It's early Sunday morning on Mother's Day. I am on the last leg of my nightly three mile jaunt. I stop by my favorite convenience store for a demitasse break and to see my favorite clerk.
"I love Sunday mornings," the clerk says exuberantly as I step up to the counter to pay for my cup of coffee.
"Why?" I ask, intrigued.
"We stop selling beer at 2am," he says. "All the drunken crazies go home and go to sleep."
I smile. I know the drunk and crazy role all too well.
"Had this one guy come in at midnight," the clerk furthered. "He was so drunk he could barely stand up. I wouldn't sell him any beer and told him to leave. He said he was coming back in the morning when I get off to kick my ass. Can you believe that?"
I could believe it. I worked at this same store on third shift for over a year. I have vivid memories of the drunken shenanigans some of the patrons would pull after midnight and before. Nothing would surprise me after being a convenience store clerk for so long.
"He's long home in the bed sleeping off that drunk," I replied, trying to assuage the fears of my friend.
I finally found the bottom of my cup of joe and bid my favorite clerk goodbye. He was still talking as I escaped out the door. I was thirty minutes from home and headed that way.
Earlier in the evening had found me at a totally un-noteworthy AA meeting. George picked me up and I jumped into the driver's seat and we headed for the country on the drunken express. George broke with tradition last night and was drinking wine instead of beer.
"Why are you drinking wine?" I asked George as I drove.
"It was on sale," George replied, nonchalantly.
George had finished his second bottle when we arrived at a little small town on the outskirts of the county – those empty wine bottles clinking as they hit each other rolling around on the floorboard of the backseat. George had been quiet for awhile and then drummed up a conversation.
"I made $175 dollars at work yesterday," he said with a sly and drunken grin as he slurred his words.
"Holy shit!" I replied. "That is almost a quarter of what I draw in disability every month."
"It was a fluke," George said, drunkenly. "But it allowed me to pay off some debts I owed. Every time I would drop someone off, the phone would ring for someone else needin' a ride."
George's job is volatile income wise. One day he will make a hundred dollars – the next, he will only make twenty. I have often asked George why he just doesn't get a more mainstream job with a stable income and he told me he doesn't get along well with management types.
George was just finishing his third bottle of wine as I drove back into town. It was time for me to take him home and go about my nightly hike. George's mother will not let him bring alcohol into the house so I watched as George poured out the last few inches of wine left in that green bottle.
"Night man," I said as I handed him his keys.
"See ya my little white brotha," George said as he held out his hand for me to shake it.
I walked on home after shaking George's hand to get my backpack and gear for my walk. It was a pleasant night with all's well that ends well.