Rolando: Johnny’s Lasagna

May 16th, 2015

-Hear about that guy we had the other day?

-Nah, what guy?

-The guy that almost blew his head off.

-Almost blew his head off? How the hell do you do that?

-With a shotgun.

-I mean, not what he used, but how?

-He went all Ernest Hemingway with it, only he didn’t do it right.

-I get the thing with the shotgun. But how the hell do you “almost blow your head off” with a shotgun. The damn thing has a pretty good spread. It’s a point and shoot type a thing.

-I don’t know, guess he wasn’t committed to the whole thing. Pulled the trigger, then tried to back away at the last second. Got half his face. We got to the call and he was walking around, trying to hold the blown off side together with the other side.

-Jesus. Poor bastard.

-I know.

-What happened to him?

-Who knows? We dropped him off at the ED and the trauma team took over.

-Jesus, that’s fucked up.

-It is.

-Really fucked up.

-He made his choice.

-I guess.

-Wanna know what’s really fucked up?

-What’s that?

-Johnny was making his lasagna that night at the house.

-God, Johnny’s lasagna is the best.

-I know, that mother fucker can make a damn good pan of lasagna, for Mexican.

-So what happened?

We get back, and all the boys ate it all up. There was nothing left.

-Not even leftovers?

-Nothing. Those bastards ate it all up and didn’t even save us a plate.

-Now that’s fucked up. That’s just wrong.

-Who you telling? A guy can really work up an appetite on a call like that.

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Rolando: Nursing Home Tales–We Got a Guy

May 9th, 2015

-I don’t mean anything by it, but aren’t you too old to be driving, Nana?

-What, “too old?” I’m still breathing and walking. Why can’t I drive?

-Well, you’re going to be 80 this month, and your vision isn’t too great. I just figured it would be hard for you to take the driving test.

-Oh, I pass every time, no problem. We got a guy.

-What do you mean, “you got a guy?”

-We got guy–at the nursing home–that takes care of things.

-What things? What guy?

-Javier, the maintenance guy. He’s from Costa Rica. He’s a doll.

-Nana, what things does this Javier take care of?

-Just things, you know, stuff you need.

-Ok. Like?

-Like driving tests. Javier has a cousin at the DMV, that for a twenty spot, helps us memorize the eye chart and all the other stuff for the test.

-You cheat on the driving test?

-It’s not cheating. We all do it. Plus, I know I can drive. Been doing it for all my life.

-But you can barely see because of your bad eyes, Nana.

-Well, that’s another thing he helps with. Javier has a cousin that can get primo grass.


-Weed, honey. I think you kids call it that now. Javier’s other cousin gets us good pot. It helps me focus.

-Nana, I know what it is, I’m, just…you smoke weed? This guy’s getting you weed, too?

-Yeah. I’m old and I’m in a nursing home. Why the hell not? What else am I going to do?

-I don’t know, not smoke weed and cheat on driver license exams cause it’s illegal?

-Yeah, no. You survive to a certain age and you kind of get to do what the hell you want. I earned it. Besides, I’m not hurting anyone, and who’s going to stop an old lady from smoking a little pot and taking a cruise in my car?

-The cops?

-Them? I hit them with the old, “I’m old enough to be your grandma. Of course I’m not under the influence of marijuana, officer.” and they let me be.

-And that works?

-Oh, it works. If not, I call Javier and he’s got another cousin who’s a cop and can get me off.

-Seems like this Javier can get things done.

-Like I said, we got a guy.

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Rolando: A Dying Old Man

May 2nd, 2015

Editor’s Note:Rolando is getting ready to watch the big fight. So here’s an oldie to hold you over.

-Best thing in the world….

–What is?

-Die of a massive heart attack.


-It’s the best way to go–massive heart attack.

–How would you know?

-Well, hell, it’s got to be better than fucking cancer. I’m dying piece by miserable piece, instead of all in one bang.

–Why would you want that? It’s so sudden, you don’t even see it coming.

-Exactly. I don’t want to know about it or sit around thinking about it. Save all the bull shit and get it over with already.

–I get what you’re saying, but at least you get to take care of any loose ends and spend some time with your family. Get yourself right with the man upstairs. That’s got count for something.

-Fuck if it does. This is no way to go on living. The whole thing is twisted and fucked.


-And what’s with the man upstairs crap? You think any man, woman or thing up there gives a crap about me? If they did they would’ve killed me quick and called it day. Not this shit.

–People get spiritual when they’re facing the end, try and connect to a higher power. I just thought you might be in to that.

-There was this guy, a surgeon, on the news the other day. He slipped into a coma and was dying. While he was in the coma, he said he saw God. He ended up waking up from that coma. He never believed in God or in an after life before the coma, but after it, he believed.

–That wouldn’t be the first time that happened to someone or the last.

-Well I say good. Good for him. He believes. I’m happy that he does, but I don’t. I wish that I could, but I don’t. There’s nothing after this.

–You don’t know that for sure.

-Kid, as sure as this fucking cancer is eating away at my body, I know. You live, then you die and that’s it. Some lucky bastards get to go quicker then others.

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Rolando: Nursing Home Tales–Doctor’s Orders

April 25th, 2015

-Hey, grandma.

-My Robbie boy, I didn’t know you were picking me up.

-Yeah, grandma. Dad said you needed a ride to your appointment.

-Oh, I’m so happy to see you, Robbie.

-Happy to see you, too.

-How’s school? You doing well?

-Yeah. It’s ok. I’m on break for the summer.

-That’s nice. You dating anyone special?

-Not really. I’m keeping my options open.

-Good boy. You’re too young to be settling down. Have your fun.

-How are things at the retirement home?

-Don’t call it that. You father likes to call it that. It’s a shit show. Not a home.

-I know you don’t want to be there but dad’s spending a lot of money to make sure you’re taken care of, grandma.

-Well it’s a waste if you ask me. The place is dingy, the food taste like shit and the staff is made up of a bunch of idiots.

-It can’t be that bad.

-Oh, but it is, Robbie. They almost killed Nancy the other day.

-Your roommate, Mrs. Schwartzman? That woman is never going to die.

-Well she almost did.

-How’d they do that?

-It was terrible. So she has trouble sleeping sometimes, so her doctor prescribed her a sleeping pill to help her sleep.


-Well she only sometimes has trouble sleeping, so she doesn’t always need the pill. But that idiot nurse, Marco, comes in every night with the pill. “Doctor’s orders meesus Schwartzman. Time to take your peel.” That Filipino asshole….

-Ok, that seems annoying…

-…Annoying? It’s idiotic. Sometimes he’ll wake her up to give her the pill. She’s already sleeping and still with the pill, Robbie.

- I know but if the doctor prescribed it to her, I don’t see how it could kill her.

-So, the other night here comes Marco with the stupid pill. Nancy tells him she doesn’t want it, she’s been sleeping just fine. And what does he say?

-Doctor’s orders?

-Right. So she takes the pill and goes to bed. In the morning Marco makes his rounds, waking the early risers up for breakfast. He comes into our room and wakes me, then, walks over to Nancy and gives her a shake.



-So what did he do?

-Marco starts screaming: “Oh my God meesus Schwartzman is dead! Somebody call 911! Queeckly!” And he starts doing chest compressions.


-I know. I sat there, horrified, thinking, ‘You Filipino son of a bitch. You killed Nancy.’ Then Nancy opens her eyes, sits up and starts screaming: “What are you doing to me?” She wasn’t dead. She was just knocked out cold from the sleeping pill.

-He didn’t check for a pulse or for breathing?

-I told you, they’re idiots.

-What did Marco do when she woke up?

-Of course he thought she was back from dead, he starts crying and screaming: “Oh meesus Schwartzman, you’re back. I saved you. Thank you God.”

-Yeah, we got to get you out of there, grandma.

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Rolando: If I Want Me Some…

April 18th, 2015

I was sitting at work, a day like any other, when Beth, a nurse, walked up to me and said: “Hey, Ro, can you help me clean and change room 22?”

“Yeah, no problem,” I said as we walked over to the room.

“It’s this cute little old black lady,” Beth said as we walked. “She’s 98-years-old.”

“Alright,” I said.

We got to the room and Beth opened up the door and we both walked in.

“Ms. Smith,” Beth said, “We’re going to clean you up and change you.”

“Ok,” Ms. Smith replied. “Oh, lord, who is this man right there? Handsome devil.”

“This is my friend, Ro,” Beth said as she giggled.

“Hi, Ms. Smith,” I said. “I’m going to help Beth change and clean you. We just have to take off these blankets and your depends.”

“For what, so you can get ready to come over here and lay on me?” she asked with a smirk on her face.

Beth’s nearly inaudible giggle turned to a full out laugh.

“No, Ms. Smith,” I said. “No one is going to be laying on anyone around here.”

“Well it’s a damn shame, I tell you, cause I’m ready.”

Beth and I both started laughing. We couldn’t help it. Was I really being propositioned by a 98-year-old lady for a booty call?

“Well I tell you what, when you ready to come get you some, you come see me,” she said as she began winking at me and blowing me kisses.

I guess that’s exactly what was happening.

“Ms. Smith, you’re going to get me in trouble. Beth here knows my girlfriend.”

“I don’t care. I got something for your girlfriend,” she said as she balled up fists in a boxing stance and starting throwing punches. “Pew, pew, pew, POW!”

At that point, Beth and I were practically in tears. Here’s this little old lady, old enough to be my great grandmother, and she was as feisty as could be.

Not only was she trying to “get some” but she was also willing to whip my girlfriend’s ass to get it.

We finished cleaning her up and I told her I was leaving.

To which she replied: “You know I’m just talking crazy.”

“I know Ms. Smith, it’s good to have a sense of humor. I’ll check on you later.”

“Ok, Big Daddy,” she said as I left the room with that same smirk on her face.

Time flew by, we got busy as hell, and I almost forgot about Ms. Smith. That is, until, Beth walked up to me with her own smirk on her face and asked: “Hey, do you want to take your girlfriend in 22 up to her room?”

“Why the hell not?”

I walked back to her room, opened the door and announced: “Ms. Smith, I’m here to take you up to your room.”

“Let’s go, daddy,” she said, smirking again. “You think we’ll have some alone time up there.”

“Probably not, but we’ll at least have the trip up together.”

“Fine by me.”

I packed her stuff on the cart and off we went. I turned left at the main hallway that connects our ER to the main hospital. It was mid afternoon so the hallway was packed with traffic. People going back-and-forth to the various parts of the hospital. No one really paying attention me or the little ball of energy that sat on the cart.

To be honest, I was surprised at how well she was behaving. I thought for sure she would act out in front of anyone who could be a potential audience for her nutty antics.

We got to the staff elevators and a few people were waiting to go up. Then she started again.

“Hey, mam,” she said to a young female transporter. “Ain’t he pretty? Tell me he ain’t pretty with that beard and that face.”

The poor woman, she had no idea what to say. I could tell she didn’t want to offend me or the old lady, so she said: “Yes. Yes he is pretty. With that beard and that face.”

Luckily the elevator arrived at the first floor and I got her in it as quickly as I could.

As we made our way up to the fourth floor of the hospital. Ms. Smith turned to me, smiled and said: “Baby, you know I’m just talking crazy, right? I’m old, and I don’t got much. No family, no friends. All I got me is some talking crazy to keep me from going crazy. Smile before I cry. You know what I’m telling you?”

“I get it, Ms. Smith,” I said. “I’ll take a laugh over a cry any day.”

Just then the doors opened and I pushed her out into the busy hallway.

“Lord or lord, I hope there’s some pretty men up here. Not that one, he’s too fat. But that one, yes, that one’ll do.”

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Rolando: Red Line Study Session (I Hate Bruce Rauner)

April 11th, 2015

Fuck, why do I always wait to the last minute to study? Had all day yesterday to learn this shit and I’m doing it an hour before class on the damn L…. Run through it again: Deoxygenated blood enters into the right atrium from the superior and inferior vana cava, through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle where it is then pushed past the pulmonary valve and into the pulmonary artery, then….

“Excuse me. Excuse me, y’all. Can a poor old lady get y’alls attention for a momentary?”

Christ what the hell does this freak want? Asshole, you threw me off my train of thought.

“I just would like to ask y’all if you wouldn’t mind signing my petition to state that I hate Bruce Rauner. Why do I hate Bruce Rauner? Well, cause he’s fucking up our Medicaid. Fucking it right up. I think that he should….

Ok, well this one isn’t shutting up so block her out and focus. …into the pulmonary artery where it is then carried to the lungs to be oxygenated, where it then is returned to the left atrium via the left pulmonary veins…

“Excuse me sir. Excuse me.”

Fuck she standing right in front of me. Don’t look up. You have your headphones on, just ignore her.

“Sir don’t be rude, I know you hear me. Can I have a momentary of your time, is all I’m asking?”

Fuck me I just want to study. Ah fuck it, she’s not going to go away.

“Yes, mam. What can I do for you?”

“Well thank ya for ya time, I appreciate it. I would like to know if you’d sign my petition against Bruce Rauner. You know he’s fucking up our Medicaid, right?”

“I hear he’s trying to change a bunch of things.”

“But especially our Medicaid. And we can’t let him do that. So will you sign?”

“Can I see the petition?”

“Yes you can.”

What the fuck? The damn thing just says “I hate Bruce Rauner” across the top in black marker and “He’s fucking up Medicaid” under that in red marker. And there’s two signatures with the same hand writing.

“I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t a petition. It’s your personal opinion. And you don’t mention anything about what you want changed or to be done.”

“I want for him not to fuck up Medicaid. Ain’t that clear?”

“Alright, mam, I have to get back to studying here. I’m not got to sign that.”

“What you studying…”

“Mam, hey, don’t touch my book…”

“Why you got all those pictures of hearts in that book? You studying to be a doctor?”

“No. I’m not.”

“Lord oh lord, this world is surely coming to an end. A brown doctor man that don’t care about poor black folks that need they Medicaid. Mhm, mhm, mhm, this brown boy studying to be doctor and he don’t care a lick. Well you know what, brown doctor man? I hate you too.”

…It goes down past the mitral valve into the left ventricle and is pushed up past the aortic valve into the aorta and through the rest of the body….

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Rolando: A Real Socialite

April 4th, 2015



-The way you blew that guy off.

-I didn’t blow the guy off. I returned his iPod. That’s a damned noble thing to do. I could’ve kept it.

-Yeah but he tried to thank you and you practically shoved the poor guy to the floor.

-That’s cause he tried to go in for a hug. And I didn’t shove him. I just put my arm up to stop him like a stiff arm.

-The guy was just happy to get his iPod back. It was a genuine act of gratitude you damn caveman.

-A simple thank you would’ve been just fine. There’s no reason for us to embrace over a lost iPod.

-You’re unfit to live in a society. You don’t know how to behave like a normal human being. That was an asshole move.

-Hey, I’m pleasant as fuck. I just don’t go beyond a handshake with strangers. I know the guy 30 seconds and he already wants to touch chests? I’m good.

-It’s not just the touching thing. There’s also the way you avoid interacting with people in almost every social situation imaginable.

-So I don’t engage in conversations on the street with complete strangers. I would say that’s pretty normal.

-I’ve seen you pop in your earbuds in line at the grocery store so you don’t to talk to the checkout person.

-I’m there to buy food not have a discussion about how my or their day is going.

-Or how about the way you pretend to be reading something really engaging on your phone when you see someone you know on the L and don’t want to talk?

-That’s cause I usually am.

-Reading Joe Rogan tweets can’t be that captivating.

-What do you want me to say? So I’m not very sociable. That doesn’t mean I should be cast off to some penal colony for the antisocial

-No that would too easy for you. You’d be in heaven. I’d send to a place where every one is super friendly and talkative and happy. And where you can’t avoid people and every interaction begins and ends with a hug.

-Jesus that sounds like hell.

-Sure it does.

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