Portugal and Spain and other places. Core Values! Let’s do this!”

The man just stared at the Grasshopper. He went back to typing on his computer.

“I’m a really driven person,” said the Grasshopper, seemingly looking for any spark he could find to start a conversation in earnest. “Very DRIVEN!”

“That’s great. Good luck with your stuff,” said the man. “Your training facility… or whatever it was you said you were doing.”

The man closed his computer, put it in his bag, got up from the table and walked off. He left the coffee shop, going about the rest of his day. Perhaps it was good sense that led him to ignore the drug-addled hooker-fucker. Perhaps it was luck. Either way, the man was gone, just like that. Paul “the Grasshopper” McCartney sat in the coffee shop. He was as worthless as ever. Still high on cocaine, buzzing from caffeine… and pretending to work on his laptop computer. He closed the Swagelok tab on his browser. Minutes went by and McCartney grew closer to death, closer to the end of his wretched existence — a meaningless venture if there ever was one. He was a nothing more than a blight on his grandfather’s hard work; a destroyer of legacies.

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