Powerless, Part III


Pic of the day, part i:  Salammbo, by Alphonse Mucha

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The streets of every city in America are filled with men who would pay all the money they could lay their hands on to be transformed, even for a day, into hairy, hard-fisted brutes who walk all over cops, extort drinks from terrified bartenders and roar out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker’s daughter.

Hunter S. Thompson

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Dan looked at the phone.  He stared at it for a full minute.  Shaking, angrily.  Muttering to himself in the deepest darkest voice he could muster. “Why is she doing this?  What the fuck!”  He swatted at the phone, knocking it across the room onto the one small rug on the floor near the front door.  He kicked the chair that was in front of him, the small wooden chair sent careening down the length of the room, all 18 feet of it, crashing into the stained wall under the side window, cracking the back of the chair and the paint on the wall where it impacted.

He stopped.  He looked around, and began to pick up the mess he had just made.  He was barking angry, talking  to no one in particular.  “Where the fuck does she get off doing this to me? After all the years of my life I gave up for her, all the shit I went through, THIS is the thanks I get?”  He walked across the room and picked up the phone.  It had survived, but had cracked near the bottom of the phone.

He put it back in it’s cradle “Can’t afford to break shit, it’s not like I have a lot of anything anymore.  I’ll call Paul later and ask him to sell that stupid crap if I can’t go out like a trooper with’em.”

He went to go pick up the chair near the window, and passed a picture of him and his wife in happier days.  It was a picture of him and her at their wedding, she a beaming blushing bride, thin and radiant looking.  She always said she thought the makeup girl tried to make her look like a chicken the way she emphasized her cheekbones with the makeup like she did.  He didn’t see it, he thought she looked beautiful.  Even now, with her leaving.

She’s leaving.  He let the words dance through his skull.  She’s leaving.  We aren’t Us anymore.  How did this happen?

He thought about the day they met.

He was at a bar on a friday night watching baseball, bullshitting around with his buddies after a long work week.  Yankees Red Sox was on.  It was a big game.  She walked in with a Red Sox hat on with a few of her Female friends.  Girls night out is what he told him later.  He looked at her wearing that hat and his first words to her were “Red Sox Suck!”  She was momentarily taken aback, but responded “Ya, we’ll win tonight, Loosah!”  He responded “Wanna make a bet?  $500!  Right now! C’mon!”  He was playing around, and they both knew it. His eyes met hers and he was hooked.  She said “Are you crazy? I barely know you, I’m not betting any stranger even $5 for anything.”

“My name is Dan, what’s yours?” He said smiling, taking off his hat and bowing ever so slightly in her direction and offering his hand to her to shake.  “Sheila.  And your Yankees suck.”

The banter went on like that for a bit.  Then they started to talk and get acquainted, they bought each other a few drinks and soon forgot their friends and went off on their own.

He said to himself “Stop.  Just…stop.  No…”  He picked up the chair and just as it was put it back where it had been.

He shook his head to stop himself from reminiscing too much.  She was in the past he told himself.  The romance is dead, had been for a while he had to tell himself.  It was strong for as long as they could hold it together, but when things fell apart at his job things got harder at home as well.  He was home more often, they got in each others way.  Lack on money on his part made them more dependent on her income.  But she didn’t make much doing data entry, and could not survive on her pay.  Even with his unemployment there was barely enough some months.

The lack of money destroyed all the goodness that had existed, made it harder to live, twisted and contorted both of them until they both thought the other one was just crazy.  He thought it because she nagged and needled him all the time about getting work.  Called him lazy and pathetic. He hated that.  He busted his ass trying to find work, and nothing worked for him.  He was out of the house several days a week looking for work. There was nothing.

He tried but she didn’t see it because she saw her working and him not.  She didn’t see the effort he put in.  He said he did a lot of running around, looking for work, but it was hard to believe that no one would hire him.

Sheila thought he was crazy because she was busy all the time, and never got any help from him after he lost his job.  The bills became hers, the debts became hers.  She tried to keep up, worked all the hours she could to make up for his lack of work.  She was beat, just worn out.  He wasn’t the strong self sufficient guy she thought he was when they got married.  He lost his job and lost that self sufficiency.

And her.

He stared at the phone, then picked it up and dialed her cell number.  She picked up after a few rings. ‘I’m on my way to work, Dan.  I don’t have time for this now.  Just… call me back… after work.  Bye.”  And with that she hung up on him.  He could hear her choked up fighting tears on the other end of the line.

He never even got to say hello.  He stared at the phone.  “Fuck.  Some days it pays to just stay in bed.”

Dan began to walk around the small apartment and take all the picture of her down.   There were a few left.  Neatly.  It didn’t belong to him anymore. That life was gone.  Over.  So much of his life was so much water under the bridge now.  Dead and gone.

He had to drive her out of his head or he’d go crazy and start breaking shit again he thought. After a  few minutes he started to think of the event that changed everything.  Losing his job.  The firm shutting down.

Thoughts and reminiscences of his old job started to dance through his head.  He fought them.  Didn’t want to think about how hard the world had screwed him.  Him and everyone else at the firm.  He had kept up correspondence online with a few buds from there, but by and large tried to put it behind him.

A few of his buddies had found work in other places.  He had tried to get jobs at those places after finding that other people from his old firm got hired there. On three separate occasions at three separate places he tried.  Had his best suit, used his charm, that winning smile of his.  Smiled where he could, but could not smile when telling of the story of the firm collapsing.  No matter what had happened before that always got him.  They saw that.  He guessed that they didn’t like it, but didn’t guess it until after the third interview.

He never even got a call back from them.  Bastards.

To be continued…

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Maude Adams as Joan of Arc, by Alphonse Mucha

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To be continued at a later date.  I am going to do an article, something other than than the “powerless” story later on tonight, then back to the attempt at creative writing.

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It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.

Hunter S. Thompson

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

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