I made my way up the sidewalk on highway 29 thinking of George this morning. I wonder what ole George is going to do without his car. I can’t imagine him getting a regular, more mainstream, job. “Do you want fries with that?” I could picture George in my mind asking customers down at McDonald’s as I chuckled to myself. Knowing George, he would tell the manager to stick it where the sun don’t shine and would walk out at the first sign of trouble or hard work. I could also picture him coming in to work still drunk from the night before, red eyed and hung-over. It is going to be interesting to see how this new chapter in George’s life unfolds.
I finally arrived at the all-night convenience store around 3am. The shopkeeper was perched upon and sitting on the counter glaring at a porno mag. I once worked the third shift at this very convenience store and the police would come in and peruse the porno magazine stand behind the counter every night. I wondered if they still do that as they fill up their patrol cars waiting for their shifts to end.
“Good morning,” The shopkeeper said as he hastily put the magazine under the counter and stood erect as I walked in.
“Good morning,” I replied in return as I walked to the back of the store to pull out a Coca-cola.
“What else can I get you?” He then asked me as I placed the Coke upon the counter by the register.
“I need a carton of Smoker’s Choice little cigars,” I replied as I reached for my wallet to pull out my Visa card.
“$11.76,” The shopkeeper said as he held out his hand to grab the card and then asked me if it was credit or debit.
I left the store and walked on up past the Chicken Stop restaurant into the old part of downtown that is about dead these days. I decided to take a shortcut through a very rundown neighborhood that would prove to be a bad decision and a scary situation later.
The time was getting close to 4am when I walked down that dark street in one of the worst neighborhoods in town. Up ahead, I could see a house brightly lit and loud rap music emanating from inside it. About six people were out in the front yard drinking malt liquor and talking and hooting loudly. I walked past several condemned houses as I crossed the street to give me and these party goers a wide berth. They started to hurl racial slurs my way as I walked past.
“Hey honkey, what are you doing in this neighborhood so late?” A young African American male catcalled at me fueled by the bravado that alcohol can impart.
I pulled my backpack tightly upon my shoulder and soldiered on making sure not to make eye contact. The noise of the party faded into the background behind me and I sighed relieved to had escaped danger as I finally trudged up the last few feet of that road as it emptied me out into a much nicer neighborhood not far from my home.
As I arrived home, Maggie was sitting at my backdoor looking out. They say dogs are a man’s best friend and I would have to agree. Maggie always greets me as if I have been gone for weeks. I rubbed her head, scratched her back, lit up a cigar, and sat down to write this. I will soon climb back into the bed to get a few more hours of sleep after breakfast and morning meds. I hope you all have a great Saturday and that you enjoy your weekend. Good day. I am off, once again, to the land of dreams.