Doug 2

[a new story from the new edition of Home Depot Profiles In Courage]

I was up in the overhead in the chemical aisle arranging boxes of bleach when Doug came over.

"I'm trying to get this rotten tooth out of my mouth," he says.

I see his cheek moving where he's working the tooth with his tongue. It must be a molar.

"Its all that Mountain Dew you drink. Its rotting your teeth."

"Come down and take a look at it, will ya?"


"Tell me if you think I can get it out."

"I'm not looking at your tooth, Doug. I got to move these boxes of bleach around and I'm not coming down."

He's looking up at me, working the tooth with his tongue. "I've been working it all day. Its loose but its not coming out."

I tell him about that trick of tying a string around the tooth and tying it to a door knob. You get someone to slam the door and the tooth comes out. He nodded his head, still working the tooth with his tongue. Then he goes back to the light bulb aisle.

I got the bleach organized and then I pushed the metal staircase on wheels to the next overhead and I started organizing the boxes of carpet cleaning chemicals and the air fresheners and the stain removers. Then Maria called break over the intercom and I came down.

Doug wasn't in the break room.

"Anyone seen Doug?" Maria asks. "Does he know we're on break?"

"I seen him in Hardware," says Steve, not looking up from his paper. "He knows."

Little Dave is sitting across from me. He says, "You heard this latest one about Doug?"

I didn't hear it and Little Dave starts telling me. A couple weeks ago Doug asked Mauro the hot dog guy to come out with him and his wife Heather for a drink. Heather is touching Mauro at the bar. Mauro gets real drunk with them and goes back to their place and Heather starts kissing him. Doug doesn't care Mauro's kissing his wife. Mauro's never been with a white girl so it doesn't matter how fat she is. Doug doesn't care and they go in the bedroom. Mauro's on top of her and then he feels someone touch him from behind. Its Doug. Doug's naked. He wants to fuck Mauro while Mauro is fucking his wife. Mauro ran out of there. He didn't come to work at the hot dog stand all week. 

After break I was back up in the overhead arranging boxes. I was arranging boxes of detergent when Doug came into the aisle. He's got a blood soaked clump of brown paper towels pressed against his mouth.

"I'm spitting all this blood," he says.

"What'd you do?"

"I went down to Hardware and got a pliers and I pulled that tooth out."

He spits blood into the mess of paper towels. I just look at him.

"You want to meet for a beer on Sunday?" he says.

"I can't."

"How about Saturday?"


"What about the next week?"

"I'm busy."

"When we going out then?"

"No, Doug. I'm not going anywhere with you."

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