"Here," I said to Big S a moment ago as I handed him a five dollar bill. "This is to pay you back for all the money I have borrowed these past few weeks."
Big S grinned furiously and stuffed the five dollars down the bib of his blue overalls.
"Snow, Saturday," I then said, drinking my free coffee from the employee's lounge of the grocery store.
"You actually want it to snow, don't you?" Big S said looking pained. "It will just be a big mess and besides... I am enjoying this warm weather."
I chuckled and lit up another cigarillo. I splurged today and bought some premium cigarillos and there is just no comparison of the taste when compared to the cheap ones I usually smoke. The tobacco is moist and extremely pungent in these premium little cigars. I also bought a pack of extremely expensive Marlboro Lights, my favorite cigarette.
Ferret soon came walking up to sit with us. He clasped my hand, giving it a good shake. I studied him carefully for signs of that old scourge, alcoholism. His eyes had a yellow, jaundiced tinge to them that is characteristic of African Americans when they have been drinking heavily. A tell tale sign I knew all too well from hanging around George all those years.
"You still sleeping in that garage?" I asked after he had sat down.
"Yeah," Ferret said. "The owner is the biggest crackhead though. There is always some crazy shit going down at that house. The police have been by twice this week."
I thanked my lucky stars that my home life is calm, quiet, and serene. I can walk away from these interesting characters down at the shopping center and put it behind me if I so choose. Ferret doesn't really have a choice. Only a crackhead would be so jaded and forgiving as to let you sleep in their heated garage rent free.
I then watched carefully as Ferret pulled a bottle of cheap Thunderbird wine out of his backpack. He unscrewed the cap and took a long drink followed by a hearty sigh. My old alcoholic urges started to well up within me. "One drink won't hurt," the lesser angels of my better nature told me. "You have money and can go get a bottle of Southern Comfort. Drive off to the country and camp for a few days. Go ahead. It's your destiny. You deserve a good drunk. It is Christmas time."
It was then that I abruptly stood up and began the short walk home.
"Where are you going?" Ferret asked.
"Home," I replied. "Home where it is safe."
Ferret and Big S both looked stymied. As I walked home, I popped four Benadryl and drank the rest of my cola. The pills hit about the time I walked through the front door of my home. A comforting calm enveloped me. I realized I was going to be okay. One day at a time as they say in AA, and I only have 10 hours left until the comforting embrace of sleep takes away the urge to drink.