Daring. Full of Bravado. Like some Don Quixote attacking a windmill. I trudged downtown after parking at the post office a moment ago. I was determined to find Ferret. Not long into my walk, I ran into Dexter, George's mentally retarded, but oh so funny and kind cohort.
"Seen Ferret?" I asked.
Dexter turned towards the river and pointed. "That way," he said after asking me for a few dollars. I continued on with my march after putting my wallet back into my back pocket now less five dollars. Into the woods I went behind the railroad tracks searching for Ferret's campsite. I finally gave up after looking for thirty minutes, scratched by underbrush and weary from the heat.
"Damn you Ferret," I said. "Where in the hell are you camped?"
Sitting in front of the old depot eating sardines and crackers, I finally saw Ferret come walking down the railroad tracks. It didn't take him long to notice me. He was drunk and reeked of alcohol. In his hand was a sack of old clothes.
"What's up?" Ferret asked, his eyes red from a hangover, as he approached me.
"Got worried about you," I replied. "Wanted to see if you are okay."
Ferret sat down on the bench next to me.
"I'm just glad I don't have to work anymore," Ferret said. "Work is for idiots."
The irony of Ferret's predicament didn't escape me. Not working and not taking his medications has forced him to live outside near the river like some wild animal. I almost envied Ferret as it would be one hell of an adventure and camping experience.
"You getting enough to eat?" I asked.
Ferret patted his belly assuring me that he was well fed.
"You haven't talked to Monte lately about moving back in?" I then asked.
"That son of a bitch can kiss my ass," Ferret said angrily. "He threw me out of the house."
I initially helped Ferret find this living arrangement. Monte is George's cousin and agreed to board Ferret in a spare room for rent money as long as Ferret stayed sober and worked. Ferret couldn't live up to his end of the bargain and got thrown out.
"Let's go get drunk," Ferret then said. "It would be like old times."
"You are already drunk," I replied. "You reek of it."
"Well then," Ferret said. "Let's get even drunker. I'm paying."
I won't lie and say the offer wasn't tempting. I would love nothing more than to meet up with George and have a listless day of drinking beer and cavorting with my old shopping center Piggly Wiggly friends.
"Come on," Ferret said as he stood up. "The convenience store is across the street with ice cold beer."
I sighed and wanted to run. I realized then that I shouldn't have found Ferret. It brought back too many old urges and longings. My homeless life of being a drunkard will forever haunt me in the wanton abandon and the lack of responsibility in which I lived my life then.
"Go get us some beer and I will wait here," I finally replied.
Ferret disappeared around the corner of the depot to cross the highway. I quickly grabbed my backpack and disappeared myself beyond the bank and made a beeline to my car. It was all too much to handle. And to think that I have been thinking that I am over my drinking urges and could handle them. My past came back to haunt me in a gloriously negative fashion today. My randy insolence with regards to my alcoholism hit hard and I went slinking home -- slouching towards Bethlehem as the Yeats' poem would say.