I sighed relieved when I checked my back pocket for my wallet finding it there fearing the officer would check my I.D. We live in such an overly sensitive and alert world after 9/11; very much akin to the government police state described in Orwell’s 1984.
2am found me standing in the all-night convenience store. I had scraped up enough pocket change from my car to buy a 20 oz Coca-cola. I am now officially broke until my next disability check arrives. Being penniless is an awkward feeling that I am not used to. I feel totally helpless with so little money to my name.
Monday mornings are a hard time for me as they start selling beer again at 2am. I thought of George as I stood in the back of that store surveying the beer offerings like one of Pavlov’s salivating dogs. I kept expecting him to walk in any moment to buy a case or a twelve pack and offer me one. It was good thing I only had a dollar and 35 cents in change in my pocket. That twelve pack of Steel Reserve high gravity lager just looked too tempting and I would have loved to have gotten completely sloshed drinking twelve of those high gravity brews. Luckily, I didn’t have the required $5.99 plus tax to buy it which was my saving grace. Too bad they don’t have after midnight A.A. meetings. A meeting would have been an oasis in the night.
I left the convenience store as I drank my Coca-cola on this cool morning. I walked up in front of that grand old abandoned cotton mill and sat down upon a bench in the little park out front. I put on the headphones of my little Sony radio and tuned the digital tuner to that station out of New Orleans. Art Bell was pontificating overly seriously about imagined ghosts and ghastlies that go boo in the night.
A lone police car came slowly driving by giving me a good and hard look. 2:30 am in the morning is an unusual time for a citizen to be up and out listening to a radio and drinking a Coca-cola in that little park in the dark. I know I looked suspicious. I sighed relieved when I checked my back pocket for my wallet finding it there fearing the officer would check my I.D. We live in such an overly sensitive and alert world after 9/11; very much akin to the government police state described in Orwell’s 1984.
I finally yawned sleepily as I pulled on my backpack after putting my little radio away. I trudged back down the sidewalk to complete the mile before reaching home. I locked my backdoor and crawled into the bed only to find myself once again staring at the ceiling in the dark, sleepless. Disgusted with myself, I once again turned on my bedside lamp, dressed, and sat in my den drinking hot tea and smoking cigars. Oh, how I wish I could find my oasis in the night; my own little secret place to crawl into, comforted, to go to sleep. Reality thought otherwise.