WWKD number 12:51…
What would Kafka do if he were accused of a crime he didn’t–oh, wait.
Amazingly enough, something happened over Thanksgiving break that some people might actually call “Kafkaesque” in a totally Alanis’d out non-ironic sort of way, in that it is an event that sort of kind of resembles something Kafka wrote about in a book one time. The book is The Trial, which is English for Der Prozess, and the scene plays out like the following neo-absurdist drama-let:
THE SETTING: Sundance Natural Foods, Eugene, Oregon. The present. Which is to say: the maggot-infested ponchos of the 60s, the VW “bus-homes” of the never-should-have-beens, and the ultra-PC-lame-ass passive aggression of the 90s. Sundance Natural Foods has existed in its present state since 1971, save the extra-hippie’d out mural on one wall, which gets repainted every decade or so with some new ultra-PC extra hippie’d out mural. The store sells just what you’d expect it to: natural (sometimes vegan) food (some delicious, like the organic produce; some inedible, like the vegan pastries). It’s staffed and frequented by potheads, burnouts, yuppies, hippies, druggies, stoners, tokers, midnight jokers and soccer moms who like to smoke weed. It has innumerable earnest “Cherish the Goddess” bumper stickers for sale, as well as a nice selection of hemp-based toiletries. IMPORTANT: to save our million-times raped goddess mother the Earth, Sundance issues neither receipts nor bags unless you specifically ask for them. Most of the people who go there bring their own receptacles.
- JACOB Pitts, official focus-grouped Breakout Guy of the forthcoming feature epic gladiator-battle prison documentary My Trip To Ye Olde Europe, Or Something. Also, my boyfriend.* Also, a slightly scruffy dresser with negligible attitudes toward washing his hair. Or clothes. Or wearing clothes without holes in them.
- HIPPIE McGee, a Sundance customer. Not employee, CUSTOMER. Mid-40s. Batik shirt. Beard. Possibly dancing bears somewhere on his person. Possibly on his car.
- SECURITY McGoo, a Sundance security guard. Possibly pot-addled.
- CASH-REGISTER McCrud, a Sundance Cashier. Definitely pot-addled.
ACT I, of one. Scene 1, of one.
JACOB purchaes three bags of JERQUEE and a HEMP NUT BAR. It costs $5.36. Because I am still making purchases for my mother (cranberries, oranges, whathaveyou), Jacob tools around by the door, minding his own business, recent purchases in pocket due to the aforementioned no-bag-or-receipt policy. MANY PEOPLE start eyeing him suspiciously. EYE SIGNALS are traded. SECURITY MCGOO approaches him and blocks the door, but instead of saying anything, is interrupted by HIPPIE MCGEE, who leaves his place in
line to approach JACOB.
HIPPIE MCGEE: You know, man, you can change your reality in the moment and give these guys back their stuff.
JACOB: Huh? Wha?
HIPPIE MCGEE: Just give it back, man.
JACOB: Change my what? Give what back?
SECURITY MCGOO: The stuff in your pockets, dude. You stole it.
JACOB: Oh, what? No, I just bought it–I bought it from that guy right there. Ask him.
JACOB points to CASH-REGISTER McCrud.
SECURITY MCGOO: Did he just buy this stuff from you?
CASH-REGISTER MCCRUD: Oh, man…you know, I should remember and I’m pretty sure I do but I can’t say for sure.
At this point, I realize what is going on and decide to interject after a few moments of dumbfounded silence…dumfounded because 1) who shoplifts and then hangs around the crime scene with the merch clearly visible? and 2) He’d JUST MADE HIS PURCHASE three MINUTES PRIOR!!! and 3) WHO SHOPLIFTS AND THEN HANGS AROUND THE CRIME SCENE WITH THE MERCH CLEARLY VISIBLE?????
ME: He’s with ME! He JUST BOUGHT three bags of Jerquee and a hemp-bar! I SAW HIM, and you did too, you dope-addled hippie fucks! (all right, that’s not what I said, but hey).
Cash-Register McCrud goes through the computer records of recent purchases and his memory of selling Jacob $5.38 worth of Jerquee and Hemp-Nut bars is jarred. They “let” Jacob go, but with dirty looks all the while.
1) Why do hippies suck so much? Discuss.
2) If Joseph K.’s crime was “shoplifting” do you think it would have made a difference to his case?
3) Really, why do hippies suck so much? Write a five-page paper for extra credit.
4) When these shitheads can’t escape the hyper-marketed visage of my man-friend in two months, will they remember shaking him down for shoplifthing Jerquee and will they refer to him as “the Sundance Winona” from now until eternity? HINT: Potheads have no short-term memory. Or long-term memory.
5) What kind of asshole says “change your reality in the moment” and means it? Elaborate.
footnote Yes, ladies (and dudes), Jacob Pitts is my boyfriend. Until that movie comes out and he promptly dumps me for Tara Reid and/or Billy Crudup.