Bulk

Bulk

Bulk

Bulk

When I learned that he’d been arrested and that I’d have to come down to the station to bail him out, I knew this all had reached a tipping point.

I picked up the phone on the twelfth ring – I had just returned home from my spin class and was herding strangers off my yard while looking for my husband. The yard sale was supposed to be done by now, but nothing had been cleaned up.

The automated robo-voice began before I could even say ‘Hel’-, “Will you accept a collect call from an inmate at Alhambra County Jail? If yes, press 1. If no, press 2 or hang up.”

I didn’t think anyone I knew would be in jail and my thumb just about halfway depressed the “2” button, but I took the call anyway.

“Hello?” I said.

“Honey, it’s me – listen, I’m sorry about the yard. This is all a big misunderstanding. Will you please meet me down here and try to help me explain all this? I love you. Oh, and, could you please bring some of the green juice in the fridge for me for the car ride– all they have is milk in here.”

I hung up the phone. I was not going to bring him his green juice – he drinks too much of it and has the shits all the time. At that point – there was a 75% chance I wouldn’t even meet him down there. It’d be nice to have the house to myself for a while.

I didn’t know what he was in jail for, but it didn’t matter. We would have ended up in some version of “here” sooner or later. I got out a glass with some ice and mixed his ginormous bottle of green juice with a heavy pour from the even more ginormous vodka bottle in the freezer – not so much because I necessarily wanted a heavy pour, but mostly because that bottle is heavy and hard to control.

Dan and I met about a year after my first marriage – I was young and things were exciting, but it wasn’t the kind of thing that lasts. Dan had never been married. He got his undergraduate degree later than most. He put if off because he was happy with his steady job driving the golf carts that pick up the balls on the driving range. He’d had it since he was in high school. I didn’t find that out until after we were married – trust me.

I was in a weird place when Dan and I met – I was sort of craving something boring, normal, average – I don’t know.

Our first date was to a go-kart track of all places. It was set up in part of the Costco parking lot, some temporary promotion thing they were doing to sell their 16 Bridgestone tire bundles. I think whoever had the fastest lap time by the end of the promotion got a free tire or something.

So we raced and it was fun. I hadn’t done that in years. Afterwards we ate at the Costco food court, we had hotdogs and soda. It was fine. And then (I kick myself for not seeing this as a red flag at the time), he said, “Hey, let’s go in and find all the free samples!”

In the moment, I guess I thought it was cute. He grabbed my hand and led me zigzagging around the giant warehouse and we tracked down all the samples from crackers and cheese to hand-sanitizer and carpet cleaner (he knew where every single one of those sample carts were too – again, huge red flag in hindsight).

So great, it was a semi-normal, semi-weird first date, but I did have fun and the next week he took me on a second date and a third and on and on. They weren’t all to Costco, so I really can’t be too hard on myself. How could I have really known?

I was at the bottom of my glass. I looked outside the window and the yard sale shit was still there. A few stragglers peering around from table to table. You know, that yard sale peer people do – chin out, neck stretch, bottom lip up and out a bit, eyebrows raised, and hands clasped behind the back as they meander from thing to thing. Right then, they were probably wondering who to pay for the stuff. I wished they’d just take it.

Nothing in our house felt like it belonged in a home. I mean, I guess it would if there was a piece or a few spread around, but every single piece of furniture, electronic, even art was from that goddamn store. Even the slippers on my feet at that very moment and the empty glass in my hand. Maybe I should get “Kirkland” tattooed across my forehead.

He insisted we buy everything from Costco. Every. Single. Thing.

In the beginning, it was fine, it was actually nice buying some stuff in bulk – like toilet paper, nuts, beans – I was fine with that. And it happened slowly I think, because he used to be okay with shopping at other stores, but over time – maybe year 3 of our marriage – I noticed him starting to buy a lot of shit we just didn’t need and/or would really never use.

We didn’t need the $1,999 big-screen TV simply because it was normally $3,449. We didn’t need the 2-pack waffle iron, blender, toaster, Panini-maker, margarita mixer, blender – that list goes on. We really didn’t need the 5-gallons of green juice every other week. We didn’t need 500 potatoes. We didn’t need 35 boxes of frozen salmon fillets. And we definitely didn’t need 3 of the same mahogany-leather massage chairs placed next to one another in place of a normal fucking couch in front of a cheap looking coffee table in front of a cheaper looking entertainment center surrounded by plastic fucking plants.

I was fed up.

That morning I gave him an ultimatum – he either began to break his habit/addiction/obsession/hobby – whatever he wanted to call it – or we’d be getting a divorce. I said I was going to do a long spin class and by the time I got back he’d better have sold or donated or fucking burnt the shit we don’t need.

“Honey, I understand. I’ll do it. But, what don’t we need?” He dumbly asked.

WE DON’T NEED TWO FUCKING WAFFLE IRONS!

We probably didn’t even need one waffle iron, but I was trying to be realistic. Small progress would still be progress and I had to get him to start somewhere.

He was almost done setting up the yard sale in the front yard as I backed out of the driveway with a half-tank of Costco gasoline.

Most of the stuff on the tables was still in unopened boxes. I didn’t want to look twice, but I think the idiot was organizing everything as if they were on the shelves at Costco. The appliance section neatly sorted and stacked, and it took up most of the yard – five whole blenders, sold separately of course, a Kirkland folding table full of other random kitchen gadgets I couldn’t identify, a mini fridge, and even a washing machine. Jesus Christ– when did he buy an extra washing machine?

He just smiled and waved as I backed out onto the street – sweat stains expanding from his armpits, his stripped polo accentuating his “Kirkland” brand gut, and green juice clinging to his hideous mustache. I wasn’t sure how I’d been living with all this.

I finally decided I was going to wait until the next morning to go down to the police station. I didn’t want to deal with anymore of it that night. And then, there were three hard knocks on the front door.

A police officer stood at the door. Another one had his flashlight out looking at the stuff around the yard and on the tables.

“Ma’am, as you may know, you’re husband was arrested early today. We’d been getting some calls that he was selling stolen goods. When we got down here, it checked out. Most stuff he was selling was still in boxes, never been touched. It looks like a classic delivery truck heist scheme he’s got going on – the truck is intercepted between the shipping warehouse and the destination and the cargo’s ripped off. We’ve got a few outstanding investigations into those. By the look of all this stuff, he’s had to been doing it a while. We’re back here to collect some evidence and ask you for a statement,” the officer said. “Did you know, anything about this?”

“Oh, I knew about it, alright,” I said. “It’s not stolen though – actually, I wish that were the case.”
I told the officer to look at my ring – a “beautiful” Kirkland-cut diamond – I then pulled out a photo album that sat on the ugly, cheap-looking coffee table. I showed the officer a few photographs of Dan – at Costco – picking out that same wedding ring.

“Ma’am, I don’t really get what you’re trying to show me,” he said.

I handed him the album and told him to look through it. Part of Dan’s obsession was this album. He’d take pictures of stuff in the warehouse and buy it, and then he’d take pictures of stuff in our house and place the two side by side. Some just the stuff – some he’d pose next to it with both thumbs up and a stupid fucking smile of pure joy. It was the only thing he did with the digital camera he got for $899 because, “Honey, it’s normally $1,299!”

The officer flipped through the album – it was large and dictionary sized – he’d flip a page, look at something in the room, flip another. I could see he was starting to get it.

“Oh, I…”

“Yup.”

“Well jeeze. This is weird,” he said. “Unfortunately, you’re still going to need to come down to the station to make a statement and get him out.”

I excused myself to the kitchen and refilled my empty glass – this time with an intentionally heavy pour. I sat back down and it was the first time those mahogany-leather massage chairs were actually really fucking comfortable. I brought the ginormous vodka bottle back with me and set it down on the coffee table for effect. I took a big sip and brought my glass down. A big green juice vodka mustache remained on my lip.

“Officer, I just don’t think I’m in any state to be going anywhere. You guys can keep him.”